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Mar 10 2007

Old ladies shine light on old news

The spinster aunt catches a lot of flak for espousing the Men Hate You hypothesis. Not a day dawns over the Twisty bungalow when I am not the recipient of some fairly lively rhetoric proposing to acquaint me with the unsatisfactory nature of my views. Outraged dudes get their backs up and make with the “I for one don’t hate women you are wrong you must have been abused as a child you stupid cunt” argument. Women in relationships with men assume a defensive posture; perceiving that I have impugned the integrity of the doted-on patriarch, they loyally wish to enlighten me as to their husband/boyfriend’s sterlingness (“he does the laundry!”), an exception who surely disproves the rule.

This morning I do not propose to inaugurate a debate on the truthiness of the Men Hate You hypothesis. There can be no debate. I merely call to your woefully divided attention a study currently making the rounds (by which I mean I saw it at Broadsheet). This study of 370 English-speaking American women aged 65 and over found that 26.5% reported having experienced “intimate partner violence” at some point in their lives. In other words, sooner or later a quarter of these elderly women were abused, either physically or by the controlling behavior of some asshole love interest. Read the abstract, or this cheery bit of reportage, for the grim details.

[Broadsheeter Carol Lloyd takes what may be construed as a disturbingly minimizing tone when she speculates for no apparent reason that the "name calling and feeling controlled by a partner" aspects of the abuse might be brushed off as the normal consequences of "otherwise civilized breakups". To which I say, zounds. If it is considered normal for "otherwise civilized" men to be abusive, breakup or no, that's not much of an endorsement for the Men Don't Hate Women position. Or for civilization, either.

The actual study, of course, reports a median duration of 10 years for controlling behavior, so it's pretty clear that breakups, which typically don't last quite as long as that -- unless you're talking about lesbians -- weren't really the focus of the analysis.]

Anyway, if the study’s findings are accurate, a quarter of all women have (or will have, by the time they’re 65+) put in at least one hitch in the foulest trenches of misogyny (if this is at all surprising, it is because one rather expected the figure to be higher, and the study’s author apparently agrees; see the Broadsheet post for details). One quarter of women. In the U.S., that’s 37,305,527 human beings, raped, beaten, berated, controlled, threatened.

Which intelligence inclines me to make a couple of assertions.

1. Men hate women.
2. Male violence against women is a humanitarian crisis the enormity of which is unparalleled in human history.
3. The fact that women are hated — even by those who are not openly hostile except on lefty blogs — is the reason this shit continues unabated.

I leave you now with today’s reading from Andrea Dworkin, who herein explicates the misogynist pith of the preceding statements as originating in

the conviction that the male abuse of women, especially in sex, has an implicit logic, one that no program of social justice can or should eliminate; that because the male use of women originates in the distinct and opposite natures of each which converge in what is called “sex,” women are not abused when used as women — but merely used for what they are by men as men. It is admitted that there are excesses of male sadism — committed by deranged individuals, for instance — but in general the massive degradation of women is not seen to violate the nature of women as such. [1]

__________________________
1. Dworkin, Andrea. Right-wing Women. New York: Coward-McCann. 1982. 195-196.

310 comments

1 ping

  1. Leslie

    Stats Canada research has shown that almost 50% of women between the ages of 16 and 24 report having experienced physical or sexual abuse by men. Should be easy to locate on the Statistics Canada website.
    Not that we do anything about it, mind you. The progressively right-leaning governments have cut funding to our organizations again and again – cutting some right out of business. But the numbers are there.

  2. jenevieve

    Thanks. I saw that report and was sickened but not surprised. I’m just glad that you are out on the internets calling bullshit when you see it.

    Today, Matt and I said that we should move to Austin, since our good friend lives there, and Matt piped up “Also, that’s where Twisty lives!” Que bueno.

  3. manda

    Sometimes I wonder: could it be that men hate everybody?

  4. Elle

    I guess there’s no hope for it. We’re just born to be abused. Count me in as part of the statistical group. And he was such a gentleman, so well educated, so sensitive. An English major even.

    You’re absolutely right. It continues because it continues. You’ll get no argument from me about the ubiquity of misogyny. Which brings me to a related topic — the word “fuck.” It seems to me that fuck is misogynistic for, although it is a word for sexual intercourse, it seems to describe a particularly exploitative and damaging transaction. I mean when I say “fuck you,” it is generally not meant nor taken as expressing a wish for your good health and continued well-being. So, I have wondered, since it is the most used word in the English language, if it is sort of an unconscious expression of universal misogyny.

    And another thought; I was reading up on horses last night to get up to speed with my 2 new purchases and was interested to read again and again that horses are prey animals. And I thought, well, that makes three of us.

  5. Rainbow Girl

    (Leslie: let’s just be grateful that Statistics Canada wasn’t slashed down the way every other pro-female institution in Canada has been. Sometimes I think it’s the closest thing we have to a national women’s organization, just for counting, measuring, reporting.)

    To paraphrase another Andrea Dworkin point: We don’t report statistics to show men how often this abuse happens. We report statistics to convince them that it happens at all.

    As someone who has never been abused and hangs around with a lot of way cool guys (who do laundry), I nevertheless took no issue with the Men Hate You tag. Women are accused of man-hating for any kind of insubordination. Why am I a man-hater for asking men to stop rape yet they are not woman-haters for doing nothing? Where’s that Blame button?

  6. LMYC

    Elle, I’ve also always thought that the pejorative nature of “fuck you” indicates that, fundamentally, men hate women. the underlying attitude is: “If I get my dick in you, you lose.” Makes us nature’s pre-fab losers, right out of the box, dunnit?

    And of COURSE it’s not abuse when they do it. You don’t apologize for dumping shit down a toilet. That’s what it’s there for.

    Right? Right?

  7. yankee transplant

    “The actual study, of course, reports a median duration of 10 years for controlling behavior, so it’s pretty clear that breakups, which typically don’t last quite as long as that — unless you’re talking about lesbians”

    HOWLING! Sing it, Twisty, this is a great post.

  8. TP

    Maybe men do hate everyone. That would resolve the debate nicely. God knows I do hate men. I think I don’t hate women, like every other man. Yet our culture has taught me to think of them as less than human in a thousand unconscious ways.

    I think it’s likely that men hate men, too, but not as much as women. A self-appointed feminist man like me probably hates men more than women.

    Like a racist, the worst kind of sexist is the kind who doesn’t think he hates the category he hates, but rather insists that he loves them for all the demeaning stereotypes they represent to him.

  9. Scratchy888

    The problem seems located in the association of women with masochism. I don’t agree wholly with Dworkin in her delineation of men’s association of women with sex. It’s a powerful argument, though, since it explains the ubiquity of abusiveness in a way which doesn’t depend on some more ethereal-sounding concept like “masochism”. Still, I think I’m right and she’s wrong. I don’t see the problem as being essentialised to biology. I don’t consider that even a softer argument — men’s perception of the biological differences between men and women — is itself the cause of the general abusiveness we encounter. I actually think it is more cultural than that. It is the reading of women as masochists which is to blame. I think this reading is a feature of cultural conditioning and the economic system.

  10. Millie

    Women in relationships with men assume a defensive posture; perceiving that I have impugned the integrity of the doted-on patriarch, they loyally wish to enlighten me as to their husband/boyfriend’s sterlingness (”he does the laundry!”),

    I think this is, quite frankly ,bullshit. And dismissive of heterosexual feminists partnered with men. I haven’t posted in ages (which I’m sure you’re glad) but I participated in a thread which evolved into an argument similar to what I quoted. Speaking the truth of one’s own relationships, how one navigates being married to a man or raising children with a man does not mean that one is saing “Oh by golly gee whiz, MY husband’s just 100% super and not sexist at all!”. It simply means that, as women who are not attracted to women and who choose to be in a romantic relationship, we do the best we can to create an egalitarian relationship. The often patronizing, condescending tone of your posts (with regards to this topic) is what causes the so-called “defensiveness”. I don’t find myself to be “defensive”, an opinion is an opinion and everyone is welcome to have one, but it will do nothing for feminism–which is about, obviously, women, most of which who are heterosexual and have children. I don’t know what kind of feminist women you’re around,but no adult is “doted” on in my home, or in the homes of other feminist women that I know. Maybe you should learn to have a little more respect for women and an interest in learning about individual lives instead of TELLING someone what they experience. You’re obviously free to do what you like, but a straight feminist who started saying “everytime I post about men some lesbian comes in here and starts talking about how great gay relationships are and grossing me out” would be immediately called out, and rightfully so. Similarly, I find it confusing why a feminist would feel the need to assume that all heterosexual women act like a modern day June Cleaver, even if it is just in jest. You seem to set up a Catch 22–either silently disagree with your sentiments or speak of one’s own experience and get maligned as a patriarchal dude worshiper or whatever nasty names you call women. Silencing and dismissing women is a male tactic.*I* define who I am,not any other woman, man, or beast.

    So while you’re blaming the patriarchy,you might want to run a quick check on your own patriarchal conditioning as well.

  11. P. Whirler

    So, 73.5% of English-speaking American women aged 65 and over have never experienced “intimate partner violence” at any point in their lives, never putting in at least one hitch in the foulest trenches of misogyny.

  12. RadFemHedonist

    I had never until now had it sink in that being opposed to rape is actually considered man hating by some people, that is… supremely depressing. One abusive man – no, one abusive person is too many so I can’t really comment about the whole 26.5% (I don’t doubt it, there) thing, one punch is as repugnant as a thousand beatings, so I can’t really say anything other than this is violative of rights (for anyone who needs this spelt out, the right of women, indeed humans in general, to freedom from physical assault) and thus cause for outrage. I Blame you-know-who.

    I know you normally sign off with that phrase but what kind of prat actually insults you because they think you were abused as a child? Really, the inanity and insensitivity of it…

    And I do have one very good male friend who I’m gradually guiding to my point of view but I don’t protest your statement.

  13. Bitey

    I wonder if “Men Hate Everyone” is quite the thing. There are plenty of men whom men don’t hate. No one hates Joe Namath or Batman. I do find, however, that hatred of women is not limited to those of us who are sporting junk. My proposal: “Everyone Hates Women.”

  14. Millie

    I had never until now had it sink in that being opposed to rape is actually considered man hating by some people, that is… supremely depressing

    Stating the obvious, but I believe that most people believe, or at least give lip service to,the stereotypical’stranger rape’ is wrong, and even acquaintence rape, to an extent. of course, this varies with regards to the age/race/social class of the victim in question(bleh).

    As an aside, with regards to anti-rape=man-hating,a few years ago when I lived in New York, there was a woman who donned a a superhero outfit and went around to bars in the city to “protect drunk women from men”. I believe she called her character Terrifica, or something. she garnered some local media coverage, and it was always mentioned (by her) that she’d been dumped by a boyfriend which lead her to begin doing this, and that women were “easily manipulated”,etc. I guess to sum it up, she came across as not really feminist at all (I really don’t know if she identified as one, anyway) rather as a spurned lover trying to teach men a lesson. Which, IMO, sucks, because obviously date rape/coercion of intoxicated women IS a problem, and she could have potentially found a way to encourage activism among women, but she seemed to get written off as a nutjob who was “anti-man”.

  15. Rainbow Girl

    RadFemHedonist:

    I’m sorry to have depressed you…seriously though, it gets ridiculous, even when I make an effort to be non-hostile.

    Once, I pointed out that a woman has a higher chance of being attacked by men than bears (I had been laughing about how bearspray is legal but not manspray) He asked me and this other girl if we had been raped, then, if I knew every single rape survivor recorded in Canada. I responded that I had a solid grasp of the data, which I felt was well-researched (that goes for bears too). He fell into silence then left the table. This was at Christmas dinner!

    Most bizarrely, I was once accused of wanting to invent big robots that randomly raped men to even out the rape stats for equality-this came from a university student after I stated that ending violence against women worldwide was worth having a day for.

    Robots?!!??! Robot rapists are more plausible than stopping violence against women? HOW HARD IS IT TO NOT RAPE SOMEONE? YOU JUST HAVE TO SIT THERE!

    /rant…

  16. Bitey

    I try not to mention this too often, but I go to Renaissance Fairs. A lot. My friend Quelle and I get drunk and run around making fun of all the stupid dudes. It’s great. Anyway, this dude we know, who had worked in law enforcement and I think as an EMT, was always wearing this pin that said, “Rape the fields and pillage the women. No, wait . . . .” One day, I was about up to here with that crap, so I said, “That’s funny. That’s a funny, funny rape joke.” He frowned at me. “Rape jokes are the best kind,” I went on, “except for jokes about child rape.” He drew back. “No, trust me,” he patronized sadly, “it’s not funny when it’s children.” I feigned surprise and innocently asked, “It’s funny when it’s women?” Blamers worldwide will be astounded to learn that that actually shut him the hell up. He bowed his head, and I sailed away.

  17. Twisty

    “So, 73.5% of English-speaking American women aged 65 and over have never experienced “intimate partner violence” at any point in their lives, never putting in at least one hitch in the foulest trenches of misogyny.”

    P. Whirler has mastered subtraction at last. The internet is endlessly fascinating.

  18. Artemis

    I don’t believe for a minute that the number is as low as 26% for this experience among women.

    All five of my grandmothers, my mother, at least one of my aunts, my three step-mothers, my sister, at least three of my step-sisters, and at least four of my female cousins have all experienced what could be objectively called “intimate partner violence” at some point in their lives and have gone or will go to their graves denying that it ever happened.

    No doubt they have much in common with at least some of the women who attempt to engage you in “fairly lively rhetoric” in defense of their partners.

    Bullshit indeed, Millie.

  19. Bitey

    “Women in relationships with men assume a defensive posture; perceiving that I have impugned the integrity of the doted-on patriarch, they loyally wish to enlighten me as to their husband/boyfriend’s sterlingness (‘he does the laundry!’), an exception who surely disproves the rule.

    “This morning I do not propose to inaugurate a debate on the truthiness of the Men Hate You hypothesis. There can be no debate.”

    Twisty, I couldn’t agree with you more. If the “You” in “Men Hate You” is meant to refer to any given individual, then sure, there might be a dude–maybe even two–who doesn’t actively hate that individual. But I don’t think that that’s what that “You” means. I think “You” means “Member of the Oppressed Sex Class,” and yeah. Men hate you. So vanishingly small is the number who don’t that I guarantee you that you have never met or ever heard of one.

    It would be so easy for me to fall into this Stand-By-Yore-Patriarch trap because my husband really is a great guy. We have actual conversations every day, for example, and he really does much more housework than I do. But even he, who is doubtless the best man I’ve ever met (and not just because of the housework) is an entitled honkey who is nearly blind to his privilege. He does not hate me, as a person; in fact, I would go so far as to say that he does not hate anyone as a person. But if one can watch “Law & Order: Sexay Victims Unit” without flinching (he can), if one can indulge in even the most apparently consensual of pornography (he could), then you hate women. If you have ever smiled at a dumb blond joke or thought of a woman as a slut or used the word “pussy” as an insult, then, at some level, be it however deep down, you hate women. You see women as proper objects of torture and rape, as jokes, as less than human. Maybe you’d rather die (or think you’d rather die) than hurt anyone yourself, but if you find entertainment in seeing people maimed and degraded, then you hate those people. That’s it. There can be no debate.

  20. jnthnu

    I just had to, that’s why.

  21. Bitey

    jnthnu: Hee!

    Also, sorry for changing from third to second person in my second paragraph above. I got carried away.

  22. witchy-woo

    Bitey – 8.36pm – Thank you. That comment illustrated a great deal for those around me.

  23. amandyman

    I haven’t looked at the study, so I can’t say they took this into account or not, but the number may seem low-ish due to survivor bias (ie those who made it to the elderly point are less likely to have been abused than those who died earlier).

  24. Pony

    P. Whirl It:

    Women of that age, *especially* women of that age, will not likely admit to their male loved one’s abusing them. *They* all know it’s their fault. The picked a mean man (the only one in town yeah) or they made a good man mean or he was tired/sick/overworked/sad/dinner wasn’t ready/she spoke during football–really just any one thang because he had the RIGHT to abuse her emotionally or physically and will be excused forgiven sometimes fucking lauded for it.

    Even in a survey where you would be assured of anonimity, most women my age would not admit it. I know that. I know it. First they’d have to admit it to themselves.

    So no. The percentage of women saying they have not experience male partner/friend/son/brother/uncle/husband/father violence is not representative of any kind of truth.

    This month in a Canadian province with a pop barely 3 million:

    13,000 women and children used women’s shelters in 2006.
    16,000 women and children were turned away because the shelters were full.
    The province received nearly 100,000 crisis calls in 2006
    That was a 50 per cent increase over the last 2 years
    The province has one of the lowest rates of social assistance in Canada.
    The province does not fund even a reasonable portion of intervention programs, resources and services so 15 per cent of the women go back to the abusive relationships.

    I’d be willing to bet NONE of those women were older women. The stigma would be unbearable for her. Her children may turn away, be embarrassed, think she’s over-reacting. The RCMP officer she would turn to is her husband’s/son/s/son-in-laws squash partner. She would be treated differently/be the subject of gossip at the church, the hairdresser’s, the school where she is a volunteer.

    I have been in her shoes. I didn’t tell anyone until I said it here. to overwhelming silence. It’s not nice to say, people are embarrassed.

    I was beaten and had nowhere to go. The doctor gave me tranquilzers and sent me home and told me “you’ll have to learn to understand your husband”. I was a strait and several hundred miles from another community. That happens a lot in Canada. Probably Kansas too. You keep it to yourself. That’s what our generation did. Does.

    30 some odd percent abused my ass.

  25. maribelle

    but no adult is “doted” on in my home,

    I’m sorry for your loss.

    My husband and I dote on each other, take turns waiting on and cooking for each other. Giving and receiving loving care, humor and adoration are the stuff of life in my house–we give to each other and teach it to our children. It’s a system I highly recommend for anyone who is partnered: gay, straight or other.

    He was also born, raised and marinated in male privilege, and has in some degree the traits of all men–aggression, competitiveness, arrogance, and self-confidence beyond reason. But he learns, he argues, he reads (I borrowed his copy of Firestone’s DoS.) We both do the best we can in a world dominated and defined by patriarchy–we fall, we get up, we grow. Most of all, we talk: about the world, our own privilege, about history, about what still has to be done.

    None of this could be accomplished if we defensively insisted the problem doesn’t exist because we have forged some degree of equality in our marriage.

    Clearly, if I tried to claim that patriarchy wasn’t so bad or men in general don’t hate women because my husband does laundry and gets the kids to school in the morning, I would be: a. a bad student of history, b. ignorant of current affairs c. no friend to women anywhere and d. an asswipe.

  26. Pony

    Ha! And that was just my husband. I could site dozens of incidents. Dozens would probably be an underestimate. And I am not unusual you see, except that I won’t be silent anymore.

  27. Bitey

    Pony, I’m sorry about what happened to you. I’m glad you’re not taking shit off anyone anymore.

    And yeah. There’s *NO WAY* my Irish Catholic grandmother would ever admit that Pappy was violent or abusive. Sure, you had to watch your self when he’d had a few, but that wasn’t abuse, that was just blowing off steam. No, he was a good provider, working hard every day, and he deserved to have things how he wanted them. You just had to know what was gonna set him off, and make sure not to get him riled up. Every good wife knows that. Besides, it’s nice when a man takes charge. It means he’s strong. A protector.

  28. Heart

    I agree with Artemis– no way is the number of women abused by men one in four. My mother, my aunt, my sister, my daughters, my grandmother, my sisters-in-law, most of my friends, all were abused by men and never reported it. The other day I blogged about a NW Airlines employee who ejaculated on a woman passenger as she was napping. A number of commenters popped up remembering when the same thing happened to them, and they never reported it.

    The culture in which we all live is heteronormative and heterosupremacist and for that reason, critiques of het relationships — which are forced down all of our throats from the time we are born without respect to our attractions — are not the same as critiques of gay and lesbian relationships, which are punished under patriarchy. Suggesting critiques of het relationships are similar to oppression of lesbian and gay people is like suggesting critiquing men is similar to the oppression of women. Societal power — who has it, who doesn’t — and who is doing what to whom, are always issues and must always be factored in.

    Heart

  29. Antelope

    Men laugh at the idea of men getting raped all the time. Most of the frat boy types I know make jokes about prison rape or about dropping the soap far more often than they make jokes about anything to do with women (at least when I’m in the room, I don’t really want to know what they joke about at other times). They make jokes about raping their best friends, they make jokes about getting raped themselves if they should go to jail for something.

    In a lot of schools, maybe most schools, there are boys who come up with amazingly slim pretexts to beat up on other boys several times a week, just because they can. A lot of times they use racist or homophobic pretexts, but if that doesn’t fit the bill they’ll find something else.

    I think this is because men do, in fact, hate everybody. What’s sad is that this is the only line of thinking I can come up with to make myself feel somehow slightly better about how much they hate women.

  30. Millie

    Suggesting critiques of het relationships are similar to oppression of lesbian and gay people is like suggesting critiquing men is similar to the oppression of women.

    Actually, that wasn’t what I was suggesting. Obviously heterosexuals are in a position of privilege over homosexuals. I see how it appeared that way–I guess the example given wasn’t the best. My point was, the Twisty often writes with the presumption that ALL women in heterosexual relationships believe X or do X, despite the response from someone that it isn’t true in their own life.

    So where does one go from there? How does this work in feminism? What should compel me to listen to another woman TELL me what my life is like, when I wouldn’t allow a man to do the same? Because that is honestly what I am seeing.

    I mean, I guess if the premise is: There is no way to have an egalitarian, pro-woman relationship (with men)if one is heterosexual, then OK. I guess I can go there, with that train of thought. But again, how is that truly beneficial to feminism, when the female population is largely composed of women who have/had relationships with men and/or are raising children with men? To me, that version of feminism is too stagnant. I’d like to believe that feminism (and yes, the real kind, not “girl power” or whatever) is accessible to all women, of all sexualities, especially since I am the mother of a daughter and obviously I want the world to be better for her throughout her life.

  31. DTG in STL

    I tried to post something earlier, but it hasn’t been published. Was I censored? If so I guess I’ll just bite the bullet and accept it – your blog, your discretion on what is Twisty-worthy commentary. I thought I had some good points. C’est la vie.

  32. Trout

    I doubt that every man hates women, but statistically speaking, I suspect that the majority of men have made a total ass of themselves, on a sexist basis, more than once. Maybe not hitting, but whatever – I love my wife and help her around the house, but I vote against those damn feminists…

    So yeah, as a group, men definitely hate women.

  33. Lisa

    So, I’ve had a burning question in my head for months. I don’t know if this is the right place to ask it, but these comments are kind of on track with it, so here goes:

    I’ve been reading this cite for two years now. And although I thought I was pretty much a feminist when I started, this site has opened my eyes to a lot of things. I definately didn’t think I was an “advanced patriarchy blamer” when I started, and maybe I’m still not. But I’ve done a lot of other reading as well. And this is what has happened to me…

    I have a male partner, who is a pretty nice guy, but now everything he does drives me nuts. For example, my old assumption was that all guys have porn on their computers. You might as well just accept it. Now, I still think all guys have porn on their computers, but it drives me nuts. I can’t even handle it when he downloads shit like “girls gone wild” from wherever. I knew those girls. I use to be those girls (although thankfully it wasn’t filmed.) When I explain to him how young and confused and objectified those girls are, he just kind of shrugs it off. Drives me batty. I don’t think he hates me per se, but yes, I think he does hate women.

    So, whatever. I can say screw him and dump him. No problem. But we have kids. We have TWO BOYS. They are funny and beautiful and innocent and only 2 (twins). So herein lies my new constant worry. How do I raise two boys to not hate women? And if I dump this guy (who will still see the boys) how will they ever meet good guys? Are there good guys?

    I get that there is only so much I can do because we are all sort of encapsulated in it and I can’t ever totally take my boys and escape it. But some of you out there seem to have kids and husbands. What things CAN you do to deal with your husband’s irritating, although possibly unintentional woman hating? What can you do for your kids?

    Bitey, your comment is really interesting to me. So what do YOU do in regards to your husband’s “hatred”, if there is anything you CAN do? Anything? I just feel mad all the time about it.

  34. DTG in STL

    As a first-time poster at IBTP, my only selfish hope is that my commentary will be well received, despite being a patriarchy-beneficiary. I’m one of the “straight white dudes” – however, I’m not in my early twenties, but rather my early thirties.

    A longtime passive and even complicit beneficiary of the privileges afforded to me because of my identity, I am delightfully happy to have stumbled upon IBTP. My first reading was Solanas “SCUM Manifesto”, and to say the least, I was taken aback upon my initial reading; my initial feelings of defensiveness are undeniable. I blame the patriarchy for this, because it has conditioned my to have a sense of entitlement because I have junk. Regardless of my initial visceral reaction, I read the Solanas work several more times to glean whatever I could from it. And attempting to honor the Twisty Primer for newbies, I waited a little while before posting anything, after having read more of Twisty’s essays and other works on several different feminist websites – namely Femiste and Pandagon, which I was drawn to following the shameless smearing of Amanda Marcotte at the hands of pig-man fascist Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

    I realize as a patriarchy-beneficiary who has only recently begun to truly open his eyes to the very real evil entity which is the patriarchy, I’ve got a long way to go. I am indeed a neophyte. But I believe that there is hope for me – that I can at least to some degree transcend my passive and complicit ways, that I can be an individual who works in his daily actions and words to fight the patriarchy as well. I know that a lot of unlearning and re-education will be necessary.

    I also have a personal experience of having suffered at the hands of the patriarchy. As a victim of sexual molestation at the hands of another male when I was a very small child, I have demonstrably suffered from the patriarchy’s gender-definition of the male; men are not supposed to be victims, men are not supposed to be dominated, men are supposed to be macho and not let other males violate them so brutally. I have unsuccessfully spent a lifetime trying to avoid admitting the pain and anguish and shame that I have felt for years from my experiences as a child, because it’s just not very “manly” to admit that you have been raped when you are a guy, regardless of the fact that it occurred when you were 4 years old and the aggressor was 13 at the time. To that end, I too blame the patriarchy, and believe that the only just end would be to completely smash the ideology and laws – social, moral, and legal – that are propagated by this system.

    I don’t know what I think about the “Men Hate You” doctrine. It would be easy for me to say “but I’m not like that” – it would also be a disingenuous lie, and a quite patronizing one at that. It would be akin to any Caucasian claiming that they have never held racist beliefs or acted on said beliefs. Of course there’s a little misogynist guy hanging out inside me – it’s probably the one that made me feel defensive when I read Solanas. But I’m trying to transcend that guy in my thoughts, my words, and my deeds. And I believe that though I may never fully overcome it – which I’m sure I won’t – that I am capable of making a legitimate and benevolent effort to that end goal.

    Here’s my theory on the moral equality of all. I firmly believe, to the core of my being, that at the immediate moment of birth, that each and every person is morally equal. That all women and men, of all skin tones – black, yellow, red and white, of all sexual orientations – gay, bisexual, transexual and straight, and of all economic birthrights – poor, middle-class, and wealthy, all of us are on equal moral footing at birth. No one of these various groups is inherently more morally righteous than any other.

    As such, I don’t believe that misogyny, and by extension, racism, orientationism, or even classism are genetically enmeshed in any of us. Because not one of us chose to be be a particular gender, race, orientation or born to particular economic group – we just are.

    I believe the patriarchy and its dogma are conditioned in us. I believe misogyny is a learned characteristic, not a genetic consequence. I believe that simply entering this world with an XY chromosomal disposition does not automatically make one a misogynist, with no personal say in the matter. The implicit moral implication of blaming the patriarchy is that misogynistic views are a choice for patriarchy-beneficiaries, not an inherent characteristic. If I have no choice in whether or not I will be a misogynist because I am a man, then how can you blame me for it? I believe I do have a choice, and that to choose misogynistic tendencies is evil. As such, if I choose to fight those prevelant misogynistic views that the patriarchy propagates, then I am making a morally good choice. I am not an inherent misogynist because I am male – I get to choose whether or not I accept my privileged status in the patriarchy, or reject that status through my actions.

    As such, I try to read the words of Twisty through a lens which places the blame squarely where it belongs, on the patriarchy, rather than on each and every single male being on the planet. Similarly, I interpret the Solanas Manifesto as a call for revolution against the patriarchy, not a literal exhortation that all men are pieces of shit and that they all need to be eliminated.

    I have no choice in this view – if I were to take the “Men Hate You” doctrine to mean that all men are evil, and the Solanas work as a literal call for the extermination of all males, then I would have no place on this forum. I am, first and foremost, a selfish being who doesn’t want to die, nor do I wish to commit suicide. To subscribe to the belief that either Twisty or Solanas are speaking literally against the entire male populace – which includes myself – would be sadly masochistic on my part, and a pointless worldview to adopt for myself, as I am not in favor of my own personal destruction. I’m not going to hate myself simply because I am a white straight male, because I didn’t choose to be any one of those things, no more than Twisty chose to be a spinster aunt. I will be self-critical for the times in which those parts of my identity have been used to promote the evils of the patriarchy, as this is something in which I do have a choice. And I expect criticism for it.

    I blame the patriarchy for the painful rift which has been created between myself and other like-minded males and the righteous feminists here and everywhere. I think that by creating the gender stereotypes prevalant in all societies, the patriarchy has made it even more difficult for the benevolent male to reach out to the feminist. I hate having to feel like I need to qualify myself anytime I meet a new feminist in my life – that when some feminists meet me for the first time, I feel that she looks at me loathingly and sees nothing but pure evil because of my gender, race, and orientation, even though she doesn’t know me. But this is not her fault, nor is it Twisty’s, nor is it Solanas’, nor is it Dworkin’s, nor is it any other righteous feminist’s. It is the patriarchy that has promulgated the divide and conquer strategy between us.

    Anyway, I’m glad to be here, and hope to engage in plenty of patriarchy blaming – I think it’s a good thing when open-minded straight white males like myself are willing to recognize and validate feminist viewpoints, and hopefully together we can bring about the eventual end of the patriarchy and create a society that is truly beneficial to all of us, not just people who look like me. Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking on my part.

  35. Blamerella

    I wanted to thank all of you for the incisive commentary about the study.

    And Lisa, I’ve got no advice for you, though I wish I did. Obviously, you are disturbed enough by your man’s behavior to consider leaving him. It’s probably not going to get any better. Once you go feminist and patriarchy blamer, it’s real hard to go back to selling out and sucking up for any reason, even a relationship.

    Back to my point: I’m totally with all y’all who are calling b.s. on the 26% statistic. The problem with behavioral studies of any kind, even the most meticulous, is that they are predicated on the assumption that people are answering truthfully. Other posters to this thread have provided excellent examples of why women would be less than candid on questionnaires about spousal abuse or domineering behavior.

    There are also perfectly understandable cultural reasons why women, particularly those from past generations, would be unaware that certain types of behaviors would fall under the category of abuse or domination. Or possibly women would be able to identify outright abuse but not subtler forms of coercion. My late mother realized that when my dad, and later my stepdad, were beating her that it was wrong. But I’m sure she never contemplated that being expected to do all the housework and wait on my stepfather and stepbrother hand and foot after she put in a full day at the office was a problem. She completely internalized the idea that she was solely responsible for household chores because she was female. How is that going to come out in a study that merely asks women if they feel they were abused?

    Oh and P.Whirler? Blow it out your ass.

  36. kunphormyst

    Men laugh at the idea of men getting raped all the time. Most of the frat boy types I know make jokes about prison rape or about dropping the soap far more often than they make jokes about anything to do with women (at least when I’m in the room, I don’t really want to know what they joke about at other times). They make jokes about raping their best friends, they make jokes about getting raped themselves if they should go to jail for something./

    I don’t think this phenomenon has anything to do with men hating other men. Men make rape jokes because they fear being seen as a woman, aka non-human orifice, because obviously this is the worst thing that can happen to a person, aka man.

  37. roamaround

    “I just feel mad all the time about it.” Me too, Lisa. It’s very hard to live with the harsh truth of it all. But I think of Holocaust survivors and Black American victims of racism and think, if they can go on living and find beauty and joy in the world so can I.

    Like someone in a thread here a while back, Marilyn French had a big impact on me at an impressionable age. In “The Women’s Room,” a character who decides to become a separatist tells another, “You have two sons, so you have to compromise.” It’s too sad to think that we can’t reconcile being a feminist with loving and living with men. Especially boys, even though eventually they are taught to hate us.

  38. Pony

    Yes.

    “Men make rape jokes because they fear being seen as a woman, aka non-human orifice, because obviously this is the worst thing that can happen to a person, aka man.”

    On the subject of women not knowing sometimes that what is being done is abuse (ie) I would imagine most older women and some younger ones too would say husbands can’t rape a wife just by demaning sex; so when he forces himself on you drunk or when you’re asleep, well if there was no blood and you acquiesed, how is that abuse or rape? And today, young women who absorb and play back this culture’s abuse aka PORN think they aren’t being abused or raped either. It’s ‘choice.’

    Lisa, you may have to spend the next couple years preparing. Find daycares and family day homes, make contacts with other women who are working out of home, begin even one night a week to pick up on your pre-marriage work if you dropped it. Learn about the neighourhoods in your city which you may choose to live in, about subsidized housing just so you know where and what, and make sure you have your own bank account and start now to put whatever you can in it. Work if you can, although with such young twins I know it would be hard. Then, when the children are in grade one, go.

    Or, go now if you have support. Your children are too young to miss their father much. They will want to know him more when they are around 6-9. Now, they are babies and you are it.

  39. justtesting

    Bitey if you find entertainment in seeing people maimed and degraded, then you hate those people. That’s it.

    Yes, exactly – if (men/you as a man) don’t hate women then why do you get so much pleasure from our (women’s) degradation ?

    Lisa I have a male partner, who is a pretty nice guy … I don’t think he hates me per se, but yes, I think he does hate women.

    One of the many evil things about the world we live in is that women find themselves stuck in situations like this and with such limited options to escape.

    Antelope I think this is because men do, in fact, hate everybody.

    I think men start by hating themselves and then projecting their pathetic insecure crap all over women. If they’d just engage their little brains and get over themselves then we might get a better world to live in

  40. Mister Nice Guy

    RadFemHedonist, yes, absolutely, opposing rape will be called man-hating. Just as supporting measures to curtail queer-bashing will be called “intolerance of Christianity”.
    If someone said an attack on crimes against humanity was an attack on *me*, I would not take the insult sitting down.

    Bitey, “If you find entertainment in seeing people maimed and degraded, then you hate those people.” Um, so millions of people hate Frodo? Or for that matter, Jesus?

    Pony, the problem with saying that someone’s behavior is “not really their choice” because they’re just “playing back the abuse they suffered” is that you can Mad Lib anything that way: There are no lesbians, only women who are acting out their own sexual abuse by women. There are no Chevy lovers, only people who were traumatized as children by riding in their parents’ crappy Chevys. There are no dedicated physicians, only people who were abused by doctors as children.

    Twisty, sorry about the name, but it’s too late to change it now.

  41. Anna

    I wrote on Valentine’s day on my LJ about the violence against women stats in Canada, specifically citing the number of women who were killed by intimate partners last year in Canada.

    I was told I’m a smidgeon away from preaching intolerance against men, that I am humourless, that I ruined a day that’s supposed to be about happiness between the genders, and that I completely and consistently ignore that men are the victims of viollent crime more than women, and that men are just as abused as women are in relationships but don’t report it to anyone, ever.

    By a man who has in the past vehemently assured me he’s a feminist – he just thinks that women like Belinda Stronach deserve to be called Bimbo Barbie. See, he knows what it’s like to be a woman – he’s queer.

    But hey – even though my writing about violence against women and *gasp* Women’s History on my personal LJ is offensive to him and has made me humourless, we can still be friends.

    Just not where anyone could see, I guess.
    As for my heterosexual life partner… despite everything I’ve ever said, he thinks “women” are a special interest group in Canada and thus someone advocating for their fair and equal treatment wouldn’t be able to run for office because it’s a special interest, not one that would appeal to a broad range of people. Like… more funding for higher education.

    That 50% of the population is female, and that only 12% of the population goes to uni was something that had to be pointed out to him.

  42. Narya

    I think it’s more accurate to say that the patriarchy hates women, and, to the degree that any person has become enpatriarchialized, then s/he does, in fact, hate women. I don’t regard enpatriarchalization as a totalizing process; I think we all have some agency, though our life circumstances, abilities, and inclinations vary in ways that affect our agency.

    And here’s the thing about partner violence. Part of the reason I was able to recognize it and object to it when it happened to me (and it was mild compared to what many women experience) is that, thanks to my family of origin, I recognized it as wrong and bad. And I DO mean thanks: it would not have occurred to my father or either of my grandfathers to abuse their partners. Were they capable of sexism? Of course; in a patriarchy, that’s pretty much unavoidable. But hitting? Threatening? Name-calling? Controlling? No. Nothing anywhere in the vicinity.

    Here’s another thing, and a few blamers above have mentioned variations on this theme as well. I know many, many men who do not, in fact, hate women. Are they perfect? Of course not; who is? But unless one thinks that overthrowing the patriarchy is an event rather than a process–in which case I must respectfully disagree–then it seems to me that part of the process of overthrowing includes encouraging people, no matter the genitalia they happen to possess, in identifying, blaming, and resisting the patriarchy.

  43. Bitey

    Millie: “But again, how is that truly beneficial to feminism, when the female population is largely composed of women who have/had relationships with men and/or are raising children with men?”

    All I can say is that, if my mom had been aware of these issues, maybe I wouldn’t have hurt myself as much as I did. I might not have spent my twenties in a nowhere relationship, thoroughly macerated in self-hatred.

    Mister Nice Guy: “Um, so millions of people hate Frodo? Or for that matter, Jesus?”

    Oh, come on, MNG. Really? Do men root for the woman in a porn to escape her evil persecutors? Does she have a doughty manservant to help her through her trials? Do they cheer when she saves the world? As for Jesus, maybe you know something I don’t, but I’m not aware of any major religions devoted to any porn stars. To my knowledge, no one has ever marched on the Holy Land in the name of a porn star, or martyred themselves for a porn star’s glory. If you come up with any more examples, please think them out very carefully before posting them.

    Lisa: “For example, my old assumption was that all guys have porn on their computers. You might as well just accept it. Now, I still think all guys have porn on their computers, but it drives me nuts.”

    Yeah. Sweetie and I just went through a porn thing. I’ve listed some of my talking points on my blog. Also, I asked him to read this article about the exploitative nature of porn. It’s written by a man, which might make it easier for him to take seriously.

    (On a side note, I once did an experiment for a statistics class in which I made up some stupid quote printed it on three cards. On one of the cards, the quote was attributed to a man, on another, to a woman, and the third was unattributed. I asked a significant sample whether they agreed with the quote. Contrary to my assumptions, there was no significant difference in women among any of the versions, nor was there any difference in men between the one attributed to a woman and the unattributed quote. However, when the quote was attributed to a man, men were twice as likely to agree with it. Conclusion: If you want to convince a man, it’s not what you say, but whether you have a penis when you say it.)

  44. gayle

    The phrase “men hate you” always troubled me, but not for the tired reason Millie felt the need to repeat here yet again (snore!). I just don’t think women on the whole are seen as important enough to hate. We’re more like very functional accessories—-we come in handy! In the helpmate role we provide release (wink, wink), and we do most, if not all the world’s scut-work, mainly for free.

    It’s when women move out of the traditional role, when they are aggressive or masculine or selfish or uppity –when they challenge male privilege in even the slightest way— then women are truly, passionately hated.

    It’s easy to look at all the examples of male on female abuse out there and think, wow, they really hate us! I’d argue that men abuse women, not because they hate them, but for the same reason they abuse children and animals: it makes them feel powerful. It’s all about power.

    Which is why you rarely hear anyone, even lefty types, criticize someone like Laura Bush. She plays the helpmate role fairly well. She typically speaks out on safe, traditionally acceptable causes like children’s literacy. She rarely speculates on politics and when she does, even when she says something controversial, she does so in support of her husband like a “good woman” should.

    Compare her treatment to that of Hillary Clinton when she was First Lady. She said “I don’t stay home and bake cookies” and the country exploded in outrage.

    Now that I’ve thought about this, I realize your phrase “men hate you” is right on the mark. With the exception of your trolls, your readership is entirely feminist. And feminists are hated. HATED HATED HATED!

    Carry on!

  45. Silence

    First off, I would like to say I was impressed by DTG in STL’s post and hope he does stick around and pick up more tips from blamers more articulate than myself.

    Secondly, I too have severe doubts that only a little over a quarter of the women experienced domestic violence in their lives. Personal experience as well as other studies inform me otherwise. My own gut-level instinct, which is not worth a hill of beans in any analytic survey, would be at least half the women in the United States have suffered from some form of abuse and are reluctant to see it, let alone speak up about it. But what do the numbers matter? Even if were ‘only’ one percent, that would be too many women.

    As for the whole ‘Men hate women’ theory, here’s my take on it: The Patriarchy is no more than the assertion that the only true function of the female gender is to sexually gratify the male gender. Everything that spins off of the Patriarchy, from high-heeled shoes to rape, can be tied back to that assertion. Every other function of the woman, even bearing children and doing the washing and cooking, are secondary. This is why it is not enough for a man to clean the house every once in a while a win the title of ‘liberated nice guy.’ If he still views porn, that is if he still view women as a class that is there to titillate him, he is still a good old card-carrying member of the Patriarchy. Truly enlightened males are capable of seeing women as people, not just objects they have a chance of possibly sticking their dicks into at some time in the future.

  46. vera

    An old family story: my great-grandfather shot my great-grandmother and was arrested and sentenced. He apparently avoided serving any time by skipping to another state and when things cooled down he returned, and moved back in with my great-grandmother.

  47. Silence

    That last sentence was a little redundant, sorry. The coffe hasn’t fully kicked in yet.

  48. Pony

    Mr. Nice Guy

    Are you referring to this comment in my last post?

    “And today, young women who absorb and play back this culture’s abuse aka PORN think they aren’t being abused or raped either. It’s ‘choice.’”

    I believe women who see porn as choice haven’t got it, yet, that they are being abused. In my opinion and that of most here, porn is not sex, it’s institutionalized rape. It’s always abuse, it’s never ‘porn for women’ and it’s always men who win that game, and women who are used, even when they’ve got smiles on their faces.

  49. 'soup

    Brain’s moving a bit slow this morning but wanted to give props to all who took the time to write in this thread. Just discovered IBTP a couple months ago and your comments have been balm for my confusion.
    Big love from Li’l Beruit

  50. Pony

    Vera at least you know the tale. Quite often, the whole life long relationship of abuse is negated for some fairy tale as written by an ad agency. They were married 60 wonderful years. Send a photog for pix in the paper, the Queen sends a letter of congrats. What’s their secret to a long and loving marriage? Lies, that’s what.

  51. vera

    Pony’s advice to Lisa is right on target, particularly the part about keeping in touch with any skill or profession outside the home, and having one’s own bank account. And trying to put some money into that account on a regular basis, no matter what. Even if it seems unnecessary now.

    I’d like to add that most of us know women who are trapped into dependency because they have children and no independent income. If you’re looking for a way to strike a blow against the patriarchy — something I read in these comments all the time — one of the most potent blows you can strike is to write that woman a check. Put money in her bank account. The patriarchy wants her trapped and dependent, while women of means spend money on crap.

    From Millie:

    I mean, I guess if the premise is: There is no way to have an egalitarian, pro-woman relationship (with men)if one is heterosexual, then OK. I guess I can go there, with that train of thought. But again, how is that truly beneficial to feminism [...]

    It’s beneficial to acknowledge the truth, even though it ain’t pretty. First, grasp this: in a society where women as a class are oppressed, the power differential pollutes all hetersexual relationships, even those between benignly-natured individuals. Second, get pissed off about it.

    When enough people have followed these two steps, we can move from consciousness raising to the next phase, whatever it is. (My guess is that we’ve got plenty of time to figure that out.)

  52. Pony

    Millie, we are examining it and rejecting it and trying to remake it. But most of us, I’d venture to say, are not rejecting men. They are our lovers, husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, friends.

  53. Pony

    Twisty why can’t I use the edit function? It rejects my password. Will you send me a new one then please.

  54. RadFemHedonist

    Don’t apologise, the rapists are the problem, not the angry antirapists, why should you apologise for being angry and dealing with it in a non-violative way by typing your frustrations out on an internet blog? That’s all I really had to say, but I’ll add more – it is awful and I can’t fathom how some people can actually say that it’s biologically hardwired, what crap (preaching to the converted, I know). I mean, I’m a materialist, reductionist, strong atheist, strong adeist and I don’t buy that pack of evo-psych lies, don’t tell me you can’t help being cruel, because you friggin’ can. When I hear people making excuses or joking about any kind of violence against women (this of course includes rape) I get very angry myself and I hate it when people make out that wanting to rape someone is somehow not psycho/sociopathic or romanticise violent, controlling behaviour in men or parents (or anyone, but men and parents seem to be the most excused). How many women have been abused by their partners/parents? Why don’t schools spend their time ensuring children don’t pick up any of these hurtful attitudes? Frankly if someone acts like this they ought to attend mandatory re-education until they understand the full humanity of women, I actually heard that people are more likely to report the abuse of an animal than that of a woman.

    HOW HARD IS IT TO NOT RAPE SOMEONE? YOU JUST HAVE TO SIT THERE!

    Don’t think I’m joking, but I want this on a T-Shirt. It sums it up succinctly.

  55. Mandos

    The Edit function is just a wordpress artifact. I don’t think you’re intended to be able to edit your posts, since it has never worked for me.

  56. lawbitch

    Pony, I have experienced what you describe. My mother was abused by my father for over 40 years. He’s deceased now. She lives in denial and speaks of wonderful times. It’s tragic.

    Meanwhile, the abuse didn’t stop with her. I was abused my my father physically, emotionally and sexually. I sought professional treatment and escaped the cycle of abuse. Neither I nor my children are abused now.

    Anyone want to minimize what happened to me? Is child rape funny?

    I speak out because it’s the only way to stop the abuse. It can happen to anyone, and it’s not her fault.

  57. Bitey

    Sigh. Stuck in moderation. I don’t suppose there’s any way to move moderated posts to the bottom of the thread? I know I’ve missed posts that appeared in the middle of the thread after moderation.

  58. TP

    In my opinion and that of most here, porn is not sex, it’s institutionalized rape.

    A dramatic statement that I agree with instantly, though I’d never thought of it that way before.

    But I have a long standing distaste for using the word rape as a metaphor for anything abusive, because rape is a specific crime that is kind of watered down by turning it into a metaphor for anything and everything coercive and bad. Upthread there’s an example of a button that is supposed to be a joke about rape, that’s the same thing in reverse, trivializing rape by making it another word for sex.

    Men who look at porn – including me, I’m ashamed to say – are doing something they hate. They hate it for many different reasons, none of which are ‘good’ reasons or excuses. But they seem to hate it in many ways, and they either hate themselves for being manipulated by it – and I feel like in a world without porn, I for one would more free from patriarchal crap – or else they hate women for not being just like it and love themselves for giving into it.

    There’s a Pavlovian response when a man wanks to porn. Someone in another thread challenged me to produce a study that proves that porn conditions men to be sexist. I can’t even dignify such stupidity with an answer – in a world dominated by studies gauged to prove to pornsick men that being pornsick is good for you, where could you ever find a study that showed that men who look at porn are less feminist than men who accept it as reality?

    The very idea of anyone doing a study based on the idea that women are human beings and not strange creatures that are distinguished by being different from men in a thousand patronizing ways is ludicrous.

    Porn is such a big and scary subject that I could never do it justice. Men could just as easily find ways to enjoy wanking without it if it weren’t around and as easy to get as it is today. And then they would be spending less time attaching female degradation to the attainment of orgasm – a purely Pavlovian response if ever there was – and more time just enjoying their own physical feelings.

    I don’t want anyone to think that I’m just a big porn lover because I sometimes read erotic fiction. I’m just not dishonest enough to pretend that it has no effect on me, and that I’m so strong and wonderful that I could never be manipulated by it, when I’ve grown up in this culture just like every other sexist man.

    The difference is that I’m doing something about it, now that I’ve started to understand it. Slowly and steadily I’m weaning myself from something I hate – without losing the physical feelings I love. That the two were ever entwined I blame completely on myself and the patriarchy!

    This is all about me and how I feel, and not about science and truth and objectivity. I’m no good at stuff like that.

  59. RadFemHedonist

    Also, apologies for the completely tangential post, my mind’s very scrambled today and also Lisa, I can’t really add to what everyone else has said except to offer my support and say that you and the children you are caring for do not need this and the best thing to do is to go

  60. Pony

    I think Anna up thread had a great idea with her livejournal post: make Valentine’s Day a day to speak out about male violence toward women. And always yes lawbitch, say it. Still people are embarrassed for you, when you say it.

    Lowered eyes, cleared throats, sorry it happened, but still STILL thinking you’re complicit somehow, look how you just exhibited it by saying that “here” or “now”, really, it wouldn’t happen to “me”.

  61. gayle

    I wish the edit feature worked, Mandos. Then I could re-work my previous post until it made some sense!

    I came back for two reasons:

    1) I agree with all of the posters above about the stat. 1 in 4 is way too low. Lawbitch’s experience crystallizes the reason why. Women are conditioned to explain away or deny their own past abuse and that’s true of young as well as old women. A friend of mine from high school was just recently telling me what good friends she is with her old ex. As she wistfully described how wonderful and kind he always was to her, I felt my stomach clench. I had personally witnessed this man push her down a flight of stairs at a party back when they were dating.

    2) To Lisa: all men don’t have pron on their computers. Really. I just want you to know that in case he’s giving you that excuse.

  62. Pony

    There’s a similar thread going on over at Heart’s now, if anyone is interested. Not to leave one for the other. I’m reading both.
    http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2007/03/09/jessica-lunsford (etc.)

  63. lawbitch

    Pony, I’m past carrying the shame of my abuser. I lived there a while, but I’m healing.

    The embarassment that others feel reflects their own fear. It really could happen to anyone. That’s the frightening truth. If I can somehow be blamed (she was complicit), then it’s not so frightening.

    It’s not just that (some) men hate women, and that our culture reinforces it. Men love power over women and our culture reinforces it.

    I wish that I could say that my experiences are unique, but I’ve been in several therapy/support groups with many other survivors.

    My message to anyone out there being abused: IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. NEVER!!!

  64. thebewilderness

    I think the most significant aspect of this study is that these are women of a class one would expect to be the least oppressed. Most of the time when the abuse of women is addressed it carries a tone of dismissal. The uneducated, the poor, the criminal, just naturally abuse their women and children because they are uneducated, poor, and criminal. Here we have a study that debunks that myth.
    There is also the question of a definition of terms. Violence and abuse and controlling would assume behavior that the partner is not entitled to exhibit. If making all family decisions and punishing improper behavior were the questions, I wonder what the answers would be.

    Lisa,
    We don’t know enough about your relationship with your partner to suggest much more than emergency preparations that every woman should have.
    As far as your anger is concerned, I wonder if you and your partner are able to talk about your feelings. If you are not, if he dismisses your concerns, I strongly recommend you buy the book “Why Does He Do That”. If you find your relationship in that book you will know what to do. Hide the book from your partner, please, until after you have read it.

  65. thebewilderness

    And another thing,
    Most of these women are from a generation who did not run screaming from the room when they read, ” A woman, a dog, and a walnut tree. The more you beat them, the better they be.”
    I do not recall what vile patriarch wrote those words.

  66. jnthnu

    “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

    - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., noted martyr, misogynist and erstwhile godbag.

  67. Pony

    The first three links are men’s websites with feminist perspective particularly on porn and rape.

    Robert Jensen
    http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/index.html

    Adonis Mirror
    http://www.adonismirror.com/

    Stan Goff (under the category gender)
    http://stangoff.com/?cat=4

    Where women discuss porn using partners and more
    Genderberg & Anti Porn Activist Network
    http://www.genderberg.com/

    Silent blog with articles and comment on porn and rape
    http://www.bitingbeaver.blogspot.com/

  68. erin ambrose

    personal experience urges me to push beyond the gender/sexparts binary framework here….first, let me say that i don’t doubt for second that the stats are way higher than 26 whatever % since one of the problems abused women encounter is both self and social denial of the abuse.
    But back to the gender continuum thing….2 of my longer queer r-ships, one with a butch woman and one with a trans man were both emotionally and physically abusive….and i’m surer than sure that theres abusive femmes out there as well. patriarchy and capitalism and war culture breed abusive behavior in all of us…victim or perp. We internalize and then if we’re lucky …we unlearn.
    so maybe better to say…everyone hates everyone….ugh.

  69. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    Silence wrote Truly enlightened males are capable of seeing women as people, not just objects they have a chance of possibly sticking their dicks into at some time in the future.

    This sentence isn’t redundant at all, Silence – in fact, I think it perfectly sums up the whole thing. I’m going to write it down somewhere to help me remember that this is my basic, underlying problem with most of the men I encounter in life.

  70. edith

    I saw the word “laundry” and got really excited, thinking maybe this was going to be a post about How Much Laundry Sucks again. That said, I would gladly give up this lesbian feminism thing for a man that does my laundry. That too said, my childhood best friend just told me recently about being raped, so I’m still a little stuck in this whole “down on men” thing.

  71. RadFemHedonist

    Truly enlightened males are capable of seeing *all* women as people, not just objects they have a chance of possibly sticking their dicks into at some time in the future.

    To guard against exceptionalism.

  72. lawbitch

    The embarrasment that other feel for me is all about their own fear. It can happen to anyone. That’s frightening. If one can blame the victim (she was somehow complicit), then it’s not so frightening.

    To anyone who is/has experienced abuse: IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. NEVER.

  73. maribelle

    Pony–thank you for sharing your story–and I’m sorry.

    Lisa–Thank you for writing. Cheer up–there are ways to raise decent, loving sons. (If there weren’t we’d all be doomed.) I didn’t see this advice above, exactly, but I advise you to start putting money quietly and privately aside. As much as you can, even if it’s just a few dollars a week. In fact, I advise this for every woman, in gay or straight relationships. Don’t let all your assets get tied up with your partner. Good luck.

    Just to point out–this quote upthread:

    There is no way to have an egalitarian, pro-woman relationship (with men)if one is heterosexual.

    Is not the same as this one:

    a society where women as a class are oppressed, the power differential pollutes all hetersexual relationships, even those between benignly-natured individuals.

    Pollution only reaches the level of fatality if the toxins are too strong. There is hope–but it takes word, education and consciousness.

  74. Pony

    You’re welcome Maribelle. I have lots, mine and other women’s as you do when you get to this age. With this one I left out the best part though. The only way out of the community was in the airplane that brought the doctor in; that would be the airplane my husband drove.

  75. Mar Iguana

    “Hide the book from your partner, please, until after you have read it.” the bewilderness

    Hide the book from your partner for the rest of your life. The author himself warns women to keep the book out of the hands of abusers.

  76. Rana

    There are clearly some caveats about that 1 in 4 statistic – incomplete reporting, and how exactly is “intimate partner violence” defined (Is verbal abuse violence? Threats? Coercion? Or only physical beatings, rape? Were the definitions given to the people answering the survey?)

    But even so – that’s 1 in 4 women. Just look around you next time you’re in a group of people, and start counting off the women. How can that not be horrifying?

    And then if you broaden that out to other forms of abuse, or general harassment – I’m betting there’s only one or two women in the entire world (if that) who’ve not been subject to abuse of some form predicated on their gender – it is terrifying.

    I remember once being part of a jury selection for a domestic abuse case, and the judge asked the would-be jurors to indicate if they’d had any experience with domestic violence.

    Just about all of us in the room raised our hands. I was chilled.

  77. thebewilderness

    Mar Iguana,
    I could be wrong about this, but I think that book should be required reading for non abusive men and women. It would go a long way toward debunking the myth of victim complicity. I have had the ‘if it was so bad why didn’t they just leave’ argument so many times with people who have no clue how contemptuous and dismissive they are being that I think that our elementary schools need classes on how to recognize the signs of authoritarianism, bullying, and abuse.
    It is the nice people who just cannot seem to see what is right in front of them that need to wake up and smell the coffee.

  78. Serpent's Choice

    Abuse and inequality are wrong. Anyone arguing otherwise is mentally ill, misguided, or a jerk of the highest calibre. That includes efforts to minimize the reality of abuse (like P. Whirler’s 73.5% comment).

    But I differ with some here on what should follow next in the conversation. Twirly herself looks at the depressing state of affairs and concludes, broadly, that “Men hate women.” The alternative to men who hate women? “Outraged dudes” who themselves resort to the profanity of mysogyny. In other words, the dichotomy is between men who hate women and men who hate women and lie about it. Of course, she is not alone. From Bitey’s admonishing that “[s]o vanishingly small is the number [of men] who don’t [hate women] that I guarantee you that you have never met or ever heard of one” to the rhetorical discussion by Millie of whether “there is no way to have an egalitarian, pro-woman relationship (with men)if one is heterosexual”, that dichotomy is repeated.

    Styling an anti-Patriarchy argument in such a fashion presents two serious problems.

    First and foremost, it undercuts the essence of feminism: equality between people on their merits rather than their gender (and sexuality, etc.). The fundamental concept of the Patriarchy and its problems is that, in its worldview, women — the entire class, inclusively — are inferior, and thus deserve objectification and repression (often even in the name of protection). But “men hate women” is not a solution or even an epiphany, it is simply an inversion of the problem. To argue that men cannot help but oppress women, that inequality and objectification are inherent in the male nature, is to make the same fallacies of argument that allow the Patriarchy its defenses. It is, in fact, evidence of the success of the Patriarchy’s most insidious lesson: there has to be two sides, and one of them has to win. Simply because the belief that men are flawed and inferior by nature does not have the weight of culture and society behind its enforcement does not make it any more correct, nor should it be any more acceptable to feminism.

    Second, and clearly following from the first, this style of argument does not move towards a feminist solution to problems of the Patriarchy. In fact, it makes such a solution more difficult. Do some men perform actions that are objectifying or oppressive while proclaiming a desire for equality? Clearly. Does that mean all such men are women-hating liars? Certainly not. Thomas Jefferson wrote eloquently about the moral failing of slavery, yet he was a slaveowner himself. Does that invalidate his words? Of course not. It is possible for someone to condemn their own weakness but to lack the strength to rise above it. And here, with the pervasiveness of cultural effect, it is clearly possible for someone to condemn their own weakness while remaining ignorant of its grasp on their thoughts actions. Here, Twinky writes, “The fact that women are hated — even by those who are not openly hostile except on lefty blogs — is the reason this shit continues unabated.” How simple that makes the problem of violence against women! It is because men hate them. Poor, hated women… But of course, that is not a solution; it is the Patriarchy’s own women-as-victim motif again, dressed up as though it were some cutting-edge feminist response.

    Domestic violence is a critically serious problem. It deserves serious examination and serious solutions. Discarding it as an inevitability of the Patriarchy caused by men’s hatred of women is an overly-simplistic worldview that manages to fail the people every side of the issue: the abusers (who get to argue “inborn nature” and avoid taking ownership of their actions), the abused (who risk feeling their situation is unavoidable), and the people of both genders who want to find real solutions (who must get past the Patriarchy’s fallacies … and now these wrong statements, too).

  79. thebewilderness

    Twinky? Who you calling Twinky?

    Serpent said: Discarding it as an inevitability of the Patriarchy caused by men’s hatred of women is an overly-simplistic worldview that manages to fail the people every side of the issue: the abusers (who get to argue “inborn nature” and avoid taking ownership of their actions), the abused (who risk feeling their situation is unavoidable), and the people of both genders who want to find real solutions (who must get past the Patriarchy’s fallacies … and now these wrong statements, too.

    By what bizaar method did you conclude that anyone here is discarding domestic violence as inevitable? You do not appear to know who you are talking to nor what you are talking about.

  80. Bitey

    TWINKY?! BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh, mercy! Hoo! That’s a good one!

    “But ‘men hate women’ is not a solution or even an epiphany . . . .”

    I don’t know, pal. It was an epiphany for me.

    Twinky. Heh.

  81. al

    To argue that men cannot help but oppress women, that inequality and objectification are inherent in the male nature, is to make the same fallacies of argument that allow the Patriarchy its defenses.

    Except no-one’s making that argument.

    If we believed that oppression and beatings and men treating women as subhuman was something innate, we wouldn’t be feminists. What’s the point of pushing for change if you believe that sex-based hatred is innate rather than learned?

    Poor, hated women…the Patriarchy’s own women-as-victim motif again, dressed up as though it were some cutting-edge feminist response.

    We’re degrading ourselves by talking about the ways in which we’re degraded. Put a sock in it, girls!

  82. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I’m the third generation that I know of in a family of abusers. My grandmothers, my mom, all of my sisters and my aunts suffered with it (some blatant, some devilishly subtle). And yet they’re the ones who’re always asking, “Why didn’t you ever get married and have a family, Antoinette?” at weddings and funerals. And I can never explain.

    My comment’s not original, but yeah, it’s real hard for me to believe the 73.5 percent figure.

  83. FemiMom

    What is all this “Run, Lisa, Run”??? I read her post as meaning that she has become aware and irritated by her partner’s sexism and she doesn’t want to raise her boys that way.
    ROCK ON, Lisa!
    No need to flee. Just draw a line with partner: “I can’t have that in my home with my boys.” Educate your boys to identify oppression and sexism.
    Rinse. Repeat.
    There’s not enough room in Austin for us each to flee and become a “Spinster Aunt & Gentleman Farmer” – TM. Some of us need to fight tiny, daily battles with redeemable men and impressionable small children. I was so proud, when my son, then 6, said something to the effect of “The Chinese are sexist. They don’t like girls.” (I let him know that the patriarchy is alive & well EVERYWHERE). Now, he is 15 & reads this blog.
    There is hope, women!

  84. Mar Iguana

    You are, of course, right, bewilderness, debunking the victim-complicity-myth is crucial. And, non-abusive men and all women should read it. But, as things stand right now, elementary school is where angry little monsters can practice the skills they learn at home on how to be good, little authoritarian, bully abusers, just like the patriarchy likes ‘em. The state has no interest in teaching kids to recognize authoritarianism. Hell, respect for authority is what they are teaching.

    Once these emotionally crippled boys grow up, angry and controlling, they’ve gone around a bend. And, just because they are assholes doesn’t mean they are stupid. They are very, very wily and would only use the book as one more weapon in their extensive and creepy arsenal. Bancroft measures his successes more in how many women he has been able to safely rescue from an abuser rather than how many of the boys he has actually been able to stop being an abuser, who will do anything, say anything, to “win.”

    “Why Does He DO That?” It’s gaslights, to make the woman crazy so he can control her. Period. And, he has many allies: His family, the woman’s family, friends, acquaintances, therapists and the law itself.

    If I had a daughter, I’d make sure she had a black belt ASAP.

  85. Pony

    I don’t think we need to micro-manage Lisa’s marriage for her, but I imagine we’ve only been told the tip of the iceberg, and what is most palatable to put on-line. Even with that it sounds like there’s only one person in that marriage, and one adult in her family.

    Women in such relationships would do better to get out as soon as possible, forge a mature adult relationship with some other man (or gentleman farmer) and from that bring the best of parenting to her children.

    I’m speaking as one who tried it your way, from a generation of women who thought as you do.

    It doesn’t work.

  86. Pony

    I should add, we are talking about relationships which are not redeemable. They are abusive.Impressionable children need to see you do not take that, and how you show them is you walk. Did you read the above study? That is the context. I am appalled that anyone should suggest a woman stay in an abusive marriage, in this day and age, on this newsgroup and this thread. The context is abuse, and what was described by Lisa is abuse.

  87. MzNicky

    I’m with FemiMom. Lisa’s partner’s downloading pornography is an irritant to her. It does not constitute “abuse.” To say that it is, to me, trivializes actual abuse.

    Lisa: Yes, there are decent men out there. I know because I raised one. You can do it with your sons as well. You treat nascent sexism in your son the way you’d treat nascent racism in him: Nip it in the bud. At the first indication you explain why we don’t use those words and/or what is unacceptable about the concept being expressed. Small wonder my adorable son is much sought-after by smart, no-bullshit women his age (25).

  88. Pony

    Pornograpy is sexual slavery, and that is abuse. Children in situations like this will learn that enslaving people of colour is not on but enslaving women is ok with liberal lefties. Would you advise a black woman to stay with her white husband who was openly racist, and watched racist ‘entertainment’ over her objections, in the home where the children were part black?

    Women are being enslaved for the rights of men to be entertained, and you think this is something to ‘talk’ about?

  89. Pony

    Here’s just one, mainstream look at sex slaving. Here too, the tip of the iceberg. I am just gobsmacked at women who will excuse this, or tip toe around it, or bargain over it, while they’d be marching picketing and enraged if it was a race slave issue.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/slaves/

    Liberal lefties make me puke.

  90. lawbitch

    Mar Iquana wrote:

    “‘Why Does He DO That?’ It’s gaslights, to make the woman crazy so he can control her. Period. And, he has many allies: His family, the woman’s family, friends, acquaintances, therapists and the law itself.”

    Gaslighting makes the victim feel crazy allright. It’s cruel, invisible to outsiders and very effective.

    I recommend the http://drirene.com/ The information on verbal abuse and codependency is presented in a supportive, nonjudgmental way, and it’s excellent.

  91. Q Grrl

    My mom was 64 when she divorced my father, having been married for 34 years. Up until the papers were served my mother would have denied abuse. Afterwards she had moments where the truth cracked out sharply and briefly.

    I remember her telling me how she detested my father. How he demanded sex from her, until at age 61 she had a vaginal prolapse and he deemed it selfish of him “to continue doing *that*”! She couldn’t stand for him to kiss her or hold her hand.

    So, young blamer that I was, I said “So, he raped you all those years.”

    She said, after a long and dark pause “No, honey. I had certain responsibilities.”

    Now at age 77 she denies this conversation. And others.

  92. Catherine Martell

    Somewhat late to this bunfight, but I’ve just popped in to express how much I love and support the tag “Men Hate You”. I don’t think anyone’s referenced the revelatory chapter from The Female Eunuch that I guess inspired it yet, but if you’re in doubt turn to page 279 of your copy (or Section 4: Hate, first page of chapter Loathing & Disgust, if your pagination is different), and fasten seatbelt for revelations.

    The point of Greer’s analysis – beginning with the immortal words, “Women have very little idea of how much men hate them” – is to illustrate how the sexual affirmation that women feel when men wolf-whistle, leer, seduce, fuck etc is one-sided. Men require women to be sexual objects, and then treat those objects with contempt. It’s a searing and devastating chapter that everyone who has ever claimed that “But some women are empowered by porn/lapdancing/prostitution/etc!” should be forced to read.

    Of course the statement “Men hate you” doesn’t mean every man hates every woman every moment of every day. Greer herself cleared this up in The Whole Woman for the benefit of sillybillies. Like everyone else here, I could reel off a long list of men who, I am fairly sure, don’t hate me as an individual. However, I am not dumb enough to assume that any of them, even the most enlightened and delightful, is free entirely from some sense of entitlement, superiority and contempt about women in general. If we’re defining womanhating in the broad terms I understand it, all men hate women some of the time. “Men hate you” is a perfectly reasonable reduction of this: provocative, yes, but this is a blog.

    It isn’t their fault, necessarily. As we know, the patriarchy trains men to despise women. Psychologically speaking, the patriarchy may damage men nearly as much as it damages women. (Physically, we women undoubtedly bear the brunt, as has been expressed horrifically in these comments.) But that doesn’t make it any less true or any less worth repeating: men hate you. Suddenly, everything is clear.

    Serpent’s Choice, meanwhile, brings the trollage with a pompous fifth-form* essay on “Why Feminism Is Bunk” by the captain of the School Debating Team. Both Twirly and Twinky have dealt with your kind before: Jeffersonian allusions, Aristotelian Logic for Dummies affectations and all. Super as it is to have a new dude (you are a dude, aren’t you?) turn up and explain to we girlies what the “essence of feminism” is, and that we don’t understand just how serious domestic violence is, I fear you may be a wee bit out of your depth.

    *I think that’s 8th grade in American. Age 15 or thereabouts?

  93. MzNicky

    No one’s excusing pornography. It’s not anything I enjoy. It’s just not abuse.

    Are the children being forced to the computer to watch it? Yes? Then that’s a problem.

    If he’s downloading and watching porn against his wife/girlfriend’s wishes, then that’s a problem. It says a lot about his commitment to the relationship.

  94. Twisty

    Catherine Martell is Blamer of the Week. You go girl.

    MzNicky, you know I love you, but I’m just not down with this “pornography is not abuse” dealio. There’s a reason pornography degrades everything it touches, and that reason is its core premise: that the degradation of women is entertaining. What I’m asking is, how is it not abuse?

  95. snarkyinbaltimore

    “Some of us need to fight tiny, daily battles with redeemable men…”

    It is not the job of women to “redeem” men. Men are adults and certainly know when they are doing something that is hurting another person. This only perpetuates feelings that it is the woman’s fault if she is abused.

  96. MzNicky

    Twisty: My problem is with the equating of a guy watching porn on his computer screen with a guy beating, kicking, hitting, raping, shoving, screaming. Perhaps the difficulty is in how we define “abuse.”

  97. Pony

    You know Qgrrl women of your mom’s generation were told this was how it was, that men were naturally like that, and she did have a duty. It was during her adulthood that things began to change, but she may have felt she needed to stay for her children’s sake, and also had no support (implicit or overt) to make any change. I certainly don’t say it was a good or the right thing to do, but I did it too, for some years longer than I should have. We were the generation that spun this around, but we did not benefit in the way we wanted to be available for you. We said no more. But we didn’t get it for ourselves, with rare exception. Always, always, it is because we had children.

  98. Octogalore

    Lisa — I’m with FemiMom and MzNicky. We don’t have enough information to tell you to get out. If you were to confront him with how you feel about his porn usage, get him into counseling, and he still feels his preferences are more important than your feelings, then yes, it’s time to get out. If he’s exposing the children to materials or language you feel is mysogynist, and won’t stop after your efforts, then it’s time to get out.

    I agree with Catherine Martell that the Men Hate You is OK if understood to mean “[none] of them, even the most enlightened and delightful, is free entirely from some sense of entitlement, superiority and contempt about women in general.” I’ll join the line behind this.

    I disagree, however, in embracing the Men Hate You (although apparently it’s not up for debate) slogan. I don’t think it’s a reasonable reduction, worthwhile for its eye-catching and easy-answer appeal. Clearly, “most men feel superiority and contempt for women and many abuse women phsyically and mentally daily” doesn’t have the same fun ring to it. But forcing men who are thinking, saying, and demonstrating the right behavior out as subconscious haters seems counterproductive and incorrect.

    Bitey says “It would be so easy for me to fall into this Stand-By-Yore-Patriarch trap because my husband really is a great guy. … But if one can watch “Law & Order: Sexay Victims Unit” without flinching (he can), if one can indulge in even the most apparently consensual of pornography (he could), then you hate women. If you have ever smiled at a dumb blond joke or thought of a woman as a slut or used the word “pussy” as an insult, then, at some level, be it however deep down, you hate women. You see women as proper objects of torture and rape, as jokes, as less than human. Maybe you’d rather die (or think you’d rather die) than hurt anyone yourself, but if you find entertainment in seeing people maimed and degraded, then you hate those people. That’s it. There can be no debate.”

    So because your husband fits these descriptors, there can be no debate that ALL men hate you? That means we’re arguing our personal experiences, which is a fairly non-rigorous way to go. If I said “mine doesn’t fit these,” I’ll simply be accused of not seeing his subconscious hate. But that’s not something anyone here can prove. The botttom line is, none of us have known enough men to make this slogan accurate.

    Arguably, an easy slogan is more productive in getting our message out, honing our ideas to a knife’s edge, and rounding up the forces to… what, exactly? How are we going to use “Men Hate You” to effectively create change? Pointing out a problem is one thing. Valuable, up to a point. But where do we go from a blanket assertion that the forces against us are so black and white in their attitudes?

  99. snarkyinbaltimore

    I want to apologize for not introducing myself before posting for the first time. I am a graduate student (basic science) in Baltimore.

    I have benn reading IBTP for a few months now, and finally decided to comment. This blog is a breath of fresh air – thank you Twisty and others who keep the comments flowing!

  100. Bitey

    “So because your husband fits these descriptors, there can be no debate that ALL men hate you?”

    No, that wasn’t what I was saying. I was saying that anyone who fits the description hates women. I include myself in that. I hate women. I hate us less than I used to, but I’m still infected. I used to dismiss women’s thoughts and ideas as being the work of unformed minds. I used to prefer male professors because they were more “authoritative.” I used to have only male friends, because women were “boring.” It’s only recently that I’ve become comfortable using the word “woman” to describe myself, rather than “girl.” I still buy into the idea that women have to be “pretty.” I still make catty remarks along the lines of, “What is she wearing?” and “Ugh, put it away.” I still dumb myself down. I still smile for no apparent reason. I still watch “Law & Order.” I hate myself. I hate women.

  101. TP

    There’s a reason pornography degrades everything it touches, and that reason is its core premise: that the degradation of women is entertaining. What I’m asking is, how is it not abuse?

    I would have said ‘arousing’ instead of ‘entertaining’ myself. It’s far more troubling to me that men find it arousing than if it were merely entertaining. But you are more entertaining by stressing the heedless, lightweight fun factor that men themselves try to play up when talking about pornography.

    Pornography can trigger lots of things that have never been nor ever will be studied, if you think about a man sitting there bringing himself to orgasm while completely hypnotized by unreal images of women degraded. It can lay the seeds of more serious abuse easily. It’s a symptom of self-absorption, of resentment, or anger. How many times, in less enlightened days, did I sit there resenting the fact that I had to do this act because I couldn’t have sex with my girl friend? It never occurred to me that I didn’t have to be so sex crazed at all, that maybe it was all the bullshit about what makes a man manly that led me into over-sexed error.

    Try to tell any guy that and you’ll get a big argument and much defensive and self-righteous anger right away. If he doesn’t blame women at any point in the rejoinder you just might have a keeper.

    It’s self-abuse, too, and if it isn’t, why is it so solitary and sensitive an issue for any man with whom you broach the subject? Men don’t want to blame themselves for the weakness they exhibit when they give in to pornography, so they transfer the self-loathing to something else, like the women who provoke them by either existing as unattainable fantasies or by existing as proof that fantasies are not real.

    Producing, selling, distributing and consuming pornography is at least rape by proxy. And many men will tell you so – it’s a typical excuse that porn satisfies the mythical ‘natural’ need of men to rape, and so helps keep rape levels low. I think it diminishes a man’s ability to be outraged by rape at the very least, and can do even more damage than that depending on the character of the man consuming it.

  102. V.

    Long time lurker, first-time poster.

    MzNicky has a problem equating watching porn with hitting, kicking and other abuse.

    I have a problem with the fact that there are real, human women in porn, being really, actually degraded, and that some dudes find that arousing.

    If it’s not abusive, it’s sure as heck colluding with abuse.

    And I have a problem with a dude whose partner finds that collusion objectionable, but the guy says to them, in essence,’I don’t give a hoot about what you think. My dick is more important than your morals.’

    Is that abusive?

    I can’t be objective here. Porn aside, I was married to a guy whose attitude conveyed similar contempt for what I thought. He only hit me twice in eleven years of marriage. One of those times I hit him back.

    Was that abusive?

    I’m saying there’s a continuum of contempt out there for women, as all blamers know. Porn-watching is just the tip of the patriarchal iceberg. Any guy who watches porn over the objections of a partner is sliding down a very slippery slope, in my mind, and probably not someone I would want to be around forever.

    Whether or not he ever hit or kicked me.

  103. Pony

    TP makes me want to back cloning and send money to cryonicist organizations, in hope.

    I think it’s so sad that most men think porn is SEX. Even twenty years ago that was not true. Now, young men are brainwashed, know nothing different. Young women are made to think giving head in the school gym is sex, taking it up the butt or down the throat until you vomit, is sex. (I get up the butt for men, there is after all, a prostate there).

    So sad. But when it becomes so that real women and real women’s bodies are deemed not good enough, and we have to risk our lives to be pumped up with chemicals, have our labia removed and ablated to be be considered women, be beaten, tied, raped and smile while it’s done to us, smeared with excrement, have dicks shoved in our asses then our faces, and that’s called SEX with no argument, then called prudes by men and their auxiliary because we disagree–then I go ballistic.

    Here, by the way, is a site with beautiful depictions of the female nude body. Unlike what passes for it in porn. I won’t put the link in.

    Pure as the driven slush

  104. MzNicky

    Pony said: “The context is abuse, and what was described by Lisa is abuse.”

    I said: “I don’t equate a guy watching porn on his computer with a guy beating, kicking, etc.”

    Did Lisa say she was being beaten, kicked, etc.? No. She did not. She said her man watched porn on his computer and it pissed her off. Is her man abusing her? I posit, No, he is not. Is he participating, in the abstract, in the degradation and exploitation of women in a socio-political-ideological sense? I would respond, Yes, certainly, he is. Is he abusive by proxy and one step removed? I don’t know that I would go that far. Clear?

    Lisa’s situation is at least one remove from women in sex slavery and porno exploitation. I would characterize her as “pissed off.” My cousin, on the other hand, who has the occasional black eye and doesn’t frequently contradict her shithead husband, is what I call “abused.” Or am I missing something? Are we somehow saying what my cousin endures and what Lisa endures are basically the same thing?

  105. Pony

    I’m a radical feminist MzNicky. My sister’s oppression is mine.

  106. FemiMom

    Because I worked in a shelter, I have seen the aftermath of so much terrifying ugliness and brutality. I cannot lump “abusive” in one neat category and set it aside. This world is my Home and I feel very comfortable differentiating. If you make a Blond Joke, that’s analogous to you not wiping your feet; of course, I will reprimand you. If you slap my sister, you are setting fire to my kitchen. I will be all over you. Sound the alarm!
    Different actions. Different reactions.
    It’s all Patriarchy, though.

  107. Octogalore

    Bitey said “I was saying that anyone who fits the description hates women.”

    So, would you allow that someone (even if male) who doesn’t fit the description you’re citing may not hate women? I’m still confused as to how the additional description of your own attitudes clarifies matters as to how we can put all men in the “hate” category.

    What would you say of a man who does not dismiss women’s thoughts and ideas, is equally likely to be reading a non-fiction or fiction book by a woman as a man, felt similar levels of respect for female professors, has female friends, likes naked women but doesn’t watch porn, isn’t particularly into makeup or heels, etc? Is he an undercover hater?

    I think words like “hate” have particular meanings for a reason and putting guys with male privilege and some ideas from living in a sexist world that they’re willing to address and confront in to a “hate” category is inappropriate, considering the many valiant examples upthread in which the word is perfectly suited.

    MzNicky: I do not think what your cousin endures and what Lisa endures are the same thing. It was unclear from the email whether the porn watching was extensive and if so, whether she’s come out and asked him to make a choice or compromise and been told no. If she has, then the answer is probably still “get out,” but I think putting it in the same category as your cousin’s situation is ridiculous.

  108. MzNicky

    Pony: Well, that’s swell, kitty-cat! Guess what: moi aussi. That still doesn’t answer my question.

    Seriously. I come here to learn, not just to bloviate.

    From what I gather, Lisa has expressed and explained her disapproval of porn to the guy, and he’s shrugged it off. That he watches porn in the first place is creepy enough. That he disregards her feelings about it is, to me, much worse. But I still don’t think it rises to “abuse.” I am willing to be persuaded otherwise.

  109. Pony

    I mean no disrespect MzNicky, but your education is your responsibility.

    And right now, apart from checking in once in a while, I’m trying to earn my living.

    I think you could check out Genderberg, prostitutionresearch.com, Diana Russell (check the nn’s and ll’s there), Robert Jensen.

    Truly trying to work, and being distracted by brilliance is a problem!

    Twisty there seem to be few trolls in this thread, or none. Try putting “old ladies” at the top of every thread.

  110. mearl

    Argh! “Um, so millions of people hate Frodo? Or for that matter, Jesus?”

    Yes, this is a comparable statement because millions of Frodos and Jesuses (since there ARE millions of them, not just the one Frodo and the one Jesus) are either abused and raped or depicted in effigy as abused and raped, beaten, killed, tortured for sexual fun, etc. And every guy named Jesus who isn’t the original Jesus is beaten and abused in some way simply because his name is Jesus so he can serve as a stand-in that other Jesus, the one who sexually turns on the slavering millions with the entertainment of being nailed to a cross.

    That was a SOLID argument, that one.

    Reading on…Argh, argh, argh! Just because a few guys you know treat the women who are close to them in their lives
    - including you – pretty good comparatively, doesn’t mean they don’t treat other women like shit or feel that prostitutes or porn stars or Hilary Clinton ought to be coated in honey and tied to an anthill and sodomised for being “bad women” not like those “good women” they’re married to or friends with. And just because you haven’t experienced abuse yet doesn’t mean you won’t or that you are safe from it among these men you think you know. I’ve had surprises, and I’m only 28. On an observational scale, I have noticed a tendency in men to treat one or two women with some respect but use and abuse many others they don’t know or have no investment in. Women who think their husbands are an exception are as odd as the men who hate the concept of Woman but think their wives are the exception to what they hate.

    The one thing I wish more men observed about their own behaviour is that it takes a real fucking coward to beat and maim and kill someone or something who is smaller or weaker than he is, someone or something that is at a disadvantage. By beating women and raping and manipulating children, hunting defenseless animals and bombing civilian populations, men prove themselves over and over to be the saddest bunch of trembling cowards, but they congratulate themselves on their macheesmo and their king kong balls because it takes a MANLY MAN to beat the shit out of a woman who weighs a hundred pounds less than he does.

    I am not an essentialist, but Germaine Greer is my prophet and The Whole Woman is my bible. She cites studies on gender and hormones, and the connections between testosterone and behaviour. It’s not clear which developed first, but it is true that voilent behaviour, which is learned from other males, begets the testosterone high and ingrains the violent pattern into the brain’s neurological pathways. Somethin like that anyhow. Luckily behaviour can be changed. If these things were really essential then no one would have to learn how to “be” female or male and reiterate themselves as such. I am also a believer in the strain of psychoanalysis which states that female and male babies are more alike than different, and it is the need for males to establish themselves as radically different from females and reject all “feminine” qualities in themselves, that leads to polarised gendering at puberty and into adulthood.

    What feminism really needs is a large-scale recognition by men of these items. I find it pretty weird that they are so blind to their own transparency. If they acknowledged that their violent and control-based need to have an alpha dog at the top of the pile is what harms them as well, then they’d all be better off. It’s like capitalism, though: as long as there are a few “haves” then the “have-nots” can keep thinking they have a chance at that position.

    In the meantime, Rainbow Girl, I’m with you on manspray. But don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll have to use it on strangers, because the largest percentage of abusers are men who are known to the women they abuse. But everyone here likely knows that already.

  111. Lisa

    Wow! I want to thank you all for all of your comments. I’ve read them all and it gives me a lot to chew on. I’m still sifting through it in my head.

    First, I would like to say that I don’t feel that I am being abused by the fact that he has some porn on the puter. It may be that porn watching is on the continuum of abuse that is maybe far to the left of hitting and raping. I liked the example about not wiping your feet vs. putting your kitchen on fire.

    But yes, the bigger issue than porn was his dismissiveness about it. That, although not extremely abusive, is extremely disrespectful. Even if we disagree about the effects of porn, I would hope that he would respect my wishes. I don’t think it would be a big deal to just not watch porn. I don’t watch porn and I don’t suffer because of it. But he does not want to say he will give up porn for me. Is it really because he wants porn that much? Or is it because he doesn’t want me telling him what to do?

    But porn is just one small example. Its a lot of things. And nothing that I would consider all that far out of the mainstream marraige experience. He plays with the kids, has part of the financial opportunity for them, but he does not TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for them. The day to day nitty gritty crap. I do everything in that regard. Someone said on an earlier post somewhere that when the kids come, the gloves come off. That is precisely what happened to us. It was much easier to have a more egalitarian relationship when we were each just taking care of ourselves.

    Here is what I don’t get about the whole nature/nurture argument I see going on here. Okay, say either because of genetics or because he just wasn’t raised to take care of the kids, he doesn’t have near as much natural ability as I do with parenting. I can accept that. But why can’t he learn? Why can’t men take it upon themselves to overcome some of this stuff? This is rhetorical, I know the answer. IF there are genetic reasons for someone having some tendencies to be more violent. Fine. It just makes it that much more important that he try to overcome them. We all have to compensate for our weaknesses. But instead it is just “the way it is.”

    Regarding leaving him vs. staying. This is something I will have to think about more. I really don’t want to have to try and fix him and re-educate him. If he were to become a willing participant in that, yeah. I could work with that. But I’m not going to spend all my energy trying to rehabilitate his patriarchical ways while he is kicking and screaming the way through. It wouldn’t work anyway.

    But it isn’t like leaving him will necessarily make it possible for me to marry some wonderful man who is all down with feminism. There may well be a few out there, but demand far outpaces supply. That is just the way it is. Sometimes it seems the only think a heterosexual woman can do is work with what she’s got. If he sees me as an individual just a bit, and seems to love me just a bit, despite his privilige and hostility over women in general, maybe that gives me some leverage to make a difference that I couldn’t make if I just walked away and stayed away from all men for all eternity. I don’t know?

    As far as my boys go, I can educate them and make them aware and sensitive to feminist issues as well as I can. But is that easier to do alone and being isolated from bad examples or is it better to do with the bad example right there to use as a bad example? I mean, they love him. Do I love him? Sigh. Maybe parts of him. Its complicated.

    I’m a bit out of my league here with all of you. You all have more logic/rheteric skills than I have and are much better read on this subject. So thanks for putting up with my comments and for all of your inciteful answers. A lot to think about.

  112. MzNicky

    Pony: Are you calling me a troll?

    You seem to have plenty of time to drop in here and deposit a post or six whenever you want to, yet when I ask you, as a sister in opposition to the patriarchy, if you will, point blank to address a statement you made, and then make a heartfelt plea for help in defining a problem which you yourself brought up, suddenly you’re busy with work.

    If you want to retract your claim that Lisa is being “abused” because her boyfriend downloads porn, that’s cool. But to blow someone off when her inquiry is open and sincere seems rather cold.

  113. Octogalore

    Mearl said: “Women who think their husbands are an exception are as odd as the men who hate the concept of Woman but think their wives are the exception to what they hate.”

    Doesn’t it occur to you that women who feel men in their lives aren’t abusive may see these guys in multiple contexts, and may have a pretty good idea of what they’re about? Do you feel you’re better able to judge these men? A little, ah, patronizing, wouldn’t you say?

    Just as women who’ve had good experiences with men are pathetically wrong if they try to generalize this, women who’ve had negative ones shouldn’t do so either. Yeah, probably the latter’s a more statistically accurate position than the former, but it’s similarly anecdotal.

    “And just because you haven’t experienced abuse yet doesn’t mean you won’t or that you are safe from it among these men you think you know. I’ve had surprises, and I’m only 28.”

    So because of your heavily researched example, women out there with a decade on you had better watch out, because they’re foolishly unable to make their own judgments. Hmm, what does this remind me of?

    Of course, some men treat “one or two women with some respect” and others not so much. I’ve seen my husband in many different scenarios, and I just may be a better judge of his potential for abusive behavior than you are.

    I’ve seen how my husband behaves around women who’ve been in the sex industry, per your example, and he doesn’t coat me in honey unless I ask him nicely to do so.

  114. smmo

    Lisa said:

    “But why can’t he learn? Why can’t men take it upon themselves to overcome some of this stuff?”

    It is always going to be a power struggle when freedom (in this case free time) is at stake. You may have to make the relationship contingent on certain things and stand by it.

    I’ve had to train myself not to be grateful that Mr. smmo is as involved with our son’s care as I am. Sometimes the training we get as women (oh MY man is so wonderful he does the dishes sometimes and babysits) is as damaging as theirs.

    I have to say I would think twice about leaving with one young child, let alone two. For me it would take something extreme to take on single parenthood voluntarily.

    I have a son too and am struggling with what the hell I can do to get him into the fifth column of men.

  115. Pony

    Lisa, I have read your latest post through. You are in an abusive relationship. What you do about it, I guess many would say, is your call. And indeed it is, but for now, you are not aware that you are in an abusive relationship. I’d suggest you find a feminist counsellor. Not a marriage counsellor, just a counsellor who can help you find Lisa in there.

  116. Pony

    MzNicky

    I gave you some suggestions of where to look and read, all of it’s on-line. I’d add Andrea Dworkin’s book On Pornography. You may think that I or anyone could explain this in a couple posts. Maybe someone can, but I can’t. Pornography is abuse. I didn’t get that from posting here, I didn’t even get it from the books I’ve suggested to you, but I gather you’re a highly educated woman and you’d want the best resources. So there they are, the best I know. You might also want to hunt down Sam Berg.

    Pornography is abuse. Pornography is to women what slavery is to African Americans. I would no more bring up children in a home where someone is watching pornography than I would bring up children in a racist environment; if I had the choice. My understanding of radical feminism is no woman who calls herself that would either.

  117. Pony

    Naw you never are a good judge of your own man’s behaviour with other women Octagalore. I know. I fucked your husband.

    So to speak. All the men who used to pay to fuck me had wives, loving wives who didn’t have a clue.

  118. MzNicky

    Lisa: I would agree with Pony that you are in an abusive relationship, insofaras your boyfriend does not respect your clearly strongly-held feelings about his pornography-viewing habits. Mental/emotional abuse, I can agree. Porno is revoltingly anti-woman, on any level one chooses; the viewing of it by a man is prima facie an indication of disrespect, at the very least, for women.

    But again, what disturbs me the most, because it’s on a real-life rather than ideological level, is his disregard for your feelings about it, given 1) your explication to him about its exploitative/degrading nature, and (especially) 2) the fact that you have two toddlers with him.

    If it were me (and no one asked, but still): I’d give him an ultimatum: quit the porn or I’m outta here with the kids. See what his reaction is. If he gives it up, good on him. If not: Get the fuck out. Now.

  119. mearl

    Ah, Octogalore, although it is enlightening to butt heads with you over our respective ideologies, this time I am not subtly attacking you nor your relationship to your husband. I speak of the male gender generally and patriarchy specifically. Although I am aware that even the “nice guys” have privilege they haven’t earned and ingrained behaviour they may not be aware of, I give full respect to those guys who are thinking critically about their own situation, and those guys who work to create a new reality.

  120. roamaround

    “Get the fuck out. Now.”

    MzNicky, I agree with the sentiment, but I think Pony was wise upthread somewhere when she said to carefully, carefully plot your escape. I’ve done it both ways, and it’s better to have a plan, especially if you have kids.

    I’m sorry I’ve missed so much of this good discussion. Busy being a wage slave.

  121. V.

    I’ll second what roamaround and Pony said.

    On a more practical note:

    If you don’t already have it, get credit in your own name. Your own credit card,that you make regular payments on, with statements mailed to a post office box instead of your house, if that’s how you need to do it.

    Read everything you can about divorce and custody, get all your ducks in a row.

    But even with the best preparation, it’s damn hard. I had to wait until my kids were in school. If a woman has family and other resources, she may be able to leave sooner, even if she has young children.

    A life of self-respect is worth all the fear and doubt you have to confront.

  122. Octogalore

    Pony: sorry, he doesn’t remember.

    Seriously, of course “all the men who used to pay to fuck [you] had wives, loving wives who didn’t have a clue.” Many of us have traded sex with married men for money. Obviously, if you’re in the sex work biz, your data pool is going to be sleazebags, and you’ve apparently experienced more than your share. That doesn’t give me any kind of resounding proof that you have infinite wisdom about all men, everywhere.

    Clearly, there’s some resentment about the idea of a one-woman apologist for the menz, and I’m not trying to do that here, nor am I saying my husband is some kind of god, far from it. He’s simply the best example I have, for obvious reasons, for thinking “hatred” is something makes a number of women (including some here who are clearly trying to create different definitions that they can then agree with and fit in) cringe. Being nuanced isn’t as much fun, of course.

    Mearl – I appreciate your backing off your earlier position. When put in the context of “the male gender generally,” sure, I’m there with you. Obviously, there are exceptions to generalities if we’re admitting that we’re making them, which you didn’t in your earlier post.

    While it seems counterproductive to say “they’re not all like that,” when action against those who ARE like that is the important goal, I think pointing out where the cute slogans are in error is worthwhile. Of course, there’s a certain somewhat justifiable elitist quality in this particular sector of the movement. And possibly the idea of trying to find common ground is insulting because who would want women who are subversive rather than revolutionary in your corner. But I think refining the rhetoric to something that accurately reflects the reality of more women makes sense. It may seem to weaken the argument’s posture, but in reality, acknowledging the nuances opens up the dialogue, and therefore the potential for a more effective uprising.

  123. smmo

    “Men hate you” is cute?

    Movements that succeed aren’t generally down with the nuance. This is pretty much the entire problem with the left and feminism. We’re nuancing ourselves into irrelevancy.

  124. Pony

    Oh god what is so boring as a troll dragging her husband around. No of course he doesn’t remember. It was over in 30 seconds. Has he had treatment for that yet?

  125. mearl

    Oho, don’t get me wrong. I can acknowledge that some guys are critical thinkers and are making an effort. We need more of these, sure. However, the majority of men, as with women, are inundated from birth into patriarchal values, and because men believe they gain from such values (and in many ways they do) it is much harder to break through their defensiveness and allow for real growth and education. There are far, far too many men (and women) who live their whole lives in the tradition of patriarchy and contribute daily to its continuation, even if those people do not necessarily intend ill. My stance as a female giving advice to any other female, given the statistics and the odds of having a lovely and incident-free middle-class-in-an-affluent-society-educated-egalitarian-ideal-based partnership, is to continue the fight and never fully trust a man not to EVER have a lapse and behave as he has been socialised to behave. The main man in one’s life is certainly not the only man one will have to deal with, so doesn’t the need for feminism extend to all men? I am aware, as you seem to be, that my good experiences are not everyone’s experiences. If the bad experiences were in the minority, I’d be more inclined to go on about how fantastic the nice guys are.

    Or not: at this point, I refuse to coddle guys who are critical thinkers. Instead, I view a critically thinking man as one who is following a reasonable course of action, and expect other men to live up to this standard of what should be normalcy. No one should be getting awards for behaving decently as opposed to being a serial killer. I don’t get an award for getting out of bed in the morning: guys should not get congratulated for acting reasonably towards women. They are good examples to lousy men of how to live a more humanistic life, but the example doesn’t discount the glaring misogyny in the rest of the world. It also doesn’t account for the multifacetedness of men’s personalities (women are the same in that respect), or the fact (and I am sure you may see this as a lawyer, my sister is a family lawyer) that once a man’s investment in you dissolves, he can become a different person who gives a shit only about himself and his assets, not even his kids he has had with you. As long as the investment is there, things will look peachy. Pony is right about making sure your ducks are in a row whether the situation is good or bad. A woman in a patriarchal culture would be a fool to trust that she will always be taken care of or always share equally no matter what with her male partner.

  126. Octogalore

    (stooping) Showed him your post and the part about trolls dragging things around jogged his memory. He said he faked it to get out in a hurry. Thanks, sweetie, you cured him.

  127. TP

    Well, what if Lisa has a young husband who needs to learn; rather than an evil abusive creep who needs to be dumped on the basis of an ultimatum he will probably never understand?

    If Lisa wants to try to educate him a little bit about feminism, she can try a few things. First, stress that feminism is an ideal, not a replacement of patriarchy with matriarchy. It’s a place where gender doesn’t divide the sexes any more, but unites them in all the ways we are alike.

    It’s really hard for a decent, intelligent man to get the simplest ideas of radical feminism right away. It took me years of constant struggle to open up, and then start to understand, why all these little tiny slights and problems were all directly related to the degradation of women. From the blind and superior viewpoint of male privilege, things like porn is bad is nothing but prudish sniping, spoiling male mindless fun by making men mindful of it.

    You have to try to get him to make a leap of empathy that he has been trained to resist with every ounce of self-restraint he can muster: He has to imagine what it would be like if he were treated by men the way men treat women in porn. If he’s straight, he won’t like the idea at all. You have to help him understand that, despite what he would like to think, there is no magic switch from man to woman that allows women to love being degraded and men to dislike it. Women live with it every day, but it hurts far more than they even understand themselves.

    I rarely try to present feminism for men in this forum, because this is not the place, though I do go on about my own struggles plenty. But Lisa might be looking for more than our kneejerk reactions to her problems.

  128. Pony

    It seems a lot for any woman with two small children to have to take on doesn’t it TP, without parenting help from their father. As I said upthread, likely what we’ve heard here is the tip of the iceberg, and what is palatable enough to be put on-line. So many women posted here variations of “it didn’t work”, in their lives and the lives of their parentsm, grandparents, and friends. How long did it take you? Was it your wife who led you, or your friend named Twisty, the latter not living with you, a sullen disinterested blob in front of the computer, entertained by women being abused, degraded and forced to smile while? Did someone take you by the hand and carefully lead you, a someone whom you lived with daily and had to do your laundry and deal with two small children’s needs alone? Don’t you think that before she posted this, this young woman has probably done all she can think of to do?

    But I think you are admirable to suggest this. It’s only that, it’s from a sitcom or novel, or song. It’s not from life.

  129. Luckynkl

    Oh god what is so boring as a troll dragging her husband around. No of course he doesn’t remember. It was over in 30 seconds. Has he had treatment for that yet?

    30 seconds? You’re being a little generous, aren’t you?

  130. Pony

    I like to round off numbers. How are you my friend?

    Bow down you rank and file; you’re in the presense of greatness. Luckynykl is onboard.

  131. Mar Iguana

    Octogalore, Anno, et al, are lasting longer around here than I thought they would. Must be playing for higher stakes than keggers.

  132. Pony

    Some people don’t realize they’re MRA trolls.

  133. Mar Iguana

    “You have to help him understand that, despite what he would like to think, there is no magic switch from man to woman that allows women to love being degraded and men to dislike it.” TP

    I don’t have to do squat. I’m done. You boys have to get together and hash it out, bro. The boys have been trained to tune out the female voice except when it’s saying words such as “beer,” “food,” “sex.” Boys hear boys only.

    Posting on IBTP gives you warm fuzzies from some of the women here, but this woman wonders how much time you spend on woman-hater blogs saying the same things. If you do, point me to it. I’d love to read that!

  134. Bird

    I’m a new voice around here, so I’m sure I’ll get some flack for this, but how are men supposed to learn if nobody takes the time to explain things to them? For those of us who choose to have relationships with men, isn’t it better to work with the ones who want to learn and help them understand? If nobody points out their errors and how to fix them, then how do they know when they’re getting it wrong——or right?

    And no, I’m not defending the terrible things men do to women. I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of bad, bad stuff in relationships with men. But there are guys out there who don’t want to be assholes anymore, and they’re doing stuff like coming here so that they can actually get better.

    I just don’t get how telling someone, “piss off, I’m not explaining anything!” helps.

  135. saltyC

    Too many posts to read,

    Just want to agree wholeheartedly with Elle’s assessment of the F-word (the 4 letter one that ends in UCK)

    How are we supposed to separate rape, and sex, hate and sex, etc. when the most popular intensifier makes no distinction?

  136. mearl

    There is a fine line between a decent guy who is willing to learn and go the distance with you, and a guy who is a soul vampire in men’s clothing who will suck your life dry as you pour out your energy into trying to educate him. I haven’t found the former yet, and highly recommend listing the pros vs. the cons of staying with a guy.

  137. Heart

    Obviously, if you’re in the sex work biz, your data pool is going to be sleazebags,

    WRONG. Where did you get this idea? Unless — as I would — under “sleazebags” you are including heads of state, doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, contractors, politicians, preachers, family men, and so on.

    Leaving aside for a moment the argument that using pornography is prostituting women, lots of men prostitute women in real life, not only via pornography, and no generalizations can be made about them. This includes “good men” and “good husbands” and “good sons” and “good grampas” and “good grandsons.” It even includes leftist, supposedly “conscious” men in all of these categories.

    Heart

  138. Heart

    Here’s a test for men who are theoretically profeminist, critical thinkers, and conscious. Become a radical feminist. Hang out with radical feminist. Fill your bookshelves with the books of radical feminists and lesbian separatists. Listen to the music of all of the above exclusively. Attend woman-only events which last for days and weeks and are comprised of mostly lesbians, even if you are het. Take time off work to fly across the country and spend days at a time with radical feminist friends, talking radical feminism. Create blogs and websites and writings to advance your radical feminist views. Stop shaving anywhere, anytime, except, possibly, your head. Get tattooed. Throw out everything you own that is uncomfortable. Spend most of your spare time brainstorming women’s liberation, writing about it, talking about it, dreaming about it.

    Observe the responses of the critically thinking, conscious man in your life.

    Heart

  139. Bird

    mearl: It’s not just heterosexual romantic relationships that are affected, is it? I have two (much) younger brothers who are just becoming adult men, and they’re actually pretty good guys. If I don’t want them to be abusive creeps to the women who come into their lives, I think educating them is important. Both of them see gender issues in interesting ways (one is bisexual and has taken some real abuse too), and they have some pretty good attitudes when it comes to women. I like to hope that my presence in their lives has helped that. Even if you doubt that there’s a lot of hope for the current crop of adult men, isn’t there work to be done to prevent at least some guys in the next generation from growing up the same way? I think any woman with a son probably feels the same.

    As for the decent guy who is willing to learn and go the distance, you’re right. They’re rare. And even then, they have a lot to learn. But when you find one who does stuff like support a woman going to a feminist therapist, who will listen and understand when you talk about women’s agency in the film you just watched, who gets excited about your goals and plans, and who is a dad to two little girls who he wants to see live a free and happy life, well, you have to think that he’s one of the ones who is worth putting the effort in.

    None of these men in my life are perfect, patriarchy-less heroes. But they are men who are genuinely trying to not be assholes. That makes them worth my time.

  140. mearl

    P.S. Lisa: men learn what they consider to be of value and refuse to learn what they do not value, i.e. child-rearing and housework.

    Mearl’s Recommended Lite Reading for Hetero Feminists: Wifework by Susan Maushart, Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf (despite its occasional devolution into frou-frou-ness that shows the author’s personal stance on certain topics), Counting for Nothing by Marilyn Waring, at least the first chapter or two, and If Freud were Phyllis by Gloria Steinem. And of course, my personal fave, The Whole Woman by Germaine!

  141. Bird

    Heart: I wouldn’t do that myself. I have other stuff to occupy my time, like my career (for which I’ve worked very hard), my family (including a mother who’s dying of brain cancer) and my other goals, like running long distance races, finishing my novel and getting my black belt. I have books in my bookshelf that I’ve edited that also happen to be by male authors. I can’t afford to travel like that. Am I a bad feminist for not doing like you suggest? Why would I ask of someone something I wouldn’t expect of myself?

  142. Heart

    Bird, mostly, I was hoping that comment I made would be a sort of exercise for the women here who are partnered with men. I wasn’t being prescriptive or suggesting anybody should do anything; I was hoping women would consider how their male partners might respond if they did live as I’ve described.

    Having said all of that, the point I was making, or one, was that actually putting women first in our lives will get us in deep doo doo with the men in our lives, however profeminist or “good” or “not asshole” or “conscious” they might be, or might fancy themselves to be. Nobody has to put women first, of course. And having said all of that, it’s definitely possible to put women first while (1) having a career for which we’ve worked very hard; (2) having other goals, like fitness goals; (3) writing for publication; (4) having dealings with men of various kinds in the course of our work; (5) lots of other stuff. It’s also possible to put women first while having children and being married to/partnered with a man. But again, my point was, if you do put women first, you (generic “you”) might find that last one imperilled, which was the point of my comment.

    How

  143. Octogalore

    Heart quoted my having said “obviously, if you’re in the sex work biz, your data pool is going to be sleazebags” and said “WRONG. Where did you get this idea? Unless — as I would — under “sleazebags” you are including heads of state, doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, contractors, politicians, preachers, family men, and so on.”

    So, you know EXACTLY where I got that idea.

    Why are you assuming (1) I don’t have firsthand knowledge of that of which I speak and (2) I would differentiate based on job title. All those included on your short list have major sleazebag potential. I certainly don’t think “lawyer sleazebag” is an oxymoron, and I’ve dealt with many who fit this term perfectly, in many contexts.

    Heart, re your test for men who are “theoretically profeminist, critical thinkers, and conscious.” I agree with Bird that this is a bit stringent. The guidelines apply only to people who (1) don’t have to work for a living; (2) have unlimited disposable income; (3) have substantial spare time. What about well-meaning people who aren’t quite so privileged?

    Also, how does getting a tattoo advance one’s understanding of feminism? Or stopping shaving, except one’s head? I find the image of a bald tattooed man with a floor-length beard and plentiful ear and nose hairs to be a bit frightening, but possibly I’m not sufficiently conscious.

  144. Heart

    Octagalore, so you’re saying that all men who prostitute women are sleazebags whose opinions should be dismissed, but men who don’t prostitute women are of a different order and we should take their opinions to heart? Or something like that?

    Maybe we cross-posted, in which case I think I’ve responded to your questions, nevertheless, a few thoughts.

    I have to disagree with you as to the stringency. (1) I not only have to work for a living, I support six people, a flock of sheep, a bunch of cats, a dog, a farm, and I pay the mortgage. (2) I have basically zero disposable income because of number (1). (3) I have basically zero spare time because of number (1). Nevertheless, my commitment to women drove me to all of the stuff I listed there, (and produced certain results so far as my male partner which I’m thinking some here might be able to envision with their own male partners without actually going through all the paces themselves).

    LEST I BE FALSELY ACCUSED, I AM NOT SAYING TO BE A _______________ YOU HAVE TO _________________________. Yeesh. I am saying my own commitment to women drove me to put women first, with specific results in my intimate relationships.

    [Rhetorical question alert:] Why is it so unthinkable to women that women might come first in a woman’s life? Why is it absolutely thinkable that career/fitness/personal goals might come first, but commitment to women first is somehow viewed as “stringent” and unrealistic and impossible?

    Anyway. Having a tattoo doesn’t advance anyone’s understanding of feminism, and neither does eliminating all shaving aside from one’s head. That wasn’t my point. (And in fact, there are good feminist arguments against tattoos, with which I agree, even though I nevertheless got myself tattooed.) My point was, imagine doing all of the stuff I listed there, and then try to envision how the male partner in your life, however conscious you believe him to be, might actually respond. Especially if your tattoos were, say, big and nongirly and nonsexy and on your biceps and amazon-like. I think that might be a useful exercise for women interested in evaluating how conscious a given man actually is.

    That’s what I was suggesting.

    Heart

  145. Pony

    Heart you’re wasting your time. Octagalore has exhibited thoroughly here, over a period of several months, that she is incapable of learning.

  146. Pony

    Or “he” is incapable of learning, because really, only a man would bleed women of their time and energy as this troll has done repeatedly, without one iota of evidence that anything has been learned.

    Take note TP: this is what happens when feminists with good intentions try to help men learn about feminism, as you’ve suggested we should do.

  147. Ugly in Pink

    Those nice curious boys who just want to learn about feminism can go here:

    http://finallyfeminism101.blogspot.com/

    Unfortunately, we mostly get trolls pretending to be nice curious boys, here. It tends to make one paranoid, and suck energy from what would otherwise be interesting discussions among ourselves.

  148. Bird

    I have, in fact, been tattooed (size of a luncheon plate on my back, not a little rosebud), unshaven except for my head, given up time and energy for women (as a whole), and many of the other things you describe.

    I still have the tattoo but no longer shave my head (and rarely cut my hair). I try to give what energy I can to women, including working in a non-fiction publishing house that is largely run by women and does make an effort to tell women’s stories. I try very hard to put women’s issues high on my priorities, along with many other things about which I am passionate: child abuse (in my past, at the hands of an abusive mother), poverty and social justice, war and conflict, environmental concerns, and a whole lot of other things. I see these things as inextricably linked with my concern for women.

    My partner supports me in all these things. How he’d react if I dropped my life to go be a radical feminist and nothing else (because I believe I am many things)? I think he’d see it as me dropping a whole lot of other things that also matter to me very much. His concern wouldn’t be about my choice for feminism, it would be worry because I would be leaving so many other things that deeply matter to me, and that would be an indicator (for me, I’m not pointing at anyone else here) that there was something going seriously awry for me to drop all those other things.

    As for the rhetorical question (which to me isn’t so rhetorical after all): I don’t think making anything so important that it becomes the essence of your entire life is possible for most of us. I greatly admire people who can be so dedicated to a cause. Any woman who can be a full-time feminist activist and give their all to battling the patriarchy is heroic in my books. But not all of us can reasonably do that. Some of us are out here doing what we can in the ways we can do it, just like some people sail off on Greenpeace ships while the rest of us try to compost, sort our recyclables and leave the car at home. Yup, I’m not a full-time activist. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to learn. And it also doesn’t mean that my voice isn’t important too.

    I guess I just see feminism as one piece of a larger struggle that also includes all the other oppressed and abused people in my world. Patriarchy doesn’t just keep women down. It keeps my bisexual brother down. It perpetuated the physical and emotional abuse I suffered from my mother (and she from hers). It creates the awful conditions on some Native reserves here in Canada. It means that our taekwondo school fundraises to feed kids at a local school lunch because their families live in poverty.

    So no, I don’t always put women first.

  149. tigtog

    *Zzwwaammhh* (that’s the sound of my sitemeter sense tingling)

    Thanks for getting it, Ugly in Pink.

    The idea of FF101 is to be an FAQ resource that can be pointed to whenever a commenter tries to rehash ancient ground in such a pointed way that they threaten to derail an interesting feminist discussion. (Whether they are genuinely curious or trolling doesn’t really matter in terms of the effect it has on the discussion)

    I’m rapidly adding FAQs, and envisage it being reasonably comprehensive in a month or so. Ideally folks should tailor which FAQ post they link to to best cover the questions being asked, as this gives the trolls less chance to throw around “you’re all so unhelpful” accusations.

    (I’m not writing heaps of original material here, either. I do a quick sentence or two basic response, then link to several of the excellent articles other people have already written, aiming to highlight and promote a variety of existing feminist resources).

  150. thebewilderness

    Still, it is an interesting question. How much time and effort could you spend on Feminist persuits, as opposed to feminine persuits, before your male partner began objecting.

  151. buggle

    I think it’s a good question. After discovering this blog, I’ve found myself having yet another feminist awakening (thanks!!!!). Learning new things, challenging new things, and being really angry about stuff. Along the way, I have been worried about how the boyfriend will react. Like, how far can I go with this stuff before he gets tired of hearing it? Or calls me a man-hater? And, it’s not that my boyfriend is a suckass or something, he’s a generally good guy, but still a man. So there’s a lot he doesn’t get. I was worrying for awhile, wondering if my relationship could take me stepping even more into feminism and away from femininity and all that crap.

    So far, so good. The boyfriend has actually started pointing things out to me, and seems really grateful when I point things out to him. He is ok with my anger, it doesn’t overwhelm him (which is saying a lot cause i get PISSED). He is actually impressed by my passion and how much I care about certain things. I’m relieved, and kind of mad at myself. I realized that I was holding part of myself back from him-letting him see some, but not all of it. I feel so relieved that I am talking more about this stuff. I mean, I always talked about it, but there was a part of me that was holding back.

    I do think it’s a useful question. Doesn’t mean that we all have to do the things Heart listed- but her point wasn’t about that. It was about-what can your man handle? Is he just giving this stuff lip-service? Or will he engage in a real dialog (sp?) about it? How will he feel when I stop wearing makeup? Or whatever you do that patriarchy wants you to do?

  152. Octogalore

    Pony: I believe there are folks who would disagree with you on that, whether or not they come forward now. I met one of them offline, as a matter of fact, last week.

    Although, as your definition of “learn” probably means “adapt your ideas to mine,” then no: I haven’t.

    And calling someone a different gender because you don’t agree with them is something I would’ve thought even you would not stoop to… evidently I was wrong. However, your opinion is not meaningful to me, so please don’t waste any more of your “time and energy” responding to me. Since your “responses” have typically been insults rather than anything responsive to what’s actually been said, and as this apparently has been burdensome for you, please do us both a favor and refrain from any further discussion with me. And I’ll return the favor.

    Heart said “so you’re saying that all men who prostitute women are sleazebags whose opinions should be dismissed, but men who don’t prostitute women are of a different order and we should take their opinions to heart? Or something like that?”

    No, not what I’m saying. I don’t think all men who go to prostitutes are necessarily sleazebags, but it’s probably fair to say that can be a good indicator. I do think married men who go without their partners’ consent and approval are sleazebags. And I don’t think men who don’t go are necessarily NOT sleazebags.
    I agree with you that commitments can make things happen that seem difficult or impossible, and it’s great that you’ve achieved that. I’d be curious to learn more about what you meant specifically by “and produced certain results so far as my male partner”.

    “My point was, imagine doing all of the stuff I listed there, and then try to envision how the male partner in your life, however conscious you believe him to be, might actually respond. Especially if your tattoos were, say, big and nongirly and nonsexy and on your biceps and amazon-like. I think that might be a useful exercise for women interested in evaluating how conscious a given man actually is.”

    Agree, with a couple of caveats. I still think some of the steps outlined might be a bit unwieldy given family/work obligations, but the ideas make sense.

  153. Bird

    I do agree that it’s a useful question. I think none of us women in relationships with men will really know until we try it, and we’ll never know where his limit is until we actually push him over it.

    Many of us already take steps to see how our partners feel about feminism. We talk about the stuff we see in the media. We call our men on their crap. We help them see things from our side of the world. Maybe we take it into the physical. We stop shaving. We don’t wear makeup. We shave our heads. We see how they react to the natural female body as opposed to the airbrushed, sucked-in, surgically enhanced “ideal.” We discover the strength of our bodies and take joy in being capable rather than weak. Next, we start going to women’s events. We go to conferences, we write, we speak out. We take time away from our lives to give to something bigger. We do every single thing on that list.

    Does he leave? Does he stay? And if he stays, is it with genuine support and interest in your work?

    We won’t know for sure until we try it. We can imagine. But we may be wrong–Mr. Enlightened Guy might freak and run at the sight of an unshaven leg, while the man you thought would fear your real self might start picking up your books and giving them a serious read.

    I’d like to think my boyfriend would stay no matter what. But at the same time, I don’t know how well I’d tolerate a partner who took all of his or her time and energy and put it somewhere else and never had any left for me. So the question I ask myself is, if I was in a relationship with a woman and she made the choice to place all her energies into feminism (or environmentalism, or religion, or whatever) and never, ever put me first, would I stay?

    I’m not sure I would.

  154. Octogalore

    Bird – sounds like you’ve found a good sustainable balance that works for you.

    Thebewilderness said: “Still, it is an interesting question. How much time and effort could you spend on Feminist pursuits, as opposed to feminine pursuits, before your male partner began objecting.”

    Definitely an interesting question. I think it’s actually two different questions. On the feminist pursuits issue, as Bird pointed out, at a certain point a reaction might be based on regret about dropping other pursuits rather than a reluctance to support a woman’s feminist pursuits. But generally, you’d hope and expect unconditional support up to this point.

    On the femininity pursuits issue, and how much could you limit this before you’d get pushback – that’s an interesting question too. I think on this one, the fairest way is to look at what you expect from a partner and not accept anyone’s demands for more from you. For example, a woman who would expect a partner to shave, be fit, not too pierced, clean, and reasonably well dressed, shouldn’t have to do anything beyond this. No makeup or anything additional, unless she felt like it. A woman who didn’t have any appearance demands shouldn’t have to feel it necessary to put forth any efforts in this area.

    What about the reverse – a man who prefers that a woman NOT adopt too much “femininity”? My husband, for example, would love me to be in T-shirts and jeans every day, whereas that’s not my preference. He’s not a fan of outfits or accessories that are showy, for the most part, or makeup. What do people think is the analysis here?

  155. smmo

    Octogalore said:

    “I don’t think all men who go to prostitutes are necessarily sleazebags.”

    Men who support a global crisis which enslaves and abuses millions are sleazebags of the highest order. I mean, come ON.

  156. V.

    I think y’all are missing Heart’s point, here.

    Heart, I don’t know you , so correct me if I’m wrong.

    What I heard was not Heart fluffing her own feminist credentials, or asking everyone to impoverish themselves for activism,but asking a really profound question:

    What if, right now, you and I just stopped accomodating, and really, trully, walked the walk in our own lives? Stopped trying to please, to gloss over, to just get along, stopped laughing it off, or putting it off. That means even the unconscious dialogue that says we have to be the one to know his mother’s birthday, and run the family calendar, and all the other “vital obligations” we take on that are so draining and that we have so much trouble thinking about because somewhere in that pie is the sticky thumb of the patriarchy.

    What then?

    If we stopped being pretty, or nice, or so gosh-darned patient, and said, this right here is my life, and I’m going to make it count. Me first, women first, my sister first, my daughter first.

    Would he stick around?

    And if he wouldn’t:

    Why does our knee-jerk reaction to that so often make that a tragic loss?

  157. Octogalore

    SMMO — did you miss “but it’s probably fair to say that can be a good indicator”? I knew one guy who was a veteran with some disabilities that made him insecure about dating, and he sometimes went to a strip club to be close to a woman. He was realistic about the fact that he couldn’t buy affection, but he could buy conversation and touch and was willing to do that. I didn’t know him well, and I’m sure he was no saint, but he didn’t seem like a sleazebag.

    I think it’s cavalier to pretend we can say authoritatively say “all” here, but sure, I think most men who go to prostitutes or strip clubs are sleazebags.

    Now, a question for you: do you think women who are sex workers are sleazebags? victims? feminists?

  158. Heart

    V., exactly.

    Octagalore: I think on this one, the fairest way is to look at what you expect from a partner and not accept anyone’s demands for more from you

    Why would people make demands on one another appearance-wise because they are partners? Would be my first question.

    My second question would be, can you see that men making demands on women, appearance-wise, is not the same thing as women making demands on men, appearance-wise?

    But again having said that, why would anybody make demands on anybody so far as appearance, especially partners?

    I think the issue of spending all your time doing other things, so you have none left for your partner, male or female, is a different question than rejecting placating behaviors and devoting your time to feminism. In the first instance, I’d describe that as people changing and growing apart. In the second instance, I’d describe that as a woman being true to herself, not making compromises so far as her work on behalf of women is concerned, so that she can remain in a relationship with her partner with integrity. I think it’s one thing to neglect a partner because you’re more interested in something besides your partner, in other words, and another thing to remain committed to your own liberation, so that your “relationship” doesn’t eclipse you as a human being, isn’t more important than your own humanity (as evidenced, again, in placating behaviors of the kind V. listed in her comment.)

    Heart

  159. Heart

    Octogalore: Now, a question for you: do you think women who are sex workers are sleazebags? victims? feminists?

    Can you see that being prostituted is not the same thing as prostituting? Do you get that there are subject-object relationships involved, and that the prostitute is not the subject?

    Heart

  160. Bird

    Me first, women first, my sister first, my daughter first.

    Why does it have to be so absolutely black and white? Why can’t I put me first one day, my brother first on another, women first the next, and maybe even him first from time to time? I just don’t see that feminism and a heterosexual relationship can’t be balanced to give energy to both.

    Putting him ahead of everything else constantly is definitely bad. But I wouldn’t be happy if my partner never, ever put me ahead of his other priorities. There are many times when I come first above his work, his family, and his personal needs. When my mother was going through a patch where we thought she was going to be gone any minute, he dropped everything to be there for me, including driving an eight hour round trip to get my youngest brother there too. If I’ve had a terrible day at work and some creep on the street said some remark that has me furious, he’ll put everything aside to stop and listen.

    If I expect that kind of support, I’d better give it sometimes too. Not all the time. Not constantly putting myself second or giving up my life for his. I’ve been down that road before, and I know how much pain it brings. But I don’t think you have to always put your partner last. I think that doing that would make me the same kind of asshole as a man who puts his wife/girlfriend at the bottom of the list.

    But you’re right on one thing: I will not be his mother, I won’t keep his schedule or remember all the birthdays or that sort of thing. But I will be there when he’s missing his daughters, when he’s talking about his dreams, or when he just wants to be close to me like I want to be close to him. You know what? I’ll put down my book for that.

  161. S-kat

    Heart,

    Heading a little off topic, your point has brought back a nagging question that I avoid asking myself too often: Does the fact that I generally don’t like women mean I’m not really a feminist?

    I have some great women friends, but mostly I prefer to hang out with guys. When I see groups of girls hanging out together, I kind of shudder to myself. I tease myself that it makes me a bad feminist. I rationalize that what I’m responding to is really their perpetuation of the patriarchy (it’s typically the sorority type that elicites this response; I respond differently to alterna-chicks.)But really what this amounts to is that I don’t make much space in my life for women and I start to wonder, “Where do I get off calling myself a feminist when I seem to hate the average girl?”

    Any input is appreciated for that is why I am here.

  162. Heart

    Well… but women putting men first, even sometimes, has a different meaning than men putting women first, ever, doesn’t it? Can women put male partners first in a way that doesn’t equal allowing themselves to be subordinated or agreeing to be subordinated? Can men expect, or even allow themselves, to be “put first” by their female partners in a way that doesn’t equal subordinating?

    What is “put first”? Put first before what?

    Heart

  163. Octogalore

    Heart: “Can you see that being prostituted is not the same thing as prostituting? Do you get that there are subject-object relationships involved, and that the prostitute is not the subject?”

    Yes. That is my thinking, generally, and I was curious as to SMMO’s views. But I’d put it differently from the above. I think prostituting is being a subject to an object. But I don’t think being a sex worker is necessarily the object, just because the prostituter thinks she is. I think sex workers can have agency, even though some don’t.

    Heart quoted my statement “I think on this one, the fairest way is to look at what you expect from a partner and not accept anyone’s demands for more from you” and responded “Why would people make demands on one another appearance-wise because they are partners? Would be my first question.”

    Well, I think the more important point is that they sometimes do, and that it’s important to be egalitarian. If one, for whatever reason, preferred a spouse to maintain a certain physical fitness or matching socks or whatever, it would be odd to refuse to take similar steps. Maybe you are completely non-superficial in this way and that’s great (although I do think fitness, whether or not accompanied by slimness, is a non-superficial requirement). I can only speak for myself and must admit that I like a hot bod and I don’t like protruding nose or ear hair, and I would have a problem if my husband wanted to wear, say, tight vinyl pants to brunch. Maybe this makes me a flawed person, but it also makes me a person who has fewer legitimate defenses about similar requests.

    In reality, I think for most good relationships, appearance requests are probably next to nothing. If you accept who the other person is, then you’ll probably accept their appearance priorities too. So I agree with you: in practice, appearance requests don’t have much place. But in the context of your scenario of taking various appearance measures as a test of the other’s character, it’s important to ask if you’d accept a situation in which he or she took those measures or similar ones.

    As to your question of why one would make a demand on a partner appearance-wise? I guess the answer is, in my case, I wouldn’t make a demand, but rather a request. Why: because I think sexual attraction is important, and would want to let my partner know what I find attractive.

    “My second question would be, can you see that men making demands on women, appearance-wise, is not the same thing as women making demands on men, appearance-wise?”

    I would only see a difference if the demands the men were making were more burdensome. If the men’s demands involved expenditures of time, effort, or comfort, and the women’s didn’t, then sure, it’s not the same thing. My example was based on equal demands.

    And demands does sound like the wrong concept; maybe requests is better. I don’t think partners should give each other appearance ultimatums. But I do think it’s important to ground this in reality. And in reality, most women would not be happy about partners discarding all appearance maintenance.

  164. V.

    Bird, I think that in a world without patriarchy, the give-and-take you describe makes complete sense.

    But in a patriarchal world, you’d best learn to put yourself first, because, by definition, the patriarchy won’t. Ever.

    And you and I, raised in the cradle of patriarchy, have been equally as entrained to put ourselves near the bottom rung of the ladder, without even thinking twice about it.

    It takes effort to think ourselves higher up. It feels ‘wrong.’

    But I garauntee you this: even your guy, as supportive of feminism as he sounds, doesn’t put your liberation first. He doesn’t wake up with a fire in his belly, outraged that the full expression of your humanity is denied.

    Sure, I wish he would. I wish they all would.

    But I’m not waiting for the day.

    Me first.

  165. Octogalore

    V: absolutely. This isn’t an even playing ground, we have to put our liberation first.

    I think what Bird is saying, though, is that putting yourself first MOST of the time can still be consistent with putting others first SOME of the time. Her guy, my guy, all guys, don’t put our liberation first. We have to do that, at all times. But extending a hand to prioritize someone else whose crisis is more immediate is sometimes the right thing to do.

  166. Bird

    Putting first, the way I would define it, is to put one’s energy, at a given moment, mainly into one particular person/thing/idea.

    That could be in a healthy way or an unhealthy way. If he has received good news about a business loan that will mean being able to reach a dream and I choose to take the time to stop and celebrate that with him, that’s healthy. If he expects me to always drop whatever I’m doing to get him a beer, that’s my signal to run like hell.

    The same goes the other way. I have a friend who makes tyrannical demands of her husband. She yells at him to get her things from the kitchen, bullies him about his appearance, and is generally as controlling as the classic patriarch. Is it somehow more okay for her to do this because she’s a woman and therefore somehow subverting the patriarchy by abusing her spouse?

    To me, it comes down to the idea of partnership. Yes, putting someone first is always in some way a form of subordination. But if it’s not a power trip, if it’s simply one of the two people in a relationship reaching out to the other for support, for encouragement, for all those things that are part of good, healthy and equal love, and both partners put the other first on an fairly even basis, then I think it can work.

    As for dictating appearance, I think both people will always have certain expectations of the other when it comes to the care and presentation of the body. I will not allow him to dictate my clothes or makeup, but I do think it’s okay for him to expect them to be clean and in reasonable repair. Same goes for him——I don’t demand that he shaves, but I’d like him to make sure there’s no egg in his beard (not that he has one, but that’s the idea). I also think that we sometimes do things with our appearance that our partner admires without it being forced or controlling——he wears this hat that I like more often than he might otherwise because he knows it makes me smile to see him in it, and I tend to braid my hair more because he’s told me he likes the way it feels.

    And Heart, I agree 100% with the second instance in your post. You can’t have a partner if you don’t make yourself an independent person. If you’re subsuming your identity and beliefs to those of the man in your relationship, he’s not your partner.

  167. Bird

    You’re right. He doesn’t get a fire in his belly all the time about my liberation. He gets it a whole lot more often when he thinks about his daughters, though. Even then, I know it’s not all the time.

    Hey, I don’t wake up every morning thinking about how unfair life is either——I’d get depressed damn fast if I did. But you’re right. He’s not going to fight the battle for me. I don’t expect him to, and I’d find it a bit condescending, to be honest. Women’s rights are our fight, and men can support us, but we have to be the primary actors or it doesn’t count for much. I want him to care about it and to support it as much as he can, though.

    So yes, a lot of the time it is about looking after my own interests, and the interests of other women and other oppressed groups. But I can choose to sometimes step back and give a little more to him. The key here is choice.

    I do have one big question, though. Why does the metaphor have to include one of us always being higher on the ladder? Why can’t we try and stand on the same step sometimes? Shouldn’t that be the ultimate goal of any relationship that is trying to be patriarchy-free (or at least as free as it can get)?

  168. Tall Elf Lord

    This my first post on IBTP, other than one the other day in the sci-fi thread. I have read some feminist theory, Sexual Politics, the S.C.U.M. manifesto. I am testing the waters, and waiting to be zinged back into the patriarchal nether-world. The issue of violence against women is something I feel strongly about, and even though it is late in this thread, I feel compelled to post. So, here goes:

    Men are different from women. Generally speaking, they are larger, have more upper body strength, and display more aggression toward others, both male and female. The same is true of other, higher-order primates, like chimpanzees. By being physically stronger, generally speaking, men have created patriarchal societies and family structures, where they can display aggression and violence toward women with varying degrees of impunity. The same sort of aggression and violence displayed toward other men results not in impunity, but in conflict, ultimately in war. Moreover, in the heterosexual intercourse settled by nature as a means propagating the species, men penetrate women, and that, combined with their larger size and greater strength, generally speaking, provides men with the physical context for domination of women, including the display of violence and aggression. Does that mean that men “hate” women? Do male chimpanzees hate female chimpanzees? Maybe. Maybe they also hate other male chimpanzees. But possessing slightly more intellectual capacity than chimpanzees, some men (and women) can think outside of the purely physical domain, can construct notions of personal liberty and fairness, and can try to give meaning to whatever feelings of empathy they may have for their fellow human beings. There has been progress, in fits and starts, in this department in human history, especially since the Enlightenment.

    While I believe technology and market economies can obscure the physical differences that led to patriarchy, the male’s perception of his interests, deeply ingrained for centuries in most cultures, and rationalized by his observation of most male-female relationships in nature, does not change readily. The male psyche dominates patriarchal society, objectifies women, and “enpornulates” sex and sexual relationships. Obviously this blog represents a different point of view. Is this a zero-sum contest? Would the loss of patriarchal privilege result in no benefits for men, only the loss of perquisites? Does the elimination of gender mean the elimination of men as a sex? Most men will resist this last notion. Attention must be paid. When threatened by an outside force, male chimpanzees in a group will forgo their rivalries and band together to resist. In a patriarchal supremacist society, run by technologically advanced chimpanzees, there would be no Twisty Faster, women with feminist views would be silenced, and those who tried to demonstrate such beliefs or act on them would be imprisoned or killed. Hate that begats hate begats more hate, even if it is just generalized “ape-hate,” and not the specific hate of an individual directed against other individuals. Misogyny that results in misandry will result in more misogyny. If that becomes the cycle, the larger chimpanzees will assert their dominance. They will renew their efforts to force the smaller females to bear their children and tend their other needs. Some men, maybe many, will renew their violence against women and find new excuses for it.

    So you can call men on their hate of women, and maybe that’s a good thing, and it certainly shows the level of progress that has been reached that that freedom of expression is tolerated, but where does one go from there? I believe that there needs to be an unfolding of the idea that the elimination of patriarchy is good for men, as well as for women. The relationships between the sexes should not be a zero-sum contest of wills, but instead should be defined by reason, tolerance, and the exercise of free will guided by mutual respect. Sex and sexual differences not only have to be tolerated, they have to be celebrated. The display of violence and aggression has to become viewed not only as unacceptable, but slightly creepy, like public executions. How will all this be done? I don’t know. But I think we should start thinking about it.

  169. M The Pedagogue

    Elf dude, please go read the feminism 101 blog.
    http://finallyfeminism101.blogspot.com/

    Because the monkey argument is really, really boring, and not that bright, either.

  170. V.

    TEL, you haven’t been reading this blog long enough.

    Seriously.

    Your post has so many poorly thought-out assumptions and misunderstandings of the basic arguments and premises here that it would derail all discussion to try and engage you in conversation.

    Please re-read the last several months of posting, including the long discussions on gender, and Twisty’s link to Ilyka’s blog.

    Then come back and try again.

  171. smmo

    Octogalore: I think prostituting is being a subject to an object. But I don’t think being a sex worker is necessarily the object, just because the prostituter thinks she is. I think sex workers can have agency, even though some don’t.

    Even if they do have agency, or think they do, they are hurting other women by perpetuating the sex trade. I don’t care how good one woman has it when she knows damn well that the vast majority of her fellow sex workers have it quite bad.

    So to answer your earlier question, yes, I believe prostitutes are victims. I know that is a dirty word in this post “do me feminist” world but I think it is the correct one.

  172. Mar Iguana

    Zzzzzzzzz

  173. Twisty

    Men are different from women. Generally speaking, they are larger, have more upper body strength, and display more aggression toward others, both male and female. The same is true of other, higher-order primates, like chimpanzees.

    BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BONOBOS ??!!

    It’s the assumption that the naive little radical feminists haven’t heard all this dudely crap about 6893 times before that’s so poignant. Isn’t it poignant? Or is “asinine” the word I’m looking for?

    Also: “Tall elf lord” ? Are you fucking kidding me? Lardy lardy, sometimes this blog is better than a sleeping pill.

  174. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Oh, Mercy, the poor thang! Be gentle!

    About the adorable Elf Lord handle: It’s probably the scifi thread; it’s pulling ‘em in! If not literally, then in the cosmic sense. It’s magic, baybee!

    If you don’t believe me, just watch.

  175. mearl

    Octogalore, I have one tiny quibble with this anecdote: “I knew one guy who was a veteran with some disabilities that made him insecure about dating, and he sometimes went to a strip club to be close to a woman. He was realistic about the fact that he couldn’t buy affection, but he could buy conversation and touch and was willing to do that. I didn’t know him well, and I’m sure he was no saint, but he didn’t seem like a sleazebag.”

    If a female is insecure about dating, does she feel entitled to throw money at strange men to see them writhe around naked so she can be “close” to them, or throw money at men for “conversation” who are socially required by their job to talk to people they would not otherwise talk to? Why couldn’t this guy chat with a server in his local coffeehouse? This statement just shows with clarity the problem that men have in their interpretation of intimacy and entitlement, which is what the whole sex industry is based upon.

  176. roamaround

    “Why are you assuming (1) I don’t have firsthand knowledge of that of which I speak”

    So Octogalore is now speaking as a former sex worker? In a few weeks, I’ve counted scientist, lawyer, entrepreneur, stripper, wife, and mother. Why spend time here (and what a lot of time!) when an autobiography is obviously in order?

  177. gayle

    “If that becomes the cycle, the larger chimpanzees will assert their dominance. They will renew their efforts to force the smaller females to bear their children and tend their other needs. Some men, maybe many, will renew their violence against women and find new excuses for it.”

    This Elf dude has a point! If we continue to stir things up we could very well ruin the non-violent, feminist utopia we currently enjoy. Better make nice post haste or the big chimps might “renew their violence,” get us pregnant, and make us wash their dirty socks and such.

    (I had a feeling that sci fi thread would become the gift that keeps on giving!)

  178. Octogalore

    Mearl: I agree, we’re too evolved to pay for pretend intimacy. Men do have exactly the problems you mentioned. And yet, I still think “sleazebag” is a little strong for this particular guy. He was fairly realistic about what he was getting and not getting, and the women he spoke to were better about making him feel a part of the dialogue than men in their position would’ve been, and he knew that too.

    But we’re talking about the same thing, guys like that are on the fringes and the patrons are, largely, sleazebags.

    SMMO: “Even if they do have agency, or think they do, they [sex workers] are hurting other women by perpetuating the sex trade.” Not really. Demand perpetuates the sex trade, not supply. If the ones with agency dropped out, they’d be replaced by others who didn’t. Women with other options dropping out would be a bandaid; the fix is at the root, not the tip.

  179. Octogalore

    Roamaround: what’s your point?

  180. smmo

    Octogalore: If the ones with agency dropped out, they’d be replaced by others who didn’t. Women with other options dropping out would be a bandaid

    Maybe. Probably, even. But I think sisterhood requires that we make the gesture.

    The fix is at the root, not the tip.

    In complete agreement with this. I fucking hate men who do this, and I hate even more how protected they are.

    So Octogalore is now speaking as a former sex worker? In a few weeks, I’ve counted scientist, lawyer, entrepreneur, stripper, wife, and mother. Why spend time here (and what a lot of time!) when an autobiography is obviously in order?

    Proposed title:Tit for Tort

  181. Octogalore

    Roamaround: to continue my thought, if your point is to creep me out, because even though (as Hedonistic earlier suggested) I felt comfortable confiding in the belief that this is a safe space for such disclosures, apparently somebody is taking sneaky notes on my resume, then bingo. Pass go and collect $200, mission accomplished.

    SMMO: as to the title, stick to the day job. But I’m relieved we’ve found some common ground.

  182. Pony

    There is an endless supply of women who have no choice, because of unemployment, poverty, war, racism and sexism, not to mention the heroic efforts of men like Octagalore, who are paid to popularizing sex slavery in places like IBTP using lying words like agency, choice and sex “work”. What scum you are.

  183. Heart

    Okay, let me try something different.

    What would your decent, “conscious,” pro-feminist, progressive male partner do if, say, you:

    * Showed up tomorrow with your hair very, very short, like, an inch long without telling him you were planning that.

    * Let all your body hair grow without checking in with him about it. (If you are with someone who has a body hair fetish, this is not for you, move on to the next item.)

    * Announced that the next weekend, you’d be flying out to spend a few days with a radical feminist friend with whom you’d split the cost of the special deal airfare. He’s never met your friend.

    * Fixed up the guest bedroom and then moved a bunch of your most important stuff into it, letting him know you decided you needed your own room in the house.

    * Noticed that he’d been using porn and told him it was a deal breaker for you now and he’d have to give it up and never use it again.

    * Began to spend a lot of time with lesbian separatists.

    * Began to make your way through all of Andrea Dworkin’s books, one by one.

    NOW. Do not immediately start thinking about all of the reasons why the above are not things you would want to do or think are right to do or why it’s impossible because of your save-the-whales commitments or trying to figure out what he could do while you were doing the above or what equivalents would be helpful for him or whatever! No long exegesis about why this would be impossible but if you did any of this stuff, you’d expect that he’d be able to whatever. When you do that, it indicates you may be taking very good care of a guy who is not really so conscious at all, but who thinks he is, and you really, really want to believe it and not discover that it isn’t true.

    Remember, I’m not telling you you HAVE to do any of these things or you SHOULD do them. This is an exercise only. I promise, you do NOT have to do a single one of the above!

    My question is, IF you did any of the above, WHAT would your progressive, pro-feminist, “conscious” and so on male partner do? Do you think? How would he react? Because how your male partner might react if you did these things tells you whether he really is an ally to you, to feminist women, or whether he’s one of the bazillion and one guys who is the greatest pro-feminist man ever so long as it doesn’t cost him anything, his partner keeps taking care of him, and tells others he’s a great pro-feminist man.

    Pro-feminist men don’t generally up and leave if you do the above things– that’s not the way it works, almost ever. In general, in increments, some more quickly than others, in all kinds of ingenious ways, they make your life such a hell that you end up having to choose between living by your own feminist lights and them.

    As to the nice woman who wondered about being a feminist if you don’t like being with women, well, like Portia from the old Ms boards used to say, and I swiped it, “I don’t have to like you to want you to be free.” I don’t think feminism requires that we have all sorts of warm fuzzy feelings for all women, or anything remotely like that. I do think that if you almost always prefer the company of men to women, and your best friends are all men, and especially, if you feel hostile towards most women, something might be going on there that you might want to untangle? Which doesn’t mean you can’t be a feminist while you’re considering untangling. Most of us became feminists to save our own lives, and as we applied ourselves to that project, we began to realize how much we needed other women, and then it made sense to us to cultivate relationships with other feminists. I mean, you’re here reading? Which is a good sign.

    Heart

  184. thebewilderness

    Octogalore said: Obviously, if you’re in the sex work biz, your data pool is going to be sleazebags, and you’ve apparently experienced more than your share.
    Then when called on it she said:
    No, not what I’m saying. I don’t think all men who go to prostitutes are necessarily sleazebags, but it’s probably fair to say that can be a good indicator.

    Would you please stop claiming that you did not say what you just said? You do this over and over and it makes it very difficult to have a reasonable discussion. When you cannot even keep your own bs straight it is nearly impossible for anyone else to.

  185. Pony

    See Octagalore is trying to bullshit his way out of this comment, because the original intent of the sleazebags remark was to slam me, pulling rank so to speak. I’m the kind of prostitued woman who had more sleazebags than my share I think it was?

    What a sleazebag. And I only use that word for men.

  186. Octogalore

    thebewilderness: do you think it mind-boggling that one could say the data pool is sleazebags, meaning that someone speaking about her johns (I believe it was Pohy) is discussing a slanted pool, but when asked if ALL of them are sleazebags, say: well, not ALL. But yeah, most, and enough to reasonably characterize the pool that way.

    I think you’re requiring more precision from me than from the other commenters. And, my lack of 100% precision is NOT why you and I don’t see eye to eye. That should be clear enough even for you.

  187. Pony

    Got that bewilderness? “Even for you.”

    WTF Octagalore, you can’t keep your stories straight anymore? You’re going to have to get BangBros to hire you a secretary.

  188. thebewilderness

    Octogalore,
    Over time in various threads you have claimed you did not say what you could clearly see you had said if you simply read you comment. I read you comment and could not understand why you would bother to deny that you had said what you had clearly said.
    I am too old to put up with that sort of bs. We don’t see eye to eye on any number of things, but that has very little to do with this. You dismissed peoples right to declaim on parenthood in the Firestone thread. People objected. You relented. By the time we got close to the end of the thread you dismissed Firestones opinion on parenthood for the same reason you had earlier stated, that the opinion of those who were not parents was of no value.
    You are not honestly engaging in discussion. I have no problem with dispute and disagreement in the discussion. It is the dishonesty that tends to derail.

  189. Metal Prophet

    While “men rape” and “men hate women” might be generalizations, they’re not inaccurate generalizations, unfortunately. From my own priveleged position, it took me a while to realize this. But, what I think finally got to me was the 1 in 4 statistic for sexual assault. After I thought about things for a bit, I realized, “hey, this means that not only are a lot of women victims of rape, but a lot of men rape.” Probably a pretty obvious conclusion, but it did take a bit of thinking on my part. I suppose that means that 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 or 1 in 8 or 1 in 10 men are rapists. And whatever that number is, it’s disturbing as hell.

  190. Pony

    I will never comprehend this idea that politely discussing something with cretinous sludge like Octagalore–allowing him and his ilk to drain you away, has some worth, what, will exercise your ability to appear to be so tolerant, bring them around to one’s opinion if you just spend the time? Is this from left liberal political thinking? It sure isn’t working class thinking I’ll tell you. What exactly has been gained for the feminist effort here, spending hours and hours going around yackety yack. Zip as far as I can see.

  191. ChapstickAddict

    My question is, IF you did any of the above, WHAT would your progressive, pro-feminist, “conscious” and so on male partner do? Do you think? How would he react?

    I have this conversation with my boyfriend a lot. I am one of those women who defends her man as a pro-feminist, but in actuality he’s still a beginner. And he has an annoying habit of thinking that I’m talking about him when I gripe about something that men do or think. He has the potential to fully reach actual enlightened status, but he still has a ways to go.

    But I do see your point about those “progressive” men.

  192. Mar Iguana

    ” And he has an annoying habit of thinking that I’m talking about him when I gripe about something that men do or think.” ChapstickAddict

    You mean it isn’t ALL about hiiiim? Who knew? I propose an acronym disclaimer: MAALTH. Men Aren’t All Like This However. Then we could get on with it and not have to hear about all the wonderful boys who are the “exceptions.” Bullshit: Sin Numero Uno in MarWorld. And, boring: Sin Numero Dos.

    I’ve spent close to six decades on this boy’s planet and I have never, that’s NEVER, met one boy in person who gets it. I read about them and read some of their books (Leonard Schlain, Stan Goff, Robert Jenkins, Jack Holland, Lundy Bancroft, etc.) but in real life, seems the most a woman can expect, if she wants to have one of these high-maintenance pets around the house, is to settle for one whose boring bullshit level is relatively low.

    I’m encouraged by the fact that the majority of women in this country, 51%, have chosen to live without a boring bullshitter underfoot. This is bad news for patriarchy, which is always good news for women. The challenge now is surviving the worldwide masculinity crisis that threatens to destroy everything if the boys can’t own it.

    And, they wonder why old women end up living alone with 200 cats; far easier and waaaay less aggravating than caring for one clueless boy.

  193. Pony

    I think the number would be more like–all. Somewhere, sometime, in his lifetime, accompanied by outright looking the other way by other men and some women, and rationalizing that it wasn’t *really* rape, or how much blood was there, or she was drunk, or he thought she was 18, or the women who are enjoying their “agency” in our rape culture, the number would be–all.

  194. MzNicky

    Octogalore: James Bond fan, are you?

  195. Octogalore

    Thebewilderness: I made it quite clear in what context I felt a parent’s point of view was most critical, and I think it was clear to most on the thread what I was getting at. Not dismissing people’s right to declaim altogether, but explaining why certain groups were the ones who needed to be persuaded. And also distinguishing between right to declaim on how parents could bring up children better, as all children have the right to do, and advocating for radical solutions, for which parents are the critical group who’d need to buy in. It was clear from the discussion on the thread that many got this. You apparently weren’t among them. Not my problem.

    Twisty, and others: what is your opinion about the ugliness in Pony’s comments? Do you think they add to the discussion? If you sincerely believe they do, please share that with me, and I will be happy to leave.

    MzNicky: yes

  196. Mar Iguana

    Anno must have dropped the storyboard.

  197. MzNicky

    Octogalore: That’s what I thought.

  198. mearl

    Mar Iguana: “high maintenance pet” – that is bang on. Can I use it?

    Any guy who would pay a disadvantaged woman to use her for assisted masturbation is a sleazebag, endy story.

  199. Bird

    My question is, IF you did any of the above, WHAT would your progressive, pro-feminist, “conscious” and so on male partner do? Do you think? How would he react?

    Confused, likely. Sad that I’d cut off my hair (which I’ve spent several years growing since its previously shaved state). He’d dislike the stubble until the body hair got long enough to be soft—had that chat already. Yes, likely unhappy with the sudden trip, but not because it was to visit a woman he’d never met. As for the guest room thing, I actually have my own room because we both believe I need my own space although we sleep in the same bed. And we’ve already talked about porn and how it’s not acceptable. My reading list is not his to control.

    But I’m guessing he would resent some things, like the time I’d be spending focused on this. He’d likely be uncomfortable dealing with the lesbian separatists. I’ve never claimed he’s perfect. I’m sure that it would be hard for him to deal with some of the changes. I don’t know.

    I do claim that he tries. He acknowledges that he has a lot to learn and that he, like all men, is sexist. He knows that’s not okay.

    So I’m okay with having him underfoot, as you put it. After all, I’m allergic to cats.

    But I’m not going to change your mind about not wanting a man in your life. You’re not going to change my mind about my decision to live with my partner. I’m not looking for you to give him your stamp of approval and say he’s an “okay” guy. I’m just explaining why I’ve chosen to still have a heterosexual relationship despite the challenges that it brings and the work that it takes to try and make that relationship as equal as we can make it.

    If you want cats, that’s a perfectly reasonable (and less frustrating) choice. Some of my best friends are cat ladies.

  200. mearl

    Oh, Jeez. Bird, I missed your comment waaaaaay upthread. My eyes have shrivelled into two beady currants from having to stare at this computer screen day and night for school.

    To respond, it’s definitely worth the time spent on feminist education of men, especially sons and friends. If you’re het, like I am (although I wish every morning that I’d wake up gay!), you know that if you hook up with a guy it’s a tossup between a lot of work or loneliness, despite great friends and sisters. I’ve gotten a long way in enlightening the people around me who aren’t as hardcore about feminism as I am, including past boyfriends who would not have had a clue otherwise. But you have to be pretty certain, as you seem to be, that it’s a good investment. I suppose I always feel that opening people to new ideas is a good investment even if it will not benefit me in the long run. It will change the world around me if I do it. However, I draw the line between enlightening a male partner and giving up my own life, free time, sanity, etc. that’s all I was saying. I wasn’t aiming the comment at you, since you are clearly a smart cookie, but just throwing it out there for anyone who hasn’t had the experience yet of being sucked dry by a guy who has no intention of learning or changing.

  201. buggle

    Heart-thanks for writing that new list-that is one that I can relate to a lot. And these are more the things I Think about. I think it’s a great exercise. For me, I really think there are two on that list that would be hard. First (and least importantly) he would freak out if I chopped all my hair off. He wouldn’t dump me or anything, but he’d be very surprised and honestly, not that happy. I’ll have to ask him though. I’ve thought of this before, cause every now and then I just want to shave my head :) Hmm, now I’ll have to bring it up to him and see how he reacts-a little experiment.

    The other one is the porn. I know he uses it sometimes, and he knows how I feel about it. But I would never say he has to not use it ever again, or it’s over. We have had numerous conversations about it though, so that we both understand where the other is coming from. Part of it for him is that he was raised born-again Christian (ugh!) and while he has no part in any of that-since age 15-they really taught him that sex and nakedness was BAD BAD BAD and you will GO TO HELL. So when I say I have a problem with porn, he hears his bible school teachers telling him that sex is bad, or whatever. So, I’m at a standstill with the porn thing. I never see it, he doesn’t have anything laying around, and the one dvd he has, I’ve seen, and it’s “chick porn” (mood lighting, soft music, etc). So, while I still don’t like it, I’m not THAT worried about it. However, if he ever went to a strip club we’d be having a huge fight. No way, no day.

    I’m still working out my own views on porn-which are mostly-ew, yuck, bad, no thanks. But there are a LOT of feminists out there who say porn is fine, as long as it’s not “mainstream” or whatever. So I’m still struggling with this one.

    I gotta second chapstick addicts post about her man-that’s just like my boyfriend. Last night I had to explain to him that it’s not about HIM necessarily, that when I complain about something it doesn’t mean him specifically. Thank god one of his ex-girlfriend’s is a feminist-although she was a feminist who loved porn, so gah.

    He has a good start, and he’s very open to all of this. But, he’s still a man, so his experiences are just different from me. Just like my whiteness-it’s a privilege to NOT have to know how bad racism is.

    Heart-I totally get that desire- to think he’s a great guy when really he’s not so much. I fear that I’m doing that, or will do that. That’s why feminism and this board and others are SO important to me. It’s really a constant fight.

    And oh yes, when we move in together, I will be having my own room, for sure! I need my space, and so does he. We’ll probably each have our own room and then just sleep wherever we feel like it.

    Hmm, I don’t think I really blamed enough in this post. Although I certainly managed to ramble enough. IBTP!!!!!!!!

  202. Bird

    Mearl: Gotcha. No worries, no offense taken. I studied classical rhetoric as part of my degree, and I’m pretty good at keeping debate separate from personal attack/affront.

    I’m learning a lot from this conversation, and despite the obvious differences of opinion between me and some other posters, it really is valuable. It certainly makes me consider my relationship and how patriarchy creeps in even when we try otherwise, and it does help me see where there’s still work to be done.

    For me, anything that makes me consider things in a new light and see new aspects of a problem is always worth hearing (as long as it’s generally done in a civil manner).

    And I’m trying not to rise to things like “high maintenance pet.” I wouldn’t let me call him that—I don’t think it’s right to use it the other way.

  203. Pony

    It does not work to try to educate men to be feminists. Feminism isn’t an intellectual exercise. No amount of discussing, explaining and illustrating will work. Feminism is about POWER. Them losing it and you getting it. No matter how smart and in love with you they are, they will only go along with this so far, and only as long as they are fucking you. Withdraw that, and you’ll find out just how effective your education program was.

  204. buggle

    Ok Pony-so what do you suggest? I shouldn’t even bother talking to the men in my life about these things? It’s just a waste of time? I should stop having sex with my boyfriend (well-already did that for the last two months because I don’t feel like it)?

    You are really not giving any men any credit at all-they aren’t all evil human beings, just like not all white people are evil racists.

    And I think you are just plain wrong-discussing and explaining DOES work. I’m not saying it’s feminists job to educate men-hell no!

    But really- if my boyfriend stopped having sex with me forever, then that would make us just friends, not sexual partners. So, you are saying that straight women should never have sex? Seems a bit unfair.

  205. Bird

    Feminism isn’t an intellectual exercise. No amount of discussing, explaining and illustrating will work.

    If that’s the case, what are we doing here? Shouldn’t we all be out doing battle or something instead of sitting here talking about this? Why bother trying to explain your views to us young ‘uns at all if discussing, explaining and illustrating are pointless? After all, we’re all patriarchy-affected, even most of us feminists.

    Also, I repeat my question about power again. Why does this have to be about me becoming powerful and him becoming powerless? Is oppressing someone because he’s male any more ethically justifiable than the oppression of women? Not by the way I weigh things. Justice and retribution are not the same thing.

    And I don’t think you’re going to talk most of us in hetero relationships into giving up sex with our partners. I’m with a man because—surprise!—I like having a partner relationship with a man. That includes enjoying sex with him. Shocking, but true.

  206. Pony

    All men are default members of the patriarchy. Who said they were evil? They will not willingly give up power. Not even your chosen one. Not your better than average husband.

    I suggest you forget thinking you’re going to change this one partner at a time and instead get involved in changing the system. Just clear the gauze from your eyes, and continue being heterosexual if you insist. I do, but after having thought like you for a half a lifemtime, I’ve learned how deluded that approach is. What a time and energy waster it is. Sure you do your best to keep complete drogs out of your life, but don’t fool yourself that there is any *real* meaningful difference between the drogs and the erstwhile literary dude above just because the flavour is different.

    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .

    And all people are racist, white to black, black to white, black and white to coloured, Latino, native on and on, toward someone they deem down on the ladder from them. It’s power too. Some are just more polite about it.

  207. hedonistic

    (HPS shuffles in, marveling at the straw, unable to resist randomly musing, blathering and pontificating AGAIN.)

    This is my favorite place to while away my bored moments at work (I eat lunch at my desk). Over time I have noticed how ANY privileged female who requests (or, worse, demands) moral support for profiting from patriarchal expectations gets her ass handed to her on a platter in the most cantankerous manner possible. This is true whether or not we’re talking about

    a)high heels
    b)choosing to fuck (or even to put up with) men
    c)marriage as an institution
    d)power suits and careers
    e)hiring immigrants to do your scut work so that you may HAVE your high-powered careers, or
    f)sex work of any stripe, ESPECIALLY sex work performed by privileged white women “slumming” during their temporary fits of rebellious sex-positive pique.

    If a privileged (usually white) woman benefits from the System, it’s generally because poorer, generally browner women have been picking up her slack. What’s defensible about THAT? Nothing of course, and that’s why the radfems at IBTP occasionally flip out on the rest of us. And god(dess) do we love to talk about sex. Sex sex sex! It’s like science fiction novels: Who can resist? Truth is, odds are 99% of us have done sex work at some point in our lives, even if we were virgins on our wedding nights. It’s just that most of us don’t come HERE of all places, trying to defend our so-called “choices.”

    Of course I hope we non-radfems get it, and I hope that’s why we’re still HERE after getting our asses handed to us over and over again. Some of us learn the hard way not to defend the indefensible, but should we continue to be rhetorically punched around after we’ve stopped doing it? And what does this have to do with elderly women being abused? (Oh wait, nevermind: They’re sort of connected, but STILL!) It seems some folks at IBTP would rather continue to use Octogalore the Cyberentity as a place to project their (understandable)frustrations.

    Most of us know that it’s altogether possible for a woman to go through life as a geek, a pompom girl, a cocktail waitress, a circus performer, a mechanic, a horse breeder, a call girl, a wife, an attorney, a one-armed-paper-hanger, a biathlete, a grandmother, a cancer survivor, a gentleman farmer eating dinner, a scientist or a CEO, just perhaps not at the same time. Of course Octo shouldn’t be required to cough up a bibliography. Hell no; I want her to start a blog so that she may tell her own stories.

  208. buggle

    Wow, ok-so Pony-you really ARE advocating for all hetero women to stop living hetero lifestyles. “continue being heterosexual if you insist.” Okaaaaay. I’ll try saying that to a lesbian and see what they think “You should wipe the gauze from your eyes and stop living a gay lifestyle.” I doubt that’ll go over well.

    Maybe what you are saying is that it’s impossible for a feminist woman to ever truly have an equal partnership. To that-I just don’t know. Maybe it’s true, maybe not.

    Of course all men are part of the patriarchy. Of course. That’s a given. And I’m not devoting all of my energy to trying to change my boyfriend, that’s for sure. But I did invite him to go with me to the Feminism and Pornography conference in a few weeks at Wheelock College, and he’s going with me. Do you think that’s pointless? A waste of my energy?

    If you think that ELF guy above is the kind of guy I’m talking about, maybe that’s the problem. Comparing an ELF guy to another sexist pig doesn’t really show much difference.

    I disagree about racism-black people can’t be “racist” because racism is a SYSTEM of oppression. They don’t have the power to be racist-they don’t have that system/structure behind them. They can discriminate, sure. But any “ism” depends on a system of power, which POC don’t have, and white people do have.

  209. Bird

    Well, having had the crap beaten out of me by an ex-boyfriend and being totally intellectually and personally dismissed by my ex-husband, I would suggest that there is a real, meaningful difference between those men and my current partner. Yup, he’s a member of the patriarchy, but a reluctant one.

    Oh, and mine’s not a “literary dude.” He moves furniture for a living. He builds stuff (currently, that’s an insulated concrete form house with geothermal and solar—a little eco-project). On the surface, he looks a little like a redneck in a ballcap and blue jeans until you check out his bookshelves and talk to him for more than 30 seconds.

    The most abusive men in my life have been so-called intellectual types, you know, those “liberal dudes” and “nice guys”. My husband was a literary type. The violent alcoholic was an artist. I don’t buy into that idea at all.

    Often, the most supportive man isn’t the one who’s telling you how much he supports feminism. The ones who are really trying are the ones who simply support women in their actions, as much as they can, every single day.

    Pony, I know we’re just going to continue to disagree on this point. I would like to make it clear that I do think “my Nigel” still has problems (hell, he admits that himself).

    And I’m not just trying to change him. I’m trying to change every man in my life, even my father who denies such basic realities as pay inequity. I’m trying to work for change in the system around me all the time. I just don’t see fixing things as requiring me to abandon all hetero relationships for all time, especially when I have one that mostly makes me pretty happy.

  210. buggle

    Word, Bird.

  211. Pony

    I don’t believe I’ve seen the post that suggested you or any woman, feminist or no, abandon heterosexual relationships.

    The literary man remark was in response to the story some guy told above, about how he was so superior, a “sensitive new-age man” kinda guy, to the porn dudes. His pick-up techniques were still just pick-up techniques. It was just the same shit different day.

    I’m with MarIguana and several others on this. His, their, education is not my, yours, any woman’s responsibility. And women who do still labour under this illusion will find out how useless it is, and how they will lose all that education, the minute they don’t own you (and yes, in law, and in insurance, to be fucking you is to own you–another story another day). To take this on, is to take his responsibility away from him, in fact. It just won’t work.

  212. buggle

    “Just clear the gauze from your eyes, and continue being heterosexual if you insist.”

    Pony-I took that to mean that if I was a good little feminist-I would never be in a relationship with a man.

    How does my boyfriend own me? I mean really-not snarkily, how? Of course with husbands it’s true, which is why I’m not getting married and am certainly not having kids. But with non-married people-is it still ownership?

    I don’t think his/their education is my responsibility-not at all. But it’s not a waste of time for me to talk to anyone about feminism. Well, ok, my ex-roommate who was a total godbag-THAT was a waste of time. Major waste of time-grrrrr. I’ve learned my lesson since then-I’m very picky with who I’ll bother to converse with about certain things.

    I totally hear you about these fakey nice guys-they are worse than the guys who are just out there with their nastiness-at least then you can fight back. My old roommate was one of these-”Oh, I”m sooo nice, but abortion should be illegal and I’m superior to women blah blah.” Barf.

    Hedonistic-can you say more about your last post? I’m not sure where that was directed to-I’m confused about who is asking for moral support for their choices?

    Thanks :)

  213. Pony

    “I disagree about racism-black people can’t be “racist” because racism is a SYSTEM of oppression. They don’t have the power to be racist-they don’t have that system/structure behind them.”

    India for example? The nations of people in Africa, who view their neighbours as lesser and have slaughtered them for that transgression. Take Black settlers coming to Canada in the late 1800s and early 20th century and native response to that. You cannot plonk your American racism template on other nations and cultures.

    But I don’t disagree overall with your comment about some people not having the system/structure behind them. Women don’t either.

  214. hedonistic

    Hi Buggle, my musings were not directed at one Blamer in particular. It was more my longwinded commentary about Octogalore winning the Strawfeminist of the Month award; I guess it’s her turn? It’s an overarching theme running through multiple threads. I just thought I’d blather about it for awhile. I like to blather.

  215. Bird

    To take this on, is to take his responsibility away from him, in fact. It just won’t work.

    I’d like to hear more about this idea, actually. It sounds like an interesting take on “educating men.” Feel like elaborating?

    As for law, I’m not an American, so I’m not sure what the difference between US and Canadian law is on this point. I would like to hear about your take sometime, though.

    I’d gotten the impression from the “high-maintenance pets” post and other comments that some of the Blamers on this thread felt that the only way to make things work for a feminist was to give up on het relationships. Sorry if I’ve I misinterpreted that viewpoint.

    And you’re right about the guy above. Pickup lines are pickup lines, even if a guy is using his non-porn-guy status to do it. I misread your reference to the “literary dudes.” A lot of women defend their men because they’ve read some women writers or can talk about feminist theory. I trying to point out that the more important thing isn’t how he talks about feminism—it’s how he acts to support women.

  216. buggle

    Blathering is fun :) I like to do it too.

    Pony- thanks for calling me on my ethnocentrism! I was thinking about the US, yes.

  217. Pony

    “Wow, ok-so Pony-you really ARE advocating for all hetero women to stop living hetero lifestyles. “continue being heterosexual if you insist.””

    I insist.

    I am “speaking”, uh, when I should be writing. But you seem to be coming at this with some baggage about what it means to be a radical feminist. Ease your mind. I’m rabid about my feminism and my heterosexuality too. They are not mutually exclusive.

  218. buggle

    Ah, no baggage- just thought that you and others were saying that they ARE mutually exclusive. I know that some people believe that. So I just thought you were saying that. No biggie though.

  219. Pony

    It’s fine that your man is going to the pornography conference (he could write a report here maybe, after?) but he is going to please you, and not under his own initiative. Credit for this effort would be if he announced to you one week, that he’d be away the third weekend in March because he was attending that confernece.

    Otherwise, as soon as your relationship is cold, he won’t do those things anymore. He’s doing them to please you. I’ve listened to a lot of geek talk in my time (snore) because the *guy* doing the geekery was hot. (To me.) It was kinda interesting, yah, but really not something I seek out on my own. Shoot me I’m shallow.

    But it’s also fine that your man is going to this conference, because Robert Jensen is speaking. And men listen to men.

  220. hedonistic

    Why can’t I get this song out of my head? Why do I want to post this on multiple threads every time we have Not My Nigel discussion, or a Random Sypathetic But Clueless Dude drops in?

    Certainly it’s ALL pretty much just a ploy to get laid. BUT SO? Just work it, straight women!

    Hit it, band!

    “doo-doo-doo-doo!”

    Sensitive New Age Guys
    Words and Music by Christine Lavin and John Gorka
    Copyright 1990 CL2 (ASCAP) & Blues Palace Music (ASCAP)

    Who like to talk about their feelings?
    (Sensitive new age guys.)
    Who’s into crystals, into healing?
    (Sensitive new age guys.)
    Who like to dress like Richard Simmons?
    (Sensitive new age guys.)
    Who are hard to tell from women?
    (Sensitive new age guys.)
    Who like to cry at weddings?
    Who think boxing is upsetting?
    Who tapes “Thirty Something” on their VCR,
    Who’s got “Baby on Board” stickers on their cars, oh,
    (Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)

    Whose last names are hypenated?
    (Sensitive new age guys.)
    Who like “Three Men and a Baby” a movie I hated?
    (Sensitive new age guys.)
    Whose consciousness is constantly raising?
    (Sensitive new age guys.)
    Whose tax free income is amazing?
    (Sensitive new age guys.)
    Who thinks that red meat is disgusting?
    Who’s into UFO’s channeling, and usting?
    Who believes us when we say we’ve got premenstrual syndrome?
    Who doesn’t know who plays in the Seattle Kingdome?

    Who likes music that repetitious?
    (Sensitive new age guys.)
    Who likes music that’s repetitious?
    (Sensitive new age guys.)
    Who’s concerned about your orgasm? (silence)
    Well, I guess it’s more important that they have ‘em.
    (Sensitive new age guys.)
    Who carries the baby on his back?
    Who thinks Shirley MacLaine is on the inside track?
    Who always sings on sing-alongs,
    Even when they can’t stand stupid sing-along songs?

  221. V.

    Gotta say, there is nothing more boring, ultimately, than men coming on to blogs like this and whining about how they aren’t part of the problem.

    Unless, possibly, their wimminfolk doing it for them.

    Look, you’ve got a cozy relationship. Bully for you.

    But so what?

    I mean, if y’all want to make like your domestic relations are on their way to becoming some amazing patriarchy-free zone, I sure can’t disabuse you of that faint hope.

    But I’d sure like to think that if the person I was partnered with wanted to be with me, all of me, more than he cared about my cunt and his comfort, he’d be taking care of educating himself.

    Seeing as how there’d be a whole lot more of me free for relating if I wasn’t so ground down by oppression.

    I educate my children.I lead them by the hand.

    But I’m all done taking care of those poor benighted men who ‘just don’t know any better.’

  222. amandyman

    They’re sensitive, but not *that* sensitive.

  223. buggle

    Oh my god I looove that song!!! The first time I heard it I was with my parents at some concert, and we were all just cracking up. It’s so true-just another said ploy to get laid. Try being a decent human-that works even better.

    I’m just having waaay too much fun on this blog today. Must go back to pretending to work.

  224. V.

    My last post is held up in moderation, either because of my sinful lack of proper grammar (I hang my head in shame) or because I was shamefully potty-mouthed.

    Never mind. Christine Lavin said it better, 17 years ago.

  225. Octogalore

    HP: Thanks. It takes guts to buck the trend, and you have those in spades.

    I also appreciate your suggestion about a blog, and your acknowledgement that women can indeed wear different hats at different points in time. We are eclectic, and, in my case, sometimes have short attention spans. I like your list, and certainly would like to add some of it to mine – only, as you noted, I’m hoping to avoid having to add “punching bag.”

  226. Bird

    One of the formative songs of my early teen years (before I forgot about the cool women I met at the folk festival and decided that dumbing myself down was the way to go).

  227. thebewilderness

    Pony:
    I’m with MarIguana and several others on this. His, their, education is not my, yours, any woman’s responsibility. And women who do still labour under this illusion will find out how useless it is, and how they will lose all that education, the minute they don’t own you(dreaded elipsis goes here)

    I think the dispute lies in the idea that there is no point, so don’t bother. While you don’t explicitly say this, it is implied.
    I have no partner(cat lady dontcha know) but I have sons. Furthering their education is to my advantage, their advantage, and every person they come in contact with.
    I don’t dispute that there are people who will fail to acknowlege what is right in front of their face even after it has been pointed out to them. There are. I do think though, that many people, once made aware of an element of the patriarcy, choose to learn more. Oft times they choose to modify their behavior in the interest of being a decent human being.
    All children have experienced oppression. Even those who are trained to become oppressors have a personal knowlege of the experience of being oppressed. It has been my observation that that is the key that fits the lock that opens the door to overthrowing the patriarchy.

  228. Bird

    Interesting point on the idea that those who’ve been oppressed can better understand what women are facing. My partner was a badly abused kid, and I think that opens his eyes a little more. Growing up with a violent, tyrannical father, he has something to create a comparison in his mind. So when I talk about the experience of spousal abuse, he can remember what it’s like to be beaten down by someone who is bigger, stronger and has a great deal of power over your life.

    It at least gives us a reference point to start from, anyways.

  229. Pony

    That’s right. There is no point so don’t bother. YOU don’t bother. It’s his responsibility. And as for your sons, you can tell them, you can show them, and they will still (probably statistically but I don’t think feminists have done the study yet) grow up to be members of the patriarchy, with all that implies. When they want to, they’ll take it. As for the idea that those who are oppressed themselves will better understand women’s oppression: For every man, a wife. Don’t take that literally, but it does apply to individuals too. No matter how oppressed a man might be, no matter what colour his skin or what race it says on the passport, he will understand another MAN’s opppression yes. But in his own woman, and in many cases EVERY woman, he’s got someone to oppress, and he__will. Sooner or later, to some woman, somewhere, sometime. He can. Because of his privilege.

  230. Pony

    Those who have been abused are far more likely to abuse. Being aware of it helps, but does not negate this happening. He can be aware here and abuse there, and he will deny, because often being aware of how wrong what he has done is, only makes him deny it to himself, and hide it from others.

  231. Pony

    None of what I have said means you shouldn’t walk your talk. Walk your talk to the extent that it hurts you, but you do it anyway. But you cannot, even with sons, teach them something and think that’s the way they will be when grown. The will grow up to be men.

    Maude I can’t believe we’re having this “you can’t change him” conversation in 2007. It was on the covers of so many Women’s Home Journals in 1958.

  232. buggle

    Oh come on Pony-those who have been abused are far more likely to abuse? That’s a pretty bold statement. Where are the facts to back that up? For those of us who were abused as kids, that is an extremely offensive statement, and it’s just not true. Plenty of people who were never abused become abusers. Plenty of people who were abused would never abuse another person. That’s just insulting.

  233. Pony

    I don’t think it’s also true that only those who have been abused will abuse. But it’s something common in the backgrounds of those who abuse: they have themselves been abused. It’s common, but it’s not a *rule*.

  234. Metal Prophet

    I think there’s a difference between educating one’s sons and a woman educating her male partner. It’s not a feminist’s job to educate men, whether that particular feminist is partnered with a man or not. But it is a parent’s job to educate their children and children ought to learn about how important feminism is and sons need to learn about how to not be a misogynistic asshole.

  235. Bird

    I know that being abused often leads to being an abuser. As the daughter of an abusive mother, I’m fully aware of that, thanks. The difference is that those of us who acknowledge and work on those issues can avoid repeating the cycle.

    And he has recognized that. He’s taken anger management classes. He voluntarily took a spousal violence prevention course, even though he’s never hit a woman, because his ex-wife hit him once and he wanted to hit her back. Is the potential there? Yes, just like it’s there in me too. My mother hit my father more than once when I was growing up. Guess we’re both doomed to abuse by your standards, Pony.

    You know what? That whole “you can’t change him” thing did come around back in 1958 or whenever. Yes, you can’t change an abuser or alcoholic or whatever—they have to change themselves. Got that, thanks. Tried to fix one for about four years (and thank god I chose not to have a child with him). I do find that equating a man who is trying hard to not be a patriarchal ass with the kind of abuse referred to at the time is a little unreasonable, though.

    I just refuse to see all men as irredeemable. Flawed, yes. Raised with the idea of privilege and power as innately theirs, yes. Even abusive and toxic monsters in some cases. But there are degrees, and there are efforts that some of them are making to be better people.

  236. thebewilderness

    Just as it is discussed in this and other threads, there are those who, when faced with the choice, choose to emulate the powerful abuser.

    http://www.prevent-abuse-now.com/stats.htm

  237. Pony

    Putting words in my mouth is not helpful. I have not said all men are irredeemable. You’ve done that repeatedly this afternoon with my posts. Stop it.

    I have said/implied/stated that their redemption is not your responsibility. I’ve also said you (plural) {should} walk the talk. That is how you educate society and people.

    I can’t count the number of times I’ve been abused. I’m susceptible too, and I’ve done what your partner has done too, and I’ll tell you being a radical feminist and understanding POWER and it’s uses and misuses was a watershed. Bbeing a person who was abused, the knowledge on this apply to me too.

  238. buggle

    Yes, and there are even more of us who would never hurt anyone the way we were hurt. And who go out of their way to make sure others aren’t being hurt. And stand up against abusers.

  239. Pony

    I agree completely Metal Prophet. But the patriarchy is the great educator for men. It’s been gone over in other threads here today and other days.

    It’s been fine talking with you all. Thanks.

  240. Bird

    I didn’t say you said that they’re irredeemable, although sometimes there seem to be shades of that in your posts (likely my reading, not your intent). I said I refuse to see them as such. That’s why I believe they’re worth educating. And you didn’t say, until now, that walking the talk was what you were advocating. I wholeheartedly agree. I also believe in answering questions and explaining my position when I’m dealing with the men in my life. That’s a large part of what I mean by education.

    What we have is a difference of opinion on tactics, not on the necessity of change.

    Please don’t put words in my mouth either. We’ve obviously run into more than a little semantic confusion in all of this, and we all care about this stuff a whole lot.

    I really am learning from all this. I ask questions and push issues because that’s part of coming to understanding, at least for me. Thanks for taking the time.

  241. Pony

    I said walk the talk up thread. But it’s been a lot of fast and furious exchanges. Yes I agree we have much in common in our viewpoints. Apologies for my often being less than understandable. I talk with my hands and I guess you missed that part.

  242. Bird

    I was likely distracted by something shiny on the other side of the room. Happens a lot—it’s the magpie in me.

    I’m still pretty young in comparison to many of the women around here, both in real age (29 for a few more months) and in experience with feminist thought. I’ve read many books over the years, but I haven’t always been committed to patriarchy-blaming (even went to bible college at one point, but that’s a whole ‘nother story). There’s still plenty for me to learn, even if I know all these nice ideas from books. My experience in day-to-day feminist discourse is lacking at times.

    I’m likely to stick my foot in my mouth here and there and to misunderstand or misinterpret what’s been said. Feel free to call me on it or ask me what I mean anytime, okay?

    I think this is shaking hands and making up now. We good?

  243. smmo

    HPS said: “It seems some folks at IBTP would rather continue to use Octogalore the Cyberentity as a place to project their (understandable)frustrations.”

    Now you know I admire you but girl, please. Speaking only for myself, I object to things that Octogalore has actually said, not something I’ve projected onto her. As I’ve said elsewhere, she presumably gets strokes everywhere and always for being rich, entrepreneurial, smart, educated, thin, feminine, sexy and whatever the hell else. So she gets a little flack here. Big whoop. And she gives as good as she gets.

    Octogalore said: “HP: Thanks. It takes guts to buck the trend, and you have those in spades”

    See above. I’m not being trendy. I actually disagree with you.

  244. Octogalore

    SMMO — reading comprehension, please. I’ve never objected to your disagreeing with me. I appreciate your taking the time to engage, even if it’s to disagree. After all, that’s why I’m here — to hear views that I mostly think are extremely smart, much smarter and more interesting than what I’m exposed to in my daily life.

    What I did object to was the use of terms like “a man,” “cretinous” and “scum.” I think you’d agree, there’s no place for these insults here. I did not read HP as signing up to everything I said, either, and that wasn’t what I was thanking her for.

  245. antiprincess

    “So she gets a little flack here. Big whoop.”

    calling someone “a man” around here is hardly “a little flack.” more like straight-up fighting words.

  246. Twisty

    Yikes. Someone called someone “a man”? That is hardcore.

    OK, don’t tell the rest of the feminist blogosphere, since what I am about to admit to is apparently a crime against humanity, but I haven’t read every single comment in this behemoth of a thread. I hope everybody will remember to be more or less civil and stuff.

  247. smmo

    Octogalore: “What I did object to was the use of terms like “a man,” “cretinous” and “scum.” I think you’d agree, there’s no place for these insults here.”

    I do agree. I was ignoring it, but clearly that is a cowardly tack. I don’t like it, I don’t enjoy it, I disapprove.

    “SMMO — reading comprehension, please.”

    As I was saying, you give as good as you get.

  248. Octogalore

    SMMO: well, sure I do. You instantly assumed that my complaint (which was specifically directed) and HP’s response were about objecting to being disagreed with. Au contraire, if that were a problem for me I’d be long gone, for obvious reasons. So, yeah, I felt a little sarcasm was merited. But I hope you’d agreed that I’ve always treated you, and everyone else here, respectfully. With the brief exception of my quite immature reaction to Pony’s whole “I slept with your husband, the minuteman” thing… which I hope you can understand.

    I appreciate your saying that ignoring insults is cowardly. I don’t expect women here to play nice and agree where they don’t, but I thinnk we should all respect each other’s basic humanity.

  249. Octogalore

    Antiprincess: thanks. Definitely fighting words.

    One of the misogynist comments I most hate is “you ___ like a girl” or “you’re such a girl” (directed to a male). Even when I was a girl, and too young to get misogyny on other than an instinctive level, I’ve thought that line of commentary to be among the most despicable as well as stupid.

    So — when calling someone a man who isn’t may be different in some ways, because they’re the privileged class and all, it’s just as hateful.

  250. Pony

    You’ve been mocking and using the posters here for several months now. Each time, you have to find new ones because the one’s you’ve used and scammed on other threads (and blogs I’ve now learned) won’t engage you. Time someone called you on it. You are not a woman.

    You object to my calling it? Take it like a man.

  251. Octogalore

    Pony: what blogs are you referring to? I have no idea what you are talking about.

  252. mearl

    Personally, I like to blither.

    On the subject of those attending the Boston Porn Conference, I can’t go anymore because the wait for a passport is way too long. I am devastated. *whine* Twisty can we have a discussion post for anyone who does attend so we can find out what was said? Pleeeeeaaaase? I have no blog of my own yet.

  253. lawbitch

    Octagalore, you’re still hanging around here? You always seem to show up after most of us have moved along to a new thread and then go after particular posters. Maybe you’re not a man but you’re definitely late to the party.

  254. Octogalore

    Lawbitch: I’M going after somebody, now? Apparently, you’re either late to the party, or quite insincere, if you believe that to be the case.

    Somebody insults me, I ask what they are referring to, and you have the gall to ask why I’m still here?

  255. lawbitch

    Pony: what blogs are you referring to?

    Should read:

    Pony, to which blogs are you referring?

    I don’t buy the incredulous act. Party’s over at the geek thread, anyway.

  256. Mau

    Egads, that Andrea Dworkin quote could be taken straight from one of those hideous “Gor” novels by John Norman. (‘cept Norman and his followers believe it.)

  257. Octogalore

    Lawbitch: my dad’s an English prof. He used to be very anal about grammar. The state of the art now regarding ending sentences with prepositions is that it’s an acceptable informal alternative, although not OK for formal documents or letters. In some cases, the proper use of “I” and “you” can be varied for informal purposes, as well. It’s typically those slightly below the state of the art who are most anal about perfectly correct usage. In any case, if this is a passion of yours, I’d politely suggest that I’m not the best use of your pro bono time.

    Hope this helps.

  258. maribelle

    Proposed title:Tit for Tort

    Lololohshiticantstoplaughing. smmo–I want to have all of your babies.

    S-kat: I avoid asking myself too often: Does the fact that I generally don’t like women mean I’m not really a feminist?

    Yes, S-kat–that means you’re not really a feminist.

    And as for Octo–Jesus Crap on a cracker, blamers, when are we going to stop engaging this completely dishonest troll? (Sadly, Pony, I think she is a woman–more’s the pity.)

    thebewilderness hit it on the head, and it’s clear from anyone who has read her words over the course of many threads:

    Over time in various threads you have claimed you did not say what you could clearly see you had said if you simply read you comment…You are not honestly engaging in discussion. I have no problem with dispute and disagreement in the discussion. It is the dishonesty that tends to derail. {emphasis mine}

    Amen, hallelujah and yo-damn-skippy.

    In addition, this is a poster who:

    ~has to tell us she’s “stooping” (as if we couldn’t tell!) to viciously attack another poster, in a thread where she flaunts her wealth and status over said poster.

    ~A poster who has gone on record as saying that flaunting femininity is the ONLY way women will ever take power,

    ~A poster who is named after two (two!) James Bond p***y references, films in which women are only good for fucking and killing—preferably in that order.

    She doesn’t add to the conversation, she subverts it with such gems as:

    “No, not what I’m saying. I don’t think all men who go to prostitutes are necessarily sleazebags, but it’s probably fair to say that can be a good indicator. I do think married men who go without their partners’ consent and approval are sleazebags. And I don’t think men who don’t go are necessarily NOT sleazebags.”

    That means nothing. Pointless, meaningless gobbly-gook. It’s also A LIE, as bewilderness pointed out the above.

    Can we please, please ignore her?

  259. Pony

    But definitely not ignore you. Whatcha smoking?

  260. thebewilderness

    Sorry Pony, I probably should have listened to you threads ago. It took me a while to sort out if I was upset over an arrogant condescending authoritarian who still wanted to try to chew over the patriarchy, or an arrogant condescending authoritarian troll who wanted to control and/or derail the discussion. I’m through.

  261. maribelle

    Pony? I’m confused–especially since it was her vicious attack on you that was the last straw for me and prompted me to write. (I rarely post here at all, in fact.) I was touched by your story upthread, and said so, and you responded positively. What am I missing?

  262. Pony

    I’m confused too. I was saying I don’t want to ignore you. And kind of laughing at your ‘rant’. Was my comment inappropriate?

  263. Pony

    I don’t know what is going on bewilderness.

  264. Pony

    I’ve looked back up thread bewilderness, and this was your last comment to me.

    Pony:
    I’m with MarIguana and several others on this. His, their, education is not my, yours, any woman’s responsibility. And women who do still labour under this illusion will find out how useless it is, and how they will lose all that education, the minute they don’t own you(dreaded elipsis goes here)

    I think the dispute lies in the idea that there is no point, so don’t bother. While you don’t explicitly say this, it is implied.

    ~~~~etc.

    I didn’t answer you specifically, no, but did answer the thoughts you expressed in a post also answering others, saying more or less, walking our talk is the way I see to teach, and that yes I agree we do as parents have a responsibility to teach our children, but that society teaches them, and as they grow to adults they listen more to society (the patriarchy teaches males) than they do to us. I also said I think we have a lot on which we agree.

    There were a lot of posts this afternoon. I think I missed reading some, but did do so intentionally.

  265. Pony

    did NOT do so intentionally.

  266. LouisaMayAlcott

    Hi Pony,

    I think it was your “whatcha smoking?” comment that she took as a barb, rather than as an expression of compananionship.

    If you said “whatcha smoking?” to me I’d say “here, take a puff” , assuming that you wanted to join me in my cloud of enlightenment.

    But not all of us are on that wavelength.

    Take care, Pony. You are the highlight of my day.

  267. Mar Iguana

    So when I say I have a problem with porn, he hears his bible school teachers telling him that sex is bad, or whatever.

  268. Mar Iguana

    (Oops. Obviously haven’t had my minimum morning requirement of caffeine yet and had a premature blameulation there.)

    “So when I say I have a problem with porn, he hears his bible school teachers telling him that sex is bad, or whatever.” buggle

    Excuses are like assholes. Everybody has ‘em and they all stink. How many lame excuses did he have to throw against the wall to find this inspired bullshit, which apparently stuck? He can’t tell the difference between your words and that of bible schoolteacher?! Whatever indeed.

    When you are having sex with a boy who uses porn, you have to ask yourself what exactly is going through his mind at the time. Creepy, huh?

    “Mar Iguana: “high maintenance pet” – that is bang on. Can I use it?” mearl
    Feel free.

  269. Pony

    Companionship is exactly right. Thanks Louisa May, now you’ve made mine.

  270. hedonistic

    “So when I say I have a problem with porn, he hears his bible school teachers telling him that sex is bad, or whatever.” buggle

    Because porn = sex?

    Next time I hear this kind of bilge coming out of a man’s mouth I’m making the sound of a loud game show buzzer and hitting him over the head with a rolled up newspaper. Someday I won’t be able to find a newspaper to roll up and I’ll end up throwing a computer monitor at him instead.

    I have yet to be in the presence of porn that actually depicts sex between two humans.

  271. Bird

    Hmmm, yeah, not buying the bible school excuse. I went to bible school and they told me that women were supposed to sit down, shut up and have babies. I’ve firmly rejected that to become a smart-ass, mouthy, pushy woman, and I’m happy with that.

    That doesn’t mean that when someone asks me to be quiet for a good reason, I can’t pipe down for a few minutes.

    If he’s looking at porn, it’s because he wants to do it, not because it’s some sort of psychological scar from a religious upbringing. It’s a nice excuse he’s feeding you, but it’s still a pile of crap, and there’s no way you should swallow it.

  272. Mandos

    Otherwise, as soon as your relationship is cold, he won’t do those things anymore. He’s doing them to please you.

    Doesn’t that improve the world, though?

  273. maribelle

    Aaah, I’m sorry Pony. I misunderstood your tone, as Louisa May explained exactly. Thanks for the kind words; I have learned much from you and so many of the regular posters here (and Twisty of course.)

    Now that I know it’s THAT kind of party, please share mine. {passing pipe of peace}

  274. hedonistic

    Yeah, like I said upthread, Mandos: WORK IT, straight women o’the blogosphere!

    Hit it, band!

    doo doo doo doo doo!!!!!

    Lyrics to Cassie Long Way To Go

    I love it when they try to get intimate
    Even though they know I really ain’t into it
    (You’re not into it?)
    I’m not into it
    I already know they game and I’ve been through it
    See I buy my own bags, my boots, my jeans
    Wear La Rok with my Rebel Yell underneath
    You wanna step to me?
    Said you gotta’ long way 2 go

    (Rock wit me now)

    Hook:

    Claim that you’re so hott and you say you got skills in the bedroom
    You try to flirt when you’re so not
    Had a chance you still never come through
    You say you wanna come see me
    Cuz’ you know you’re girlfriend wanna be me (uh)
    I’ma tell you why you can’t
    Said you gotta long way 2 go
    Say you wanna love me ?
    Chorus:

    Wanna love me?
    Wanna touch me?
    Think twice cuz’ you gotta long way 2 go
    Don’t know how to act
    You betta’ fall back
    It’s like that cuz you gotta long way 2 go
    It’s not that deep
    Take it easy
    You wanna please me?
    Got a long way 2 go
    I’ma bad girl
    You wanna get close?
    Ease up cuz you gotta a long way-
    Verse 2:

    I love it when they try to gat scandalous
    Even though they know they really can’t handle it
    ( They can’t handle it?)
    They can’t handle it
    Try and take me out to dinner I cancel it
    If you really wanna know me first of all
    You should never try to get to personal
    Cuz’ I meant it when I said
    That you gotta long way to go

    Hook:

    Claim that you’re so hott and you say yo got skills in the bedroom
    You try to flirt when you’re so not
    Had a chance you still never come through
    You say you wanna come see me
    Cuz’ you know you’re girlfriend wanna be me (uh)
    I’ma tell you why you can’t
    Said you gotta long way 2 go
    Say you wanna love me ?

  275. buggle

    Dang, I was wondering when someone was going to pounce on me about the boyfriend and porn. :) Took longer than I thought! Although I think that it’s always easy to jump on this, even when you have no idea what my relationship is like.

    Of course he is looking at porn because he likes it. I mean, duh. And it’s not like I’m all “oh, it’s cause of bible school? Well ok then.” Maybe that’s how it sounded in my post, but that’s definitely not how I feel.

    I would like it if he would never look at anything like that again. But he’s an adult and can make his own choices. He knows how I feel about it and I know how he feels about it. That’s why I said we’re at a kind of standstill with it.

    I’ve been trying to explore my feelings about porn-all types of it, because for me it’s just a big fat trigger. But all these other feminists were saying that porn is ok, which I disagree with, but I thought “ok, maybe there is more to this than just me getting upset when I see it.” Now that I’ve done a lot of exploring, I realized that even if porn wasn’t an incest trigger, it’d still upset me so much for so many different reasons. And that’s why I’m so excited about this pornography conference! For sooo long I’ve felt like when I object to porn people (not my boyfriend) say “oh that’s because of your past-child pornography.” Which is so annoying, because I think porn is enough to object to all on its own!

    In terms of a relationship though, it’s hard. It’s not so cut and dried, at least for me. He has a lot to learn, and I doubt he’ll ever truly “get it” because he’s male-so how could he? And I have a lot to learn about how to be in a relationship, since it’s my only one (3 years, and I’m 30).

    A few things though-whenever you have sex with someone-you have NO idea what or who is going through their mind. I think that’s just silly to say that with men who occasionally watch porn you should be SOO worried. You never know what someone’s thinking when you are having sex with them. So no, it is not “scary” to me.

    And he never gave me “excuses” why he watched porn. I mean, he likes it. He doesn’t need an excuse. It’s not like he was always giving me crazy excuses and finally the bible school thing stuck. We were having a conversation about it and talking about our various feelings towards porn, and this was one of the things that came out of it.

    But it’s ok to judge away, it’s fine-I know it’s more fun than just talking. And maybe y’all are just worried that I’m fooling myself thinking I’m in this great relationship but really my boyfriend is a crazy porn-watching fiend-but don’t worry about me.

  276. Bird

    That’s not what you said before, though. You specifically gave the bible school defense. That’s why people are focussing on it.

    I’m not saying he’s a porn-watching fiend (or isn’t—that’s for you to decide). I’m saying that the bible school excuse is pretty lame. He’d be better off to just admit that he likes it, which it sounds like he has done.

    As you might have noticed, I’m not slamming you for having a boyfriend who you think is worth the effort. I have one too.

    But I am saying to not buy into the bullshit lines like that. If you don’t call him on that nonsense, what’s the point? He’s not going to start being honest about this stuff and learning what he’s doing wrong unless you (metaphorically) grab him by the shoulders and show him.

  277. Pony

    Of course Mandos and as I explained I do that too. Damn it’s natuaral nohting limited to heterosexual.

    Excuse I’ve had my pupils dialted an am weating those big black horse blinkers.

  278. JPony

    MzNicky I know where to find your e-mail address so don’t put it here, if it’s ok for me to e-mail you. I probably won’t do it today howver.

  279. JPony

    Oh no. Wrong therad. Just fucking shoot me. Really

  280. buggle

    Bird-for me the bible thingy landed in a different way, not as an excuse at all. It’s hard online to explain things right. but just made me realize that there was more going on-having to do with shame and stuff. And that me telling him not to do it wasn’t going to be a good way to proceed. It’s hard though, and that’s why I’m here. How much do you insist on? When do my feelings outweigh his feelings? And so on. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately-can I really be in a relationship with a man without compromising a ton of stuff? And I’m trying to become more aware of times when I let his needs outweigh mine. We both have a lot of social/gender role conditioning to get over.

    It’s SO great to come to this blog-because I usually post at BUST, and most of the women over there are fairly pro-porn. And pro-sex work and stuff. I get really pissed off over there-because to them it’s so simple. But sometimes it’s hard over here because some of the more radical women here see it as really simple too, they just believe the exact opposite! (i.e. all porn is bad) So, I’m just stumbling my way through, trying to learn.

  281. thebewilderness

    Pony,
    The advice you gave was not to feed the troll. I was not sure Octo was a troll so I ignored your advice. I shouldn’t have. Sorry, I think my comment was so cryptic only the voices inside my head could understand it.

  282. Pony

    Ok Bewilderness. Thanks for the explanation. I was worried because I like and agree your point of view and always read your posts.

  283. Kali

    “It’s hard though, and that’s why I’m here. How much do you insist on? When do my feelings outweigh his feelings? And so on. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately-can I really be in a relationship with a man without compromising a ton of stuff? And I’m trying to become more aware of times when I let his needs outweigh mine.”

    This is not about balancing of needs and compromising. This is not about choosing which ice cream to buy if you like strawberry and he likes chocolate. This is not about thinking of someone else while having sex. This is about him feeding the machinary of SEXUAL SLAVERY. This is about women being used, abused, tortured, exploited, bought and sold for his entertainment, and his sense of entitlement to all that.

  284. Pony

    A clear and perfect statement of what this conversation has been about. Thanks for this Kali.

  285. orange

    I thought of this post last night, watching TV with my husband. One of those stupid “Deal or no Deal” commercials came on, but this time it was ladies’ night- instead of hairless, zombie-smiling woman-bots in tight mini-dresses, a bunch of firemen were going to line up and hold the briefcases. After that commercial, a commercial for “I Think I Love My Wife” came on, and I started yelling.

    I said: “Do you see how men, even when they’re being objectified, get to keep their identities, and also their fucking pants on ? And if there was a movie called ‘I Think I Love My Husband’ with a woman who just thought about sex all the time and wanted nothing but sex from her husband and tried to be in charge of what underwear her husband wore to please her, do you know what that movie would really be called by the stupid public ? It would be called “Bitch!”

    My husband took it all in. And he said: “Are you chafing at the stupidity of the patriarchy ?”

    Well, duh.

  286. buggle

    Oh yes, Deal or no Deal-I hate that show! GRRR. THe whole ladies night thing-yep, the guys are fully dressed, in uniforms no less-to show that they may be studs, but they are also heros/employed or something. And us “ladies” only get one night out of the whole year to exploit men? GRRRr. I’m wondering if the guys will have to fake-flirt with Howie, like the female models do. Ha!

    I love that your husband used the word patriarchy :) Very good. I asked the boy to do some reading on feminist blogs on his own, just poke around and read and see what he learns.

    Yes Kali, I know what it’s about, I’m not a moron, thanks. That’s why it’s so upsetting. One of the talks at this Wheelock porn conference is about why men get aroused by seeing women degraded. I’m really looking forward to that and am hoping it’ll get through to the boyfriend. That there’s more to it than just being attracted to women and aroused when you see a picture of a naked woman. He gets all confused about that-I’m not saying it’s bad to want to see a pretty naked lady, but you have to look at it in context. Who is this woman? Who took the picture? Did she want to be there? Was she forced? Who is this designed for? Who made money off of this? Etc etc.

    Actually, I could use help with this one-how DO I answer when someone says “well what’s wrong with looking at a neked picture?” I usually get all upset and then my brain freezes. Anyone have a good explanation?

  287. thebewilderness

    Buggle,
    There is a message in every picture. This slide show essay may help you formulate the answer to that question, beyond stating that pictures of naked women objectify women.
    http://www.uvm.edu/~tstreete/powerpose/index.html

  288. buggle

    Thank you! That is so right about the message in every picture. That really helps. I just get so upset about stuff that I can’t form a good thought. And when something is so obvious to me, I don’t know how the heck to explain it to someone else.

  289. saltyC

    buggle, I’m not a fortune-teller or anything, but if I were you I’d start figuring out what I’ll do after this relationship is over. If he’s like 98% of people, he won’t give up an addiction for love. Sorry but true.

  290. Bird

    Knowing something is bad doesn’t necessarily make someone stop. Hell, I smoked for years and I knew it was deadly (and yeah, I sort of did quit for love, among other reasons).

    I’m pretty sure he already knows all the reasons he shouldn’t look at it. You seem like the sort of woman to have told him—I don’t see you keeping quiet about stuff (and that’s a good thing).

    I just doubt that he’s going to quit. He might start hiding it, or renting videos when you’re out of town, or whatever.

    I hope I’m wrong, for your sake. I think this is going to end up a make or break thing for you. It seems like you’re already denying a lot of your values to tolerate it, and I don’t think you can do that forever. So I hope he stops.

    I’m just not all that optimistic about it, that’s all.

  291. Pony

    Why are all her female parts false and not like any real woman? Why are they not using condoms, and will they pay her disability income for the rest of her life (however long *that* is when she chugs back gallons of cum over the span of her sex “work” career. Will they pay for the surgeries she’ll need to keep her vulva in 12 year old trim, and her rectum repairs?

    Why do they make this and call it sex? Because men want it, buy it and replace real relationships with this, because real relationships require they see you as a human being. Even if they have real relationships, what’s going on in their heads when their doin’ you isn’t you.

    Why is no other oppressed group expected to believe that their defilement and degradation is natural and women should do it, and LIKE it..if you loved me. We are told this, explicitly and implicitly.

  292. Pony

    Tell the boyfriend to visit this site, and compare what is done here to what you see in porn:

    Pure as the driven slush.

    Naked does not equal porn. Do not be taken in by that bit of spam. They porn industry has done this to us; implied that if we do not like degradation and abuse, we do not like sex. Again and again: porn is NOT sex. Porn is ABUSE. Men who wank to porn are getting off on the power, degradation, humiliation, pain and abuse. They are not getting off on sex.

  293. Mar Iguana

    Exactly it, Pony. Freud was right about one thing: It is ALL about sex. Sadly, few, if any, boys know how to have sex. They only know how to fuck. To have sex, they would have to yield to emotions they don’t even want to acknowledge could exist within themselves. That’s girlie stuff. If they do experience the loss of control good sex requires, they hate the woman for having that kind of power over them.

    Something a dear friend once told me leads me to wonder if men even have orgasms because they think that’s what’s happening to them when they ejaculate. In other words, male orgasm and ejaculation may be two different things.

    My friend was told by a rare, evolved male that ejaculation is actually not a pleasant experience, painful even. Anybody else ever hear of such a thing?

    When I think of the hilarious grimace on boys’ faces when they are ejaculating, it makes me wonder. Could this be at the bottom of sex and violence getting fused in the male mind; the reason they call what they think of as orgasm la petite mort?

  294. buggle

    Wowzah,

    While I appreciate the support and info, I think it’s really funny that people are telling me my relationship is bad, won’t last, and that my boyfriend is a porn addict! Ha ha! Funny stuff. My relationship may not last (most end eventually, and yes I of course have a post-relationship plan because ya just never know), but it’s a great relationship, and in no way is he an addict. I’m a pot addict, but he’s no addict, in any way you mean that word. Well, he really does like creating his artwork, and he’ll spend like 4 hours working on one piece, so if there’s anything he’s addicted to, it’s that.

    And he actually does have feelings-I know, shocking to those of you who don’t think any man does have real emotions! He’s not afraid to show them. He doesn’t think it’s just for “girls.” I mean, I’m bringing up this one thing in the relationship that bothers me, and y’all want me to run like the wind. Hee hee. He’s the kindest, most gentle PERSON I’ve ever met. Is he clueless sometimes? Yep. So am I. So are we all.

    So, while I’m sure this “advice” was well-intentioned, I think I’ll just continue to make the decisions that are right for me. And really, don’t tell me what he’s thinking about when we’re having sex, cause you don’t know!

    To Bird- he doesn’t rent it actually. He does own one DVD which I’ve watched with him-because I wanted to see what he was watching. He doesn’t get magazines or anything like that. He might look at stuff online, I wouldn’t know about that though. Well, I’m sure he does, but I just don’t see it at all.

    I respect all of you and learn new things each time I come here. I don’t agree with everything said, but I can take what I need and leave the rest. As long as I keep thinking, it’s good stuff.

    One last thing-I argue and fight with the women on the BUST boards about porn ALL THE TIME and it’s incredibly frustrating. Most of them are pro-porn, there is even a sex workers thread on there where the most recent question is how to get in shape for a stripper audition. Blech. So these feminists bug me way more about porn than my boyfriend ever has.

  295. buggle

    Ok, I just skimmed through that pure as driven slush site, and this is fine to me. And really, my boyfriend would be fine with this stuff. One thing that I’ve been thinking about lately is that there’s no reason he can’t find “better” porn to watch or pictures to look at-stuff that’s not degrading, that truly is just a celebration of sexuality, or whatever. He would be totally turned on my some of those pictures, and they don’t have the ick factor to go along with them. I think the mainstream stuff is just more, well, mainstream. It’s just there, whereas the better stuff you actually have to take some time to find it.

    So Pony-you wouldn’t consider this site porn? What would you call it? Erotica?

  296. Mandos

    Something a dear friend once told me leads me to wonder if men even have orgasms because they think that’s what’s happening to them when they ejaculate. In other words, male orgasm and ejaculation may be two different things.

    My friend was told by a rare, evolved male that ejaculation is actually not a pleasant experience, painful even. Anybody else ever hear of such a thing?

    When I think of the hilarious grimace on boys’ faces when they are ejaculating, it makes me wonder. Could this be at the bottom of sex and violence getting fused in the male mind; the reason they call what they think of as orgasm la petite mort?

    How does the popularity of the act among men figure into this theory?

  297. Pony

    No I wouldn’t call it porn. I believe Corinna has an essay on her site about what she calls it. I think it’s thoughtful, witty, not degrading, self-ownership of body and sexuality. I’m impressed with her Scarleteen and All Girl Army sites too. She hits just the right tone.

  298. Mar Iguana

    Theory? Clue: See the little question marks?

  299. saltyC

    B, I didn’t think you’d receive my advice well, but I’m glad you do have a post-rela plan. WHy do I say that? (and I’m sure you won’t take this well either) You speak for him more than any one person can for any other person, saying what he’ll like and what he won’t. You don’t know. My prediction stands, sorry.

  300. buggle

    Well, I think everyone should always have a post-relationship plan, that just makes good sense to me. Luckily, my plan is the same whether I’m in a relationship or not-either way I’ll be moving in a few years, with or without him.

    In terms of advice- I think I received it just fine saltyc! I don’t take advice from strangers on the internet, but I hear what you are saying. It didn’t upset me or anything-I just think it’s funny that from a few paragraphs on a website you can make these dire predictions about my relationship. I mean sure, if I was on here complaining about how much porn he watched, and how he spends so much time watching porn, and tells me it’s all good, and it’s not sexist, etc etc, that’d be different.

    I’m not really sure what you mean about me speaking for him about what he’ll like or won’t like. I mean, I know he likes pretty pictures of naked women, and she had those on her site. Some of them he would not enjoy, and some he would. I sent him that link actually, to check it out and see what he thinks.

    It’s great, because this thread has made me think more about it and I’ve talked to him about it a bit, and we have plans to have a larger conversation about it. And that conference is this weekend, so I’m looking forward to it. This is tough stuff, not easy to talk about, not even easy to think about. I really do feel strongly about it though, and I can’t just put my own feelings on the back burner.

    One thing I’m finding is that I just don’t have the language for it- all I have is one word: porn. One word that encompasses a whole lot of different stuff.

    Pony-I didn’t realize she does Scarleteen too, that’s so awesome- a really great site especially for teens. I’ll have to go back and read her essay, cause I need language to be able to talk about this!

  301. Pony

    You’re going to the conference so you should come back with language, and a bursting brain. I hope you’ll share some of it here.

    Find the definition of the word pornography.

  302. Pony

    The definition that is most accurate, I think, to the etymology of the word.

    Pornography definition:
    mcc.org/abuse/pornography/definition.html

  303. winna

    I wish there were sufficiently advanced spam filters to disemvowel all posts that contain an encomium to A Very Special Man, or the ones where the Very Special Man posts to tell us all how terribly sorry he is about the terrible world in which we live.

    It would make threads much more productive.

  304. Mandos

    Theory? Clue: See the little question marks

    And they call me the picker of nits.

    OK, so, how *would* this *hypothesis/wondering/question/vague idea* about male ejaculation and orgasm fit with the *known* popularity of the same?

  305. Twisty

    Mandos, Mandos, Mandos. You aren’t seriously proposing to debate this non-issue on my blog, are you? Because I will concede the point on everybody’s behalf: men like orgasms.

    Next.

  306. buggle

    Thanks for the definition Pony-that’s a good one, although very different from the definitions I’ve seen before. Yep, the conference should help with language. My brain is already bursting, so I’m sure by Saturday afternoon I’m going to be hurting :) But in a good way. Well, I’ll probably be a big old mess, actually.

    Winna- I’m sorry you think that me trying to learn something is so worthless, to the point that you’d just like to have my posts not even appear. But, until Twisty tells me not to post, I’m going to post what I want. And how was YOUR post productive, in any way?

    And yeah-men like orgasms. So do women. Not much to debate.

  307. Pony

    It’s the only definition buggle. Anything else is porn industry spin. You can say a word means whatever you want it to mean, that doesn’t make it so. Take the word apart, find out what the parts mean, and you’ve got it.

    Pornography definition:
    mcc.org/abuse/pornography/definition.html

  308. Pony

    I think he just wants to talk about it Twisty. Wanker.

  309. buggle

    Hey all-probably no one is reading this anymore, but I thought I’d write a quick update. I went to the conference at Wheelock College-it was really amazing. My boyfriend and I stayed for the first three talks-all very good. Gail Dines is amazing! She got me all riled up. The talks were just so good, and it felt amazing to be in a room with all sorts of people who feel the same way about porn that I do.

    The first speaker helped me a lot, because she talked about the “2nd and 3rd waves” of feminism, and about how a lot of “3rd wavers” are buying in the BS that all this oppressive crap is now all of a sudden empowerfulizing. This speech helped me a lot, because I’ve been spending time at the BUST boards talking about porn, and I’ve been so frustrated. This talk really helped me see how these women are just buying the lie. It made me feel a lot less crazy.

    The 2nd speaker was a man, and his was quite short since it was running behind schedule. However, he made a few really good, clear points. My boyfriend was crying during this part-I think he finally got it.

    The 3rd speaker was Gail, and she was just so amazing. She did a slideshow showing all this awful stuff, I was crying and gripping boyfriend’s hand, a lot of others in the audience were doing the same. IT was really hard to get through. But, afterwards, people came up and asked questions, and it just made me feel so great and uncrazy-these people share my opinion! I’m not just a hater!

    We left at the lunch break, and I considered heading back for more. It just felt great to be in a room with a bunch of radical feminists. I realized how much I need that-blogging is great, but being there in person is just totally different. I was disturbed for the rest of the day because of the images I saw, but I felt a huge sense of relief. For so long I’ve been trying to sort out my feelings and I just feel like “whew!” Because actually, I’ve always known how I’ve felt about it, I just didn’t feel strong enough to stick to my guns. I felt like, well, there are so many women who like porn, so maybe I’m just afraid of sex, or it’s because of my past abuse, or something.

    So, for my boyfriend-I really didn’t know how he’d react. We had a big fight the night before the conference, and I just didn’t know if he’d be able to stay open and really listen. It was pretty amazing, the change in him. I felt like he actually “got it.” Finally! We had some really great discussions that day and the next. I feel like it opened up a whole new part of our relationship. I explained that I don’t want our sex life, and my sexuality, to have anything to do with porn. I want to explore my sexuality and I want him to explore his, without porn. We were talking about how early we saw porn as kids, and how our sexual expression has been limited by that.

    Anyways, ramble ramble. I really have to thank the people on this board who kept pushing me. It’s a tough subject and I was scared to push the issue with my boyfriend, but I’m so glad I did. And I just feel so thankful that that conference was put on in my town! Great timing for me.

  310. Pony

    This is so great to hear buggle; thanks for posting (although it took me a while to find it). When you come down off your cloud head over to Genderberg and take out membership. Several GB members were at the conference.

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