Apr 08 2007

Queasy persiflage

Because they function as the flappy lips of patriarchy, newspapers print almost nothing but updates on the crazy men who run the world, sappy sentimental bullshit, and asinine misogynist lies all the time. Yesterday’s Washington Post Op-Ed on the unfitness of women for military service combines all three in one nose-blowingly irritating essay.

In her nonsensical piece “Mother of all Blunders,” author Mrs. Reverend Lovejoy — I mean Kathleen Parker — advances the theory that the Western practice of enlisting women in the military has, in light of the recent pissing contest between Iran and the UK over those 15 captured government-trained-killers, made “the West” (i.e. the United States) into a global laughingstock. Apparently Iran was able get a lot of tsk-tsking mileage at the expense of Britain (i.e. the United States) for putting the dear mother of a toddler in harm’s way. Because women are universally weak vessels of disability, their presence, whether on a battlefield or in a group of prisoners, is undignified. Furthermore, allowing women in combat, it seems, “diminish[es] motherhood so that women can pretend to be men.”

In Parker’s universe, the position of global laughingstock (the word she uses is ‘wimp’) apparently confers upon the citizenry a shame so insufferable that “we of the West” (she means “we of the White Judeo-Christian West”), with our delicacy of spirit, belief in invisible magic concierges, high moral rectitude, and status as the world’s premier Klingons, will suffer intolerable psychic wounds until we come to our senses and stop sending frail, virtuous mothers of “children in their tender years” into Glorious Battle. O the humiliation of all that diminished motherhood fighting our battles for us. How will We Of The West, with our wimpiness and callous disregard for baby mommas, ever save face?

Hey, I know. We could invade Iran.

But not with any chicks in the army. Women are too womanish for combat. ‘Our enemies,’ whose views on femininity do not appear to differ substantially from Parker’s (Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be a “dangerous, lying, Holocaust-denying, Jew-hating cutthroat thug” but according to Parker he’s “dead-on” when it comes to stripping women of their personal sovereignty for the good of the male godbag agenda), are likely to exploit women’s genetic infirmity to their own advantage, such as when the Iranians put Acting Leading Seaman Faye Turney “in Muslim garb and parad[ed] her before television cameras.”

Women, continues Parker, are not only incapable of battle, but are more susceptible to rape than male soldiers. She seems to think it is perfectly reasonable that men are voracious rapists, and subscribes to the view that rape prevention should take the form of limiting women’s agency.

She also thinks it is perfectly reasonable to send fathers of tender-yeared children off to battle, a fact made clear by her unquestioning acceptance that killing is “necessary.” She does not say why she believes this. Maybe she is a sociopath, or (not that one would exclude the other) maybe she has internalized the message that killing confers upon its practitioners the highest honor attainable by glory-hungry patriarchy-enthusiasts, and so must remain the exclusive purview of men.

And not ‘wimpy’ men, either, for chrissake. The slightest drop of estrogen diminishes warriorhood. The light of some Stone Age morning has dawned on Parker’s dim consciousness; Iran should fax We Of The West that page from their book where it says that women’s only moral purpose is to femininely incubate the next generation of killers.


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  1. Andrew B.

    “Allowing women in combat, it seems, “diminish[es] motherhood so that women can pretend to be men.””

    From a book I read recently about WWI:

    In England, after the war, “The National Union itself, in an unreflexive, knee-jerk reaction to war, turned to work that emphasized gender divisions and declared its conviction that feminists’ greatest and most obvious responsibilities in sustaining the vital strength of the nation were those pertaining to domesticity.”

    It’s going to be interesting to try and change a society within which we can’t even earn women’s rights through contribution to something which a male-based society would view as important as war–the ultimate in dudely awesomeness.

  2. Ana Casian Lakos

    I think this one of the most brilliant things I have read all month.

    I agree, I agree, I agree!!!

  3. Scratchy888

    Ms Kathleen clearly has a daddy complex, but what if it became apparent that Aminnejad was not a wise pappa, with an acute moral sensory organ, but that he was merely playing her because of her daddy complex?

  4. CafeSiren

    Must be something in the air: the L.A. Times today featured an editorial by Phyllis Schlafly on why equal rights are bad for women.

    Damned feminists. Damned lesbians.

  5. Artemis

    One wonders if Parker yearns for the resumption of a military draft (the assured outcome of yanking women out of the service) and thrills at the thought of all those new manly-male conscripts heading to hell on earth.

  6. thebewilderness

    As I understand it Parker used a widow in her neighborhood to provide the correct type of child care for her spawn. This would explain the pro war dead of the masculine variety position. Generate enough war widows and we can properly isolate those children until they are old enough to go to war or spawn.

  7. j

    As usual, the valiant feminist bloggers read Kathleen Parker so that I don’t have to. Thank you.

  8. LMYC

    And here I thought the right wing took special pride in the fact that the barbaric Middle East hated us for our freedoms.

  9. JR

    I had never heard of this Kathleen Parker, and it is very disturbing to discover upon googling her that her regular misogynistic rants are widely syndicated to hundreds of small papers around the country.

    Also it makes me crazy that the Washington Post considers her views (which are not common, by the way, even among militaristic veteran Republican types, many of whose daughters serve in the armed forces these days or know women who do) to be ‘mainstream’ enough for publication on the Op-Ed page. This b_s_ is NOT mainstream.

    But there is a weird way in which her rant does a service to the world, in just the same way as Dinesh D’Souza’s sick, unhinged book does — the book that tells all about how the Taliban are right to hate us for all our feminism and equality and acceptance of gay people and so on. Parker and D’Souza spell out for all the world to see what liberals like us already know: that American cultural right-wingers REALLY ARE on the same page, in lots of ways, as Ahmadinejad and the Taliban and radical Islamists in general. They say it themselves.

    And so I think the question for Parker and D’Souza and their readers ultimately is one with which they should be pretty familiar at this point, only this time it’s for real: are you with us, or are you with the terrorists? Because although we live in a pretty shitty patriarchy here in America, in the grand scheme of current world affairs, America stands for equality. For women, for gays and lesbians, for racial minorities. At some point, either you’re on board with that program, or you’re on the side of lovely folks like anti-gay Nigerian Bishop Peter Akinola, the Taliban, and yes, President Ahmadinejad.

  10. mearl

    When it comes down to “who’s got the biggest balls of all,” that’s when women get pushed aside. The bigger issue here, as in all issues of war, is the issue of balls. I highly doubt that many men, in the climate of feminist-hatin’ that’s currently so hot in N.A., will support American women’s right to fight in combat when it comes down to a global chest-beating contest with a culture that clearly has its women where they belong. It’s even better when WOMEN are writing articles about how erroneous it is for women to be anywhere but having a baby in front of the stove. But that’s just my prediction on the male reaction. Call me cynical.

  11. barbaric yawp

    That was sheer genius, right from the get-go. I will now spend the next week manufacturing opportunities to use “the flappy lips of patriarchy” in a sentence.

  12. Artemis

    Is there a better forum for punishing women who step out of their acceptable roles than the military? Why are the military brass happy to turn a blind eye to rape in the ranks?

    It is the classic military way of things. They need the cannon fodder, the warm bodies, the brainwashed drones with weapons and had to choke down the reality that non-white, non-male people might take them up on their super duper offers of reliable meals, minimal housing, and the scant possibility that health care and education might be had in the bargain.

    Now that they’ve gagged down that social reality, the military is only too happy to have those desperate people to do with as they wish. And women get the worst of it. What a bonus for the patriarchy.

    Some of the male military godheads may – publicly – nod in agreement with Parker’s brand of swoony-ness over her fantasy of the proper place for the female, but in private they remain happy with their good fortune to punish women at least twice over.

  13. Antelope

    Wow – I skimmed several people’s commentary on this article over the past few days – but for some reason nobody mentioned the sickest lines of all:

    “…our military is gradually weaning men of their intuitive inclination to protect women — which, by extrapolation, means ignoring the screams of women being assaulted.

    At the point when our men can stand by unfazed while American servicewomen are raped and tortured, then we will have no cause to fight any war. We will have already lost.”

    Right – the problem is not the men who are doing the raping, the problem is policies that destroy the natural instincts of the nice guys. The ones who are usually standing right nearby when a rape happens and who usually dash right in to prevent it. This, of course, is why so few rapes are ever completed. And especially why so few rapes are completed anywhere in or near the U.S. military, which until quite recently was full of the nicest, most heroic guys of all.

    Queasy doesn’t begin to capture it. Five years ago, this woman seemed to be positioning herself as the cute-and-reasonable conservative, writing articles that could almost pass as balanced if you were drowsy, but now she’s doggy paddling in an olympic sized pool of the kool-aid.

  14. Antelope

    Yet I can’t help thinking those words “by extrapolation” come from what little is left of her soul. Most conservative commentators these days can no longer tell when they’re extrapolating, or at least they pretend that they can’t.

  15. Scratchy888

    policies that destroy the natural instincts of the nice guys.

    The problem with the whole ideological notion of “natural instincts” and the determination to relate on that particular basis is that it leads to people relating to others on the basis of the path of least resistance. After all, how do I tell what my “natural instincts” are? Really, I have to wait to see what I’ma gonna do, and then, once I discover this, I can report back that I did X or Y,which can then be considered as reflecting what is natural for me. That is how the notion of natural instincts works on a basic level in ideological practice. That is the form of rightist ideological thinking step 1. Step 2 is to excuse men if their path of least resistance (ie. “natural instincts”) makes them look like unpleasant apes. In this case, conclude that said “natural instincts” have been perverted. If, however, the subject in question is a woman, then whatever makes her look bad (but not whatever makes her look good or proficient) can be put down to her “natural instincts”.

    Ah, tis how logic goes when it is without the right premises.

  16. Rene

    She’s an idiot. The increasingly shitty paper of record in my town reprints her Angel-of-the-House crap every week, and because I’m a masochist I can’t seem to make myself ignore it. I was so incensed by one of her tautological torture apologias (we all know they’re terrorists, or why would they be detained in the first place?) that I fired off a sarcastic little email to which she never bothered to reply. Since then, I haven’t been surprised by any of her moronic pseudo-arguments, not the recent John Edwards diatribe (on-camera preening is UNMANLY; his career is over; thanks, youtube, for exposing his unsuitability for office), nor the not-so-recent preemptive defense of the Duke Lacrosse team (she has sons of her own, you know, boys-will-be-boys kinda boys who must be protected from scheming, lying sluts with a libido for wrecking innocent lives). Given that the peerless editors of my hometown paper see fit to publish exactly three syndicated woman columnists (they cancelled Maureen Dowd to prevent an estrogen tsunami), it makes me really sad that one of the token women is so patently anti-woman.


  17. Delishka

    Natural instincts of the nice guys?

    The natural instinct of the male is to protect his babymama, his potential babymama, and his female relatives. His other natural instinct is to try to make any reasonably healthy female into his babymama….

    The whole ‘men protecting women’ thing is a learned social behavior…Nice guys are nice guys because someone taught them empathy. Civilization evolved (partially) to stop men from killing their neighbor’s children and raping their neighbors’ wives. Men, I’m not saying that all men are evil, don’t jump on me….I’m saying if you were raised in the jungle by apes, you would act like an ape…and femmes raised in the jungle by apes would (depending on the type of monkey) have slightly more child friendly social skills, but they would still act like apes.

    [quote] What kind of man, one shudders to wonder, is willing to allow his country’s women to be raped and tortured by men of enemy nations? [/quote]

    I find this statement in particular to be disturbing…as most of the rapes you hear about of our servicewomen are perpetrated by our own servicemen….and you don’t hear about nearly as many of those as there actually are. You also hear about the (gang)rapes of local women by our servicemen. But Ms. Parker seems only concerned that our servicemen would stand by while ‘his country’s women’ are raped by the enemy? That actually IS against the male’s ‘natural instinct’ I suppose….if you consider that the male’s natural instinct is perceived ownership of the females of his people.

    If you actually read the article by Phyllis Schlafly, rather than only the inflammatory headline, she APPEARS to be asserting that the wording of the ERA is flawed and incomplete, leaving itself open to too much legal interpretation, and therefore to pass it would be in error. I wish they’d included a link to the actual text of the entire proposed amendment. Of course, then she has to queer her logic by referring to the advocates of the Equal Rights Amendment as thought they actually were the amendment, and that somehow the amendment itself (rather than it’s supporters) had become rabidly pro abortion, pro gay rights, and anti-middle-american. But if it actually were those things, wouldn’t it be better to be worded to grant domestic partnership rights, and such, rather than to remove widows’s benefits? I didn’t even know that widows got benefits that widowers didn’t…is that still true? And as for the ‘presumption that a husband should support his wife’ isn’t that already quite out of fashion? Besides, I thought the presumption was that a husband would support his family financially, while a wife would support her family domestically. Seems many families can’t actually make it without two incomes nowadays anyway, but husbands/dads also do a lot more around the house than they would have 50 years ago. (I can’t picture my dad scrubbing the toilet) Either way, this presumption is not written into the laws, it’s a social consturct. I don’t see how it can be considered a ‘right’ that is threated by the ERA.
    All we need to do is tack on a codicil about funding for spinach farmers, and we’ll have a proper proposal.

  18. Catherine Martell

    You are all right, especially Twisty, who can’t seem to write a single sentence without hitting at least one nail on the head. I am so glad you’ve written on this. The general reporting of this story has been making my eyes swivel madly with fury for days, and Parker’s poisonous oped neatly sums up several of the nastiest and stupidest points that have been made.

    Even in the less appalling British newspapers, there was excessive goo layered upon Leading Seaman Turney’s private life as a “wife and mother”. At no point was it even mentioned whether the rest of the 14 sailors had partners or children, though probability suggests that several of them did; not that it would matter anyway, because how does having a spouse and spawn make any soldier’s life more important than any other’s, anyway? Oh yeah, I forgot – it does if that soldier happens to have a uterus, and is therefore a special magic baby machine.

    My eyes nearly pop out of my head with all the swivelling when the racist misogynists bring up this argument:

    Iran wasted no time dressing up Turney in Muslim garb and parading her before television cameras.

    In other pieces, I have seen it said that making Turney wear a headscarf was a piece of “humiliation”, and that’s certainly what Parker implies. The cultural ignorance here is at such a pitch it almost shatters glass. I am no fan of Islamic female dress policies, for all the obvious reasons. But the fact is that in Iran, women always wear (and are legally obliged to wear) a headscarf, and this is considered, however erroneously, to be decent. Giving Leading Seamen Turney a headscarf was a gesture of respect. Putting her on Iranian TV without one would have been equivalent to putting an Iranian captive on British TV wearing only her underwear.

    Of course, we in Britain and the US know all about how to treat captives with honour and decency and the Geneva Convention. I seem to remember that a bag over the head, a barking dog on a long leash, and electrodes clipped to the genitals are among the accessories we supply to our captives before we get the cameras out.

    Also, has anyone noticed this bizarro paragraph?

    While advocates for women in combat argue that men are also raped, there is an important difference. Women are raped by men, which, given the inherent power differential between the sexes, raises women’s rape to another level of terror.

    Is Parker under the impression that men in combat situations are raped by women? Can she provide even one story, however flimsily corroborated, to suggest that this happened? I suppose that you could argue that female American soldiers in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have been involved in the sexual humiliation of men, but those aren’t combat situations.

    The stories of rape from combat situations are all, without any exception that I’ve ever seen, of men doing the raping, whether it’s of men, women or children. And I am fairly certain, from some of the horrific stories about such incidents, that being raped by a gang of American* soldiers is terrifying whether you’re an Iraqi* woman or an Iraqi* man. I doubt the latter is lying there thinking “Phew, I’m really glad that there’s no inherent power differential between me and these guys.”

    *Or substitute any other combatants in any other war here. I’m not making allegations about Americans vs Iraqis specifically, just using them as an example.

  19. Feminist Avatar

    My ‘favourite’ British headline of this crisis: ‘a prisoner, a pawn, but above all a mother’. No further comment necessary.

    I am also quite offended by Parker’s comment that:

    “no one can look at photos of the 15 British marines and sailors and argue convincingly that the British navy is stronger for the presence of Acting Leading Seaman Faye Turney — no matter how lovely and brave she may be.”

    You can’t? Why not? What from a photograph would ‘convincingly’ show me that she is the weak link in the chain? The long, blond hair? The boobs??

    Also where is all this ‘evidence to the contrary’ that women are incapable in battle? As I understood it, most sociologists are at worst ambivalent about women’s role as soldiers and many think that they bring attributes that compensate for any (if there is any) physical weakness.

    I also think that in a period (in Britain anyway) where rape convictions are at an all time low, we may have alredy lost the battle men can stand by unfazed while women are raped and tortured.

  20. Joolya

    Twisty, thank you. That was great. I can’t even think of anything to add. I just wanted to give you a high five.

  21. CLD

    Excellent post, Twisty. I get so fed up with Kathleen Parker, I could spit acid. Thank goodness there are folks like you who can put coherent words to paper [or Internet toobz] and point out the BS and hypocrisy with a cool head and intelligent arguments.

  22. Foilwoman

    I knew your advanced blaming skills would be much more effective regarding Ms. Parker’s clearly misanthropic piece. My take on this: she really hates men and thinks their lives aren’t worth protecting, and they certainly can’t be harmed by a bit o’ rape (Abu Ghraib) like we tender flowers of femininity. But some people are always going on about how femininists hate men (well everyone hates someone, right?), but here’s an example in flaming neon letters of an anti-feminist, a pawn of the patriarchy, a believer in the privileges and so on of men which should not be usurped by women saying clearly: men’s lives are expendable. She hates men. Hee. We really need to get that out there about this thought process. These are the real women who hate men: the women who want men to die for protecting traditional Iranian Shi’a, oops no, traditional Muslim, oops no, traditional Taliban, traditional Wahhabi, traditional Baptist, traditional Floridian, Moral Majority, and/or family values.

  23. kiki

    Great piece and great comments.

    She seems to think it is perfectly reasonable that men are voracious rapists, and subscribes to the view that rape prevention should take the form of limiting women’s agency.

    Twisty, I’ve seen many women trying to make this point on BBS and in RL, but your exquisite distillation of this nefarious notion takes the taco.

  24. tinfoil hattie

    My favorite part of her piece was the comment about how children need their fathers too, but really young kids need their mothers more, and ALL GOOD PARENTS KNOW THIS.

    This drove me nuts. There’s not one stinkin’ reason a man can’t do as good a job as a woman when it comes to taking care of a baby. I guess I’m just a crappy parent, though.

  25. tinfoil hattie

    And may I add that there were times my husband did a BETTER job than me of taking care of babies. The post-partum hormone roller coaster & lack of sleep & sore parts, y’know?

  26. anuna

    Twisty, thank SpaghettiMonster you commented on this. My eyes bugged out and my blood boiled when the piece appeared in my local paper. “What kind of man, one shudders to wonder, is willing to allow his country’s women to be raped and tortured by men of enemy nations?” Yeah, how dare they allow those OTHER men to rape OUR wimmins? Now when we rape ’em ourselves, that’s a different story.

    I hope this isn’t too far off topic, but having my blood boiled by Phyllis Schlafly as well reminded me that I recently re-read Sonia Johnson’s “From Housewife to Heretic.” It’s about how she was excommunicated from the Mormon church for fighting to pass the original ERA. I highly recommend it for anyone who does not yet understand why Mitt Romney must never, never be President. She makes it very clear how the Mormon patriarchs marshall their docile troops and pour their resources into political campaigns. Think about that the next time you see Romney on camera surrounded by adoring supporters. They’re probably all wearing special underwear. I saw him on TV the other day, pretending to enjoy blueberry pie in a diner. Chomp, chomp went his shiny, mechanical android teeth. I’m telling you, a man who can look mean while eating blueberry pie is EVIL.

  27. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    From Housewife to Heretic: AWESOME BOOK. Yes.

  28. Bubbasnightmare

    For those who don’t have it at their fingertips:

    The Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
    Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
    Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
    Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

    Of course, the real way to fight the patriarchy is not to legislate it out of existence; that would be rather like drawing a gun upon itself. You have to work on the biological and cultural issues themselves.

  29. yankee transplant

    Rather than sitting there sputtering and fuming, as I do over Parker’s idiotic ramblings, you manage to write yet another Twisty Classic. Thank you. I can now return to my sputtering.

  30. Octogalore

    I saw Schlafly’s article as well. What a hypocrite. Worse, the paper didn’t print a worthy opposing POV. How hard would it have been to find someone to refute Schlafly’s many irrationalities? Disgusting.

  31. Miller

    Odd: women in combat was not seen as a “blunder” until the late 20th century. I wonder what happened? Ah, yes the liberation of women and girls (at least, somewhat, on paper). Then our lives were either too precious for killing (unless it’s entertaining) and we were no match against men physically (unless we deserved it).

  32. Jezebella

    I know this is off-topic, but I keep running across mentions of Mormons and their special, heavenly underwear. Somebody, enlighten me, pretty please?

    On-topic: the very reason I do not subscribe my local rag is that it is rampant with this sort of crap. I don’t know if they run Parker’s columns, but they probably do. They recently ran an article by an economist about how the real scandal about global warming is the suppression of dissent about it. Every time I pick up the damn paper (we get it at work), my blood boils for a solid 24 hours.

  33. goblinbee

    Ah…temple garments; I’ll field this question. I’ve never worn them myself, but I was raised LDS (Mormon) and my mom used to walk around the house in them all the time. Back then they were a one-piece union-suit affair, but in the late 70s two-piece options were made available. The women’s have cap sleeves and come just above the knee; the men’s have not-quite-T-shirt-length sleeves and also come just above the knee. There are sacred symbols sewn in over each breast, the navel, and one knee (Joseph Smith was also a freemason; he borrowed freely from their rites and imagery). Mormons who have gone through the temple wear garments from that point on, except during sports, swimming, sex, etc. (and, it’s really up to the individual; some people prefer them on during sex, for example). They are said to serve the purpose of reminding church members of the oaths they have taken in the temple, but they also serve to enforce modest dress (although an ample bosom can bring the garment down in front enough to be able to expose a little flesh). You would think they would seem normal to me since I grew up around them, but, really, I did not look forward to the day when I would have to wear them.
    But I escaped long before that happened.

  34. Tracey

    I wish I could say that anything in this Parker article was shocking to me, or a new point of view. This mentality is rampant in the rural Ohio town in which I grew up, and it still exists in the not-so-rural Ohio city in which I now reside. Every single time I discuss women’s issues with someone here, I always hear the same, “I’m all for women’s equality, but I don’t think they should be in combat.” And they recite the same, tired, woman-blaming reasons that Parker had. They think exclusion of women is for their own good, to protect them from possible rape by the enemy, and to keep men’s concentration on battle rather than on rushing to protect female soldiers who might get injured or have their honor threatened.
    It completely horrifies me, though, that this view is being reinforced by support in the media. And don’t even get me started on the Phyllis Schlafly thing…

  35. ginmar

    Being in combat has enabled me to horrify into silence a whole bunch of yellow Republicans. That’s the real reason they don’t want women in combat; after that, you think I’m scared of some 101st Keyboardist? Hell, insurgents aren’t nearly as scary as is the damned VA.

  36. phio gistic

    I noticed Parker for the first time when she she wrote a column last week on the reports of male US soldiers raping female US soldiers:
    “Off the record, in dozens of interviews over a period of years, male soldiers and officers have confided that many men resent women because they’ve been forced to pretend that women are equals, and men know they’re not.
    The lie breeds contempt, which leads to a simmering rage that sometimes finds expression in aggression toward those deemed responsible.”

    “The Fog of Rape,” Orlando Sentinel

  37. Mandos

    I miss the old sidebar interface which gave me an idea of how active the threads really were and whether interesting people were posting there.

  38. LMYC

    Taking phio gistic’s quote:

    “Off the record, in dozens of interviews over a period of years,
    male soldiers and officers have confided that many men resent
    women because they’ve been forced to pretend that women are
    equals, and men know they’re not.
    The lie breeds contempt, which leads to a simmering rage that
    sometimes finds expression in aggression toward those deemed

    I’d like to state that the next person who accuses ME of manhating worse than any of these flowers of rightwing femininity is welcome, in the immortal words of my foul-mouthed Italian grandmother, to shit in their hat and pull it over their ears.

  39. Mandos

    My last comment was meant for another blog. Please delete.

  40. Adam

    severely offtopic here, but I just had to post this:
    good news to the people here I assume. :)

  41. Clio Bluestocking

    She left out two points. First, the army has only begrudgingly allow women into many of the positions that they hold now. In fact, until 1979, women didn’t even serve in the army. They served in the WAC. Today, technically, women don’t serve in combat, despite seeing quite a bit of it. If women were recognized as serving in combat roles, they would have to be paid more money.

    Second, from the news reports that I’ve heard, our women in uniform are being raped by our “nice boys” in uniform, not the enemy.

  42. kate

    Well, I guess all men can be relieved because according to Ms. Parker men don’t get raped in war, just women. And, if those same men worried about responsibility for one minute (thanks to a feminist), worry no more my laddies, Kathleen’ll set ya right.

    Anyway, I get her columns I guess as fast as she can paste together something coherent from her Wingut Old School Writer’s Guide cut and paste collection. She must have been covered with white glue after this one. I skip the op-ed page in my local rag as it tends to make my morning waking eyes want to clamp back shut even tighter in retreat from reality.

    By the way, I wanted to share this that I saw at someone’s house today, sound muted:

    Fox News, two talking heads; one gussied up woman and one older man with a mouth like a large mouth bass — caption under them while they bobbed their heads and prattled off wildy:

    “The Bush Economy: Better than Under the Clinton Administration?”

    Pravda editors would have been proud.

  43. larkspur

    Oh, Parker, Parker. Damn. Women have always been in combat. Whenever and wherever there’s combat, there are women. They’re called “civilians”, or collateral damage. They don’t have uniforms, they don’t get paid, and they aren’t issued weapons. And they’re still in the thick of it. And Parker, who seems to have the smallest, sourest, meanest little psyche of any hack currently typing in exchange for cash, seems not to give a flying fuck about the safety and well-being of any of them.

  44. ginmar

    Clio, if you’re ‘in theatre’ you get hazardous duty pay just like the guys. Women are doing the same jobs as the men and getting the same pay, and it’s interesting the guys who don’t have the problem with it—-they’re either old guys, young guys who are the sons of single mothers, or men of color. Spoiled ass whiny titty baby white boys have a huge probelm with women kicking ass.

  45. Luckynkl

    “…our military is gradually weaning men of their intuitive inclination to protect women — which, by extrapolation, means ignoring the screams of women being assaulted.

    Who exactly do women need protection from? Goats? Wind? Bad breath? Oh yeah, men and their intuitive inclinations. But I understand. There’s nothing more upsetting to men than armed women trained to protect and defend themselves. It blows the whole point of men’s protection racket and makes it so much more difficult for men to find easy prey to rape and plunder. Why, men could even get hurt! Oh, how awful!

    So tell me, Ms. Parker. What was men’s excuse of ignoring women’s screams prior to women being allowed to join the military?

    As the old saying goes, denial isn’t just a river in Egypt, Ms. Parker. The fact of the matter is, women are more in danger in their own homes in this country than they are abroad, fighting in Iraq.

  46. kanea

    clearly this parker knows very little about the history of women in combat…females have been fighting in wars for centuries. females soilders didn’t just appear in the 20th centuary. here are some random examples from off the top of my head: women used to dress as men and enlist in the civil war (on both sides) some of them were even fighting pregnate and were only found out to be women because they gave birth. I think some women did this also in the revolutionary war. and there are thousands of more examples…the romans reported that the celts would sometimes have women in battle too…and the romans seemed to be very scared when the celts brought women in to battle (but nothing scares a misogynist like a woman who’s gonna kick his ass and the romans were some of the biggest misogynists) there were female samurais….the two princesses of ancinet vietnam lead their amries to hold off china from invading and kept china out…and I could probably go all day list about females in combat….long story short women in combat is not the end of the world…and the fact that humans civilization still exhists today is proof of that. that woman seriously pisses me off….why do people who know so little about the world and facts get to talk and be published but the people who really know what they’re talking about never get anyone to listen?

  47. Feminist Avatar

    On the history of women and combat issue- there is a long history of women cross-dressing and fighting in the army and navy in many countries and in the medieval period it was not uncommon in Europe for women to defend their homes and lead their family’s troops when their husbands were absent or they were widowed. Traditionally all armies had camp-followers who were women who accompanied the troops (often paid) to provide domestic and sexual services. These women were frequently on the frontline and would take arms when necessary- I am sure there are a few good examples of this in the American Revolution. The Russians also used female soldiers on the frontline during one (or both?) of the world wars- a move highly criticised by the Americans I believe, but nonetheless occurred. Women were frequently used as spies in occupied France, of whom a significant number were executed or killed in combat. They also flew planes across the Atlantic in WW2 to transport goods and planes and many were shot down. We are kidding ourselves if we think that women in the army is a novel idea.

  48. Silence

    Just popping my head in here to say that, yes, women did dress in drag and fight in the American Revolution, although when I mentioned this fact to a re-enactor, he told me I’d have to get documented proof if anyone wanted to actually, you know, re-enact as a woman. Knob.

    Also, despite the fact that Japan is traditionally one of the most sexist societies you could ever hope to encounter, women of the samurai class were taught to fight and defend themselves. The naginata, a kind of pole with a wicked curved blade on the end, is traditionally a woman’s weapon. Personally, I suspect it was a more effective and versatile weapon than a man’s katana.

    And ditto to everyone who has mentioned that wherever there is war, there are women. What, do people like Parker imagine that they are all magically transferred to Safe Snuggly Pink Land whenever a gun goes off? Women have played an active part in every war and every revolution in history. It’s just more difficult to find out exactly what they did, because until recent decades, historians were a bunch of knobs determined to cover up women’s participation in world events. How I wish I were not exaggerating.

  49. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    LMYC, your Italian grandma & my Polish dad musta gone to the same School for the Potty-Mouthed. Hee.

  50. Minerva

    Fantastic post, Twisty. I’m de-lurking now because I think this issue is also about whether or not American women should bear the same responsibilities of citizenship as men. Some of you may recall that these arguments were hashed out in the early 80’s when there was some talk about a mandatory draft that would include women. Judy Goldsmith, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee in 1980 said that “those who oppose the registration and draft for females say they seek to protect women. But omission from the registration and draft ultimately robs women of the right to first-class citizenship and paves the way to underpaying women all the days of their lives.” Regarding the combat exemption, Goldsmith stated that when women are told they are not capable of learning the skills needed for combat and that they need protection, “women are more readily victims of violence of every kind. One must ask–whether a would-be rapist would be less likely to attack a woman if he thought she had been trained as a Marine.”

    The argument against female conscription was led by the Eagle Forum and Phyllis Schlafly, of course. Kathleen Teague (also of the Eagle Forum) responded to Goldsmith’s comments with the assertion that American women have always enjoyed a “right” to be excluded from combat and the draft and wondered aloud what we would “get” in exchange for sacrificing our “constitutional right to be treated like American ladies.” “We expect our servicemen to be tough enough to defend us against any enemy–and we want our women to be feminine and human enough to transform our servicemen into good husbands, fathers and citizens upon their return from battle.”

    When is this claptrap going to be challenged in court? Do not women have the same obligations of citizenship as men?

  51. Sylvanite

    “Off the record, in dozens of interviews over a period of years, male soldiers and officers have confided that many men resent women because they’ve been forced to pretend that women are equals, and men know they’re not.
    The lie breeds contempt, which leads to a simmering rage that sometimes finds expression in aggression toward those deemed responsible.”

    This may actually be true. Except for the part about women and men being equals being a lie, of course. I’m sure, since men have been conditioned since birth to regard women as “less than”, they probably do resent being forced to treat women as equals.

    I had never heard of this Parker person, and I shall be working very hard to purge her from my memory. Yech.

  52. Clio Bluestocking

    ginmar, thank you, I didn’t realize that had changed. Good for them!

    As for the “Spoiled ass whiny titty baby white boys have a huge probelm with women kicking ass,” aren’t they the same ones who join “men’s rights” groups and bitch about how mean and nasty and vicious women are? What is it with the privleged, white male ego? All through history they have been acting as if someone, somewhere, might have something (heck, ANYTHING) more than them? They have gotten antsy over other people entering the workforce, other people wanting their point of view considered, other people having bigger dicks, other people having better sex drives, and, the most ridiculous of all, other people being more oppressed. “Whiny titty baby white boys,” indeed!

    I’ve always thought that, if all genders were considered eligible for the draft and combat, that maybe society would rethink going to war at the drop of a hat. One can dream, can’t one?

  53. saltyC

    How long does a child have to nurse before they become a “titty-baby”?

    Just curious.

  54. LouisaMayAlcott


    In the 1940’s we were allowed 5 minutes max on each side.

    Life was a b!tch.

  55. Feminist Avatar

    “What is it with the privleged, white male ego?”

    The problem with being at the top of the chain is that it comes with incredible insecurity. For power to rest in any other place destabilises the legitimacy of the dominant discourse. Any form of resistance by being spoken contains power even if it does not hold legitimacy under the system.

    For the system to work men have to constantly claim any form of resistance as their own- this means they have to constantly whine and turn any form of discussion/ resistance/ negotiation back upon themselves. It is a form of silencing. Interestingly though, this does mean that men in the patriarchal system are possibly the most insecure of any social group- hence the reason they undermine other men as well as women.

  56. Bird

    In the Canadian armed forces, women have been able to fill any role since 1989 (except on submarines, where women were finally included in 2000). In 2006, Captain Nicola Goddard was the first female Canadian active combat soldier killed on the front lines (in Afghanistan).

    I don’t know what the experiences are like for other branches of the forces, but I’ve known a few Canadian Navy women, and they’ve generally been treated pretty well by their fellow sailors (my boyfriend is former Navy, and one of his best friends is a woman he served with). I wonder if it’s because women are officially given the same roles as men and have been for quite a while now.

    Still, women only make up 1.9% of our regular combat arms forces (that’s 225 women in March 2006). And there are just 925 female combat arms reservists (6.7%). An interesting stat, though, is that 99 of those 225 women in the regular combat arms forces are officers—that’s 3.75% of the officers. So women fill a lot of senior roles, proportionately to their numbers overall.

    I’d be curious to see if Canada’s women soldiers face the same threat from their comrades overseas that American women do. And if Canadian women don’t have to deal with the same problems, I wonder if that’s because women are legally equal members of the armed forces here.

  57. Catherine Martell

    If we’re doing heroic women in combat, I can’t believe you’ve all forgotten the two best: Boudicca and Lakshmibai.

    Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni (d. 60 CE): Romans refuse to recognise female inheritance rites. They take her queendom, flog her and rape her daughters. She responds by fixing sharpened blades to her chariot wheels and riding through as many Roman legions as she can find, chopping them into sashimi. She burns their shiny city of Londinium to the ground and very nearly drives the Romans out of Britannia altogether. Now that is how you deal with rapists.

    Lakshmibai, Rani of Jhansi (d. 1858): In a very similar case, the British try to take her queendom away, steal all her money and jewels, and attempt to shove her into a rubbish palace in the backwoods of her state. She stands for none of this. “Mai apani Jhansi naheen doongi!” (I will not give up my Jhansi!), she growls, trains up a mixed regiment of men and women, and proceeds to take on the British army personally. She fights on horseback with a scimitar, her adopted baby son strapped to her back.

    Both were ultimately defeated and killed. Still, they took a whole load of the patriarchs with ’em.

    Incidentally, my feminism generally incorporates pacifism – but not non-violence in the face of aggression. Mai apani basic human rights naheen doongi!

  58. Catherine Martell

    goblinbee: Gracious me. Every time I think I have the measure of a religion’s eccentricities, I find out something else so weird I can but sit here and boggle. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for the insight, and congrats on dodging the quasi-Masonic romper suit of salvation.

    Does Mitt Romney really wear one of those, to go with his chompy mechanical android teeth ((c) anuna)? Is he sewn into it at the beginning of winter, like a working-class Victorian child?

    Actually, I don’t want to think about Mitt Romney’s undergarments.

  59. mearl

    Something else for Parker to ponder: How does the American male combat soldier’s “natural instinct to protect women” explain the fact that brothels spring up wherever Americans set up international bases or camps? Whole industries are built on the American military dude’s taste for using and exploiting disadvantaged women. Does that mean they are protecting foreign prostitutes somehow? They sure as hell don’t protect women from STDs, and they sure as hell don’t deal with the impact of the STDs on the foreign population once they are done with their tour of duty and run off back to America to infect their wives and girlfriends.

  60. Luckynkl

    Well, I’m against women being in the military. But not for the nonsensical reasons Parker and Schlafly give. 80% of the casualties in any war are women and children. So Parker’s and Schlafly’s arguments are downright absurd and assinine. But of course, Parker and Schlafly get a lot of brownie points from the boys and make a lot of money off of being misogynist and assinine. They’re not stupid. They know just which side of the bread it’s buttered on. Misogyny sells. But sooner or later they’re going to find out that kissing the boys’ ass is not going to save their own. When the boys get done using them, they’ll be dumped by the wayside like some used up toy just like every other woman.

    I firmly believe that every women should be trained and know how to fight and defend herself, using deadly force if need be, right from the cradle. That is something all living creatures have a right to on this planet. Self preservation. But the military is not about self preservation. The military is a patriarchal machine designed to impose patriarchy’s will by force. It serves to keep patriarchy and its hierarchies firmly in place. It is about power and control. It is used to oppress and colonize. To entitle men to that which they are not entitled to and to take what is not theirs to take with a might makes right attitude. It is the anti-thesis to life. It threatens and endangers all life on this planet and leaves a path of death and destruction in its wake. It is about the worship of that death and destruction and fear, not only as a control mechanism, but for the sheer love of it.

    I’m sorry, but I’m not about to aid and abet the patriarchy and contribute to my own oppression. It’s not in any woman’s best interest to do so. What difference does it make which group of boys wins? They ALL treat women like shit. Women’s only purpose to the boys is to supply the patriarchs with team members, cheerleaders and soldiers for their respective armies and give them heirs for their respective thrones so they can continue to play their beloved, ongoing game of king of the hill and take turns toppling each other off their thrones in blood-filled, homo-erotic ecstacy.

  61. Arianna

    You say “I’m against women in the military”, but while I am against anyone joining the military, I still find defending laws that limit women’s choices is profoundly anti-feminist, and limiting women’s choices because you disagree with them is terribly patronizing.

  62. Twisty

    Luckynckl, yeah, the military is a tool of the patriarchy, and it’s irritating to have to advocate for women’s participation in such a super-dudely-stupid enterprise. But it must be done. Because excluding women from the opportunity to get shot up in uniform, when such an opportunity is perceived by the dominant culture as conferring honor on a fully-functioning citizen, throws legislative weight behind sex discrimination.

    Being “against” women in the military on the grounds that you just don’t like patriarchy is illogical unless you are also against women in government, or the arts, or science. It’s all patriarchy, man.

    In the post-patriarchal society that exists only in my mind, women won’t be in the military because there won’t be a military.

  63. Blamerella

    Oh, Parker, Parker. Damn. Women have always been in combat. Whenever and wherever there’s combat, there are women. They’re called “civilians”, or collateral damage. They don’t have uniforms, they don’t get paid, and they aren’t issued weapons. And they’re still in the thick of it. And Parker, who seems to have the smallest, sourest, meanest little psyche of any hack currently typing in exchange for cash, seems not to give a flying fuck about the safety and well-being of any of them.

    You beat me to it, larkspur. Whenever someone says that women don’t belong in combat, I respond by saying that they should tell the women in Bosnia that. Or Darfur, or Iraq, or anywhere that violence is taking place. Only patriarchs with the luxury of living in countries that have never been invaded, or haven’t been in quite a while, can afford to be paternalistic and protective about their female chattel. 70% of civilian casualties are women and children. Women and children are routinely used as human shields.

    But that doesn’t figure into Parker’s fantasy world. I’ve observed that the typical wingnut woman is a deluded solipsist with an endless fairy tale loop playing in her mind, starring herself as the pretty princess. Usually when an adult demonstrates the intellectual and emotional capacity of an eight year old, we call it a case of arrested development and try to get the person the professional help they clearly need. But because Parker and Schlafly uphold the patriarchy, they get published and held up as icons of womanhood.

  64. saltyC

    the military is patriarchal and painting may be patriarchal, but not to the same degree. Demostrating the power over life and death by actually killing is necessary to an army and to patriarchy, not to surrealistic journaling.

  65. Blamerella

    How does the American male combat soldier’s “natural instinct to protect women” explain the fact that brothels spring up wherever Americans set up international bases or camps? Whole industries are built on the American military dude’s taste for using and exploiting disadvantaged women. Does that mean they are protecting foreign prostitutes somehow?

    mearl, only lily-white virginal Republican princesses trigger those natural instincts. As for the brothels, I’m a Navy vet and you wouldn’t believe how many sailors told me that the prostitutes in Olangapo looooved giving blowjobs to Americans. They truly believed they were helping these women. When I’d inform them that it’s possible to give people financial assistance without getting a sex act performed on them in return, they’d get this blank look on their faces and I’d swear I could hear crickets chirping.

  66. Luckynkl

    Yeah, Adrianna, I single-handedly limited women’s choices now. What a threat to patriarchy I truly am. Wanna feel my muscles?

    Seriously tho. Patriarchy doesn’t consist just of men. Women are some of the patriarchy’s best foot soldiers and most ardent and vigilent defenders. So run that nonsense about women’s choices by someone else. I’m not interested in white liberal male bullshit disguised as “women’s choices” and feminism. Patriarchy is patriarchy and its all got to go.

    All you need to do is ask yourself one question. Who does it benefit? Women? LOL. Get real. The military does not benefit women. Au contraire. It targets women and rapes, maims, enslaves and kills them and their children with tactical precision. To the tune of 80% of the casualties of any war.

    But waaaah, I want the choice to do that? Is that your lame argument?

  67. Luckynkl

    And yeah, I hear you, Twisty, and understand your thinking. I agree. It is all patriarchy. But as Audre Lorde put it so eloquently, “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

    In the post-patriarchal society that exists only in my mind, women won’t be in the military because there won’t be a military.

    I’m with you all the way there. Now how do we get there? Without using the master’s tools?

  68. Twisty

    saltyC, The paradigm under the auspices of which painting takes place is patriarchal. You’re arguing that the not-immediately-life-threatening position of a given act — such as painting — on the Patriarchal Continuum of Violence is a mitigating factor when it comes to feminist tolerance; I’m arguing that any act that isn’t specifically revolutionary in nature supports male dominant culture.

  69. Mandos

    How about soup?

  70. kiki

    You cannot truly step out of this paradigm unless you are completely devoted to ‘project mayhem’. Do you pay taxes? Because if you pay taxes that money is financing the murder of those women and children. What’s the difference between you holding the gun or buying the gun and then paying someone else to shoot it on your behalf?

  71. annared

    Mandos said “How about soup?”

    Only if it’s Cock a Leekie Soup.

  72. vera

    Mandos, do you have your random comment generator turned on?

  73. Mandos

    Except for the one I wanted deleted, nope. I meant what I said! I bet Twisty got it.

  74. Arianna

    Yeah, Adrianna, I single-handedly limited women’s choices now. What a threat to patriarchy I truly am. Wanna feel my muscles?

    Somebody’s sure defensive today. Did I accuse you of “single handedly limiting women’s choices?” No. I said that you were defending laws that limit women’s choices. Huge difference.

    By the way, if you’re going to misrepresent my positions, at least spell my name right. It’s right there above the comment for you to copy and everything.

  75. challenge

    Ah, the old debate again on if women are in the military wouldn’t the Men in the military be more concerned about them rather than themselves? Not to mmention that of course women are not as fierce and ment to fight as men. I guess that is why Israel has mandatory military service for men and women? That Russia (the Soviet union) had many females serving in the WWII?

    And most of all, if woman are not suppose to be or suitable for serving at the front; How explain the hospitals and all the doctors/nurses that are women and found next to the front and has been for a very long time? I guess this is one of the reasons it took such a long time for the nurses who served in Vietnam to get that bronze statue up in Washington DC? They weren’t considered to be soldiers and therefore not involved in the war… but they could die of course.

    (I try to be blattant with my sarcasm. Hopefully it worked. Nice piece and thanks for letting me understand yet again that I am not alone out here.)

  76. LMYC

    I’m torn about women and the draft. Let me state that I think war is utterly stupid, in ALL cases. Even in cases of supposed “necessary” wars, they could have been headed off if anyone had pulled their heads out of their asses 20 year prior. It’s all bullshit — Person X does something bad, and if you can shoot them, at least you can go after all of his next-door neighbors. Sure. That makes sense.

    Anyhow, I have to say that, as long as women are not proportionately represented in the government, I don’t want us drafted. Men declare wars, men invented this stupid pastime, men decide the rules. Fine — they can fucking well play the game, then.

    When women are 52% of Congress and WE decide, then draft us. Until then — men’s game, men invented it, men declare it, men can damned well play it. And since the government (and most governments in the world) are like over 90% women, the stupid bastards know who to blame for this as well.

    Until then, NO women should be drafted. I’m not saying women shouldn’t SERVE — but a draft? Fuck `em. They invented war, let them play it.

  77. mearl

    Blamerella: I know it’s true that military dudes think like this but it still makes me want to tear out all my hair. Or their hair. Good on ya for trying to introduce the meatheads to a logical way of thinking.

    And here’s a statement I am in FULL, fire-breathing agreement with, Luckynykl:

    “I firmly believe that every women should be trained and know how to fight and defend herself, using deadly force if need be, right from the cradle.”

    I hope that when I start teaching in high schools I can get self-defense put in as a gym block, for women especially but also for all those who get bullied. Wish me luck.

  78. mearl

    Whoops, sorry I didn’t mean to spell your name wrong! Luckynkl. There we are.

  79. Birdy

    Personally I don’t believe women belong on the battle field for the simple reason that we don’t have a handy dandy penis. It’s harder and more dangerous for us piss while wearing pants. Now unless the miltary can rig us some sort of attachment or let us wear a different sort of uniform, let women be fighter pilots, intelligence officers and other things that can allow us to piss while taking off our pants.

  80. Feminist Avatar

    I think Luckynkl raises an interesting point. A big part of feminism is challenging the terms on which we meet men not trying to prove we’re equal to an ideal masculinity that isn’t particularly desirable. As has been cited on this blog many times, we ain’t looking for a humanity that looks like a man.

    I think as long as the military has the social and political power that it does at present we need to support the right for women to join it on equal terms to men, but in terms of the bigger picture perhaps we need to seriously think about Twusty’s post-patriarchal society (and I don’t think its only in your mind- you have supporters) and what we’re going to do to achieve it.

    For that matter was does our post-patriarchal society look like?

  81. goblinbee

    LMYC, this is my position precisely. Thank you for articulating it. I don’t want to be made to jump into any boys’ rumble.
    Catherine Martell, your line, “congrats on dodging the quasi-Masonic romper suit of salvation,” absolutely made my day! Priceless.

  82. LMYC

    I trust I don’t have to point out that I meant 90% male, but just because I’m a nitpicker, I will.

    And while I agree that feminism isn’t about setting male as the height of achievement adn shooting for that, I also have to say that I’m not going to apologize for having some awesome talents lodged deep in my brain that have classically (and erroneously) considered the exclusive bailiwick of men. My desire to make the most of my gift for math wasn’t out of a desire to make myself into a man — it is clearly a feminine talent since it is lodged within a female skull.

  83. saltyC

    I’m arguing that any act that isn’t specifically revolutionary in nature supports male dominant culture.

    Uh-uh, yea. In other words,if you aint wit me you’re agint me.

    Which Twisty-approved act would that be anyway?

  84. Feminist Avatar

    My post-patriarchal society likes maths and it believes that every person has the right to fulfill whatever talents are embedded within their heads, and it is a world where all talents are equally valued.

  85. LMYC

    salty, I think what it’s saying is more that the patriarchy is so vast and enormous and so completely established that if you aren’t working directly to overthrow it, you are going to be sucked into supporting its mechanism whether you want to do so or not. You can achieve a hell of a lot with your life, and the patriarchy WILL find a way to paint it as support for their worldview, and they will carpet the planet in this interpretation.

    The ONLY thing they can’t do that to is a poke in the eye with a sharp stick — if you are in rebellion against it.

    It’s not a value judgment so much as just an observation that with something as vast and permeating as patriarchy, there is no neutral stance. No matter what you do, unless it’s open revolt, it will be cast in a light that makes them look good.

  86. saltyC

    I suppose quiltmaking isn’t revolutionary enough to be different from bombing apartment buildings with people still in them. All cogs in the same MACHINE.

  87. Feminist Avatar

    There is an interesting article in Feminist messages : coding in women’s folk culture / edited by Joan Newlon Radner about quilt-making as a form of resistance to the patriarchy.

  88. Random Lurker

    Has this Parker person never heard of the siege of Kut? Then again, she may have as a lot of versions leave out the gang-rape of the captured soldiers. Apparently the idea that so many British manly-men could be sexually tortured is too much for popular historians to bear. In war no one is safe, it doesn’t matter if you are soldier or civilian, man or woman. If you want to protect soldiers (female or male) from the horrors of combat, quit sending them off to die.
    And as for Amhadinajad, has he forgotten that the Prophet’s army was full of fighting women willing to die for a religion that would guarantee them some basic rights like inheritance and divorce? That even the Mothers of the Faithful, those sterling bastions of Muslim femininity, accompanied their husband on his military campaigns? Could a dogma-spewing Godbag possibly be so ignorant of his own faith?

  89. Mandos

    Which Twisty-approved act would that be anyway?

    Soup, I’m telling you, soup. It “elevates humanity.”

  90. Catherine Martell

    Random Lurker:

    Could a dogma-spewing Godbag possibly be so ignorant of his own faith?

    In my experience, all dogma-spewing godbags are ignorant of their own faith. They chuck out all the lengthy and prominent passages of their special books that say “Be excellent to each other”, and busy themselves interpreting one or two minor asides with convoluted and dubious scholarship, until they can proudly announce: “Look! This bit says I am allowed to hate gays/own your body/force you to wear a tent/burn you on a pyre when your husband dies/take all your money/kill as many people who don’t agree with me as possible/start another war.”

    As for women and military service, I’m not exactly stoked about the possibility either, but with rights come responsibilities. It would be my expectation and hope that an increasingly female establishment would be a decreasingly belligerent one, though the existence of patriarchy-proppers like Condoleezza Rice and Margaret Beckett doesn’t exactly do much for my expectations and hopes. In the meantime, unless, as kiki notes above, you’re going full-on Project Mayhem, you cannot cherrypick your citizenship. You can try to change the culture, of course.

    Personally, I would be prepared to fight in a war I considered just, which would basically boil down to a defensive war on home turf. Otherwise I would become a conscientious objector.

  91. al

    LMYC’s Nonna rocks. :-)

  92. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    As nearly as I can determine, the godbags of the right’s gospel reads Wherever two or more of you are gathered in My name, some other poor slob is going to get the living daylights kicked out of him/her. It seems they never get past that part.

    I think we oughtta have Secret Blamer Undergarments. Anyone here clever with design?

  93. Amananta

    I am sourly amused by young men who tell women, all full of their noble martyr-like angst, that they don’t deserve equal rights because they don’t have equal responsibilities like being DRAFTED, because, you know, men can be DRAFTED and women can’t.
    Actually, there has been no draft for over 30 years. No man below the age of 50 has the right to complain about a draft to which he has never been subject. Furthermore, the proposed draft laws in Congress (which keep getting voted down) allow for a military draft of both men and women.

  94. vera

    I’m pretty sure the Secret Blamer Undergarments would not have underwiring. I wonder what sort of sacred symbols should be sewn on them? A taco with wings?

  95. josquin

    When all else fails, when I find myself in a slough of deep despond, I shall make soup.
    Sprinkle once sprinkle twice sprinkle chicken soup with rice!

  96. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Yes! A taco with wings and a Gerbera daisy! The Sacred Blamer Vows would, naturally, be taken on The Sacred Blamers of Distinction Yacht Cruise (with margaritas, crudites, and tapanade). Absolutely, categorically, no underwiring.

  97. Rozasharn

    Vera: I’me envisioning panties with a fanged mouth on the crotch.

  98. LMYC

    Amananta, just ask them whose bright idea it was to NOT draft women?


    And who is it that drafts young men when a draft is in place?


    If they don’t like this state of affairs, then they can damned well look in a mirror if they want to lay blame on any one gender.

    Oh, it’s not the fault of poor or minority men? Hey, THEY were the ones who decided that an entire gender had ot be blamed and that it was FEMINISM’S FAULT GODDAMN IT! If we’re GOING to blame one entire gender, then I’m throwing the bucket of paint at THEM, b ecause if any one gender is going to get blamed whole hog for it, I’ll be DAMNED if it’ll be women.

  99. mearl

    I can’t deal with the word panties so can we toss that one out and make it gotch instead? Or at least knickers?

  100. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I prefer the gender-neutral term underpants. (“Panties” has always bugged me, too.)

  101. Foilwoman

    I want some of the blamer undergarments. Will there be a subsidy for broke single mother blamers? Please?

  102. Ron Sullivan

    Foilwoman, the Sekrit Blamer Gotchies are absolutely free. You wear them under your skin.

    Or you put them in soup.

  103. B. Dagger Lee

    Miss Patsy and I were just talking about the Papal underpanties! (I must insist on retaining “panties” or at least get a special Blamer dispensation for “papal underpanties.”)

    She was telling me that this Pope — after centuries of underpanties à la mode — has reinstituted a custom of using a particular type of ancient papal panties. I’m not sure where she gets her information, but she is a papist (lapsed, damned) so she would know. She knows how I treasure bits of information like this about the Whore of Babylon. Because even if I’m an atheist, I’m a Protestant atheist.

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

  104. mearl

    I don’t know, BDL. “Papal Gotch” has a special ring to it.

    Is it made out of the splinters of the true cross? I hope so.

  105. vera

    If there’s information about the Pope’s underpanties on the web, I’m going to find it. It’s my lunch hour, anyway.

  106. B. Dagger Lee

    I need some usage and derivation on “gotch.” I’m willing to consider Gonad Gotch, but I can’t give up my panty-words.

  107. Miss Twit

    I’m particularly fond of the piece’s final nugget:

    “At the point when our men can stand by unfazed while American servicewomen are raped and tortured, then we will have no cause to fight any war. We will have already lost.”

    I think it needs to be reworded to “At the point when our men can stand by unfazed while American servicewomen are raped and tortured BY THEIR FELLOW MALE TROOPS.”

    Ok…maybe the caps are totally necessary.

  108. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Dang, I was raised a strict papist, and they never taught us diddly-squat about papal gotchies. My sister told me about the hammer with which they bop him in the noggin post-mortem to be certain he’s shuffled off this mortal coil, but no good panty stories. I miss all the good stuff.

  109. roozen

    Happy late birthday twisty!!! I only remember it from last year cause its the same date as mine… I mention that so you do not think i am some weird super stalker.

  110. Bird

    Seriously, a hammer? Damn, us United Church kids missed out on a lot of weird crap. But we got to call God “She” if we wanted to.

  111. ginmar

    Random Lurker, you gave me a start and a half because I fought in the second siege of Al Kut, and I was the only woman there.

  112. Mandos

    Or you put them in soup.

    See, Ron understands! I am so relieved.

    Soup is where it’s at.

  113. Spit The Dummy

    I’m with Mearl and Antoinette- “panties” has always seemed incredibly twee and cutesie and all the things I hate about the way the patriarchy condescends to anything associated with women. You don’t hear them refer to men’s undergarments as “panties”, do you? It’s one of those trigger things for me, I pracitically foam at the mouth whenever I hear it – or I used to. Since I read about the secret godbag undergarments, and the pope reverting to mysterious ancient-style papal underwear I believe, thanks to this discussion, I’ll think of those next time I hear the word “panties” – well, that and the hammer thing to make sure the pope’s dead. That made me laugh.

  114. Broker

    If I had to charge a hill with a squad of marines, I’d rather they all be men. Other than kind of stuff I think women do just fine. Gosh darn they can take orders and give orders just like the guys. You know, fire the big guns and all that stuff. I do think it’s to bad that families need two incomes now. That’s the real sad thing, but I know women are can and do perform well in the military. I have complete faith in them. BTW if I had to charge that hill I’d rather have a squad of women marines than a squad of airmen.

  115. Catherine Martell

    mearl, Antoinette, Spit The Dummy: right there with you on the “panties” thing. This word doesn’t get used in the UK or much of the rest of the English-speaking world at all. They’re just “briefs”, “knickers”, “underpants” or “pants” (or “gotches”, apparently – love that!), whether they’re for men or women. And we call the things Americans call pants “trousers”. And the things Americans call knickers “plus fours”. Cue much juvenile hilarity when transatlantic visitors profess a desire to wear knickers for a game of golf, etc.

    Beyond “pants”, there are various descriptive words for different types of male or female bottom-coverer, but the American “panties” always sounds like nails down a gendered blackboard to me. Most Brits can’t say it with a straight face – it sounds like you’re talking about a child’s underwear, except even children’s underwear isn’t called panties. Really, who invented this awful word? It must be stopped. Unless we’re talking about the Pope. Are his panties made of goat hair and spikes, like a cilice?

  116. Frumious B

    After extensive research (ie, Google and Wikipedia) I have come to the conclusion that there are no special Papal panties. If anyone has knowledge otherwise and can back it up with an article or picture, do share.

  117. saltyC

    I remember a stupid Victoria’s Secret commercial where they had a woman announcer with a british accent, cause it’s so Classy, and she said “panties” with a british accent. But they say “knickers” over there.

    Which makes me wonder, why in Brazil they say “calcinhas” which literally translates to panties, with a feminine gender.

  118. Gansumina

    Salty– ‘Clacinhas’ comes from ‘calcas’ (with a cedille) which is to the old fashion medival word for pants (before the days of underpants). Incidentally, the word is also feminine. Obviously women can’t wear the pants, so they can only aspire to a diminutive form of pant-wearing. But underneath their skirts, of course. Language is such a beautiful and revealing thing. In Spanish (at least the one from Spain) the word is ‘bragas’. But most people have images of girdles and the type of undergarments that come to your neck and your grandma wears, so no one says that. Again, a diminutive form is preferred: braguitas. Let’s make sure that women know that your butt has to be encased in a small, teeny, cutesy undergarment because that means they fit the anorexic stick figure that we call beautiful.

    And how did we get to talking about underpants from the evil, blood-curling non-sensical ramblings of Parker- who I’m sure wears calcinhas, or braguitas, not underpants.

  119. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Gansumina, someone upthread brought up Mitt Romney’s Mormon panties, and the rest kinda just followed.

  120. saltyC

    Gansumina, yes it seems the “feminine ideal” (for white mid-upper classes) is even skinnier in Brazil than in the US.

    PS calças is also the modern word for pants.

  121. karen

    Odd that the superficial topic of undergarments has made me chime in, but I can maintain my silence no longer.

    I like panties. I like the word, and I like the small ones, too. For several painful pubescent years my conservative mom would buy me the big white briefs, and I hated them. So wonderful to be an adult and buy the string bikinis I’ve always wanted.

    Of course, now I am forced to wonder if I truly like the comfort of my preferred panties, or if The Man has gotten into my pants. I absolutely know that no man in the world has these thoughts when considering boxers v. briefs.


  122. LMYC

    All I know about underwear is that I like it cotton and I DON’T want to get an instant wedgie when I pull the things on. Cotton and comfy.

    When I’ve got my period, I want them tight as hell, so the pads don’t shift around. Yes, pads. I hate tampons. I am allergic to getting ANYTHING shoved up me; my cervix is an avowed introvert and doesn’t like to be bothered with anything bumping into it, be it penis or tampon.

    *grumbles slightly over the apparent nonfeminist nature of pads, because nothing says how comfortable and shame-free you are about your body like cramming something up your cunt*

  123. LMYC

    How the HELL did we wind up talking about underwear again?

  124. Mandos

    It’s like Godwin’s Law, except for patriarchy-blaming web sites.

  125. mearl

    Karen: your post convinces me once again that the culture of female hyper”sexuality” is a result of the backlash against the culture of oppressive female “asexuality” but neither is a true picture of what women would choose if men weren’t sitting on high dictating about this, that, and the next thing.

  126. thebewilderness

    Underdrawers, just in case anybody cares. I used to call them smalls, but clerks never seemed to understand me, so I changed to underclothes when my children were young. Some years back when I was in a relationship with a man I started wearing slinky stuff and called them underdrawers to remind myself how stupid I was being.

  127. Thalia

    Well this is wildly off-topic, but my sister went to art school in the south and on one visit home brought back a cup she had stolen from a pizza place named “Wedgie’s”.

    The funniest part, actually, was explaining it to my mom.

  128. mearl

    Do they have a Holy Hook to pull out the Papal Wedgie, I wonder. And does the Cardinal get to do it?

  129. Mar Iguana

    Ah geez, mearl. There’s a visual I didn’t need. Eeeyuck!

  130. karen

    Ah, mearl, women having existential thoughts about panties. Its getting hot in here!

  131. B. Dagger Lee

    Last night I harshly interrogated Miss Patsy about the papal panties. She’s changed her tune a little. Now she’s saying “undergarments” and “under-vestments.” She claims to have been listening to NPR (WNYC, here in NYC), and heard two people talking about how Pope Benedict dug out some centuries-old undergarments, most likely from the Vatican crypt, and is now wearing these ancient undergarments/panties/vestments.

    And she claims she heard the voices speaking outside of her head, not inside her head.

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

  132. mearl

    Along with many other reasons, I have to question the sanity of the masses for pledging allegiance to a religion whose chosen leader wears centuries-old gotch.

  133. mearl

    And, might I add, makes it publicly known.

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