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Apr 14 2007

Some notes on revolution

While waiting for my rickety C-1000 super-automatic espresso machine to kick out the morning’s first cup of life-giving mud, I decided to skim through the responses to yesterday’s brief installment in the “Liberal Dudes Are Knobs” series. I was not surprised to see that some of the commentary reflects a somewhat unsophisticated grasp of the cornerstones upon which men have built our culture. Bandied about is, I am sorry to report, a bit of the old “blame the victim” palaver.

I find that feminists of the empowerful, slo-mo kickboxing variety are sometimes impatient with women who have been publicly screwed over by the Establishment. These feminists seem actually to be critical of women on the wrong end of a beatdown. Their motto is that the wronged women should open up a can of whup-ass on the thugly oppressor. Otherwise, men might take it into their heads that women can be kept in line with intimidation. According to these feminists, the women who cry uncle have allowed themselves to become “victims rather than people.”

But look here. Who are they trying to kid. Women can be kept in line with intimidation, and the whole world knows it. Aren’t people who have been raped and intimidated and harassed and threatened with death “victims”? What the fuck is wrong with that word? It describes the situation perfectly.

Do you guys get, I mean actually get, that our society is a patriarchy? Patriarchy isn’t just a gimmick for a blog. It really exists. There are actual implications. Do you get that a patriarchy is predicated on exploitation and victimization? It’s not a joke! It’s not an abstract concept dreamed up by some wannabe ideologue making up catch-phrases while idling away the afternoons with pitchers of margs. Exploitation and victimization is the actual set-up! A person is either an exploiter or a victim, or sometimes both, but never neither.

This means me! This means you!

This means that, until patriarchy is smashed, we ain’t got a chance.

Meanwhile, do you guys see that there is no other possible outcome, in a society based on exploitation and victimization, than for the Don Imuses and the Daily Koses of the world to shit, frequently, on members of the lower castes? Shitting on the lower castes is a privilege built into the system. When exercised with macho aplomb, it attracts advertisers. It creates prestige. It makes money. It entertains the masses.

If, by some Stone Age fantasy-world turn of good fortune, our society had not been permitted by the clumsy aliens of the planet Obsterperon to devolve into a patriarchy, Kathy Sierra wouldn’t have done anything wrong. The Rutgers basketball team wouldn’t have done anything wrong. They would have just been human beings, doing whatever the fuck they felt like doing.

But it is a patriarchy. And in a patriarchy, where women are the lowest caste, a public woman is always wrong. Which is why Sierra and the basketball players and lard knows how many others over the millennia have been victimized by a gazillion patriarchy-enthusiasts. These women attempted publicly, in a society in which they are devalued as dirty jokes, hysterics, babymommas, and receptacles, to behave as sovereign human beings. It is one of the first laws of patriarchy that insubordinate females should be jeered at and harassed, from the moment they dare, as members of the sex caste, to step into the gray subumbra of proto-celebrity, to the moment the last blurb is written by some feminist blogger who criticizes their behavior as victims-who-let-the-terrorist-manbags-win.

Do you get the implications? Even the feminists — we’re as poisoned by establishmentarianist dogma as anybody else — operate under the patriarchal paradigm. Thus, even some feminists think we ought to criticize Kathy Sierra for not taking her reaming like a man. We recognize that victimhood does not equal personhood, but beyond that we’re constrained by some dim twilight denial. We can’t believe, even though it is true, that victimhood the only available outcome, so we say insane things like, “don’t act like a victim, you idiot!” But for chrissake, what do we want from her? Do we seriously think she can take down the dominant culture by “standing up” to it, with only a few wan ‘you go, girls’ from the sidelines to mark the occasion? Without a revolution to back her up, all the whup-ass in the world will only get her locked up.

Do you get it yet?

Without revolution, the oppressor won’t stop oppressing. Without revolution, there is no happy ending.

348 comments

4 pings

  1. Feminist Avatar

    Thanks for this Twisty. I tried to write a response to the comments but got a bit stuck. All I could think to say was the Kathy was in a lose lose situation- if she backs off she lets them win, if she continues to blog to show them she is not backing off, these comments are still impacting on her actions, and she still loses. I got a bit depressed at that point and decided not post. Bring on the revolution!

  2. antonia

    I entirely agree. I never understood really why the victim-word causes such a big problem. Being a victim does not mean one cannot think straight anymore, it does not mean that suddenly one’s identity is wiped out. To say that Kathy Sierra should stop playing the victim-card is the second victimization. One time bashed by the deathtreads, second times bashed by the not being allowed to be a victim. It takes away the idea she actually ‘might have been hurt’ by what has happened, psychologically and otherwise, it denies the idea that pain had been caused to her and it makes her invisible for the second time. It minimizes the actual harm.

  3. Tanya

    The whole hateful dialogue on the internet has made me feel quite depressed and despondent. The tubes reflect on real life after all. Hateful assholes can express their contempt for women with impunity and other assholes cheerlead them. I feel that helpless rage that all women feel at one time or another, if they haven’t managed to suppress it or pretend it doesn’t exist.

    Your take on Kathleen Parker’s Op-Ed got me to thinking. It is not a new idea to the radical feminist that women are complicit in their own opression. The fact that women are joining the patriarchy (AKA military) rather than smashing it, is just another example. The military is nothing more than a hyper-patriarchy. Aren’t foot soldiers the army-patriarchy’s women, after all? I want to see the day when war comes to an end because nobody is willing to sacrifice for whatever Dear Leader happens to be in charge.

  4. Kyso K

    *clapclapclapclapclapclapclap*

  5. Rugosa

    Thanks, Twisty, for the welcome bit of fresh air.

    I recently started a personal vanity blog, intending to avoid controversial subjects, but I seem to be genetically programmed to open my big yap about stuff. I posted something about the Sierra/Kos dustup, and I’ve started the watch until crazed comments come in.

  6. Cass

    Thank you, Twisty.

  7. Andrea

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  8. Random Lurker

    I’d love to get the revolution going. The only problem is I’ve got my pitchfork and torch but I don’t know the way to the castle keep. Everyone seems to have a different idea on which building it is, and others say we should smash and burn everything.
    What’s a peon to do?

  9. B. Dagger Lee

    Fucking-A-Yeah!

    I’m so lazy, I have to give myself little treats every time I have to do something remotely unpleasant, like my state and city taxes.

    So when I’m sitting at my desk, I play a game of freecell or hit the refresh button on my browser a lot. Thanks, this was a big treat. Maybe I can even make it through the rest of New York State Resident Income Tax Return IT-201.

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

  10. Gender Blank

    Bravo! As usual.

  11. Phoenix

    Revolutions are for the most part the only way to change society and civilization. I think that Kathy Sierra did the right thing by reporting the death threats to the police. I find it detestable that she, through no fault of her own had to cancel her public engagements due to these threats. The real criminals are the jackasses that perpetrated these actions and they should be locked up.

  12. Heraclitus (Jeff)

    Wow. This is pretty effing amazing even for you, Twisty.

    By the way, I like the new additions to the about section, especially the very special message. I can’t tell if The Anne Richards Memorial Wine Bar is real or not, but if it is, congratulations.

  13. Ana Casian

    I get it.

    I have one question though.
    “A person is either an exploiter or a victim, or sometimes both, but never neither.”

    you mean as a function of the patriarchy, or inherently?
    In otherwords, could this ever change? Is it possible for human beings to exist in such a way that that dominance and exploitation didn’t happen? Do human being lust after power naturally, or has that need just been created for them? And if they want power, then “obviously” a hierarchy needs to be created.

    I do agree that the patriarchy needs to be smashed–gotten rid of, destroyed. Until that happens women will never achieve full human status. But then what? How do we keep human beings from exploiting eachother?

    Sorry, this was a little incoherent.

  14. Feminist Avatar

    I think it is a function of patriarchy that we have to conceive of relationships between human being in terms of power. I am not convinced that there is any aspect of identity that is ‘natural’- we are all the products of our cultures and societies that dictate what humanity is. The changing (and often very different) meanings and understandings of something like gender over history in a single country are enough to suggest that if there is anything natural about humanity it is very deeply hidden. I think that any lust for power that humanity has is a product of the fact that a)so many of us don’t have any and b) we haven’t been socialised to understand how to operate in a ‘power free’ society.

  15. zofia

    Crap. This has been an awful couple of weeks. Every time I picked up a paper and saw my beautiful, strong sisters on the cover looking so damn sad and hurt I have found myself trying to verbalize the depth of the despair I have felt over this and other recent anti-woman stories. But you have captured it perfectly. And it is a bitter pill, indeed.

  16. Mar Iguana

    I applaud you. You’re on fire.

  17. Edith

    Thank you so much for this. It is beyond the pale to me why blaming the victim is so popular. “But it’s a two-sided street! Some women are, just face it, MORE LIKELY to be victims than others!” I never know what to say when a so-called feminist shoots that out.

  18. Edith

    It’s actually some of the beef I have with the term “survivor” over “victim.” Do we hate victims so much that we can’t acknowledge that being a victim is a necessary step to being a “survivor” and that, once deemed a “survivor,” you are/were still actually a victim, too? Blame blame blame.

  19. Andrew B.

    I just want to say that was a really great post.

  20. Sean

    I think that was one of the best posts I’ve read on this, or any other, feminist or otherwise blog.

  21. jane_jericho

    I needed this post. Thank you.

  22. TP

    Beautifully put. Thank you so much!

    When you’re a white man sitting on the very top, the whole idea of being oppressed is some abstract notion that you react to by being even more patronizing and smug than usual. Looking at racial politics makes this very clear. When a black man acknowledges his blackness by using racial slurs with his black friends, the intimacy of it all is absolutely invisible to a white man sitting there saying “Why can’t I say that?”

    Do you share the oppression? Then you can’t create a bond of sympathy with someone who does by appropriating a racial slur.

    Men can’t just flip the script and say that human beings need to react as human beings to threats by a dominant sex to an oppressed sex.

    And it’s a very serious thing that, to someone who has no idea what it is to be oppressed for just being what you are, seems trivial. White men all think they have a very good idea of what it feels like to be oppressed, because anyone can feel oppressed because of some detail about who they are, maybe because they are poor or never finished high school or aren’t a member of the rich boy’s club or whatever.

    But this superficial take on oppression doesn’t equate real oppression, which is when something completely and ineradicably part of your being is oppressed, like race or gender. So white men will continue to react in the same ‘rational’ way to accusations of oppressive threats, insults and jokes. They really can’t see what the big deal is about, because they have never been oppressed thanks to their status in the world, a status that is only visible to them when it is being challenged.

  23. Scratchy888

    Ooh, ah. I advocate revolution and am told I am a right winger who believes in pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps. I would never have known that these were my beliefs if I had not been told. But now I have been told, I know.

  24. Brianne

    Thank you. I have to admit that I don’t understand why “victim” is such a dirty word. I think, maybe because, as a victim, it means you are a loser. And no one wants to be a loser. In the patriarchy especially, we are taught to think that our positions as the oppressed are also the best ones for us, that we have somehow won too.
    Does that make sense? This is my first comment here.

  25. Catherine Martell

    Wow. That’s why I come here. You rule. Or, anyway, you should.

    Without revolution, the oppressor won’t stop oppressing. Without revolution, there is no happy ending.

    Is that a line from a song I don’t recognise? If not, anyone musical/poetic care to use it to start a Blamers’ Anthem? We will be needing one to herald this revolution.

  26. Alex

    “A person is either an exploiter or a victim, or sometimes both, but never neither.”

    Dumb. Just straight up non-factual and a horrible/narrow way to view the world to boot.

    I just can’t express enough, how ridiculous all of your anger is when you surely must realize that everyone’s life is hard. You can’t just lump everyone into two categories. There’s plenty of situations where people mutually benefit from their interactions.Including those between Men and Women. Also, to say that the world has never benefited from exploitation would also be wrong.

    Listen,Your viewpoints aren’t being expressed on a political level? Boo fuckin’ hoo. Maybe you should talk to 90% of the world that in the exact same boat, or the other 8% that only think their views are being expressed.

    I, personally, think women can be strong, important and awesome. You’re idea that they are all trained to be victims or powerless is your own fantasy. It used to be that gender roles were a hell of a lot more important to our societies functioning and survival. Nowadays there is education and careers everywhere and machines that make life ever so simple, but 300 years ago and beyond, being at home to take care of your kid was pretty god damn important or else they would just fucking die. Be thankful that there have been so many women who weren’t educated or on the fast-track to becoming a wealthy entrepreneur so that your great-grandparents didn’t die of pneumonia or starvation or a broken leg. People get raped, robbed, murdered, taken advantage of, sick, hungry and all those other crappy things that happen every day, but you’re saying that maybe the real problem is the way Men treat women, because they’re all victims? Life is a lot more complex then, “you are an exploiter or a victim.” Think about the big picture rather than just yourself, or whatever friend of yours that was raped and felt used for one moment out of trillions.

    Grow up and stop whining.

  27. lawbitch

    Alex, your compassion for your fellow human being is underwhelming. Now that you’ve pointed out that the patriarchy is merely a fantasy, I can simply replace it with an alternate reality. Gee, thanks for that poorly written tripe!

    “Children are our future. Unless we stop them now.”
    –Homer Simpson

  28. Alex

    PS

    I do realize that my statements don’t take into account many people’s bad feelings. I just haven’t found in my experience that the universe’s functionality is based upon the idea that every human being should feel great all the time, or even most feeling great most of the time.

  29. ceezee

    Oh My Fucking God.

    I’m sorry. I can’t even respond. Alex, what the hell are you even doing here? If you want to play, go figure out what we’re talking about first.

  30. smelmoth

    And God hath spoken….

  31. Gansumina

    Amen, my sisters.

    Thank goodness we have dudes around to remind us of how mislead we are- thousands of us posting and lurking, and yet we need that enlightened dude… I guess it’s a good thing Alex believes that “women can be strong, important and awesome”. I cringe to think what would get posted if that weren’t the case. Too bad she/he doesn’t believe women are human after all.

    Twisty- give a call about the revolution. I’m ready to go anytime. This really was an awesome post.

    Death to the patriarch!

  32. rrp

    This was a great post for a generally miserable week.

    And who would have guessed that an object lesson would have had to post his thoughtful response.

  33. Shell Goddamnit

    Alex, darlin, you know fuck-all about oppression, right? No, no, don’t deny it, I see it in your eyes. So whyfor you come around and lecture people about it all pompous-like and patriarchal, huh?

    “I just haven’t found in my experience that the universe’s functionality is based upon the idea that every human being should feel great all the time, or even most feeling great most of the time.”

    Yeah, objecting to and dissecting patriarchal privilege and its effects is the same as whining about not feeling great.

    You know, saying “women are awesome!” means NOTHING. It just tells us you know your argument will be even weaker if you admit that you think women are lesser beings. And if you don’t think women are lesser beings, why would you tell women what their experience really is, as if you would fucking know?

    Meanwhile, back on point, Kathy Sierra’s actions are perfectly understandable and I think effective. She recoiled and moved to protect herself. I try to believe that at least some people will get the point: that a savvy longtime webuser took these actions due to the ugliness and immediacy of these threats. Maybe that’ll convince some folks (not Kos, evidently) that there really is some there there. It convinced me.

    (Some self-blame along with the rest for my former denialism)

  34. Spit The Dummy


    I just can’t express enough, how ridiculous all of your anger is when you surely must realize that everyone’s life is hard.

    *Boggles*

    You didn’t read the FAQ at all before you opened your yap to tell us how we were doing it all wrong, did you, Alex? Have you even been to Twisty’s site before? Read any of the posts? Do you even know what feminism is, let alone radical feminism as espoused here on this blog?

    Didn’t think so. Come back when you’re older/wiser and have some idea what you’re talking about, eh? At the moment you’re not even worth debating.

  35. Shell Goddamnit

    I would also like to add that these really offensive lecturey types seem to only come out of the woodwork when the liberal dude icons get smacked around; castigating regular ol’ right-wing tools doesn’t generally get the same response. So I guess it’s best to make sure the liberal dudes keep getting smacked around or it’ll just prove that these nasty little reprimands are effective. Hope yall are up for it! Good luck!

  36. Lexia

    Amazing. I’d started another long (winded) post in repsonse to yours, Twisty, about Kathy Sierra with the word revolution, then deleted it thinking no, it’s women, I’ll risk any repercussions and for what?

    Then this. Thank you.

    Lexia

  37. Gansumina

    Oops- patriarchy, I really mean patriarchy. Patriarchs don’t have to die- just go away somehow, like magically removed from the planet by aliens. Or maybe have a real epiphany about their behavior and stop screwing around with the rest of us. Or bears coming from the mountains and taking over dude-civilization, letting us get on with the revolution…

    Bottom line: a simple typo can turn anyone into an evil life-threatening idiot. My apologies.

  38. Random Lurker

    Alex, if you’ve got a free moment you can verify that the patriarchy does in fact exist. You can look at all sorts of statistics ranging from average wages to the number of honor killings to verify that women are treated as second class citizens throughout the world. You can log into a chat with a feminine-sounding handle and watch the abusive comments mount. You can ask a Fundamentalist of any religion via IRC (there are still IRCs right?) what he thinks of women. (And no, these aren’t just the opinions of random wackos. In every country, fundamentalists are gaining the ear of politicians.) You could read the testimonials of women fleeing from abusive partners–no matter the country these women always meet with police officers who run the gamut from clueless to downright abusive. Read any testimonial written by a woman in the first world trying to get Plan B, a condom in the third world, or an abortion anywhere in the world. Patriarchy is a global force. The fact that women have a modicum of freedom in tiny corners of the world doesn’t mean we’re living in a golden post-patriarchial age. This simple and easily replicable experiment will verify that what the commentators here experience is a real phenomenon and you, sir, are an illogical ass for thinking otherwise. The real question here is not if patriarchy exists, but whether you find patriarchy to be a violation of fundamental human rights.

  39. j

    Alex, Twisty has set aside an entire page for you.

    click

  40. Miller

    Does anyone else spot the doublespeak of Kos’ bigotry, specifically hyper-sensitivity? Bigots consider the existence of women and girls to be an offense on par with evil. Imus, for example, saw young black women playing b-ball and felt the need to angrily attack (Mind you, anger results from feeling victimized). He saw their existence was a cruel injustice! Sensitivity overkill. Why doesn’t Kos and Imus just get over it: yes, we exist. Kos hailed “freedom of speech” as a reason to allow cyber-bigots to post hate speech and terrorize women into silence with credible threats of violence. Worse, he equated private measures with government censorship. Most Americans haven’t a clue that only the goverment can censor (Bill Maher believed freedom of speech was at stake with the Imus affair). It’s amazing how men will scream about the possibility of their hate speech regulated on a few sites and yet mock women and girls who face such fierce, brutally violent regulation that their very lives are routinely in danger. Deleting comments that are pathetic ad hominem attacks or deleting a life for existing as a non-male: close call. Oh, and that “playing victim” card is usually played when the victim says enough’s enough and fights back.
    Ladies (and men), I am serious: we need to write letters and e-mails to campaign for sexism and misogyny to be referred to as bigotry, extremism, intolerance and hate, not “disrespect,” and for bitch, whore, and the like to be called out as slurs not “foul” language for us to be taken seriously. I wrote actual letters to NPR, NYT (again), BBC, Time, The Nation, and others after the Imus scandal. Only when our language changes (extremism glamorizing ultra-violent hate crimes is “cartoon violence,” “toruture porn,” or “sexually explicit,” for ex.) and speaks truth to power will we have a chance.

  41. Serpent's Choice

    I feel obliged to reply, having been — for better or worse — quoted in Twisty’s post.

    In it, she said a lot of things that I agree with as a matter of course, and a few significant ones on which we differ. Rather that try to respond directly to all of her post, I’ll instead focus on the idea distilled by Feminist Avatar into the first reply in this thread: that Kathy (and, really, all victims) have just two options.

    We all agree (I think?) that one option is to stand her ground against the threats, with questionable support set against very real concerns. While there are certainly people online, like Markos, who think this is the only option, they are wrong in that regard.

    But the point I tried to make, perhaps not eloquently, in the other thread, is that there is another option that to take the role of the “victim” (I regret my previous lack of scare quotes). You can retreat without running.

    Being a victim, in a neutral world, means that someone has made you the subject of a crime. Being a “victim” is much more complex in the patriarchy’s connotation. My point is that you can be a victim without being a “victim” — even if you cannot be (for whatever reason), in Twisty’s words, a revolutionary who stands up to your attackers.

    A victim might work with police and venue organizers to reschedule public events and to secure their locations. A “victim” might summarily cancel them, and so forth. A victim is someone who has been the target of the ugly means by which the patriarchy controls those who threaten it. A “victim” is someone who lets everyone else see that those means of control work. There is no problem with being a victim (other than the sad state of affairs that causes there to BE victims to begin with), but being a “victim” is how the patriarchy wants its oppressed to behave.

    And the difference is worth noting.

  42. Miller

    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article1642008.ece

    The above is a Times of London article on film’s passion for sexual sadism so disturbingly cruel (a young girl having her eye gouged out with a blowtorch or a naked woman being impaled in her genitalia, for starters) that I honestly kept crying as I read the article. I am so shaken by this–and helpless. As I told you before, a college aquaintance of mine was brutally killed recently and just thinking about what she must’ve gone through has haunted me. The fact that audiences are cheering on and rabidly defending violent extremism targeting women and girls that matches, even exceeds, any al-Qaeda propaganda has left me paralyzed with fear and confusion. Why does everyone refuse to believe that it is possible–just possible–for bigotry to be gender-based, with subsequent hate crimes? Why do people refuse to accept scientific fact: women and girls are human beings? What the fuck can I do to stop it?! The constant and relentless terrorism has gotten to me.

  43. pisaquari

    Simply *smashing* post.

    I had a similar argument with my now-ex over the word “victim.” He asserted that feminism was largely “women acting like victims” and such was the reason he didn’t like some of the sites I pointed him to. He couldn’t wrap his tiny little patriarchal-terdlet brain around the statistics and the stories and even MY own experiences which were nothing conducive of an “act.” He didn’t understand that when men leered at me or became sexually suggestive it wasn’t their brain and eye circuitry dripping into their balls–it was the massive brainwashing (you know I promise myself I will never again date men who say “It’s how we are made”).

    But it does beg the question: how, in this largely affected world, do we get the needed revolution going? Has it begun, in small circles, as with the blogs and women’s studies academia?

    I would love to hear other’s opinions on what actions promote the “revolution” and what things, if any, people are already doing.

    I, of course, have some ideas/behaviors of my own.
    My first suggestion is mandatory daily IBTP reading for ALL.

    Any takers?

  44. Praxis

    My own thoughts (courtesy mostly of Simone de Beauvoir) on why people have such a problem with victimhood;

    To be victimized is to have been made subject to the will of another. To have had one’s subjectivity denied, ignored or actively attacked. It is to be objectified and dehumanized.

    Patriarchal culture lauds those who can impose their will on others. Those who are subjects. In turn it loathes those who have been subjugated, objectified and therefore dehumanized.

  45. Miller

    Try reminding the “it’s natural” apologists that: 1. nature does not require violence to reinforce it (defies the definition of “natural”); and 2. even if it was an inherent tendency dismissing it depends on the assumption that women and girls aren’t human.
    I doubt it’ll work. Logic never does, as it goes against their religion. According to them, being female is a crime against Nature. Sure, we’re necessary for the survival of the human species, but that’s beside the point.
    Side note: There was a report in India documenting rampant child abuse of girls (nearly 3/4). More than 1/2 of girls reported that they wished they were boys. Of course, that would mean penis envy. Hmm…if I went all Lorena Bobbitt and carried a severed penis like a good luck charm to block prejudice and ward off violent bigots, according to Freud it should work, right?

  46. mearl

    I am ALL OVER beginning the work for another revolution. I’m in, people. It’s high time.

    Even if it’s about letter-writing campaigns, links to an erroneous patriarchy-serving article or blog where we could post our own rebuttals en masse, boycotting and excoriating ads, companies, businesses, etc. or starting up the consciousness-raising groups again in earnest, I’m in. I do what I can where and when I can. I am planning to be a high school teacher just so I can open the eyes of thousands of students – young women – to their own situations, and I plan to do so even if it means losing jobs and getting blacklisted.

    Given the nature of male violence and how it works against women as individuals, I would never in a million years advocate for the idea of taking the high road in life. I would much rather teach a young woman how to save her own life than to trust a justice system run by misogynists, watch her die at the hands of another misogynist, and go wild with grief and anger at the thought of what she, as a human, must have experienced in the last minutes before she became a statistic.

    Incidentally, my own view on the military is that yes, it is the culmination of destruciveness in institutionalised male worldviews and actions, but unless we start hobbling boy children, there is no stopping what’s already the thriving existence of the patriarchy. We can educate our male friends and our brothers and our sons but the masculine culture is alive and well and it will swallow them up no matter what we do. Nobody is going to hand feminists or pacifists our due. Non-violence worked for Ghandi and for the Civil Rights movement, but how many men out there would love to see the few feminists beaten down and killed? How many men secretly think most women need a good smack in the gob for being “uppity,” which is what they think we are being when we demand to be treated like humans? Women are everywhere, women are in every nation, women are divided against women of other nations and of our own nations. No matter how much we espouse non-violence and reason, the men in the world are going to continue killing us and trying to kill us and fantasising about killing us. I agree that we won’t achieve anything with a senseless violent gun-toting attack on the patriarchy, but we sure as hell can’t sit back and allow ourselves to be brutalised as individuals as we try to achieve things as a group.

    I see the need, given that patriarchy is a germinating force in every male, living, dead or incubating, for women to learn self-defense as a group. Those of us who can’t defend ourselves can be defended by our sisters. I believe that femininity is NOT inborn sweetness and light: what it is is an ATTITUDE that we are brainwashed into by the males of the world who need us to be dependent and weak-willed. Men need us to be different because they don’t want to admit how alike we all are underneath the gender roles and the hormones. Nothing in history has even been won without a fight, and we need to work AS A GROUP. We need to figure out what we, as women, agree on, and work from there. At the same time, we need to learn how to defend ourselves as individuals while helping other women who haven’t had the opportunity to come to feminist consciousness to defend themselves, and help them come to the same realisations that feminism has given us. I think that the revolution of the 60s had many of the right ideas in the first place, and I believe that a massive backlash has convoluted so many, many things in the world that the younger women who benefit from the rights that the 60s movement won for us are helping to turn those same rights into a prison, aided by men, who never wanted women to have rights in the first place. Taking a postmodern stance on things will only plug us deeper into the hole that men have dug, because if we do what THEY want and like and call it “reclamation,” they still benefit from it and we still lose. The only difference is that a woman can convince herself that she is doing it for HERSELF, not for the men. The men still take, and take, and take. They still hate us no matter if we do things that will benefit us as a group or if we do things that will benefit them as a group. We might as well do what will benefit US. Clearly, the new pluralism is not working. Things get worse every year. I’ve been watching it get worse and worse as I grew up in the wake of the second-wave feminist movement. The successes of that movement are being nibbled away at, day by day.

    We can have a revolution that includes men in our manifesto. Men will benefit from feminism too in the long run, they just can’t see it because they feel like we are the enemy, and act like we are the enemy. They feel that way whether we are taking anything from them or not. Our revolutions are only in response to their hatred, and they need to be made clear on that. But really, we are going to have to get together and fight as a united front, or we’ll continue to watch the few rights that were won swirl down the big old patriarchal toilet.

  47. Luckynkl

    Ah, it’s the old blame-the-victim schtick. Where victims are made to feel ashamed to be victims. Implying that they are at fault and responsible and to blamed for their own victimization instead of the victimizer. Which implies that might makes right and that the strong deserve to take and do what they want and if victims would just be strong enough instead of so pathetically weak, they wouldn’t be victimized. Which totally ignores and denies the political, econonomic, societal and cultural power gaps that exist between groups of people and implies that we’re all equal now and playing on the same level playing field. And totally ignores the fact that nothing of the kind exists and conceals the hierarchies and power structures.

    In order to argue that social change must be made, women must get the point across that social disparities do exist and those disparities have affected women negatively. IOWs, women must explain that society has victimized them and that they have been afforded less than others by virtue of their sex, so that society can rectify it. Because if it didn’t exist, there would be no need for feminism. It is the very recognition that women are victims which raises consciousnesses and inspires our fight for equal treatment and full respect for fundamental liberties that are of importance to us. In other words, realizing that one is a victim of prejudice and subordination is a necessary step towards empowerment. To deny it altogether is to hand that power back to the victimizer in spades.

  48. Jesse

    I think the problem here, and what was pointed out, is that this is yet another instance of blaming the victim. Patriarchy’s wrongs should not be measured by its victim’s responses… one should blame the patriarchy, not the woman… clearly, obviously.

    If some woman is a victim and a ‘victim’, then its probably because she’s been oppressed her whole life – blaming her isn’t going to help. Those women who do stand up, usually get beaten down, so it’s hardly surprising that many are too scared to stand up anymore. This is not to say that women, and indeed men, shouldn’t stand up to patriarchy, but to blame those who don’t is clearly wrong.

    Serpent’s Choice: I find it mildly repulsive that you sneer at women who are, to use your term ‘victims’. You say that “A “victim” is someone who lets everyone else see that those means of control work”. Of course it bloody works – if it didn’t work, there wouldn’t be a problem. What you’re doing is putting the blame on the abused rather than the abuser – which isn’t at all dissimilar to the sentiment of ‘he hit me because I….’

    There are all manner of ways in which we can fight patriarchy, but to expect those who are threatened, abused, oppressed and crushed to take responsibility and blame them if they don’t, is fucked.

  49. jc.

    Although at times I still struggle to understand/accept some of Twistys positions, definitions and claims “en toto”, I am also forced many times to accept their public manifestations.
    This last fall, when the newly elected conservative alliance government was forming, two newly appointed ministers were forced to resign under an intense media scrutiny.
    I personally enjoyed the humiliation of the conservative swedish government and the spectacle of staid swedish politics resembeling Italian carousel politics.
    At the time several other swedish ministers were exposed for similiar and much more serious economic offenses, and I eagerly awaited a continued series of resignations and the continuing further humiliation of the conservative parties.
    My wife commented the situation by saying ” the women will be forced to resign, the men will stay”
    Both ministers who were forced to resign (and rightly so)
    were women and ministers of soft departments (culture and such.
    They resigned, the men stayed (finance, foreign department etc.),although their violations were as serious or much more serious, and the media baying slowly died down. Occasionaly someone will mention that it does seem to be somewhat inappropriate to have a foreign minister that is seriously compromised by his economic interests in Russian gas lines (Holy Haliburton, Batman!) but otherwise all is forgiven. The finance ministers exploitation of immigrant labor without taxes is never mentioned even as he urges single moms to “work more”.
    My wife was right and so are you Twisty.
    Sometimes we just don´t want to believe what we know.
    Although having reached adulthood during and achieved the warped orbital direction of my life because of the sixties and seventies I am very slow to trust calls to revolution.
    But I still dream of a humane, secular and less fear inducing world.

  50. Jodie

    For some reason, this post made me think of this incident from my life:

    I was working at the start up of a new research group, where all of us were female. Our MD asked for input about how each woman thought the group ought to be organized and run. The nurse (who was the only one of us with research experience) drew a circle and put dots inside it and said, “Here you go. We all work together as equals, because all of our responsibilities are interdependent.”

    When the MD stared at her blankly and then proceeded to draw a hierarchy top heavy with department males WHO WOULD NOT EVEN WORK WITH THE RESEARCH GROUP, with all of us staff females (who would actually be doing 95% of the work) at the bottom, some light somewhere went on for me, and I’ve looked at things differently ever since.

    I think this was the first time I really realized how firmly entrenched the patriarchy is, and how difficult it is for people to even attempt to step outside of those societal bonds.

  51. Serpent's Choice

    “[O]ne should blame the patriarchy, not the woman… clearly, obviously.”

    Look, let me set something excrutiatingly straight here. The people making these threats and the societal structures that encourage them to do so are indefensible. Threatening to rape, strangle, and kill someone because you don’t think they should be talking, or talking in public, or talking about the things they are talking about — whether you claim those threats are “justified” because of their skin color, their accent, their religion, or their gender or that of their sexual partners — is so wrong as to be beyond the weight of words. I could call those people names by invoking colorful invective. I shouldn’t have to, especially not here.

    But the point of looking at the patriarchy as The Patriarchy, and not some inconvenient assemblage of socially disfunctional men is that it is pervasive. Women are ensnared in this system, too. Doing something about it means having something TO do about it … and I’m not willing to give credence to the veiled implications of a semi-violent call to arms a few posts above me as a serious solution to patriarchial domination. Discussing ways that victims of crimes, even — no, especially — those crimes that cut to the heart of the manner in which women are manipulated really ought to be part and parcel of any strategy to create real, long-lasting change.

    Not once, not in any one of my posts about this topic, have I said that Kathy should have stood up against the threats. Not once did I say that she was wrong to be afraid and to be intimidated. Why? Because none of that was wrong. What I have fault with is the next step, the way in which she reacted to that intimidation, to that fear. Is that because I have some deep-seated desire to foist disdain on her for her actions? Like hell. It is because there are going to be other women put in the same position she was put in, who are going to feel the same intimidation, the same fear and who aren’t able to step forward and confront it directly, but who maybe, just maybe want to find a middle ground, a way to “fight back” that isn’t really fighting but is something they can do with comfort in themselves. Because that’s the only way anyone is ever going to win against as pervasive a social force as millenia-old patriarchy: by small measures and middle grounds. And some of that means looking back at times we have been made victims and saying, “Hey, I could have done that better.”

    On the other hand, the times I want some women to look back on her abuser and say, “He hit me because I…”? Not. Even. Fucking. Once. That’s the difference.

  52. Natalia

    Which implies that might makes right and that the strong deserve to take and do what they want and if victims would just be strong enough instead of so pathetically weak, they wouldn’t be victimized.

    This is why I’m often uncomfortable with the term “strong woman” (as in “Buffy is a progressive show because it features strong women”). It’s as if to say, “Well, we could get interested in women, if only they were strong.”

    Strong can mean many things, of course, but in its literal sense, it is a physical attribute, and every time we praise someone for being “strong,” we imply that strong is inherently better than weak.

    The average woman is physically weaker than the average man (though if I had to guess I’d say the overlap between the two is greater than is generally acknowledged by our patriarchal society). Feminists have long countered claims that women are “frail” by insisting that we are not frail. This is a valid argument because, generally speaking, we are not frail, but suppose we were? Would that somehow magically disqualify us from humanity–as patriarchy seems to suppose?

    Frailty has long been considered the (primarily privileged white) feminine trait par excellence; liberal dudes now say approvingly, “She’s a strong woman,” which is too often just 21st century code for the nineteenth century compliment decried by Margaret Fuller, “She has a masculine mind.” A strong woman, like an articulate black person, is not the rare thing that such comments would suggest. But a weak woman or an inarticulate black person is still human.

    I reject the premise that weakness makes one less than human, a premise that has undergirded the oppression of women, but also children and as those with illneses or disabilities, for centuries. It’s bullshit, and IBTP.

    I have successfully stopped myself from ranting about Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance. But I tell you, it’s related.

  53. purple perplex

    While I’m all for the blaming, in the case of the basketball players, viewing entrenched racism as merely a sub-set of the evil patriarchy is entirely too simplistic for my liking.

  54. Natalia

    Purple perplex, your point is well taken — I didn’t mean to equate the two. I was invoking the “articulate” example (referring to the Barack Obama thing) as an analogous example of a member of an oppressed class being condescendingly offered honorary white dude status. I do BTP for its complicity in racist discourses, but I didn’t mean to suggest that sexism and racism are altogether consubstantial; they aren’t.

  55. Jesse

    Serpent’s Choice: I agree with you that it would be lovely if every oppressed woman stood up and defiantly said ‘fuck you’ to all that attempted to threaten and intimidate her, and I don’t suppose that you are advocating that women deserve to be threatened and intimidated; but I can’t help but see the correlation to situations wherein “of COURSE it goes without saying that the rapist is to blame, but if you’re gonna wear a skirt that short then… you know… *shrugs*… not that it’s her FAULT or anything, but…” I don’t think that this is your intent, but i do think that what you’re saying is, in effect, blaming the victim.

    What women who suffer the indignity of being intimidated into submission need is compassion, understanding, support and, consequently, awareness. What they most certainly don’t need is blame. Blame is one of the most pervasive tools of patriarchy, and also, IMO, perhaps the most insidious (largely because it’s a tool inculcated into women themselves to perpetuate)… you know what? it occurs to me that i’m blaming you, and maybe that’s, ironically, just a subtler version of what i think you’re doing… hmmm… who to blame…

  56. Catherine Martell

    Natalia:

    This is why I’m often uncomfortable with the term “strong woman” (as in “Buffy is a progressive show because it features strong women”).

    I agree with what you’re saying, but the geek in me won’t let that pass. Buffy is a progressive show because it features women who are fully developed characters. What’s revolutionary about it is that Buffy (and the women around her) are permitted be strong in some ways and weak in others; witness Buffy’s own immense physical strength contrasted with the complex strengths and weaknesses of her emotions; witness also her disgust at the attempts by the patriarchal Watchers’ Council attempts to reduce her to a fighting machine without any consideration of her as a fully realised human.

    Anyway, on the weakness =/= bad thing, I’m right there with you. I understand, and often feel, frustration with “victim culture” – the co-option of genuine suffering by those who sue McDonald’s because they’ve spilled coffee on themselves, or film stars who atone for anti-Semitic outbursts by checking themselves into rehab, or middle-class white men who immediately leap to the “feminists are oppressing me” guns. But my contempt for that lot of bleaters does not stem from a belief that being a victim is bad. It stems from a belief that being a victim is a serious matter, and shouldn’t be debased by frivolous attention-seekers.

    In this context, though I agree with Twisty, I can understand what Serpent’s Choice is getting at – not, of course, that s/he is calling Kathy Sierra a frivolous attention-seeker, which s/he has made manifestly clear that s/he is not. Victim culture is deeply depressing. Kathy Sierra, on the other hand, is not an example of victim culture; she is actually a victim of something pretty appalling, and I think her reaction has actually been incredibly strong. She has come out about it, not gone into hiding. Predictably, she has had yet more shit shovelled at her for doing this.

    To my mind, Kathy Sierra has stood up to her oppressors by speaking frankly about her horrific experience, and by not apologising for feeling terrified – which, after all, is a very reasonable reaction to death threats. And, along with most other people here, I am disinclined to agree with anything that implies any censure of her behaviour. She has suffered a horrible and traumatic experience. Let her call how to react to it.

  57. Serpent's Choice

    Gah! No. I know I’m being misunderstood here. I know that my viewpoint isn’t a popular one, and isn’t going to be. I even — yes, really! — know why that is. But its still important, so I’m still willing to clarify and clarify.

    When someone says, sure, the rapist is a sick fuck, but the girl DID wear an awfully short skirt … that’s blaming the victim. When a man beats his wife, but she says to herself, “He hit me because of what I did…”, that’s the victim blaming herself. Both of those are wrong, and neither of those is what I’ve been saying. Before I try one more time to make my own point, let’s see what’s wrong with the things that are clearly wrong. That’s simple. They take ugly, oppressive, often-violent actions that are supported by patriarchial societal underpinnings and make the oppressed victim responsible. And that’s a load of crap. Victims (even “victims”) are not responsible for their victimizers’ behaviors. Period. To say otherwise is just to victimize them in another way.

    In a better place, there wouldn’t be victimizers or victims, or “victims”. But its not, and there are. And I’m saying that we need to look at how people respond to becoming victims of the patriarchy and its ugliest, most physical aspects. Certainly, one option is to “open up a can of whup-ass” as Twisty put it, whether metaphorical or otherwise. But not everyone can do that (or should), and I’m not saying there is any problem with that reality. Again, before we proceed, I’ll point out why, so that the differences are clearer. That expectation is wrong because it demands that everyone be strong and willful and willing to put themselves and their loved ones at risk in order to make a point — an important point — but simply a point nevertheless. That is wrong because it begs the question, as asked elsewhere at IBTP, “Even if women were all ‘strong’, why should ‘weak’ people be less worthy of being human?” And, of course, they are not.

    What I am saying is that, when someone has been victimized and knows they are a victim, there are at least two ways to deal with it. You can adapt or you can give up. Giving up can mean a lot of things. It can mean duct-taping your house shut because you heard about bird flu. It can mean vowing never to fly again after 9/11. It can mean a rape victim who allows herself to lose all touch with human contact and emotion and become defined by the crime rather than by who she is. It can mean setting aside your entire life, your career, your public expectations, and your plans because you’ve been threatened with horrific crime. Giving up means the patriarchy wins. More importantly, giving up means the threatening, rapist, murderous abortions of human potential win. And sometimes, despite all our desires and efforts, they are going to win.

    But that doesn’t mean we should be happy about it. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to say, “Hey, there are other ways Kathy could have dealt with this situation.” The Rutgers women have put a good face forward. They didn’t attack Imus, they weren’t the ones motivating for his removal (that is, they didn’t “stand up” and attack back), but they didn’t give up; they didn’t quit. It isn’t about needign to rise up and say, “Fuck you, attacker.” It’s about sitting back down after you’ve started to run and saying, “I’m going to make sure this doesn’t change who I am.”

  58. Serpent's Choice

    Especially regarding Catherine’s comments above my last long post:
    “[Kathy Sierra] has come out about it, not gone into hiding.”

    It was my understanding that she had disavowed blogging and cancelled all her speaking arrangements, amounting to a hasty retreat from the public eye. If her statements about what has happened have been part of an effort to re-evaluate and re-integrate her ability to live her life and have her career in the wake of what has happened … then she’s actually a precise example of what I’m suggesting people DO … and the fault is mine in not following this story closely enough (there has been a LOT of news of late). Conditional mea culpa.

    But I stand by the essence of my argument, regardless of whether Kathy has demonstrated what I’ve argued against or its opposite.

  59. Miranda

    What I have fault with is the next step, the way in which she reacted to that intimidation, to that fear

    It is not your place to find fault with anything about this woman or her actions. The only fault lies with the males who made the attacks. Any blame attached to her, any discussion about what her actions “should” have been puts the attention on her and not on the attackers. You are exactly the same as the people who blame rape and domestic violence victims, and you are part of the problem.

  60. Jesse

    Serpent’s Choice: Like I said before: you’re right – it would be better if she stood up to them, it would be better if there were no ‘victims’ – we agree. Where I find fault in your argument is that you’re leaping from this ideal to the practical reality of blaming the victim, which is counter-productive. What needs to happen is you need to stand next to the victim without blaming her or making her feel like she didn’t do enough or somehow let her gender down. You need to stand next to her and accept that she’s fucking scared shitless because she lives in an all-pervasive patriarchal society that dominates her, so that she at least feels safe amongst those who oppose the patriarchy. WHEN she feels safe, WHEN she’s not judged to be less-than-okay by you, WHEN she is accepted fear and all, THEN she can begin to feel empowered. When you blame her for not doing enough or for reacting in the ‘wrong’ way, you’re pushing her further down.

    Don’t you see? The patriarchy may win when she lays down; but it gets bonus points when you blame her for it.

  61. Lily

    You are a brilliant writer! A wonderful post that hit all the ‘I recognise this’ buttons on its way through the eyes and into the brain. Thank you!

  62. Feminist Avatar

    Serpant’s Choice: I get you point but I actually think you are giving to much credit to the asswad’s who post such messages. They do not care about the victim, anything she does in response to their actions or the consequences of their actions. They receive power from the act itself.

    The rape threat poster receives his power from his ability to violate a space in which the victim feels safe. He get his thrill from the act of that violation and that no one could stop him. This is similar to rapists. It is the act of rape that empowers them, thrills them. It is this act they replay in their heads, that they wish to repeat. What happens to the victim after he leaves her- even if in a woman’s mind the following hospital examination, medical treatment, psychological counselling, breakdown etc seems so much worse- he doesn’t care. When rehabiliating rapists, psychologists try to get these men to realise the consequences of their actions of the victims because the truth is after the fact they don’t give a f**k.

    The posters of rape threats don’t care whether Kathy keeps posting or give up posting because they don’t care about her- they only care about their ability to assert power and they can’t do that if she is not there.

    The only thing that wins by a victim’s retreat is the patriarchy, but ultimately the patriarchy has already won by because by posting the man has already violated her.

    Having said this, I do think there is a place to support victims of the patriarchy and make sure that any retreat that they take whether that is from the blogsphere or the real world is not permanent (such as the support rape counsellors do every day). But in this point I follow Jeese’s comments.

  63. vera

    Serpent’s Choice, here’s what you are saying, cutting to the point: Kathy Sierra should have chosen a different reaction to the threats made against her.

    I would like to know how you have arrived at this judgement. Do you know what it’s like to be threatened with torture and death?

    The cold terror of being in that situation teaches one a thing or two. Foremost, it teaches one not to pass any sort of judgement at all on the actions of a victim of such threats. Whatever she needs to do to feel safe again, if that is even possible, is the right course. And no one else has anything to say about it, other than to give comfort and stand with her in solidarity.

  64. Hawise

    Imus successfully derailed the import of his patriarchal rant against the Rutgers’ team by shifting the blame to other partiarchal jerks. He basically said that the Rutgers’ team was unworthy of respect because they didn’t look or act like the Tennessee team, he used particularly vile language but his intent was to pigeonhole both teams into his exclusive world view. It is how he works and why the media and politicoes let him do it, he supports the patriarchal worldview with every vile word that he spouts and then shifts the blame whenever he is caught out. “I may have said it but society is to blame.”
    Kos is faced with having to look at his own behaviour because of what happened to Kathy Sierra and he tries to protect his own patriarchal worldview. She should suck it up, she should view HER situation through the lens of how it impacts on his world and more than that she shouldn’t impose her situation on the discourse at all because it is irrelevant to him. We then fall into various camps based on how icky we feel about the situation. We decide whether or not her situation should impact on our place in the patriarchy.

    The revolution begins within each of us and each of us has to fight the battle that we are in. Kathy Sierra is right to do what is right for her and the Rutgers’ team is right to prove that the patriarchy is wrong about them.

  65. Cricket

    You might appreciate this WaPo review of virginity.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/12/AR2007041201918.html

  66. Penny

    “What I am saying is that, when someone has been victimized and knows they are a victim, there are at least two ways to deal with it. You can adapt or you can give up.”

    Serpent’s Choice- WTF?
    I don’t understand how you can divide these things up without actually being Kathy (or whomever) herself. Does a person actually say “I give up” or, “dammit, I’m going to adapt!”
    You don’t know what’s going on for this woman, even if I were to buy your dichotomy of adapt/give up, which I don’t. When a violation happens, I decide one step at a time what I need, what I can do, what I want, and only in hindsight can I tell you which responses helped me, minute to minute, and were of value. If I can’t even assess this all the time accurately for myself, then who are you of all people to try it? If I were knocked down by a truck could I count on you to be there coaching me from the sidelines “get to your knees – no, that one’s broken – over a little to the left – that’s it, get your weight on your not bleeding hand”. Why do you think your outside judgement of Kathy’s experience is anything but possibly your own imagination’s attempt to deal with “something bad happened to her, and it scares me”?

  67. Joanna

    Twisty, thank you.

  68. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    Hey, has everyone read Chris Clarke’s “How Not to Be An Asshole?” at Pandagon? It’s being crossposted everywhere, even at a Kos diary. I think it, or some version of it, belongs in the WATM section.

  69. generation_next

    Well put. I like how you mentioned that Patriarchy isn’t something that someone just made up as a catchphrase and that it actually exists, but can you, or anyone else, point me to some resources that say/show/prove that it does? The idea that patriarchy exists at all and how is what I have trouble convincing people of (especially my liberal friends).

  70. annaham

    Do you guys get, I mean actually get, that our society is a patriarchy?

    Yes. And it always irritates me when people do not seem to understand such a simple concept.

  71. zofia

    “it was my understanding that she had disavowed blogging and cancelled all her speaking arrangements, amounting to a hasty retreat from the public eye.”

    What else would you expect? You seem to be suggestion that she be willing to become a martyr for this cause. She was threatened, her children threatened, and it became clear that her RL identity and location were known. Unless you accept Kos theory that they are simply harmless kooks, she acted in a completely understandable way.

    As for Alex, I know the response you’re expecting is, “yes, dear” but I think, “fuck you, tool” sounds much better.

    Lawbitch, the Homer quote cracked me up. I have a friend who has a bumper sticker that says, “I child-proofed my house, but they still get in.”

  72. Miller

    The whole “Women are weak, thus, justifying the patriarchy yet they should use their super powers to ward off attackers” phenomena is the same tactic employed by the US propaganda machine v. the Japanese in WWII: “We will whup the Japanese b/c they’re small, impish, near-sighted men! Damn Japs!” yet after Pearl Harbor (or other successful Japanese attacks) they morphed into gorilla-like superhumans destroying innocent, defenseless Americans left trembling in their wake (Mind you, they could switch back and forth easily). The Japanese were either sub- or super-humans, never actually human. The propaganda posters are disturbingly similar to today’s pop culture politics. Society is truly at war with us, the ultimate enemy (But the Japanese had, at least, an army. All we have is the power of denial to sedate us.).
    P.S. Do you think Kos covers his ears to the cries of his infant daughter? I swear I could see him doing that (not kidding).

  73. Feminist Avatar

    Generation_next: one of my favourite discussions of this is over at Bitch_phd where 300 women give there examples of misogyny in real life, see the comments on http://bitchphd.blogspot.com/2005/08/misogyny-in-real-life.html

    I think my realisation of the impact the patriarchy in real life came about through a conversation with friends of the various real-life experiences of misogyny. Four of us were just sitting around sharing stories about when men had overstepped the line (my ‘favourite’ was of a group of men who at the office leaving party of a female colleague had posted her head on to the body of various very sexualised images of women having sex in various positions and then shown it during her goodbye presentation). My own story was of a male colleague who sent me emails about how much he loved me and his various fantasies about leaving his wife despite my repeated and explicit requests for him to stop.

    Of the four of us having the discussion we could each give an example from our own personal experience- I suddenly realised that what I thought was just my bad luck was a systemic problem- the patriarchy. The best of it was is that I was a well-read feminist when I had this discussion so i should have already known this but I think its very easy to think of the patriarchy as something that used to exist, that still happens to other people occasionally but is being addressed if not in a perfect way. (I know- only an educated white chick would need a support group to realise she’s being oppressed!!)

  74. V.

    What I object to most profoundly in Serpent Garden’s paradigm is the concept that somehow, there is some ‘right’ or ‘better’ action an individual victim can take to ensure that the patriarchy does not win.

    Hello? The patriarchy has won.

    That’s what living in a patriarchy means.

    Now, if some of us feel less ‘victimized’ than others, some of that is hubris, some delusion, and a whole lot of just plain luck.

    My job as a feminist isn’t to criticize ‘victimhood’, with or without quotes.

    It’s to extend a hand to the victim, because we’re in this struggle together.

    And even together, I have my doubts as to whether we’ll overthrow the patriarchy–certainly not in my lifetime.

    But we can sure help each other bear the load a little more easily.

  75. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    Re Serpent’s comments (putting on flame-proof suit):

    I think what s/he’s saying is that there’s a ‘right’ response, and then there’s what actually works.

    And here’s where each woman makes her choice: Do I do what I need to to be safe and keep moving forward in my own personal life, which is what I have the motivation and energy to do at this time?

    Or do I go a bit further, make my own contribution to the revolution, and stick my neck out? Stand up and say what I really feel, and prepare to take the inevitable flack?

    To me it’s the difference between tree-huggers who write letters to the editor from the safety of their cozy living rooms (I’m one of those), versus the ones who’ll actually lie down in front of a row of bulldozers heading toward their sacred forest.

    And each woman makes her own choice. I personally feel guilty that I’m not bold or brave enough to be willing to sacrifice my own flesh and blood for any ’cause’. But within my admitted limitations, I do my best to live my own personal life by the standards we talk about here.

    And it’s an endless work in progress, right? Because sometimes all we have strength for on a given day is the path of least resistance (think of Twisty’s Battle of the Sandbox with niecelet).

    Some days it’s all I can do to leave the house after the daily internal battle about how much effort do I make today to conform to teh P enough to allow me to do my day’s tasks with a minimum of harrassment and inconvenience.

  76. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    Maybe clearer if I’d said, “there’s a ‘right’ response in ideological terms, and then there’s what actually works.

    As in, I know for a fact that many men cannot hear my words if I speak in an angry tone of voice. And while I absolutely despise the idea of being the ‘babymama’ and putting a bandaid on his booboos for him, sometimes I realize that in the interest of being heard at all, I have to sacrifice my need to be angry.

    I have to speak in a calm, measured, reasonable tone, and explain things as I would to a three-year-old, while forcibly restraining myself from speaking with condescension, because I know from experience he’ll hear that in my voice and his anger and resentment will block him hearing what I have to say.

    In high heels and backwards.

  77. Miller

    Last post.
    Serpen’t Choice,
    I get that it’s wrong to cave in (theoretically) but at the end of the day survival instincts are most powerful and we are dealing with people’s lives. Fighting back publicly rarely, if ever, works (I pray for brave Sierra). It terrifies you even more, especially when society will blame you if anything happens. A family member tried to fight back against a rapist that attacked and stalked her (a neighbor; no prior relationship) and the cops told her that there was no crime b/c 1. there’s no dead body (death threats become nullified somehow); and 2. “You can’t change your mind afterwards, sweetheart.” (I never forgot the quote as I heard him say it myself re: the rape. The neighbor told them it was consensual and they believed him, in spite of the medical reports documenting strangulation marks and head injuries and a doctor saying all signs pointed to rape). The stalker increased his violence against her after she went to the cops. For nearly two years, she lived in absolute fear (He once broke into her house, after he had tracked her down in spite of a new alias, town, and job, and beat her dog to death with a bat as a message. The cops didn’t do anything b/c she didn’t have a restraining order out of fear it would make things worse). Not until he got a girlfriend did he leave her alone. She fought so hard for so long and her victory is that she’s ALIVE today. I don’t blame her for being a shadow of her former feisty self. She’s desperate to “protect” herself, which is a fallacy but the realization that male violence is out of her control and it could happen to her again is just intolerable. Her experience changed the way I looked at the world completely.

  78. Twisty

    Hedonistic: I’m pretty sure he wrote it just so I’d link to it. Which I did.

  79. Pony

    Curiouserandcuriouser: I don’t believe his anger will block him from hearing you. I don’t believe he was ever going to hear you. It’s just that he demands that you block your anger because it doesn’t serve him. blah blah blah blah is all he hears if you dispense with the anger.

    Shoot the fucker down verbally, because most times, that’s all you’ve honestly got. If you have to speak to him like a child, get a child. At least you’re spending time with malleable material.

    Him = men

  80. DrSue

    Twisty, once again, thank you.

    This is not to legitimize any scrutiny of Kathy Sierra’s responses. (It is also not to pile on Serpent’s Choice, who is, I think, articulating a wish rather than censure.) It might be helpful, though, to let go of the notion of “choice” to describe one’s immediate reaction to assault. Very few of us are capable of controlling our response to a traumatic event. We may decide beforehand that we would stand up to our persecutors, or negotiate in a rational way to reschedule our engagements, or whatever, but in the actual event, for most of us, our survival mechanism takes over, and we do what we do. The reason military recruits go through boot camp instead of classroom lectures is so that in a crisis they will respond as the military has programmed them to do. It’s the same with us, except that our programming consists of a lifetime of messages that we are helpless, worthless, and had better become invisible or risk annihilation. Choice has little to do with it.

    Again, this isn’t to say that anyone has the right to judge Sierra’s response, choice or not.

  81. V.

    There is a huge difference between making a personal decision about one’s own response to oppression, and a prescriptive response to someone else’s victimization.

    It’s analogous to the difference between reflecting on the hard-earned insights one might have gained from having a serious illness, or chastising other cancer victims for not putting their suffering to good use.

    One is making the best of a bad situation, the other is just being an asshole.

    Again, there is no ‘right’response to being victimized.

    Anyone who implies that there is some sort of moral obligation to turn shit into sugar needs to eat some, first.

  82. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    Pony, I agree conceptually that ‘shoot him down’ is the only way to go. But what if the ‘him’ in this case is my own brother? And of my family, he’s the only one I haven’t written off entirely for being utterly brainwashed tools (including my mother)? My dad died when I was in my early 20s, so he’s not part of this picture.

    Suggestions? This ‘favorite’ brother has 3 young daughters (all under age 6) who I adore, and it pains me to watch the ways their bright shinyness is daily eroded by the slow acid drip of training to be ‘pleasers’. My sister-in-law, who is pretty fierce, and a force to be reckoned with, is nonetheless a firm believer in the ‘socialization’ boot camp that eventually makes girls succumb to the doormat training, at some level.

    Oh, too much to say, not able to be concise, feels like derailing the thread. Guess I’ll leave it at that.

  83. thebewilderness

    Serpent,
    I think you are seeing this too narrowly as an either or extreme.
    Her situation is such that the probability of the perps being colleagues is high. Consequently, when she contacted law enforcement about the threats thay may have advised her to cancel her public appearances until the perps could be tracked down and a threat assesment made. If you want law enforcement to take you seriously, you are stuck following their advice no matter how the spirit rebels.
    Regardless of the circumstance of threats it is, I think, essential that one make as informed an assesment as possible before proceeding. I thought that she made a wise choice when she advised others in her group of what was happening to her. In a similar way to the Imus bigotry, it brings out the bigots who have been passing for decent human beings.

  84. lawbitch

    BINGO!!!

    http://viv.id.au/blog/?p=431

  85. miz_geek

    Fairly early in the comments on the Kos thread, someone says,

    “So long as women can be frightened out of action by this they will be able to be put down and their voices stilled.”

    And I thought to myself, “Yes. Exactly! Someone here is actually pointing out the function that this sort of thing serves. They recognize that it is *designed* to silence women. They admit it!”

    Except I don’t think they meant it that way. Damn.

  86. Mar Iguana

    You say you want a revolution? A quiet one? Identify the enemy and focus on its demise: The corporatocracy, which hates democracy that (shudder) encompasses the humanity of Woman.

    Howse about women put down our differences long enough to get The Equal Rights Amendment passed to correct the tragic flaw of the founding foreskins, who had a magnificent vision marred only by their inability to deem women human.

    Work to get The ERA passed, like yesterday. The ERA is the voice of doom for the Corporate State. It is the stake that has to be driven into the heart of parasitic patriarchy.

    Continue to twist that stake by repealing the hijacking of The Fourteenth Amendment by corpboy. Then, regulate the fuck out of them instead of them regulating the life out of us.

    http://www.4era.org/

  87. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    Thanks, Pony – I’m still a beginner here. And though I love your advice to ‘shoot the fucker down’ in concept, it’s tough to pull off in real life with a family member who’s maybe the only one left I haven’t written off as a complete tool (including the women). And who has girlchildren, babies, who I love dearly and want desperately to protect from the ‘pleaser’ training they seem to be getting from all sides.

    So sometimes I put up with more than I ‘should’ because I don’t want to lose this relationship. And I don’t know how, yet, to both keep the relationship and really speak my mind.

  88. Ismnotwasm

    I knew If I came here I’d feel a bit better. Actually more focused is a better way to put it, because I’ve been mighty pissed at a few things lately.

    I just attended a forensic nursing conference. One of the speakers on Domestic Partner Violoence was an advocate for deaf women. A story was told how one women had a hearing partner, and since the deaf women was hysterical and “waving her hands around” She was handcuffed and arrested. There was much more of course, but that image of a women with her only mean of communication taken from her in handcuffs, by the authority who is supposed to protect her, that image will forever stay in my mind.

    Thank you Twisty.

  89. Pony

    Great idea that bingo card Lawbitch.

    Unfortunately, the blogger has a link in her intro post which leads right into Barry Deutsch’s pornography site.

    On the bottom right of the opening page to Alas a Blog, see “review software”. Click on it to got directly to BangBros.

    Barry Deutsch is a pimp.

  90. edith

    Is anyone not hip to PTSD at this point? You can’t choose your reactions to events beforehand. Someone might try to rape me and I might make it a funny anecdote, or someone might try to rape me and I decide to kill all men. Who knows what I might do? I acknowledge that we have some “choice” as both of those reactions, to me, are extreme. But we don’t really. When someone tickles me, I laugh, when someone punches me, I cry. My socialized and biological selves converged a long ass time ago.

    I think when people hate victims, they’re just fucking scared. Scared they might be a victim one day, and act like a victim. Get attacked and try suicide instead of creating a new non-profit. The hell we know.

  91. Serpent's Choice

    Responding to things along the way…

    “I would like to know how you have arrived at this judgement. Do you know what it’s like to be threatened with torture and death?” -Vera

    Yes. As a matter of fact, I am particularly well-acquainted with it. Although I am male, as some of the folks here have surmised (and as I am willing to admit to save the others from writing “s/he” to refer to me), it is fairly likely that I have been threatened — and actually assaulted — as much or more so than many women here. Speculate away as to why I’m confident of those claims if you want to; there are categories of people less beloved of the patriarchy than women.

    But that doesn’t give me any more or less right to speak, any more than it gives Markos some special priveledge. Instead, I’m just another largely-anonymous commentor trying to convey opinions despite the limits of a text-only medium.

    “They do not care about the victim, anything she does in response to their actions or the consequences of their actions. They receive power from the act itself.” -Feminist Avatar

    Oh, people who make that sort of post absolutely derive power from the act itself. But I’d caution against letting analogies go too far: this sort of rape and death threat is functionally different from rape (especially stranger-rape). Yes, both are done because the bad actors involved want the power and thrill of controlling and oppressing their fellow humans.

    But the attack on Kathy was more likely an example of the rising force of eliminationist rhetoric than an isolated desire to subjugate someone. The people pushing this modern resurgence in eliminationism are substantially very well aware of the effect their actions take. The specific people who made the threats may or may not be, but if they didn’t, then you can be certain that the people who directly inspired them did. So, yes, I think they very much care (although not in the way that “caring” ought to mean) about the responses and consequences of their action.

    “I think you are seeing this too narrowly as an either or extreme.” -thebewilderness

    Actually, what I’ve been trying to convey is that this is NOT an either/or extreme. IBTP posts see a lot of false dilemmas: it is one way or it is the other. You are an exploiter or a victim. You “open up a can of whup-ass” or you “take your reaming”. I believe that only very, very rarely is there a true dichotomy of options. Somehow, my efforts to say that here have been read as the opposite, which I find darkly ironic.

    Posters, myself included, let discussions of rape stand in for discussion of lesser crimes, in part because it is easiest to look at the extremes and in part because they are all derived from the same origins and purposes, and I will here as well. Not everyone who is faced with an aspiring rapist can fight them off, “open[ing] up a can of whup-ass”. But there is a marked difference between people who rebuild their life after rape and people who allow the crime to consume them, giving up on the world around them. There is a spectrum of response. And lest I be thought to be arguing from ignorance, I’ve known people on both ends of that spectrum very well.

    Is it bad form to say one end of that continuum of responses is a better idea than the other, both for society as a whole and for the woman affected? Maybe it is. Maybe saying that makes me an asshole. I’m willing to be called an asshole to say things that I think are important; I’ve been called a whole lot worse.

    “It’s analogous to the difference between reflecting on the hard-earned insights one might have gained from having a serious illness, or chastising other cancer victims for not putting their suffering to good use.” -V.

    No. The cancer patient who puts their suffering to good use by sponsoring charities or being a spokesperson or what-have-you is “fighting back”. What I’m talking about is the difference between a cancer patient who, like Elizabeth Edwards, has vowed to continue her life despite being a cancer patient and someone who retreats into self-defeating torpor when faced with the eventual finality of illness.

  92. Pony

    “{…} there are categories of people less beloved of the patriarchy than women.”

    No there are not. But to the extent that they are not beloved by the patriarchy it’s because they lower themselves to the place occupied by women.

  93. DonaQuixote

    This was great to read. I work with domestic violence victims and perpetrators (men and women on both sides of that, though usually male perpetrators and female victims). In my (all male) perpetrator group, there is a man who makes me feel terrifically unsafe. My (male) co-facilitator likes to tell me that if I reflect any of that to the client, he will have “won” and will “learn” that intimidation works on women.

    As if he doesn’t already very well know that.

    As if my very realistic fears of being verbally and physically assaulted by this man are the /justification/ for, the very /cause/ of, his abusive behavior.

    It’s amazing how well we have all internalized this script!

    What to do in the face of that I don’t know. The best I have come up with so far is that I have to be very honest and open about my emotional responses to being threatened, rather than trying to put up a tough front for the sake of femalekind. It doesn’t help anyone for me to be inauthentic about myself and stop trusting my instincts in an effort to “take it like a man.” That’s why I have a great deal of sympathy for women who respond to threats online by protecting themselves and speaking out honestly about how they feel.

  94. purple perplex

    Natalie – if you see this, thanks for the clarification even though I wasn’t talking about you :o)
    I was responding to the part in Twisty’s post where she writes “…there is no other possible outcome, in a society based on exploitation and victimization, than for the Don Imuses and the Daily Koses of the world to shit, frequently, on members of the lower castes?” This sounds like a conflation of patriarchy and racism – or even subsuming issues of racism within patriarchy – which makes me uncomfortable.

  95. olympe

    Partly related to the topic. I’ve come across a piece-of-shit article about a study that supposedly proves gender equality causes illnesses and may result in disabilities. Also, a proof how fake and biased science can be.

  96. kiki

    What I’m talking about is the difference between a cancer patient who, like Elizabeth Edwards, has vowed to continue her life despite being a cancer patient and someone who retreats into self-defeating torpor when faced with the eventual finality of illness.

    Ah, yes, the ‘pull yourself up by the bootstraps’ lie. As someone who has been involved with hospice, I find this attitude extremely disturbing and is illustrative of the false dichotomy that is preached by the bootstraps crowd. In this paradigm there are two types of people; fighters and quitters and no one likes a quitter, dammit. You are just reiterating the position that she should ‘taken it taken it like man’. Hey, it’s a man’s world and she wants to play ball she better bring her A game and expect some bruises and all that other bullshit.

    There is no right or wrong way to approach illness and death. I would posit that people who choose to no longer fight “when faced with the eventual finality of illness” have, in fact, come to a place of acceptance; a place that every dying person eventually finds her or himself. When you look into the face of a fellow human in a state of full realization and acceptance you’ll see incredible strength, not pathetic weakness.

    But your Elizabeth Edwards example is interesting. I can see why you would put her on a pedestal. Despite her illness, she is standing by her man. You know, behind every great man there has to be a ‘strong’ long suffering women. Of course, part of her fight is to stay alive for her kids, which interestingly enough seems to be part of the reason that Sierra has tried to preserve her life.

  97. Mar Iguana

    I just listened to some stupid white boy bemoaning that the Imus dust-up will give Sharpton and Jackson more power. And, the piss off? He’s right, as they wasted no time rushing in to co-opt the incident as a primarily racial one. Bullshit.

    All the boys (and the women who luv them) out there are inflating the racism and discounting the sexism, per usual. Break it down boys. How many people are slurred by “nappy-headed” versus how many people are slurred by “hos?” That would be approximately 15% (blacks) versus 51% (women). Yer Daddy loves ya, boys, no matter what color you are, for your preDICtably ignoring/discounting damage done to ALL women, mentioned only as kind of an after thought, if at all, in this incident. Grrrr.

  98. Silence

    On a depressive, ‘blame-the-victim’ note, has anyone else here noted the success of the book ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne? In a nutshell, the author claims that if you are a positive thinker, you can have anything. Want a mansion? Think about it really, really hard and you’ll get one! Because, you see, positive thoughts attract energy from the universe that works in your favor. Or something like that.

    The flip side of all this is that is bad things happen to you, it’s your fault because you’re thinking negatively. The author advises her readers to stay away from fat people because they give out ‘fat energy’ that can be contagious. Similarly, her readers are advised to stay away from sick or depressed people because their negativity can be catching.

    Let me repeat, because I’m still trying to get this through my skull myself: if bad things happen to you, it’s your fault for being negative. And this book is on the bestseller’s lists. go into a bookstore, and you’ll likely see it advertised prominently at the front.

    Shame the victim. Suck it up. You’re to blame if you’re not happy. What’s wrong with this society? Why do people have to hate those who are in pain? Do people read books like this because it absolves them of the need to do anything to help the unfortunate? As in — ‘Oh, she’s poor and abused because she thinks bad thoughts. She deserves it. Why should I interfere?’

    I’m sorry if I’m ranting, but I’m just so fucking mad. I really do think that nothing short of a revolution is going to change this world for the better. Probably explains why I’ve been reading Les Miserables again.

    Better than the fucking ‘Secret’ in any case.

  99. exangelena

    Oh and about that golden age when women stayed home to nurture the kids? It never existed.
    A few examples from the last century: Orphan boys in the Royal Navy were usually brought up by male sailors; the children of female industrial factory workers were often brought to work (for the hellish 10-12 hour days) and drugged with opium; black American women usually had to work as maids or nannies (and before emancipation, were subjected to involuntary labor) although like most women of their time, they certainly had children of their own.

  100. vera

    [...] There are categories of people less beloved of the patriarchy than women.

    No, there aren’t. The patriarchy doesn’t “belove” anyone, but women are at the bottom. (For more information, see Twisty’s FAQ. In particular, scroll down to the information under the heading, “The Twisty Weltanschauung.”)

    I’m willing to be called an asshole [...]

    Good, because I’m pretty certain you will be.

  101. Song

    This entire discussion has focused on exactly two people: Kathy Sierra and, to a much lesser degree, her anonymous threatener.

    But Ms. Sierra’s own description of the situation makes it very clear that much of the responsibility should rightly lie with her broader community of bloggers.

    http://headrush.typepad.com/whathappened.html (This was linked by Twisty in her first post on the subject.)

    She connects the death threats and horrific images posted as comments on her own blog with similar threats posted on other people’s blogs, people who are her colleagues in the blogosphere. She even says that at least one such comment could only have been posted by someone with authoring privileges, although none of the few people with those privileges will admit to having done it.

    This changes things. We are all visualizing the familiar horror-movie script of a lone female stalked and terrorized by a single anonymous bad guy. The reality is quite a bit more complex and quite a bit more disturbing. Her own professional community actively participated in and helped to produce the abuse. I’d say there’s a better than even chance that her persecutor (assuming there is only one) is someone she knows professionally, not a random passerby on the internet.

    Hence the call for a blogger code of conduct. Hence the attention to the general tone and dynamic of public discourse. Because if all decent people would, you know, behave with basic decency, it would be a lot harder for the occasional sick fuck to hide amongst them.

  102. vera

    Her own professional community actively participated in and helped to produce the abuse.

    Most people in the tech blogging community would object; they’d say that they’d never participate in online bullying. What they need to understand is that they’ve been very good at protecting, tacitly or otherwise, abusers.

    I’ve heard it many times: “If you don’t have a thick skin, don’t blog.” So I don’t blog (much). My skin got really worn down over the years, what with the sexual assault, threats, harassment, and so on.

    Apparently these tech bloggers invented the Internet, and have decided that the vulnerable don’t deserve a voice.

  103. vera

    I just read Scoble’s(*) response:

    http://scobleizer.com/2007/03/26/taking-the-week-off/

    I’ve read only a few of the comments, but I get the sense that here and there, people in the tech blogging community are beginning to wake up.

    Or maybe it’s just the little (very teeny, tiny) optimist in me, getting out of hand again.

    (*) Scoble is another prominent tech blogger.

  104. Ann Bartow

    Vera, I don’t know Scoble and it is possible he would have responded similarly anyway, but his wife was attacked fairly harshly at the same blogs attacking Kathy Sierra. You can read about this here if you want to: http://www.docuverse.com/blog/donpark/2007/03/27/how-awful

    I wish I thought it was a matter of people needing to wake up. Instead I think that the Internet is a forum perfectly suited for men to exercise dominance over women, and some of them enjoy doing this a lot. Liberal doods call people cunts or hos or Heathers or any of a long list of gendered epithets to remind us we are inferior, because this gives them pleasure, not because they don’t know better. Then someone take it up a few notches, and decent men temporaily get a clue, but generally they don’t make connections between mild, normalized sexism and the extreme stuff.

  105. CLD

    Of course, I’m once again late to the party. I got pissed off in the referenced post’s comments, only to find Twisty has masterfully made all the pertinent points here.

    Thank you, Twisty.

  106. yankee transplant

    This is (in my humble opinion) your best post ever, Twisty.
    I emailed it to my 18-year old daughters, printed it and hung it in my home office, and sent the link to everyone I know who isn’t already a reader. You are freakin’ brilliant.

  107. Mandos

    What is revolution?

  108. Quinn

    Okay, I haven’t read all the comments, but am wondering how many of you, lurkers and commenters, have ever in your lives been in Kathy Sierra’s postion or one similar to it. I have been and more than once and it wasn’t fun. And, yeah, I have developed a very thick skin as a result. And a truely uncaring attitude towards the people who hurt me and abandoned me.

    And that is the worst thing about this whole messed-up situation-that uncaring attitude I’ve developed towards a number of people.

    This is what the constant brutalization of patriarchy does. It turns us into beings who care less about our fellow beings.

  109. Bex

    Praxis spake thus:

    “My own thoughts (courtesy mostly of Simone de Beauvoir) on why people have such a problem with victimhood;

    “To be victimized is to have been made subject to the will of another. To have had one’s subjectivity denied, ignored or actively attacked. It is to be objectified and dehumanized.”

    Yes – as I see it, to be dominated is ‘shameful’. IE, that feeling of shame is the state of feeling dominated.

    So who wants to admit it happens so very often, especially if it’s happening to them or someone in their life?

  110. Edith

    The other day, I was pulling myself up by my bootstraps so hard that I fucking tore off my feet. I am so hardcore. I’m such a fighter.

  111. Sylvanite

    I think the hatred of victimization (and the idea that “positive thinking” can be used to magically make your life better) come from the same place. As was touched upon above, that place is fear. Fear of being powerless to control what happens to you. Fear of being a victim. It’s all magical thinking. If you repudiate victims you (magically!) will never be one yourself. Avoid negative people, and bang!, magically you will be able to control the universe so that you are never victimized by bad things. I suspect that this is a large part of the blaming of rape victims. Blame them for being in the wrong place or wearing the wrong clothes, and you can pretend that rape can never happen to you. How? Magic!

    No one likes to face the fact that the universe is indifferent to their very existence, that all they need to have is one bad day, and everything they’ve built can be destroyed. To protect themselves from the fear this reality brings, they shield themselves with magical thinking, and provide themselves with the illusion of control.

  112. 'soup

    “On a depressive, ‘blame-the-victim’ note, has anyone else here noted the success of the book ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne?”

    Silence, it’s a verrrrry popular “theory” with the new agers in my city. I in fact dumped a mental health counselor a few months ago who basically told me to “get over it”, it being PTSD from being raped and beaten in my younger days and suffering through nearly a year of anxiety attacks recently because of it. She also insisted that she wasn’t blaming the victim even though everything she said about me and others was doing just that.
    Unfuck ‘em

  113. LMYC

    Without a
    revolution to back her up, all the whup-ass in the world will only get
    her locked up.

    Which is why, despite being a firearms owner and supporter of the RKBA, I am livid when people stupidly insist that rape would end if women shot their rapists. I ain’t crying for a rapist, and I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot one who tried if I could, but we’re living in a world where even videotaped evidence isn’t enough to convict a rapist. What possible chance does a woman have to not get put in jail for fifteen life sentences if she kills some Nice Guy because she says he tried to rape her? Lying bitch. He probably just looked at her and she shot him, you know how neurotic these wimmins are …

    Then, they love to tell you the old saw: “Better tried by twelve than carried by six.” Tried? Better unraped than in jail for a life sentence and viciously savaged in the media for defending yourself? Hm, that’s a bit more of a poser, isn’t it?

  114. curtis

    Speaking to ‘serpents choice’s’ point about victimhood, I don’t really think that phsycoanalyzing her response to a specific incident of threat, or anyones response to their own specific threatening experiences, is useful.

    Figuring out how to overthrow the culture that sysematically uses the rape/torture/murder threats to control half the population is something for all of us to do at a more peaceful and contemplative time than when we are reacting to a specific threat.

    I get the impression that the ideal that is being upheld in not being a ‘victim’ is to ‘score points’ for the righteous, making a stand on principle. Because we don’t want the bad people who use those tactics to think that they are winning or whatever.

    That won’t work because we live in a patriarchy and the ‘bad guys’ that use the threats already know that they work. They already won a long time ago. Twisty was very clear about that in her post, and looking around at the world with my eyes open I can see that she’s right.

    Speaking of ‘scoring points’ I really don’t get the ‘I’m more of a real feminist than you are’, ‘I have experienced more victimhood than you have even though I’m a male’, ‘My class is more exploited and oppressed than your class’, etc. My own victimhood cv includes being gay, having been sexually assaulted at 5 (by a much older female), experiencing systematic abuse/neglect/abandonment/poverty/drug use in childhood, etc. The only thing its worth to me now is trying to figure out what we as a culture are doing wrong- that is the patriarchy- and fixing it. For all my own personal individual experience of victimhood I can still see that as an adult white male (who is good at hiding being gay) I have unearned privilege, and am exclusively and sysematically, as a category, afforded a recognition of my humanity that all others whether women, children, black or what have you should also have been receiving but aren’t. And thats the patriarchy, and its just plain wrong.
    So lets have that revolution, assuming we are talking about a cultural revolution. A political revolution wouldn’t work, just a lot of killing of guys like ‘alex’ that would end up with new bosses the same as the old ones. However temporarily satisfying it might be to kill off all the assholes, the patriarchical culture will just train more, where a cultural revolution would stop the asshole training process completely (eventually). I think that most people here already get that its cultural revolution we need and are talking about, not political, but I noticed it doesn’t seem to be clear to everyone.

    I would like to take this opportunity to whine that I thought there would be more Shulamith Firestone threads, that it would be a regular series and not just that one. I read the book. I really liked that she is a communitarian anarchist just like me. I think she was completely correct in that it starts with the ‘children’, and also that the construct of ‘childhood’ is just as artificial as the boy/girl masculinity/femininity construct, and probably just as harmful.

  115. curtis

    ouch, twice I left the t out of systematically, oh the shame!

  116. edith

    Are we taking votes? I vote for more Firestone too.

  117. BubbasNightmare

    Jodie:
    “I think this was the first time I really realized how firmly entrenched the patriarchy is, and how difficult it is for people to even attempt to step outside of those societal bonds.”

    Yes! It’s difficult to the shape of the problem when you’re entrenched in the middle of it, like the geologist who couldn’t find the caldera structure that he knew had to be in Yellowstone–until he saw satellite imagery which showed the entire park to be the caldera.

    I’ve become a firm believer in Firestone’s comments about how we’ve got to solve the remaining biological issues surrounding conception control before we can even begin to tackle the cultural issues.

    Hedonisticpleasureseeker:
    ‘Hey, has everyone read Chris Clarke’s “How Not to Be An Asshole?” at Pandagon? It’s being crossposted everywhere, even at a Kos diary. I think it, or some version of it, belongs in the WATM section.’

    Good read, and a hearty agreement to Twisty linking to it in WATM.

    Now, if we could help get the Blameopedia off the ground, I’d be even happier.

  118. mAndrea

    Saw this at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/04/16/national/main2686709.shtml

    University President Charles Steger indicated in an afternoon press conference that several thousand students were already on their way to class:”You have to remember that of the 26,000 [students] that we have, only about 9000 are on campus. When the classes start at 9:00 A.M., Thousands of people are in transit. The question is, where do you keep them when it is most safe? We concluded that the incident at the dormitory was *****domestic***** in nature. These other events occurred two hours later.”

    How many have to die? And they don’t fucking care, and they’ll do anything to spin this as anything other than what it is.

    NO. GODDAMN IT NO!!!!!! DO NOT LET THEM SILENCE YOU!!!!! STAND UP AND BE HEARD!!!!!

    They are already trying to spin it, to call for calm. WHO DOES THAT SERVE??? Who benefits when we look the other way?

    April 16, 2007. 33 college students died because one man has an entitlement mentality. One man thinks he’s entitled to a woman’s body. One man thinks if he can’t have her, no one will.

    I will not be silent. Not today. Not now. Not ever.

  119. LMYC

    “We concluded that it was domestic in nature” means, “We didn’t realize there was anything to worry about. It seemed like he was only threatening the person he had a right to threaten; we had no idea he’d begin to go after people outside of the one defined as his permitted punching bag.”

    ATTN MEN: confine your murderous impulses to the owners of your indentured fucksleeves (excellent phrase, heard here), and you’ll be fine. Don’t kill anyone who matters, though — the law will have to get involved at that point.

  120. thebewilderness

    I vote for more Firestone.

    Mass shootings 25
    Men 24
    Women 1

    I think it is fairly obvious which segment of the population should never be sold any bullets ever.

  121. Sasha

    Shorter Alex: Man up

  122. TP

    God, what a thread. Victim hair-splitting for paragraph after paragraph of unconvincing, ill-thought-out justifications of something that can only be believed by a bona-fide owner of white male privilege?

    Only Honky Male Privilege can look at a victim and tell them to shut the fuck up and take it like a fucking man. Because when you take it like a man, you’re still on top of the losers, whiners, brown people, poor redneck trash, and everything else that you trample on daily with your little delicate male feet of presumption, pride, and privilege!

    Positive thoughts come easy when you’ve got everyone else in the universe squirming under your fat white ass!

    Bring back Shulamith!

  123. Nancy

    Twisty, you are a genius, and this is one of your most kick-ass blog posts ever. Thanks.

  124. Praxis

    mAndrea,

    Now I understand how that shooting spree could be continued after two hours. What a sick world we live in when a murder can be dismissed and no substantive actions taken with the simple dismissal that it was ‘believed to be domestic in nature.’

  125. anuna

    Yeah, how the hell is this “domestic”? Because it took place in a house? But it didn’t. It happened in someone’s dorm room. Presumably a woman’s room, where she lived. So, every time one of us gets killed where she lives, it’s “domestic”? Gosh, what a cozy sounding word for MURDER. It could only conceivably be called “domestic” if it happened in a home that killer and victim shared. But it’s not even that. This guy had no right to be there. Calling it “domestic” when it was really a man breaking into a home that was not his home, but hers, just underlines the idea that the man owns whatever he wants to lay claim to–her home, her life.

    “Domestic,” as LMYC and mAndrea pointed out, is just a code word for “it’s just a woman, so there’s no need to get upset.”

    And how is it a “dispute” or “altercation”? It’s not as if they were arguing over what color to paint the bathroom. “I’m going to kill you now” vs. “Don’t!” is not some kind of fair fight. Or maybe the “argument” was something like this: “I assert my right to own and control you, because I decided I want you” vs. “No, you don’t own me.” That is not an argument, because an argument has two sides. It’s not just a unilateral assertion of privilege by one person over another.

    This constant insane misuse of language maddens me. Obviously.

  126. badgerbag

    “Do we seriously think she can take down the dominant culture by “standing up” to it, with only a few wan ‘you go, girls’ from the sidelines to mark the occasion?”

    Aaaaaa! This is so good! The neatness of your expression fills me with happiness.

    Absolutely, we should act in complete isolation as individuals just be “being strong” and “standing up for ourselves” and “not acting like victims”… because, speaking up in public about being angry about oppression in the face of people who threaten and mock us is of course whiny and victim-like.

  127. Professor Zero

    A police officer once had occasion to explain the ‘victim’ thing to me and he was quite clear. In essence: if you have a crime committed against you, you are the victim. Being the victim does not mean you are whiny or disempowered. It means that this was a crime, not a communication problem or something, and that it is not your fault if you could not successfully negotiate yourself out of the situation. It means that you do not have to apologize for what happened or take blame for it. Realizing that you are the victim is what gives you the clarity to fight back.

  128. Stormy

    LMYC said:

    when people stupidly insist that rape would end if women shot their rapists. I ain’t crying for a rapist, and I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot one who tried if I could, but we’re living in a world where even videotaped evidence isn’t enough to convict a rapist. What possible chance does a woman have to not get put in jail for fifteen life sentences if she kills some Nice Guy because she says he tried to rape her? Lying bitch. He probably just looked at her and she shot him, you know how neurotic these wimmins are …

    I totally agree LMYC, that women will be (and already are) locked up for killing abusive spouses (in the UK), so it will be with women who ‘dare’ kill rapists and attempted rapists. Women aren’t even being believed about rape even when they have bruises or injuries, the word of two women raped by the same man on the same night wasn’t enough to convict him. Women have no justice within the male legal system, and certainly will be condemned by it if they take matters into their own hands. IBTFP

  129. peonista

    We encounter this attitude in domestic violence work all the time. Many of the feminist women who volunteer at our shelter are outraged when some brutalized woman goes back to her batterer.
    We always try and make them understand that in a patriachy, with a power structure that is part of the patriachy, she knows full well she is basically on her own facing someone that she, more than anyone else knows is very dangerous. If she didn’t act like a victim and run away from him, or submit to him she would likely be harassed endlessly at best, or killed. He will try and get her children, flatten her tires, make up lies about her, try and get her fired from her job, stalk her, etc. And the partiarchical power structure (police, courts, etc) will do very little to smack him down.
    Look at the male terrorism at Virginia Tech on Monday. The cops knew there was a man who shot someone but because that “someone” was a woman or a friend of a woman, that he was in an intimate relationship the power structure (VT admin, VT security, local cops) did not take the threat seriously and do a lockdown of campus. I ask you is there any other situation BESIDES a domestic murder that would be treated like this?
    We NEVER encourage a woman to stand up to her abuser. Get out of Dodge yes, but denounce her victimhood and challange him? Are you crazy? Now if we could get a cadre of women together with the full backing of the power structure and go beat his ass and run him out on a rail, fine, but now you are talking about revolution.

  130. LouisaMayAlcott

    Peonista,

    Perhaps now, police will treat “domestic” killings more seriously, if only when they happen in crowded public places.

    After all, this time *men* were killed in large numbers, men who were not in national service to the cause of American imperialism.

  131. christy

    This one is for you Twisty:

    http://www.seabel.com/weblog.php?id=1

    (hopefully it is the post from April 16, 2007)

  132. hedonistic

    http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=45582&in_page_id=34

    OH, HELP. IF ANY READERS LIVE IN THE UK, SHUT THIS PAPER DOWN!

    You know, Helen Troy started a whole war.

    Fuckers.

  133. Barbara Morgan

    Ahhhh. We women want it both ways. We want to dance through the power structure by falling in love with men and having children with them and them appealing to our very oppressors for help when it all goes terribly wrong.

    First off, falling in love is at the crux of the problem. YES! FALLING IN LOVE! Watch what happens to your life when you refuse to persue that perilous trap and build your life around yourself and your own interests. When you stop living vicariously through others, the patriarchy begins to lose a lot of its leverage. You make money, build a business, hire underlings and YOU CALL THE SHOTS. You persue hobbies, hire trainers, consultants, assistants and YOU CALL THE SHOTS. And, because there is very limited intimacy, there is very limited disfunctionality. Try it, you just might like it!

    I’m sure I’m in for a mega-scathing, but this is my truth. And, I haven’t had one single yeast infection since I swore off men, either. So there!

  134. LouisaMayAlcott

    Hi Barbara,

    I’m glad things worked out that way for you.

    For the milions or *tens* of millions of women in North America who do not have business knowledge or skills, your particular path is not an option.

    What I see here in the permanent underclass is that women seek desperately to establish any kind of social context for themselves whatsoever (and the very slight, although for them, very significant) economic benefits that that brings, by “falling in love” with the underclass male(s) that are available to them.

    It’s a good question whether these women are more “in love” with the men, or with their own survival necessity.

  135. Spinning Liz

    Damn. I so wanted to click on Barbara Morgan’s name and find a kickass feminist blog all about how falling in love is at the crux of the problem, spiced up by her personal quotidian musings on the process of building her life around herself and her own interests. Yo, Barbara! Blog it!

  136. TinaH

    Peonista said the word that’s I’ve been trying to come up with for weeks now:

    Male Terrorism.

    We can add to the definition of the f*cking Patriarchy by including an understanding systemic, pervasive terrorism that women live their lives with.

    Thank you, all, for helping me finally clarify the language in my own mind.

    Tina

  137. LMYC

    Barbara, I’d liek to talk more about what you’re saying, but in general … yes. I do agree with you. The forced, artificial custom we have of “gazing into one another’s eyes and blah blah blah” is a huge part of this. Men and women do not mean the same thing when we say “love,” and that puts especially us in for a world of hurt when we go for this.

    The older I get, the less and less I buy into the entire thing as anything that makes sense. I do not get why this is even an issue or a supposed drive for women — to find and latch onto one male, invite him into your house and your life, revolve yourself around them, even in a so-called “equal partnership.” The only advantage I can see to it is that you get two incomes and can scrape together a house down payment more easily. Even if you supposedly meet a “great guy,” why the hell do you have to glom yourselves together legally? In contrast tot he rest of the world, I find same-sex marriage to be far more normative and believable. But two creatures who have been raised to believe they are nothing alike and moreover that this is good and desireable or at least unavoidable?

    What the hell are they smoking? Then, they talk about how much “work” it is. WHY?! No human relationship comes without effort and trying to see things from the other person’s POV, but marriage alone is accurately portrayed as decades of HARD, HARD WORK — to what end? “I have to teach him how to give a crap for women’s issues, and every now and then, once every two or three months, he comes CLOSE to getting it, so It’s All Worth It!” No, sorry. It’s not. Are you nuts? It’s worth it? What other relationship, what other close friendship, would you tolerate that met such a low standard?

    It’s So Much Work, B-b-b-b-b-but It’s All Worth It. Please. GMAFB. It’s sour grapes in reverse — society programmed us to want this, we fell for it, and we’re gonna talk that sow’s ear into a silk purse if it kills us. Again, even if you like the guy, why can’t you just chat with him and be friends instead of scraping his damned face hair shavings out of your sink every morning? I’m so, so, so glad that I didn’t want kids so that I didn’t get suckered in and stuck like so many women I know of. All I see now among my married peers are women who are blinking and waking up and wondering, “What the hell have I been doing?” It’s like sleepwalking — they have been wandering around in a daze, doing some senseless thing like folding socks on the gas range or putting their car keys in the freezer while asleep, then they wake up, blink, and go “WTF?” But it made sense when I was asleep! Well, now that you’re awake, it doesn’t.

    I know that for a lot of women who want kids, that “waking-up” often comes late and involves a lot more pain. I will forever be grateful to whatever biological whatnots I’ve got that enabled me to push my career as far as I wanted and live on my own, and stay that way long enough to realize just how fucking fabulous it is. And I know that this is often interprete as bragging by overworked women in rotten marriages that have long since ticked over to autopilot, but I’m not going to be silent. Spinsterhood ROCKS, and I’m happy to celebrate whatever serendipitous combination of brains and dumb luck motivated me to choose it.

    Love is just WEIRD — two things, one word — one pink, one blue. Wake up to it, and the world becomes much sweeter, more colorful, more exciting, filled with so many more things to engage in and learn. Languages, classes, hobbies, friendships, ambitions, vocations … everything. Life itself.

  138. dalsgaard

    Let me take the viewpoint of an equalitarian for once.

    You girls probably wonder why a lot of men take so much offence to the word patriarchy – and I can honestly see both standpoints in this controversity.

    When men argue that “There is no patriarchy” this is lies. There is patriarchy, and noone in their right mind could deny this. See? Even the dictionary has a definition:

    “A social system in which the father is the head of the family and men have authority over women and children”.

    Do you agree thus far? Thank you.

    Now. I want you to follow me on this one. And do ONLY look on the second part of the definition. ONLY on the part with the men having authority.

    What does this essentially mean? The key word here is AUTHORITY – wich means ‘the right to control’.

    So, basically, patriarchy needs to be fought AS LONG AS THE MAN HAS THE RIGHT TO CONTROL WOMEN AND CHILDREN.

    Excellent!

    Do you still follow me? Good.

    Does man still have the right to control women and children? You bet he does! He has lots of rights in that regard! But ask yourself: What more do you want? Please tell me. What rights do honestly need to be taken away from him now? Wich rights, is it excactly, that a man has, that a woman does’nt have?

    But wait, I’m not done yet. Let me address the FIRST part of the definition, wich is:
    “A social system in which the father is the head of the family”

    IS there still families out there where the father is head of the family? Undoubtly.

    BUT: Look around you! Please!

    – If all social systems and families are dominated by their father, WHY does the father, in divorce cases, only get the children 1 out of 6 TIMES? That favors the mother.

    THE OPPOSITE OF PATRIARCHY.

    – If all social systems and families are dominated by their father, WHY is the IKEA catalog the most sold magazine on the face of the earth? That favors the mother.

    OPPOSITE OF PATRIARCHY.

    – If all social systems and families are dominated by their father, WHY do FATHERS have to work LONGER for their pension than mothers? That favors the mother. AND THAT IS IN THE LAW. IT IS OPPRESSION.

    OPPOSITE OF PATRARCHY.

    – If all social systems and families are dominated by their father,
    WHY do MOTHERS spend 3 TIMES AS MUCH MONEY AS THE FATHER? That favors the mother.

    These are only a few facts of SO many. SO MANY FACTS, so feminists. I plea to you. I basically beg you on this one – BE REASONABLE. Look around you! Where is there STILL patriarchy?

    – 90% OF ALL FAMILIES IN THE WESTERN SOCIETY IS DOMINATED BY THE WOMAN.

    That IS UNDENIABLE. THAT IS THE FACT. Come on, go out. Go out and ask 20 couples. Ask them: who controls their relationship. What will they answer? THE WOMAN DOES.

    IF YOU DO NOT STOP FIGHTING MENS RIGHTS TO LIVE, THEN THERE IS NO MAN WHO WANTS TO BE WITH YOU. YOU WILL DIE MISERABLY, AND SO WILL ALL THE OTHER WOMEN THAT FOLLOW IN THIS IDEOLOGY. IS THAT WHAT YOU WOMEN WANT? TO DIE, ALONE, WITHOUT MEN?

    IF YOU AGREE WITH ME, THEN DON’T JUST BRUSH IT OFF YOUR SHOULDERS! STAND UP! REAL WOMEN FIGHT FOR INJUSTICE! WOMENS STRENGTHS LIE IN THEIR SENSE OF EMPATHY, SO BY GOD, HELP SOCIETY – OR IT WILL GO TO HELL.

  139. hedonistic

    Where’s the disemvowler?

  140. Inverarity

    Did dalsgaard just score bingo?

  141. Shira

    Argument from Ikea magazines? Can’t we get better MRA trolls than this?

  142. LMYC

    IS THAT WHAT YOU
    WOMEN WANT? TO DIE, ALONE, WITHOUT MEN?

    Gawd, I hope so …

  143. LMYC

    IS THAT WHAT YOU
    WOMEN WANT? TO DIE, ALONE, WITHOUT MEN?

    And who said “without men” meant “alone?”

  144. Spinning Liz

    IS THAT WHAT YOU WOMEN WANT? TO DIE, ALONE, WITHOUT MEN?

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Exactly! Finally, somebody gets it.

  145. hedonistic

    For what it’s worth, I’m finding immersion in Cute Overload rather comforting today.

  146. Lauredhel

    Did dalsgaard just score bingo?

    On a first pass, I count:

    “Women are just naturally better at that sort of thing”
    “You’ll never get laid with that attitude”
    “But I want to talk about this! Listen to me!”
    “You feminists all hate men!”
    “I’ll tell you what’s wrong with feminism…”
    “Feminists have got it all wrong. I’m an equalist.”
    “Women just can’t be objective about gender issues.”
    “You’re being silly and overemotional.”

    A bunch more for my v.2.0 draft file.

    And super double bonus points with a cherry on top for opening with “You girls”.

  147. smmo

    (pointng) He said “you girls.”(laughing) That’s right, IKEA has defeated patriarchy. Cheap crap for all!

    Hedonistic: That link is horrifying. Helen of Troy – daughter of rape, sold to the highest bidder, utterly powerless yet blamed for everything.

  148. Kali

    IS THAT WHAT YOU WOMEN WANT? TO DIE, ALONE, WITHOUT MEN?

    What do you think? I want to be just like most other women who spend their lives making the lives and end moments of their husbands as comfortable as possible, and THEN DIE ALONE? Or do you think I want to be one of those women who get cancer or get into an accident and then are abandoned by their husbands for a better, younger model? (Men are several times more likely to do this than women.)

    Single women (who can support themselves financially) are happier, healthier, live longer than married women. Widows recover faster from heart disease than similar women who have their husbands around. If a woman can support herself financially, it makes absolutely no sense to co-habit with or marry a man. It’s like asking for pain, discomfort and illness.

  149. dalsgaard

    Ok, if that is what you want, then I have no problem with it.

    But why drag every other woman with you?

    Victimization is a word that is easier to describe by the way.
    It is a word that got developed by third-wave feminists back in the sixties, and the point behind this was pretty clever. It was to make sure, that the patriarchy did’nt come back. That it did’nt return. And so far, it has worked pretty well.

    But victimization has nothing to do with equal rights girls. Let me get this straight – do you want equal rights or not? Because if you do – you need to let go of the victimization, and trust that men actually do want equal rights too.

    I DO want equal rights. There is nothing in this world that i want more at the moment. Apart from a good cup of coffee, but this should be easily solved. And unless women don’t start to trust men, men will not ever trust women. It is as simple as that, and it’s vice versa also.

    You must know this to be true. And i argue this point with MRA’s all the time also. It is what needs to be done, but if women are ultimately victims of mens behaviour in society, how can there be any trust between the two sexes?

  150. Feminist Avatar

    Hey Olympe and Hedonistic- both the articles that you cite as being notably anti-woman- were published in newspapers owned by Associated Newspapers Ltd. Coincidence or what? methinks not. The Daily Mail, which Olympe cites, is on the cusp of becoming Britain’s favourite newspaper- it is noted for its ant-gay, anti-immigration (another word for racist), anti-women views.

    In my naivety, can I ask for MRA stands for? It has perturbed me for a while now.

  151. dalsgaard

    Let me look at this once again in a light that will be pretty obvious: Mediation between a couple.

    If you view the whole MRA vs. Feminist movement as a mediation, everything fits! There is distrust, the woman feel abused, the man feels cheated. That is what this is, nothing more.

    We must both work together now, and meet in the middle. Do I honestly look to you like I’m trying to manipulate you? I am not. I’m concerned about this, and rightly so. You must see it: There is something in the horizon. The divorce-rates are constantly getting higher, men are simply moving to eastern societies – and the man have never been angrier, or more persistent.

    As you yourself say: “This is a new one”. “Wow, this guy is far out”. Yup, I am. What else can we resort to? When we want to dissolve a conflict? There is nothing else.

  152. Shira

    “trust that men actually do want equal rights too.”

    Yes, that strategy has worked out so well in the past.

    “but if women are ultimately victims of mens behaviour in society, how can there be any trust between the two sexes?”

    Good question! Although a rational person would not look at this and demand that women start trusting men in spite of men’s behavior. Maybe it’s my ovaries talking here, but I’m pretty sure trust is one of those things you have to earn.

    If he didn’t hit bingo with his first post, he’s definitely hit it by now.

  153. dalsgaard

    MRA stands for Mens Rights Activists. :)

    What is the address to the newspaper article that degrades women?

  154. norbizness

    F. Avatar: Men’s Rights Activists (I think), notable for being the screechiest subset of an already screechy group of people, fathers agitating for child custody. Their concerns have progressed far beyond that, though, to include spamming/trolling feminist comment boards on every conceivable subject.

  155. Feminist Avatar

    Dalsgaard: Trust has to be earned.

  156. hedonistic

    You’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you, dalsgaard? Are you a parody troll?

    I picked up “But Patriarchy hurts men too!” He just has no clue how his MRA “problems” are due to, duh, patriarchy.

    “It’s your job to teach me about feminism now do it.”

    “you’ve just got that victim mentality.”

    “You just don’t like sex so you want to spoil it for everyone else.”

  157. Shira

    “The divorce-rates are constantly getting higher, men are simply moving to eastern societies – and the man have never been angrier, or more persistent.”

    You can’t be serious. If we don’t “mediate” with you, you’ll go angrily abuse non-white women in postcolonial societies? Wow, I totally want you to move in to my house and allow me to cater to your every need now! Why didn’t you mention the racism earlier?

  158. LMYC

    But why drag every other woman with you?

    Who’s dragging? If by being a walking advertisement for a lovely life, other women decide they like it and want to do the same, ain’t my fault honey.

  159. LMYC

    BTW, if you’re gonna use the terminology to show how down wit da cauze you re, then get it right, dipshit. Third wave feminists were BORN in the 60s.

    Knobhood, thy name is dalsgaard.

  160. Feminist Avatar

    Thanks for the info Norbizness and Dalsgaard- we have them in the UK too.

    Dalsgaard, for the articles, see Hedonistic and Olympe’s comments above.

  161. dalsgaard

    Shira:

    You are right. That haven’t worked in the past.

    But it is still a conflict that must be solved together. Now what can I do to help solve this conflict? What can men do? And what can women do?

    And yes, trust is something you will have to earn. But until both sides agree that there is flaws, a lot of these flaws will be overlooked and cannot be worked out.

    That is why I say this to you. On behalf of all men: I’m deeply sorry that I have oppressed your gender for 3000 years. I’m sorry that I did’nt give you a say in the matter of politics at all. I’m sorry that I abused you sexually. I’m sorry too that I have hit you, and assaulted you verbally so many times. I’m sorry that I’m so angry, and that i keep harrassing you on your blog, when you never harrass me on my blog. That is wrong of me, so damn wrong!

    But you must understand: I CAN’T apologize on behalf of all men. Because while I have certainly done some of these things, a lot of men out there have never done anything.

    So what is these men to do? What can they do?

  162. Shira

    So what is these men to do? What can they do?

    Knocking it off would be a good start.

  163. buggle

    I have a huge crush on LMYC. HUGE. Getting bigger by the day :)

    RE: the women waking up from sleep-walking thing-that has been one of my biggest fears-especially since I did “fall in love.” I don’t want kids, I don’t want to get married. But I felt scared that I’d just sort of wake up someday being married with kids. That thought terrifies me. That life terrifies me. I’m just so glad that I’ve made it to 30 without a pregnancy or marriage or a child. But I see other women swept along all the time-my sister, my friends, and it’s so sad.

    We have more choices than a)DIE ALONE AND MISERABLE or b) submit and get married and have kids

    There’s a whole lot of life out there that has nothing to do with either of these choices, as LMYC has so beautifully shown.

    RE: dalsgaard-one thing I’ve been noticing on all the feminist sites I go to-is that when man/troll/whoever comes in, and starts to take up space with their BS, we let them. We respond, write posts, address what the man has said. Why do we do this? Why do we let some asshat take up all this space? I know it’s hard to ignore, but geez. I was reading that “how to not be an asshole” and it was amazing to me to see how much attention most posters were giving to the one assclown who continually took up space with post after post.

    What’s up with this? Shouldn’t we just ignore? I mean, once it’s really clear that the guy has no clue?

  164. dalsgaard

    Great!

    I will tell the men to knock it off. I do not control all the men out there, but I will do my best.

    Thank you, and I hope this will help us all in the long run.

  165. vera

    Has anyone ever noticed how bad the MRA crowd is at writing? I’m not asking for much; just a quick spell-check would help.

    On the other hand, it does point out what seems to be a large gap in education level between radical feminists and MRAs.

    And unless women don’t start to trust men, men will not ever trust women.

    Okay, I’ll go first: Trust me, you’re in the wrong blog.

  166. Miller

    Silly women! Why not compromise with the MRAs? Sure, they hold hate rallies chanting about wishing to rape, torture, and kill females indiscriminately (Sadly, true), but don’t you wish to be free from such terrorism? Sounds like an equally heinous offense. I mean, if blacks had just compromised with violent Klasmen race relations would be so much better today. Blacks would go back to their natural state on the plantation and all would be well. Abject poverty and epidemic crime proves blacks just hurt themselves by living so unnaturally. Learn from their example and listen to us, as we know what’s good for you?

    Serious note: I hate this new “Preview” function (my typing is ssssllllooowww).

  167. Tigs

    I’m glad to know my strength lies in my “sense of empathy,” not my hard-fought education, years of experience in organizing, my personal resilience or toughness gained through years of conflict and damage.
    So I will definitely ‘By God,’ get on doing something before all society goes to hell (before genocide on every populated continent, the destruction of the environment, the dismissal of all but one consumer culture, oh. wait.).
    I’m sure glad Dalsgaard came in here and woke me up!

  168. Miller

    Oops: there should be a period at the end, not a question mark.

  169. dalsgaard

    buggle

    I may not be the right person to answer your question. The only thing I can tell you is what I would have done in the same situation.

    Here is what i probably would have done: Stuck to my oppinion, regardless of how retarded the oppinion is.

    Here is what i always TRY to do, but rarely succeed in: Listen honestly, try to dissolve the problem, and see if the person really has some points.

    I am not very good at this. I can’t keep an open mind. My anger blinds me to anything else but my own egoistical views.

  170. thebewilderness

    There is no dragging in feminism!

    I think LMYC may have touched on the reason for the constant patriarchy drumbeat of women meed marriage and babies and the sooner the better. Were it not for conditioning the female of the species from their first pink diaper, they might actually discover that life as a person is better than life as a wife and or mother. The mythology of romantic love is killing us.

  171. thebewilderness

    There is Orc slobber on my computer screen and it is pissing me off.

  172. norbizness

    As for the immediate problem of unnecessary space being occupied in calls and responses, once one of your trusted regular commenters has made the general “IT’S A TROLL” posting, it’s best to cease and desist and let the administrator pick the cilantro* out of her teeth and eventually wipe them from the face of the blog.

    Rather than responding, unless you think that Jake LaMotta repeatedly punching the cinder-block walls of his jail cell in Raging Bull was a good idea.

    * I can’t remember whether she likes cilantro or not, but you hit enough taco stands in this city, you’re going to get some between your teeth.

  173. BubbasNightmare

    Twisty:
    “This means that, until patriarchy is smashed, we ain’t got a chance.”

    And that marks the difference between revolutionaries such as TF and evolutionaries such as myself. One believes that storming the gates of the Bastille is a better approach to change than bringing down the French monarchy by employing a slowly encroaching democratic movement.

    Both approaches have their pros and cons. However, at least historically, revolution never triumphs unless there is a power vacuum at the top of the hierarchy (or Patriarchy).

    [If, by "a power vacuum", you refer to the skull space of the current U.S. president, I'd be shouting "Viva la Revolution!" and waving a loaded Uzi at the nearest federal suit. Alas, the top of the Patriarchy is a good deal more difficult to locate.]

  174. Jezebella

    Any time a man begins a statement with “You girls…” this is what I hear afterward: blah blah blah wah wah wah wah blah blah blah. blah.
    My eyes glaze over, I tune out, and that’s the end of it.

    This is, of course, the perfect opportunity to remind ALL men in this forum to go learn a lesson from Chris Clarke on “How Not to be an Asshole.”

    http://pandagon.net/2007/04/13/how-to-not-be-an-asshole-a-guide-for-men/

    Lard bless ye, Mr. Clarke.

  175. dalsgaard

    I must say that I sometimes feel like giving up, and that the future enhanced mistrust between the sexes is undeniable.

    Maybe I should just come to terms with the fact that anger between the sexes will continue to grow – to no immediate end.

    A psychologist, a good friend of mine, said so. He is author of many books, and I admire him greatly.

    A direct translation from an article:
    “Men and women will have to live alone in the future, as they change what they expect to the more realistic, and it will probably take decades, before this will happen. When the male roles have been destroyed, and you are what you are, and the two sexes can see each other without false imaginations about all, that is’nt there – the man and the woman will have fewer conflicts. But the relationships will be shorter, because they don’t waste precious time waiting for all that they believe is behind the masks”.

    What do you think?

  176. buggle

    Yeah, dalgaard, you are NOT the person to answer the question, since I was asking what to do when foolish man like you comes and hogs up a ton of space on a feminist site.

    And I believe that Shira told YOU to knock it off. That’s a good place to start. Also, you admit that you are harassing people “on their own blog” so why don’t you stop that? Instead of apologizing for it and then continuing to do it?

    I SO AGREE about the myth of romantic love killing us. My super cool feminist friend who was always SO tough when it came to men-now she’s engaged, and willing to have kids because “he wants them.” And she’s considering getting married in a church and taking his name because “I love him and want to make him happy so I’m willing to do whatever it takes to do that.” GRRRR!!!! I lost another one. But I can’t say shit, because it’s “her choice.” Never mind that she made this choice ONLY because he got down on one knee and gave her a ring (and an ultimatum?). Never mind that she made this choice while under the influence of the love drug.

    I’m going to a wedding shower on Saturday, and I’m very cranky about it. I wonder what fun shower games we’ll play. I wonder how long I can go without barfing or being rude. The last shower I was at we had to make veils out of toilet paper. Fun fun!!!

  177. BubbasNightmare

    dalsgaard:
    “When the male roles have been destroyed, and you are what you are, and the two sexes can see each other without false imaginations about all, that is’nt there – the man and the woman will have fewer conflicts.”

    Buddha on a bun. What a clueless git.

    Male roles don’t have to be ‘destroyed’ in order to reach a state of ‘fewer conflicts’. No one’s looking to drag down anyone else.

    When men and women, as classes of people, are treated equally in the legal and cultural worlds, class conflicts will stop. (Individual conflicts will, of course, continue.) However, to get that equal treatment, we’ve first got to deal with the remaining biological issues.

  178. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Maybe I’m crazy, but I’ve been fairly happy staying single & child-free.

    Romantic love? The illusion of it never lasts beyond about six months. It’s a trap, and it’s held women back since the dawn of time. The only thing it has accomplished is a bunch of really crappy art.

  179. dalsgaard

    buggle:
    If that is what you ask, then I will stop harrassing, only tell the truth from now on, and ask questions.

    BubbasNightmare:
    Do you believe this to be possible?

  180. dalsgaard

    Truth: I get oppressed on this blog.

  181. Feminist Avatar

    I think male and female roles both need to be destroyed as power differentials are built into our cultural conceptions of gender. For me, in the West, power and the patriarchy is rooted the sexed body, with the male body as strong and dominant- the female body weak passive- the male body normal- the female body trangressive and problematic. I don’t really think biology is the problem. How we understand the body or biology has everything to do with our conceptions of gender. We live in a society that is built around the male body and its needs and desires. Once we destroy the gender system we can build a society that is more suitable for the life cyles and bodies of both sexes. Vive la Revolution.

  182. NickM

    dalsgaard: “Truth: I get oppressed on this blog.”

    Fortunately, you (and only you) have the power to overcome this oppression.

  183. dalsgaard

    Feminist Avatar:

    That is what MRA’s say too when i ask them, yet that is not how they always act.

    What they see, is instead a female body as portrayed on MTV and commercials – but they too want to give up the concept of what is ‘man’ and ‘woman’.

    I can definetly see the irony in this. Am I alone?

    What is your views on the womens bodies when they are portayed sexually in the media? MRA’s wants these to be gone.

  184. hedonistic

    Shorder dalsgaard: “Men are shitty. But you GIRLS need to trust men anyway.” UH, WHY? That’s a rhetorical question. Please don’t answer.

    When it comes to productive change, MEN CAN GO FIRST. In the mean time I’ll trust that (most) men will continue to act shitty whenever it suits them. Now THAT’S trust.

    “Truth, I get oppressed on this blog.”

    TEH FEMINISTS ARE OPPRESSING HIM!!!! OH NOES! Isn’t there a spot on the Bingo card for that one too?

    OK, I’ll shut up now. No more feeding the parody troll who, apparently cannot resist coming back to type out his stupidity over and over and over again without taking the hint. Our responses to him are pointless; in fact I should probably delete this but I’m a blabbermouth. Where’s our host?

  185. dalsgaard

    NickM:

    Yet I see too much truth here to let go of it. I find it interesting that both the MRA and feminists want to let go on the concepts of gender.

    This is what the MRA mean when they say they want to remove victimization of women!

    Yet, I cannot see where this comes from:
    1. What is this male body that feminists see that the soeciety is build around?
    2. What is this female body that MRA’s see that the society is build around?

  186. LMYC

    How do you get oppressed here? Do we manipulate the govt so that you are massively underrepresented? Does your salary suddenly drop by 30% when you read us? do your chances of being a victim of a violent sexual assault suddenly skyrocket? WTF are you talking about?

    Twisty, disemvowel this damned planarian if you get a chance, k?

  187. Muffy's Blog for Random Parenthood

    You know, librul dudes ARE knobs.

    It makes me just want to whack them.

    I don’t get oppressed on this blog.

    Wait maybe I do. What was that crack about Buddha on a bun about?!?

  188. No Blood for Hubris

    Don’t worry your pretty little head about it, Muffy.

  189. LMYC

    I must say that I sometimes feel like giving up …

    Do us all a favor and give in.

  190. dalsgaard

    LMYC:

    No matter, thank you. I realize that truth sucks sometimes.

    This has been a great learning experience, and I will gladly take my leave.

    I will probably come back to learn more, and I will do as little as possible to stir up your anger.

  191. B. Dagger Lee

    Jezebella:

    I usually use that “You girls” special time to fantasize about what my dog is doing.

    Maybe I’ll try to figure out more useful things to do, like Kegel exercises. But that sounds like work.

    -BDL

  192. LMYC

    Oh, stir it honey! Be my guest!

    *contemplates fish, barrel, and smoking gun*

  193. Ugly in Pink

    Not posting would be a good start. Keep your overentitled mouth shut, and maybe eventually you’ll learn something.

  194. dalsgaard

    Feminist Avatar:

    I have been thinking, and this is the truth. Excactly the truth.

    “I think male and female roles both need to be destroyed as power differentials are built into our cultural conceptions of gender. For me, in the West, power and the patriarchy is rooted the sexed body, with the male body as strong and dominant- the female body weak passive- the male body normal- the female body trangressive and problematic. I don’t really think biology is the problem. How we understand the body or biology has everything to do with our conceptions of gender. We live in a society that is built around the male body and its needs and desires. Once we destroy the gender system we can build a society that is more suitable for the life cyles and bodies of both sexes. Vive la Revolution.”

    This is precisely what we need to do. In order to remove all our cultural conceptions of gender, we must find out WHAT negative conceptions is associated with the individual gender.

    Now what is associated with men? And what is associated with women?

    I will say that it is:
    Men: Agression
    Women: Victims

    What do you think? No need to think! Let’s get working!

  195. dalsgaard

    Feminist Avatar:

    “For me, in the West, power and the patriarchy is rooted the sexed body, with the male body as strong and dominant- the female body weak passive- the male body normal- the female body trangressive and problematic”

    I’m sorry, you have already said this, I did’nt see it. I agree! I definetly agree.

    This is pretty refreshing.

  196. hedonistic

    Look: The troll has taken over the feminist movement. Awesome.

  197. norbizness

    As you see from the foregoing example, feeding a troll at any time = feeding one of those stuffed animals in Gremlins after midnight.

  198. lucizoe

    buggle, you do know you can say no to wedding shower invites, right? If you disagree that strongly with this person’s approach to her marriage, you aren’t obligated to support it, especially if you’re anticipating being cranky.

    I would hate hate hate to give up a free afternoon doing something I would dislike so much. Wedding showers and baby showers and well, to be honest, parties of all kinds fall on that dislike list for me, so I understand your reluctance. But why put yourself through it?

  199. B. Dagger Lee

    What if there were a protocol, say it was called the Firestone Protocol, where if it’s invoked by, say five commenters in a thread, in response to a witless nincompoop, from that point on in the thread there was mainly only discussion regarding Firestone?

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

  200. LMYC

    norbizness, it’s not quite the same. Trolls squish more satisfyingly. :->

  201. dalsgaard

    It’s pretty sad to finally find out that both the MRA, AND the Feminists are wrong – and find none of them will believe in the truth. :|

    It’s ridiculous. We want the same thing, but we do it differently, and that is the only problem there really is.

    Well, I think you are unhelpable. If your movement did’nt start out being so hateful towards men, there may have been an easy solution to this problem. However, it seems like the hate is too deep in you now. You can’t even see what’s in front of your own eyes.

    I don’t blame you for this, but it’s …. Well. Bye then.

  202. hedonistic

    WE HAVE BINGO!!!!

    I CALL FIRESTONE!!!!

  203. sbalb

    As a (whisper it) man I’m afraid to raise my head above the parapet here, but as it’s only to say “spot on” then I think I might get away merely a panicked scurry back into the undergrowth, my arse in flames.

    Can I put a good word in for “liberals” as opposed to “libertarians,” though? Perhaps the meanings of the two are closer on that side of the pond, but in the UK a true liberal democrat (small L, small D) would see it as his duty to protect the victim and their rights, to liberate the oppressed rather than celebrating the existing liberty of the strong. I’d like to think, anyway.

    The Daily Kosserati are reknowned as a bunch of nobs, though. If the Republicans get in next time then we’ll know which wankers—literal and metaphorical—to blame.

  204. thebewilderness

    I think there is a difference between Trolls in general and Trolls on feminist blogs, particularly this blog, hence the Orc designation. It has been my experience that if you do not feed Trolls they shamble off in search of mutton elsewhere. Orcs, on the other hand just seem to get more and more excited and enthusiastic about having found a large number of women all in one place. It doesn’t seem to matter whether anyone feeds them or not, they won’t stop because they are just as happy with their fantasy of how they are interacting as they would be with what passes for interacting in their world. With Orcs it isn’t all about them, it is ONLY EVER about them.

  205. kiki

    they might actually discover that life as a person is better than life as a wife and or mother.

    Wow, I didn’t realize that my personhood was declared null and void when my daughter was born. I guess you have more in common with the MRA’s than I realized. To reserve the designation “person” for those like yourself and to not confer full personhood on those who let a dick into their vagina or a baby out will really go a long way to helping women. What absolute, twisted bullshit.

  206. thebewilderness

    Firestone! Firestone! Yay, B Dagger Lee!

  207. sbalb

    literal and metaphorical

    (By which I mean, um, metaphorical and another-type-of-metaphorical; or maybe scatalogical and metaphorical; or maybe—can anyone else here smell burning? Agh!)

  208. vera

    Oh good lord. Here’s another one.

  209. thebewilderness

    Kiki,
    Read the mewspaper. It is not I who describe men as men and women as mothers, wives, and grandmothers. You are shooting the messenger.

  210. buggle

    Hey Lucizoe-I know, usually I would just skip an event like this, unless it was a really close friend or family member. This isn’t, but I feel bad for the bride to be because her family just absolutely sucks. I doubt even her bridesmaids will show up at the shower. She is not getting any support from her family, and her dad is jerking her around saying he won’t walk her down the aisle, then two days later, he will. Then 4 days later, he won’t pay for the wedding, etc. So, I’ll go and be nice, and I’ll hold my barf in until it’s over. I know, it’s dumb, but I do like this woman, and she’s only 21, so clueless, so I feel like I just want to support her. Hopefully there will be some good food- then I can just sit and eat and be happy :)

    I love that assgaard or whoever, finally figured out that HE ALONE is right. Not the MRAers, not “the feminists”, but HIM!!! Maybe now he’ll do as he keeps promising, and LEAVE.

  211. mAndrea

    I thought I needed to come back here and apologize for my comment. For being “emotional”, for not being “thoughtful”, for being me. To hell with that.

    •Domestic violence kills one bitch – no biggie.

    •Domestic violence kills 4 bitches a day, every day – no biggie.

    •Domestic violence kills a few men – national tragedy.

    I don’t know about you ladies, but I have had enough. I hear feminists say they get angry, but rarely do I ever hear them say they have had enough.

    Something magical happens when you say those words – and mean it. Don’t know about you, but for me I get real cold and mean, like I’m willing to see reality for what it is, not for what I want it to be. I see the tricks they pull and the smiles they use, as if we’re supposed to not see that sucker punch coming. I see our feminist buddy, the “good guy” friend, who smiles and shakes his head at the assholes; and we’re not supposed to hate them all because “they’re not all like that”. YES THEY ARE!

    The “good guy” just gets in the way, he stands between us and them, and we think it’s for our benefit! Ha! Our “friend” consoles us, strokes us, tells us to go slow, have patience, it won’t be long now – and all the while…

    He smiles.
    With his friends.
    At our pain.

    I’ve decided I don’t need to water down my thoughts, my words, my experiece, my life, just to make some people more comfortable. If most men are so freaking nice, then why do we even have a patriarchy? If so many “liberal” men really want equality as they claim, then why does misogyny continue?

    Repeated requests for “explain to me how sexism hurts you” and continuous “but I don’t understand, explain it to me again” and still more “oh we need more research” and yet still more “oh are you sure, let’s discuss” are deliberate techniques designed to thwart the process of attaining true equality. How much fucking discussion to they need? How much empathy? How many research studies? Granted, a certain amount of all that really is necessary, but after awhile, it becomes obvious what the true motive is, and ******we’re still playing the game as if they are sincere.*****

    Twisty, Oh Beautiful One, could you meditate on denial? I swear to god most women seem to believe most men are NOT deliberately enabling the control freaks. Because I’d love it if we could get a majority of women to take the rose-colored glasses off. Glasses first, then the gloves. Misogyny really can end soon, but those gloves gotta come off first. Belief always preceeds action.

  212. Artemis

    I feel I must say (at the huge risk of losing the goodwill of a community I greatly enjoy) that men of all stripes get far more attention for their ideas and feelings here than the self-identified lesbians get when they post.

    Right in Twisty’s FAQ it says to ignore the trolls, but there have been numerous answers to this troll right from his first post on this thread. It’s happened similarly on other threads.

    In my experience, posts by lesbians on this and other threads on IBTP (including my own) often go without responses while even male trolls get responses (though I only started posting just over a month ago, I’ve been reading for a while longer).

    I’ve thought this through (maybe it’s more important to respond to men; maybe it’s just that women get used to responding to men; maybe it’s something about the lesbians who post, including myself, that no one likes; maybe there’s a history I don’t know about). I don’t claim to have an answer, nor am I trying to start a fight.

    I just wanted to say, my own personal experiences of posting are one thing, but in light of those experiences (and seeing other lesbians’ posts go without response), watching all the responses to this troll is really disheartening.

  213. Orange

    Pretending that the whole dalsgaard interlude didn’t happen, I want to respond to one point in LMYC’s earlier comment (http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2007/04/14/some-notes-on-revolution/#comment-51925)–

    Background: Straight, married for 15 years, my son turns 7 next week.

    Philosophy on love: A core relationship that’s loving nurtures the soul. (I don’t believe in the existence of a soul, but you know what I mean.)

    Philosophy on “Marriage is hard work”: Only bad or troubled marriages take hard work. Good marriages (whether of the opposite-sex or same-sex variety) don’t. Anyone who spouts off about what hard work marriage is might not be married to a nice person with whom he or she is compatible. Yes, there are a zillion crappy marriages, but good marriages aren’t destructive. (In my to-be-flamed liberal-but-not-radical-feminist opinion, anyway.)

  214. thebewilderness

    Artemis,
    I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Mostly we’re talking about the tools the patriarchy uses to harm us and how to minimize the damage while we figure out how to overthrow the patriarchy.
    Are there specific issues you have raised that have not been responded to?

  215. LMYC

    Artemis, I think for me, I just enjoy pounding the trolls a little too much sometimes. I do tend to ignore posts by men in general, but sometimes shredding a troll is just fun. I should back off of that, though — and I will keep it in mind next time.

    And honestly, I don’t know who the hell’s lesbian and who isn’t. The last post that I recall (which may have been yours, but I’m on lynx right now and can’t go back and look) that explicitly brought up the fact that the poster was lesbian actually ticked me off. The general jist of it was “how DARE all these STRAIGHT women talk about going withotu when there are lesbians!” That annoyed me because — hey, signing off of men DOES mean going without sex for straight women who are unable to flex and enjoy women’s sexual company. You can’t just close your eyes and wish hard and make yourself lesbian; if that were possible, there would be NO straight women on thie earth for pete’s sake.

    I do not consider it an insult to the existence of lesbian women for straight women to talk openly and honestly about the difficulties they face. I shook my head and read the next post.

    Beyond that, more than a few recent posts have been of the “lesbian mom” variety, and I have no kids and really don’t care about what’s involved in raising them very much. I can speak theoretically about that, but the concrete pieces? Not a chance — no experience and no inclination to get any.

    So in general, I agree that I’ll keep your words in mind the next time a troll shows up instead of rubbing my hands together and baring my fangs in glee at the prospect of another diverting game of whack-a-mole.

  216. Jezebella

    Artemis, I think most of us have no idea who is a lesbian commenter and who is not. I certainly don’t, nor do I remember from one visit to the next who has self-identified as G/L/B/T/S or whatever (if I’ve missed a category, forgive me). The male trolls get a lot of attention because they say inflammatory shit, while you are not provoking or pissing anybody off. Hence: fewer responses.

    Hedonistic, I almost gagged when I clicked on your link titled “The Woman that Caused the Massacre,” as though it was HER FUCKING FAULT some asswad decided to kill 32 people.

  217. lawbitch

    Artemis, maybe I’ve internalized the whole “don’t be a victim” meme (original topic, remember?). I’ve been guilty of troll-baiting. I come to this site to partake of TF’s wisdom and find a little sanity. It’s a refuge. Then, some clod posts some poorly-written shit and rains on my parade. Retribution for this intrusion is sooo tempting! I don’t want to be a silent victim, afterall… It’s so easy that it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

  218. sbalb

    vera: if that’s aimed at me then sorry. What I said might have been a bit facile (and not particularly smoovely executed) but the subject of Kos always makes me think “not in my name” and the red mist comes down. Back to lurking for me on this most excellent blog.

  219. lawbitch

    I actually like being referred to as a mother. Many women (straight or lesbian) actually *want* to become mothers. I wanted to be a mother, and it’s a large part of who I am. Our society is often unkind to mothers. Perhaps society is even more unkind to women who decline to become mothers. Could we be supportive of both moms and childless women?

  220. lawbitch

    Should it be “childfree?” Is that like “bargain basement clearance?” That’s a funny thought! LOL!

  221. vera

    sbalb: My comment was not aimed at you, and I’m sorry for being ambiguous.

    I was reacting to the comment about women who “let a dick into their vagina or a baby out [...]”

    Yikes!

  222. LMYC

    Lawbitch, I’d like to be supportive of sensible reproduction in general, no matter what shape it takes.

    But I do nevertheless feel compelled to point out that we need to attach an adjective to the word woman to specify that she has no children, like “lady doctor” and “male nurse.” This does seem to indicate a perceptual problem.

  223. vera

    P.S. As long-time readers here know, I am a hetersexual married mother of two. I blame the patriarchy regularly, but not for my marriage or children, which are all good.

    And I love this blog. I have never felt disrespected here. I love this blog. As lawbitch said, it’s a refuge.

  224. vera

    Oops; didn’t mean to repeat myself. I guess I really love this blog.

  225. lawbitch

    Ummm… How do we know that a “lady doctor” doesn’t have children? Is this some shit that the patriarchy made up? I didn’t get that memo.

  226. lawbitch

    LMYC, we’re back to the radical concept that women are people, aren’t we? LOL! We sooo need a revolution.

  227. Feminist Avatar

    Artemis: I think it is problematic to respond to trolls and stand guilty of this- it’s amazing how effectively trolls can silence or redirect a group. I also find it fascinating the need for them to- reiterate- the- same- point- because we obviously don’t understand if we disagree.

    But I think the reason that it is often easier to respond to trolls that real posts is that real posts require thought. I mean I find the whole question around the role of romantic love and women’s oppression utterly fascinating and I am loving people’s thoughts. But this is not an issue that has an easy or even a right answer. I don’t feel equipped to respond at the moment (and yes sometimes that means by the time I have something to say the discussion has moved on). But ultimately this is also why blogs like this are worth reading- they make you think about your feminism and about how you use it in your negotiation with the world. Non-response does not mean I don’t care or don’t want to engage-because often I am engaging with just those sorts of comments in a much more real way than a response on a blog.

    I also think that may be why we like to respond to trolls- it allows us to speak together and to communicate to each other in our shared disdain- to say hey I am here and I am reading.

  228. lucizoe

    buggle – oh, sheesh, I do not envy you. And poor girl.

    I read that “this is the face of the girl who is at fault for the massacre thing” and yeah. I’m pretty much totally depressed now. I hate the world.

    LMYC – totally agree regarding the need for an adjective. Motherhood is considered the default for women, ’cause we’re all supposed to love babies or something. I never get asked if I’m having children; it’s always “when.”

  229. Bird

    I can’t remember (except in a few cases) who is straight, who is a lesbian, who is a mother and who is not. I often choose not to join conversations on lesbian experiences because I’m not a lesbian (although I’ve tried sex with women) and I often feel that my comments would be inappropriate, erroneous or irrelevant. Same goes for parenting—I have some experience with kids as a much-older sibling, but I have no clue what it’s like to be a mother.

    Generally, I try to limit my comments to areas where I might have some clue what I’m talking about, just like we ask the men to let us talk about women’s experiences for ourselves. I think that’s the reason that many of us straight women don’t respond to posts about lesbian topics. We simply don’t want to trample on any toes, even if we mean well by it.

  230. lucizoe

    lawbitch, I think LMYC wasn’t implying that “lady doctor” was necessarily childed or otherwise. It was just an example of qualifying a word (doctor) with “lady,” since the default for doctor is male. Much as instead of saying “women” we get split into “Mothers” and “childless/free women.”

  231. Stormy

    mAndrea, yes I agree – these are all stalling tactics. We keep explaining the problem and there always seem to be excuses of some sort not to do anything. I too, am sick of it. ‘Nice feminism’ doesn’t get anywhere.

  232. mAndrea

    Nothing wrong with motherhood, just extremely glad I’m single. Life is good. Don’t hate men, just sick to death of their crap and happy I made the conscious decision to structure my life so as to eliminate them from the equation.

  233. maribelle

    One believes that storming the gates of the Bastille is a better approach to change than bringing down the French monarchy by employing a slowly encroaching democratic movement.

    Hey, Bubba; if I recall my French history, it took both approaches. Don’t forget the Monarchy came back, and had to be whack-a-moled twice more before it finally let go.

    The last shower I was at we had to make veils out of toilet paper. Fun fun!

    Hey Buggle, I always thought that was an unintentionally apt metaphor for marriage.

    PS Is it my imagination or are the MRA trolls getting dumber?

    PS Y’all have the patience of saints. I haven’t posted since Twisty put in the Zen Buddhist feature(aka preview)

  234. justicewalks

    Stormy and mAndrea, unfortunately, and this is only my gloomy, pessimistic opinion, victory, were we ever to stop kissing male ass long enough attain it, would be fleeting. While women might be willing to turn against men during the revolution, they won’t turn against their sons after the revolution, and I can just about guarantee you that even feminist-raised boys and men can, do, and will continue to rape. I’m not so optimistic as to believe it’s something we can ever entirely socialize out of them; only sure and unavoidable punishment for the merest suggestion of rape will ever deter most of them, and even then it’d do nothing to inhibit the most determined of them. But you wouldn’t be able to, say, de-genitalize and send to Siberia any man accused of rape (as would be necessary, I think, if not outright extermination, to create even the semblance of safety in a post-patriarchal world) without his mother, possibly along with his other female relatives and lovers, jumping to his aid. Getting rid of Nigel doesn’t solve the problem of Nigel Jr, after all, and I’m beginning to think it was the primordial Nigel Jr who was the catalyst for this predicament we call the patriarchy.

  235. Artemis

    I appreciate the thoughtful responses to my post – you all are amazing women.

    Just as an aside, I included my own personal posting/response experience for full disclosure of one element of the emotional stake I have in bringing this up at all, but definitely not to generate discussion around my particular past comments. I can understand intellectually that there are any number of reasons for the lack of responses.

    But in the bigger view of all comments across multiple threads, I also have an emotional stake in how the conversation goes here because it is such a refuge. I want to feel at home in the only place that seems possible some days. (Yep, I’m aware that says volumes about my offline life, but I think I have that in common with any number of other women here.) Online feminist history is another factor in my reaction (and I know I share this history with many other women who read this blog – it’s not mine alone).

    To wit, I’ve been reading and participating in feminist conversation on teh internets from soc.feminism in the early 90′s up to current feminist blogs and have repeatedly given up such spaces when the patriarchy in one guise or another came along to take over the conversation. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes not so much. In every case that I can think of, certain women (sometimes lesbians, sometimes other women) were moved off to the side to give space to men’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences (directly or by proxy).

    Yes, I’m sensitized to the possibility, even as I respect that this space has a life of its own. As to that, I take your responses to my earlier post to heart and take comfort in how vibrant and diverse this community is.

    I believe IBTP has the best chance ever to get past the many patriarchal attempts at derailment because of the awareness that it will truly take a revolution to dismantle the patriarchy and that the revolution is already under way here.

  236. smmo

    Artemis: I have been guilty of responding to trolls. It is easier than responding to something seriously, and entertaining, but I think it adds little or nothing ultimately. Sanctuary is the perfect term for IBTP. I really enjoy the knockabout of the comments, though, and hope that never leaves.

    I live with my husband and two year old son. Yes, I’m drowning in testosterone, but I have five brothers so this is comfortable for me. I don’t feel fortunate in my decent husband, I feel satisfaction at a job accomplished. I raised his consciousness. I don’t know if I would make that choice now, I don’t think so, but I was a mere lass of 26 when we met and about 1/10 the feminist I am now at 42.

    buggle: Argh. I had a similar experience. But the man in question turned out to be a benign loser, and is no match for my force-of-nature friend. In the end it hasn’t made much difference. Though it sounds like your friend’s fiance is much more interested in coralling her. Strength, sister.

  237. Artemis

    Feminist Avatar said:

    I don’t feel equipped to respond at the moment (and yes sometimes that means by the time I have something to say the discussion has moved on). But ultimately this is also why blogs like this are worth reading- they make you think about your feminism and about how you use it in your negotiation with the world. Non-response does not mean I don’t care or don’t want to engage

    This describes exactly how I often feel and react here – mostly I’m taking it all in and thinking. And I do the same thing sometimes – I’ll wait just a little too long to jump in. And as others said, sometimes I don’t feel qualified to respond.

    But then you went on to say that you don’t engage “because often I am engaging with just those sorts of comments in a much more real way than a response on a blog.”

    For me, this blog is in many ways the real world that I want to inhabit.

    Yesterday in a class with eight men (plus me, I’m the only woman), the professor’s response to the news from Virginia was a falsetto riff on how women want/need/should have pink guns that match their outfits and fit in their purses. He went on and on.

    I knew there were only certain people who would get it when I described that story – my two closest friends and the folks here.

  238. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    I don’t respond to most commenters because I don’t think Twisty wants her blog littered with F*CK YEAH! PREACH IT SISTAH! more than once or twice a day. I try to restrain myself.

  239. LMYC

    Thinking about it, I think my willingness to squish soft-skulled little troll heads publicly has to do with what sort of day I’m having at work or at home, or whether I’m in a good mood or not. If I’m in a good mood, flambe-ing a troll will just put a nice little dollop of whipped cream on top of the day.

    Nevertheless, I’ll keep it in mind that Twisty has asked us not to get whipped cream all over the place in her virtual living room. :-)

  240. LMYC

    smmo: WORD, girl. As long as we squeeze the little bastards out of our bodies, we’ll be tempted to take their side even if they don’t deserve it.

  241. Pony

    Sometimes I think the love a woman has for her young children, before the patriarchy has at them, is probably the only true love she is ever going to experience.

  242. Violet Socks

    LMYC: I used to have a friend, a guy, who always announced his career aspirations to acquaintances by saying he wanted to be a “male nurse.” No matter how many times I pointed out that he probably didn’t need to include the “male” part, he kept saying it. As if people would assume he was going to get a sex-change operation if he just said he wanted to be a “nurse.”

  243. maribelle

    In my experience, posts by lesbians on this and other threads on IBTP (including my own) often go without responses while even male trolls get responses.

    Hi, Artemis–funny, I almost never get a response from anyone and I wondered if its because I’m married. (Although unlikely because I can never remember anyone’s situation either.) Yes, it sucks and yes, it’s depressing to feel disregarded–especially in the company of women. (And if I mentioned that I am a married lesbian, I would likely hit the Daily Double and offend everyone.)

    I don’t think Twisty wants her blog littered with F*CK YEAH! PREACH IT SISTAH!

    Yeah, what the lady whose martini matches her nightie said. (now that I remember!)

  244. Shane

    A friend of mine talked about this problem once. It’s a mindset that’s really tough for men -not- to fall into. It’s sort of like the Honor Harrington mindset. (The heroine in a series of books who becomes great basically because she’s better at being a man than the men around her.) At first glance it seems like a strong book about the empowerment of women, but in reality it’s something very different. Being part and parcel of the system like we all are, it’s SO hard to think outside of the prepackaged mindset that we were raised into. Which doesn’t make it right, just difficult to overcome.

  245. maribelle

    a falsetto riff on how women want/need/should have pink guns that match their outfits and fit in their purses.

    Holy crap on a cracker. Two questions: Where did you bury his body and Can I be on the jury?

    (Actually , I need a gun that matches my work boots, machete and backhoe. I hate it when my accessories don’t match my shoes.)

  246. Mar Iguana

    “Shouldn’t we just ignore? I mean, once it’s really clear that the guy has no clue?” buggle

    Yes and yes. However, I can’t help myself. I’m not against a lot of pointing and laughing, as done so well by the above blamers. Gave me some yuks anyway. Thank you. I needed a chuckle.

    And, even I have a crush on LMYC and I’m a brainwashed hetero.

    I agree this would be a good spot for some Firestone. Maybe the chapter on love, romance and mass hallucination.

  247. Jesse

    It’s annoying to me that radical feminist theory mirrors my own thoughts, but that it’s so often espoused in violent and/or isolationist terms. Certainly it can well be argued that there is cause for anger, but the problem is that anger is how the dichotomy of dominance/submission is primarily perpetuated in all its forms. This dichotomy is what the problem IS, and is the base mechanism employed by the patriarchy. Civilised, evolved, intelligent behaviour is not violent and does not employ the use of this dominance/submission tactic and mode; rather it is mature, reasoned and above such puerile, reactive means.

    What i read a while back about how women should live separate to men and the concept of love abandoned is truly disheartening. All the more so because it went largely unopposed. Love can be a powerfully positive force for society at large, irrespective of gender, coming to understand how women are oppressed, subjugated and ‘genderised’. My love for my partner and my indignance at what she has had to endure in her life is what opened my eyes.

    By suggesting opposition to men you are reinforcing the gender construct – you are entrenching the division.

    Both men and women are ignorant of the patriarchy – indeed we are so in the thick of it, that the vast majority of people can’t see a reference point beyond it – it’s not within their capacity to understand. Division further entrenches this problem. Your liberal male friends aren’t deliberately trying to obfusticate the process whilst they laugh at you behind your back – this is paranoid delusion. The problem is that the patriarchy is so all-encompassing that they assume so much of its effects to be ‘normal’. A lot of inculcation, education, awareness and understanding needs to occur. You’ll find that your female friends are, largely, similarly ensnared by patriarchal constructs and are similarly inclined to continue to ‘not get it’. It’s not a secret conspiracy theory – it’s an all-pervading reality.

    Labelling motherhood, tacitly or otherwise, as somehow non-feminist is abhorrent. The choice to not have children or to have a same-sex relationship is, or should be, every woman’s choice; but to suggest that we unequivocally shouldn’t be the mammals that we are is both ridiculous and counter-productive.

    The problem is one of awareness and understanding. We must address the cause of the problems, not the symptoms of them.

    We cannot defeat the patriarchy by hitting it or by separating ourselves from it and/or pretending it’s not there. It requires a concerted effort to raise not only awareness of feminist issues, but also general awareness levels in our communities. If people can’t think for themselves, they will abdicate their will to that of animalistic power structures that rely on dominance/submission hierarchies et. al… It’s going to be a very long and arduous battle, and it’s entirely possible that this brief window of hope that has appeared in the past several decades will remain the fleeting anomoly on the last few millenia of outright oppression that it currently is…

    The revolution requires an evolution. It requires drastic action and loud voices as much as it requires reasoned voices and subtle agitation. It requires charging the gates of the bastille as well as systematic cultural progress. What it most certainly does not require, in my humble opinion, is anyone seeing men or women as their enemies. The patriarchy is the enemy, not those who ignorantly perpetuate it. The patriarchy requires ignorance to operate, to exist. The only way to defeat it is to defeat ignorance, otherwise we’ll only ever be fighting the symptoms at best, and adding fuel to the flames at worst.

  248. vera

    I was about to post something sarcastic, but I think I’ve exceeded my daily quota.

  249. Amananta

    Thanks for writing this.

    I have been sort of avoiding the news as much as possible lately because the cheering on of the patriarchy from my female friends has been more than enough to dperess me terribly, but the “stop acting like a victim!” thing has been really getting me down. I get that as “well-meaning” (?) advice frequently. Sometimes I just want to say to these people who tell me this: “Look – I have literally spent over half my life being physically and sexually abused – how am I supposed to act?” People expect me to just “put it all behind me” and “stand up for myself” (although I notice they never mean to stand up to THEM, just to people they are disgusted by my “giving in to”.) I count every day I manage not to beg to be locked up in a mental hospital as a small victory. Strangely enough, I’m not generally praised for this, but instead am told in ways both subtle and overt that I’m supposed to feel ashamed of my lack of having done “great things” in life.

    I took their advice and started standing up to my ex after 6 years of being his sweet little submissive girl – he responded by abandoning me and my child, telling me I was “verbally abusive” for complaining about his refusal to do his share of housework and/or money earning. Now that I’m smack in the middle of a huge financial crisis as a result, my “friends” tell me I should “get over it” because “I’m better off without him”, and can’t seem to understand why I’m stressed out. Why don’t I just shake it off, they wonder? I must just like to be mournful and depressed!

  250. Inverarity

    Give Jesse a new bingo square: “The Bloodhound Gang defense.”

    (You and me baby ain’t nothin’ but mammals…)

  251. thebewilderness

    Amananta,
    Sometimes, in circumstances like yours, survival with most of your faculties intact is a great acomplishment. Congratulations, you are doing extremely well under the circumstances.
    Sometimes we need support and we get advice instead. Sometimes we need help and we get advice instead. Sometimes we need a drink of water, and damned if they don’t stand there and give us advice while we drink it.

  252. Amy's Brain Today

    LMYC and others: Would like to note that the next issue of Rain and Thunder is seeking writing on radical feminist perspectives on spinsterhood. I’m sure many here could write something kick-ass and it would be much appreciated.

    To respond to Artemis’ observation–I posted something like the comment LMYC dismissed above in a previous thread. FTR, I don’t comment here often, because I DO find this space to be dominated by heterosexual discourse. And the fact that I am literally shaking as I write this tells me something about how not-safe I feel participating here as an out lesbian. As does LMYC’s admission that she felt completely justified in shrugging off my comment in the former thread.

    I have never said that I think all women should be lesbians. It is a fact, however, that when a discussion about the badness of relationships with men NEVER ACKNOWLEDGES the existence of lesbians–or the fact that hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of women over the last 30 years in the US have left het relationships to find loving, fulfilling relationships with other women–lesbians are being invisibilized, and the pressures on women to believe that sexual orientation is inborn and something that can’t be changed are being tacitly accepted, even promoted. I don’t think all women have the potential to love other women–because let’s face it, as oppressed as all the pretty straight women are, us fugly lesbians get the even shorter end of that patriarchal stick, and not everyone can hack it, frankly. But I think a LOT more women could love women than do, because of the brainwashing we all receive. I would just like it to be acknowledged in these feminist discussions that spinsterhood is not the only alternative to heterosexuality–and I know, because I was an enthusiastic heterosexual for some years before DECIDING to give lesbianism a(nother) go with a wonderful woman I was lucky enough to meet. I’m not willing to be more out than that in this space, but anyone who wants to do more than shrug and move on can check out my blog via the link. LMYC, I’m particularly disappointed in your response because I have so much respect for the excellent writing and theorizing and ass-kicking you’ve done here. However, radical straight women who want to be in solidarity with feminist lesbians need to familiarize themselves with radical lesbian feminist critiques of heterosexuality and theories of lesbianism as resistance to heteropatriarchy–whether they choose lesbianism or not.

  253. Amananta

    Serpent’s Choice:

    “people who allow the crime to consume them”

    I lose all sympathy for your ridiculous argument when you say something this patently stupid.

    Go read a definition of PTSD.

    You have absolutely not one shred of understanding of what it means to be victimized if you can say something that stupid. Nor have you any compassion.

  254. thebewilderness

    Hi Amy’s brain,
    If you want to talk about it I think you should go ahead and do so. I don’t get how you expect people who have never had anything but heterosexual relationships in their romantic life to introduce a discussion about lesbianism as an option. Particularly since you have just explained in your comment we dont know diddly. We depend on people like yourself who have knowlege on the subject to lighten our ignorance.
    It’s one of those Rumsfeldian how do we know what we don’t know if we don’t know we don’t know it? If you get what I mean.

  255. thebewilderness

    Crap, I sound like a troll.

  256. Delishka

    Inverarity, I found Jesse’s recent post to be articulate and well reasoned. I wonder if perhaps your cavalier dismissal has anything to do with the fact that Jesse is male identified in the post? It’s a very catchy dismissal, but it also seems to imply that you think he’s a troll?
    As for the Bloodhound Gang Defense, I don’t see anything in his post that is defending the patriarchy or male domination as being a mammilian natural state or anything. He does state that a human being naturally is also a biological being of the mammilian persuasion. Mammals by definition are warm blooded species who give birth to live offspring and produce milk to nurture their young.
    (If you were bottle fed rather than breast fed, does that make you less a mammal? No.)
    Are you perhaps not a mammal? I don’t presume to know, perhaps you have already shed your body in some grand scientific advance to become a being a of pure energy.
    Why do so many people close thier minds? Yes, the evo psych goons may try to lump together some sort of “I can’t help being a pig, all men are pigs because we just evolved that way, so you should encourage me in my piglike behavior because it’s natural,” defense. Any statistic can be manipulated, and interpreted in a biased fashion. I find it equally offensive when someone tries to argue, “Biological differences between the sexes/races/individuals don’t exist because I think they shouldn’t! I’m not listening la la la blah blah.” Denying that there is a problem does not make it go away. If that were the case, we could just disbelieve The Patriarchy right out of existance.
    There are physical, chemical and horomonal differences between the sexes. There are also culturally indoctrinated assumptions about what these differences are and how different types of people should be treated because of them. The revolution has to start with the way people THINK. Unless you are planning to go the pure energy route first.
    That you reduced Jesse’s entire post about the cluelessness of your average person to the entrenchment and all-pervading nature of the patriarchy as being the true ‘enemy of the revolution’ to a joke about his one mention of biological fact rather illustrates the point.
    All of which is completly off the topic at hand, sorry.

  257. Catherine Martell

    This thread is like a hydra. Every time a head gets chopped off, two further heads sprout forth in its place.

    Having just read through pretty much all of the last 150 or so comments, I see emotions are running a little high, and a few things seem to have been taken the wrong way.

    The idea that motherhood = betrayal, isolation = liberation and lesbianism = irrelevant doesn’t seem to me to be the way anyone here thinks. Perhaps I’m being overgenerous, but I thought that the point that was being made about motherhood robbing you of your personhood was an observation on how society treats women, not a diktat issued by The Feminist Supreme Command.

    I also think that plenty of people on here (including, I believe, our host) are queer. Perhaps lesbian relationships are talked about less because this is I Blame The Patriarchy, and patriarchy-blaming is more likely to be pertinent to relationships some of us have with men. Or perhaps the hets on here are a bunch of gasbags. Either way, I don’t think anyone here should feel that her sexuality – whatever it is – disqualifies her. I am sorry if anyone does.

    For what it’s worth, I generally don’t discuss anything relating to my personal life at all, though there have been occasions when I’ve been unable to sit upon an anecdote. I also don’t respond to other people’s talk about their personal lives, except on the rare occasions that they use them to make an interesting point rather than just hijacking the thread for a rather undignified form of group therapy. Sorry. But I think the discussion has more possibilities when it’s theoretical. It’s less likely to become heated, and less likely to descend into a sort of rank-pulling unpleasantness about who can be the best feminist: is it the lesbians, the separatists, the lesbian separatists, the single mothers, the married-with-kidses, the hedonists, the celibates, etc? I treasure the fact that, here, what we think is more important than what we do. Brains before boobies. And my part of keeping it that way is resisting the emotional splurge.

    Furthermore, I do think that it was a good point Artemis made about how the triumphal entry of a man on this board does tend to produce a scene not unlike a sex-reversed Embarkation of the Queen of Sheba. If he’s a troll, everyone gleefully weighs in with the pitchforks, burning torches and troll-mashers. Understandable, because it’s a small way of having the stand-up fight with a patriarch that many of us would probably like to have in real life. But it’s like training a dog or a child. The troll wants attention. Any attention. If you reward his behaviour with attention, you are giving him what he wants, and he won’t stop. Feed him not.

    It goes further than that, though. The other type of chap who turns up here is the genuine sympathiser – TP, for instance. Thinking about Artemis’s comment that we all get used to responding to men, I am uncomfortably aware that many of his comments (and those by other men of that ilk) have prompted a little flurry of appreciative cooings. Funny how even the toughest among we iron-clad blamers roll over like kittens to let a man tickle our tummies if he’s prepared to say something approximately palatable. This is meant with no offence to TP, who is a thoughtful commentator and doubtless a lovely human being. But I think Artemis has a point in that male commenters get disproportionate attention, and I think there’s a scary lesson in implicit patriarchy there for all of us.

    I’ve gone on nearly as long as a troll. Reclaiming the board, honest. Not just loving the sound of my own voice.

  258. msxochitl

    Well said, Amy’s Brain. I wish you would post more. You’re brilliant.

  259. justicewalks

    Oh, do tell us which other regular posters are men, Ms. Martell (besides TP and Mandos– I already knew about them). I do my best to not read male comments. I certainly get enough entitled male opinion in my day-to-day life that I don’t need to unwittingly do so here. It’s like taking a gulp of warm beer when you were expecting it to be sangria.

  260. Spit The Dummy

    It is a fact, however, that when a discussion about the badness of relationships with men NEVER ACKNOWLEDGES the existence of lesbians.

    Huh? It never occurred to me that we had to overtly acknowledge the existence of lesbians on THIS blog, since Twisty is a lesbian!

    But I think a LOT more women could love women than do, because of the brainwashing we all receive.

    Gotta agree with you there. I believe sexuality is more flexible than most people imagine.

    As for not feeling comfortable on this blog, have you caught the single women slinging off at the married women and the mothers? And vice versa? I’m married and I’ve got 2 kids but I don’t want to be saying that every time I post as if it’s the most important thing about me, like the fact that I’m not strictly heterosexaul. Everyone catches a bit of mud at times, you just gotta learn to duck and not take it personally.

    AS for the single women who are happy they aren’t married and don’t have kids I say: good for you. Some days I wish I’d made the same choice, some days I’m happy the way I am. Ditto with the man thing – sometimes I wish I’d just gone the lesbian route and damned the patriarchy, but sometimes I figure I’m pretty lucky just the way I am. Life’s a crap shoot, ain’t it?

    This is one of the most comfortable places I’ve found to hang out on the web – I love it.

  261. Minerva

    Jesse, the elimination of ignorance will absolutely NOT eliminate the patriarchy. Too many people, systems of government and religious institutions benefit from it and will not give it up, no matter how enlightened they become to the true evil that it is. Our enemies would sooner see us dead than relinquish power. Hell, women and girls of all ages die every day because of this reality.

  262. hedonistic

    Wow. I just realized this: For the past few years I’d presumed most of the commenters on IBTP were radfems at least leaning towards lesbianism/separatism, if not actually living it. I mean, look at our esteemed host.

    I presumed that moi, being “femmy and just sorta bi” and unschooled in the basics (never took Women’s studies in college) had nothing to say about these matters. I originally chose participation in these forums as an intellectual exercise because I really did want to understand. I was also at a transition point in my life where I was seriously considering giving up on men entirely.

    So, I just sorta presumed I was outnumbered here and I’ve been watching my Ps and Qs as a result. And here I’m told this is a het-dominated forum? Zounds! Hey, since the hets are in charge let’s take over the agenda!!!

    I’M KIDDING.

    Truth is, unless someone self-identifies up front we don’t know anything about people’s sex lives, nor should we. The Intertubes are a place of ideas, just words on the screen. Why are we clouding our brainfluffs with sexist gender presumptions HERE, of all places? How ironic.

    Oop! I feel the urge to BLAME now.

  263. Mar Iguana

    http://funwithfeminism.blogspot.com/

    Delishka, Jesse, please discuss.

  264. Mar Iguana

    Also, completely off topic, sort of: What is up with these folks such as Simon, Mark, dari, et al, dredging up old threads lately?

  265. norbizness

    Justice: To save you further sips of tepid Miller Lite when you were expecting a Cape Cod made with freshly squeezed cranberries (not sure how you’d get the two confused), I am a non-woman.

  266. Yeny

    ‘Sorry. But I think the discussion has more possibilities when it’s theoretical.’
    I think your wrong, Martell, I think that it is our experience as women that makes it possible to speak so coherently about the problem of patriarchy, at the same time as making it impossible for a guy like Kos to even attempt to discuss it.

    I don’t believe talking about personal experiences does lead to a sort of one-upmanship, the general feeling I sense is one of empathy and one where it is alright to discuss personal issues here where perhaps in the real world it would not be possible to do so without someone dismissing you for being a woman. So I find it rather disheartening to hear you being dismissive of personal experiences that in many cases may be why we are here in the first place.

  267. Feminist Avatar

    Artemis: I did not mean to imply that the blogshpere was not the real world- by engaging in a real way I meant that I really gave them thought, adjusted my present opinions, took them with me in my interactions with the world whether online or not- unlike say a response to a troll that is forgotten after two minutes.

    Justicewalks: rape is not inevitable. There are societies where rape does not occur and they have no concept of rape (the anthropologist Christine Helliwell does work on this). Furthermore, rape has little to do with sex, its about asserting power.

  268. justicewalks

    There are societies where rape does not occur and they have no concept of rape

    I imagine this is possible in the same way Japan considers itself an entirely racially/ethnically homogenous country, with no concept of there being people of Korean or Chinese (let alone other, non-East Asian) ancestry living within its borders. Anything not verbally acknowledged just doesn’t exist.

    “non-woman”

    *snortle* Perhaps I was too quick to dismiss. If you don’t read male posts, you miss precious gems like this one.

    Are you similarly a “person of non-color”? Way to dissociate yourself from presumably white male peers. I suppose that if I, too, were born into such an obvious embarrassment of privilege, I might also do my best to obscure that, especially while slumming it with people who weren’t.

  269. TP

    I try not to post too much. This place is special for me because I have learned so much, and because I love Twisty.

    The postings by that troll up there almost made me sick. You can’t say anything to someone like that, they’re just sick people beyond all hope.

    I never notice too much if someone is gay, straight, female or male around here. The idea that someone would tremble in fear about discussing who they are makes me feel just terrible.

  270. BubbasNightmare

    Feminist Avatar:
    ‘rape is not inevitable. There are societies where rape does not occur and they have no concept of rape (the anthropologist Christine Helliwell does work on this). Furthermore, rape has little to do with sex, its about asserting power.

    I’m curious as to which societies in which rape does not occur. Please, please tell me that this statement isn’t predicated upon some slimy side-slipping about the definitions of ‘rape’ and ‘society’.

    As to the relationship between rape and power: old news.

  271. Feminist Avatar

    To show that there is a place for feminism in the UK press:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,2059443,00.html

  272. Tigs

    Yeny, I have to agree. I think there’s something really valuable about experience. It’s no accident that 2nd Wave feminism did so much consciousness-raising, and I know that by posting here we’re all claiming to have raised-consciousness, but I think that to say that we need to excise theory from practice is much the same of telling me I have to keep my stupid-feminine-emotions out of the way so the real authorities can talk.

    I also know that I do tend to post here more when I am stressed out, and when I am a little cooler I tend to sit back and read more. I hope my trying to get feedback on my experiences as a young feminist has been received as “an undignified form of group therapy.” How disheartening to hear that from someone whose posts I have respected so much.

    Also, I’m not saying I don’t love theory. You might say I’m getting an absurdly time-consuming and ill-rewarding degree in it. But, what is codified as theory often simply acts as a gate-keeper against the uninitiated’s attempts to enter into a rarefied, hierarchical intellectual community.

    Further, in the ivory tower, I do spend a lot of my time critiquing dominant theory. One of the critiques I spend a lot of time on is theory’s lack of responsiveness to empirical reality, (you might say that’s what brought down Marxism–at least in Germany). I’m not advocating that this forum should be a support group, but to dismiss a comment simply because it is grounded in experience instead of the abstract seems troubling in a feminist discussion.

  273. Mandos

    *snortle* Perhaps I was too quick to dismiss. If you don’t read male posts, you miss precious gems like this one.

    Are you similarly a “person of non-color”? Way to dissociate yourself from presumably white male peers. I suppose that if I, too, were born into such an obvious embarrassment of privilege, I might also do my best to obscure that, especially while slumming it with people who weren’t.

    I think you’ve missed the entire point of the existence of norbizness.

  274. Feminist Avatar

    BubasNightmare:I think its some islands in Papua New Guinea but I’d have to reread the article. Rape is so unheard of that they don’t really have a concept of it and can’t really conceive of why its threatening. They also categorise gender based on the tasks people perform rather than biology, although women tend to perform different tasks than men- but if a woman does a man’s job she is categorised as a man.

    For more info see: Christine Helliwell, ‘“It’s only a penis”: rape, feminism and difference’, Signs, 25, (2000), pp. 789-816.

  275. Mandos

    I imagine this is possible in the same way Japan considers itself an entirely racially/ethnically homogenous country, with no concept of there being people of Korean or Chinese (let alone other, non-East Asian) ancestry living within its borders. Anything not verbally acknowledged just doesn’t exist.

    Would you be willing to believe in archaeological theories of rapeless egalitarian societies in the far past? Some people promote these, including here.

    Then do you believe in the possibility of a rapeless society in the future?

    If not, do you believe that rape is an inevitable consequence of maleness?

  276. norbizness

    It’s better than that, I’m fucking non-non-translucent.

  277. jami

    amy’s brain, lmyc has directed her tone-deaf love of her own fury at me, too. though she sometimes makes interesting points, she can be kind of a jerk. don’t let it get you down.

    and your points about the straight ladies’ unexamined hetero-normativity are well-taken.

  278. Tigs

    One of the Helliwell articles dealing with the construction of rape is available through the Literature Online database for those with online library access. I was so intrigued, I hunted it down.

    The main question she states she is dealing with in the article is : “Why does a woman of Gerai see a penis as lacking the power to harm her, while I, a white Australian/New Zealand woman, am so ready to see it as having the capacity to defile, humiliate, to subjugate, and, ultimately, to destroy me?”

    So, while I haven’t read the whole thing yet, she’s not saying that there are societies in which men don’t try to have sex with women who don’t want them to, but rather that there is a structuralist element to the whole thing.

    If anyone wants a pdf of the article, you can email me at my junk email, I’ll make a point of checking it tonight: marthablatt at hotmail dot com

    Thanks to Feminist Avatar for the point in the interesting direction.

  279. Inverarity

    Inverarity, I found Jesse’s recent post to be articulate and well reasoned. I wonder if perhaps your cavalier dismissal has anything to do with the fact that Jesse is male identified in the post? It’s a very catchy dismissal, but it also seems to imply that you think he’s a troll?

    I was being a bit flip, but I found it ironic that he went on and on about how unfair it was that menz was gettin’ a bum rap, yo! After that discussion has been had so many times, and so recently.

    Btw, I’m a man. (That’s for justicewalks, so she can ignore me henceforth.)

    Mostly I found it ironic that men who post here, whether pro-, anti-, or dazed-and-confused about feminism, tend to be the most long-winded posters (including the much-loved TP, though excluding the not-so-loved Mandos).

    I do occasionally feel tempted to reply at length in a similar vein to Jesse (with whose statements I mostly agree with, in principle), particularly when a few individuals claim that men aren’t even capable of being decent human beings or would have to be raised in some alien civilization in an alternate dimension to not be rapists-waiting-to-happen.

    However, I grok that the point of this blog is not to soothe the tender egos of men who fancy themselves sympathetic. So I read, take my lumps, and occasionally post, so long as Twisty tolerates it.

  280. Artemis

    Hedonistic:

    Truth is, unless someone self-identifies up front we don’t know anything about people’s sex lives, nor should we. The Intertubes are a place of ideas, just words on the screen. Why are we clouding our brainfluffs with sexist gender presumptions HERE, of all places? How ironic.

    In my post that opened this can of worms I used the very words “self-identified lesbians” because I’m well aware of the range of experiences represented here.

    More importantly, you have neatly illuminated why a self-identified lesbian would wonder whether her experiences and ideas are respected here. Here’s a quick clue-in: the concept of “lesbian” is broader than a “sex life” and wholly conflating the two is demeaning.

    A huge reason I read and write here is because Twisty requires that commenters be as thoughtful with language as she. I choose my words very carefully because feminist discourse is complicated. If you want to engage what I’ve written in a comment, carefully reading and thinking about the words and concepts is a respectful prerequisite.

    Throwing out the words “clouding our brainstuffs” and “sexist gender presumptions” without explanation or reference sounds very much like a silencing technique. It’s an accusation without honest dialogue. It’s probably based on a whole range of assumptions you’ve made without checking first. Throwing in the word “ironic” for good measure sounds very much like a sneering way to complete the dismissal of the topic, not an opening for a dialogue.

  281. LMYC

    I’m sorry — don’t let it get her down that I was so mean and vicious that I cruelly and nastily allowed a comment of hers that made me roll my eyes to pass without comment? How could I.

  282. Artemis

    Amy’s Brain Today, thank you for taking the risk to post even when it was that hard. And I do understand that it’s difficult, risky, and scary. I brought all this up to start a dialogue — multiple perspectives are needed. [Yes, I'm here because Twisty's insights are brilliant, but I'm also here because the commentary to her posts is the engine behind change.] We’re not going to have a revolution on the scale that’s needed if everyone splits off into their small groups. That’s not to say that no one should do that. Every woman has the right to decide for herself whether, how, when, and where to engage. I just hope that enough women will engage in a way that allows some real change to happen. Else we’re just yappin’ to the confirmed.

  283. Bird

    Artemis, there are threads where I’ve felt equally unwelcome because I choose to have a male partner. For some women around here, my choice to include a man in my life makes me a deluded slave to the patriarchy, no matter what. Sometimes, all you have to do is breathe a word about a positive experience in a heterosexual relationship (even if you are quite clear that he’s no saint) and you get pied in the face with a barrage of “Not My Nigel!” accusations.

    I, too, have felt silenced by others for my choices. There are times when it seems to me that the only acceptable choice here is to live alone or (if you don’t want to live life solo) choose to be a lesbian. There are things I don’t ever mention, like the fact that I would actually like to reproduce at some point, because I fear that expressing that desire will bring censure from certain quarters. Hell, I was embarrassed to admit that I ballroom dance because I know that there’s a ton of patriarchy in the whole lead/follow dynamic.

    Most often, my hurt feelings and intimidation are the result of a combination of my perceptions and sensitivities combined with who the predominant posters are on a given day/thread, some of whom are much less accepting of the wide range of women’s choices than others. We all step on each other without realizing it, and some people get a kick out of stomping on others intentionally.

    Just so you know, I completely respect the challenges that lesbian women face. I’ve had a few friends share their struggles with me, and I wouldn’t wish some of their experiences on my worst enemy. I hope that I’m not trampling on your choices by discussing mine. It is genuinely not my intent.

    So why do feminists keep fighting each other instead of fighting the real enemy? IBTP.

  284. BubbasNightmare

    Mandos:
    ‘Would you be willing to believe in archaeological theories of rapeless egalitarian societies in the far past? Some people promote these, including here.
    ‘Then do you believe in the possibility of a rapeless society in the future?
    ‘If not, do you believe that rape is an inevitable consequence of maleness?’

    The answers to your last two questions go hand-in-hand. Yes, I certainly believe that a rape-less society is possible, and no, I don’t think rape is inevitable in a society that contains males.

    To think rape is inevitable with males is to fall into the fallacious “male equivalent to aggressive brain-stem types, female equivalent to passive cerebral-cortex types” mythology.

    IBTP.

  285. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Inverarity:
    the not-so-loved Mandos

    Although I rather think he’d prefer we didn’t, we love Mandos too. I find his brevity particularly endearing.

  286. Kali

    It is my strong belief that one of the steps in the revolution has to be a separatism of some sort, maybe not 100%, maybe not separate countries, but at least to the extent that it is very normal for women to live their whole lives without having co-habited with adult men.

    If we were drawing bell curves for machiavellianism (i.e. tendency to objectify and use other people), the male bell curve is to the right of the female bell curve (this has been measured with tests). Doesn’t mean that every man is more exploitative/objectifying than every woman, but it does mean that for any random coupling of female-male, it is much more likely that the male will be exploiting or attempting to exploit the female rather than the other way around. If most people are coupled in male-female pairs, there are an awful lot of relationships where the man is exploiting the woman to some extent. In order to avoid this being the normal situation, heterosexual unions would have to mostly come from people in the overlapping parts of the bell curves. That means a lot of people not getting married or living together in opposite-sex unions.

    So, I don’t buy the “why don’t we all just get along” argument urging women to give men a chance. Separatism is a good thing when being together or getting along means one person (generally male) exploiting/using the other person (generally female).

  287. Kali

    “Although I rather think he’d prefer we didn’t, we love Mandos too.”

    Speak for yourself. I don’t. I do love TP though.

  288. thebewilderness

    Here’s a quick clue-in: the concept of “lesbian” is broader than a “sex life” and wholly conflating the two is demeaning.

    I think that it would have been more accurate to say that we don’t know anything much about each others personal lives, but I must admit that it took me a while to figure out how it was demeaning. Odd, too, because I have a real problem with media descriptions of people based on one narrow aspect of their lives. IBTP

  289. LMYC

    You know, there’s something else that struck me about that little comment: “She’s so ANGRY!”

    GMAFB. Have I ever pretended to be anything else? Did someone slap a “feisty” or “spunky” label on mw when I wasn’t looking? If you coud read my comments and not come to the obvious conclusion that I’m thoroughly, well and truly, pissed off angry, you’re nuts.

    I’m ANGRY. A shitload of rich white rapists just got all charges dropped while the victim was magnanimously allowed to not be charged with fraud, a lunatic shot up a school campus after stalking a bunch of girls and some fucked up newspaper calls the first victim the woman who sparked the whole thing. A prominent female tech blogger got driven into hiding for the unpardonable crime of being competent in public, and a team of classy, driven, ambitious young women got classified as “nappy headed hos” on the very night of their chief accomplishment. If you aren’t angry in the face of that, or if you care more about not coming across as angry than you do about all this, you’re insane.

    But I’m ANGRY — why, heavens to Betsy, an angry woman. The ultimate Unfeminine Sin. You’re goddamned right I’m angry. This is not some sort of feminist performance art that people can watch and applaud at times while being thankful that someone else takes the risk of public anger that they haven’t the guts to express themselves. I AM ANGRY. And I will stay that way. It’s clarifying, it engenders articulation, it focuses the mind. And it’s also, in the face of a world where the above things and much much worse happen every day, it’s sane.

    If you’re NOT angry, then you’ve got a mental problem. Not only that, but you are invited to bite me, because I’ve had more than a few “Magic Momma Trembling Sister” experiences with TSs who treat my anger as exactly that, a sort of feminist performance art that they can safely watch from the sidelines while not shouldering any of the risk of being an angry woman in public. They love it, up until they realize that it is true anger and not some “you go girl” art project, and then the knives come out.

    You remember “The Angry Vagina,” that part of “The Vagina Monologues?” That was my favorite part. I’m angry. I also belch, sweat, and fart occasionally. If you think you’ll score some sort of hit on me by “accusing” me of “anger” and hence triggering some sort of Femininity Crisis, think again.

    Calling “anger” a bad thing in a woman is not original. In fact, I’d say that next to Shulamith Firestone, Joanna Russ might be another good name on the list of Stuff We Should Probably All Read And Talk About.

  290. Frumious B

    he last shower I was at we had to make veils out of toilet paper.

    Make a hijab. Ask innocently about the difference.

  291. TravelerOfTheWays

    I have nothing substantial add. I was just blown away by this post. Not that startling, sad, amazing, genius, and always witty words do NOT habitually spew from the Twisty fingers, but this post left me gaping. It might help that I’m finally reading some feminist literature. Yay.

  292. Bird

    LMYC, what precisely about that makes turning that rage on women who may happen to disagree with you on some points an acceptable attitude? Anger is a useful tool in the right situation, but using it to bully those posters who don’t toe your line isn’t cool.

    I’m sure I’m about to take it from both barrels now. Go ahead, get pissed off at me. Don’t vent your rage at the real targets. That might be, you know, productive and stuff.

  293. ms. jared

    However, radical straight women who want to be in solidarity with feminist lesbians need to familiarize themselves with radical lesbian feminist critiques of heterosexuality and theories of lesbianism as resistance to heteropatriarchy–whether they choose lesbianism or not.

    Amen, sister!

    I truly appreciate your comments in every forum I find them, Amy’s Brain Today. I am always educated and inspired by your words, and often validated too. It shouldn’t always “go with out saying” to be sure, so I’m saying.

    Radical feminist lesbian separatists unite! har.

  294. Kali

    “LMYC, what precisely about that makes turning that rage on women who may happen to disagree with you on some points an acceptable attitude?”

    I don’t see LMYC turning her rage on women anywhere. So, let’s please stop attacking her.

  295. thebewilderness

    Bird, WTF

  296. CannibalFemme

    On conflation of ‘lesbian’ and ‘sex life’:

    When I was a virgin, I knew I was a lesbian. Now that I’ve chosen to declare myself a celibate spinster, I’m still a lesbian.

    Technically, I’m a dyke. But whatever. My identity as a dyke has nothing to do with my sex life. During the times in my life when I have chosen, for reasons of expedience or practicality or survival, to have sexual contact with biological males, I was still a damn dyke.

    Forgive me, I can’t do the fancy quote thing, so:

    Catherine Martell said:
    “Perhaps lesbian relationships are talked about less because this is I Blame The Patriarchy, and patriarchy-blaming is more likely to be pertinent to relationships some of us have with men.”

    I feel the need to suggest that any woman not living a separatist life, whether straight, dykey or indifferent, is obliged to have relationships with men. Just not necessarily ones that involve voluntary contact with a penis.

    And Bewilderness, I think your comment was intended sarcastically, but I’m not entirely sure. So, regarding your response to Amy’s Brain’s comment about straight women’s understanding of lesbian issues:

    “We depend on people like yourself who have knowlege on the subject to lighten our ignorance.”

    If that was what you actually meant, I’d like to point out a parallel between this statement and the statements of men who believe it is the responsibility of all women to educate them about feminism, i.e., there’s a problem with that.

    And yes, being on the entitled or privileged side of any particular equation has its own kind of discomfort.

    For the record: I don’t consider IBTP to be a queer or even ‘queer-safe’ space. I don’t come to IBTP to have a grand old time fanning the flames of my faggotry, although I’d love to do that one of these days. I come here for the angry wimmins, and the language, and to hone the edge of my own rage.

  297. zofia

    I don’t think all women have the potential to love other women–because let’s face it, as oppressed as all the pretty straight women are, us fugly lesbians get the even shorter end of that patriarchal stick, and not everyone can hack it, frankly.

    Not all women have to potential to want to have sex with another woman, but most woman do have the potential to love, very deeply, other women. In fact, the relationships of mother, daughter, sister and friend are the deepest and most profound in my life and the lives of the women I know. Since when do we reduce women to appearance? What about all us fugly heterosexuals? I admit that I am one fugly, unfashionable het. Are we once step below pretty hets and one step above pretty lesbians who are one step above fugly lesbians?

    But I think a LOT more women could love women than do, because of the brainwashing we all receive.

    I am always suspicious when people (although it’s usually men) express that women cannot be trusted to make choices concerning their lives. We are too stupid, hormonal, emotional, illogical and now brainwashed. I know this sounds crazy, but I trust women. I know that many people fuck up and I often do not agree with their choices, but still, at the end of the day, I trust women to decide what is right for them. And even if I think they are wrong, I try my damnedest to not belittle them or insist that mine is the only right answer. That type of hubris bites you in the ass.

    However, radical straight women who want to be in solidarity with feminist lesbians need to familiarize themselves with radical lesbian feminist critiques of heterosexuality and theories of lesbianism as resistance to heteropatriarchy–whether they choose lesbianism or not.

    Agreed.

  298. Bird

    I’ve been on the receiving end of some pretty mean comments on a couple of threads, and others apparently feel the same way from their comments above. Much of the time, LMYC has some amazing stuff to say, but I’ve felt attacked more than once when I’ve talked about things like male-female relationships, my experiences as a younger woman trying to figure this crap out, and the like. If my opinion differs or I don’t quite “get it”, I feel like I’m either a naive child or an enemy of feminism in her eyes. Frankly, it hurts.

  299. Mandos

    Wha? This thread has run into the surreal. I am being accused of brevity? Or is this some elaborate metajoke?

  300. Mandos

    To think rape is inevitable with males is to fall into the fallacious “male equivalent to aggressive brain-stem types, female equivalent to passive cerebral-cortex types” mythology.

    Oh? Then what do you make of this?

  301. Ugly In Pink

    Mandos, Mandos Mandos.

    People disagree. Women are people. This should not be surprising to you at this point.

  302. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    To all upthread: Thank you for a clue-in re: Lesbianism. As I stated upthread I not only did not pass Woman Studies 101 or Gender Studies 101, I didn’t even take them. That’s one of the reasons why I (almost) never refer to lesbians (on the internet or the Real World) unless I know them personally, because what do I know?

    Why didn’t I ask or chase this understanding? Would you believe it’s because I considered it none of my business? I don’t ask nosy questions; I’m from MINNESOTA for feck’s sake!

    See how these things happen?

    Anyway, I had a vague sense of the truth of it but didn’t know for sure. It’s not even a spectrum. I can see several dimensions. That said, if a woman calls herself a “Lesbian” but all I can see of her life is that it’s All About The Menz, she’s going to get a confused doggy head-tilt from me. Fortunately, thanks to IBTP, now I know not to challenge her assertion.

    Not that I would; I mean, It’s None of My Business.

    Fortunately no one can see my confused doggy head-tilts over the intertubes.

  303. vera

    However, radical straight women who want to be in solidarity with feminist lesbians need to familiarize themselves with radical lesbian feminist critiques of heterosexuality and theories of lesbianism as resistance to heteropatriarchy–whether they choose lesbianism or not.

    Can you suggest three titles? I need a list I can actually cope with, considering that I work full time and I’ve got middle-aged eyesight, middle-aged energy, and a middle-aged attention span. (I don’t suppose radical lesbian feminist writings come in large print? Or in graphic novel form?)

    See, I went to college a long time ago. We didn’t have your fancy Women’s Studies classes back then. We had to make our own, from sticks and dirt.

    (Apologies to norbizness for stealing his joke)

  304. Mar Iguana

    “and your points about the straight ladies’ unexamined hetero-normativity are well-taken.” jami

    Unexamined!? That’s one heck of an assumption. I get the impression conflict is being hustled where this is little to none here.

  305. BubbasNightmare

    Me:
    ‘To think rape is inevitable with males is to fall into the fallacious “male equivalent to aggressive brain-stem types, female equivalent to passive cerebral-cortex types” mythology.’

    Mandos:
    ‘Oh? Then what do you make of this [referring to a comment by justicewalks in womensspace]?’

    Not much. To state that the presence of male assholes (likely a perpetual property of humanity) necessitates the inevitability of rape is an easy thing, but much harder to substantiate.

    As long as humanity exists there will be physical attacks of one person upon another, and some of that attacks will be sexual in nature and perpetrated by men. I was using the term ‘rape’ in a more general sense of the use of sexual violence as an societally accepted mode of behavior on the part of those who enjoy privilege.

    One could as easily state that the presence of women assholes insures the continued existence of bobbiting. That doesn’t make it true.

  306. maribelle

    I am being accused of brevity?

    Don’t worry, Mandos, I’ll defend you against any such accusations.

  307. Professor Zero

    “Philosophy on ‘Marriage is hard work’: Only bad or troubled marriages take hard work. Good marriages (whether of the opposite-sex or same-sex variety) don’t. Anyone who spouts off about what hard work marriage is might not be married to a nice person with whom he or she is compatible. Yes, there are a zillion crappy marriages, but good marriages aren’t destructive.”

    Orange, I am glad someone, somewhere, said this – that “hard work” concept is really pernicious, and I think (a) it may apply to some people if they are people who never think of anyone else, but (b) it is mostly an invention to get people to justify and accept bad situations.
    And I’ve never even been married – but the good relationships I’ve been in never felt like work. I have finally learned that if it feels like work, it’s not meant to be!

  308. TP

    Marriage is easy. Maintaining a close friendship with a member of the opposite sex over decades of life in a patriarchy is hard. Especially because one person will always be a man.

  309. Mandos

    People disagree. Women are people. This should not be surprising to you at this point.

    Oh, for sure. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean ways in which people disagree and what it means isn’t very interesting, in general.

  310. Mandos

    As long as humanity exists there will be physical attacks of one person upon another, and some of that attacks will be sexual in nature and perpetrated by men. I was using the term ‘rape’ in a more general sense of the use of sexual violence as an societally accepted mode of behavior on the part of those who enjoy privilege.

    Did you read any further on in that thread? Later on, it seems to be asserted that rape won’t ever be just one random crime among various forms of aberrent behavour.

  311. kate

    Always seems the wild stuff happens while I’m gone.

    For all those rooting for a Shulamith Studies Revival, count me in.

    And I really feel good now about getting a customer to buy a light fixture from IKEA for their basement I’m remodeling, as apparently I contributed to the further disruption of MRAs and possibly the patriarchy by proxy.

    I agree with LMYC about anger and its importance in working toward change. In the same vein, I agree with mAndrea, how many more damn studies on the same damn topic, over and over again do we need? How long must we continue to play that game? The deafness on the other end is willful, to continue to try again to say it moves nothing forward. Who/what was it that said, “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.”?

    Marriage is a construct of the patriarchy. I live alone and will always since divorcing years ago. I am a mother and I do not believe that experience is in itself limiting. The social system I live in had made it limiting. Though, I must say that my offspring resulted from years of fear induced indoctrination and not some indescribable primal need, which some women tell me urged them to reproduce. I can’t relate to that.

    Amy’s Brain: Would you mind posting recommended reading? Although I could google or something, I’d value your recommendations far more.

  312. kate

    My apologies to Catherine Martel for my frivolous, girly tendency to go off into anecdote. I promise to pay penance by repeating ten times, with a stern and scientific expression, “My experience means nothing.”

  313. shitflinger

    All this talk about rape being inevitable in a world with men seems just like the otherside of the retarded “boys will be boys” coin. Let’s not say there’s an essential male nature that causes rape – existence precedes essence, and to assert that rape is an essential male characteristic is to remove the culpability of the psychopaths that actually commit rape.

  314. Catherine Martell

    Yeny:

    the general feeling I sense is one of empathy and one where it is alright to discuss personal issues here where perhaps in the real world it would not be possible to do so without someone dismissing you for being a woman. So I find it rather disheartening to hear you being dismissive of personal experiences that in many cases may be why we are here in the first place.

    I don’t mean to dismiss all personal experiences. Like you, I have sometimes found such discussions illuminating here. I also agree that the fact we have experienced patriarchy first-hand absolutely informs our response. But there’s a difference between mentioning a personal story that illuminates a point, and dominating the discussion by talking about yourself. I was deeply shocked by Amy’s Brain Today’s post above, where she said she was shaking as she wrote it because the het-centric discussion here made her feel excluded. On this particular thread, I felt that the tone was getting too personal – not in the sense of too open, but in the sense of people sniping at each other and turning the discussion into one where we were being asked to declare our sexual/romantic/relationship situation for public inspection.

    I do value personal experiences when they’re pertinent to the discussion and not about judgment. Just seemed to me that it was going a bit too far. My intention was to call for people to take a step back and a deep breath, not to silence those who have something meaningful to contribute.

    and kate:

    My apologies to Catherine Martel for my frivolous, girly tendency to go off into anecdote. I promise to pay penance by repeating ten times, with a stern and scientific expression, “My experience means nothing.”

    Oy, when did I say that anecdote was frivolous or girly? Or demand that anyone had to be stern or scientific? Though thanks for painting me as a fun-killing bluestocking for suggesting that ideas might be interesting.

    Woo, jumped right down to your level with the gendered assumptions! OK, I really do mean to call for calm, and now I’ve just stirred the pot again. Actually, I found your previous post interesting. I’m not against anecdote; I’m just concerned by the nasty effect that various personal stuff on this thread has had, from making people feel excluded on the basis of their lifestyles to a straight-up attack on LMYC. There’s a line to be drawn somewhere in terms of how personal we make this. I feel it’s been crossed a couple of times here.

    I also agree with the idea of more Firestone. Perhaps a series of specific Firestones? Firestone and communist revolution? Firestone and parenthood? Firestone and sexuality? Firestone and race (now that’s an incendiary one)? The practical Firestone?

  315. LouisaMayAlcott

    Hi,

    For women requesting some readings from a lesbian feminist perspective, I offer the following:

    1.) Sarah Hoagland, “Lesbian Ethics”, a book.

    2.) Many works/books by Julia Penelope.

    3.) Back issues of Sinister Wisdom, a lebian-feminist journal

    4.) Rain and Thunder, a lesbian-feminist periodical

    There are a lot of out-of-print l/f materials dating from the early 1970′s which are, unfortunately, hard to find now except in the personal archives of other l/f’s.

    No doubt other l/f’s on this thread will have some more suggestions.

  316. justicewalks

    BubbasNightmare: As long as humanity exists there will be physical attacks of one person upon another, and some of that [sic] attacks will be sexual in nature and perpetrated by men. I was using the term ‘rape’ in a more general sense of the use of sexual violence as an societally accepted mode of behavior on the part of those who enjoy privilege.

    Riiiiiight. Of course, in order to pretend as if rape isn’t innate, you have to change the definition of ‘rape,’ which in the first sentence you seem to acknowledge are sexual attacks that will undoubtedly always occur as a subset of the inevitable “physical attacks of one person upon another.” What? Rape isn’t rape unless it’s committed under your own special made-up circumstances, “as an [sic] societally [sic] accepted mode of behavior on the part of those who enjoy privilege”??? Are you serious?

    What on earth will we call the forceful (or coercive) and repeated insertion of a penis into a vagina in the far-off days of the post-patriarchy, when men aren’t unduly privileged as a result of their anatomy? It’s not the privilege that makes them rape, BubbasNightmare. The privilege only lets them know they can get away with it.

    You danced around being right one point, though, after the patriarchy, when women aren’t brainwashed people with phantom sets of dicks and balls (you’ve seen women wincing at the sight of a man having his globes kicked in; why?), “bobbiting” just might be more likely. It just won’t be the natural result of having hands, since “bobbiting” must be augmented with the oh-so-unnatural use of a knife, unlike the relationship between penises and rape. That women aren’t object-raping people in droves kind of speaks to that.

  317. rainie

    I have to weigh in on the “marriage is hard work” construct comments. I agree heartily with Prof Zero and Orange. When people in a relationship are kind and considerate of each other, it isn’t hard work. Be nice and play fair and all will be well. This is true of all relationships, not just marriage.

    That said, in hetero marriage, even good men who play nice and are fair do so within the context of a lifetime of internalized patriarchal indoctrination.

  318. CannibalFemme

    My comment got stuck in the spamulator, and is now embarrassingly outdated. Therefore, I will attempt to restate what was perhaps the pertinent bit.

    For the record, as a self-identified dyke: I don’t consider IBTP to be a queer, or explicitly queer-safe space. For me, it is radfem space. The fact that there is such a distance between the two is, for me at least, a bummer.

    Rights and privileges and representation are mostly granted to men, to whites, to straights, to the upper class. But IBTP is explicitly a forum to address the ‘men’ part of that inequity and oppression equation, so that’s what I come here for, no matter how much my big ol’ intersectional self grumps about it.

    But the bottom line for me personally is: thank goodness this space is here, intersectional or not. Angry, outraged women are irreplaceably precious to me, and here is where I come to find them.

    And for those of you who have expressed an interest in learning more about homophobia: thank you. I have no book referrals for you, as I left school at 15 to work full time, but I really appreciate your willingness to expand your awareness of oppressed classes. You do so rock!

  319. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Never having been married, I can’t say whether it’s hard work or not. I will say that maintaining any kind of good relationship is sometimes hard work. When the hard work part starts overwhelming the good, rewarding part, some re-examination might be necessary.

    It all sounds so easy — be fair, play nice. It’s when you get the actual humans involved that it gets complicated.

  320. Kali

    “On this particular thread, I felt that the tone was getting too personal – not in the sense of too open, but in the sense of people sniping at each other and turning the discussion into one where we were being asked to declare our sexual/romantic/relationship situation for public inspection.”

    A good part of feminist consciousness comes from putting the feminist microscope on the personal stuff. Avoiding situations/discussions where the personal is being judged would be very crippling to feminism, especially radical feminism. I don’t think the solution is to keep personal stuff off-limits for feminist judgement, but to analyse the content of that judgement and see if it makes sense. I find it very depressing when women use this mind-your-own-business argument against other women to protect the personal relations they have with men from feminist scrutiny. I see it as a major obstacle in the path to feminist consciouness.

  321. Kali

    “One could as easily state that the presence of women assholes insures the continued existence of bobbiting.”

    What Lorena Bobbit did is not comparable to rape. She was acting in self-defense after years of suffering abuse at the hands of her husband.

  322. lawbitch

    Although this thread has been informative and cathartic, we’re getting our ass kicked out there while we’re fighting among ourselves. To wit: the abortion ruling yesterday and that creepy misogynic shooter’s angry face plastered all over the media today. How can we unite and make a difference?

  323. justicewalks

    Thank you, kali, for shedding light on that erroneous parallel. My own comment on that matter has been stuck in moderation.

  324. zofia

    “I find it very depressing when women use this mind-your-own-business argument against other women to protect the personal relations they have with men from feminist scrutiny.”

    Scrutiny or derision? I find it depressing that radfems talk as if they are outside of the system and don’t see that their lives just represent a different construct within that same system. As for, “feminist scrutiny” of “personal relationships” I think that instead of heaping condescension upon insult, it is better to create a space where the individual woman can find greater awareness and then apply those principles to her own relationships. I think that this is why so many women read this blog. Unless of course you subscribe to the notion that women are incapable of choosing for themselves. There seems to be no room for the possibility that an intelligent, educated, and emotionally healthy woman would choose to be with a man. In a theoretical and political sense I understand why the stance is important, but it does not take into consideration the lives of the multitude of women for whom this is not a workable solution.

  325. Artemis

    “But IBTP is explicitly a forum to address the ‘men’ part of that inequity and oppression equation”

    Say what? Incredulity abounds.

    There are so many things I could point out in reaction to this, but how about just: why would there be a need for a specific “Dear God What About the Men?!” page?

    I won’t concede this entire space to that purpose unless I hear that directly from the gentleman farmer and spinster aunt herself.

  326. Catherine Martell

    Kali:

    I find it very depressing when women use this mind-your-own-business argument against other women to protect the personal relations they have with men from feminist scrutiny.

    That’s not what I’m doing.

    Gah. Heteronormative assumptions do indeed seem to be a problem around here. If you feel that my discretion is “crippling” to radical feminism, fine. My feeling is that women spend an awful lot of time being judged on their sexual lives and relationships (wife, mother, daughter, dyke, whore, spinster, whatever), and I find it liberating to discard that particular baggage online.

    My reserve is not limited to feminist blogs: I maintain it everywhere. There’s no need to assume I am doing so to hide a shameful life of baking angel food cake all day while I wait for Rush Limbaugh to come home, so I can kneel down and change his shoes for slippers before commencing the funk-filled bratwurst. (Courtesy of Twisty, that phrase will never leave my mind. Especially not now I’ve pictured it attached to the thinking end of Rush. Hope no one’s eating.)

    I’d like to second lawbitch’s comment above. Perhaps we should think about starting a forum, and possibly an online magazine/multiple-user blog of some sort? It seems a bit small-scale, bearing in mind the magnitude of the revolution that is required. But maybe we need somewhere extra to build on the fantastic wit and insight that constantly fizzes off this blog & its comments.

  327. vera

    Perhaps we should think about starting a forum, and possibly an online magazine/multiple-user blog of some sort? It seems a bit small-scale, bearing in mind the magnitude of the revolution that is required. But maybe we need somewhere extra to build on the fantastic wit and insight that constantly fizzes off this blog & its comments.

    An online magazine would be exciting!

    Assuming we could agree upon a reasonable periodicity (say, a new article once a week), I volunteer my editing skills.

    (I’m a technical writer by profession, but I edit on occasion.)

  328. Artemis

    Definitely like the idea of a multiple-user blog – many times I’ve wished I could click on a commenter’s name to go see their particular personal/political/intellectual/creative space and get more of their view on the world.

  329. CannibalFemme

    Artemis: that particular statement of mine was in response to the general content of posts I see here whenever issues of racism, classism, homophobia, or other privilege/oppression dynamics pop up, i.e., ‘this is IBTP, this isn’t the place to talk about that, this is about feminist issues and sexist oppression’.

    That has been my personal experience as a reader and occasional ranter upon these pages. IBTP for me is focused on feminism, and is radfem space. I’m glad it’s here.

    Do I sometimes wish for a broader application of anti-oppression enthusiasm? You betcha.

  330. Artemis

    A veritable advanced-patriarchy-blaming feast provided by this article and all its backstories.

  331. Kali

    “It seems a bit small-scale, bearing in mind the magnitude of the revolution that is required.”

    What picture do you have in mind when you say revolution? What shape would a revolution take?

  332. Heart

    Lesbian feminist/separatist books/resources I think are really good:

    * For Lesbans Only: a Separatist Anthology, by Julia Penelope and Sarah Lucia Hoagland
    * Lesbian Culture: An Anthology — the Lives, Work, Ideas, Art and Visions of Lesbians Past and Present, by Julia Penelope and Susan J. Wolfe ( I LOVE this book and have bought many copies to give away)
    * Dyke Ideas: Process, Politics and Daily Life, by Joyce Trebilcot

    Good info on historic divisions between het radfems and lesbian separatists and on political lesbianism, so called, which really just means, damn, falling in love with women because all of a sudden, you realize you are, and can, and then realizing that that falling in love is part of your commitment to women:

    The chapter entitled “Lesbianism and Feminism” in Robin Morgan’s book, Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicles of a Feminist (a book I think all feminists everywhere should own and read and re-read)

    There is a chapter in Sonia Johnson’s book, Going Out of Our Minds: The Metaphysics of Liberation, in which she describes very powerfully and movingly her transformation from someone who had once described herself as “hopelessly het” (she had been a Mormon and was married with four kids) to someone who loved and partnered with women over, ultimately, decades.

    * The essay “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” by Adrienne Rich, might be available online. Also the chapter on the Lesbian Continuum in Rich’s “Lies, Secrets and Silence”

    * The poetry of Judy Grahn

    * For advanced blamers :p, Sonia Johnson’s book, The Ship That Sailed Into the Living Room, in which she gets underneath some of the things some of you have said in some really interesting and thought-provoking ways. She talks about the way, when we refer to our “lovers,” what we really mean is our “sexers,” the people we have sex with, about the way our “sexers” — whether we are het or lesbian — come and go, but the women friends with whom we are intimate and connected remain, also whether we are lesbian or het, and about the way those relationships are often more intimate, more connected, deeper than the relationships we have had with “sexers”. She talks about the way we so often worship at the idol of the almighty “Relation Ship,” which is the “ship” she’s talking about in the living room, the way we spend all of this time, like Profacero and others have talked about, “working” on the ship, fixing it, polishing it, studying it, buying licenses for it, obsessing on it, trying to get rid of it, trying to decide if we want to keep it, talking with our nonsexer friends about it (!), doing everything there is to do but ENJOYING it, spending tons of energy on it, bottom line. And radical that she is, always out there and over the top, but really insightful and challenging, she asks why we are doing that, is that what we really want to do, and suggests a different (radical feminist/lesbian separatist) paradigm.

    Heart

  333. Artemis

    That’s a great list, Heart, thanks for doing that.

    And speaking of Sonia Johnson – she and her partner Jade have a lodge just for women right next to Ojo Caliente in New Mexico. Absolutely fabulous place and wonderful women.

    They’re also helping coordinate the Feminist Hullabaloo in Santa Fe in June. I’m planning on going and hoping to stay at their lodge. Who knows – maybe other Blamers will meet there and continue plotting the revolution.

  334. BubbasNightmare

    Me:
    ‘One could as easily state that the presence of women assholes insures the continued existence of bobbiting.’

    Kali:
    ‘What Lorena Bobbit did is not comparable to rape. She was acting in self-defense after years of suffering abuse at the hands of her husband.’

    If you’ll reread my comment, I wasn’t comparing Ms. Bobbit’s act to the act of rape; I was making an obviously fallacious statement to compare it with the (IMO) fallacious statement referenced by Mandos.

    lawbitch:
    ‘Although this thread has been informative and cathartic, we’re getting our ass kicked out there while we’re fighting among ourselves. To wit: the abortion ruling yesterday and that creepy misogynic shooter’s angry face plastered all over the media today. How can we unite and make a difference?’

    In re the abortion decision:
    Get out there and vote, and send a clear message to the godbags and knee-jerk conservatives. Work to get sane butts in Supreme Court seats.
    Write (NOT email, NOT petition) your representatives and senators and send a clear message.
    Send letters to your local (NOT national) newspaper and online editors and send a clear message.

    In re ‘how to unite’:
    Teach your children proper moral lessons about attitudes and behaviors; give them a clear message.
    Don’t knuckle under to duuuudely privilege under the guise of “go along to get along”. Make that message crystalline clear.

    Messages should not be strident, or loud, or abrasive. Just persist, and make them clear.

    This is all old news, but that doesn’t change its truth value.

  335. thebewilderness

    Hi Twisty,
    We’re beginning to wonder where you are and what you’re doing.
    I hope you are busy with building matters or taking your ease in the lime green lounger.
    The talking points on the Supremes decision seems to be that no woman’s life is ever in danger in the late term of her pregnancy so there is no need for late term abortions. “The Big Lie” strategy coupled with the myth that women are incapable of making an informed decision so all decisions women make are arbitrary, whimsical, and soon regretted.
    Just as the men sat around last week discussing how the men felt about the men calling women whores, we now have the men sitting around discussing how the men feel about the men dictating what kind of medical proceedures women will be allowed.
    We constitute half the population, for criminilly sakes. There has got to be a way to stop them killing us.

  336. Jezebella

    Artemis, you actually can click on many users’ names and land on their blogs or websites, if they choose to include them in their sign-on. The ones in blue are hot-linked. I often visit blogs I find via this method.

  337. vera

    Heart and others: thanks for the reading list. I am about to go on vacation for a week, and will see if I can find any of these books or essays to bring along.

    And if I don’t comment or read for a while (having no idea what type of Internet access I’ll have), I’ll be back in ten days or so. I’ll miss Twisty’s writing and all the enlightening, uplifting, and motivating comments.

  338. B. Dagger Lee

    I must be Wednesday’s Child, because Miss Patsy and I have to work damned hard in our relationship, and I think it’s a good one. But we’re not married, just doubly sinful.

    Key feminist texts: Like Heart, I highly recommend Adrienne Rich, particularly Of Woman Born and On Lies, Secrets and Silence; the latter has an essay called “Women and Honor” a lovely meditation on honor and lying between and among women. Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider contains, among other important essays, “The Master’s Tools…,” an essay I often see referenced in ways that make me wonder how long it’s been since the referencer read the essay.

    There are undoubtedly a lot of heteronormative comments in various threads here, as well as classist and racist and angry and funny and intelligent comments—often all within one comment box, as if we were all constituted by and permeated by many different forces, the most pervasive and powerful of which is the patriarchy.

    I’ve never felt afraid or uncomfortable here in my comment box, but I’m nine feet tall, with hands like pumpkins, and as slippery as a greased pig.

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

  339. Sean

    This is a question to the married women here:

    I’m wondering if the happiness of your marriages derives specifically from the fact that you’re married. If you didn’t have the title of “marriage” above your relationship, would you be less happy, less in love, less anything like that? I’ve always (well, not always, but now at least) considered that the actual institution of marriage was nothing but a property rearrangement, and one that inherently harms women. I figure that most happy relationships would be perfectly happy without the marriage bit and no messy ownership problems brought up; the unhappy relationships wouldn’t have to go through the property hell that is divorce. Problems involved inherently with the relationship system (or with sex itself) wouldn’t go away, but at least it wouldn’t be complicated and reinforced by marriage.

    Anyways, the question is in earnest, and for the record, I, too, am a non-woman (but have been called many times by many males “not a man”).

  340. vera

    I married because I wanted to have children. I thought an arrangement that conforms to cultural mores would be best. (Note: I never experienced any sort of drive or overwhelming compulsion to give birth; I just wanted daughters. Now I have two.)

    My husband is a low-status male in western culture (wrong race). That has made him more understanding of the oppression experienced by women. The fact that he has two daughters has made him even more aware. That Supreme Court decision, for instance. He thinks of it in terms of his daughters: “The highest court of the land has just stated that my daughter cannot terminate a pregnancy after a certain stage, even if continuing it would cause her death.”

    I realized many years ago that ALL of my choices are constrained by the patriarchy. Knowing this, I try to make the best choice I can, given the constraints. The choice I would like to have is to live in a different paradigm. But I don’t have that choice.

    By this same reasoning, I took my husband’s last name. Women of my generation and political leanings usually didn’t do this. But I have never really had a last name of my own — just a choice between my father’s or my husband’s.

    Women don’t have real choices, or names, in a patriarchy.

  341. MzNicky

    Okay — and I think I speak for everyone — when I say,

    WHERE THE HELL IS TWISTY?

    Twisty darling! Why hast thou forsaken us? This thread’s got like 350 comments on it already!

    Please come back!

  342. Bird

    In Canada, common-law relationships (any cohabiting relationship over one year) are treated the same as marriages by law. So the same property and child custody issues arise. The big difference is that here, it doesn’t matter whether the cohabitants are a woman and a woman, a woman and a man, or a man and a man.

    Vera, I hear you on the “men with daughters” thing. My partner is also a dad with two daughters (a step-daughter and biological daughter with his ex-wife). He’s still infuriatingly sexist at times, but those two little girls sure make him wake up and smell the patriarchy pretty regularly.

  343. thisisendless

    I would like to point out that “partial birth abortions” do not refer to WHEN a fetus is removed, but HOW. It is one particular method of terminating a pregnancy but it does not refer specifically to time in the pregnancy.

    I thought it related to the time aspect as well until I was reading more about it yesterday.

    explained rather well in this article:
    http://www.harpers.org/archive/2004/11/0080278

    I still do not agree with the decision. But it does NOT mean that a woman cannot end her pregnancy late in her pregnancy if it is a threat to her health. It means that they cannot use this specific procedure, which basically means removing the fetus intact. They can still use this procedure if they petition a judge and prove the woman’s life is in danger.

    Somehow congress and the Supreme Court have deemed themselves as having enough medical authority to determine that partial birth abortions (or “intact extraction”) are no longer a necessary medical procedure. Even though a medical doctor challenged this in 2000 and 2003 in the lower courts. (Steinburg vs Carhart)

    Clearly this is absurd. Politicians and lawyers do not know enough about medicine to determine what is and what is not a relevant medical procedure. That whole thing is ridiculous.

    Yes there are other methods. But this method can sometimes be less problematic and safer for the pregnant woman, from what I understand. I am not a doctor so I don’t know what is or what isn’t necessary obviously. But the point is, the entire decision is up to a woman and her doctor, and the government has not right to interfere.

    But I wanted to assuage some fears, while still pointing out the absurd.

    Thank you. IBTP

  344. mearl

    Sweet jesus on a pogo ball. I go away for three days and come back to a giant thread. I love it. I have two cents to throw in, though! As a currently ex-het feminist who has learned a TON from the clarity and logic of the writings of radical lesbians, I will throw in my recommendation for some peaceful vacation reading: Audre Lorde’s “Zami: A New Spelling of My Name.” Despite all her major personal and political struggles, her descriptions of lesbian life in the 1940s and 50s painted a gorgeous picture of a life free of the silliness of men where one could get down to the business of being in a relationship. It’s an eye-opener for het feminist women like myself who look at all the stupid “the rules” and “Men are From Mars” bullshit books and articles and wonder why I am so averse to bothering with blockheaded guys and so keen on my friendships with females. The big old patriarchy is in the way of the individual personhood, that’s why.

  345. Liam

    the question is, how do we start the revolution?
    p.s. i think you are an amazing writer, and i truly want to know what a guy can do to try and fix the mess

  346. kate

    Catherine Martel: “My reserve is not limited to feminist blogs: I maintain it everywhere. There’s no need to assume I am doing so to hide a shameful life of baking angel food cake all day while I wait for Rush Limbaugh to come home, so I can kneel down and change his shoes for slippers before commencing the funk-filled bratwurst.”

    That made me smile. I can relate to what you say, I too try to be guarded, I also try to stick to the point and not go off on a self absorbed tangent. But, our story is our history — or herstory, the small points make real the larger points.

    That said, I must admit that my relationships with women have been difficult and often seem strained. Having no mother when I was young has left a permanent inability to feel comfortable around women, like I don’t measure up. I think there are many women in my boat. We ar trained to mistrust each other, it serves the patriarchy very well. In fact, I have been wanting to share that this blog has given me a great opportunity to connect with my long estranged mother and that for me, is revolutionary. The revolution starts from within each of us and moves out from there.

  347. No Blood for Hubris

    “Messages should not be strident, or loud, or abrasive.”

    And why not, pray tell?

  348. No Blood for Hubris

    Why is my comment awaiting moderation?

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