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Apr 27 2007

Big whoop of the week

I have been asked to participate in the Take Back the Blog! Blogswarm. It’s quite a decent gesture: a bunch of bloggers propose to blog en masse, on April 28, “in support of the rights of women to participate fully in all aspects of our society, including specifically online in the world of blogging but indeed everywhere and at all times, day and night, without fear of harassment, intimidation, sexual harassment, online stalking and slander, predation or violence of any sort.”

Well, I write this kind of shit every day, and so far there is precious little evidence that anybody pays the slightest attention (our little band of blamers excepted, of course!), but maybe if 10 or 20 or 50 other bloggers do it at the same time —

Oh, who am I kidding? A thousand bloggers could write “it’s not cool to oppress women” on April 28, but sooner or later it’ll be April 29, and our little pet issue will turn into a pumpkin, and it’ll be dudely business-as-usual again on the World Wide Web.

Time for a Twisty bromide: Women’s oppression is a global humanitarian crisis. Any so-called political blogger who (a) who does not explicitly, strenuously, and regularly denounce it, and (b) condones an antifeminist commentarian zeitgeist, might as well rename their stupid blog “I Defend the Conviction that Male Abuse of Women Constitutes the Natural Order, Now Where Are the Boobies?”

I am sorry to report that the number of functionally antifeminist liberal blogs is not insignificant. The spinster aunt finds, without even trying, that a gazillion examples are just a click away. It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Check out the Huffington Post. It’s the 8th most popular blog in the world! What’s the breaking news on the women’s oppression front today?

Bupkis!

Not that there’s no news about sexbots, i.e. the chick-related topic it’s cool to blog about. In fact, today’s HuffPo has got a groundbreaking post on Paris Hilton, who is facing jail time for drunk driving. According to astute columnist Chris Kelly, Hilton is a stupid skank with a 30-word vocabulary. Zounds! Not only is it thrilling to read such a refreshing and intellectually innovative viewpoint, it gives blog commenters the opportunity to do what so many blog commenters do best: reflect incisively on the female condition, i.e. “I hope [Hilton] has a horrible time in prison, and leaves as a woman.”

Oh, and they’ve got photo of Richard Gere groping a female Indian celebrity at some fundraiser in Jaipur. She’s up on obscenity charges as a result, but nobody has much to say about that.

Well, deducing that the global humanitarian crisis of women’s oppression is a non-starter in the HuffPo was a piece of cake. But how about the 9th most popular blog in the world, Daily Kos?

Like taking candy from a baby. Unsurprisingly, on the front page of Kos this morning there is some bloviating on John McCain, dissatisfaction with the bureaucracy at the CDC, helpful suggestions about what George Tenet should have done in 2002, and a poll on the burning question of the FDA’s definition of chocolate. A click back to yesterday’s posts reveals, at last, an essay on the news (news to mainstream America, anyway) that one in three Native women “will be raped.”* Like any contributor who wishes to be taken seriously on an A-list blog, the author comes out with impunity against rape, but even s/he must pay homage to the implicit liberal-dude understanding that there are always issues more pressing than violence against women:

I know there are a lot of scandals at the front of the line, but the next time someone gets Gonzales on the stand, why not stop for a moment and ask him why the FBI is so slow to respond to crime against Native Americans [...] ?

The topic of the male culture of rape recedes comfortingly into the aether as the comments section briskly veers off into a discussion on Native American “spirituality,” Wounded Knee, and reservation politics.

Kos’ commentariat generally do not disappoint patriarchy-enthusiasts. Within two clicks and without the slightest effort one may scroll across a remark like this on a post on Condoleezza Rice: “Would a redneck, beer-and-a-shot frathead like Georgie be comfortable around a good-butt honeybun like Condi, if he hadn’t porked her ???”

Even the asinine tangents reveal an appreciation for Dude Nation that pains you to ascribe to anyone on the Left. In an open thread commenter skymutt wonders what to get his 6-year-old niece for her birthday “because she already has everything … [sic].” Commenter nupstateny helpfully suggests a Barbie. “Even if she has a ton of them” quoth this cheerful supporter of abuse culture and materialism, “she’ll love another one.”

Oh, I could go on like this all day, and I would, too, except, you know, I don’t want to.

Well, big whoop, you say; it’s no news flash that political bloggers are fond of the position that women’s oppression is a special-interest fringe issue, and that anyone who says different is some kind of prunefaced hag who can’t get a good fuck.

Yeah, well, that it isn’t a news flash is the big whoop.

___________________________
* I enclose “will be raped” in quotation marks because goddammit the universality of this dude-friendly passive-voice construction is one of my Top Ten Hide-Chappers. “Women are raped” is just so sickeningly in tune with both the cultural narrative of women as passive receptacles, and the concomitant mysterious absence of any reference to a perpetrator. Truth is enbiggened by switching to active voice: “Men will rape one in three Native women.” Let’s give credit where credit is due.

47 comments

3 pings

  1. Tracey

    This is fantastic. I love you more than ever.

  2. kcb

    Truth is enbiggened by switching to active voice: “Men will rape one in three Native women.” Let’s give credit where credit is due.

    Thank you for pointing this out.

    The passive-voice construction that appears in damned near every article on the subject of rape seems positively Victorian.

  3. Dr. Helmet Breath

    This is my first foray out of lurkdom, so I want to keep it short and sweet to ensure I do this whole comment thing right; Twisty, I admire the hell outta you.

  4. Twisty

    Your thesis is unassailable, Dr. Helmet Breath. Well done.

  5. Bruce/Crablaw

    Better to light one stick of dynamite than to curse the darkness. Many thanks for the link, Twisty – appreciate it.

  6. LMYC

    1) This whole topic, as so many do, pisses me off.

    2) I’m nevertheless really glad you posted about it, because it moved that creepy-as-all-fuck picture of Bookem groping a nurse the fuck off the top of your blog. *shudder* God damn, but that creeped me out.

  7. stekatz

    I’ve found the same phenomenon throughout my adult life. Men have such a low threshold for a discussion on rape. They will as quickly as possible derail any discourse on the topic. Geez, do they think we love talking about it as well. I wish the word rape never had to be formulated. If anyone should be sick of discussing it, it should be us.

    And I agree with your thesis. Along the same lines as “every day is Earth Day,” every single day should be blog against women’s oppression day. I think some of the distaste for you Twisty is that the concept also smacks of the topic getting the old pink ribbon/cancerphernalia treatment.

    Blame daily and liberally as needed.

  8. Elimy

    Truth is enbiggened by switching to active voice: “Men will rape one in three Native women.” Let’s give credit where credit is due.

    Shockingly enough (or not), truth seems to be rather absent from the general conversation about rape. We can’t mention the fact that men perpetrate more than 99% of rapes, because for some reason facts are anti-male. Go figure.

  9. yankee transplant

    Another excellent post, my dear.

  10. nolo

    This is why I keep coming back. Thank you, Twisty.

  11. Ginger Mayerson

    Take back the blog? I’m not sure mine was ever taken from me. Who’d want it?

    I’m sure I don’t explicitly, strenuously, and regularly denounce the oppression of women enough, but I’m a big fan of Twisty, and blog her words as the spirit moves me.

    The Fluff Post and dFloss are 8 and 9 in blogging worldwide? Rilly? New media? What new media? Seems like the same archaic patriarchic shit to me.

    Oh well.

  12. Lexia

    So here I am, reading my one ray of light in this primordial southern darkness and this sends me into loud barking laughter:

    “Better to light one stick of dynamite than to curse the darkness”

    Please, Bruce/Crablaw, consider the students! It’s exam week here.

  13. LMYC

    … for some reason facts are anti-male.

    “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

  14. Orange

    Of course the passive voice is used to describe the incidence of rape. Given the generally low conviction rates, goodness gracious, who can really be sure it’s men doing the raping? Could be…what? Cylons? Bears? Abominable snowpersons? Martians?

    Pumpkin Bupkis would be a good name for a blog.

  15. mearl

    I know that to someone like you, Twisty, who has her head sharpened to an enlightened point, the idea of one day out of 365 being a day of action is not enough. But when people do something en masse, that’s when other people notice. It’s got to help somehow, no?

    Props to you, though, for pointing out the other 364 days.

  16. Elle

    From Maureen Dowd’s column in the NYT on Geo. Tenet today. Seems to be related. Soooo depressing.

    “Once, Slam writes, Wolfie ‘hounded’ a C.I.A. briefer to translate the diary of Abu Zubaydah, a captured Al Qaeda official, even though the C.I.A. had decided it was just misogynistic ramblings ‘about what he wanted to do with women.’ Oh, that sexy beast Wolfie. Look out, Shaha!”

  17. Twisty

    It would appear that, through my typical sloppiness, I have rather given the impression that I disapprove somehow of the blogswarm. Nothing could be further from the truth, honest! To paraphrase Fast Eddie from last night’s TCM movie The Hustler, 1/365th of something is better than 100% of nothing.

  18. TP

    Outside of blaming the patriarchy, but consonant with it, is your clear-eyed and painfully obvious assertion that men need to be blamed for things that only men can do, like rape.

    Somehow men escape all blame for the need to abort fetuses. Unwanted pregnancy is mainly due to men impregnating women in a state of complete and utter blamelessness in our culture.

    It’s almost as if the culture has this idea that women somehow grow fetuses out of sheer contrariness, without any male involvement at all. Kind of like the way women force men to rape them just by being so damned female out in public where everyone can see them.

  19. B. Dagger Lee

    Of course, the lesbian gaze has been so twisted by the weight of homophobia and the threat of violence that when I like and approve of some other woman what I do is the infinitesimal head nod and scowl at her. Consider yourselves all scowled at, especially you, Twisty. And an especially big, mean old dyke scowl and teeny-weeny nod at Ginger Mayerson for coining FluffPo and dFloss.

    yrs, BDL

  20. B. Dagger Lee

    The Charge of the Blamer Brigade

    Half a page, half a page,
    Half a page onward,
    All in the valley of Dudes
    Typed the six hundred.
    “Forward, the Blamer Brigade!
    “Charge for the blogs!” she said:
    Into the valley of Dudes
    Wrote the six hundred.
    2.
    “Forward, the Blamer Brigade!”
    Was there a woman dismay’d?
    Not tho’ the women knew
    The Patriarchs had blunder’d:
    Their’s not to make reply,
    Their’s not to reason why,
    Their’s but to blog and try:
    Into the valley of Dudes
    Wrote the six hundred.
    3.
    Godbags to right of them,
    Cocksuckers* to left of them,
    Dude Nation in front of them
    Bloviat’d and deny’d;
    Storm’d at with spunk and smell,
    Boldly they wrote and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of Hell
    Wrote the six hundred.
    4.
    Flash’d all their vaginas** bare,
    Flash’d as they turn’d in air,
    Panicking the boyos there,
    Charging an army, while
    All the world wonder’d:
    Plunged in the pollution-smoke
    Right thro’ the line they broke;
    MRA’s and Nice Guys
    Reel’d from the vagina’s power
    Shatter’d and sunder’d.
    Then they wrote back, but not
    Not the six hundred.
    5.
    Asshats to right of them,
    Dickbrains to left of them,
    Dumbshits behind them
    Waffl’d and dunder’d;
    Storm’d at with shit and smell,
    While hets, bi’s, trans and lesbos fell,
    They that had fought so well
    Came thro’ the paws of Dudes
    Back from the mouth of Hell,
    All that was left of them,
    Left of six hundred.
    6.
    When can their glory fade?
    O the wild charge they made!
    All the world wondered.
    Honor the charge they made,
    Honor the Blamer Brigade,
    Noble six hundred.

    yrs, B. Dagger Lee

    * Speaking metaphorically.
    ** Synecdoche!

  21. PhysioProf

    Kudos to you, Twisty, for courageously calling out the “liberal” big gun blogs on their reinforcement of patriarchy.

  22. nina

    B. Dagger Lee, you’ve outdone yourself. Brava!

  23. Rainbow Girl

    Nicely done, B. Dagger Lee!

  24. Sunday School Dropout

    I’ll definitely save this post as reference and research material for anyone who thinks “that feminist bullshit” is an irrational fringe issue.

    College-aged, American, middle class white women like myself seem to be especially prone to thinking that feminism has “done it’s job” and now it’s totally empowerful to strut around in thongs and spike heels.

  25. Janice

    Twisty,

    Will I see you tonight at Tita’s? Tried to call but your phone isn’t picking up.

  26. Miller

    Please stop referring to clear-cut HATE CRIMES against women and girls as “(men’s) violence against women.” This phrase morphs the root cause of such violence–bigotry–into generic violence. Just like “sex crimes” presents rape (not only a HATE CRIME but a damn WEAPON OF WAR) as take-no-prisoners male sexuality or “manly” sex. We must also insist that “crude” language such as bitch, ho, etc. be reffered to as SLURS (Allegations of female misbehavior/immorality are a false pretext to legitimize attacking her gender and justifying the idea that males are the infallible judge, jury, and executioner of inherent female vice. Remember, Jim Crow South employed the same tactic w/ nigger, porch monkey, etc.). All of this political language is designed to sanitize the hellish reality of the violent MORAL EXTREMISM targeting the female gender and have the public interpret it as “bad manners.” Violent oppression can only be justified by a perversion of “morality” (Notice how batterers, rapists, and killers seem to enforce a “moral” code, only punishing “bad” females). Consider the following w/ regards to the book “From Chivalry to Terrorism:” “The hero is always portrayed as morally superior. Masculinity, in order to triumph must be considered as ethically forceful. If not, the use of violece, which is what heroes ultimately accomplish, lacks authority.”
    Seriously, what other form of BIGOTRY, so ruthlessly DEHUMANIZING (forget “objectifying,” which hides the fact that a person is being stripped of their humanity, an inherently violent act that authorizes brutality, instead presenting it as being neutrally transformed into a plastic “object” on par w/ a pencil rather than a degraded ex-person), DEMONIZING, and soaked in ultra-violent HATE is treated on par with a damn etiquette snafu? No other BIGOTRY is even trivialized as “disrespect” (Imagine scolding a white supremacist, telling him to “respect” blacks). No other form of INTOLERANCE and HATE is celebrated as “telling it like it is,” confusing opinion with fact (The distortion of BIGOTRY as rudeness opens the floodgates of “no-holds-barred truth”). No other form of violent EXTREMISM is laughed off as “cartoon violence” (Cartoon violence is impossible, as evident by a roadrunner dropping an anvil onto a talking coyote’s head; extreme violence is rare in general but standard in anti-female HATE CRIMES, as evident in rape and serial killer cases). Not until we change the language to speak truth to power will BIGOTRY against us be seen as anything more serious than being impolite. Use your language to reflect reality rather than support authoritarianism.

  27. Miller

    Oh, does anyone else notice how the demonization of blacks and Muslims is (rightfully) attacked in spite of the “concern” over violent crime and terrorism, respectfully, yet the rampant demonization of women and girls is encouraged on the basis of…hurt feelings? So those who engage in bigotry in an attempt to ensure their survival are horribly wrong, but those who engage in (violent) bigotry in an attept to live in a utopia where feelings never hurt you is righteous, noble even.
    It is true: the more extreme the lie, the stronger the myth.

  28. Gertrude Strine

    Vagina is a town in NY?

  29. LouisaMayAlcott

    Miller,

    ** Applause! **

    We’re getting there, we’re getting there, because of the intense energy of womyn like you.

  30. brklyngrl

    Why, Twisty, I’m so disappointed that you didn’t mention the diary entitled “Sexist Thought of the Day: blah blah blah blah” from that very same day over at DKos. In which I of-so-usefully consumed an entire morning explaining why a comment including the phrase “shes just a bitch so she should get fucked like a bitch” was frankly unacceptable to me. Why I wasted my time, I’ll never know.

  31. Twisty

    The post at DKos to which brklyngrl alludes contains this charming sentiment: “[Maureen Dowd] needs to have that wedding, she needs to have that husband, and she needs children, preferably many, and in the absence of such things, she’s a shallow catty bitch.”

    Fucking knob.

  32. Ginger Mayerson

    And an especially big, mean old dyke scowl and teeny-weeny nod at Ginger Mayerson for coining FluffPo and dFloss.

    Thanks, B. Dagger Lee. And a big girly wink back atcha. FluffPo improves on what I had. Also loved “The Charge of the Blamer Brigade.”

  33. Twisty

    “Charge of the Blamer Brigade”!

    Haw! Nice blaming.

  34. lawbitch

    Brilliant, Twisty! When someone communicates in the passive voice, it’s a huge red flag to me. What, exactly, is that person trying to obscure? You’re dead on!

  35. LMYC

    *genuflects before BDL*

  36. roamaround

    “The Charge of the Blamer Brigade” is one of my favorite things ever! The valley of Dudes, hah!

    The lies, the avoidance, and the silencing about rape, sexual abuse and shame are indeed proof of the strength of the myth. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

  37. roamaround

    I meant sexual shaming (by shame) which is hate speech and terrorism. It’s not only about rape. Girls and women (still, everywhere) have to negotiate a minefield of social expectations and written and unwritten rules. And as Twisty so brilliantly points out, the trick is we can’t win!

  38. kcb

    BDL, that’s some damn fine poesy you’ve committed.

    “[Maureen Dowd] needs to have that wedding, she needs to have that husband, and she needs children, preferably many, and in the absence of such things, she’s a shallow catty bitch.”

    Urp.

  39. kate

    Fantastic BDL.

    I keep thinking one day I’m going to run into some asshat like Kos in real life who will say the wrong thing, on the wrong day, in a quiet, dark little place where no one will hear him cry when my mind bursts and transfers the hatred and pain I have internalized to my throbbing biceps and to my clenched fist.

    I keep thinking and then I can’t do anything else because they don’t come out and say those things to my face alone, anywhere on any day. It is always anonymous, on a blog, in a respond to my editorial for the paper, or under their breath behind my back. I can’t see them but I know potentially every man I look at his him, every male face I ponder; their smiles and their friendliness, their cheery helpfulness, or the way they quietly ignore me. But I am eluded when I am ready and pounced when I am least expecting it and have nothing but the thin air and the burning rage left as result to flail at.

    That in and of itself is malicious.

  40. pheeno

    ugh, Im reading it right now. The “youre being mean and unfair by generalizing ALL MEN because you said MEN RAPE WOMEN”

  41. ginmar

    Pheeno, you’re at my blog again, aren’t you?

    I posted about some knob hauling off and killing people at a shopping mall. It’s—such a shock, I know—-a guy. Some stray woman hasn’t yet been blamed for this rampage of privilegosity, but give it time. Meanwhile, I’ve already a previously-noted “But I just want to learn about feminism!” dude pop up with the ever popular, “But women do it, too!” Sorry, don’t have time. They all think they’re special, that they’re the first person to say this shit. That’s privilege right there.

    So, no, not too impressed with taking back the blog. Some of us trying doing that every damned day and get called humorless for it. Too busy to kiss ass, I guess.

    Argh.

  42. mearl

    BDL: that was fucking GREAT. Along with Twisty, you made my day.

  43. anon

    Excuse the ‘anon’ business but I just need to say this; my sexual assault counsellor said to me on friday; “Fuck Bird Flu, the epidemic is already Here”. Humanitarian crisis is exactly what it is.

  44. Alecto

    lawbitch, exactly. I was always told that, in English at least, one should only use the passive voice when the person doing the deed was unimportant to the story.

  45. skymutt

    You search DailyKos for evidence of hostitlity to women and you come up with that thread? We’re hostile to women because we would consider giving Barbie dolls to a 6 year old? Give me a fucking break.

    –skymutt

  46. M The Pedagogue

    skypig,

    The thread and discussion have moved on. (I’m just catching up.)

    You’re an idiot. Move on.

  47. edith

    Just have to say how much I love the switch to active voice. Fault men. That’s who I blame.

  1. Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » Twisty Reminds Me That I Am Not Alone

    [...] After expressing my own skepticism about the “Blogswarm,” I noted with a relieved feeling of sisterhood that today Twisty posted these words: … A thousand bloggers could write “it’s not cool to oppress women” on April 28, but sooner or later it’ll be April 29, and our little pet issue will turn into a pumpkin, and it’ll be dudely business-as-usual again on the World Wide Web. [...]

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