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May 07 2007

In which the author reads a blog

Few writers, whether for free or pay-per-view, so consistently deliver the goods as Amanda Marcotte; hence, the Faster family motto (or ‘marcotto’): “If you’ve only got time to half-assedly skim one blog, make it Pandagon. Or maybe Pharyngula.”

But today, Pandagon. Amanda’s got a great (which I say only partly because she quotes me) and à propos post (an ‘apropost’?) about blaming the victim, the popular use of passive voice to sneakily remove male agency from rhetoric about the violence dudes perpetrate, honor killings, and stuff like that. The Ad Council vid she nicks from Lindsay is unbelievable. Also riveting is the discussion, if one is — and I know you are — of a patriarchy-blaming temperament.

76 comments

  1. j

    I read Pharyngula, Pandagon, and IBTP daily. In that order.

  2. vera

    But I do only have time to read, in a partially assed manner, one blog per day. That’s why my browser’s start page is IBTP.

    Related news: My daughter reports that a professor at her college advises students to read IBTP. Think of those young blamers! The heart warms.

  3. CafeSiren

    Wow, Vera. That’s pretty cool.

    I’ve been on my students about the passive voice. My reasons have more to do with good writing than anything, but I have explained to them that the passive voice is most commonly used by politicians who are trying to weasel out of responsibility, or cover the truth (i.e., “Mistakes were made.”) I think that the “no actors” use of the passive in crimes or offenses against women fits into that category rather nicely.

  4. Ron Sullivan

    Vera, you give me hope. What school is this?

  5. vera

    Scripps College in Claremont, California. That institution turned my daughter into a radical feminist. It also gave her the nerve to remove the conformist costume that she had worn through high school, and be herself. So I’m a fan of the place.

  6. Megan

    I’ve been lurking around here for a little while now, just long enough to read all the archives on this site. I am constantly impressed and enlightened by the posts and most comments here. However, one thing that surprises me each and every time is that I fully disagree with the choices of biologists on this page. I graduated just last year with my degree in biology, so I’m not claiming to be any sort of expert, but I cannot stomach Dawkins, and I think that most of the posts on Pharyngula are of the asshattish variety. If I had a taco and both of the biologists were in front of me, I wouldn’t share it with either.

  7. virgotex

    Hear, hear. I am daily amazed at how many posts/how much copy Amanda generates. As well, I have been seduced by her gardening pixx.

  8. Elimy

    I too have been blessed with a teacher who steered me to IBTP. And in high school no less. The young blamer is slowly emerging from her “But not all porn is bad, right?” cocoon.

  9. PZ Myers

    Everybody tells me I churn out a lot of stuff, but Team Pandagon is scary prolific.

  10. Artemis

    With all due respect to Amanda, just as she herself noted, some credit for the content of that post should go to Lauredhel at Hoyden About Town who regularly does some very good feminist blogging.

  11. Ron Sullivan

    I cannot stomach Dawkins, and I think that most of the posts on Pharyngula are of the asshattish variety.

    Why?

  12. annaham

    That PSA was amazing. And by “amazing,” I mean that I had to pick my jaw up off of the floor after viewing it.

    And I agree enthusiastically–Amanda’s post today was fantastic.

  13. lauredhel

    Hey, thanks Artemis.

    With all due respect to me (as just one of the several triggers), Amanda’s post pulling it all together rocked.

  14. redhead

    Twisty said “Also riveting is the discussion, if one is — and I know you are — of a patriarchy-blaming temperament.”

    Here is something that is f&$king tailor-made (and spot-on) for the “What about the Men?” FAQ, by Aaron:

    “As far as I’m concerned, though, and speaking as a man who has in the past, before I gained a clue, felt personally accused and blamed when hearing women say things like ‘all men are potential rapists’ — I’ve got something to say to men who feel that way:

    Use those vaunted, cherished testicles of yours to put on some big boy pants and get the fuck over it.

    You do share responsibility for the behavior of your fellow men. You think you’re better than that? You think it’s unfair that you should be tarred with the same brush? You think that women ought to live with the constant tactical calculation that men make necessary, that’s just fine, but you are different, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether women might find you trustworthy — you feel you ought to have the benefit of the doubt, in spite of everything?

    Well, great. Stop whining and start finding something to do about the men who’re dragging your ass in the mud. And y’know what’d be a great start on that? Stop letting your buddies slide when they say things that make you wince on the inside. Yeah, you know you do it. I do too. It’s a bad habit either way. Cut it out.

    Oh, what, you’re not willing to do that? You’re afraid you’ll lose friends over it, and you don’t feel you should have to pay that price, and it doesn’t occur to you that maybe a friend who doesn’t really see women as human isn’t really anyone you’d want to call a friend, after all? Well, that’s fine too. Just don’t expect me to take you seriously when you come and start whining to me about how those mean, mean women don’t give you enough credit. Not unless you really do enjoy the sound of a tiny violin.

    And, while you’re listening to the faint, sweet strains of ‘My Heart Bleeds For You’, you want to maybe think about why it is that men get so defensive so fast about this stuff. It’s not like accusing someone of pedophilia, where the accusation is equivalent to instantaneous conviction and at best ostracism — calling somebody a rapist, or a potential rapist, or saying that men rape women, doesn’t have anything like the same moral-panic-witch-hunt effect, you’re not going to lose a job or go to jail just because some random person who doesn’t even know you said that she thinks you might possibly not be instantly worthy of complete trust. So — why so wrought up about it? Why the instantaneous defensive reaction? Why don’t you examine yourself and your reaction before you scramble and sprint to blame anybody else you possibly can? It smacks of avoidance, that.”

    Sorry I don’t know how to link to the post or preserve the formatting.

  15. therealUK

    Hm, I don’t really get the big Pharyngula worship either.

    I’m guessing it may be to do with the atheism thing: that in America it’s such a big deal and that PZMyers is one of the more high profile spokespersons, so gets this cult status ?

    Or possibly the squid fetish stuff ?

    Neither of the above do it for me, and in addition there’s the usual clutch of liberal/geeky dude misogynists and anti-feminists swarming around in the commemnts, so the discussions can be somewhat wearing.

    For American politics/religion/a little bit of envionmentalism, my personal recommendation is to try Orcinus instead.

    There are also a good collection of science blogs by women which are worth looking up as well.

  16. justicewalks

    While I do enjoy the posts at Pandagon, the save-a-man mentality in the comments can get tiresome.

  17. vee

    It’s awesome that schools are recommending IBTP – I’m jealous. Today in my class the lecturer described the case of teenage boys filming themselves gang raping a girl as “a young girl being filmed in a compromising position.”

  18. Weeze

    For extra blaming fun, check out the discussion about the PSA at Lindsay’s site. It disintegrated almost immediately into a pissing contest between the men over who does the best job controlling their womenfolk:

    http://majikthise.typepad.com/majikthise_/2007/05/think_before_yo.html#comments

  19. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Amanda’s worthy Pandagon indeed has a place in my heart, but she’s no Twisty. IBTP will always be the first and foremost feminist spot in the blogosphere for me.

  20. buggle

    Antoinette-I couldn’t agree more! No one says it quite like Twisty.

    I was actually meaning to ask Twisty what she thinks of Amanda’s love of Quentin Tarantino, and her defense of him as a feminist man who makes feminist movies? Say what? Unless I’m mixing up Amanda’s here, which is entirely possible.

    Pandagon, feministe, feministing- they are ok, but I always find myself needing to come back here to get the real deal.

  21. Hattie

    Take a look at this, from the Huff Post:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-mills/david-horowitz-shuns-a-ra_b_47872.html
    All sides of this dispute uphold the patriarchy!

  22. Bird

    For me, as a young and still learning blamer, reading IBTP is like having tea around the kitchen table with a bunch of very wise aunts. Or maybe vodka. Either way, it’s strong stuff.

  23. S-kat

    Hear! Hear! IBTP has opened my eyes to the many varieties of misogyny. What was once an itching seed of blaming in the back of my mind, has now blossomed into coherent thought. However, I must confess that these thoughts have not yet all come to their full fruition. I recently had an experience that really irked me, but I didn’t know what to say about it or how to respond. I’m hoping (if Twisty doesn’t mind) that you all could give me some feedback about this dilemma.

    Thankfully, it is not a complete tangent from this thread so I feel safe posting it here.

    I hang out at this one bar all the time with a crowd of folks, predominately men. I have the habit of sitting up on this one table and, as I so often do, I sometimes sit with my knees pulled up to my chest so I can lean against them. A couple of days ago I was perched up there talking to my friends seated nearby and this one guy felt the need as he was passing me to tell me that my “displaying myself to him like that was very distracting.” First, I was confused and didn’t understand his meaning, but I quickly realized he meant that he could see my crotch. I was embarrassed and asked if I had camel toe, but I looked down and did not. I was wearing kind of baggy shorts that came to my knees and, in fact, the folds made by my position did point towards my cunt, but mostly, I think, it was just that my legs were open at eye level that bugged him. At that point I was just uncomfortable with the whole thing and decided to leave. The dude, by the way, is old enough to be my grandfather and is originally from India.

    So then I’m walking down the street with my lover and I tell him what happened and he said, “Yeah, he’s mentioned to me before that I should tell you not to do that, to ‘display your flower’ he called it.” Suddenly his cryptic comment from several weeks before that I “looked like a flower sitting up there” became all too clear. Yuck! Of course, my lover knows better than to try to tell me how to act otherwise he’d be out the door. But the fact that this guy (and probably a lot of the others there) think he should be able to control my behavior, that I should ashamed of my body and, especially, that I should govern myself based on the idea that I might “distract” them utterly pisses me off. Anybody here reminded of that PSA?

    So, what would you do, all you patriarchy blamers? Should I tell him where to put it? Should I sit there daily and “display my flower”? Should I just avoid that bar from here on out?

    Desperately seeking input!
    S-kat

  24. buggle

    That’s a great question S-kat- I struggle with this also. What do we do? What do we say-when someone makes a comment like that? I mean, I always feel like punching them in the face, but I don’t. I never really know what to do-I’m usually mad and I’ll go vent to someone, but I’m left with this yucky feeling, because I didn’t DO anything.

  25. Sniper

    Well, both. Is the UK so spoiled for atheist and squid fetish blogs that a British reader can afford to pick and choose? Because that would be excellent.

  26. Twisty

    “I was actually meaning to ask Twisty what she thinks of Amanda’s love of Quentin Tarantino, and her defense of him as a feminist man who makes feminist movies?”

    Thank you for the compliment, Buggle. I regret that I am unacquainted with Amanda’s position on Quentin Tarantino.

  27. buggle

    Sheesh Twisy, you haven’t read everything Amanda’s ever written? Very disappointing-I thought you knew everything!

    http://pandagon.net/2007/04/15/thats-why-its-called-go-go-not-cry-cry/

  28. LCforevah

    S-kat, I would tell you to choose your battles carefully and review your battleground. Is the bar more old guy’s territory than it is yours? In other words, would you have more support for your opinion that he would for his? It’s already apparent that your boyfriend is somewhat amused, but would he, his friends, and your friends have your back? Would the bar owner be concerned if he lost your business?

    If you and your woman friends are regulars, you need to have a comeback, and without more information, I will tentatively suggest two–only you know how safe you are there. For instance, would a Jenny McCarthy gross out reaction be good, or bad? Would ignoring his existence be more effective in making it clear that you don’t give a damn about his opinion?

  29. RadFemHedonist

    Can I ask a question? Why are people not telling that delusional meanie dave to stop violating the rights of the other people with which he shares a house? Also to apologise to the other people for being a vicious psycho, sorry to post this here but there seems to be some “don’t actually say what you really want to say (ARE YOU INSANE?)” on majikthise, so I posted it here, where people actually listen when you are angry (without being vicious).

  30. MedeaOnCrack

    buggle you’ll want to read this

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,2069198,00.html

    “Mainstream movies are getting darker and more violent. And as Quentin Tarantino’s latest project, Grindhouse, demonstrates, the worst of the violence is often directed at women. Kira Cochrane on the rise of ‘torture porn’”

    This is called entertainment.

  31. Twisty

    redhead suggested linking to a Pandagon comment for the Dear god what about the men?! FAQ.

    Done and done.

  32. buggle

    Yeah, that’s what I thought medeaoncrack- but then here’s this feminist talking about how feminist he is, and his movies are. I don’t get it. I walked out halfway through Pulp Fiction because it’s not enjoyable to me to watch people getting off on torturing others. I guess I’m just weird like that.

    Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out. I guess in this movie there is violence against females, but the females are totally empowered and they kick ass too, so that means it’s all good. And feminist!

  33. BetsyAnn

    I second Bird on the aunts and the vodka. Especially the vodka.

    I find IBTP both reassuring (in that The Patriarchy isn’t just in my head) and terrifying (in that, well, it isn’t just in my head). It was a lot easier to sleep at night when I thought I was crazy, instead of having my dark suspicions about the passive voice confirmed right here on the internets.

    And S-Kat, I had a similar experience today. (Well, sort of.) Two of my charming male classmates thought it would be appropriate to have a conversation across our crowded computer lab about which they would rather fuck, a female sheep or a DUDE. (I am in graduate school. These winners are in their late 20′s and training to be diplomats. I fear for my country.)

    I had no idea how to express to these guys the magnitude of their assholery without sounding ridiculous and screechy. How on earth do you convey “you’re an asshole, asshole” when the problem is sentiment and tone, not actual slurs? As I am neither a dude nor a sheep, I know they would have dismissed me as the token crazy liberal feminist getting upset over nothing, and I had no idea how to express why I care. “You are disrupting my learning environment” just didn’t have the punch I was looking for.

    Whatever. IBTP.

  34. Weeze

    RadFemHedonist, I was all about to jump in with a good hearty What The Fuck when Lindsay first posted that ad. Then I saw the turn the comments were taking and was too depressed and tired to wade into it. I do admire the hell out of her for not shying away from feminist topics on a blog that isn’t overtly feminist. The response of the male members of her audience ranges from clueless to hostile any time she touches on this stuff. You’d think that maybe if they agree with her on other points– which they seem to– they’d intuit that a woman posting about feminist politics might know what she was talking about, but I ain’t seen it yet.

  35. sam

    When Amanda defends Grindhouse and gets giddy at the thought of more women’s pussies with machetes jammed into them I think of the black women in Byron Hurt’s documentary Hip Hop: Beyong Beats and Rhymes who say they don’t mind when black men call women bitches and hoes because they don’t believe black men are calling them bitches and hoes, just other women.

    As long as you can convince yourself men aren’t really fantasizing about your twat sliced open by a machete, just some random cheerleader slut’s pussy who’s really standing-in for Everywoman, then you can blissfully ignore the sado-sexism and relax into the satisfying, predatory male gaze safe with the lie that woman-you isn’t really the intended target of such misogyny.

  36. sam

    typo fix- Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes

  37. j

    Pharyngula does have quite a few anti-feminist trolls. I ignore them.

  38. mearl

    S-kat, I’d march right up to the old dude and tell him that as long as you can’t actually SEE your business hanging out in public (a la soccer short expose that is common with male players) then he should just put a sock in his gob and get used to the idea that women can sit however we fucking well want. If he doesn’t like it then he can look away or go somewhere else. I’d also ask him if he would say the same thing to a guy who was wearing what you were wearing and sitting in the same position. Ask him if he would covertly go up to the guy’s girlfriend and “mention” to her that her boyfriend is showing off his junk and it’s distracting to him. It may activate a brain cell in the swampy depths of his head.

    I have a thing against seeing too much of people’s bodies out in public, male or female. This could be because of my distinctly WASP-y upbringing, but I just think that sexuality is only one aspect of a person, and therefore I should not be forced to stare at someone’s genitals front and center all day every day when I am trying to deal with him or her as a full human being. That said, I also understand how guys can pigeonhole you as just a sex object and single you out when you are behaving and dressed no more and no less sexy than any guy in the vicinity. In that case, I would tell the guy to go suck an egg.

  39. S-kat

    LCforevah,

    Not that I will win this battle, but I do feel the need to fight it because just about everybody there knows me and is a friend in some regard. I want to make it clear to all of them, not just this one guy, that they can’t treat women like that.

    He tried to shame me, and in response, I believe I will opt for an attempt to shame him right back by telling him in front of others (as he did to me) that his comment was disgustingly inappropriate followed by the announcement that I am no longer comfortable there and that yes, he will get his way and I will not sit up there anymore. In fact, if folks wonder why I don’t come around anymore it is expressly on his head.

    Not that will change anything, but at least I will let everybody know where I stand (or sit, as the case may be.)Sadly, there is a fairly good chance of this working since I’m pretty much *the cute young girl* in the crowd and a lot of the other guys will be annoyed that he ran me off.

    Or maybe I’ll just ignore him and carry on as usual whilst mocking him to my closer friends who hang there. It may reek too strongly of “staircase wit” by the time I see him again.

  40. Sniper

    Amanda’s post on Grindhouse is much more thoughtful than sam’s assessmnet indicates. I can’t say I agree with her, but her views are interesting.

  41. delphyne

    Interesting isn’t the litmus test in feminism though, Sniper. Whether something is harmful to women or not is usually where feminists try to make their judgements.

  42. Sniper

    Good grief, are we debating whether or not Amanda is a feminist? I thought that was a given.

  43. MedeaOnCrack

    I don’t see any room for debate.

  44. Megan

    Ron – As far as why I don’t support Dawkins or Myers, what it basically comes down to for me is the naturalistic fallacy. Science can tell us what is. It cannot tell us what ought to be.
    I think that Dawkins and Myers have every right to have their beliefs and publish them widely. I do not believe that their scientific background makes them any sort of authority on morality. I think that the way these men present their work, it can be confusing to differentiate when they’re speaking as scientists versus when they’re speaking as people. And I believe this is dangerous. Surely we all know about how science (specifically sociobiology and evolutionary psychology) has been used to opress. Social darwinism, eugenics, anyone? The most striking thing for me is that some of the scientists who had published data that we now find abhorrent (about different races having different brain sizes and therefore being inferior, say) really were honest scholars. They didn’t falsify data, but they let their biases influence the way gathered data. Because they made that naturalistic fallacy of saying “Their brains are smaller. Therefore we ought to treat them as less than human,” they lent scientific authority to opression. I want to stay away from that fallacy at all costs.

  45. roamaround

    S-kat, please don’t let that man run you off! Turn the tables and tell him to stop staring at your crotch. As you said, he tried to shame you, so remind him he is the one with the dirty thoughts about someone who could be his granddaughter while you’re just sitting there talking with your friends.

    It’s sad to me that your lover didn’t say that to him and tell you about his “display” comment earlier. It’s sad that a smug old patriarch is claiming territory and trying to set the rules, affecting the way you see yourself in your space. I’m angry that you and other young women are still going through this.

    You said he is originally from India. This could complicate things. You don’t say where or what you are, but there could be a racial/cultural subtext to this whether we like it or not.

    If he is old school and he’s trying to impose that on you, a young Western woman (if you are), it’s fkd up but some might defend him with the “that’s his culture” relativist bullshit and paint you as a racist/imperialist for not being sensitive enough and covering up on demand. Or, depending on the scene, you could find yourself defended by racist men of your race who object to an outsider trying to control one of “their” women, not the point you’re trying to make.

    It takes very little to change the subject away from a woman claiming gender-based injustice to a battle among men jockeying for top position. But don’t let that stop you. We have to fight back.

  46. Sam

    The question wasn’t whether Amanda is feminist because that would be dumb, it was whether Grindhouse is feminist.

    If I said I wanted to film a movie where a topless Amanda Marcotte lookalike bouncing on a trampoline gets impaled through the vagina with a big machete it would be very hard to defend as a feminist act. All women are Amanda lookalikes. We all look alike between our legs, and that’s what Others women; ‘women are all the same in the dark’ yadda yadda.

    It’s hard to wrap my mind around how someone who complains Ariel Levy reinforced negative stereotypes about overtly sexualized women in her feminist book can give an enthusiastic thumbs up to a man’s mainstream movie where an overtly sexualized woman gets sworded like a roasting pig through her cunt to the audience’s and her own enjoyment.

    When I see a scene like that, as with other kinds of pornography, I see the woman as myself, myself as the woman, because I don’t believe I’m a special exception to the “women are whores who get the pain they deserve” rule. That woman is me being phallically impaled through what most defines me as a woman in men’s eyes, and she is Amanda too but Amanda doesn’t see herself in That woman and doesn’t empathize with what happens to That woman.

  47. MedeaOnCrack

    I don’t think it’s in your best feminist interests to be playing this angle: “cute young girl.” And I would also think twice about sitting in such a way that my crotch, clothed or not, was at male eye level. But I’m from an older generation, and this still in no way gives him the right to make any comment on your behaviour.

    “Sadly, there is a fairly good chance of this working since I’m pretty much *the cute young girl* in the crowd and a lot of the other guys will be annoyed that he ran me off.”

    And I agree with your comment below, in some manner telling him how inappropriate his comments are. But I would be careful not to shame him in front of others (as he did to you, sure), partly because he is from another culture, not that this excuses what he did, but he needs to learn to park this kind of thinking from someone who can tell him honestly. This will be strike one. He may not come through and you may have to get tougher later. I’d make sure your buds heard it too, and heard you being fair.

    One of the things I learned in years of teaching ESL was that many men of his culture think NA women are “all whores” because of the way we dress and behave. And this was explained to me using just those words by the older Punjabi woman who was then my supervisor.

    “He tried to shame me, and in response, I believe I will opt for an attempt to shame him right back by telling him in front of others (as he did to me) that his comment was disgustingly inappropriate followed by the announcement that I am no longer comfortable there and that yes, he will get his way and I will not sit up there anymore. In fact, if folks wonder why I don’t come around anymore it is expressly on his head.

  48. Mar Iguana

    S-kat, don’t waste your breath on the old asshole. No matter what you say it would be giving him what he wants, attention and the power rush that he has made you uncomfortable. And, do not let him run you off from someplace you enjoy being with your friends. You take the power back from him. Here’s how:

    You sit any damn way you please. From now on, never look him in the face. Always make a point of looking him right in the cock and alternate between the derisive smirk, the quiet chuckle, a full-on heh! and, now and then, give him the full-Monte-point-and-laugh. If your friends ask what you’re laughing at, tell them “Nothing. Nothing at all.” That way you don’t involve them, but eventually everyone will get it.

    The boys, young and old, absolutely hate being laughed at by a woman. He’ll soon be giving you a wide berth rather than risk your ridicule. What? Is he going to complain to management that you are laughing at his crotch? I think not. I know not. I wouldn’t advise you to do anything that I haven’t done that works really well.

  49. roamaround

    MedeaonCrack said: One of the things I learned in years of teaching ESL was that many men of his culture think NA women are “all whores” because of the way we dress and behave.

    Men hate us, remember? There are just different cultural guises for the same conclusion. As they say in that bastion of Western enlightenment, France, “Toutes les femmes sont des putes” (all women are whores.)

    To hell with patient explanation! The asshole who told S-kat to sit differently is just trying to assert his domination over her and needs to be told to STFU.

    And to say that one should “think twice about sitting in such a way that my crotch, clothed or not, was at male eye level” is again allowing them too much control. That’s the same mentality that enforces the chador: cover yourself, you temptress!

    Our behavior is not the problem.

  50. MedeaOnCrack

    I wouldn’t sit like that in the context described. Body language *is* language.

    But he did not have the right to make any comment. She doesn’t need to drop the anvil this time, but then, what I exactly mean in tone, stance language and point if this was me might be considered by some to be waaaaay too much aggression. Because I am generally aggressive. I think it’s too hard to judge about this man and his culture, and I would be testing all the way while talking to him, but quite ready to drop the anvil if he wasn’t coming along.

  51. thebewilderness

    S-kat,
    If you stop going there you are punishing yourself in an effort to punish him. He won’t care, you might.
    You may not be comfortable sitting like that any more because it will remind you of this asshat. If you do choose to continue to sit whatever way you please he will probably make another attempt to shame you. Spend a few minutes thinking what you would like him to know. Figure out a way to say it simply and clearly.

    When we deal with people who have poor social boundaries, we always seem to get caught flatfooted and speechless when they crash the limits. Practice what to say, you are going to need it a kazillion times, before you grow old enough to be invisible. It will make that whole “oh, I should have said something” go away, because you will have said something.
    One of my family members has trouble telling people no. Mostly because she is amazed that they had the gall to ask. She has learned that if she thinks they might, they most probably will. She plans ahead now and decides what she will say and how she will say it. One tiny part of her life became easier because of it.
    I am not suggesting that you make up scenarios and fantasize about how you will put all and sundry asshats in their place. Although there could be some entainment value there. I’m just saying this crap happens to women all the time, so be ready to assert your human rights. Upthread, someone was talking about being disturbed in class by asshattery. It probably won’t be the last time the boys play grabass in the classroom without any concern for other people. She has every right to tell them that they are interfering with others ability to work and if they want to debate sheep fucking and play grabass to take it outside.
    Anyway, this is a very long way of saying that it is perfectly appropriate to make a public declaration of what you want. In your case to never be spoken to or looked at again by obnoxious old man. In the classroom situation, stop being jerks or leave. The only other thing I would add is that when/if they respond, you must not get into a discussion with them. Just repeat what you initially said until they hear you or go away.

  52. MedeaOnCrack

    Roamaround. “And to say that one should “think twice about sitting in such a way that my crotch, clothed or not, was at male eye level” is again allowing them too much control.”

    I’d be embarrassed to be presented with someone’s crotch, at my eye level, in a social situation where I was listening to or speaking to them, whether the person was male or female. I’d likely leave, or move away because I’d feel uncomfortable and awkward. So would most bonobos I expect.

  53. LouisaMayAlcott

    Wow, Medea, I’m amazed that your comment made it through the bon obos spam filter.

    At this point, a discussion of how the bono bos might or might not have handled the situation seems naturally to follow.

    Coffee and bo nobos – great way to start the day.

    Cheers, MLA

  54. delphyne

    “Good grief, are we debating whether or not Amanda is a feminist? I thought that was a given.”

    Just to reiterate what Sam said, Sniper. The question is whether or not Grindhouse is harmful to women or whether Quentin Tarantino is operating with a feminist agenda. Answer to the latter: no, obviously not.

    It’s a sneaky trick when one feminist disagrees with another to pretend that the disagreement is some kind of questioning of her feminism. It’s a form of silencing. Are you a feminist yourself?

  55. Twisty

    “Pharyngula does have quite a few anti-feminist trolls. I ignore them.”

    Word. The whole world is full of anti-feminist trolls, come to that. And yet here we are, living in it.

    Sam: As for Amanda on Grindhouse, I would scarcely characterize her essay as “giddy at the thought of more women’s pussies with machetes jammed into them.”

    She doesn’t exactly call Tarantino a feminist, either, buggle.

    One of the things I admire about Amanda’s brain is her ability not to go all absolutist on your ass. Unlike me, who just spouts revolution dogma cuted-up with 19th century adjectives, Amanda actually intellecualizes. If she perceives in Deathproof (a movie I haven’t seen) some evidence of sentience — or even the stirrings of a feminist sensibility — who am I to pooh-pooh?; Amanda’s no spring turnip. She knows from a feminist critique. Note that in this one she allows that there’s a lot of dumb fanboy dude shit in there, too.

    I disagree with Amanda that a date with Margaret Cho automatically a feminist makes, but I don’t see why Tarantino’s personal “feminism” matters, anyway, as far as the flick goes. The intent of a director is separate from, and, irrelevant to, the film.

    I’m sayin, if you can see a feminist message in a film, whatever the director’s personal politics, you go.

  56. Feminist Avatar

    Twisty: I’m sayin, if you can see a feminist message in a film, whatever the director’s personal politics, you go.

    Absolutely. Popular culture, in part, gives us the language which we use to explain and understand our experiences. They create the dominant understandings of woman’s social role. Grabbing on to the feminist messages we find in popular culture allows us and other women to expand our vocabularies! It gives us more options in society and is a form of resistance against the patriarchy.

  57. Sniper

    It’s a form of silencing. Are you a feminist yourself?

    Why yes, and I assume you are also. I certainly didn’t intend to silence anyone.

    Interesting isn’t the litmus test in feminism though, Sniper. Whether something is harmful to women or not is usually where feminists try to make their judgements.

    This is what led me to think that Amanda’s politics were becoming an issue. It sounded like you were applying a litmus test to Amanda. If that wasn’t the case, I apologize for the misunderstanding.

    I personally don’t think that QT is any kind of feminist, but I can see how Amanda detected a proto-feminist strand in the primordian swamp that is his body of work.

  58. Twisty

    Hey S-kat. I implore you. Sit anywhere, anyhow.

    If you don’t deal with this asshole, you lose another little chunk of your dignity. If you can’t ignore him, squirt him with a squirt gun when he ogles you, or take his picture with your cameraphone and send it to Hollaback.

    I love a squirt gun, though. I’m always packin.

    Hey, patriarchy-deniers! We’re having a huge discussion about the sex-based allowable distance between a human’s knees!

  59. sam

    Twisty, I read Amanda’s “Plus, the fake trailers are worth the price of the ticket. Here’s hoping someone actually does make Machete, presesented as it was without a word on the cheerleader vagina skewering, as an endorsement and expression of anticipation for more torture porn of the like.

  60. Twisty

    Hey, Sam: Having read Amanda’s blog for a couple of years, thereby acquiring a working familiarity with her political views, I find it extremely unlikely that she seriously advocates “torture porn.” I’d say I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt, except that I haven’t much doubt.

    If it bugs you, though, perhaps you might appeal to the woman herself for a clarification.

    Personally, I’d rather have root canal than watch another Tarantino movie.

  61. MedeaOnCrack

    There’s no one answered who is a patriarchy denier. I don’t want some guy’s package hanging in my face, and I’d tell him about it. Or leave.

  62. mAndrea

    I think the key (for me) is “eye-level”. And as MedeaOnCrack said, I wouldn’t like it if a man was doing it either.

    Girls who play the cutsy chicka thang turn me off. Why are you hanging around people (men) that require cutsy shit in order for them to DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS AS A HUMAN BEING anyway?

    (This is just my opinion and I am apparently perpetually crabby)

  63. Lou

    mAndrea, the key for me is not whether the man had any sort of point, but that he felt perfectly comfortable TELLING her what he wanted her to stop doing. Is it an ordinary occurrence for a woman to tell the dude she’s sitting next to on the subway to close his legs and quit taking up a seat-and-a-half because, after all, his package isn’t nearly as bulky and cumbersome as he thinks it is, and he doesn’t have a right to half her space? Anyway, male-female forinstances aside, it speaks volumes that he was perfectly unaware that it is not his business to tell a woman how to sit, and I think he should be told that, in whatever degree of politeness the woman in question sees fit.

  64. MedeaOnCrack

    No not just *your* opinion. I mentioned that upthread and agree with you.

  65. mAndrea

    Apolgies, that came off more attacky than what I intended. Shouldn’t have posted right before leaving the house. Apologies again.

  66. sam

    When you say that you make it so one of the following must be untrue:

    1. Amanda expressed her enjoyment at the one scene and her desire to see more of Machete’s offerings.

    2. The one known scene of Machete is purely about pornographized woman-torture.

    I think both are true and that Amanda obviously being a committed feminist doesn’t make them untrue. Amanda is reading and could reply if she wanted.

    You contrast “intellectualizing” with “not absolutist” as if you mean it to stand for taking a wider look at things, but being hellbent on making the maybe-feminist argument led to quickly approving of and gliding over a feminist analysis of one of the movie’s pivotally misogynist scenes.

    I’m not questioning her commitment to feminism, but I did want to explore how such glaringly gendered violence not only faced no feminist criticism in her review but also came out smelling like roses in an essay about gender in Grindhouse. That seemed worthwhile pointing out and thinking about how such a curiously uncritical circumstance came from a usually more astute feminist mind.

  67. delphyne

    Ah hell I’ve got to say it, the reason why Amanda is *oblivious* to the sexism in Grindhouse or Tarantino’s other work but instead thinks they contain some kind of feminist subtext is because she’s a porn user and she also defends men who use porn.

    If you are looking at the world through pornified vision, female sexual exploitation is going to be hard to spot.

  68. Twisty

    I suspect that what Amanda responded to in the Machete scene was Tarantino’s famous whiz-kid manipulation of pop culture references. I can offer no real insights on Amanda’s insights, not having personally slogged through the source material, except to say that I do not deny the possibility that a feminist argument could be made in support of a film containing graphic chick-torture violence.

    I probably won’t be the one making it, though.

    Any further commentary on this should relocate to the appropriate Pandagon post.

    As far as astute feminist minds go (not specifically with respect to Amanda), I speak from experience when I say that sometimes they can go blank, and that nobody who possesses one goes unpunished for it.

  69. Cath

    Just to clarify: there were several fake trailers in Grindhouse. One of them was for “Machete,” in which Danny Trejo was a day laborer turned assassin turned rebel (or… something). The trailer with the cheerleader doing the splits onto what I think was a carving knife sticking out of a trampoline was for “Thanksgiving,” in which a guy dressed in a pilgrim suit mutilates folks in Plymouth Rock.

    I would say there was a misogynist element to “Thanksgiving,” as the men were mostly decapitated; there were no apparent castrations to “balance out” the trampoline scene. (Which did not, in fact, involve a machete.) For what it’s worth, the entire audience — male and female — screamed as the cheerleader landed. Nobody cheered.

    And it might or might not be worth noting that the final victim is a naked guy trussed like a turkey on the table, and I’m pretty sure I saw the killer dry-humping the dude’s disembodied head as the trailer faded out. So it was a kind of sexual violence enacted upon a dead male. I feel like I should note that, though I’m not sure why.

    I think Grindhouse and its fake trailers try to pose the question: are we endorsing this misogyny in the slasher genre, or merely acknowledging its existence? (I don’t see a whole lot of difference, myself, but then I hate Quentin Tarantino.)

    (There’s a third trailer for a movie called “Don’t,” narrated by Will Arnett. It’s AWESOME.)

  70. Frumious B

    S-kat,

    Do you really sit on a table? As in, a surface off of which people eat? Butts on tables squick me. I implore you to display your flower from a chair with whatever distance between your knees makes you happiest at any given moment. Make it an elevated chair, if you like. Iron a flower on the crotch of your pants for added in-your-face factor. Just stop sitting on the table.

  71. buggle

    Thanks Sam, for hearing what I’m saying.

  72. RadFemHedonist

    O.K., how can anyone even watch that, that scene sounds completely appalling. I would have screamed in terror, that is unbelievable.

  73. sam

    Thanks for the clarification, Cath. I don’t think it changes what was written about Amanda’s lack of addressing that crucial scene or her professed enjoyment of it, but I’ll concede it does change the tenor of the comment about the forthcoming Machete movie.

  74. S-kat

    mAndrea;
    No worries. I don’t actually “play” the cutsey girl, I just happen to be the youngest girl who hangs with that crew. Also, I ask myself often why it is I do so. I totally understand where you’re coming from.

    Frumious B;
    If it eases your mind, this isn’t a table that folks sit at it’s more of a space filler, and I’m not the only one who sits on it. But then, I am a notorious table sitter anyway and that’s not gonna change.

    Everybody, thanks for your input. As far as the eye-level thing goes I feel I should clarify that I wasn’t sitting with my crotch all up in anybody’s face. He was sitting a few yards away and the distance is what made it eye-level.

    I think Buggle nailed my problem with the scenario. I wasn’t DOING anything except sitting there so I could talk to my friends and that was patently obvious by the fact that I was completely focused on them until he interupted and embarrassed us all.

    Point being, the problem is his. Not mine. I’ve lived pretty much my whole life checking myself so people don’t “get the wrong idea” about me and having somebody tell me that, in his opinion, I need to do so even more is a real pisser.

    Oh yeah, whoever it was that wondered, this is in Austin, TX. I have daydreams wherein I run into Twisty on the street and act like a crazed fan. “I loooooove your blog!!! You teach me how to blame better and better every day!”

  75. MedeaOnCrack

    “I’ve lived pretty much my whole life checking myself so people don’t “get the wrong idea” ”

    Yup.

    It sounds like you’ve got it in hand. I wish you the best and would like to know how it works out.

  76. mAndrea

    S-Kat. Oh good, thank you for being so kind.

    Your predictiment reminded me vaguely of other situations involving feminists, and I was really projecting onto that. Most of the time men are merely attempting to control women’s every movement and of course feminists are right to call them on it, but sometimes it appears as if some feminists believe that no matter what a woman does no one should ever say boo about it. Difficult balance indeed.

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