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May 18 2007

Marriott proposes girl ghetto

Blamer Jennifer alerted me to this gambit by Marriott to use the well-known predatory nature of men to their advantage. Marriott proposes to lure women business travelers to their crappy hotel in Grand Rapids with a ‘women-only-no-men-allowed’ floor. There will also be a women-only lounge where women can “relax over a drink without getting hit on by guys.” Implicit is the notion that women will be somehow ‘safer’ in a hotel where they are segregated from men on the 19th floor.

At first I thought this was a dumb idea. It seemed overly paternalistic, casting adult businesswomen as damsels in distress and Marriott as the chivalrous champions of their virtue. I also considered the possibility that the proposed apartheid might actually impair women, career-wise, in that it would ghetto’em off from the good old boys and reinforce the concept of the binary sex role-based caste system.

But the more I thought about it, the more my inner dyke separatist liked it. Unless one of these comes with the room, I can’t imagine that it will actually make women ‘safer’ in any appreciable sense, but there are precious few dude-free zones in the world, and that alone is reason enough to give it the thumbs up. If there were a women-only lounge in South Austin I’d be there so often they’d name a booth, a martini, and their firstborn spawn after me.

But then I didn’t like the idea again. Because guess what, Marriott is charging the ladies an extra $30 a night for the privilege of freedom from mackdom. The hotel rationalizes this sizable vagina-based surcharge by equipping the rooms with idiotic femininity accessories with which the feminine guest may “pamper” herself. Lard knows a woman who doesn’t “pamper” herself in a hotel room is a man. In other words, “you can have this dude-free space, but only if you agree to buy these superfluous beauty products.”

And naturally there are cries of discrimination echoing throughout the land, especially with respect to the women-only lounge. The male objection is that, in the late 70′s, McSorley’s Pub was forced by the courts to let women in, and dammit, if women can suddenly have their own lounges, they want McSorley’s back.

But of course this cry for equality is bullshit bullshit bullshit. In the first place, ‘equality’ is impossible within a patriarchal paradigm, and anyone who says different is either a moron or has mistaken ‘equality’ to mean “a few concessions to the idea that some but certainly not all forms of discrimination are unjust.” In the second place, threatening in retaliation to bring back men-only clubs is just a way of scolding women who yearn for liberation from oppressive male culure, even if it’s only for the duration of a beer. In the third place, if men actually gave two shits about ‘equality’ there wouldn’t be a 30% pay gap, women wouldn’t do all the housework, tampons would be free, and assholes like Rudy Giuliani who are supposedly “brave’ in their ‘support’ for abortion rights wouldn’t be babbling on NPR at 8 in the morning “abortion is a red herring, let’s focus on the real issues, like kicking 9/11′s ass!”

149 comments

  1. JR

    At first I thought this was a dumb idea. It seemed overly paternalistic, casting adult businesswomen as damsels in distress and Marriott as the chivalrous champions of their virtue. I also considered the possibility that the proposed apartheid might actually impair women, career-wise, in that it would ghetto’em off from the good old boys and reinforce the concept of the binary sex role-based caste system.

    I like your first thought best.

    Whether this particular floor is a career impairment or not is something of a red herring, but the binary sex role-based caste system IS a big wonkin career and life impairment. Every little bit hurts.

    That’s why basically all apartheid is a problem, it seems to me.

  2. Jiyin

    I might not be willing to fork over an extra $30 for feminine hotel accoutrements like “jewelry holders” and “chenille throws” (?!), but I love the idea of a women only lounge. When I’m stressed out from business travel, there’s nothing I’d like better than a drink, but going to a bar in a strange town by myself is so anxiety-provoking a prospect that I never do it. A penis free bar sounds great.

  3. TP

    Here in the stuffy confines of the “He-Man Wimmen Haterz Klub” me and Spots McGhee just had a minor scuffle over a miscall in our marbles game because not enough light gets in here because Darla keeps trying to peek in and see what we’re doing. Why don’t those dumb girls get their own club house?

  4. Babs

    And once again, no one at the Marriott is mentioning the beastly presence of the pink-elephant in the room that caused them to design their special pussy palace in the first place: the fact that women can’t share the same public space as men without the men feeling like they have a right to infringe on the personal bodily sovereignty of the women.

    It seems to me that the $30 per night surcharges should be divvied out amongst the male guests of the hotel for the cost of keeping women comfortably free from harassment that the men are apparently, inevitably going to dispense. And maybe instead of spa products

  5. Babs

    (oops- spilling diet coke on keyboard resulted in hanging keyboard upside down and pushing lots of buttons with my paper towel, resulting in premature pressing of blame button)

    - instead of spa products, the women could enjoy (more advanced blamers insert ideas here)

  6. vera

    - instead of spa products, the women could enjoy

    Free Internet, and in lieu of a bible in the drawer, a copy of The Dialectic of Sex.

  7. cycles

    And lordy help you if you’re one of those brazen gals who decides to have a drink in the regular lounge. With the option of a girls-only hidey hole so conveniently close, you deserve whatever mistreatment you receive when you strut around mixed company like some kind of regular person.

    In the short term, branding something as feminine without actually barring men seems to be a semi-effective way to create a women-only space. But that workaround is rife with other problems, chief among them that it’s basically like smearing pigeon shit all over your pigeonhole to keep the other birds out.

    And I fucking hate pink.

  8. teffie-phd

    Sounds like a burka to me. We men at Marriott will make you women feel safer by putting you on your own floor away from us men who cannot control themselves. Having you segregated will make you safer.

    And that particularly sick part of me thought that men would have the perfect hotel: they could easily find all the women who are fearful and victimize them. Or fulfill their fantasies that when co-eds get together they all spontaeously break out into some dorm room sex-bot pyjama party.

  9. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    The idea of a purdah hotel floor and lounge is mildly appealing. Happy hour without asshats trolling for tang would be happy indeed, whether a gal is the target herself or forced to suffer it peripherally. But then reality intrudes and I realize somebody’d inevitably find a way to make it into another tool of The You-Know-What. The $30 surcharge would only be the beginning.

  10. Errihu

    It’s a strange and sick world we live in when freedom from unwanted advances is not a basic right but a privelage that comes with a price tag and a sales pitch for “value added” gender-role reinforcing products. We shouldn’t have to nip off to specially prepared zones to be safe from assault. We should be able to exist in safety wherever we are. Thanks, Patriarchy, for the effed-up and twisted world we live in.

  11. Ugly In Pink

    instead of spa products, the women could enjoy

    Free booze. Then again, that’s my answer to everything.

    (It is, however, almost always right)

  12. justicewalks

    And once again, no one at the Marriott is mentioning the beastly presence of the pink-elephant in the room that caused them to design their special pussy palace in the first place: the fact that women can’t share the same public space as men without the men feeling like they have a right to infringe on the personal bodily sovereignty of the women.

    OK, and then what? Say they explicitly state that women need their own floor because men feel entitled to violate them; then what? Men feel ashamed at their lack of self-control and dedicate themselves to the eradication of male-on-female harassment and assault? No, of course not. Each man will consider himself an exception to this horribly broad tarring of the male sex, and life will go on in its misogynistic way, just like it always has.

    While it does irk me that Mariott stands to make money off the oppression of women by overcharging for this semblance of safety, if there were a women-only hotel chain offering a predator-free environment for a reasonable price, I’d patronize the establishment.

  13. thebewilderness

    Every one of these ideas seem to break down to separating out the ‘madonna and whore’ to make male predation easier. The sociopath rapist will know right where to go to find the most victims, and the sociopath regular predators will be provided with yet another ‘she was askin for it’ excuse.
    I wondered about the Japanese train cars, when I first heard about them. When the patriarchy perceives a problem in society, the first response always seems to be to ratchet up the oppression by means that further exclude the victim from social norms. Squirtguns and water balloons would probably have been more effective and a lot more fun.
    Armpits braided for war! Integration now, segregation never.

  14. Bird

    - instead of spa products, the women could enjoy

    A proper meal instead of the abysmal “complementary Continental breakfast.” Really, stale croissants are not food.

    But really, I can’t imagine paying an extra $30 to stay in the pink hell of a women-only floor. I can just picture it: potpourri in the rooms that sets off my allergies, a lounge where all the specials are fruity drinks and salads, spa crap instead of the useful shoe polishing stuff and the like, and more.

    Why not just offer decent security in the whole facility? If it was really about women feeling safe, they’d address those concerns by making things more secure over all. This isn’t about women’s safety or comfort. It’s a money grab tied into the whole Oprah-spawned “girls only” cocooning thing. It’s the same thing that tells us we can all feel empowered by hanging out on grown women’s pajama party retreats while we read John Gray and talk about our husbands, only pushed on us a little harder by playing on our fear of strangers as a bonus selling feature.

    Most of us are far more in danger at home than we’ll ever be travelling solo on business. Someone needs to point out to these people that the men who threaten you most are the ones you know and trust, not the guy in the room down the hall.

  15. slythwolf

    How about instead they explicitly state that men who act like this are assholes and will get kicked out of the hotel, and not allowed back in? Instead of making one floor a man-free zone, why not make the whole hotel an asshole-free zone?

  16. Errihu

    Sadly, sly, kicking out the assholes would lose revenue, while sequestering women will gain revenue. Addressing the source of the problem would go against both the patriarchal requirement of repackaging the status quo (but leaving it essentially unchanged) and the capitalist requirement of making a buck at wherever possible. Of course the Mariott is going to go with a “solution” that simply paints over the same old rotting wall.

  17. Sylvanite

    Instead of useless spa products…a working blowdryer in every room?

    The whole thing sounds assinine, or maybe I’m just being insensitive because I’ve never felt particularly threatened staying in a hotel. The doors do lock, after all.

  18. Beth

    A woman-only bar when I’m away from home on business sounds really nice. But then I’d probably rather just blow the 30 bucks to drink by myself in my hotel room. I’m sad that “beauty products” is probably not a euphemism for “free all-you-can-drink beer in my hotel room.”

  19. Errihu

    I’m Canadian, and we’re not as far along in the pathological “stranger-danger” cultural narrative as the United States. I recently traveled in the US, alone. I made my own hotel arrangements, rented my own car, and traveled solo for most of my trip. Along the way, friends and strangers alike were amazed that I was so brave and/or careless to be a female traveling alone, as being a solitary female is perforce to invite victimization.

    I pose this question to the American blamers: was I being phenomenally stupid and naïve, or is it more likely that the fears of my friends and others were exaggerated?

    On a related note, a friend of mine travels frequently from Cow Town (Calgary) to Houston on business. One time, after having a few too many drinks, she opted to walk back to the hotel from the restaurant she was in – a whole 7 blocks. Her American colleagues were horrified, they were convinced that somewhere during that 7 block stroll she would be mugged, raped, beaten, or otherwise victimized. To them a possible DUI or even alcohol related crash or fatality was less of a problem than the “certainty” of violence brought about by being foolish enough to use one’s legs in Houston.

  20. Dawn Coyote

    Off topic:

    Someone in my community asked, “What would the Blamers think of this?”: The Subjection of Islamic Women and the fecklessness of American feminism, so I said I’d ask you.

    Also, seems like the right time to mention, Twisty, that while you may not feel that you want to make this blog a profitable venture (though would anyone blame you if you did?), and while this community may be better utilized as a brain trust rather than as a source of grassroots activism, have you considered the potential for fundraising?

    Just a presumptuous thought or two.

  21. nina

    I am totally naming a martini after you. Too bad I am not the owner of a women-only lounge. I make a kick-ass martini, though.

  22. nina

    Oh, and Errihu I think the fears of your friends are greatly exaggerated.

  23. yankee transplant

    - instead of spa products, the women could enjoy:

    A dart board with a pink ribbon as the bull’s eye.

    What the separation says to me is that Marriott thinks it’s ok for men to claim that they are powerless over their “urges”. Marriott Men are reinforcing the idea that men cannot help themselves when the urge to rape strikes. Better separate those wimmen folk and keep ‘em safe! How about setting the corporate expectation that men will act like human beings instead of sex-crazed animals? Probably too much to ask.
    IBTP

  24. Bird

    I have to agree that American “stranger danger” fears confuse me. I travel alone all the time (driving from one of the province’s major cities to the other most often, but I’ve been all over western Canada solo), and I don’t generally worry. Sure, there’s stuff I avoid like using isolated roadside rest stops alone late at night, but otherwise, I’ve never been too concerned.

    I really think the whole fear of strange men is often a red herring to distract women from the real concern. Acquaintances are far, far more likely to rape you. Your husband is the most likely man to kill you. But we’re all caught up in worrying about the man in the alleyway.

    It just seems like a way to keep women at home in fear rather than out doing the things they want. It’s a sort of forced segregation where we buy into the idea that we’re not safe outdoors, so we’d better stay in and hide. I don’t deny that there are very real threats to women everywhere, but I think the risks sometimes get exaggerated to keep us under the patriarchy’s thumb.

  25. mAndrea

    ah ha ha! The ante room to my office is neon fuschia with lots of pink frilly crap. Anyone is welcome to wait, rilly! If you can get past all that, the inner sanctum is gorgeous bauhaus. Strange, but I don’t get any male visitors, ha ha ha!*

    Oh, too bad Mandos got hisself banned. I could have told him that his posting history indicates he is most likely a rapist.

    Descriptive studies show that compared to their less aggressive peers, sexually aggressive men typically view relationships with women as hostile and adversarial, have a more promiscuous and impersonal orientation toward sex (Malamuth, Linz, Heavy, & Acker, 1995), and show greater arousal to depictions of forced intercourse (Bernat, 1997; Lohr, Adams, & Davis, 1997). Social information processing and judgments of sexual interactions are further influenced by aggressive men’s rape supportive cognitions (e.g., Bernat, Wilson, & Calhoun, 1997).

    McFall (1990, p.318) has stated in his information processing model of rape:”This evidence paints the following portrait of sexually aggressive men. They enter heterosexual relationships holding distorted cognitive schemata that predispose them to sexual misunderstandings and misguided actions. It is as though these men were ‘primed’ by their schemata to read positive sexual connotations into women’s neutral or negative messages; to believe that women secretly wish to be victims of sexual coercion; to misinterpret women’s refusals ofsexual advances merely as coquettish acceptances; to dismiss women’s physical resistance as a primeval sexual ritual; to misperceive women’s cries of pain as squeals of pleasure; and to redefine any attempted rebuffs as proof that womenare ‘teases’ who deserve whatever they get.”

    Studies have shown that incarcerated rapists hold more rape supportive attitudes than non-rapists (Burt, 1980). Furthermore, subjects who hold more rape supportive attitudes report a more extensive history of sexual aggression, indicate more likelihood of future sexual aggression if assured of not getting caught, and display a more deviant pattern of sexual arousal than those subjects who hold less rape supportive attitudes (Koss & Dinero, 1989; Malamuth, Haber, & Feshbach, 1980;Malamuth, 1986; Schewe & O’Donohue, in press).

    *It’s a joke, dickheads. Lighten up!

  26. Celeste

    Yeah. So these women are traveling on business…odds are they are doing business with MEN. If they can handle that, then what is the big deal about staying in a hotel with MEN?

    I’m not really clear on what is the point of a Virgin Vault floor where men are not allowed. Are they saying that there is some concern about security in their hallways overall?

    The girls-only bar–I predict that this is just a passing fad. I don’t think revenues are going to support even one bartender for long. Ladies Night at the bars is typically a loss-leader thing to get a bigger crowd of bigger-spending male guzzlers. Will the bar have a female bartender, too?

    And what exactly does Marriott guarantee, if anything? What is their mechanism to make sure that no men are allowed in Women Land at that hotel? Anything they can put in place can be thwarted. Terrorism proves that if somebody really wants to do some damage, they damn sure can.

  27. delphyne

    If Marriott wants to demonstrate its woman-friendliness it could always get rid of the porn on its in-room movies.

    I’d be happy to stay at a women-only hotel, provided it was women who were keeping the profits.

  28. kay

    Wow, is it so obvious what a total pain in the ass men are to women ALL THE TIME EVERYWHERE that even corporate America is beginning to get it?

  29. LCforevah

    It’s the whole culture of fear thing that our marketing morons have cultivated in this country. The propaganda around 9/11 took full advantage of it. When I was asked if I was afraid of more terrorist attacks immediately after 9/11 I would say no and almost get my head ripped off. Everyone seemed to want to get on the bandwagon of fear because it made them look like they cared. When I tried to explain how terrorism attacks actually worked, no one wanted to hear it.

    Bird is right. All these things that we are supposed to be afraid of are just a series of red herrings meant to keep us from scoping out the reality of the situation, whether it’s the safety of our neighborhoods, or how terrorists really operate in this country.

    Afraid of the poorer neighborhood near you? Get rid of the War on Drugs and start better education programs with the tax money we can get from regulating recreational drugs. Afraid of terrorism? Let law enforcement work with the FBI and do what’s necessary like in Europe,where they have a better record than we do at handling terrorists–it’s a law enforcement problem, not a military one. …No, it’s better to remain afraid and invent another new bureaucracy like Homeland Security instead of using the ones we already have in place.

  30. LCforevah

    Let women remain afraid instead of educating the assholes that contribute to women’s fears. It’s easier and it’s money-making.

  31. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    The Taco Martini?

  32. LMYC

    Why the hell do WE need to be segregated on a special floor? I say they turn the 19th floor into a zoo, complete with cages and anaesthe-darts, where the men can stay, leaving the rest of the hotel to those of us who can comport ourselves in public like civilized creatures.

    Lock THEM in purdah if they can’t behave. Assholes.

  33. LL

    I’m just thrilled that the Marriott has finally quantified the offense of Living While Female – thirty bucks. If people could just start putting in black and white terms how difficult it is to deal with me and my inconvenient gender, it would make things so much easier down the road for all of us, don’t you think??

    (Yes, I’m being super-absurd, because I’m super-offended by the very idea of this entire enterprise.)

  34. LMYC

    Instead of spa shit, how about pepper spray? I’d pay $30 extra for that.

  35. justicewalks

    The only problem I have with this is that it doesn’t go far enough. We need separate everything. We need everything from our own families to our own governments. Complete and total separation. And guns for when the beasts breach the walls.

  36. Carol

    What about sexually-aggressive, rohypnol-bearing lesbians?

  37. Zonk

    Heaven forbid they try to recoup money from the lost sales inevitable when you cannot rent a room to a male.

  38. anuna

    I fear the sad corollary to offering a man-free space is that any woman who then ventured into shared space would be considered as fair game. Because she could have just stayed in Ladies’ Quarters if she hadn’t been, y’know, asking for it. Dudes already consider us fair game for going out in public at all, because after all, if we didn’t want to be harassed, we could have stayed home with the door locked and the curtains pulled.

    Is Marriott still owned by Mormons? Because this sounds like the kind of thing they’d love.

    I’m having a lovely fantasy of what I’D like instead of spa products: a trained female bodyguard who would stand behind my chair at the bar, looking forbidding in a swashbuckling kind of way, and promptly deck any jackass I might indicate, thus enabling me to sip my Twisty Margarita without spilling. But I think hiring a ninja Amazon would cost more than 30 bucks a day. Alas.

  39. 'soup

    Re: travelling alone: I’ve been wandering many places in the US and elsewhere at all hours of the day and night and haven’t had any problems to speak of. The places I stay out of are the same ones dudes would also avoid.

  40. LMYC

    Zonk, darling, do you honestly think that the statistics of ONE floor of single-sex space will impact sales? You failed college algebra, didn’t you?

    You obviously didn’t take statistics.

  41. Zonk

    LMYC: i don’t think that the 30 is entirely to recoup lost sales, or even mostly for lost sales.

    I also don’t understand the outrage about charging extra for a luxury. One hotel can’t eradicate the patriarchy, but they can offer a place for women to go to be free of men, if those women desire such a place.

    And I would imagine that it is somewhat costly to have an entire martini lounge dedicated solely to the small demographic of women-travelling-alone-who-don’t-want-to-be-around-men

  42. Errihu

    Nobody’s taken Dawn Coyote up on her article, so I think I’ll put in my 2 cents. I read the article. It has some good points, and some bad. One of its flaws is that it essentially paints all academic feminism with the same brush. Anyone who has studied feminist theories in any depth will quickly realize how serious an error this is – there are many different feminist approaches and they all have different takes on the plight of Muslim women. Even among radical feminists and socialist feminists (patriarchy and patriarchy/capitalist blamers) there are different things being said and done.

    On the contention that American feminists spend too much time trying to make America look as bad as say Taliban Afghanistan, I would agree to an extent with the author that yes, some authors may exaggerate OUR plight. I offer some explanations for this – number one is the need to “clean up our own backyard” before we go digging through the trash in others’. It serves as a reminder that we are NOT free of the patriarchy and its evils by far. However, while the patriarchy imposes the threat of rape and violence on us to keep us under control, Muslim women the world over face a much more violent reality. We have laws that state, at least in theory, that overt patriarchal actions such as rape are illegal. In many Muslim states, not only are there few laws protecting women, but it is common practice for men to use violence and rape to control women.

    This brings me to my next point – why American feminists aren’t doing more about the plight of Muslim women. As the author mentions, action by white, middle class, Anglophone feminists is often met with resistance as another form of white imperialism or colonialism. Our help is not often accepted, and we are reluctant to step in because of it. There is also the need to recognize cultural differences and respect multiculturalism, which also puts a barrier to action on the part of American feminists. I also propose another answer, one that I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere else – the Muslim form of patriarchy is far more entrenched and far more violent than our own. It is VERY difficult for us to change anything in an environment where women face extreme violence at the hands of men, violence that is often protected or at least ignored by the laws of the land. We cannot go in and change things by educating the women when the MEN of the land are continuing to teach each other that it is ok to rape a woman and then execute her for her crime of being raped. It’s the men here who need to be changed. And quite frankly, most of them don’t want to.

  43. Bird

    Oh, look, a troll.

    *sitting on hands*

    Don’t feed it. Don’t feed it. Don’t feed it.

    Okay, whew. The impulse has passed.

  44. Errihu

    I’ve attempted to post a response here to Dawn Coyote’s challenge, however it seems to have gotten eaten by the spamulator because I don’t see it. Either that or maybe it was too large? Perhaps I’ve posted too many times already today? I am unsure. I didn’t see it here. Good thing I typed it all up in Office.

  45. Urban

    Although I’d love the opportunity to utilise a woman-only space, and I like this solution to the surcharge:

    It seems to me that the $30 per night surcharges should be divvied out amongst the male guests of the hotel for the cost of keeping women comfortably free from harassment that the men are apparently, inevitably going to dispense,

    I fear that the practical disadvantages (women venturing outside the enclave become even more fair game than they already are because it’s taken as explicit demonstration that they ‘want it’; the inevitable frou-frou pinky-pink decor and pamper products; that it’s a tactic to force women ever-further into fearfulness) and worse, the morally philosophic problems implied (why should WE be segregated? surely adjusting male behaviour is the solution; ) mean that the aggregate communal result for women is bad.

  46. lawbitch

    I’ve traveled on business. I was always aware of security issues, and I would never have ventured out to a lounge of any sort. I find the whole women’s-$30-surcharge-for-cheap-spa-shit insulting. Do these corps thing that women are really stupid enough to fall for this?

  47. lawbitch

    Uh, that should be “think.” Oops!

  48. Bird

    Speaking of travel, in case any of you worry that I have fallen off the blaming wagon or been eaten by rabid magpies for the next two weeks or so, never fear. I’m actually off to Korea next week to do some martial arts training and see the country with a group from my dojang.

    I’ll miss you all, but I’m certain I’ll hear your running comments in my head as I experience patriarchy in a whole other culture. Non-space-threatening gestures of affection to you all!

  49. Twisty

    Wait’ll Bird gets to Korea and finds out they’ve got the internet there!

  50. Ron Sullivan

    For my 30 bucks I expect a good view, ventilation, unlimited free Twisty martinis and a loaded pistol.

    Maybe Marriott could do like the airlines and sell us pistols for two bucks each, usable at any other Marriott and sanitized for our protection. Little paper strip across the barrel, or the trigger, or something. Target practice replaces the dartboard over on the side of the room.

    Silencers for use in the bar. Trank darts for the pacifists.

    “Good evening, ma’am. Shooting or non-shooting?”

  51. lawbitch

    ROTFLOL! Have fun, Bird, and drop us a line when you find an available computer.

  52. cycles

    If I didn’t know better, I’d deliberately NOT stay in Marriotts because this makes it look like all of their hotels, except this one in Grand Rapids, have a big security problem.

    The only times I feel unsafe while traveling alone are when I’m driving. Unfamiliar highways, piloting a random rented motorcar, tired after a long day of work: recipe for an accident.

    Now, if I had a special lane with pink striping, rhinestones on the exit signs, and a row of scented candles instead of streetlights, I’d be much safer.

  53. DonaQuixote

    I agree with LCforevah that the culture of fear in this country is all about marketing marketing marketing, and I would add that gender ideology more generally is perpetuated in large part to line corporate pockets with the dollars of the insecure (worried you aren’t manly enough? eat at Burger King!; feeling less-than-womanly at the baseball game? buy your favorite team’s gear in pink!).

    The other side of the coin is that the stranger-rape-fear thing is partially a cultural cover for the frequency of acquaintance rapes, and serves as a cultural script excluding sexual assaults by known parties from the very category of rape. The segregation idea also reinforces culturally defined roles of victim and perpetrator, operating on the (unstated) assumption that women never victimize either men or one another and men are not in danger of victimization either from one another or from women. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  54. stekatz

    I’m always suspicious of any marketing towards women because the marketing dumbasses rarely get it right. Besides, most business travellers just want to hang out in their rooms by themselves and watch a lot of TV after a day spent in endless meetings listening to their colleagues drone on.

  55. Jeanne

    I’ve been lurking in the shadows for a few months now, but as a female road warrior (I travel for my job – alone — pretty much every week) I felt compelled to join in the discussion. I had a similar reaction to Twisty’s when I first read about the Grand Rapids Marriott’s plan for a women-only floor: at first I thought it was lame. Then I thought there might be some positive aspects to it, but after a bit I came back to my senses and concluded that this idea is about as stupid as they get. It might not annoy me as much if they weren’t charging extra and reinforcing stereotypes by throwing in all the “spa” crap, but I echo the sentiments of some of the other blamers who’ve weighed in on this topic: why don’t hotels just redouble their efforts to ensure the safety of ALL guests, instead of trying to make a buck off of women who are nervous about traveling alone?

    I have stayed in more hotel rooms in more U.S. cities than I can count during the past few months, and when I really stop to think about it, my hotel rooms have always been where I have felt the safest. I get more nervous trying to drive an unfamiliar rental car on an unfamiliar freeway with a bunch of unfamiliar nut-cake drivers than I do checking into a hotel by myself. I worry more for my safety when some strange dude walks up to me in the airport and offers to help me with my suitcase when I am perfectly capable of carrying it myself, or when I’m in a restaurant (a restaurant, not a bar) eating dinner and some jerkoff thinks it’s OK to strike up a conversation with me just because I’m dining by myself. So how the heck would $30 more a night and a bunch of foofy girly products make me feel safer when I’m NOT in my room (the one place where I actually do feel secure?) No, when I’m in my locked hotel room with the “do not disturb” sign on the door, I feel pretty darned safe. And while most women would relish the opportunity to enjoy a Twistini without having to worry about the unwanted advances of smarmy slag-heaps, no self-respecting blamer would delude herself into thinking that a women-only hotel floor or a women-only cocktail lounge is going to put the damn patriarchy in its place.

  56. Virago

    Someone upthread mentioned the women only train cars in Japan, and I have to say that women in Tokyo are incredibly grateful for these men-free spaces. (Generally, it’s the men complaining about the discrimination of women-only train cars.) Compare those cars to this woman-positive space we have here at IBTP. It’s a place where women can have a few minutes peace without worrying about being groped on the train. (And they’re not women-only all the time, just during peak commuting hours.)

    How do I know women feel this way? I asked as many of them as I could when I lived in Tokyo. Out of the 70 Japanese women I asked, all but one said they had been molested while on a train. (The sole exception had a third degree black belt in Shorin ji and carried herself like a warrior.) One woman told me that, while in middle school, she had been molested every single day she traveled to school.

    Except for the extra $30 charge, I agree (with many, many reservations-ha!) that this is the best of the worst solutions. That $30 charge pisses me off mightily–but then again, that differential pisses me off everydamntime I pick up my dry cleaning or get my hair cut or buy clothes.

    There are also women-only floors in hotels and entire women-only hotels in Tokyo (and, no, women don’t pay more than men do for this–or for train tickets).

  57. Noni

    Jeanne – I’m a road warrior and lurker as well – word! I do what I have to do while out and about on business – and would be too resentful that the suits think I need a safe space to use it. I’ve already learned the lesson of fending off strange old men who think I need companionship. As if eating in the bar implies something other than I don’t want to have dinner in the same room that I’m going to sleep.

    It’s an extra-special dose of corporate patriarchy when you’re a road warrior (at least in my experience), as you don’t have the typical office setting where men satisfy the “equality of women” by having women reporting to them in menial positions.

    Oh, I don’t think I have the words to stand up to the usual commentary here, so I’ll stop. Not to mention my fading love of ellipses. But IBTP – and I’ve started using that in meetings at work to explain (alternating with pixies, so as not to scare the mens) why things are constantly being f-ed up.

  58. Antelope

    I think the women-only floor is ridiculous for all the reasons already stated, but I like the women-only lounge idea.

    I’m guessing that what this is marketed towards is mainly women who, like me, are not afraid of being raped or hassled by the guys at the hotel half so much as they’re afraid of being bored to tears by them. IME, dudes who travel a lot have a stronger-than-normal tendency to think you want to hear all about their ex-wife.

    Without guys around, you could walk in & be friendly to whoever is there. Even women who aren’t blamers are generally good for a drink or two worth of chat, and maybe even a pool game. Men have their places where some of them manage to put all the class/race/political-party stuff aside and just shoot the shit for a while. Women need more of that.

  59. Moira

    I’d like a women-only bar, please. Actually, what I’d really like is if straight people would stay the fuck out of the dyke bar on Cedar Springs here in Dallas. At least have some class and don’t make out with your girlfriend where everybody can’t help but see you. Yeah, that makes you real cool. Now make the joke about how you’re a lesbian trapped in a man’s body, ’cause that shit is comedy fuckin’ gold.

    Not that I’m bitter. No, wait, I am bitter!

  60. DonaQuixote

    Moira, get on with your good funny bitter self! I now wish terribly that I lived in Dallas.

  61. Bitch, Esquire

    Antelope, that’s a great point. One thing I have to think twice about when walking into any kind of bar/club, is whether I can be friendly. I’m a smiler. Don’t know why, just am.

    And if (I’m someplace where the default preference assumption is “heterosexual”) I smile at a woman, I’m just smiling. But if I’m smiling at a man, I’m “asking for it”.

    “She *smiled* at me, Your Honor!”

    It would be a relief to be able to strike up a conversation with someone at a bar and not wonder what the price of that chat is.

  62. Tapetum

    Frankly, of all the alarmist stuff sold to women, the horrible tales of traveling alone are some of the most oversold. I’m about to leave on my 15th annual pilgramage north to visit friends – about 1200 miles each way. I’ve never brought another adult with me (I do travel with my 2 kids now, but didn’t for the first 10 years because they weren’t around yet.) You make sure you can change a tire, have a mechanic do a thorough inspection on your vehicle before you take off, and you go. In 20 adult years of driving everywhere in this country, top to bottom and coast to coast, I’ve had exactly one alarming incident, where some dude started following me, pulled in to a hotel behind me, and then checked in while hitting on me in a most creepy manner – I couldn’t change hotels because of a sudden onset of really abysmal weather. Still, all that was required was to make sure he couldn’t get my room # (most clerks are very good about this these days) and throw the chain. Also, I noticed that after I gave the clerk a wake-up time, he asked for the same one. So when I got to my room, I called back and changed it to 2 hours earlier so as to be up and gone by the time he wandered into breakfast.

    I think the whole “Don’t travel alone” spiel is intended to drive home the idea that women aren’t safe unless they have their very own protector (male of course), along with them.

  63. jamyr

    I think abolishing places like this should be the #1 priority of feminists.

    No, banning sex discrimination in lodging or trains or auto insurance rates won’t suddenly make women equal in society, but it will promote progress. Progress towards equality has made great strides through simple laws forcing “partial equality.” A 30% income disparity is a horrible sign of oppression, but it’s much preferable to not being allowed to vote, have a job in most fields, or own property.

    Public lynchings and other racist violence against black people was much more commonplace and tolerated by the white patriarchy until segregation was outlawed and people were forced to look at black people as equal under the law, instead of as unhuman “others.” Rape and sexist violence against women is still commonplace and ignored.

    Perhaps the Equal Rights Amendment and other laws codifying equality draw such resistance because they can have a greater social effect than equal rights laws codifying racial equality. Women are already mostly integrated with men in space (there are no real female ghettos), and a 30% income disparity still leaves quite a bit of capital for growth, compared to the 100% income disparity that blacks had in the wake of slavery, or poor immigrants have with de facto slavery.

    I just can’t see any more significant progress for women as long as women are treated as separate legal entities from men.

  64. Moira

    DoñaQuixote, I’m flattered! But wow, Dallas has issues. And it’s in Texas. There are better places out there. (And worse ones, but still.)

  65. kate

    Like everything else in this culture, goodness or virtue has a price, in the case of the Marriott, its thirty bucks a night. Like everything else, if you don’t have the thirty bucks, or would rather invest it in stocks instead of your feminine purity, yer a nasty whore.

    So are the desk clerks and travel agents encouraged to push these rooms? Can they sell by exploiting women’s fear of slut shaming? So now women who must do business with men risk slut shaming if they chose to meet with their male counterparts unescorted in areas such as the hotel lounge? I’d also bet on a serious increase in the incident of harassment and physical attacks on women.

    As a woman in a male business, this just seems one more needless barrier to my being accepted as a capable, intelligent adult and not a whiny girl-child. I also wouldn’t feel too safe attending a 500 person convention in an overwhelmingly male profession and getting segregated space. Feel safe on an empty floor alone? I don’t think so.

    Horrible policy, absolutely horrible.

  66. msxochitl

    Tapetum: “I think the whole ‘Don’t travel alone’ spiel is intended to drive home the idea that women aren’t safe unless they have their very own protector (male of course), along with them.”

    That’s what I used to think years ago, before travelling alone in Cuba. Now I’m living in S. Asia and I stay indoors after dark, like the local women in this town do. It’s no joke. Men really will punish us for daring to venture out on our own, without a man.

  67. therealUK

    Someone in my community asked, “What would the Blamers think of this?”: The Subjection of Islamic Women and the fecklessness of American feminism, so I said I’d ask you.

    Dawn, and Errihu, and anyone else who might be interested: there are a number of clues in that article that put up red flags and that to me, make it fairly obvious that the author is coming from a very conservative postion on feminism. Doesn’t mean everything she says is wrong or some points are not correct, but she seems to be using women’s plight elsewhere as an excuse to push her own agenda.

    So for example: “the worldview of the women who shape the concerns and activities of contemporary American feminism. That worldview is–by tendency and sometimes emphatically–antagonistic toward the United States, agnostic about marriage and family, hostile to traditional religion, and wary of femininity.”

    and

    “classical “equity” feminism was predominant in the United States long before the current band of activists and theorists transformed and debased it beyond recognition. Their understanding of equality was never at war with femininity, never at war with men, or with family, or with logic or common sense.”

    Fairly big clues to where she’s coming from really. And a quick check on wikipedia shows more: she has authored a book called The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.

    So case closed against the authour’s credibility as having any genuine interest in social justice and reform, even if she does say some of the same things in her article as those of us who really do want to see a transformation of the way women are currently forced to live across all countries of the world.

  68. therealUK

    Following on from my post above here’s a couple of links regarding women in Iraq

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,2082537,00.html

    http://www.equalityiniraq.com/english.htm

    Lots more out there for those who want to look.

  69. garlicbreath

    While traveling in India earlier this year I picked up a magazine with a cover story investigating how safe was it for a woman to drink alone in Bombay (so help me that’s what my friends there called the city and I’m way too vague on the politics of the Hindu right to really understand the whole re-naming business). Prior to my trip I had read a series of articles on the dangers of simply being female in public in India, there are woman-only train cars on both inter and intra-city trains, eve teasing is featured as a method of flirtation in many films, and woman politicians in the lefty state of Kerala demonstrated how prevalent groping on the local buses is (recommended measures include wielding a safety pin to prick the hand of the groper). But there is a growing movement to reclaim women’s rights in public space, including the Blank Noise Project which coordinates groups of women to stake out well-trafficked sidewalks and plaza, staring/glaring at the men who try to bluff their way back into assumed ownership of those spaces.
    I can imagine something similar for bars in North America. I don’t mind someone of any gender expressing polite interest in getting to know me better, but harassment is harassment regardless of whether I have a single-malt in my hand. So maybe instead of women-only hotel floors we can have a Free Bar movement!

  70. RadFemHedonist

    There is also the need to recognize cultural differences and respect multiculturalism, which also puts a barrier to action on the part of American feminists.

    Don’t say some people still fall for that “culture” bullshit. I don’t have one bit of respect for culture, it’s just crap getting in the way of individual rights, I hate it and would welcome it’s destruction.

    Plus this person isn’t a radical-feminist, they have no interest in social change and the liberation of women, plus obviously not an atheist, so really I couldn’t be more uninterested.

    Finally, common sense is not, in fact, sense at all, sense is overthrowing the patriarchy and destroying all non-scientific thought-dung.

  71. RadFemHedonist

    I would like to issue an apology for my continuing lack of quote marks, it’s an unfortunate oversight and I want to be more careful about it.

    Fairly big clues to where she’s coming from really. And a quick check on wikipedia shows more: she has authored a book called The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.

    there are numerous studies showing that patriarchal treatment of children leads to emotional and physical harm, patriarchy does hurt the menz too. A book like that is clearly full of crap.

  72. RadFemHedonist

    Suddenly realises it’s “blockquote” not “quote”, sorry, I’m so used to seeing “quote” on forums that I kept on putting “quote” instead.

  73. RadFemHedonist

    http://twistyfaster.typepad.com/i_blame_the_patriarchy/2005/12/fuck_culture.html#comments

    Twisty do you still agree with this, cause it’s one of my favourite pieces of your writing. It’s one of the best summaries I’ve seen of what a ridiculous notion culture is. I had thought this for ages, but this really articulated it brilliantly.

  74. Fred

    Don’t like Marriott? See sendahole.com.

  75. Mar Iguana

    Marriott can eat shite and die. Mormon monsters making around a couple hundred million a year off the in-room porn they sell. Fucking pimps. Corporate cocks like them are working overtime on the prostitution of all women, everywhere (it’s called globalization), if they have to turn every boy on the planet into a pornhead to do it. Them are: GM, AT&T, Hilton (basically all hotels really), Comcast, Name A Fortune 500 Corp Here. In other news, eporn continues to be the number one, by far, moneymaker on the internets. I googled “Mormon Porn Profit” and found:

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1571/is_2_17/ai_72273779/pg_3

    They hate us because their corporate crime scheme depends on the free labor of women.

    If corporations have upturned a moneymaker, they will exploit it. They’ve found man-free zones can turn a profit. So, women should exploit that. They could incorporate to build hotels, provide transportation, etc., hell the possibilities are many, that are sociopath free. Everywhere. Just like pornheads and religious maniacs are now.

  76. Errihu

    RFM and The Real UK, yes, you guys are correct, of course she’s not a feminist at all. She’s using pseudofeminist speech to disguise the fact that she’s really anti-feminist, and she’s making the huge mistake of assuming that all feminists follow the same feminist theories and approaches. One of her main arguments is that feminists are anti-American, and she’s pretty intent on pushing the notion that this applies to ALL feminists. In essence she’s constructing us as a rabid pack of American-hating irrationalist hypocrites, and using our failure to effect change in Muslim controlled states as evidence of this. It’s an argument that’s logically flawed, and intentionally so, and it’s used not to spur US to action but to convince the casual reader that we are indeed hypocritical and dangerously anti-American. And since being in any way shape or form anti-American in the current regime is a thought-crime of the worst variety, it’s another way to set feminists and feminism aside as an invalidated theory in the minds of the masses.

  77. Kelsey

    I initially kind of liked the separate-bar idea, but I also think you guys are really right about the whole woman-only floor thing. It would be a siren song to any assface who wanted to harass women. It would also continue to draw attention away from the fact that you’re much more likely to get raped/attacked by an aquaintance or even a partner than a stranger. (In other words, girls, THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE. GET OUT.)
    Moira: I totally feel your pain. I was president of my high school’s gay-straight alliance my senior year, and we had this straight couple come in and be gross all the time. I can’t stand those people who are constantly trying to force their heterosexuality on everybody publicly – especially in a gay space. Barf in a bag.

  78. Twisty

    RadFemHedonist:”Twisty do you still agree with this?”

    Yup, pretty much, except that I no longer use the word “retard” as a pejorative.

  79. RadFemHedonist

    Thanks for answering, and I’m glad you “no longer use the word “retard” as a pejorative.” That is an unfortunate trend on the internet, friggin’ memes, it’s spread as an acceptable word to use on even supposedly more enlightened websites. I know it has a non-offensive meaning, but it’s seldom used as the neutral descriptive for the mentally impaired that it originally was.

  80. LMYC

    Kelsey, there’s also the massive injsutice in constraining ME to one and only one floor because other shitheads can’t control themselves. If THEY are the problem then lock THEM up on their own fucking separate floor. And keep them there until they no longer present a danger to anyone. Or until there’s only one left because they all ate each other, which I’d lay odds on actually.

  81. Zonk

    uh, LMYC, darling, no one is confining any woman to one floor, they are offering one floor free of men.

    I’m sure that the imaginary hotel that you’re so angry at really is a horrible place.

  82. roamaround

    “until there’s only one left because they all ate each other”

    Ha! They would rape each other first, of course.

  83. saucysaucy

    Kelsey, there’s also the massive injsutice in constraining ME to one and only one floor because other shitheads can’t control themselves. If THEY are the problem then lock THEM up on their own fucking separate floor. And keep them there until they no longer present a danger to anyone. Or until there’s only one left because they all ate each other, which I’d lay odds on actually.

    You mean that if you go to a Marriott, they are going to force you stay on the women’s floor! That’s awful! It’s a miscarriage of justice!!!

  84. bookblob

    At first I thought the women-only floor sounded like a great idea – who wouldn’t like, after a long day of being harassed, ignored and paid less, just to get away from them and take some time out from being a “woman” and just be a “person”.

    However:
    “And lordy help you if you’re one of those brazen gals who decides to have a drink in the regular lounge.”

    Of course, we can never escape the terrible consequences of our womanly actions. If we start separating ourselves we’ll be blamed again the moment we step into the mainstream, bloke-occupied world, and only worse than before because we drew attention to ourselves.

    Sometimes I really want to stop politicising everything and just make life a little easier but it seems like the more theoretical objections to the Marriott’s idea would have “real-world” drawbacks too.

  85. roamaround

    In Islamic countries there are often separate dining rooms in restaurants for women and children. They’re called different things depending on the local language but usually translated in English to “family room.”

    Segregation, apartheid, and ghettos separate the polluting “other” from the dominant group, which is also part of the idea behind the separate dining rooms. The apparent benevolence of “protection” always has that underlying ick factor.

  86. Tigs

    Jamyr,
    I am totally for the ERA and am willing to take the prohibition of places like this as a result, but do you really think this is should be the first priority of feminism?

    I’m a little confused on your overall message. I mean, it’s not like the white patriarchy just up and decided that it was going to be kind and let the black folk have their nice voting rights. That was a calculated bet that society was about to tear apart at the seams, and they had better concede some power before the engaged, united, and organized Civil Rights movement shut the place down.

    And even with the broader application of legal protection (and you do have to remember that the 14th Amendment was passed in 1866- its most powerful effects for freedom weren’t felt until 100 years later), there was no social change until marginalized populations demanded it.

    I think there might be value in women-only spaces as locations for safety and consciousness-raising that can lead to organization and action.

    Am I reading you right?

  87. thebewilderness

    roamaround,
    If I recall correctly, Canada had separate sections in their bars for men accompanied by women, up until somewhere around the late sixties or seventies. I have a rather vague memory of being in an apartheid bar in 1967.

  88. Bitch, Esquire

    I agree with Tigs that there might be value in women-only spaces, but I don’t think they can be created by men, or corporations. They have to be claimed and created by women — so, I love the staking-out of spaces that garlicbreath described.

    On further reflection, I think that staking-out is something that would work particularly well in a culture that’s overtly accustomed to gender segregation. What it’s doing is moving the bloc of women from their hidden segregated space into a public space and therefore the public eye. Where the next step has the potential, at least, to be integration.

    I think America, at least, has a completely different situation, b/c our segregation is less overt, and I’m not sure Noise Project-style staking out would have the same effects here.

    *sigh* Maybe we should just all travel in heavily armed packs.

  89. drmoll

    This’s what I think–this’s a all a marketing campaign. Lesbian (& the boys too) travel dollars are BIG $$$ to the hotel industry. This marketing campaign is a clever way for the Book of Mormon to stay snuggley in the lamp drawers, attract business women travelers but also lesbians. Know that Marriott’s a public company but the Marriott family is major in Mormondom. Wanna help Mitt Romney’s fundraisers? Then go ahead, indulge in appropriation and lounge in their lounge. Meanwhile on another floor in patriarchy, women making barely above minimum wage probably don’t have health care for their families cuz Marriott is the least unionized chain in the patriarchy.

  90. LMYC

    Again, I really have to keep stressing this point because it’s bothering me a great deal:

    Why is it that our first reflex when we have to deal with attack and harassment is to segregate ourselves and not our attackers?

    It’s because we know they own the entire world, and a tiny little crumb of safe space is all we can hope for.

    It just galls me. I want THEM in the separate space, I want them in the houses with the windows painted black. They can’t help ogle? Fine — don’t put us in burqas, put THEM in blindfolds.

    I want their savagery and thoughtlessness to limit THEIR lives, I want THEM circumscribed by it, I want THEIR goddamned mobility and freedom demolished if they can’t control themselves. Instead, they act like any fucking thing they want, and WE are the convenient pussy-sponges that soak up the consequences.

    I want THEM to suffer for THEIR OWN savagery, not us. I want their world limited down to a harem or a cloth bag with a fabric mesh for them to see through. I’m serious. We’ll see the stupid sumbitches straighten up in days.

    But again, it’s their world and we all know it, so the best we can hope for is the pathetic crumb of one little room that locks from the inside for US — when what there should be is a room that locks from the OUTSIDE for them.

  91. H

    If it was really about women feeling safe, they’d address those concerns by making things more secure over all

    Exactly. The women-only spaces may sometimes be useful to some women in themselves, but in the wider context, they are an admission of failure on a societal level and a cynical exploitation of society’s failure to make men fucking well behave themselves and adequately punish them when they do not. Personally, I would prefer fewer female-only ghettos and more instances of proven male predators being dragged out into the street and summarily de-dicked as a warning to others.

    Last week I watched a documentary in my own about the plight of Afghan women. It struck me, watching these child brides denied education and subject to the whims of cretinous husbands and oppressive in-laws, that patriarchal solutions for ‘protecting’ women (the cultural excuse for most of the oppression) always seems to result in women’s access to the wider world shrinking little by little until nothing is left but the allegedly ‘safe’ space of home (where of course, the greater amount of violence is practiced against them by husbands, brothers, fathers and other relatives) and this women-only hotel floor thing seems ideologically parallel to that, if not intentionally,then effectively..

    the horrible tales of traveling alone are some of the most oversold. I

    I agree. Of course, it does depend on where you go – there are a few places so culturally or even legally hostile to women not evidently shackled to a husband or male of some description that venturing out alone is impossible, but as a seasoned independent world traveler, I have encountered very few problems holidaying and traveling on my own – curiosity, yes, but major hassle, no.

    I have noticed, of course, blanket chauvinism across all cultures and countries. When traveling alone, I am addressed as a full human being in regard to various necessary transactions – when traveling with a male of any description, more or less every shopkeeper, hotel clerk etc, would default to addressing him and I’d be forced to reassert my independence every time.

    My personal view is that the more we as women retreat to overpriced little ghettos for ‘safety’, the worse, eventually it will be for us, although I fully understand the appeal they may have for many. I just see in these spaces even more marginalization and of course subsequent shaming of the women who do assert themselves as full members of humanity and claim the right to sit in the pub and have a pint and read a book without hassle (as I did every night last week on vacation, btw. Richard dawkins books aparently repel most males as ten paces – useful to know).

    The more of us out there asserting ourselves and our right to agency and respect, the better. Hiding away in female-only spaces with fucking bloody spa products (nyrgh) as mollifying little treats AND paying through the nose for it is not the solution. Demanding that male predators not be tolerated in public spaces of any kind so we can make use of those spaces in safety is.

  92. drmoll

    Marriott’s “separate but more expensive” floors & lounges may say they’re targeting business weary travel women. But this’s also a clever marketing ploy to attract lesbians who’d love a corporate sponsored separatist space. Lesbian (& gay boys too) are a HUGE travel market targeted by hotels. Marriott can’t compete with the too hip upscalers but the Book of Mormon tucked in all the hotels gives them this new patriarch promotion. If you want to profit Mitt Romney’s major donors, then lesbian appropriate away. But meanwhile, on another floor, women emptying the laundry carts in most cities make a little above minimum wage & probably don’t have health care for their families, working for the least unionized hotel chain in the patriarchy.

  93. drmoll

    Sorry, obviously I’m new to the Blame button since I posted kind of the same thing twice. Also I left out a link to a relevant website about hotels & LGBT hotel room consumners

    http://www.sleepwiththerightpeople.org/

  94. LouisaMayAlcott

    LMYC,

    Yes, we’re talking here about who controls the entire collective physical space on this planet, and it’s 100% male.

    Tell me where it *isn’t* and I’ll be there in a flash.

    That’s not going to change until we have physical confrontations that make the Civil Rights movement look like a sunday-school picnic.

  95. LMYC

    LMA, ITA. (I wonder if I could work another TLA into this?)

    I think the bare reason is that we push the damned creatures out of our bodies, so we can’t actually bring ourselves to declare war on them. They have no such limitation regards us.

  96. RadFemHedonist

    I’ve never pushed anyone out out of my body and I still don’t want to declare war on anyone, plus we should have laws that ban sexual harrassers from hotels, hostals and the like as soon as they try anything, this women only floor is not helping matters as it is essentially victim blaming with free facial scrubs and martinis.

  97. RadFemHedonist

    In fact there’s a problem with that theory in that women who are infertile are not anti-feminist by default.

  98. LMYC

    RFH, I’m not making a 100% statement here, I’m talking about tendencies. When you give birth to one of the things, you are more likely to cut it some slack. Christ — it’s a fucking statistical observation. Jesus motherfucking christ, I miss dealing with phycisitst sometimes, who understand when you say something has an 80% chance of happening, it’s not a fucking DISPROOF to point to an example where it didn’t happen.

  99. LouisaMayAlcott

    LMYC,

    Yes, I’ve learned that in talking to non-techy types about groups of people, I have to say “statistically”, otherwise they’ll come down on me like a ton of bricks.

    And it’s true that *statistically* women favour sons over daughters. That they’ll defend their sons more fiercely than they’ll defend their daughters. If they’re willing to defend their daughters at all.

  100. jerry

    I don’t understand how Gloria Allred point of view got somehow turned into a man’s point of view.

    The link you offered was to an article that consisted of Gloria Allred’s argument against the idea.

    Somehow this turned into:

    The male objection is that, in the late 70’s, McSorley’s Pub was forced by the courts to let women in, and dammit, if women can suddenly have their own lounges, they want McSorley’s back.

    That doesn’t seem to be accurate or fair to Ms. Allred, women, or men.

  101. msxochitl

    H: “as a seasoned independent world traveler, I have encountered very few problems holidaying and traveling on my own – curiosity, yes, but major hassle, no.”

    You travelled the world alone and no man attempted to rape you? That is truly amazing.

    “When traveling alone, I am addressed as a full human being in regard to various necessary transactions.”

    Again, this really incredible.

    Also, your post sounds a little too much like blaming the victim: If a woman is harassed while travelling, it is because she is not a seasoned, sophisticated traveller. If she avoids situations where she might be raped or harassed, she’s a chump.

    I don’t want to go into all the details of my personal experiences here, but I admit, I do pay a little extra money for flights, when I can afford it, in order to avoid the things that men have done to me when I have taken overnight buses in S. Asia. Of course, I wish I had the freedom to just take off alone, regardless of whether or not men are present. But that’s not the real world. In the real world, only men are free to roam wherever they want without someone raping them.

    “Personally, I would prefer fewer female-only ghettos and more instances of proven male predators being dragged out into the street and summarily de-dicked as a warning to others.”

    Right, but do we really have the power to do the latter at this point? If not, what are we going to do in the meantime? How are we going to protect ourselves until the revolution?

  102. roamaround

    msxochitl and H, I too have traveled alone internationally quite a bit, and what made it safe for me some of the time was plain ol’ white privilege. Doing anything to me (of the colonizer race) would attract too much attention from authorities. An outside woman is also not considered property in the same way, so I got away with many things a local woman would never, ever be able to do. Power and money make a difference,

    I agree with msxochitl, though, that no matter what color or class a woman is it’s hard to avoid hassles and worse traveling alone. It’s one of the things that has distanced me from my male travel buddies, gay and het. They seemed way too smug about the situations in which they were granted all sorts of freedom and respect I was denied. Another reason to hate multiculturalist relativity.

  103. RadFemHedonist

    “it’s not a fucking DISPROOF to point to an example where it didn’t happen.”

    I’m sorry, it’s only I wanted to say that’s not all it is, I agree with you it is a factor, but there’s more to it than that. Plus I guess I’m generally weary of essentialism, which I feel theories like this segue into. I do know I don’t want to declare war on people for reasons unrelated to that. I could have put it better and I apologise.

  104. therealUK

    …we can’t actually bring ourselves to declare war on them.

    This is a cue for one of my favourite quotes, from Andrea Dworkin, commenting on why women don’t rise up and slaughter men the way they do women:

    “Have you ever wondered why we [women] are not just in armed combat against you? It’s not because there’s a shortage of kitchen knives in this country. It is because we believe in your humanity, against all the evidence.”

    This is women’s enduring weakness. Their belief in male humanity against all the evidence.

    Mix it in with a world which automatically privileges “male” as superior, and where the only route to some sort of status and recognition is for the woman to align in one way or another with the male and we get this:

    And it’s true that *statistically* women favour sons over daughters. That they’ll defend their sons more fiercely than they’ll defend their daughters. If they’re willing to defend their daughters at all.

    A small, but telling, example of this can be seen in the discussions that come out of femisists (never mind any other women) deciding whether to indulge their offspring with “The Dangerous Book for Boys”.

    Huge amount of defence of male privilege and status (more so because it’s a male they have actually “pushed out of them”). Huge amount of well it doesn’t really harm girls does it ?

  105. Errihu

    We don’t declare war on men because too many of us fraternize with the enemy. Hell, I’m guilty of this.

    Change is slow. The revolution is happening with individuals, and it’s not moving nearly quick enough for my liking, but there’s not a lot I can do about it. What I can do, is try to make sure that those lives whom I can touch I touch deeply enough to make a lasting impression. If I have children, I’ll have the opportunity to raise them in a way that is aware that every human being is a person, regardless of race, ethnicity or gender. If I get my PH.D and have students, I’ll have the opportunity to teach feminism (I’m a sociologist). With students, there are always people who will never accept an idea, but there will be people who will take what you say to heart, and change the way they live their lives because of it. I was one.

    True parity, true equality, the dissolution of male privilage, it probably won’t happen in my lifetime. But I want to do my part to help change the world. Even if it seems like an uphill battle, I’m still going to try.

  106. LCforevah

    OKay I haven’t read the “feminist” article regarding helping out Muslim women. The jist of it seems to be, “Help them over there, before you help them over here.”

    Sound familiar?

  107. mearl

    “They can’t help ogle? Fine — don’t put us in burqas, put THEM in blindfolds.”

    Sing it! My newest pet quote. Thanks, LMYC. I will give the credit where it’s due.

  108. justicewalks

    They can’t help ogle? Fine — don’t put us in burqas, put THEM in blindfolds.

    How do we accomplish this? People are saying they don’t want war; well, they damn sure wouldn’t want the endless pre-emptive warfare we’d have to wage against malekind in order to ever win any real, lasting peace, then.

    We’d literally have to find a way to obliterate every man alive on the planet, and start from scratch with newborn babes in order to have a supply of males who’d go along with being blindfolded. We’d have to cull their numbers to keep their population manageable, and, in addition to keeping them blindfolded, we’d have to cripple the surviving newborns, hobble them, stunt them, maim them, something, in order for there to be any semblance of enduring liberation, because if you let them grow up big and strong, they’ll only start up with the beating, raping, and stoning again.

    But, alas, women don’t want peace to come at such a price, so we’ll never have it. And I don’t just mean in my lifetime. Never. If it happens it will be because the species has evolved to something else; homo sapiens sapiens is simply not capable.

    In the meantime, and moving slightly beyond Marriott’s short-sighted and offensively male-originated idea, I wouldn’t mind a few women-run, women-only spaces as a salve against the constant frustration I feel at having been born into such horrifying circumstances, perpetually doomed to fraternize with my oppressors. If there were a way I could live in a women-only neighborhood, shop at a women-only grocery, eat in women-only restaurants, bowl at women-only alleys, I’d do it in a heartbeat. That little crumb of freedom would be better than none at all.

  109. Lil Raven

    We’d have to cull their numbers to keep their population manageable, and, in addition to keeping them blindfolded, we’d have to cripple the surviving newborns, hobble them, stunt them, maim them, something, in order for there to be any semblance of enduring liberation, because if you let them grow up big and strong, they’ll only start up with the beating, raping, and stoning again.

    You really think that would be necessary, Justice?

    I mean, this blog has chronicled the numerous ways in which the Patriarchy keeps women in line, and many (most?) of them rely more on psychological and sociological conditioning rather than simple brute force. That’s the beauty of the system, right? If you get people to internalize their oppression, then you don’t have to work very hard at oppressing them, because they’ll do it to themselves.

    Assuming you wiped out the current generation of men and started over from scratch, shouldn’t you be able to utilize the tools of the Patriarchy against the new male population? Raise them to believe their only value is in pleasing women. Set impossible physical standards that will have them at the gym for hours on end and undergoing dangerous steroid routines in a futile attempt to measure up. Lock them out of the schools. Remember, you’re starting with infants. They will be, for a time at least, relatively powerless, and while they will grow up to be physically stronger, physical strength doesn’t get you very far against superior firepower. Just make sure you don’t destroy all the guns after the revolution.

    Of course, that isn’t so much destroying the Patriarchy as reversing it, but if we accept your assumptions, I’m not sure destroying it is possible at all.

  110. justicewalks

    I mean, this blog has chronicled the numerous ways in which the Patriarchy keeps women in line, and many (most?) of them rely more on psychological and sociological conditioning rather than simple brute force.

    While women’s oppression may indeed be more psychological than physical, women’s relative physical weakness certainly hasn’t stopped men from mutilating and hobbling them with corsets, foot-binding, neck-stretching, scraping of genitals (which in the most brutal cases actually does have the effect of making women shuffle, rather than walk), malnutrition, forced obesity (Dahomey), and stilettos.

    If women have required physical maiming in addition to the brainwashing to remain passive, despite their relative physical weakness, I imagine men will need similar incentives to maintain behavior conducive to women’s autonomy.

    So, yes, I do believe we’d either have to hobble them, or be willing to use those guns at the slightest provocation. Now, I wouldn’t be opposed to shooting rowdy men on sight, but I say strke pre-emptively so that women can at least relax a little in their daily lives.

  111. Lil Raven

    If women have required physical maiming in addition to the brainwashing to remain passive, despite their relative physical weakness, I imagine men will need similar incentives to maintain behavior conducive to women’s autonomy.

    Well, maybe. But that doesn’t mean women will have to do it to them. That’s the beautiful part. Raise them right, and they’ll do it to themselves. Most women in stilettos didn’t have them put on by men. (directly, anyway) They put them on themselves, because they felt they had to in order to gain acceptance or economic power or whatever other crumbs they could get from the Patriarchy. Just make sure that in the new Matriarchy, men must meet the expectations of women in order to be get ahead, then ratchet those expectations to ludicrous levels. You’ll have men castrating themselves (or whatever else you want them to do) in no time.

    But again, this simply reverses the oppressor/oppressed relationship. It doesn’t actually build the kind of post-Patriarchal egalitarian society that some people allude to on this blog. I’m not sure that’s possible if we accept that men are biologically incapable of being anything but monsters. At least not until this sort of thing really gets going.

  112. Lil Raven

    I completely screwed up that link in my last comment. I meant to post this one. Apologies.

  113. justicewalks

    No, I think women should do it. Who wants to end up like men, who don’t even acknowledge the fact, or remember the cause, of their hatred for us (that’s for us to figure out!)? I’d rather we stayed focused. If we were to do the deed, document and teach the reasons for our precautions, never allowing ourselves to forget the extent of their sadism, it would make it harder for males to endear themselves to us, which is our weakness.

  114. roamaround

    “scraping of genitals (which in the most brutal cases actually does have the effect of making women shuffle, rather than walk)”

    justicewalks, now that I can breathe and type again after sobbing for five minutes, your post hit me like a ton of bricks: of course that’s why my diligent Somali refugee student has a slightly odd gait. Oh my god.

    Today I also talked with another East African girl who is about to be forced into marriage with a stranger against her will. I’m trying to find her alternatives, but it’s not easy. She’ll be cast out—and to what? Women don’t necessarily get refuge from such “cultural” domestic abuse and there is not a lot of consciousness out there about forced marriage.

    It’s almost too much to bear when you think about it.

    You said: “strike pre-emptively so that women can at least relax a little in their daily lives”

    Yes, until the revolution there are many significant battles to be fought and much suffering that can be alleviated by reform.

    (And in case anyone is in doubt, I think my own American culture with its boob jobs and porn is just as misogynist as anywhere else. I’m not Muslim bashing, I’m patriarchy blaming.)

  115. justicewalks

    roamaround, I am so sorry to hear about your student. In many villages, women’s hobbled shuffle is considered the trademark of cultural heritage. Something the men can stand back and observe, not unlike white colonizers, but that the girls and women alone must experience.

    As for the battles that need winning, my despair is that they’ll never even be begun. Too many women enjoy the blood spoils of the crime that has been committed against us for a critical mass to uproot itself. Women have become too invested; they stand to lose too many crumbs*: “romance,” “love,” “sex,” “relationships” (with “lovers” and “fathers”). Too many of us honestly believe our crumbs are worth turning a deaf ear to the cries of child brides, prostituted women/children, husbanded (in the agricultural sense of being used as a broodmare) women/children, raped women/children.

    We’ll never fight, regardless of the suffering we’d ease.

    * Note that these crumbs are all one and the same thing: penile intercourse. Fancy that. Even the “father relationship” generally depends on an ongoing supply of ‘tang from the child’s mother. We all know what happens to “fathers” when mothers stop offering up sufficient amount of the ‘tang, don’t we (MRA)?

  116. LouisaMayAlcott

    Justicewalks,

    You wrote:

    “Too many women enjoy the blood spoils of the crime that has been committed against us for a critical mass to uproot itself.”

    Word.

    I saw that early on in childhood, and it set in place a lifetime feeling of despair.

  117. Tigs

    I’ll be straight up. That’s not what I want. I am one of those women you mention who don’t want peace at that price.
    Because it’s not peace. It’s brutal, humanity denying oppression.

    I don’t want a world that looks like that. I don’t want to live in a world where that kind of oppression is okay.
    You might say that’s why I’m a feminist.

    Further, (and this is my Marxist roots talking) the crisis feature directly built into any superstructure of oppression creates constant doubt and angst. The instability and constant moral devastation become existential maelstroms that manifest through weird sublimations (I would argue that the resurgence of fundamental Christianity in the US is part of this).
    Men aren’t happy under patriarchy either, they’re just powerful.

    I also agree that this:
    “Too many women enjoy the blood spoils of the crime that has been committed against us for a critical mass to uproot itself.”
    is true.
    But to say that any woman who doesn’t want to participate in a culture of hate is merely a slave to her own weakness is just more woman-hating and victim-blaming.

    Yet, I do think that there can be movement toward a society with less oppression. I think that you can genuinely look at the second half of the twentieth century and argue that women are less oppressed and more powerful than in the first half of the twentieth century. Does that mean the oppression isn’t violent, pervasive, and constant? No, of course not. But it does indicate that there is a possibility for change. Yeah, we need to fight, kick, and scream for every minute shift to power, but the world doesn’t always have to look like this.

  118. justicewalks

    It’s brutal, humanity denying oppression.

    That’s just it, though. Humanity cannot be denied where it doesn’t exist.

    Where’s that damn Dworkin quote about women believing in men’s humanity, despite all the evidence to the contrary when you need it?

    But to say that any woman who doesn’t want to participate in a culture of hate is merely a slave to her own weakness is just more woman-hating and victim-blaming.

    I’ve never heard anyone else make the claim that Dworkin was a victim-blamer. That’s a new one. Man-hater, erroneously and often, but victim-blaming woman-hater?

    You might say that’s why I’m a feminist.

    No, I’d say it’s why you’re not a separatist. That you differ philosophically from separatist radical feminists is no indication of superior morality.

  119. LouisaMayAlcott

    jw,

    I am a separatist in the sense that I *know*, I *know* in my blood and my bones, that only if a critical mass of females succeed in creating a female-only large-scale alternative space will there be a power shift between the male-loyalist remaining females, and the male population with whom they choose to surround themselves.

    It is for this reason that it makes sense for heterosocial readical-feminist females to support female separatism as a force which can gather momentum. It is only through our success that they can ever hope to achieve theirs.

    Like you, I consider the liklihood of that success to be microscopically small. Yet without it, the heterosocials (female) will be wandering indefinitely in the wilderness.

  120. delphyne

    “and many (most?) of them rely more on psychological and sociological conditioning rather than simple brute force”

    How can you forget rape? And murder? And sexual assault? And all the physical violence that men perpertrate on women, particularly their partners?

    If one in three women will be raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, and one in three will be the victim of violence at the hands of her male partner at some point (and I reckon those statistics are conservative) how can you possibly believe that the patriarchy is predicated on anything other than brute force and that men use force against women constantly?

    That psychological and sociological conditioning you are talking about is just a fancy word for fear.

  121. delphyne

    “fancy phrase”

  122. justicewalks

    It is for this reason that it makes sense for heterosocial readical-feminist females to support female separatism as a force which can gather momentum. It is only through our success that they can ever hope to achieve theirs.

    They won’t support us, though. They’d rather play “more feminist than thou” because they hold dear the long-term goal of eventual “equality” with men, while I hold dear a similarly far-off, yet more immediate goal of getting the fuckers off our backs and out of our pants. Whether or not we could potentially welcome them back into the fold after they were finally and completely stripped of their oppressor role is entirely irrelevant to me.

    Like you, I consider the liklihood of that success to be microscopically small. Yet without it, the heterosocials (female) will be wandering indefinitely in the wilderness.

    They prefer mixed-sex wilderness (and we’re talking, ostensibly, about feminists, here, so they *know* it’s wilderness) and the crumbs to be found there to the possibility of female civilization. Sad, isn’t it?

  123. MedeaOnCrack

    Well Justicewalks I was with you up until this. Seems like you’re just as contemtpuous of us as men are. We bear male children, some of us. This is not to say because they are “ours” they are different. But they are part of us. Carry our blood, our cells, and they our cells. That’s not just sentiment. It’s biological.

  124. MedeaOnCrack

    Carry our blood, our cells.

  125. justicewalks

    It isn’t contempt, MedeaOnCrack. Disappointment, yes, because I’d like for women to realize their potential, but it is not contempt. I do empathize with women’s desire to maintain heterosocial (thanks for the new addition to my vocab, LMA) contact; I just can’t say that I respect it, given it’s consequences for women who’d rather not have that contact.

  126. MedeaOnCrack

    But we suffer the consequences too. And you know, fully aware of the fact we are complicit in our own and your pain. Also, in a friendly non-linguist way, I’d like to say I don’t think disappointment is the other side of respect.

  127. Kali

    I think one way of reducing/removing patriarchy would be for women to selectively birth girls (a technology for sex selection before conception would be preferable to sex-selective abortion, of course). When we have the number of males down to, say, 10% of the total population, women would dominate the public and private sphere and could make woman-friendly rules and enforce them.

    Until women birth as many sons as daughters, we will continue to live under the rule of the patriarchy with endemic rape and violence. This is because women put their sons before the eradication of patriarchy, and men put the perpetuation of patriarchy before their daughters. In the final balance, statistically speaking, patriarchy wins.

    The question is how to convince women to selectively birth girls?

  128. LouisaMayAlcott

    Hi Kali,

    I doubt that more than .05 % of the women in the world would know how to do that, or have the power to do it.

    Universally, women are kept by males as brood mares for gestating the next generation of males. Female children are often aborted or subjected to infanticide, abandonment or starvation. Universally, female children are less valued, given less attention, and made to understand that their only option for survival is to fit into a male world.

    How many women on this planet have any choice about whether or not they get pregnant, or the circumstances in which that may happen?

    A female shark kept in captivity for 3 years without any male of any species in her tank recently gave birth to a daughter by parthenogenesis.

    Now all we need to do for ourselves is figure out where to put the tank (dot dot dot).

  129. Dawn Coyote

    Late response to my own query, here.

  130. MedeaOnCrack

    Sommers as quoted by Dawn Coyote in her link: Women who think that looking like a pear is an essential human right are not valuable allies.

    Where’s the part I’m supposed to disagree with?

  131. justicewalks

    But we suffer the consequences too. And you know, fully aware of the fact we are complicit in our own and your pain..

    Yes, you* suffer the consequences because you* actually desire contact with people of male sex and are therefore willing to undergo the risk. We, on the other hand, suffer not because we want the contact, but so that you* get to continue with the fraternizing. Again, women are being sacrificed for other people’s benefit, being exploited.

    Also, in a friendly non-linguist way, I’d like to say I don’t think disappointment is the other side of respect.

    I’d disagree. Frankly, I don’t bother with disappointment in people I never respected. Do you think, for instance that I am disappointed by the petulant ineptitude of our president? I most certainly am not. I never had much in the way of expectations (which, to me, is what respect is, lofty expectations) for him anyway. It is precisely because I respect women that I am disappointed when they insist, century after century, on choosing males over themselves.

    I empathize. I know that they are acting rationally, given the circumstances, and that my expectation that they willingly take a course of great and undeniable hardship is one not often met. I really do empathize; I’ve eaten my share of crumbs, but it most certainly is disappointing that more of us (wouldn’t even have to be all of us) aren’t willing to fight on our own behalf.

    * general heterosocial female ‘you.’

  132. MedeaOnCrack

    The only solution I’ve personally been able to manage is abstaining. It’s very painful. I don’t think what you want is possible. And you are quite right, also not desirable, for most het women.

  133. Dawn Coyote

    Medea:

    Well, I’ve taken some liberties with context, but Sommers seems intent on equating NOW’s “Love Your Body” initiative with what she views as feminists’ lack of social responsibility, locally and internationally. This is some pretty specious reasoning, which, if not deliberately disingenuous, should nevertheless diminish the credibility Sommers might otherwise be granted.

  134. msxochitl

    LouisaMay: “How many women on this planet have any choice about whether or not they get pregnant, or the circumstances in which that may happen?”

    Not many. I’m starting to think of childbirth as a form of violence against women.

  135. roamaround

    LouisaMay: “How many women on this planet have any choice about whether or not they get pregnant, or the circumstances in which that may happen?”

    msxochitl and LouisaMay, I hear you. When I was in the hallway talking to my student who is being forced into marriage, I whispered, “Your body belongs to you, not your father, brother or husband.” It should be a foregone conclusion, but it felt so subversive. As Firestone (whither??) noted, that simple concept is more revolutionary than anything Marx and Company ever cooked up.

    justicewalks said, “Too many women enjoy the blood spoils of the crime that has been committed against us for a critical mass to uproot itself.”

    True and that is a bitter pill, but I think reforms can make an important difference. I’m glad I have the freedoms that other women have won for me, and I believe supporting the reforms women are fighting for everywhere can help.

    I’m not as optimistic as Errihu who feels that the “revolution is happening with individuals.” I’ve lived long enough to know that we ain’t marching on no shining path; things are getting worse and not better for women in North America where I live. I see no revolution happening at all in real life, to be perfectly honest, and I live in a progressive big blue city.

    Despite what Americans are told from birth, progress is not inevitable. Women are fighting one step forward for every two steps back—not easy to do backwards and in high heels.

  136. buggle

    I don’t know how to quote, but this:

    “msxochitl May 24th, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    I’m starting to think of childbirth as a form of violence against women.”

    to me is so right on. That’s how it has always felt to me, like if I can just avoid having a child, I’ll be getting away with this little piece of freedom. To me, inflicting childbirth on anyone is violence, which is why I think access to birth control (and of course having the option to never have sex) and abortion is so crucial.

  137. Tigs

    I think it is totally true that inflicted childbirth is a form of violence against women.
    When safe, effective birth control and abortion are not available (free and on demand), all it is is a message to women across the boards of their continuing status as property.

    One need only look at the vast conglomeration of ‘pro-life’ activists who are somehow not opposed to the death penalty to get a taste of the charming nature of that position.

  138. justicewalks

    Tigs, I didn’t question your feminism. I took your comment, “I don’t want a world that looks like that [women free from the risk of rape due to an absence, or drastic reduction in number, of men]… You might say that’s why I’m a feminist,” to mean you were challenging mine, since I DO want to live in a world that looks just like that. My comment was intended to express that the point on which we differ isn’t feminism, per se, but separatism. We’re both feminists – your position merely means that you aren’t a separatist one. That was all I meant by that.

    And as for presumption, any person who is aware of her options and their consequences, yet still chooses to act in accordance with the dominant power structure, as it suits her, is without doubt acting out of privilege. It would be same as a white person aware of the perniciousness of racism, yet who fails to ever speak out against the racist remarks of their friends and family. It’s behavior born of privilege (either that, or the misguided hope that simply *knowing* about the problem will be enough to affect change, which is just stupidity). And I don’t need to know any more than I already do about the private lives of Blamers to deduce this.

    What about those of us who didn’t do that [drown male infants], and whose sons, 25 years later, have (just imagine!) turned out to be sweet, loving, decent, caring—dare I say it? humane—individuals? Shall I just take him out back now and shoot him, even though, as far as I know, he’s never raped anyone, as part of a gang or otherwise?

    Well, gosh, I’m sure there are mothers of known and convicted rapists who, as far as the mothers care to be aware, were simply wrongly accused. A mother’s confidence does not an innocent man make.

    My real point, though, was that a thread about an unprosecuted gang rape might just be an inappropriate forum for congratulating yourselves on having created brand new additions to the oppressor class. Saying, “gosh that’s awful, but at least MY son(s) won’t be participating in any of that kind of behavior,” seems a bit insulting in this situation. We’re talking about men who HAVE done those things, men whose mothers, I’m sure, have made similar proclamations on their behalf. I guarantee you those mothers never INTENDED to raise the rapists they raised, but yet, here they are. What good does it do to pretend as if those mothers simply made mistakes raising their boys that you yourself would never make?

  139. justicewalks

    Oops, wrong thread. Carry on.

  140. Lil Raven

    I think one way of reducing/removing patriarchy would be for women to selectively birth girls (a technology for sex selection before conception would be preferable to sex-selective abortion, of course). When we have the number of males down to, say, 10% of the total population, women would dominate the public and private sphere and could make woman-friendly rules and enforce them.

    I’m not sure it would be that easy.

    Thanks to sky-high death and incarceration rates among certain American ethnic groups, we already have a living example of what happens when females outnumber males to a significant degree. (though granted, not anywhere near the levels you suggest)

    But this doesn’t seem to be having the effect of making black men more sensitive. In fact, I would go so far as to say that black culture is more misogynistic (or at least more open about it) than even mainstream American culture. One need only crack open the latest 50 Cent album (if one dares) to see the sort of example being set for young black males. Perhaps even sadder is the effect the discrepancy has on black women, a disturbing number of whom appear to feel compelled to degrade themselves ever further in the quest for penis power.

    Market theory teaches us that lower supply + constant demand = higher prices. Of course extending that to human relationships is dicey, but unless you have some method of reducing the percentage of heterosexual women, I’m not sure reducing the number of men is going help a lot. More likely, the men are going to be bigger jerks than ever, because there will always be another woman (or 80) who will be willing to take him.

  141. Lil Raven

    *sigh* I have once again hosed the link in my last comment. I meant to post this one. Apologies.

  142. delphyne

    “But this doesn’t seem to be having the effect of making black men more sensitive. In fact, I would go so far as to say that black culture is more misogynistic (or at least more open about it) than even mainstream American culture. One need only crack open the latest 50 Cent album (if one dares) to see the sort of example being set for young black males. Perhaps even sadder is the effect the discrepancy has on black women, a disturbing number of whom appear to feel compelled to degrade themselves ever further in the quest for penis power.”

    Since when wasn’t black culture part of American mainstream culture? The people buying the misogynistic raps songs are mainly white boys. The record companies who give deals to misogynistic black music are run mainly by white men. It’s really weird to single out black culture as uniquely misogynist. The Rolling Stones have been around for much longer and they fucking hate women. It turns out that most of the Beatles were/are wife-beaters. So what’s their excuse?

  143. Lil Raven

    I didn’t mean to imply that misogyny was absent in mainstream American culture. (indeed, I thought I implied quite the opposite!) And I also realize that white subburbinites make up a great deal of the market for 50 Cent and his ilk. There is also no ‘excuse’ for it. However, I also think it’s impossible to say that there does not exist a unique tolerance for blatant misogeny in out society when it comes from hip-hop.

    I doubt that Don Imus is gone for good, but at least he got a time-out for the infamous nappy-haired hoes statement. Snoop Dogg is celebrated for far worse. All men may think women are whores, but in hip hop they are praised for saying so.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think this is a racial thing so much as a cultural one. I realize that this blog does not look kindly on the nuclear family, but the total disintegration of the family unit that has faced many inner city groups would seem to be even worse.

    However, I think all of this strays from my original point, which was simply that reducing the number of men does not seem to particularly empower women. If anything, it seems to increase competition for them, empowering them at the expense of their partners.

    We’re beginning to see the reverse of this happening in various Asian countries, where selective abortion and infanticide have created a huge imbalance in the boy/girl ratio. And, sure enough, the same equation is holding…female children are becoming more valuable. (the traditional dowries, where the family of a girl pays the family of her husband, are beginning to disappear, and there are more and more instances of the husband’s family paying the family of the bride!) Of course, this hasn’t really changed the lives of women all that much, since they aren’t in a position to capitalize on their own value, but it does mean baby girls are less likely to be killed at birth.

  144. Twisty

    My argument against the nuclear family does not propose no family, incidentally. Although I would define ‘family’ loosely. I am convinced that kids and people raising kids would benefit from doing it in big domestic clumps, so the whole responsibility is not lumped on one lone, increasingly neurotic woman. There would always be a few adults around, and older kids, aunts, an old crone or so.

    Of course, the idea is impossible to implement on a large scale, since the modern megatheocorporatocracy depends for its survival on the economic enslavement of insular family ‘units’; it would never be allowed. Unless, you know, we did away with patriarchy.

  145. Kali

    “We’re beginning to see the reverse of this happening in various Asian countries, where selective abortion and infanticide have created a huge imbalance in the boy/girl ratio. And, sure enough, the same equation is holding…female children are becoming more valuable.”

    No, they are not. Selective abortion of girls is increasing, not decreasing. Girls/women are being kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery. Just because women/girls are scarce does not mean they are treated better or as more valuable. Migrant cities in India and the middle east where the population of males is much higher than that of females have much higher crime rates against women.

    And, in the black culture, men in the general population may be less than women, but they still live within a larger culture, interacting daily with that larger culture, where there are plenty of men to create problems, and where men hold most of the power. It is not like the african american culture is isolated from the rest of America. Also, the difference will not be made until we achieve very low percentages of men (i.e. 10%-20%). A 60-40 m/f distribution will not be enough.

  146. Cathy

    Christina Hoff Sommers thinks that gang rape in America is “rare” and that it is severely punished here. She says American feminists are preoccupied with our own “imagined oppression” and therefore of no help to Muslim women.

    It’s hard enough for me to deal with how fucked up our own society is. I’d love to have some way to reduce the even more blatant misogyny of Muslim cultures, but don’t even know where to begin.

  147. Twisty

    Kail: “And, in the black culture, men in the general population may be less than women, but they still live within a larger culture, interacting daily with that larger culture, where there are plenty of men to create problems, and where men hold most of the power.”

    Kali, “the black culture” of what?

  148. Virago

    I’m not sure if what I’m reading here is correct: Black men and Muslim men are more blatantly misogynistic? (More misogynistic than whom?)

    Is that the assumption that we’re laboring under?

  149. Bird

    Twisty, sadly, they don’t have the internet in Buddhist temples, which is where we spent much of our time (wow, Buddhist nuns really get the short end of the stick).

    But you’re right. Korea has the internet. It also has a whole heaping pile of patriarchy, so it was almost like home.

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