Jun 08 2007

InfantilizationWatch ’07

A pink airline just for chicks who love to shop will launch next month, says Jess McCabe, blogging at The F Word. At Fly Pink, “a boutique airline designed especially for women,” femmy passengers will board a flying pepto phallus, look young and fabulous in the bubblegum glow reflected from every surface, and be given pink stuff to drink and put on their fingernails before arriving in Paris to shop till they drop.

Said Jess in an email, “Hey, you’re ruining a whole section of the visible spectrum for me.”


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  1. Rev Dr in thebewilderness

    It occurs to me, that after many years of preaching that men are helpless little boys in thrall to their gonads and the play of the week, all of whom must be nurtured by any woman older than they, and served by any woman younger, this drive to pinkify women goes hand in glove with the argument that our body parts need constant supervision by daddymen everywhere.
    It is an evil plot to infantilize all people under the age of disgusting old white guy. Any minute now I expect a bill in Congress declaring the disenfranchisement of any person not an old white male Republican.
    Crazy insane, and paranoid? Whattayamean?

  2. Bird

    I have to confess to owning a pink baseball cap with the logo for my taekwondo school on the front. The hats came in pink or black, and I think wearing a black hat to go running in the summertime would be pretty stupid. Thus, the baby pink hat. It also ensures that no man will ever dare steal it.

    I learned that trick back in my days of smoking (I quit, don’t worry). If you buy a pink lighter, nobody ever pockets it.

    IBTP for ruining a perfectly fine colour.

  3. Vera

    Don’t forget about the new pink Hello Kitty jewel-encrusted laptop computer made just for the ladies:


    You might want to shade you eyes a little before looking at the picture.

  4. Kelly

    Yet another in the ever-growing list of things to make me thankful for blindness.

  5. H

    Expect that airline to fail within months. Most women who want to go to Paris are, sensibly, far more concerned with the price and availability of seats than with spending an hour in a stupid pink cocoon gagging on the smell of nail varnish. I think whoever started this scheme has rather overestimated the appeal of shrieking pink environments to the vast majority of women. The few women I know who are bizarrely enamored of the colour and buy wholesale into the cult of traditional femininity would still opt for an ultra cheap Ryan ticket or EasyJet flight over a more expensive ‘glamour’ flight.

  6. femhist

    H, I agree entirely.

    flying pepto phallus

    If I ever start a band, that is what I’m calling it. With the appropriate royalties sent to Twisty, natch.

  7. Otter

    Was at REI recently and noticed that one company is now marketing a kayak “designed for women”… and though it claims to be more easily maneuverable, etc., the only thing I can see different about it from the others is… you got it… it’s PINK.

    just what the rugged outdoorsy woman needs…


  8. cycles

    Manicures? When I think of ways to make flying more appealing, the first thing that comes to mind, of course, is breathing recycled air filled with acetone, formaldehyde and toluene. Are they fucking insane?

  9. cycles

    Oh, I just read the article. Slap my wrist for speaking too soon.

    The airline will offer flights to Paris for “shopping breaks” in customised pink planes, and, to complete the experience, will also provide pink champagne and complementary manicures before take-off.

    Thank god. Anyway, everything else about the idea of an all-stereotype airline is completely acceptable to me, so my mind is now at ease to start my weekend strife-free.

  10. thebewilderness

    If this doesn’t set your hair on fire, then I can’t think what will.


  11. Jezebella

    Next up: Man-Air, with hookers, bourbon, and bloody beefsteaks.


    Man, pink can be a really pretty color. Why do they have to go and fuck it all up?

  12. Ms Kate

    Hotpants. I demand stewards in pink hotpants.

  13. slythwolf

    And how much fucking extra is it going to cost for the femininity-performing benefits? $100? $200? I bet the food is shitty, because chicks are on diets anyway. I bet the in-flight movie is the Style network or Oxygen.

    The only possible benefit I can see is that nobody has to put up with the dude next to her harrassing her for being female, but, you know, if we didn’t live in the patriarchy in the first place, nobody would have to put up with that anywhere.

  14. Shakes

    “Next up: Man-Air, with hookers, bourbon, and bloody beefsteaks.”

    Well there already is a Hooters airline.

  15. Shakes

    More pink stuff, courtesy of Shinyshiny.tv:

    Pink bedazzled CPU tower: http://www.shinyshiny.tv/2007/04/pc_fairy_tower.html

    Pink kitchen utensils (pink nutcracker, anyone?):

    Pink George Foreman grill:

    Pink travel kit:

    Little Pink Tool Kit (for breast cancer!):

    Pink GPS system:
    “The Intempo Digital ‘Buddy’ is designed to be a beautiful and easy to use… never mind all that techie stuff, just stick it in the car and never get lost again! It really is that straightforward. And while the ‘simple’ department were making sure it was completely plug and play, the ‘gorgeous’ department were sprinkling it with flowers and butterflies, and adding a lovely little pouch so it doesn’t get damaged in your handbag… Bought to you by the award-winning Intempo Digital, the Buddy incorporates the best and latest GPS technology to guide you to your destination with the minimum of fuss… Imagine! You may never argue with your fella again!!!”

    Pink swiss army knife (not capitalized because it’s not their brand):
    (Knife, check. Tweezers, check. Corkscrew, check. Perfume bottle? Check.)

    Pink “I Hate Pink” shirt:
    This site, itspinkuk.com, has a Pink For Girls (not women) category that includes pink hair things and jewelry. It also has a Pink For Men (not boys) that includes cufflinks and a soap-on-a-rope shaped like a vulva. That’s right, soap shaped like a vulva.)

    Pink Hello Kitty fire extinguisher:

    Pink computer keyboard with vanity mirror:

    Pink taser gun:

    Diamonds and jewels are also offenders:

    Rhinestone pepper spray:
    Comes in colors like Glamorous Gold and Prevention Purple
    Check out the page’s tagline: Protect your daughter/mother/wife/aunt/granddaughter/fiancee/niece/sister

  16. yankee transplant

    I could puke.

  17. Lisa KS

    The aesthetic part of me likes to shop for pink blouses and shirts for myself because soft pinks look really good with my complexion and coloring. However, and this story has just made it a million times worse, I can never quite bring myself to drag one to the register at the store cause I get flashbacks to what my kids always called The Pink Aisle at Toys R Us. I’m with Jezebella.

  18. TinaH

    I’m with Yankee Transplant.

  19. Miranda

    My immediate thought was that if it provides enough legroom and has in-flight storage bins where I can reach them, I’ll be more than happy to settle down in a pink seat, although I don’t know what I’ll do with mr.mir. Check him perhaps. Now, that I see it’s just for shopping trips, the whole thing becomes moot.

    I have no pride when it comes to comfort on airlines. If the Hooters airline was comfortable and took off and landed on time, I’d at least be seriously tempted.

  20. Jezebella

    Y’all, come on! Is there not something completely hilarious about a PINK TASER GUN!?? I love it. I want one. We have a new serial rapist in the neighborhood and I was thinking of getting one anyway.

    I look good in pink, and it really is a nice color. So, I do just go ahead and buy pink clothes when I want to, but I almost never wear it to work because it carries that message of infantilization and girliness.

    Re: Man-Air. Damn, Hooters beat me to the punch. So much for my latest get-quick-rich scheme.

  21. Jezebella

    Miranda, the seats might be comfy on Hooters airline but I’m guessing the atmosphere would be pretty fucking UNcomfortable for any woman on board.

  22. herdottiness

    Soooo. . .

    The pink ladies plane flies the ladies to Paris, to stay in the Marriott ladies-only suites?

    Until the landLORDS come to collect the rent?

    (In Scottsdale, AZ, there is a very trendy and ballyhooed eatery called “The Pink Taco.” Upscale upchuck. I Blame the Patriarchy!)

  23. employed hipster

    Totally unrelated, but with the temporary demise of the message board I just had to share this description of Paris Hilton’s re-incarceration:

    “Her blond hair was pulled back in a disheveled knot, in contrast to the glamorous side-swept style in her booking photo from earlier in the week. She was wrapped in a long gray fuzzy sweat shirt over slacks.

    Her body shook constantly as she dabbed at her eyes. Several times she turned to her parents, seated behind her in the courtroom, and mouthed, “I love you.” At one point, she made the sign of the cross and appeared to be praying.”

    This little nugget, lifted from CNN.com, is so ridiculous that I cannot even stand it. I mean, I cannot stand Ms. Hilton either, but to reduce her trials into such an infantalizing narrative is just enough to raise my hackles! While I’m sure she would delight in the new pink plane movement and probably become its celebrity sponsor, this is no way to treat someone, regardless of their crimes. I’m fairly certain that humiliation is one of the tenets of torture – and while jail is certainly what she needs, this media onslaught does nothing positive for anyone.

  24. The Hedonistic Pleasureseeker

    I want the nutcracker.

  25. Brittany

    I love that the Hello Kitty laptop’s tagline is “Japan’s cutest cat in glittering crystal decorates NEC Corp.’s (NIPNY) new pink laptop in the Japanese electronics maker’s latest effort to woo working women.”

    Because really, what working woman wouldn’t want to carry a rhinestone-encrusted, cartoon-covered laptop to work? Why break through that glass ceiling without some glitter?

  26. Jezebella

    Word, Brittany.

    You just can’t pinkify anything about your workplace and be taken seriously.

    The navy-blue-and-pearls uniform I wear for board meetings has a 100% success rating in getting me what I want. If I don’t wear the navy, I don’t necessarily get what I want. Why? Because navy blue is the color of the male suit. Why is that? No fucking idea.

  27. medrecgal

    Yecch….maybe I DO need some Pepto, to overcome that incredible sensation of nausea from reading this pinked-up, anti-feminist crap! Any woman who would buy what this airline is selling is clearly buying into the standard patriarchal stereotype(s) of femininity. Just say, “EWWW!!!”

  28. Ha

    So when do we get an entirely lavender-themed lesbian airline? Instead of manicures they could offer a sensible nail-clipping service.

  29. b-file

    Right before I started my white collar IT job, an acquaintance, who had spent a few years in a white collar job, brought me her closet castoffs. The majority were pink. She OFTEN argued that women needed to wear high heels to work in order to try to at least match the height of the men around them for intimidation factor.
    I never look a foolish gift horse in the mouth however, but I let my girls have the pink crap. They didn’t want it either.
    My white collar IT uniform is simple: jeans, blouse or other nice shirt usually in black, and black steel toe bike boots.

    I’ve been in my first real job(at the age of 41) for 4 and a half years now. She has lost three white collar jobs in this same time.

    A few other little notes about the “girl”: collects barbie stuff, bathrooms in expensive house are pink, has anorexia. She’s only three/four years younger than me.

    What do you do about those who deliberately CHOOSE to be under the patriarchy’s thumb?


  30. the Omphaloskeptic

    b-file, I’m pretty sure you can’t “choose” to be under the patriarchy’s thumb. That’s kind of the point: everyone gets squashed under the big, oppressive thumbprint of the P.

    I mean, if there was an opt-out program, why would we all be sitting around blaming in the first place?

    In the case of your friend, obviously it’s frustrating when people don’t want to recognize or fight against the system that hurts them. But feeling superior to this woman because she’s suffering more than you are (eating disorder, losing her job, etc)? Ick. Schadenfreude is not a feminist response to oppression. Really.

  31. Miranda

    Miranda, the seats might be comfy on Hooters airline but I’m guessing the atmosphere would be pretty fucking UNcomfortable for any woman on board.

    Oh, I know. But after a long flight slotted into an airline seat like a card in a mainframe with my knees to my chin, my standards lower.

  32. roamaround

    Yes, pink “carries that message of infantilization and girliness.”

    So what about Code Pink? There isn’t any other women against the war group that I know of, and I hate organizing with men because they take over everything and act like, uh, men. But wearing pink is so clearly shouting, “Don’t worry about us girls! We’re cute, not like those ball-breaking women activists!” Ugh.

    What’s an anti-war feminist to do?

    And then there is the well-known cancer pink. I hated seeing the pink so much, I almost didn’t wave and smile at the cancer walkathon women, but then couldn’t help it. They’re women out trying and that’s worth something I guess, even though I loathe the pinkness for all the reasons listed above.

    I actually like the color, but hate the message, especially when it’s used in activism to negate righteous female anger.

  33. tigtog

    Ms Kate, just for you, stewards in pink hotpants: [link]

  34. mearl

    the Omph, I’ve always wondered why it is that some women do the whole pink-barbie-lookalike-infantile-spike-heels-capitulation-to-the-Man thing, while others fight. If we’re all brainwashed, why do some people miraculously become diesel dykes and others miraculously become Pamela Anderson or Taylor Rain? Is it just a continuum with enlightenment or lack thereof, or is there any agency involved? I am tempted to strike the same blow of contempt as b-file whenever I see one of my friends who is fully aware of the risks and yet starves herself or gets a joint account with her asshole boyfriend, etc. despite all the advice she receives to the contrary. Is there really no choice here? WWTD? (What Would Twisty Do?)

  35. mearl

    As a side note, when women run around shopshopshopping, all that runs through my head is that old saying, “A fool and his/her money are soon parted.” IBTP!

  36. Mari

    This is what happens when people have too much money and time on their hands and inability to do anything positive with that.

    We don’t have quite that many things available in-the-pink -category, but we’re getting there. One example: a ladies’ toolbox, with pink and pink-roses-on-green tools and a pink bandanna.

    Icelandic feminists have reclaimed pink. They use it for visibility quite effectively. The organisation is rather young and one of the first things they did was donating a pink wheelbarrow full of feminist literature to their new prime minister. Here is a slideshow from that event: http://www.flickr.com/photos/salvor/sets/12684/show/

  37. LouisaMayAlcott

    It’s impossible to “reclaim” pink at this stage of the game.

  38. dilexi

    I love the description of the pink keyboard Shakes posted:

    “Not only is it covered with white stars and swirls, it has a mirror on its palm rest. So you can look your best whether aligning a spread sheet or slaughtering grid bugs (assuming you haven’t cut your wrists on the glass edges)”

  39. Patti

    There’s a Hello Kitty pink vibrator. Deconstruct away.

  40. the Omphaloskeptic

    mearl: “I’ve always wondered why it is that some women do the whole pink-barbie-lookalike-infantile-spike-heels-capitulation-to-the-Man thing, while others fight.”

    Pfah, I have no idea. Why do people do [i]anything[/i] differently from one another? There’s a certain amount of nurture involved – obviously, some people grow up in pro-feminist homes, while others don’t get a chance to learn about feminism for much of their life. And who knows which personality traits respond in which ways to radical ideas. My typical explanation boils down to: wherever people are concerned, everything is complicated.

    So, for serious discussions, it’s not okay to whine about other women’s unfeminist behavior. It’s not our job to judge when femininity is evidence of oppression and when it’s evidence of weak character.

  41. the Omphaloskeptic

    Oops, sorry about the tags. I’ll try to get it right next time.

  42. mearl

    Ah, it’s true, when you dig down to expose the root of the problem, the Patriarchy is always to blame. I just grouse and worry about how to effectively fight a war from the side of women when so many women are brainwashed into doing so many things that are harmful to themselves and the gender stereotype as a whole. Bah! Thank gawd for Twisty’s blog and all its readers…I just wish we could lay siege to the Fox Network and take over programming to have IBTP on all day, every day, so more people’s lives could be enriched with the astute blames of the host.

  43. Hermoine


    Do any of you know Twisty’s email address?

    The one listed on right corner of the blog homepage does not work.


  44. b-file

    “b-file, I’m pretty sure you can’t “choose” to be under the patriarchy’s thumb. That’s kind of the point: everyone gets squashed under the big, oppressive thumbprint of the P.”

    But you CAN choose to wear pink and high heels and be submissive. She was under no dress code requiring either.

    “I mean, if there was an opt-out program, why would we all be sitting around blaming in the first place?

    In the case of your friend, obviously it’s frustrating when people don’t want to recognize or fight against the system that hurts them. But feeling superior to this woman because she’s suffering more than you are (eating disorder, losing her job, etc)? Ick. Schadenfreude is not a feminist response to oppression. Really.”

    Where did you see me taking joy in the horrid problems she is facing? I reported facts and I do so without emotion because that is my nature. I take no joy that a very intelligent woman is instead using a significant portion of her energy and her very health to submit to those who still hate her in spite of her submission to them just as much as they hate me.

    I do not feel superior to her, however I reject HER sense of superiority over me due to me not being the ultra feminine girl that she is.


    But I certainly would like to know: do all women who are tools of the patriarchy get a free pass on their sexism?

  45. Bird

    I went car shopping with my partner this weekend. He’s buying a smaller 4×4 for when we go kayaking and that sort of thing (we use my station wagon for city driving). The salesman at the dealership told us, “Oh, yeah, you want that model. We have a smaller one, but it’s not really off-road capable. It’s for women.”

    I wonder if it comes in lipstick pink, too?

  46. Frumious B

    But you CAN choose to wear pink and high heels and be submissive.

    The diesel dyke dress-code is no less a product of the patriarchy, more so if one chooses it as a political act. Why wear pink and high heels? Well, they look good, and sometimes I’m just too fucking tired of making everything I do into a deliberate political statement.

  47. b-file

    “The diesel dyke dress-code is no less a product of the patriarchy, more so if one chooses it as a political act. Why wear pink and high heels? Well, they look good, and sometimes I’m just too fucking tired of making everything I do into a deliberate political statement.”

    Diesel dyke dress code? WTF? Why do I feel offended in having my common sense workplace attire labelled as “diesel dyke”?

  48. mAndrea

    I have yet to hear a logical reason why I can not criticize a womans’s choices.

    “It might hurt their fweelings!”

    “We don’t know whyyyy they do what they do.”

    “But the patriarchy!”

    To me, it sounds like enabling. I see you doing something completely stupid and I can logically delineate why it’s completely stupid – but yet I should remain silent? Silence implies approval or at the very least, it implies that the stupid thing is harmless. Saying someone’s choices is not up for discussion, debate, or critique helps no one – except perhaps the patriarchy.

    If I’m doing continually doing something stupid, I would appreciate being called on it.

    Incidently, I owe the transgendered people an apology – had an epithany the other day but it’s kinda long, needs to be put in the forum. Not only was I rude and lacked compassion, but I thought of an exception to the argument which might render the whole thing moot.

  49. buggle

    B-file has asked the question I’ve been tossing around in my head.

    “do all women who are tools of the patriarchy get a free pass on their sexism?”

    I realized that I’ve been blaming women for their choices, in that they reinforce patriarchy, which in turn hurts me. I’m really struggling with this one-I recognize that these women wouldn’t be doing things like wearing heels if it wasn’t for the big P. I’m just not sure how to feel towards these women. Although, I guess I’m one of them, in that we all make choices that aren’t feminist at times. I just get pissy at women who are all about heels and men and stuff, but maybe I should just BTP?

    For example-I usually laugh at women tottering in high heels. It looks so stupid and I feel it’s kind of pathetic to try so hard like that. But, the other day I saw a woman tottering and I just felt compassion for her. I realized that she is just suffering too, just like me. I realized that I’m nasty about it because I feel defensive, as if that woman is trying to enslave me to the P as well.

    Gah, as usual, I’m not sure how much sense this actually made.

  50. Bird

    I think we’re back to the whole patriarchal carbon load question. We all contribute to the pollution, but we can choose to cut back on our emissions as much as possible. Where each of us cuts might be different (one woman might wear only flat, gender-neutral shoes, while another might only shop at woman-friendly stores), but we all have to make our own choices.

    I feel like the ultra-pink, never-leave-the-house-without-lipstick sorts are like the people who drive Cadillac Escalades. Nobody needs to drive something like that to the grocery store.

  51. mAndrea

    Seems like some people view criticism as just being squeezed from yet another angle. The person being squeezed fails to recognise that contained within the secondary criticism may hold key information to alleviating the pressure originating from the other side.

    The criticism is not meant as it’s sole purpose to add to the pressure, even though initially that’s the effect; but in order to eventually eliminate all pressure.

  52. mAndrea

    If someone is so bend and broken from patriarchal pressure that they can’t handle one more (hopefully compassionate) critique from a different source, isn’t that all the more reason to look for a real solution? And unfortunately, that solution to patriarchal pressure isn’t going to come from the patriarchy!

    Seriously, I’ve about had it with this “fragile flower” nonsense – particularly from those feminists who are supposedly used to fighting in the trenches for women’s equality.

  53. Kristen

    I am just catching up on reading your blog, so this comment is out of place, BUT: foie gras?!?? I wish you would read up on and consider connections between the heinous exploitation of animals and that of women under patriarchal capitalism.

  54. Otter

    I struggle with the same issues you do re: CodePINK. I’m glad they are doing the work they are doing, and commend them for it. I just wish they could have found a way to launch their efforts without resorting to pinkification…

  55. RadFemHedonist

    I know veal is cruel, but foie gras? Do they have to feed the geese an unhealthy diet to make the liver the way they want it? Do they suck it out of them while they are still alive? If that’s the case I shall not eat the stuff, my policy is nothing where the animals did not live happy lives.

  56. Dawn Coyote


    Was that an action alert?


    So, I’m trying to catch up – should I search “pink” to find out why we all hate it? What I’ve learned today: I’m a member of the sex class with “pretty privilege” that I probably don’t even know I have. Is this the reason I’ve been raped couple of times, or is it my pink sweater? Please, I want to know who to blame. Myself, right?

  57. kathy a

    please forgive me for going slightly off the topic of pink and veering into a rant about patriarchy in action; indeed, about the intergenerational transmition of patriarchal disgustingness.

    my daughter had an orientation and academic counseling and registration event today. while the Leaders of Tomorrow were off figuring out course schedules for the fall, there was a parent session about student services, health, safety, etc.

    one dad had burning questions. the first was about getting his son into a fraternity. the second was, “what happens if a girl cries rape, and it’s a he said, she said situation? because i know one fine young man whose reputation was ruined that way.” no shit, he thought that was a huge issue of student safety, worth raising in the big Q and A session so all the parents could hear the answer.

    you will be relieved to hear that accused boys get to say their side of the story, within the student discipline sphere. and even more relieved to hear that victims of sexual assault have a full-time advocate-counselor with other resources available, plus there is a staffed sexual assault prevention program, and campus security is provided by the state police, and student health services are excellent, and there is well-trained staff in all the dorms.

    i later heard this same dudely father ask the *dean* of student life a question privately — could she just list the local hotels for him, so he can set up a room for when he moves his kid to school? [the “thanks, honey” was not spoken aloud.] this woman holds a doctorate, has enormous responsibilities for student programs outside class at a good-sized university, and was extremely impressive. probably she isn’t usually mistaken for a travel agent.

    fashion report: neither pink, nor heels, nor overt manicures was sported by any member of university staff. wife of dudely dad evidently spends her time at the salon and spa, trying to look 18, only better.

    followup with daughter: she has gotten her ear talked off. she claims she has heard it all before. she has no experience yet with situations where “no” is not understood as “NO.” weighing in at 100 lbs., she thinks her fingernails will be good protection in a pinch. on the up side, i think she is serious about trying to gouge out the eyes of anyone who won’t listen and back off, and know she will be a force to reckon with if a friend is in trouble — her real weapons are reasoning, and conviction in the cause of fairness.

    confession: i thought violent thoughts about dudely dad, and i am not willing to give them up. i’m hoping dudely boy decides to rebel, and drive the old man crazy by majoring in english or sociology, taking courses in peace studies and ethnic studies, going vegetarian, and discovering buddhism and his artistic side. then joining the peace corps. well, a woman can have dreams for someone else’s child, can’t she?

  58. Jezebella

    Dawn Coyote:

    I don’t think we all hate pink. I, personally, hate that I can’t wear pink without it carrying a message that I am girly (not a grown woman), that I am weak, delicate, “feminine,” and submissive. It’s not the color itself, it’s the cultural baggage assigned to the color. I love the color, look good in it, and I can’t wear it to business meetings if I want to be taken seriously. For this, IBTP.

    Further, I hate it when marketing yahoos decide that they can sell shoddy goods to women by just slapping some pink paint on them. Yes, I would like a cordless drill that fits my non-large hands; no, you do not have to paint it pink. Yes, I would like to fly on an airplane and not be harassed by drunk stooges one seat over, but I’d prefer that men behave like civilized human beings rather than having to pay extra for a safe plane, or a safe hotel room. I don’t want a pink plane, I want a SAFE plane.

    And “pretty privilege” is like “white privilege”: you get it whether you ask for it or not. It’s not your fault, but you should be aware of it, just as we ask men to be aware of their default “male privilege.” You’re pretty defensive on this point, and no one is blaming rape victims here, so you might want to take a deep breath or two.

  59. Jezebella

    Speaking of pink products – like the pink taser – any self-defense experts want to chime in on whether I should buy a taser or a stun gun? Three rapes in three weeks within a mile of my house have me shopping online for weapons, which are fucking expensive, BTW.

    You know who I blame.

  60. Tigs

    Jezebella – For a cheap and completely non-lethal alternative to electric options I would totally recommend OC (pepper) spray.

    My old job required that we get sprayed in the face with it, and I can tell you from first hand experience that it effectively blinds as well as hurts like a bitch.

    The blinding will give you enough time to evade and run to a safe place. Even with immediate rinsing, it’s a good 3-5 minutes before you can see effectively, and if the person doesn’t have an immediate rinse agent, it can take a good 15 minutes for one’s tears to rinse the OC out.

    I like this alternative for several reasons:
    1.) You can’t kill anyone with OC spray. Even though tasers/stun guns say they’re non-lethal, there is a ton of anecdotal evidence that says otherwise.
    2.) Wayyy cheaper.
    3.) If your state is one of those in which personal safety things like this are illegal, no cop is really going to bust you on having pepper spray whereas they take tasers more seriously because they count more as weapons.

  61. thebewilderness

    I think I have to call bs on this pretty privilege idea.
    It’s sort of like saying that having a guy scream that I am too ugly to fuck is worse than having him scream that he wants to fuck me dead.
    In our society, people who meet or exceed the beauty standard get more attention than those of us who don’t. To assume that they want that attention, when they have no choice in the matter, seems unreasonable to me.
    I do not dispute that there are areas of endeavor open only to beautiful people. This is true. There are also areas of endeavor that beautiful people will pay a much higher price for attempting.
    Every persons situation has advantages and disadvantages. The one thing they all have in common is that if they are a woman, the disadvantages always outweigh the advantages.

    If you have been raped and I have been molested, which of us has more privilege.

  62. Coathangrrr

    I think we’re back to the whole patriarchal carbon load question. We all contribute to the pollution, but we can choose to cut back on our emissions as much as possible.

    Unfortunately, there is not patriarchal equivalent to not driving a car and not eating meat. The two ways you can reduce your carbon load.

  63. Minna

    My ma always insisted I use roll deodorant and carry aerosol, with the latter as a self-defense measure. I’ve never got that stuff in my eyes, but I hear it stings like fuck. And I’m fairly sure pepper spray is pretty highly illegal where I am, though I’ve never actually looked into it.

  64. Dawn Coyote

    Lessons from Republicans. The effort to “Unite the Right” was a decades-long initiative, the success of which should make us all tremble in our boots. Once we’re done trembling, we need to take a page from their playbook and use it to storm the endzone.

    You want a revolution? How are you going to get the renunciate feminists in the same camp with pole-dancing feminists? It’s not going to be by ideological agreement—that much is for certain. Lipstick feminists and hairy-leggers are only likely to agree on those things about which they feel a common sense of injustice and outrage. If those nutjobs on the right could get together over the things they oppose, then I believe feminists can tolerate difference sufficiently to challenge those aspects of the Patriarchy, upon which the heinousness of they can all agree.

    I’m not exactly defensive. I’m exasperated. Idealists scare me. I don’t believe in equality. I believe in improvement. I believe in moving the markers, pushing, gaining ground. Hierarchies are endemic to our culture, and we’re not going to eradicate them unless we resort to a Harrison Bergeron solution. Who wants to do that? (okay—the emission-reduction model makes sense to me)

    In addition to “pretty privilege”, I’ve also got “intellectual privilege” and “able privilege” and “locale privilege.” I’ve got privilege up the wazoo. We’ve all got “first world privilege”, don’t we? What about “plumbing privilege”, “clean water privilege”, “health care privilege” (Go, Canada!). “Pretty privilege” is a pink herring. I’d define “pink herring” as anything in feminist discussion which creates obstreporal drag without advancing the revolution.

    Without cataloguing of all the reasons it sucks to be me, I respectfully request that no one make the assumption that you knw what my life has been like, or about which advantages I do or do not share with any of the rest of you, without direct experience of same.


  65. Dawn Coyote

    “upon which the heinousness of they can all agree”

    “upon the heinousness of which they can all agree”

    Damned insomnia. That looked alright to me when I posted it.

  66. buggle

    On the pretty privilege thing-I’ve been thinking about it, at least on the level of how I play into this “I’m a youngish, attractive-ish female” thing. With cab drivers, bus drivers, male workers at a store, etc. I know that they are giving me more attention because they see me as attractive. And I play into that sometimes, and use it to get what I want. I’ve been noticing that about myself lately, that I slip into that mode automatically-the smiling, head-tilting, sweet girl act. Because sometimes, it does get me something I want. At the same time, I’m totally disgusted with myself for playing into this crap.

    Attractive people DO have privilege, although with women it’s a double-edged sword. But of course thinner, more traditionally attractive people get more-they are hired more often, they are given more special treatment, etc. Men and women. But I don’t think it’s the same as white privilege, except for with both of them, you aren’t necessarily aware that you even have it. And that’s why it’s privilege, because you aren’t even aware of what your face or body is getting you.

    mAndrea-I am really appreciating your comments in this thread. I also experienced an epiphany about the transgendered thing, and I feel like I get it a lot more than I did before.

    But also-about the criticizing people thing-I feel the same way you do. In this sort of forum, I expect people to call me on my crap, and I hope they do. Otherwise I’m not learning anything or being challenged to grow more. I know that people get defensive, and feel like they are being picked on or told they aren’t a “good enough” feminist, or something-but I feel like all that crap really gets in the way of us all learning. I mean, if I’m going around doing something like, say, wearing high heels, and someone challenges me on that-great! Isn’t that what we’re here for, in part? If someone challenged me about my leg hair, that’d be just fine. I wouldn’t be defensive about it, or try to say that shaving is a feminist act as long as it’s done by a feminist. That’s just silly, I think.

    I think Bird put it great in her post above-we all make our own choices, and that’s fine. I choose to never again wear any kind of shoe with a heel, and to me that’s a feminist act. To me, it’s a big deal, a kind of freedom, and I feel really strongly about it. Now, that doesn’t mean that another woman who wears heels is bad, or a bad feminist, or whatever. Maybe that woman wears heels for whatever reason, but is totally against shaving her legs. I’m not going to yell at the heel wearer, and I hope they wouldn’t yell at me about shaving my legs. BUT-if I was just shaving and saying crap like “oh I like the way it looks, it’s not about patriarchy or anything!” then I’d expect someone to call me on that shit.

    Holy long post.

  67. Mar Iguana

    “My old job required that we get sprayed in the face with it, and I can tell you from first hand experience that it effectively blinds as well as hurts like a bitch.” Tigs

    Like a bitch, huh? Sigh. I would be such a happy old woman if I never, ever heard this vile word again in my little life. Much less on a radical feminist board. Feels like a punch to the gut. Is there nowhere I can feel safe from this woman-hating put-down? Guess not.

  68. Valkyrie

    “Pink herring” is hereby added to my feminist lexicon. Heh.

  69. Mar Iguana

    “Because when all your attacker sees is a receding ass and pumping elbows he’s gonna ask himself if her gash is really worth a 100 meter dash.” Troggy

    Your poor, poor daughter. Your name short for “troglodite?” Best thing you could probably do for your daughter is tell her exactly what your particular dating history is. Knowing her own father used to enjoy date rape in his youth would go a long ways towards making her aware of acquaintance rape.

    Forget it, I know you won’t tell her. You don’t have the guts to do much more than come in here like a 12 year old and say words like “gash” to the uppity women. Pathetic.

  70. Rumblelizard

    Lot of troll pollution ’round these parts lately. IBTP for the existence of these deluded, sad, misogynistic wastes of donor organs.

  71. Jezebella

    re: self-defense. I live in Mississippi, where one can legally own pretty much any weapon short of a bazooka. Our current serial rapist is of the “break into your house in the wee hours” variety, so I probably want something I can use at close quarters, in the dark, without my glasses. This morning I’m leaning towards the baseball bat defense.

    Dawn, how come you refuse to acknowledge “pretty privilege” but are perfectly willing to acknowledge plumbing, first-world, abled, educated privilege? Let me tell you what: I may be a big girl now, but I used to be thin and pretty. Now I’m fat and have “such a pretty face.” (sigh) I know first-hand that if you’re cute, people are nicer to you. People are more likely to hire the prettier job candidate. Being noticed or advanced because of your looks is by no means desirable, but it is a benefit of fitting the current beauty ideal. Some people meet the ideal without even trying that hard, just through winning the genetic lottery.

    And being pretty or not, fuckable or not, has nothing to do with being molested or raped. The rapist in my tiny little town of 20,000 people has, so far, attacked women over 70 years old. Men don’t rape only pretty young people; pedophiles don’t assault only pretty children. Your beauty did not bring these things upon you, no matter what anybody has said to the contrary.

    I don’t mean to make assumptions about you, but you are the one that said you qualify as “pretty.” I’ve never laid eyes on you, so I’m taking your word for it.

  72. Calidor

    The thing I hate most about pink is the way it divides the world in two. Women get pink things, men get everything else. Before I had my daughter I believed that the (crappy cultural) rule was that pink is for girl babies and blue is for boy babies. Now I know that real rule is that if you dress your bald baby in anything other than pastel pink – be it yellow, green, white, red, brown, khaki, orange – the world takes them to be a little boy. Pink is just another manifestation of the ‘men are normal, women have to be marked out’ rule, and from birth it is used to identify us.

  73. Pontiste

    At the risk of possible thread derailment (which at this point may be moot, seeing as how we’re pretty much gamboling all over the patriarchy-blaming terrain), I’d like to follow up on the self-defense accoutrement issue. I’m currently engaged in a what looks to be a protacted email exchange with customer “service” at the very intractable Northwest Airlines over their policy on pepper spray: They don’t allow it, period–not even in checked luggage. The TSA allows it, other airlines allow it (with a safety closure on the canister, in checked luggage only–not carryons), but not NWA, and they point-blank told me they weren’t planning on changing their policy anytime soon (without giving any explanation, of course). I was thinking that perhaps if they heard from more people on this issue, they might reconsider (yes, it’s my tilting at windmills agenda item for the month–one of them at any rate). If any other blamers here feel strongly enough about this, I’d encourage you to contact Northwest and let ’em know. They’re darn hard to get to (you have to pretend you’re booking a flight in order to contact them through their web page) but who knows?–it might actually get them to change this benighted policy. (But in the meantime, thanks Minna–I’ll keep the spray deodarant in mind and in purse whilst perambulating in destinations far flung.)

  74. Pontiste

    Oops–I meant “deodorant.”

  75. Dawn Coyote


    I thought I did acknowlege it, but if that wasn’t clear, then: sure, I’ve recieved benefits as a result of the way I look. And lots of other stuff, too.

    I have to say, this conversation is creeping me out. I feel like an object.

  76. Bird

    I currently fit into the “pretty privilege” category (29, tall, slim, and all the rest). I don’t have a problem with admitting that’s the case and being aware of how that affects my life and my behaviour. I don’t feel like an object in this conversation—or at least, no more than I do at any time when I walk down the street. I do feel more aware of how my position on the “fuckable” scale creates privilege (and obstacles).

    Being aware of privilege is essential, at least for me. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of being part of the fuckable/unfuckable categories is important because it tells me what other women are facing. (I know, the patriarchy means it all more or less sucks, but I’m curious about the details.)

    If I only know my own struggles and only care about my personal battles, how can I call myself a feminist? It’s only by learning about the obstacles faced by other women that I can say that my activism is undertaken for more than personal benefit.

  77. Dawn Coyote

    I said, “I’m considered fuckable,” and that seemed to bring on a bunch of assumptions about what I’m unaware of, what I think, how I conduct myself, and what I believe. If other’s projecting their assumptions onto me isn’t objectification, I don’t know what is.

    Perhaps I’m just paranoid.

  78. mearl

    “I don’t want a pink plane, I want a SAFE plane.” I deem this one worthy of a Guerrilla Girls slogan! Love it.

    I thought about the idea of “pretty privilege.” My own outlook on it goes thusly: Women NEED, first and foremost, to be brought to the understanding that if a woman is receiving privileges for being attractive and is milking said privileges for all they are worth, she’s fucking herself over for when she will inevitably no longer be attractive, which could happen at any time, given that standards of attractiveness are not based on anything biological or concrete. It makes more sense to be fighting for recognition as a human being than to take the conditional handouts from the patriarchy for personal advancement only to find that once you get to the top, you’ll still get fucked over. I don’t blame women for not knowing this right off the bat, I blame the patriarchy for hiding the truth so well that lookism and the advantages for compliance to “prettiness” seems normal to women. We are taught this shit from day one, and only feminism can bring about the enlightenment. A woman who is exercising pretty privilege will not understand how she’s wittingly or unwittingly acting, through the brainwashing and economics of patriarchy, as a conduit to her own demise UNTIL she is fucked over in the end, and by then, she’s contributed enough of her own patriarchal carbon debt. If women can be brought, by feminism, to the knowledge that they are better off fighting against these privileges than benefiting from them in the short-term, it’s similar to the environmental cause. No one individual saw the long-term benefits of recycling until the pollution became a global crisis. The difference is that although the earth has finite resources, the patriarchy has infinite resources as long as the human race continues to regenerate itself and the youth/beauty cycle continues to be fed.

  79. Anna Ng

    I dunno, I just like the concept of a flying penis…

  80. mAndrea

    Buggle, thank you. My god, somebody actually agreed with me for once! And from a person who has much good to say, at that. pretty sure I’m an asshat, though.

    “Honey, you give the best blowjobs ever.” – Said the boy to the girl. So she runs around all proud with the secret knowledge that she can do this thing better than all the other females. But to keep up her skills and her crown, she has to keep giving blowjobs.

    Substitute whatever you like for the word “blowjob”, it’s the same old story, it’s what they tell you to get you to keep doing it. It’s what they tell every girl.

    I used to think I was drop dead fucking gorgeous. I must have been, considering the way they would treat me. No matter where I was (grocery store, laundry mat, parking lot), what I was doing (quietly, minding my own business, liking my solitude), what I was wearing (usually something baggy) they acted like they could not fucking resist me. And felt free to tell me so. Like every 30 seconds out their car windows.

    So I must have been gorgeous, right? In retrospect, NO. I was just another piece of MEAT to them.

    You heard the one about how a boy will fuck a snake if you hold it’s mouth open? That’s sooo wrong. A boy will fuck a woodpile if he thinks there’s a snake in it.

    My point is that it’s not about how “pretty” the female is at all; it’s about boys being assholes to any female who even vaguely registers on his fuck-o-meter.

    Incidently, today was a good day. Better than that. My evil pet theory has legs! And I’m dying to hash it out with other blamers, if only our beloved Twisty could make a sweet leetle forum for us.

    Suppose all the old posts are lost now? *sniff* I thought I did a good one on rape, and didn’t save it.

  81. Dawn Coyote


    I don’t disagree with you. I think women need to understand the conditional and transitory nature of the benefits they derive from being approved of for their appearance. I wish someone had told me when I was in my 20s that the attention wasn’t worth it, that what I was really getting wasn’t anything close to genuine wealth or assests, but simply access to those things because I was a nice bauble.

    Now I’m 42, and though I still get attention, the quality and quantity have changed into sometime I’m much more at ease with. When I was in my 20s, it was overwhelming, and there was no one to help me figure it out. I remember one time, when I was 21, waiting for my boyfriend on a summer evening in downtown Ottawa, and he was an hour late. I was wearing a tank top and shorts, and standing beside my bike. Every single man that walked by either 1) checked me out; 2) made a comment; 3) stopped to chat; 3) tried to pick me up.

    I had an anxiety attack. It didn’t feel like privilege.

    I could go on and on, but why? I’d rather just scare the crap out of people who really need it. You know who I mean.

  82. buggle

    mAndrea, that’s so nice of you to say! It’s nice to know I’m not just rambling nonsensically on here, at least not all of the time. And I SO agree about-it’s not about how pretty you are, it’s about men feeling entitled to bug us if we show up at ALL on their penis radar. Yes yes yes!

    Dawn, I think that the pretty privilege stuff happens in a different way. What you describe above is a perfect example of how much it stinks to be a woman, and how every man feels perfectly entitled to stare at you, make comments about you, etc. I think the privilege part comes in in a different way. I’m trying to think of an example from my life.

    Ok, this is dumb, but when I go to the corner pizza place, I’m very aware that I am youngish (30) and female. I don’t get harassed, but they are extra nicey to me or maybe try to make a joke or something. It’s not gross at all, but I’m aware of how I act in that situation, and I find myself being more smiley and nicey and girly, in response to their treatment.

    I think mearl has it right on- because I’m just feeding into this bs, and someday it’s going to bite me on the ass. I’m showing them that I AM just a girly girl, a silly woman who giggles and smiles and stuff.

  83. buggle

    Oh dear, caught in moderation.

  84. Bird

    Another thing I try to remember: none of us is eternally “fuckable.” I will (with luck) be old someday. I have been fat. I may suffer an injury or illness that alters my appearance.

    I’d better be ready to rely on something other than pretty to get me by, and the time for that is now. Playing the hawt chick game will just leave women losing no matter what, so I try to be conscious of it and not play by those rules whenever I can.

    But I don’t think the privilege goes away just because you try not to use it. Other people’s reactions are still there. You can avoid taking advantage of their responses, but there’s an innate privilege granted that you can’t shake. It’s like being white, or being from a developed country, or many other things. But you can be aware of how those privileges work and try to minimize the imbalance.

  85. roamaround

    “she’s contributed enough of her own patriarchal carbon debt”

    I think this global warming analogy has gone too far. My heart goes out to you all for taking on so much responsibility for your oppression. On some level, I think it makes us feel better to think that we have some control over patriarchy, that what we do makes a difference.

    In fact, whether you smile at the deli guy and get extra pastrami or you frown and get less makes no difference at all to the institution of patriarchy which will fuck you over at some point no matter what you do.

  86. CD

    the modern construct of pink is racist, at least to me. it implies a color/skin combination that is “best” and most often used by a specific category of women/objects. olive hued women who don’t “look good” in pink are penalized for it, whether they wear it or not.
    this discussion would be very different if the airline had gone with “african” hues like green and purple.

    the pretty penalty is real, is sucks as much as the fat penalty. IBtP of course, i suppose you could say that it’s ruthless and efficient in finding ways to keep women of all shapes and forms down. sherri tepper once wrote about how the pretty penalty is when men take a little piece of you away with them every time they leer, killing you slowly with a thousand cuts. if being fat means being on the receiving end of being mean, being pretty is being denied the right to be mean, indeed, even to have agency. you are assumed to care about the sexual desires of strangers, the insecurities of others. i have learned to glower effectively enough to prevent the more foolish who would tell me “smile!” because they believe i am somehow responsible for adorning everyone else’s day with titillation and beauty. it is somewhat depressing to realize that regardless of how sincere i am in my lack of interest or anger, some men will always see this as merely some step in a game ending in their sexual gratification (“she’s a challenge/playing hard to get”).

  87. Dawn Coyote


    Oh, very late reply, but—

    I don’t consider it a privilege to be drafted into the service of other people’s ego needs, which is how it feels when people respond to me on the basis of my appearance. I’m generally nice to people, and I do notice the ways that people are nicer to me than they might be to the person waiting in line behind me, but when so many men and women you meet respond to you as if you’re this thing that is both appealing and threatening, and from which they almost invariably want something, that ain’t no privilege, girlfriend. It’s a fucking job.

  88. Vicki

    “obviously, some people grow up in pro-feminist homes, while others don’t get a chance to learn about feminism for much of their life.”

    I grew up where feminism was the plague. I was taught against it. Yet I am a Feminist (to the horror of some people) and proud of it. Sometimes one grows up to think for herself.

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