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Jul 01 2007

Patriarchy encapsulate de la semaine

This video from MSN is precisely what would happen if you scooped, as they floated by, a few random globules of the ubiquitous patriarchal miasma we are all forced to breathe, whirled’em in a Video-Cuisinart, and posted the results on the internet.

The video opens with an commercial for a bank. A hot babe wood nymph is kissing a frog. The frog turns into a raccoon wearing a crown. The nymph keeps kissing it to gradually produce assorted incarnations of encoronated mammalianity popularly assumed to be a progression toward H. sapienly princeliness. This hilarious scenario shows how some banks fuck you over, but not this bank.

The princess-kissing-the-frog story is blowjob propaganda for toddlers. Apply your sexuality to a distasteful purpose and the kingdom — not the part where you get to go out and have adventures, but the part where you wear filmy gowns and bear the royal princes — will be yours! Just suck the dick, girls. Sex will pay off.

In the commercial the wood nymph decides, when she has kissed her way up to a portly, balding centaur, to blow it off, and flounces away, fed up. But not before she has humiliated herself several times over for nothing. This is so funny!

Next is the news story. An Italian beach has decided to ban men. Only child-free women (and dogs) are allowed. A sliver of enlightenment has apparently penetrated the obstreperal lobe of someone in charge of Italian beaches; he/she realized that women do not, contrary to Dude Nation’s relentless propaganda, enjoy being ogled, undressed in the eyes of strangers, harassed, or macked on while lounging in the sun. But of course you can’t tell the story of women’s’ struggle against oppression without footage that actually oppresses women: MSN runs footage of hot chicks in bikinis just in case the viewer has a limp grasp on the mechanics of sunbathing. Neither do they neglect the all-important male point of view. Surprise! Men are against women-only beaches!

After this is a ‘funny’ video where a driving dad verbally abuses two kids who are horsing around in the back seat of the car. This is meant to be funny because everybody’s dad has yelled this don’t-make-me-come-back-there shit in the car; it is normal for kids to be controlled, threatened, bribed, and punished/abused. In this case, the dad punishes the kids by driving through a car wash with the windows open so they get a mug-full of hot wax and soap. The culture of domination is a virtually bottomless pool of hilarious comedy jokes.

[Thanks Patti]

130 comments

2 pings

  1. Katherine of Arrogance

    I must state that the first advert I saw was different to the one described in your post, yet still equally gross. Something about a big car going through a small hole (hurr hurr).

  2. Lisa

    Do you remember what bank it was? They changed the first commercial already.

  3. rachel

    The commercial I saw was for flavored diet water. Probably on a randomizer. I’m wondering if I should blame the patriarchy for this unreliability?

  4. Twisty

    “Capital One No Hassle (TM) Cash Rewards. What’s in your wallet?”

  5. Lurker

    I can only assume that Twisty, defender of beaches that keep individuals from entering due to their genitals, would be equally sanguine if women were denied access to public facilities. Thanks for that; I’ll ring you for support when I setup my “men only highway”.

  6. LouisaMayAlcott

    Another be-dicked troll.

  7. Betsy

    Can someone please help me with the following? A story ran on the front page of our local paper today. The first sentence is the problem. I’ve included the first few paragraphs as well, to show you the general topic and tone of the rest of the piece. If you all were writing a letter to the editor, what would you say about the first sentence?

    Attacks replace issues; politics turns poisonous

    By J. Peder Zane, Staff Writer

    Claws were bared and tongues were wagging last week as a “catfight” took center stage in the presidential race.

    The confrontation began Tuesday when Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic candidate John Edwards, confronted conservative provocateur Ann Coulter on the MSNBC program “Hardball.” Portraying herself as incensed over Coulter’s personal attacks against her husband, Edwards demanded that the blond bomb-thrower stop “debas[ing] the political dialogue.”

    Coulter accused the Edwardses of attacking her as a stunt to bring attention and money to their campaign.

    It is tempting to write off this dustup as a blip on the political radar. But analysts say this prime-time showdown reflects broader forces — especially talk radio, 24/7 cable news and the Internet — that have reshaped American culture and politics in the past 20 years.

    “Politics has always been a brawl,” said Carter Wrenn, a Republican political consultant in Raleigh whose clients have included former Sen. Jesse Helms. “But how we brawl, where we brawl and who we brawl with has changed.”

    Wrenn said the personal invective that Elizabeth Edwards decried might be lamentable but it is hardly new. In the election of 1864, for example, Democratic candidate George B. McClellan called President Lincoln “nothing more than …

  8. Betsy

    I apologize for hijacking the thread. My main excuse — I don’t feel capable of responding adequately to this crap (I mean the quoted newspaper article above). It’s Sunday morning, for crying out loud.

    My other excuse — my post is somewhat on topic as another instance of encapsulated patriarchy.

    I’m sorry, Twisty.

  9. littoralmermaid

    With regards to the women-only beach:
    I googled “Italy women-only beach” and the #1 google hit was:
    “Isn’t a women-only beach like putting a lot of food on a table and let no one eat it?”
    IBTP.

  10. LouisaMayAlcott

    Hi Betsy,

    Zooming out (as I have to cuz I’m canadian) I’d just say that *all* public interactions, and 99.999% of the private ones, in the patriarchy are poisoned.

    The degree of power being fought over certainly increases the intensity of the poisonality.

    Heheheheh word: “poisonality” shows up as a spelling error in this script – either that or it’s FireFox doing it.

  11. Marcy

    Women only beaches? It’s a start. I like the childfree part, too, cuz let’s face it, sometimes kids can be a real pain in the ass.

    I think we should divide the country in two. Give the men all the icky states to live in (I won’t enumerate said icky states at risk of offending), and all the heterosexuals can meet up at the border for a little slap and tickle and then go back to their respective quarters for everyday life.

  12. Twisty

    Lurker: If men did not feel entitled to use any and all publicly-encountered women as their personal titillation-delivery devices, a person’s genitals would not be relevant to a discussion of harrassment-free sunbathing. Idiot.

    Lurker is of course banned for antifeminist asininity.

  13. rachel

    Dogs can be a real pain in the ass too, are more apt to bite and don’t wear anything to capture their shit. I’m not entirely clear on the childfree aspect of this beach. I guess the idea is that my ideal beach experience is populated with adult females, but I don’t automatically like all the women I meet as a matter of course.

  14. Twisty

    I don’t know what the child-free bit is about, but I can speculate, from a radical feminist perspective, that the benefit of a few hours on a beach without having to run herd on the kids — which herd-running, let’s face it, is a primary feminine function — cannot be dismissed out of hand.

  15. rachel

    I see what you’re saying, Twisty, and while the child-free time on the beach is in theory appealing, I have to note that such a policy actually makes it harder, in actuality, for me (a feminist with a very young daughter) to enjoy said beach. Herd-running is a primary feminine function, as is procuring childcare when one cannot run herd. My options for childcare are not the Italians’ problem, obviously. But I feel peevish about both the material difficulty this raises, and the fact that on a structural level this policy equates my toddler to lecherous men in terms of their imposition on a third party’s enjoyment.

  16. Twisty

    Fair enough, rachel. But kids and dogs notwithstanding, the larger point here is that The Male Gaze is such a pervasive and ubiquitous form of abuse that segregation is seen to be a possible, albeit temporary, fix. If, as I mentioned above in response to our unoriginal Lurker, men were not universally compelled to pornify women, apartheid wouldn’t even enter the picture.

    Apartheid is not, of course, the solution. Men need to own up to their role in women’s oppression, and then cut it the fuck out. On an individual basis. This means you, Chad! Just because you don’t beat your girlfriend and read I Blame the Patriarchy every day doesn’t mean you get a free pass!

    In the interim, though, hell; if there was a women-only beach in Austin, I’d be there every day.

    And no, I wouldn’t care if they were all transwomen, either, so let’s not open up that can of worms again.

  17. niki

    Rachel, I understand you’re sensitive about the issue because you have a child, but your toddler is on an equal to lecherous men in terms of their imposition on a third party’s enjoyment. Not in the exact same way, mind you, but anything that has to be constantly watched for unprecedented behavior is going to infringe on the relaxation of beach culture.

    For example, if I’m sunbathing and/or frolicking in the waves alone or with friends, each time a dude bounces a volleyball or splashes sand near us, tries to talk to us or does that awful lurking/staring thing, etc. my hackles raise, my defenses go up and I am forced to be on Lookout, rather than relaxing. This also happens each time a child runs by me screaming, or cries because it didn’t get its way/hurt itself again/or splashes water/sand on me in apparent amusement or even just babbles incessantly in the high pitched endless language of children.

    I don’t think dogs should be allowed on beaches either, though, for a similar myriad of reasons. Anyone who has enjoyed the quiet amazement of an off-the-radar beach knows what I’m talking bout.

  18. rachel

    niki, it sort of sounds to me like you don’t think anyone who you haven’t brought with you should be allowed on beaches. Because teenaged girls can be very annoying. As can stupid people whose conversations infringe on one’s air space. My kid has to be constantly watched (by me) in the same way your developmentally disabled peer does, but I’m never going to suggest that she should be banned from a beach.

    I am probably sensitive because I have a kid, but am more sensitive because it’s the kind of policy that only impacts women, I would hazard.

    Agreed, the larger point is about the gaze, its ubiquity. So ubiquitous, in fact, that it informs the news piece.

  19. rachel

    “whom,” I mean; “whom you haven’t brought with you.”

  20. slashy

    I live in a city which, by virtue of some historical patriarchy-enforcement (if women are going to sea-bathe, they must do it so that their foul flesh is far from our virtuous eyes!) that has yet to be overturned by the new patriarchal viewpoint (if women are going to in any way engage in the public domain, they must do so with full exposure and capitulation to our all-encompasing gaze!), features a woman-only ocean pool. This ocean pool survives as a women-only space pretty much only because it’s in a place that no-one else really wants to swim in, but it’s still one of the most amazing public spaces I’ve ever experienced.

    The name of it is whispered from young lesbian ear to young lesbian ear (at least, that’s how I found out about it), and the first warm days of spring, enormous swathes of the space are carpeted with the frolicking forms of females free of immediate male presence. It’s amazing to me because this ocean pool on a warm day hosts not only a regular and tightly-packed crowd of women who are visually identifiable as lesbians but also: many dozens of elderly women of indeterminate sexuality, plus large crowds of women-of-middle-eastern-appearance who turn up in headscarves but strip down to swim in comfortable-looking swimming gear, plus huge quantities of all sorts of other women, who fit into none of those three categories. Despite being a none-too-lovely pool (it suffers from a lack of complete tidal flush-out, so the water can get pretty grimy & sludgy) in an inconvenient location (a large hike up a hill, through an unmarked gate) with pretty much no amenities, it still packs out completely on every even vaguely-swimmable day.

    In addition to being a space where I can swim free of eyes that will voraciously judge every bump & wiggle of my body, I adore it for the rare and beautiful solidarity of being among the many, many varieties of women who actively seek out & enjoy spaces free of male presence & the usually-inescapable male gaze.

  21. magickitty

    slashy, that sounds spectacular. Let’s hope the P never find out about it.

    Betsy, here’s my thoughts on what you should write.

    It’s unfortunate that J. Peder Zane shows and enforces his/her political bias in (news story). A different writer would have wtore that Elizabeth Edwards was not “incensed” but remained calm during her exchange with Ann Coulter; that Coulter grew more agitated through the exchange and resorted to childishness and petulance; that no claws were bared, but rather, an iconoclastic woman who prides herself on bluntness and hard-line attitude was unable to respond in kind to a civil, reasonable request.

    In short, a different writer would not have debased our political dialogue.

    Sincerely,
    Betsy

    Feel free to cut’n'paste. My letter writing skillz are yours for the taking.

  22. thebewilderness

    Betsy,

    Attacks replace issues; politics turns poisonous

    By J. Peder Zane, Staff Writer

    Dear Peder,
    You appear to be doing your part as one of the broader forces debasing the dialogue.
    “But analysts say this prime-time showdown reflects broader forces — especially talk radio, 24/7 cable news and the Internet — that have reshaped American culture and politics in the past 20 years.”
    Funny how ‘journalists’ pretend to be an observer of the thing that they, themselves, are doing.

    Or you could go after him on the language he uses being a tool to debase the discourse as well as the people involved in the dispute.

    If you think to yourself, what is the most important thing this asshat needs to know, it helps focus on what you want to say. It is difficult, though, because he committed so many felonys in a few short sentences. Good luck.

  23. Gayle

    rachel,

    You and your daughter are welcome to enjoy my theoretical all-women beach, anytime. And bring your little dog, too!

    Regarding the commercial, the contemporary re-write of that classic fairy tale really steams me. In the original version, the princess turns down the lecherous, annoying frog in no uncertain terms and then hammers home her point by hurling him violently against a wall. That’s what turns him into a prince.

    There’s a good lesson to be learned from the original tale, and it has nothing to do with hurting frogs.

  24. Jezebella

    There are plenty of adult-only places in the world, why not a beach here and there?

    Yes, I know, you have kids, you want to take them to the beach sometimes. But wouldn’t it be nice to say to your co-parent, “Honey, I’m going to the beach with my friends, and kids aren’t allowed. You’re in charge for the afternoon”?

  25. rachel

    Thanks, Jezebella, for pointing out both the appeal and possibility of leaving my kid with a coparent while i lounged at the beach. My objection was purely a failure of imagination.

    I don’t think there are that many adults only public spaces, actually. Nor do I think there are that many expressly adults only private spaces, save strip clubs. So there, the logic is that kids interfere with/are incompatible with/are too innocent for the intense pornoculation of a strip club. I fail to see the feminist extension of that to a beach.

  26. Lisa

    (This is from a different Lisa than above.)

    I’m a woman with children and a dog who loves the beach. Children and dogs both need supervision and can both be annoying, as can men, of course.

    I don’t have a problem with a man-free beach. Sounds great. I don’t have any problem with a child-free beach either. I get that sometimes people don’t want to hear my toddlers sing annoying kidtunes at the top of their lungs. I just don’t know if it should be the same beach. I support people’s right to be child-free. And I read with interest some of Twisty’s posts about a postmodern world where women don’t bear the sole burden of raising children. But we aren’t there, now. And I think it is a disservice to feminism to separate into two factions the child-free and the mothers.

    If the beach didn’t specifically not allow children but allow dogs, it would be different. I think having a “Quiet” beach is a nice idea. No kids, dogs, or screaming volleyball games or what have you. But for the organizers of this beach to specifically allow dogs and not kids, it seems to show a bias against mothers. Depending on your preferences, dogs and kids are arguably equally annoying. This beach seems to want to cater to a very particular crowd of people hand picked by its organizers. If that is the case, start a private club.

    I would even be okay with a men free beach that was subdivided into a louder, dog/kid/screaming volleyball secttion and a quiet/no kid/sunbath only section. But to have a woman’s beach that essentially excludes mothers seems as oppressive as a beach where I can bring my kids/dog/developmentally disabled friend but have to contend with the male gaze.

  27. Caukee

    Count me among those who don’t understand why dogs are allowed. I don’t want canines trying to lick my crotch, either.

    The obvious reason for excluding children is
    that their mothers cannot be relied on to leave the older males at home. I say this from the vantage point of my experiences with boys of 8 or so peering up at me from under the adjacent bathroom stall. Any age set will be contested for eternity.

    I don’t know why it’s so hard to understand that when you choose to have children, among the things you give up is the right to attend adult-only events and venues with them in tow. It is a simple fact of life. It is a mistake to confuse the issue with lack of child care, women’s salaries, etc., as important as those issues are. We, the childless aunts and neighbors and friends, are not your enemies. Treating us as such is not going to encourage us to babysit so you can go to the beach.

    Going somewhat off-topic to ask if anyone knows the term for the segregation that takes place in elementary school, where suddenly all girls have cooties, and boys, apparently, don’t want to play with them because of it. Although it is loss of status with the male peer group that is the cause, of course; I know that cooties are code for “not one of us,” so low-status males are also defined and pushed out at this time. This was a traumatic time for me, whose girliness was, shall we say, underdeveloped, and whose friends were 90% male. I wanted to see what child development types have to say about this, but it’s proving difficult to look up. Does it have an established name ?

  28. ceezee

    Gayle,

    Where did you hear that about the original story? That’s pretty amazing. I would like to see it in full so I could glean the original message for myself.

    And Twisty,

    The fact that you pointed out that the princess and the frog bit was “blowjob propaganda for toddlers” pretty much ruined that story for me forever. Not that I’m complaining or anything. I see your point and it’s hard to argue, but wow. This blaming stuff can be brutal on all the pieces of childhood that I’ve held dear and unexamined for so long.

  29. Marcy

    My kid has to be constantly watched (by me) in the same way your developmentally disabled peer does, but I’m never going to suggest that she should be banned from a beach.

    Ha, ha. That reminds me of a time when I got a karmic ass whipping. I went into a restaurant alone, hoping for a tasty meal and some peace and quiet to read a book. I asked the hostess to seat me away from any families with small children.

    Ho, ho. I’m so cunning, I thought to myself. Well, it turned out that someone a couple tables over was severely disabled and could only make some sort of gutteral screaming sounds, which he proceeded to do about every 3 minutes. :-)

    Just when you think you can get some quiet in a public place, you get the ol’ smack down.

  30. Marcy

    But to have a woman’s beach that essentially excludes mothers seems as oppressive as a beach where I can bring my kids/dog/developmentally disabled friend but have to contend with the male gaze.

    I think the automatic assumption that all women have children and will be dragging them to every public venue is oppressive. And a “no children” beach doesn’t exclude mothers, it excludes children. I find it hard to believe that a woman can’t ever, not one time ever, find someone to look after her child for a couple hours, whether it’s her partner, her mother, a friend, a paid babysitter or what have you.

    Some women don’t have kids, and some women would like to get away from theirs for a while. I don’t see anything wrong with that. What I don’t like is that all the adults only venues are bars and strip clubs. I want to go to a regular restaurant, or a beach, or the library, or whatever and not be forced to be part of the “village.”

  31. Lisa

    Caukee,

    Your point about 8 year old boys and whenever the male gaze starts is a good one.

    However when you say, “I don’t know why it’s so hard to understand that when you choose to have children, among the things you give up is the right to attend adult-only events and venues with them in tow,” I disagree with that because the beach and outdoors in general is not an “adult-only” setting. I do understand that sometimes it is nice to be free of children. I certainly understand because sometimes I want to be free of MY children. But by making this beach for women without children, basically it means that us mom’s who want to enjoy the beach with the kids just have to suck it up to the fact that when we had kids, we lost our right to have a place to be free of the male gaze.

    I certainly don’t object to some beaches being quiet/no children beaches. But in this particular case, no men/no kids and yes dogs doesn’t make any sense and it seems that it might be the childless in this situation who are treating the mothers as their enemies, not the other way around as you suggest.

  32. tinfoil hattie

    Caukee,

    Name me a venue, besides the aforementioned strip clubs and I guess some bars, that is officially “child free.”

    I’ve seen a few furniture stores in my day that banned children, but other than those and the bars, I have never heard of anywhere else that is specifically enforced as “adults only.”

  33. delphyne

    “it seems that it might be the childless in this situation who are treating the mothers as their enemies, not the other way around as you suggest.”

    Certainly seems that way to me, and I don’t have any kids. I’m always wary of mothers and children being discriminated against because its root is often misogyny.

  34. LouisaMayAlcott

    Nobody has yet mentioned the need of female children for freedom from the intrusion and dangers of the male gaze.

    Ever noticed that female children always come last?

  35. tinfoil hattie

    Good point, Louisa.

  36. thebewilderness

    While I don’t want to read too much into this, I suspect that in Italy the mothers with children are assumed to have husbands to protect them from other men, so they aren’t considered to be in need of further protection. Unsupervised women in public are considered fair game in Italy, and pretty much everywhere else.
    Although it could be that they banned the children because they didn’t want the complication of sorting out when a boy child becomes a man to be banned.

  37. bitchphd

    Just suck the dick, girls. Sex will pay off.

    That is a hilarious take on the frog prince story. I’ve never thought of it that way; how disturbingly probable…

  38. goblinbee

    It was from a (male) professor in college that I first learned that the frog is the phallus, and that fairy tales were established to ready children for later, adult sex. The frog is ugly and wrinkled and grows larger (the throat expands when it sings), but becomes beautiful when kissed. Pricking your finger is a metaphor for menstruation; sleeping for a hundred years afterwards symbolizes not allowing your sexuality to awaken until the right man comes along; etc.

  39. Sniper

    Kiss Sleeping Beauty Goodbye by Madonna Kolbenschlag is an great feminist take on fairy tales and their symbolism.

  40. Helen

    Rachel, I understand you’re sensitive about the issue because you have a child, but your toddler is on an equal to lecherous men in terms of their imposition on a third party’s enjoyment. Not in the exact same way, mind you, but anything that has to be constantly watched for unprecedented behavior is going to infringe on the relaxation of beach culture.

    For example, if I’m sunbathing and/or frolicking in the waves alone or with friends, each time a dude bounces a volleyball or splashes sand near us, tries to talk to us or does that awful lurking/staring thing, etc. my hackles raise, my defenses go up and I am forced to be on Lookout, rather than relaxing. This also happens each time a child runs by me screaming, or cries because it didn’t get its way/hurt itself again/or splashes water/sand on me in apparent amusement or even just babbles incessantly in the high pitched endless language of children.

    etc…

    Neither you nor Rachel nor any of the other commenters have brought up the pertinent fact. It’s not about kids being annoying. It’s about the fact that while on the beach with a young child, the mum’s time is not her own. She can’t swim, read or nap because the child will drown.

    Therefore, to be a true women-only space, you’d have a women ONLY space. I’m personally in favour of bringing the children, otherwise many mums won’t be able to come at all. But to be a truly relaxing experience for yourself (not for others), you wouldn’t bring a toddler to the beach.

  41. Gayle

    ceezee,

    The Frog and the Princess

    BTW, he doesn’t actually ask for a kiss, either. He demands to sleep in her bed.

  42. kiki

    Nobody has yet mentioned the need of female children for freedom from the intrusion and dangers of the male gaze.

    My ten year old daughter would like nothing better than a male free beach/pool. It is nauseating to see grown men leer at your child and it is infuriating to watch her wrap up in a towel and sit on a chair totally grossed out.

  43. Frumious B.

    Dogs should be allowed as long as they are on leashes.

    The kid free bit is kind of odd. The problem with kids is when they get in my space. I don’t mean that I can hear them and it bothers me (although it does). I mean they run up to me and touch me. That bothers me a lot. If I can’t be at a beach without kids, I would like to be at a beach where the kids do not run into me or across my towel.

  44. Twisty

    Interesting that this should have turned into a referendum on kids.

  45. Frumious B.

    I don’t know why it’s so hard to understand that when you choose to have children, among the things you give up is the right to attend adult-only events and venues with them in tow.

    I think it has something to do with not wanting to be housebound for the next quarter century while you wait for the kids to grow up and get out. Yeah, there’s a problem with parents taking kids to events which the kids are not old enough to pay attention to, and there is a problem with parents taking kids who are old enough but without a talk about what kind of behavior is expected. There is also a problem with too many spaces being defined as child-free by nature when really children of the appropriate maturity with a talk beforehand and maybe an intermission bail-out would be just fine.

  46. RKMK

    Interesting that this should have turned into a referendum on kids.

    Not totally surprising though – a recent thread on Feministe on the subject of people hyperbolizing their annoyance with children (i.e. “God, I hate kids”) turned into a marathon wank of a thread. I think it hit 700 comments.

    I think the “no-children” thing for the Italian beach is, as suggested above, linked to the psychology of Italian men specifically. I’m sure there’s a madonna/whore complex hiding in there, but even if a mother is at the beach without her husband present, the presence of the children alone is probably enough to discourage or cause disinterest in male harassers. In their minds, those women are matronly/non-sexual/already slaves to the patriarchal machine, and therefore do not need to be harassed and objectified, unlike those dirty sluts tramping around in skimpy swimwear, who are obviously just there to entice men with displays of skin and jiggle. I can’t speak to Italian culture firsthand, but from what I gather, I can imagine that sexually harassing mothers in front of their children isn’t kosher, as it were.

    In short, I imagine that the no-child distinction is related to some aim to protect women who don’t have that child-buffer.

  47. rachel

    It’s especially interesting that this should turn into a referendum on kids and the appropriateness of their presence/mandated absence given that a portion of the original post was lamenting a film short which traficked in the humor of children as manipulable objects, as opposed to human subjects.

  48. rachel

    ” It’s about the fact that while on the beach with a young child, the mum’s time is not her own. She can’t swim, read or nap because the child will drown.

    Therefore, to be a true women-only space, you’d have a women ONLY space.”

    The final sentence is true in an unassailable way, and I find this at least partially persuasive in that it keeps the women most directly affected by the policy at the fore. These other arguments about how kids get up in your business with their noise and general kiddiness I find suspect. You are free to not like kids or their effect on your experience. Just like you are free to not like minorities and they effect they have on your own personal experience. Neither predilection means you are entitled to a space free from those persons, who, like it are not, are an inevitable, and disenfranchised, part of society.

  49. Random Lurker

    I really loved everything about this women only beach until I read an article in the Guardian that said one man would be allowed. The (male) owner is insisting on a male lifeguard because he doesn’t think a woman can do the job! The P bites us in the ass yet again. Apparently the beach’s manager is a woman (the owner’s daughter) so hopefully she’ll keep the lone dude in line.
    After being leered at by 10-12 year old boys in women’s loos and change rooms I can see why kids aren’t allowed. I don’t think it’s anything against mothers per se.

  50. roamaround

    Helen said: “Neither you nor Rachel nor any of the other commenters have brought up the pertinent fact. It’s not about kids being annoying. It’s about the fact that while on the beach with a young child, the mum’s time is not her own. She can’t swim, read or nap because the child will drown.”

    That was my immediate interpretation. I’ve spent some time in Italy with Italian women friends, and their lives were so bound by family obligations they would have loved the opportunity to escape. The only way to do it would be to say that the kids aren’t allowed. There are often more extended family ties too than in North America so that there would likely be someone else to watch the little monsters.

    This thread is interesting timing for me since I am currently the horrible child-hating spinster at my gym for objecting to the new “Children’s Swim” on Saturday morning. That had been my cherished time to unwind and relax with yoga and swimming after a rough week in the classroom, but no longer.

    Dozens of screaming kids take up 2/3 of the pool now, and according to the front desk people and the owner I am a horrible person for objecting to it. It’s not the Y, mind you; it’s a fairly expensive gym which I splurge on as a mental health investment.

    Another regular swimmer, more mild mannered that I, said she didn’t like the Kid’s Swim (9 to 11:30 AM!) either but was afraid to say so because she doesn’t have kids and doesn’t want people to think she hates kids. “I have a nephew,” she said apologetically, “and I love him, but I don’t want kids around all the time!”

    And *surprise!* the women’s locker room is a mess on Saturdays now but they don’t want to add any staff to clean it because, as the desk clerk said, “It wouldn’t be fair to ask them to clean the women’s locker room more.”

    I told them it would be discriminatory to allow the women’s locker room to deteriorate because of this new program. They acted like I was the devil, and I think I’ll get kicked out of the gym now. The Kid’s Swim is the owner’s baby (ha).

    There may be cases where mothers and children get treated unfairly and I would condemn that where it happens, but in general I don’t think childless/free women have the upper hand under the patriarchy.

  51. Patti

    Actually, it was a huge turning point in my developing feminism when I had my first child, and realized that, childless, I had been able to sometimes move through the culture almost as a man. But once I had a child, I could no longer “pass”.

  52. kiki

    Wow. You know there are people who are still angry they let them coloreds swim in their pool, too. Sheesh I am always amazed when people act as if children are somehow not fully human. I have come to expect it from a man but am always saddened when this sentiment is expressed by a woman. It doesn’t bode well for feminism.

  53. Marcy

    Actually, it was a huge turning point in my developing feminism when I had my first child, and realized that, childless, I had been able to sometimes move through the culture almost as a man. But once I had a child, I could no longer “pass”

    Sheesh I am always amazed when people act as if children are somehow not fully human. I have come to expect it from a man but am always saddened when this sentiment is expressed by a woman. It doesn’t bode well for feminism.

    I don’t think it bodes well for feminism that women aren’t allowed to opt out of traditionally feminine roles. Who’s holding us back? Men? Not in the childfree/childed fracas. It’s other women.

    Why is it OK for men to not like children, but not women? It’s a double standard. The same double standard that says the woman will be judged for the state of her home, even if she has an outside job, and the husband is the househusband/stay-at-home dad.

    As for the comment about “passing as a man,” that made me think of light-skinned blacks being “outed” by darker-skinned blacks for passing as white, or butch lesbians and effeminate gay men outing their queer brothers and sisters who were passing as straight. Are we so cruel that we can’t stand any of our brothers and sisters having it easier than we do? Should we all suffer equally under the patriarchy?

    Living under a patriarchy sucks. Plain and simple. We all have our ways of dealing with it. We’re told not to blame women for staying in relationships because they’re doing what they can to get by. We’re not supposed to blame them for shaving or wearing makeup b/c they’re doing what they can to get by. Well, women who opt out of marriage and children are doing what they can as well. The nuclear family is one of the most oppressive things about the patriarchy. Why are some women getting all this anger because they’ve bypassed it? Is it envy? Are we trying to drag down our sisters who have it a little better b/c it isn’t fair?

    So, we should all marry dickheads and have babies so that we can bond in true sisterhood?

    I’ll probably think better of this comment in the morning, but I’m angry because there has been a spate of posts across the blogosphere lately about how terrible the childfree are because they “hate children,” blah, blah, blah.

  54. MM

    It’s really hard for me to see any objection to a woman-only child free beach. For the fact that many mothers would not be able to enjoy this simple freedom, IBTB.

  55. Cara-he

    The thing is – and I know that am about to lose all my “motherhood points” – children are not adults. On my cranky days I silently affirm in my head that I am turning mine into a human, and someday, hopefully soon, I will succeed.
    Children are not born with manners, with “quiet” voices, with an an instinct for truthfullness, or with NON-destructive tendencies. We have to train them to develop these habits. Children yell, they fight, they pour sand in your purse (and those of strangers), and they willfully seek out dangerous situations in which to place themselves.

    Women, all women, are already FAR too burdened with the expectation that they have some sort of natural mothering instincts, regardless of the parentage of te child in question. We are expected to mind “those” kids regardless of wether or not they belong to us.

    Bringing our kids to places generally or specifically intended to be enjoyed by other adults – who usually pay for the privilage of doing so – just means that any woman present is expected by society at large to keep a watchful eye on said kids.
    Mothers, I do not say this as an insult. I am, and I have no doubt you are, fully capable of minding my own when they are in my charge. This is not about you. this is about the burden that that mindfulness places on women who simply want to be out by themselves and relax quietly. In spite of the fact that it is not intended, yes, this expectation does exist.

    Had I the opportunity of going to a women’s only space, I would not want to have to shush, repel, entertain, or otherwise mind your children during my extremely rare chance not to be required to do so for all the adult male children (AMC for short) that I constantly have to deal with in the course of my everyday life.

    And guess what? That does not make me anti-feminist, anymore than it makes me a bad mother. It just makes me a weary, weary taceau.

  56. Patti

    Yes, I actually did use the word “pass” on purpose. I’d love to see a whole discussion on who children “belong to” and who is responsible for them, and who benefits from the human race reproducing. And “passing”.

    And I’m not part of a nuclear family and I don’t have people I can leave my kid with, and my life is just wickedly isolated. Maybe us women with kids can have a corner of the fucking beach without the asshole men? The really shitty corner, of course, not the nice part, you can have that, because I wouldn’t want us all to suffer equally, that would just be terrible of me. If you let us have just a bit of beach, we promise we’ll clean up the dog shit.

  57. Patti

    You know, I’m just so furious about this. Yes, I do understand there are women who would rather not be around kids, and that’s absolutely fine with me. But to throw it all on the mothers to deal with – holy shit, have you no imaginations, either to imagine women’s lives as mothers, or to imagine solutions? When I was in college, I ran the parent center on campus, and we provided childcare for campus events, so parents who wanted to attend without their children COULD. I had to fight for funding from the student activities budget – they had funding for sports, but said that parenting was a choice, and to be addressed by the individual. This was 20 YEARS AGO and some of you sound just like the guy who managed the student activities budgets. I’m disgusted.

  58. thesprouter

    Just wanted to say that “The princess-kissing-the-frog story is blowjob propaganda for toddlers,” is my quote of the day. I’m putting it on my voicemail for the day, and seeing what kind of response I get. Very true, and troubling. You’re my hero, Twisty.

  59. Dawn Coyote

    As I understand it, on Wreck Beach, the nudists voluntarily segregate themselves into three sections: gay men, parents w/children and pedophiles, and everybody else.

    But really, in Vancouver we’re filthy with beaches. We’ve got so many beaches we could have four of each and still have a few beaches to spare. Maybe it’s like that in that Italian town, too, and nnobody that wants a beach need go without.

    Besides, it’s easy enough for parents with kids to make a place unpleasant for most everyone else (well, except pedophiles), and a bunch of men could EASILY get a beach all to themselves. All they’d have to do is be obnoxious and creepy enough, and everyone but the strippers will keep away.

  60. Dawn Coyote

    Random Lurker said: “The (male) owner is insisting on a male lifeguard . . .”

    Maybe he’ll be a eunuch?

  61. Crys T

    “Why is it OK for men to not like children, but not women?”

    It’s not okay for ANYONE to dislike children. It’s okay not to want children yourself, and it’s okay to sometimes want spaces that are child-free so you can relax. It’s okay to dislike specific children because they’re insufferable. But not liking children in general? Just another offshoot of misogyny and that godawful American hyper-individualism that comes from dude culture. Reject it.

    You can be a feminist and choose not to be a mother yourself, but you can’t be a feminist and be anti-mother and anti-children.

  62. Crys T

    I just read Patti’s post, which is a perfect example of why it’s not okay to be anti-child: the person who ends up bearing the brunt is the mother.

    If I were setting up a woman-only beach, I’d have a creche facility so single mums and any others who couldn’t find someone to take care of the kids could come along and enjoy themselves.

    It’s really shitty that women who call themselves feminists are just as capable of spouting the “hey, you got yourself pregnant, YOU sort out child care,” crap as any anti-feminist troll.

  63. therealUK

    Wow. You know there are people who are still angry they let them coloreds swim in their pool, too. Sheesh I am always amazed when people act as if children are somehow not fully human. I have come to expect it from a man but am always saddened when this sentiment is expressed by a woman. It doesn’t bode well for feminism.

    These conversations would go a lot better if people stopped for a moment and thought about the huge and vital difference between basic visual appearance and actual intrusive BEHAVIOUR.

    I do not want to be leered at/screamed at/have my stuff wrecked/have my boundaries trampled on, DOES NOT EQUAL waaaaaahhhh here’s your evil oppprressssor.

    The recognition that children are human comes with a recognition of their responibility to learn social boundaries.

    Do people think that adolescent male arseholes just spring into being out of nowhere age 17 (or whatever) ? No, they grow up, as a children, in a world where other people’s boundaries – specifically the boundaries of women and girls – are given sod-all respect.

    And if women *with* children want better treatment from the world at large (and they do have a right to better treatment), then the way forward is not to shit all over other women who very rarely, very occasionally say, well you know, I want my boundaries respected here – for a change – and want to step away from the aggravation for a brief moment.

    You’re really aiming at the wrong target, having a go at women who (shock horror gasp) dare to want safe space for themselves.

  64. Cara-he

    Hey, Chrys-T,

    Before you call me a troll, I would like to redirect your attention to the part of my post where I said that I AM A MOTHER. I am also poor, single, and queer. DO NOT invalidate my voice because my fantasy is a few brief hours of being a person and not Mama. And more to the point, we are allowed not to like fauna – as individuals, as units, and as species. I don’t like birds, men as a group, certain invertebrates, and most children. When any or all of these become people, I am willing to reconsider my feelings toward them. No one here wants to exterminate children. They simply want some time off.

    Heck, the no kids rule eliminates me too – and I LOVE the idea of a creche – but someday when I am the mother of independant people, I would like to have a whack at a women’s only beach.

  65. Cara-he

    And thank you, therealUK.

    Keep that beach nice till I get there, eh?

  66. rachel

    “You’re really aiming at the wrong target, having a go at women who (shock horror gasp) dare to want safe space for themselves.”

    A little alarmist with our use of “safe,” no? Kids are making us feel unsafe now? To the extent that we interpret the no-child policy as an attempt to encourage mothers to get some space from their kids, I am supportive, but to the extent that kids are a threat to safety on par with men, I scoff. The language of this discussion would be more honest if it stuck with “inconvenience” and “annoyance.”

    It’s not just childfree people who get frustrated with kids; I tend to have no patience for kids other than my own. But I also have no patience for the very piously religious or the very abrasively right-wing. I have no right to expect that a woman-only beach will also shield me from those persons I find annoying or distasteful. I don’t know when the feminist utopia started to mean the right to never ever be annoyed.

  67. TinaH

    I have a 3 year old and a coparent, and am right now considering myself pretty privileged for that arrangement. I can hie off to yon women only beach with my girlfriends. Child-free spaces rock, so do man-free spaces. Heck, I imagine that kids think that parent-free spaces are pretty awesome too. Just because I love you with all my heart and soul does not mean that I want to spend my every waking minute with you. And that’s ok.

  68. LurkyLurkerson

    Thank you, therealUK, for saying what I have been lurkingly thinking throughout this thread.

    Begging Crys T’s pardon, but I DO dislike children as a group between the ages of four or five and twelve or thirteen – or at least their almost universal behavior. I live in Florida and refrain from going to the beach between spring break and September specifically because it is lousy with men and children. There is no peace to be had so I’ll skip until they go back to school/work/whatever. I would welcome a men/child free beach, but can’t afford the airfare to Italy. Please do NOT equate disliking the noise, mess, demands and chaos of children with not wantin’ them darkies in my pool. That’s crap and a borderline abusive argument that does nothing but try to disallow any opinion but your own.

    Disliking children doesn’t discriminate against anyone. I fully and completely recognize your right to have children and their undeniable right to exist. But to say that I don’t have the right to dislike children is what is mysoginist – what, because I am female I must therefore enjoy the company of or at least smilingly tolerate the charming behavior of every little urchin in my zip code?

    Now I’m really going to fry your brain – I am a teacher. A purposefully childless woman, who disklikes young children but who chooses to teach adolescent children? Thaaat’s riiight. *da da dahhhh*. I teach middle and high school and love it. I also spend every school day wrestling to contain and hopefully change a little of the rampant bad behavior wrought by parents in their children. The anti woman, anti gay, anti minority, anti anything-different-fromwhitemaleexperience atmosphere is astounding. It’s okay to be female if you’re hot and okay to be a minority if your a rapper or an athelete. Otherwise, you have no value. Helping to open their eyes to a wider experience and helping them explore the people they are becoming is amazing, and I sincerely hope that they leave my class with at least a start on understanding why they think what they do – even if it doesn’t change.

    I still don’t want to be on the beach with them. I suppose my teaching license should be revoked.

  69. TrespassersW

    I do not agree that the father in the second video is verbally abusing his children. He asks them to respect an imaginary line and not hit each other. He tells them not to use bad language. He imposing warnings if they persist in hitting each other. He asks them to be good. As is children’s wont, they completely ignore him and continue doing it. This is what is normal, children winding their parents up to screaming point.

    Have you ever gone on a long car journey with children? They can be hell. They are NOT adults and do NOT have the self-control or consideration of adults. When was the last time your adult passengers squealed, bickered and hit each other repeatedly despite your repeated entreaties? The onslaught on your concentration while driving at speed is life-endangering, to you or the pedestrian you mow down. And when children start hitting each other in annoyance, I do not call it horsing around, I call it physical violence and deem it unacceptable.

    From various comments in this thread it seems people definitely don’t like ill-behaved children hence not wanting them at the beach. Civilising your children to the point at which others find them acceptable company does require some sanctions, restrictions, rewards, warnings, punishments over a tediously repetitive period of years. If disciplining children is to be categorised as abuse then a parent cannot win either way. I feel quite despairing. It reminds me of a rather bitter saying I once read: “If a woman’s place is in the home, a mother’s place is in the wrong.”

  70. Twisty

    The kids in the car video, like the real kids throughout American civilization upon which their characters are based, are insolent and desultory because they are being asked to respect an ineffectual authority for no reason.

  71. Crys T

    Cara-he: I did not say “Cara-he is a troll,” I said, “it’s sad that some supposed feminists can sound like anti-feminist trolls.”

    And you will also note that I never said that women can’t occasionally want child-free space/time. I only said that disliking chidlren in general is anti-feminist (which it is: any blanket dislike of an entire section of humanity is anti-feminist [and no, that doesn't include hating people who are in a class due to social roles that they themselves chose, like, say, KKK members, so don't anyone pull the, "So now I'm not allowed to hate MRA's (or whatever)...WAAAAAAHHHHH!"]). So why are you arguing with me?

    Lurky: “because I am female I must therefore enjoy the company of or at least smilingly tolerate the charming behavior of every little urchin in my zip code?”

    And again, I did not say, “it is wrong for females to not dislike children, but, “it is wrong for ANYONE to dislike children.” The last time I checked, the term “anyone” included males. In other words: it’s YOU who turned my statement into “women must be nurturers” in you own brain. Try reading what I wrote next time.

    “Disliking children doesn’t discriminate against anyone.”

    And disliking women (or Black people, or Jews, or people in wheelchairs), in and of itself, doesn’t discriminate againt anyone. But that dislike can and frequently does spill over into supporting discrimination. And it sure as fuck means the person doing the disliking is an evil pig.

    What the hell is wrong with people? It’s not okay to dislike giant sections of the population based on nothing more than age.

    “Now I’m really going to fry your brain – I am a teacher.”

    Oh right: a teacher who hates children, there’s a novelty. After all, none of us ever had to deal with them when we were in school. What a wonder of nature you truly are.

    Now let me fry yours (yeah, right): I am childless by choice. I just don’t have that sick, depraved (and unfortunately, if the Internet is anything to go by, dominant in America) idea that disliking children is somehow an acceptable prejudice. It isn’t.

    There is something terribly wrong with a culture when its adults are so isolated from children they have no understanding of them and no idea of how to effectively interact with them. And enough with the bullshit about screaming and bad behaviour. Yes, of course that exists, but to say that it’s standard for all children is ignorant in the extreme.

    I think the problem with most of those who are anti-child is not that they need more child-free space, but that they have far, far too much already.

    And, let me repeat again: fucking read my previous comment and you’ll see that I never, ever, not once said that women were not entitled to some childfree space/time.

    But I guess if you did that, you’d have to stop beating the StrawCrys-T. And that’s just no damn fun, is it?

  72. delphyne

    People here must have had some bad experiences with children. I’ve been to loads of beaches with kids on them and I’ve never experienced the kind of behaviour that people are talking about. Most children on beaches are doing their own thing. It’s a place where children (and everyone else) can be happy.

    It appears that for some people, the mere presence of children is enough to annoy them. Even thinking about them on this thread seems to be pissing a few people off.

  73. Marcy

    Women, all women, are already FAR too burdened with the expectation that they have some sort of natural mothering instincts, regardless of the parentage of te child in question. We are expected to mind “those” kids regardless of whether or not they belong to us.

    Bringing our kids to places generally or specifically intended to be enjoyed by other adults – who usually pay for the privilage of doing so – just means that any woman present is expected by society at large to keep a watchful eye on said kids.
    Mothers, I do not say this as an insult. I am, and I have no doubt you are, fully capable of minding my own when they are in my charge. This is not about you. this is about the burden that that mindfulness places on women who simply want to be out by themselves and relax quietly. In spite of the fact that it is not intended, yes, this expectation does exist.

    Well said. I was thinking that last night but never got around to stating that.

    I was thinking that if a mother with a child(ren) was in a public venue and something happened where she might benefit from the kindness of strangers, who is she going to be more pissed at if they ignore her and her offspring? A man. Or a woman?

  74. Marcy

    You can be a feminist and choose not to be a mother yourself, but you can’t be a feminist and be anti-mother and anti-children.

    I disagree. Can I be a feminist and be anti-marriage? Of course, since marriage is oppressive. Well guess what? In a patriarchy, being a mother is oppressive. If there wasn’t so much propaganda about how raising children is The Most Important Job in the World (TM), and if I didn’t think I’d get my head bitten off, I’d travel around the country doing speaking engagements in high school telling girls not to ever make babies, that it’ll lead to their severe oppression and limited opportunities, whether they’re married or single.

    And yes, I know that humans will go extinct, and I’m OK with that.

  75. rachel

    Marcy, being anti-procreation is in fact not the same thing as being anti-mother or anti-children. Even being anti-mootherhood is not the same thing as being anti-mother. Procreation is an act that does, in fact, often lead to limits and patriarchal oppression. Mothers and children are humans.

    I get your right to not agree with my choices and even to think that my choices are contributing to an abhorrent system. I think you are wrong, but I don’t really care about changing your mind. I strenuously object to the idea that your objection to my choices gives you a right to object to my kid or to be shielded from her presence.

  76. littoralmermaid

    “You can be a feminist and choose not to be a mother yourself, but you can’t be a feminist and be anti-mother and anti-children.”
    Well, yeah, this is going back to the “if you’re criticizing x patriarchy approved choice you’re criticizing me and you don’t like me”. I wear makeup and if radfems criticize compulsory femininity, I don’t consider it to be anti-me.

    “And yes, I know that humans will go extinct, and I’m OK with that.”
    Considering the explosive overpopulation, even if everyone stopped having kids now, we wouldn’t die out tomorrow, and by the time the population size did get critical, we might figure out parthenogenesis.

  77. Crys T

    Marcy, you can be a feminist and against the way motherhood is defined within patriarchy, of course. And you can be a feminist and be childfree by choice. No one here has ever at any time tried to say that breeding should be mandatory (and I’m getting more than a bit pissed off at the assumption that considering children human must automatically mean women have to bear them by the dozen and that it’s up to women and women only to care for and socialise with them). But you CANNOT be feminist and not support mothers, who are, after all, women who are suffering under patriarchy. No way. Not ever.

    And it is emphatically not okay to be bigoted against a segment of humanity.

    Like you, I don’t think it’d be any great tragedy for the human race to die out, but I also think that it’s imperative for us to radically change the way we think about & treat mothers and children. And if that’s not likely to happen in the wider society, then at the very fucking least feminists should be doing so.

    God people, why can’t stressing that mothers need time off, and that if a father wants to be considered a real parent, he could start acting like one be included in a child-positive culture?

  78. delphyne

    Make-up and having children aren’t analagous. One existed before the patriarchy and will exist afterwards, make-up on the other hand will disappear along with all the other women-oppressing practices when patriarchy is smashed.

  79. RKMK

    I refuse to agree that simply because I do not enjoy other people’s children throwing food at me in restaurants, or running up and down the aisle screaming and hitting on a transatlantic flight, I need to turn in my feminist credentials. It doesn’t fly. Sorry.

  80. Star42

    *Sigh*…after reading the comments, I understand why change will never happen in this world. No one can ever agree on anything.

  81. Otter

    IBTP for this argument.

    We are all so consumed and hurt by what is denied us that we are left fighting each other for the scraps of even the theoretical pie.

    Imagining a world in which there are beaches (and spaces) enough for women only w/o kids, women with kids, women with dogs, etc. And obnoxious men were forced to one small segregated beach where they could have their testosterone parties with each other. Well-behaved men could join women on general well-behaved beaches, and there could be men-and-kid-friendly beaches for those who want to go there.

    Imagining a world in which men’s bad behavior resulted in measures to contain/control them rather than contain/control us.

  82. rachel

    You’re allowed to dislike badly behaved children. I dislike them; I dislike badly behaved adult people as well. I tend to hold adults more accountable for their behavior, individually, than I do children, and I allow neither dislike to be lazily extended to an indictment of an entire category of humans.

  83. delphyne

    Who enjoys that? But jumping from that to disliking all children isn’t feminist.

    Just as a matter of interest how many times have you had food thrown at you in restaurants by kids, or been hugely disturbed on transatlantic flights? The way some people are talking here it’s like it’s a daily occurrence.

  84. Jezebella

    “I don’t think there are that many adults only public spaces, actually. Nor do I think there are that many expressly adults only private spaces, save strip clubs. So there, the logic is that kids interfere with/are incompatible with/are too innocent for the intense pornoculation of a strip club. I fail to see the feminist extension of that to a beach.”

    Actually, Rachel, there are entire housing developments and apartment complexes and condo buildings that are designated adults-only.

  85. Jezebella

    “However when you say, “I don’t know why it’s so hard to understand that when you choose to have children, among the things you give up is the right to attend adult-only events and venues with them in tow,” I disagree with that because the beach and outdoors in general is not an “adult-only” setting.”

    Has no-one here ever heard of a private beach? That is EXACTLY what is going on in the Italian case, and the person who suggested forming a “private club,” well, that’s more or less the case. The women-only beach is run for profit, not by the city.

    There are private nudist beaches and campgrounds, for heavens’ sakes, where oglers aren’t allowed.

  86. Jezebella

    You know, Patti, there’s more than one beach in the world. There could be a women-only, no kids, no dogs beach; a women and kids beach (but where do you define “kids”; a women and dogs beach; an everybody beach; a gay beach; I mean, for heavens’ sakes, it’s not like anyone is proposing that every beach on earth be divided into “women-only” and “everybody else.”

    I said it before, I’ll say it again: there are a LOT of places that are adult-only that aren’t bars: entire housing developments, even. No-children weddings. Fancy restaurants, where kids can come but have to act like little adults. Most churches ask that little children be taken to the nursery at some point in the service, if not before.

    I’m not saying “screw you, you had a baby,” I’m saying “Children don’t belong every-fucking-where you go.” Furthermore, I bloody well HATED going to adult-oriented things with my parents. God, it was boring to listen to adults talk about whatever adults talk about and not get to play and run around and do my own kid thing.

  87. RKMK

    I will fully cop to the fact that my life is rather childfree by circumstance. I’m at an age where none of my friends have children, nor do many members of my family – and we rarely see those who do just due to circumstance. I will also cop to the fact that there is a likely a large perception bias – children who are screaming and acting badly are much more likely to attract my attention and leave a memory than well-behaved ones. My interaction with children is largely in public spaces – transit, shopping centers, streets and parks, restaurants.

    Ironically, after the kerfluffle at Feministe, I seemed to (literally) be tripping over children left and right – the advent of summer activities and more freedom from school I suppose. I got trapped on a subway car full of excitable children on their way back from some activity on the waterfront; the next day, I had to stop short (and nearly fell) as a child darted in front of me as she ran around the shopping centre at high speeds, ignoring both the pleas of her mother and other people at large. The day after, I was walking down the street and a small boy jumped out at me from an large open window of a pub: “Boo!” I spilled my hot coffee over myself and just barely caught myself from physically reacting in a defensive manner (as I am likely to do at things that jump out at me as I walk the street); the child looked at me and my spilled coffee – and my ruined cashmere sweater – laughed, and ran back to his parent’s table, where they were blithely ignoring him as they downed a couple of pints. I was thisclose to storming in and tearing them a new one; I had to stop myself and take a few deep breaths to control my anger before continuing on my way, though in retrospect, I probably should have told them off. Also, I have never – never – been able to enjoy a flight in peace. There has been an ill-behaved child on it every single time.

    So, yes – I’ve had bad luck. I am not exposed to enough well-behaved children to counterbalance the interactions I do have. I enjoy individual children – my cousin’s daughter is a doll – but I’m not going to apologize for my generalized preference to be in the company of adults. Especially when parents don’t seem feel the need to apologize for their children’s behaviour either.

  88. Gayle

    Crys T,

    I don’t have kids and I agree with everything you’ve written in this thread. Children are not a monolith; they’re individuals with individual personalities, temperaments, opinions, etc.

    Many aren’t being raised right. That’s not their fault.

    Despite all the bullshit Hallmark greeting-card rhetoric, motherhood is devalued and debased by the patriarchy. Children, like women, are “othered” and treated as a sub-human species. Why so many feminists buy into these oppressive ideologies is beyond me.

    I’ve read and re-read this thread now and as I do an old cliché keeps running through my head:

    Shit rolls downhill.

  89. CLD

    Due to the fact that a couple in our social sphere had adopted a pair of kids and insisted on bringing them along to every function anyone threw, [run-on, I know] when my partner and I have parties, we always place “Adults Only” on the invites.

    It met with a bit of a huff from the couple with kids initially, but after we explained that #1 our house is not child-proofed, and we don’t care to do so and #2 we are not going to force all of our house guests to become surrogate-babysitters [which will happen at least once during the evening] and of course, my fave, #3 I do not wish to watch my every damn friggin’ word the entire night. Although I am fully functional with regard to grammar and vocabulary, I actually swear like a drunken sailor quite a bit — and enjoy doing so.

    Anyway, by the end of the entire saga, future invites from anyone that did not wish to have the kiddies descend upon their domiciles had the words “Adults Only” included.

    This is nothing against the kids or their parents; this is just expressing my right to have an adult-centered function in my own home and not be seen as some militant, child-hating, lesbian beast.

  90. delphyne

    “This is nothing against the kids or their parents; this is just expressing my right to have an adult-centered function in my own home and not be seen as some militant, child-hating, lesbian beast.”

    Once again, there’s a big difference between not wanting children at your party (I’m pretty sure those kids wouldn’t want you at their birthday parties either) and disliking kids as a group and despising them in *public* places when they’ve got just as much right to be there as anybody else.

  91. CLD

    Whether their kids would want me at their parties or not wasn’t the issue — I wasn’t invited to them. I think the main point which apparently wasn’t being made well, is that the parents needed to think a bit further ahead and realize that although they love their children very much and may well want to spend every waking moment in their presence, the rest of of most likely don’t. And the children were not invited.

    And I don’t think anyone here was rallying behind banning kids from any public space or place. I believe the beach in question — which is what everyone is supposedly discussing — is a private beach. Like it or not; it’s a ban-able location and it’s at the discretion of the owner.

  92. delphyne

    I’d call beaches public places, then again I’ve never got over the fact that men enclosed all the land and then appointed themselves proprietors. But like I said, I don’t think anybody would criticise you for not wanting children in your house or at your parties it’s being apppalled that they’re on trains! planes! in the street! that’s the problem and what is being discussed here.

  93. Orange

    What’s with RKMK’s inflammatory rhetoric? First she complains about those darn kids always hurling food at her at restaurants, and then she unburdens herself of the many assaults perpetrated on her by those dreadful small creatures–but mentions not a single episode of juvenile food-throwing. Huh.

    Aren’t those adults-only housing developments just limiting who can live there? As far as I know, Grandma and Grandpa aren’t forbidden from having their grandkids come by for a visit. Are they?

    Have made a mental note to make sure I get to the beach sans kid this summer with a friend–I love my kid and he loves the beach, but no, I can’t close my eyes or get engrossed in a book when he’s there with me…unless my husband is there, in which case I often foist the bulk of the parental attentiveness duties on him.

  94. A.

    Instead of belittling mothers for their sub-par parenting skills, maybe let’s consider the fact that most public spaces in the united states make it quite difficult to keep kids in check. Much of the so-called bratty behavior I hear about are cases where kids are bored to tears because our public spaces are, by default, anti-kid. Parents barely have a chance. And when I hear people complain about kids at places like the bank or the grocery store, I cringe. People don’t have a choice about frequenting such places and it’s a real nightmare to keep kids entertained and happy in them.

    The answer is not to categorical exclude children from every place we can because they are hellion pieces of shit whose piece of shit mothers can’t make them mind because they are, well, pieces of shit. The answer is to include children more fully, integrate them *as children* into our communal lives. As Crys T put it, the problem is not that we need more kid free spaces but that we’ve got far too many already.

    We have spaces that are either completely kid-themed and these are the places to which kids and their families are relegated, marginal places. The rest of our spaces typically offer no prohibition on kids but likewise few resources for parents to help keep their kids entertained.

    I’ve blogged at length about IKEA because it’s such a beacon of child-friendliness without being a kids-only kind of place. No coincidence it’s not an american company.

    point is, it would be mad easy to add areas to public spaces that are engaging for kids. create an unobtrusive play-space in a corner. Kids will be happier (and better behaved) and everyone else will be happier as a result. not only that, but parents can finally feel truly welcomed in public places without either bearing the full burden of curbing and entertaining their kids in a space that is inherently anti-kid or bearing the financial burden of finding someone else to watch them. On the latter, as a mother, the exclusion of my children means I also have to come to terms with feeling like my life is deemed unacceptable for public view. Sure, it’s fine if I’m a mother but God help me if I show up with my kids actually with me. God help me if I prefer having my kids around. I mean, what the hell is wrong with me, anyway?

  95. Kali

    We can have a beach for women and girl children, and another one for men and boy children. In my experience, the nuisance/incovenience factor associated with little girls is far less than that associated with little boys. This also takes care of the issue of pervy little boys.

  96. Jezebella

    Kali, are you kidding me? Girls can be just as loud as boys. In fact, they should be encouraged to be just as rowdy as boys, in the appropriate setting. I would NEVER expect children to be quiet and still in a public playground, for example. Both (all) genders of children should be given plenty of time to run around acting like hooligans. This might give them a little more patience and calmness in places like restaurants and banks and post offices.

  97. B

    I don’t have kids. Never wanted kids of my own. They take so much time and effort. I love kids. Even on planes I’ve been known to enjoy kids. Doesn’t anybody else have a tale or two about the cute kid who was seated next to them and who played cards with them the whole flight? Or Chloe, who came with her Dad to the golf course. She was with us the whole round (a golf course is generally an adult-only type place) and was a absolute hoot. A little blond 4 year old telling her Dad he hit it too far was precious. Sure, I got a pocket full of horror stories too but come on, kids aren’t always a pain.

    The point about excluding a whole segment of the population from a public spaces is a good point. (yes, I understand the actual beach in question is private) How many have neighbors that drive them crazy? They have late parties, they play loud music, their dog barks, they mow the lawn at 2 am, they don’t mow at all, etc. It’s part of the requirements of living in a community that you allow others their “freedoms” to enjoy their lives as they feel best. They should allow you the same. There isn’t really a law against being annoying and there can’t be. Unless you own a kazillion acres with your house in the middle, you will have to put up with whatever your neighbors do, and you will need to put up with their kids too. Sometimes it will be asking a lot, like when the baby’s ears are killing them on the plane and they are screaming, or when they just bopped their knee and they are screaming. Yes, they can be annoying, but conversely, if you are open to the possibility that some kids will surprise you, some will tell you wonderful stories, some will ask the craziest things, and some will make you laugh, you won’t miss out on the Chloe’s of this world. Kids really do have an unique outlook and can be quite entertaining. Talk with a kid sometime. You just might like it.

  98. Random Lurker

    My story about the need for child-free places comes from attending a a middle eastern dance show (an art form dominated by women in the States). The planners had graciously set aside a kids room as many of the performers were mothers and a whole room for the women to dress in (which is an unheard of luxury at a lot of venues ’cause apparently an ideal woman doesn’t take up any space). Unfortunately, the fathers were incapable/uninterested in minding the children and the kids room got trashed before the show started. Since the decision was made that the kids couldn’t sit in the adult space and the dads for some odd reason couldn’t clean up the kids space another place to put them had to be devised. The new child storage space was–you guessed it!–the women’s dressing room. The women then had to dress in a dinky bathroom as men and kids were now tromping through the dressing room, the kids were running wild, and the women’s stuff was trashed. The thinking was that since women and children are always thrown together, the women wouldn’t mind having their space taken away, especially as they typically had to do with no space. This was doubly hard on the moms as they were now expected to prepare for a performance while minding their children. Understandably, a lot of the women were angry at the decision.
    This situation really brought home the problems with assuming all women’s space should also be children’s space. It allows the menz to wash their hands of all parental duty and pawn the kids off on women when they get too bratty.

  99. Toonces

    The last thing the world needs is to become a foam-padded playground fort the kiddies. Children live in a world of adults, not the other way around. And in public spaces that aren’t kid-specific or appropriate, children need to be seen and not heard. Children can be taught about respect for others at an early age—I know I certainly was. I wasn’t allowed to scream, run around and bother people, or expect everyone around me to entertain me when I was a child and out with my family in public. Unfortunately, far too many parents these days think that teaching their child good manners and how to behave appropriately in public is tantamount to squelching the spirit and cre8ivity of their precious little unique snowflake indigo child.

    Funny how these discussions always turn into “but what about the CHYYYYYYLDRUUUN??” And the level of animosity directed at folks who hate kids or the childfree is astounding. Personally, I could not care less if you decide to breed. But I do care very much if my sense of peace or enjoyment is infringed upon by ill-behaved kids. And so do many others.

    That said, I think the idea of women-only beaches is fantastic. If mothers want to bring their kids, then they can have their own section of the beach. I’m all for protecting little children from the male gaze as well, and beaches are kid-appropriate places. But I personally dislike kids, and if I want to enjoy some peaceful beach time, on a private woman-only beach, then I have that right. The likes and dislikes of those of us who have chosen not to breed are just as valid as those who have decided to breed.

    Children are a lifestyle choice, especially in a world as grossly overpopulated as this one. And no, your child is not welcome in every space. The entitlement- mindedness of so many parents that think their children have a right to disrupt the peace of public spaces is galling. There are many adults who don’t know how to behave in public spaces, too, but they can be dealt with and removed. When a child acts up and the parents do nothing, people are just expected to grin and bear it.

    I also tend to think that misery loves company. So much ire directed at childfree woman, which usually comes from other women, just makes me think that there is simple envy going on—and I wonder how many of those women secretly hate their childed lives and would love to go back to being childless. People who are most at peace with their choices in life tend to respect the choices others make with their lives, even if the choices are different.

  100. CoolAunt

    Almost 100 comments and only one other has pointed out that these beaches are restricted to women only, sans Nigels and kids, because women’s nude bodies are not fit to be looked at by good people. Notice that the women only beaches are to be a solution for women who wish to sunbathe topless without being ogled and harassed by men. The solution is that they take their nasty, naughty, evil, sin-filled baby feedbags to a place where only other owners of the man-corrupting mammaries will be exposed to them.

    Yeah, I’ve heard all of the crap about Europeans being more accepting of nudity and it not being a taboo as it is in the US and blah blah blah. And if that were true, women’s bodies wouldn’t be objects of male fetish and men wouldn’t ogle and harass women. Further, if female nudity were more “accepted” in Italy, at least, women sunbathers , particularly those who wish to sunbathe topless without being hassled, wouldn’t have had to complain about the ogling dickblisters, much less ask for a solution to the problem. Jesus Christ on roller skates, we’re talking about Italy here, world headquarters of the Catholic Church, the institution that takes pride for the misogyny that exists in the Western world today.

    The patriarchy is surely pleased with itself to see the women here debating or arguing with one another about the merits of sunbathing with or without female children, male children, or our furry four-legged children, too distracted by the trees to see the forest: men hate you, even in Italy. IBTP.

  101. CoolAunt

    About pervy, disruptive boys – Boys in our culture are socialized to be pervy and disruptive. Children in our culture are socialized to believe that they are forbidden to look at nude humans, which only makes them want to look at nude humans. This is simple enough to figure out by watching documentaries of people who live in tribes in places such as New Guinea (I think, not sure, try as I might, I’m a fucking moron when it comes to geography) where everyone – woman, man, girl, boy – wears just a skirt or loin cloth. No one stares at the women’s breasts, not the kids or the men. I have yet to see even one boy or man trampled by an elephant or pounced on by a lion because he was stopped in his tracks to stare at breasts. Where breasts aren’t fetished and are thought of as nothing more than the baby feedbags that they are, they’re no more interesting to look at than a knee, a shoulder, or even a man’s chest.

  102. ew_nc

    Not to minimize women’s feelings about this subject, but there are a lot of beaches. There’s room for a adult woman-only and a women-and-children beach. Why must there be choice of one or the other?

  103. delphyne

    “So much ire directed at childfree woman, which usually comes from other women”

    Most of the ire on this thread has been directed at children and their parents. Your post is a good example. “Breeders” for crying out loud.

    Quite a few of us who are objecting to the idea of hating children are childfree if you missed that.

  104. slythwolf

    I kind of worry about these segregated spaces. I mean, we all know what this is going to mean is that any woman in Italy who goes to any other beach and is harassed was asking for it.

  105. Patti

    Wow. So in this community, I’m an entitled “breeder” mother of a son, wailing what about the children, who lets my ill-behaved pervy son run rampant, take the SUBWAY, ruin sweaters, hurl food, scream constantly for my attention, disrupt everyone’s lives, ogling and getting an eye full of any women around. And I’m totally eaten up by my envy of the child-free and secretly detest my life as a parent.

  106. rachel

    “But I personally dislike kids, and if I want to enjoy some peaceful beach time, on a private woman-only beach, then I have that right [...] So much ire directed at childfree woman, which usually comes from other women, just makes me think that there is simple envy going on—and I wonder how many of those women secretly hate their childed lives and would love to go back to being childless.”

    Holy hell this thread has gotten depressing.

    I realize this point seems to have no traction in this thread, but I simply cannot fathom why a personal dislike for children extends into some right to enjoy spaces free from them. If I personally dislike teh gays, by what feasible stretch of the imagination am I entitled to have spaces that are guaranteed to be free from them?

  107. rachel

    “So much ire directed at childfree woman, which usually comes from other women, just makes me think that there is simple envy going on—and I wonder how many of those women secretly hate their childed lives and would love to go back to being childless.”

    Also, Toonces, I hear that women have penis envy; that’s why they can be so angry at men, right?

  108. Marcy

    How many have neighbors that drive them crazy? They have late parties, they play loud music, their dog barks, they mow the lawn at 2 am, they don’t mow at all, etc. It’s part of the requirements of living in a community that you allow others their “freedoms” to enjoy their lives as they feel best.

    Um, those aren’t freedoms. In most of those cases, the cops can be called. In the case of never mowing grass, there are often city ordinances against that.

    I trekked down to the landlord’s office twice regarding my neighbors who felt that enacted Jerry Springer episodes at two in the morning was a constructive use of their time. They have since been evicted. Adults don’t have carte blanche when it comes to behavior.

  109. Orange

    One might almost suspect that the child-haters here had sprung fully formed from Minerva’s head, completely skipping childhood.

    Wait. If I dislike the more crotchety “childfree” types (mind you, some of my best friends are childless, but they love the children on their peripheries), am I entitled to public spaces where they are not permitted to venture? Let us first ban them from the places they complain about most: airplanes and restaurants. It’s for their own comfort, after all–it would only upset them.

    Dang it, look what happened. I’ve stooped.

    But I like what this Rachel has to say.

  110. Helen

    I refuse to agree that simply because I do not enjoy other people’s children throwing food at me in restaurants, or running up and down the aisle screaming and hitting on a transatlantic flight, I need to turn in my feminist credentials. It doesn’t fly. Sorry.

    Am I some kind of freak? I am 50, have travelled the world many times and have eaten in many restaurants. I have never seen a child actually throw food, neither have I seen a child running up and down the aisle of an aircraft (I think the flight attendants would deal with that pretty quickly if it was to happen.)

    Am I weird?

  111. Sara

    I, too, had read the original version with the frog being hurled against the wall.

    The Grimms, in their infinite wisdom and desire to turn all stories into Educational Fodder for the Young, to turn the kids of their day into obedient little clones of themselves, gutted the original stories and replaced large swathes of them with cleaned up versions designed to get their POV across.

    IN the original story, the princess is so squicked by the frog sleeping in her bed (her father orders her to let him sleep there, because she promised him he could if he got her ball from the well) that she hurls him against the wall. He falls to the floor as a human.

    And then, transgressive again, when she sees he’s a human, and a hottie, she sleeps with him directly — and not in the simple bed-sharing way. That part got cut by the Grimms too. No sleeping in the same bed without a nice Royal Wedding first, girls!

  112. Mar Iguana

    (OT Warning))

    Speaking of weird, I’m, 60 and I have seen a kid running amok up and down the aisle with the attendants in hot pursuit. Mine. It was the coolest thing although a little creepy at first, because no one else got on that plane.

    My son, five at the time, and I were the only passengers because they were just flying this plane to San Francisco for some reason. So, after take-off, a couple attendants asked my son if he’d like to play and explore, have anything he wanted out of the galley, even talk to the pilots. It’s one of my kid’s favorite childhood memories.

    OK. Back to the regularly scheduled program of mothers v. almost everybody else in the entire world. Carry on.

  113. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I remember a flight where a gal with a two-year-old sat next to me. Dread chilled my heart, but the child was as silent as the tomb as long as he had ice cubes to play with. By the time we got off the plane, his little hands must’ve been so cold. But he was happy.

    Another time I was flying from Dallas back to Cleveland, recuperating from a case of food poisoning. The nine-year-old seated in front of me kept messing around with the seat (flinging herself backwards, practically into my lap, then snapping upright again). After asking her repeatedly to stop this to no avail, I finally told her I was going to throw up on her head the next time she did it. The seat remained upright for the remainder of the flight. I understand that the poor kid must’ve been bored out of her skull, but jeez.

    I can tolerate and excuse kids not behaving. Adults, not so much.

  114. Eve

    I think the whole frog-kissing thing is all about how you interpret it. I was always under the impression that the moral of the story is to look past people’s exteriors and appreciate their inner personality. They never taught dick-sucking at my elementary school.

  115. Kali

    “Kali, are you kidding me? Girls can be just as loud as boys. In fact, they should be encouraged to be just as rowdy as boys, in the appropriate setting. I would NEVER expect children to be quiet and still in a public playground, for example. Both (all) genders of children should be given plenty of time to run around acting like hooligans. This might give them a little more patience and calmness in places like restaurants and banks and post offices.”

    I am talking about nuisance/inconvenience factor, not simply running around and being rowdy. Of course I don’t expect kids to be quiet and sit still in a public playground. But, I am refering to a situation like a friend had recently, when she and her friends had to leave the beach early because her son was repeatedly hitting and pushing another boy even after being told not to. She and her friends could not enjoy and had to leave early because her bratty son just would not listen. She was not telling him to stop running around or to be quiet. They went to the beach for the explicit purpose of allowing him to do that. She was telling him not to *hit*. By “nuisance” factor I am refering to hitting, breaking things, throwing things, etc., not to running around and being noisy. And yes, these problematic behaviours (hitting, breaking, throwing, being wilfully destructive and disruptive) are far more common in boys than in girls.

    As far as women’s only beaches are concerned, as so many people have already mentioned here before, why can’t women have women-only beaches both with and without kids, or even an extra one with women and girl children only? What’s the problem there? Does every women-only beach *have* to include kids?

  116. Kali

    “I think the whole frog-kissing thing is all about how you interpret it. I was always under the impression that the moral of the story is to look past people’s exteriors and appreciate their inner personality.”

    Is that why the princess was ugly? Or why the frog turned into an ugly prince? Or why the frog’s inner beauty was expressed as being an entitled asshole? I think Twisty’s interpretation makes far more sense.

  117. rachel

    “As far as women’s only beaches are concerned, as so many people have already mentioned here before, why can’t women have women-only beaches both with and without kids, or even an extra one with women and girl children only? What’s the problem there? Does every women-only beach *have* to include kids?”

    No, they don’t. There can be (private) adult only women’s beaches; there can be (private) men only golf courses. There can be (private) boys only schools. There can be straights only cultural institutions. It doesn’t make any of them progressive or feminist. To the extent that anyone wants to argue that a women’s only beach (public or private) which bans kids is performing a feminist function, I call bullshit.

  118. Kali

    “There can be (private) adult only women’s beaches; there can be (private) men only golf courses. There can be (private) boys only schools. There can be straights only cultural institutions.”

    If you think the above are all equivalent, then you should be opposed to women’s only beaches too.

  119. Scrivener

    Toonces said above, “And in public spaces that aren’t kid-specific or appropriate, children need to be seen and not heard.” Others have made arguments in this thread along the same lines. May I ask you a question, Toonces? After 18 years of being told to shut up and do exactly as they are told because they are only second-rate citizens, do you think those children, in particular all those girls who you would like to be so forcibly silenced, are going to suddenly, magically be able to identify their needs, claim their voices, and resist oppression once they become adults? What have we come to when purported feminists are advocating silencing large groups of people?

    If you want a society where people are free to blame the patriarchy and to advocate for a more just, equitable world, then how do you think we’re going to get there by training generations of children according to a system of rooted in 19th century, very very patriarchal, hierarchical, and abusive thinking?

    Have any of you read the historian Philip Greven? He has a really good history of child-rearing philosophies in early American entitled The Protestant Temperament. His first chapter is called “The Evangelicals: The Self Suppressed” and it begins with a discussion of “Authoritarian Families,” where children were silneced and where parents saw it as their jobs to break the wills of their children to better prepare them to subjugate themselves to their (patrirchal) God: “The combination of effective discipline, powerful consciences, and complete subjection of children to the wills of parents ensured that evangelical children would sustain a sense of the power, authority, and piety of their parents, making it exceedingly difficult for them to acknowledge any feelings toward their parents other than obedience and love. Yet their recollections, however brief, were often distinguished according to parent, the father being more usually associated with authority and the mother with love” (22). Sounds an awful lot like many of the commenters on this thread would espouse this as ideal child-raising, but I’m guessing none of them would be happy at all with the sort of society that would result from generations of children raised in this manner.

    And, might I add, to “non-blogging Rachel”: you ought to get her own blog–I would definitely read what you have to say.

  120. rachel

    As I note in the other thread, on Tiwsty’s newer post, I do in fact think the structure of apartheid or exclusion is not a particularly effective mode for combatting or even providing relief from patriarchy. And while I don’t think that the above list of exlucsionary tactics signify in equivalent ways, I do think they are structurally equivalent: they are all predicated on the belief that some segment of the population will benefit from, and is entitled to, freedom from some other segment of the population.

    I fully understand the specifics of beach space: women are in various states of undress which unfortunately subjects them to the intrusive patriarchal gaze. There is (temporary and I think fictive) relief in eliminating that gaze insofar as it comes from men. Women are disproportionately effected (and by effected I mostly mean excluded) when children are excluded; this is a fact. For this reason, among others, I believe that an adult’s only, women only beach does not fulfill its feminist purpose.

  121. Lya Kahlo

    “Imagining a world in which men’s bad behavior resulted in measures to contain/control them rather than contain/control us. ”

    Otter knocked it out of the park – to use a patriarchical sports metaphor.

  122. Kali

    “And while I don’t think that the above list of exlucsionary tactics signify in equivalent ways, I do think they are structurally equivalent”

    The relevant question here is – are they *ethically* equivalent? Do you think that women’s only beaches are ethically “wrong” in the sense that men only golf courses are? It is only on that *ethical* basis that we can object, regardless of whether they bear some structural resemblance or not.

  123. Niki

    What’s with the ‘holier than thou’ thing that happens all the time at IBTP these days, where the defensive come up with ludicrous idealisms like “I never have bad thoughts about any subgroups” and/or “One must tolerate everything about womanhood to be a feminist”? It reminds me of the whole “I don’t fantasize about other people without their written consent” arguement of yore. What a bunch of saints you are!

    I also find it interesting that so many straight married mothers come to Twisty’s blog. It’s not interesting that they’re looking for a place to vent (heck, it’s expected), it’s interesting that they’d choose a haven with a moderator so far removed from their chosen lifestyle. It must be terribly hard to say what you need to say when you are required to temper it in order to avoid a ridiculous flame war over shit you don’t really care about, i.e. marriage and children. IBTP.

  124. rachel

    “Do you think that women’s only beaches are ethically “wrong” in the sense that men only golf courses are? ”

    The two are not, to use your language, “ethically equivalent”; they do not, in my words, signify or impact the same ways within a patriarchal society. What I think is that to claim a women’s only beach which also mandates the exclusion of children, to claim that beach is feminist or performing a feminist function, is to make a false claim.

    “it’s interesting that they’d [straight, married mothers] choose a haven with a moderator so far removed from their chosen lifestyle. It must be terribly hard to say what you need to say when you are required to temper it in order to avoid a ridiculous flame war over shit you don’t really care about, i.e. marriage and children. IBTP.”

    I guess I should think more about the extent to which I am an Other here. Nobody is requiring anyone to comment on things they don’t care about.

  125. Patti

    People are WAY more complicated than just fitting into their “chosen lifestyle”. I’m a not married, but straight, but also celibate, single-mother. I’m older than most mothers with kids my age. I have ginormous tattoos. My best friend is a straight woman who shaves her hair off and works on cars. This is one of the few places on the Internet that I’ve been pretty comfortable. Twisty says she cares about children – why should I not be comfortable here? I feel more in common with her than with most of the parents at my son’s school, or some of the other feminist-ish blogs.

  126. Patti

    Excuse me, older than most mothers with kids the same age as my kid.

  127. rachel

    “It must be terribly hard to say what you need to say when you are required to temper it in order to avoid a ridiculous flame war over shit you don’t really care about, i.e. marriage and children.”

    Also, should I take this to mean that when you are talking about shit you don’t care about, you should be able to be as reckless with language and generally anitfeminist as you want?

  128. hipparchia

    Imagining a world in which men’s bad behavior resulted in measures to contain/control them rather than contain/control us.

    yep, that was my favorite line out of this whole discussion too.

  129. Twisty

    I’m invoking a rule I just made up, which is that once a post racks up a hundred or more comments, it gets pitched over to the forum. Blamers who wish to continue this discussion can do so here. Thanks.

  130. maribelle

    Imagining a world in which men’s bad behavior resulted in measures to contain/control them rather than contain/control us.

    Right the fuck on. I am having this tattooed on my ass.

    RE: “straight married mothers” and common ground on the Internet

    1. I would avoid making assumptions about people’s personal lives, especially private matters like sexual orientation.
    2. I have many things in common with Twisty. Why must your 3 identifiers-(all relating to women’s relations to men) be the primary signals of Internet compatibility?
    3. This is the reasoning patriarchy uses to keep women apart–by questioning whether diverse groups can combine to learn from and/or join in common cause.

  1. Kid stuff at I Blame The Patriarchy

    [...] Forum « Patriarchy encapsulate de la semaine [...]

  2. quote of the day « sprouting

    [...] 1st, 2007 · No Comments “The princess-kissing-the-frog story is blowjob propaganda for toddlers,” Twisty fromI Blame The Patriarchy explains that frog kissing is a way of teaching the “moral” lesson that if a woman applies her sexuality to an unappealing purpose, good will result. This seems like a pretty normative message in our culture – that women aren’t supposed to like sex, they have to be cajoled into or rewarded for it. [...]

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