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Aug 13 2007

My ‘PMS Disaster Level’: High

morella.jpg
Vincent Price’s dessicated spouse Morella rises from the dead to kill the adult daughter on whose account she died in childbirth. From Roger Corman’s Tales of Terror, 1963. Photographed off the tube from my sickbed August 10, 2007.

Yesterday’s post — on pop culture’s ceaseless efforts to spawn pods of misogyny in every crevice — focused on a Blogthing quiz entitled “Are You A Feminist?” Blogthings are vacuous blog viruses that straight girls post on their LiveJournals for reasons I may once have understood but which are now concealed from me by the swirling mists of middle age. Even respectable adult bloggers, if that’s not an oxymoron, resort to them from time to time. Unless they seem pertinent, in a barometer-of-pop-trends sort of way, to something bubbling on Twisty stove, I usually ignore’em. This is because I am 48 years old and cannot imagine what use I would have for information pertaining to What Flavor Pocky I am. I am even less interested in What Flavor Pocky you are.

Besides, what assurances can Blogthings.com give me that the results are accurate? How, pray tell, does being diagnosed as a Chocolat Orange Pocky correlate with being, as the results described me, “the perfect partner in crime”? What if I, acting on this exciting new revelation about my inner outlaw, were to take a wheel-man gig for a jewelry heist, but ran the getaway car into a pole? Could I sue Blogthings? For sorely overestimating, based on inaccurate analysis of my preferences in anime characters and pizza toppings, the level of perfection to which I actually rise as a criminal henchman?

And exactly who composes these Blogthing quizzes? A crack team of expert sociologists, psychologists, MDs and Pockyologists? A bunch of 20-something white dudes with beat-up Dell laptops and Opie shirts? Descendants of the diabolical fiends who write for Teen People? What credentials enable them to diagnose whether I am a “PMS disaster,” or what my “girl smell” is? How can they reliably estimate the degree to which I am a “psycho ex-girlfriend” or a “spicy chica”? Blogthings maintains that I am 48% addicted to Blogthings, for crying out loud! I smell a rat, I tell you. As blogger Nate Nelson, an advocate of compulsory pregnancy who protests that he was erroneously fingered as “certainly feminist” by the Blogthing Machine, declares, “trusting Blogthings [...] is probably silly.”

But I digress.

I proposed my own Are You A Feminist? quiz in yesterday’s post. It went like this:

True or false: Anyone who doesn’t vociferously advocate women’s total liberation from male dominance and oppression is misogynist scum.

Causing blamer Marie to lodge this complaint:

False. Plenty of unscumly people are in no position to be vociferous about their liberation: along with sex, we often trade other kinds of compliance for survival. To answer ‘true’ would half display one’s feminist credentials, and half accept the male-as-default way of thinking. To whom does that ‘anyone’ refer?

Oh the irony.

For the past few months I have reverted to an old blogular policy, the one whereby I decline to defer to commenters who self-righteously point out my consistent failure to cover all my PC bases in these gasbag essays. But in this case I made an exception. However tiresome it may be to have another “oh the irony” leveled at me, I cannot dispute Marie’s point. So I modified my quiz statement to read “Anyone with the means to do so who doesn’t vociferously advocate women’s total liberation from male dominance and oppression is misogynist scum.”

I did this because, despite my original sloppy writing, it is my actual view. I can’t get behind blaming women for their own oppression. Besides, it never hurts to remind readers that the globe is rather more populated with women who are forced to scrap by in conditions of slavery, fear, abuse, and abject poverty than it is with middle-class American white chicks, and that vociferosity is, as Marie suggests, rarely an option for them.

But there are still plenty of people for whom vociferosity is an option. Men, for instance. As it happens, men are the group I had in mind when I wrote the little quiz. Men (except for your Nigel!), judging from the conspicuous silence of their collective non-vociferosity, appear to be pretty gung-ho for women’s oppression.

Here’s another quiz question.

Your Nigel is out drinking with the lads. A woman who is Beauty2K-compliant walks by. One of the lads scratches his crotch and says, “I’d hit that. Boo-ya!” Your Nigel:

a) High-fives the boo-ya dude
b) Smiles and nods
c) Hasn’t noticed the episode because he’s been too busy ogling another woman
d) Looks at his shoes
e) Tells the boo-ya dude he’s misogynist scum, comes home, and cleans the toilet

I’m not saying it can’t be done, but I have never in my life heard a dude tell another dude in front of some other dudes that he’s misogynist scum.

144 comments

2 pings

  1. PhysioProf

    “I am even less interested in What Flavor Pocky some random blog commenter is.”

    There exists a flavor called “Men’s Pocky”, which is based on semi-sweet chocolate, unlike regular “Pocky”, which is based on milk chocolate. IBTJP.

  2. norbizness

    (f) Places a call to the Samoan rap group B.O.O.Y.A.H.-Tribe and lets them know that some Copper Tank lookin’ motherfucker is appropriating their crew’s name without appropriate recompense. DIRECT ACTION NOW!

  3. slythwolf

    I’m not sure my Nigel would use the actual words “misogynist scum”. But he would probably say witheringly, “Dude, that is not cool,” and not hang out with that dude anymore. He is thoroughly disgusted by ogling and staunchly supports a woman’s right to exist free from harassment.

    In fact, this is part of the reason he doesn’t have any friends except the blamers to whom I have introduced him (and the one who introduced him to me).

  4. Twisty

    “Copper Tank lookin’ motherfucker”

    Not to spoil the mystique, but Norbiz — he of the obscure pop culture references — alludes to a heinous college sports bar/brew pub in downtown Austin with crappy beer and assbag patrons. It mercifully went bankrupt AND burned down last year. If I’m not mistaken.

  5. norbizness

    Not necessarily in that order. But don’t worry, we’ll always have Spiro’s*!

    * Faux-exclusive martini bar for people who think that wearing little black vests (men) or carrying Praddda-brand (that’s three D’s!) spaghetti string purses (women) is the height of formal fashion.

  6. Twisty

    Here is veteran internet nightlife reviewer Susie G’s take on Spiro’s:

    “Spiro’s is one of the few 18 and up clubs downtown, meaning it attracts both the young kids, and the dirty 20′somethings hoping to get with the young kids. I went with several girls just to dance and have a good time. The drinks were OK, the bar area fairly tame…then I went onto the dance floor. We all just wanted to dance by ourselves but were consistently interrupted by men literally pushing their way up into our circle and/or waiting in a line ( no I’m NOT joking) to dance with us. When I repeatedly told these men to leave us alone they refused and we kept moving to different places all over the bar where we encountered more men just like them. The major thing wrong with Spiro’s is the sleazy clientele they attract. Really sleazy. Go there if you really enjoy getting groped by complete strangers. For good hip hop music and a fun dance space…best best is Spill on 6th. Stay tune for my review of that joint.”

  7. Orange

    I’ll bet a lot of decent-but-chicken Nigels choose (d) Looks at his shoes, being too scared or too benighted (like plenty of women) to confront patriarchal bullshit. They don’t want to be shunted out of the boys’ club, though the boys’ club would be a much nicer place if more men weren’t afraid to dislodge the patriarchy’s worst tentacle-suckers.

    Now, what we need are boys-only day camps devoted to teaching boys to call bullshit on the patriarchy. (Pedicures optional, though I tend to think pedicures should be mandatory for all men and women. Non-jagged toenails and smoothed calluses are a unisex plus. Not to mention the foot-spa water jets! And the massage!)

    My favorite blogtagious quiz was the one that asks how you pronounce things and declares what regional American dialect you speak. It totally nailed me and seems to nail down most Americans’ accents pretty well.

    Dammit, I’m vexed by not knowing what sort of Pocky I might be.

  8. Twisty

    Orange, I know why dudes don’t speak up. I’m just puttin’em on notice. Men have got to stop using misogyny as a focal point for male bonding, or thinking that it’s a big joke, sure, but it’s time for the ones who get it to step up.

  9. rich

    I don’t know, maybe we should try cramming something about male oppression into health classes… Guys do take other guys to task for saying stupid BS like this, though not very often, mainly because they just don’t know any better. Unless one of us has a good reason to question the status quo and start thinking seriously about it, there’s no one to object. But then once you do bring it up, it’s not like there’s any reasonable defense, so you get either blank looks, or “oh…”

  10. Rumblelizard

    I will reveal my utter pop-culture obliviousness by asking, what in the heck is a Pocky?

  11. Rumblelizard

    Ah, never mind. Google is my friend.

  12. rich

    (f) Patiently explain, “How would you feel if you had nasty, scary women walking up to you all day, every day, saying ‘Ooh yeah baybee, back that ass up! I want a piece of that.’”

    Then there’s usually a quiet spell while they stop and think about it. It’s literally never occurred to them to think about what life would be like with their social status reversed.

    Twisty this is probably a better answer, if you want to mod my first comment.

  13. Miller

    I sometimes wonder if men didn’t have misogyny to give them a sense of (fear-based) identity and meaning in their life, what would become of them? Even in jail they feminize other males in order to oppress them so misogyny is alive and well even when the female gender is completely removed, but if they didn’t have misogyny itself I wonder if they would suffer some psychic break.

  14. zofia

    Nigel should at least offer a “don’t be a dick, dude” to his ill-mannered compatriots. A lot of the bullshit that goes on is for the benefit of other men and if conscientious Nigels were to consistently call bullshit on that behavior I think it would be a great deal less prevalent.

  15. babycatcher

    Some of the men’s hockey team from a local university thought it would be incredibly funny to go on a night out dressed as rape victims. They ended up at a local nightclub, several of them got beaten up by some people who took offence to their theme. Obviously men beating up other men is not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of patriarchy blaming, but it still warms the heart somehow.

  16. Marytracy9

    Pocky is overpriced chocolate!

    I know a dude who would tell the boo-ya dude he’s misogynist scum! (And no, it’s not “my Nigel”). It’s ROBERT JENSEN!!! He’s a FEMINIST! By the way, you Twisty could meet him, he works in Austin.

  17. norbizness

    Y’all need to stop Making Plans For My Nigel. I know you only want what’s best for him.

  18. Panic

    Marytracy9,
    Pocky is so, so much more than just “chocolate”! It has cookie stick, and comes in flovours like “Royal Milk Tea” or “Pumpkin.” The only thing better is Collon.
    The Japanese have sugar-y snack food down cold. Hell, they have most food down cold.

  19. Elizabeth

    I have seen men speak up, and generally I’ve been unimpressed. “Don’t be a dick, dude,” is one thing, but when one guy out-and-out bashes another guy for misogyny, in my experience, it’s almost certainly not about the misogyny. It’s about the opportunity for bashing. There’s no guarantee whatsoever that Basher Man is going to regard any woman as a human being.

    There’s a fellow I know who makes something of a crusade out of being Basher Man. It’s interesting to watch him do his thing. At the faintest whiff of possibly sexist language, he’ll shriek his righteousness to the skies. Dude really brings down the hammer of righteousness. It’s an easy way for him to jockey for social position.

    But when it comes to actual women, forget it. By and large, he won’t even bother talking with us. If we’re in the conversation, he won’t make eye contact or respond directly to us. After all, we’re not the ones who count. He makes that exceptionally clear, but never quite comes out and says it. It irritates me that this woman-hating fucker is using women’s oppression to further his own petty quest to become King of the Dudes.

  20. Lisa

    My Nigel would probably look at his shoes and then come home and clean the toilet. Oh well.

  21. PhysioProf

    “The Japanese have sugar-y snack food down cold. Hell, they have most food down cold.”

    Yah. Give me some okonomiyaki.

  22. thebewilderness

    Could I sue Blogthings? For sorely overestimating, based on inaccurate analysis of my preferences in anime characters and pizza toppings, the level of perfection to which I actually rise as a criminal henchman?

    I think you could. I think you should! Think of the headlines. Think of the pictures Norbiz could caption.

  23. smmo

    Some combination of D and E. He’d probably make a snappy remark rather than launch a frontal attack. But he doesn’t drink so isn’t likely to be in many Dudearrific situations.

    He actually had a major falling out with a close friend who acted like an asshole at a party we hosted so I have some basis on which to predict his reaction.

    “Men have got to stop using misogyny as a focal point for male bonding, or thinking that it’s a big joke, sure, but it’s time for the ones who get it to step up.

    Yes. Way past time, actually.

  24. Marie

    My “Oh the irony” was – ironically – intended to be appreciative rather than self-righteous. I thought it was deliberate.

    I felt a flutter of excitement to see myself quoted, though: IBTP is a welcome antidote to this afternoon’s dose of Jagdish Bhagwati on how great globalisation is for women.

  25. Daisy

    What about the Nigel who would instead say something like: Oh, you’d hit that? What is *hit that*? That’s pretty intelligent–do you think in ultracool hip-hop templates, too?

    Etc. Puts down the guy and makes him look like a simple-minded ape, poser or fool. (I confess, I love those Nigels.)

    One of the best movie versions of this guy was Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites.

  26. CafeSiren

    (f) Patiently explain, “How would you feel if you had nasty, scary women walking up to you all day, every day, saying ‘Ooh yeah baybee, back that ass up! I want a piece of that.’”

    Was talking with a guy in a coffee shop the other day, who asked for recommendations of other local coffee shops. I recommended one nearby, which happens to have about and 85% gay male clientele. He told me he’d been there, but would not be going back, because men kept coming up to him uninvited and attempting to start conversations. Some of them even made comments about his ass. It made him very uncomfortable, you see.

    Poor Nigel.

  27. kate

    OH well, I was writing this and my Nigel walked in the room to invite me to watch a movie with him and have pizza he bought. Nice boy.

    Then I asked him the question above. I got a whole litany of his armchair analysis of human behavior and how he didn’t think that such expression was particularly bad. Then my head hurt and I was thinking about how if I had just filed my damn taxes last year he’d be in school right now, hopefully learning some damn thing instead of being an arrogant asshead like he seems to be.

    But, that’s the way it is. I tried folks, I tried.

  28. Shira

    How exactly does one dress as a rape victim? I pictured a group of male hockey players in miniskirts, and if that’s the case, are you sure they weren’t beat up for cross-dressing?

  29. Grant Neufeld

    My response to folks around me who utter patriarchal crap or otherwise engage in oppressive activities is not often of the “Tells the boo-ya dude he’s misogynist scum” variety. Like with everything else, there are various factors that determine my response.

    The sad fact is that many (most?) males are not willing to hear that their habits are, in reality and impact, brutally hateful. So, I try to find ways to show that I do not support them in their oppressive actions, and also to get them to question what they do and say — and to have those ways that I express myself to them actually be able to be heard by the oppressors.

    The difficulty I have with coming right out and saying “what you just did/said shows that you are misogynist scum” is that, when I’ve done that, they have dismissed me out of hand as some kind of crazy extremist (and some of them don’t even know what the word misogynist means… sigh).

    How, then, can we (particularly feminist men) dialogue with the misogynists (and those engaged in other forms of oppression) to push them to think about and ultimately change their oppressive ways?

    The only answers I’ve found so far are to keep talking about it — every day — to keep avoiding and challenging oppressive behaviours in myself, and to actively engage in positive/constructive non-oppressive behaviours (hoping to “lead by example”).

    I would be most appreciative if Blamers could offer further ideas and refinement of strategies for confronting and challenging oppressors. Particularly strategies that I could apply as a (not by choice) holder of patriarchal male privilege myself.

  30. Dr. Helmet Breath

    “One of the best movie versions of this guy was Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites.”

    I thought Ethan Hawke played a total buttbag in that movie—the kind of buttbag who cheated on his girlfriend and who, in general, used women like sexy little playthings to inspire his *tortured poetry*. Am I thinking of the right movie? Am I high?

    I’m sorry, I just hate Ethan Hawke for some totally irrational reason.

  31. norbizness

    Hey! That’s My Bike!

  32. thebewilderness

    Grant Neufeld,
    We are not the droids you are looking for.
    These are the droids you are looking for: http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/

  33. Miller

    Whenever I hear about yet another case of men enjoying outrageous “rape humor” not only does it make me flinch in anger and hurt but also it makes me absolutely outraged that when a man is merely charged with rape you hear men shriek,”Don’t you realize that being accused of rape ruins a man’s life?” Yeah, because rape is taken so seriously by other men, rather than repeatedly trivialized and, thus, justified by their “humor.” Or when I read yet another newspaper talking about women “crying rape,” which ignores the fact that men overwhelmingly justify and glorify rape not to mention are simply capable of exploiting physical advantage.

    Honestly, realizing how pervasive rape “humor” is amongst men gives me chilling insight into what Jim Crow culture must have been like. Whenever I see pictures of blacks being hung by a lynch of white men, it never ceases to shock me how much the white men enjoyed this unimaginable brutality. That could have been possible if there was a culture of lynching “jokes.” From the Jim Crow Museum: “In 1903 a black man was lynched in Greenville, Mississippi. A white writer said, ‘Everything was very orderly, there was not a shot, but much laughing and hilarious excitement…It was quite a gala occasion, and as soon as the corpse was cut down all the crowd betook themselves to the park to see a game of baseball.’” Key phrase (to me): much laughing and hilarious excitement.
    http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/question/jan04.htm

    With the rise of Hostel and Saw as “entertainment,” I shudder in fear.

  34. Miller

    In the second paragraph (second sentence) I meant to say: That could ONLY have been possible if there was a culture of lynching “jokes.”

    My apologies.

  35. TP

    I had to go clean the toilets before I commented on this piece. Not that I do it as much as a good roommate(husband) should, but they needed to be done and I was home.

    I just avoid as much cant and jargon as I possibly can when I criticize patriarchal cultural norms around men. My whole life I have noticed that the first instance of a politically loaded word throws up hostile defenses that can’t be breached, and if I’m with friends, I want them to get what I’m saying, not just shut down.

    I also leave it as soon as I make a point. Men aren’t stupid, they’re just blinded by unacknowledged privilege. Everywhere I look I see men, some of whom I love deeply, sitting around feeling sorry for themselves because of their aggrieved sense of privilege thwarted. If you took away their belief that they were entitled to these privileges, which span the gamut from caprice to hard core delusions, they would have nothing to feel sorry about. And this sorrow, selfish and unjustified as it is, still causes considerable anguish. It’s just pathetic. But I expect them to understand.

    I’ll go a little bit further explaining the normal, everyday, common sense ideas of radical feminism to them (without ever mentioning the word feminism) than I ever would do with women. None of the ideas that I have learned here in the jargon and verbal shorthand of feminist thought are at all difficult to explain in everyday language if you take a little more time to do so.

    I know they’ve got my point when they get uncomfortable. If I went straight to ‘misogynist scum,’ there would be no consciousness raised. If we were talking about strangers, it might be OK to just piss someone off to prove what a feminist I am. But with friends, I feel I have to take it a bit further than that.

    In this forum the main point is women understanding and expounding upon their oppression, for the very good reasons that being oppressed makes it that much more difficult to acknowledge it.

    But outside this forum my goal is that the fucking men to get wise to their own misogyny. If they would stop, the women could get straight that much faster, am I right? I spend much more time thinking about why men are so fucked up and how they might be able to stop it than I usually talk about here, because this is not a place where anyone should care what men need.

  36. Rikibeth

    norbizness, I’m not making any plans for your Nigel. I’m too busy trying to taste the difference between a lemon and a lime.

  37. Jezebella

    thebewilderness: nicely done.

  38. dryad

    I remember being at a party in high school and hearing my future Nigel in conversation with one of our male friends.

    Male friend: “Man, she has got some LEGS!”

    Future Nigel: “Yeah. She uses them to walk.”

    I think that’s when I fell in love.

  39. Crystal

    “Beauty2K-compliant”
    This is fantastic.

  40. mAndrea

    Does Twisty ever take a vacation? I know she can churn these puppies out in her sleep, but how long it’s been?

    Don’t you dare burn out on me, Twisty! Oh, and you are so not 48, that had to be a typo. I guesstimated mid 30s.

  41. genevievetaggard

    I posted once or twice a while back, but have mostly been lurking for a long time.

    First, this website may be the only thing keeping me alive sometimes. A million thanks to Twisty, goddess that she is.

    Second, Orange, I too took the blogquiz that is supposed to identify your regional acccent. Its conclusion was that I am, without a doubt, from a particular state in New England, either Rhode Island or Connecticut (can’t remember which one, just that it was a specific small state in New England).

    In fact, I am New Orleans, Louisiana, born and raised (NOLA: come hell, high water, or even both in the same month!), which surely illustrates Twisty’s point about these quizes. To be fair, however, I should mention that the city of New Orleans has about two dozen academically documented neighborhood dialects and that, as a port city, we sound more like the hodge-podge accents of other port cities and not anything like the “southern” that Hollywood actors and directors insist on depicting in their movies that are supposed to take place here. So, the makers of the quiz couldn’t peg New Orleans unless they really did their homework.

    Rich, I’ve read some male pro-feminists (for example, Alan Johnson’s “The Gender Knot”) claiming that what men truly fear is not women so much as the brutality of other men. They say men’s deepest fear is a decline in status relative to other men such that they will be bullied and abused – just as men bully and abuse women and children. It reminds me of my niece’s classroom, in which every kid, without exception, joins in torturing her, even those who are tempted to befriend her or who are themselves clearly in the “likely to be picked on” category, because helping to beat my niece into her position at the bottom, they keep attention from themselves and ensure that, if nothing else, they themselves will never be at the very bottom of the pecking order.

    Dianne Dinnerstein said in “The Mermaid and the Minotaur” that, beginning with the problem of women’s nearly exclusive responsibility for infant and child care, a growing boy soon learns that proving his autonomy involves demonstrating a break from mother, which eventually morphs into showing the lads how grown up he is by expressing his disdain for women in general. A whole range of patriarchal horrors is designed to meet this end, this “proving” of male autonomy by bashing women in front of the guys, but one of them is what Dinnerstein calls the “near-constant verbal gangbanging that goes on among men.” I think this is one reason men, even the well-meaning Nigel, find it so difficult to stand up to misogynist hate speech – their identity as adults, as autonomous beings who are no longer attached to mother, DEPENDS on this constant “proofing” before an audience of other men.

    I think your point about asking men how they would feel being ogled has much to do with why there is such vehement resistance to having gay men serve in the military. There is a real terror among many military men of having men in their barracks who might be finding them attractive and checking them out, just as they themselves routinely do to women. After all, they would know best what men’s behavior is really like, so they certainly don’t want the tables turned.

    There were a couple of cola campaigns around the same time a few years ago. One showed a group of office women gathering at the same time each day to oggle the male construction worker outside. Some people were outraged by seeing the tables turned that way, with women as the aggressors, and there was public debate about it. A few months later, there was one in which a group of prepubescent boys leeringly checked out a sweaty supermodel who leaned back as she guzzled her ice-cold cola. I was outraged by that one – but nary a peep of protest anywhere else (when I fired off angry emails to everyone I knew, my own liberal feminist mother told me to lighten up this time, that not everything is about politics and sexism, so I asked her what she would think of footage of a bunch of girls her granddaughters’ age, in an ad, ogling a grown man).

    Miller – I think that without misogyny – the practice ground for all other us/them hatred – the next area for white men’s bonding rituals would surely be all about racism.

    As to your comment about lynchings, I wonder if white women attended. I do know that, to this day, my mother-in-law will point down this dirt road in her home town and explain that it’s “Lynching Road,” but she refuses to drive down it and says that as a child, she had nightmares about what went on down that road. So I wonder if it was more a source of “merriment” for the white men involved, or if white women went too.

    Babycatcher, like Shira, I can’t figure out what “dressing up as rape victims” means. Did the article explain? Oh, well, inquiring minds do want to know more, but I guess it’s enough that they got their asses kicked.

  42. genevievetaggard

    Sorry, I tried to use “edit,” got this weird sign-on screen, then the “edit” option suddenly disappeared.

    “Quizzes” has two z’s instead of one.

    “Ogle” has one g instead of two.

  43. justicewalks

    Anyone else in favor of renaming our beloved Nigel something a little more amusing, given the frequency with which he’s invoked, like, say, Dick or John?

  44. ChapstickAddict

    I come from a whole family of people who say things like “I’m not a racist, but [insert racist diatribe here]” or “Feminism is about women wanting to become men!” It’s so hard to get together with my loved-ones these days and talk about anything other than the weather. The moments when I call out what is clearly sexist blather, I get labeled as the “angry woman” or asked if I’m having “man problems”. However, if I stay quiet, my anger just bubbles under the surface until I can’t take it anymore.

    Occasionally I manage to bring some feminist enlightenment to the conversation. Like when my brother was saying how “disgusting” public breastfeeding is (because the breast was being used for something other than its dude-intended purpose) in front of the women in our family, who got mildly offended and smiled when I pounded his arguments into the ground. But making jokes about “weak bitches”, saying how unjustified Shannon Faulkner was for not revealing her gender to a public college in her application, or asking me how my boyfriend puts up with me (before him, I was apparently not suited to “attract a man”) is normal fare during the holidays with my family.

    My point is that I can’t choose my family members and I have to hang out with them and their prejudices for days at a time. I haven’t figured out how to deal with them and by this point I am pretty much the feminist/liberal black sheep of the family. Do any of you have effective ways of dealing with this in your own families?

  45. high-strung oddball

    “Nigel” is so much more unique than Dick or John. It makes me imagine a clueless Englishman with a large nose. Keep Nigel!

  46. Lizzie

    I heard the other day about a frat that hosts a RAPE PARTY. As in, the girls dress like sluts who are asking for it and the (white) guys dress “ghetto” in saggy jeans and doorags. That way, they can hit the extremes of both racism AND misogyny, and make any girl on campus fear for her life! What fun!

    And going back to the original topic, the guy who told me about this (not a member of the frat), although seeming to grasp that it was BAD, certainly wasn’t going to try to DO anything about it. Sigh.

  47. Lauredhel

    “My point is that I can’t choose my family members and I have to hang out with them and their prejudices for days at a time. I haven’t figured out how to deal with them and by this point I am pretty much the feminist/liberal black sheep of the family. Do any of you have effective ways of dealing with this in your own families?”

    I took the approach of writing one family member a letter explaining that I didn’t like the racism, I would not expose my kid to it under any circumstances, and what the relative did with that was up to them. I asked for no response to the letter, just an erasure of bigoted speech from our family gatherings. Things improved fairly dramatically.

    I have the advantages of (a) not being the only sibling who has a low tolerance for bigotry, and (b) having the kid to defend, which provided me with the impetus I needed to put my foot down. (Yes, I do wish I’d done it long ago. Being a mother has _for me_ been a big part of my move toward a more vocal and more radical feminism, antiracism, and other related journeys.)

    When the kid is older, we’ll be able to guide him a little more thoroughly in thinking critically about bigots in the world and help him improve his defensive and blaming skills (we have laid the foundation for it), but right now he’s at an age where it’s a bit of a challenge for him to question his relatives’ hate speech. So it was up to me to deal with this particular problem instead of sitting back and letting him soak it up.

  48. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Didn’t some 90s indie band have an album entitled “No Pocky for Kitty”?

    My Nigel would probably look at his shoes. To his credit he isn’t much for hanging out with the dudely dudes. Given the choice, I think he’d rather stay home and clean his own toilet. We maintain separate residences, a thing I credit with our long-term success.

  49. josquin

    Chiming in to keep “Nigel” also.
    It sounds so benign and friendly, which is whole point of the concept: even the most apparently harmless Nigel can be tainted by the Patriarchy.
    This post is fantastic. TP makes some excellent points about how to engage men on the subject of male-bonding-via-mysogeny.
    Even though it makes me cry and rage sometimes, I love this blog like crazy.

  50. Lauredhel

    “NIGEL” also has a handy backronym (at least, I’m assuming it’s a backronym): “NIcest Guy that Ever Lived”.

  51. julia

    josquin, i love it too. sometimes this blog is the only thing that keeps me sane, knowing i am not the only one who sees the world is so f’d up, and WHY (not saying that i escape all taintment (?) by the patriarchy, as a white, educated … you get the picture). indeed tp makes great points about male bonding through patriarchy. i just sent that particular comment to a young lezzie friend and hope it will be the fodder for some great discussions!

    and thank the goddess i am not the only one who makes the “making plans for nigel” association, which i’ve been humming on and off since the famous marriage post. worse that jesus christ superstar and jakob and sons put together!!

  52. justicewalks

    It just seems to me that the use of the name “Nigel” has gotten away from its original meaning and adopted tones of endearment for a confused but earnest man who’d like to be doing better on a feminist front. Nigel was originally a man with a female not-my-Nigeler (be she Nigel’s mother, daughter, sister, wife, girlfriend, or whore [with Nigel being pimp or John]) ever-ready to defend him against accusations of patriarchy-perpetuating behavior. Nigel is made relevant only by his defensive harem of female relatives, acquaintances, lovers, and friends who may or may not be willing to admit to a general atmosphere of global male malfeasance, but are never willing to include the object of their affections when it comes to such radical (at root) models of oppression.

    What was once a rather clever way of describing men who have at least one female acquaintance who’d deny his potential for misogyny (that is, every man on the planet; being a Nigel doesn’t make a man special) has been taken to mean “boyfriend of a radical feminist.” Was that intentional? Did no one else notice the linguistic creep?

  53. Sue Who

    Chiming in to say that I adore the anguished picture of Morella.

    Also? I guarantee that most Nigels respond with: b) Smiles and nods.

    I am particularly delighted with Twisty’s remark that the world is not populated by women with the means to advocate women’s liberation from the Patriarchy. I live in Spain, and blaming seems to be an even more monumental task here than when I lived in the States. The clarification may seem like an exercise in linguistics, but it strikes a chord with me.

  54. babycatcher

    I have no idea exactly what constituted ‘dressing up as rape victims’, I’m not sure I want to speculate, I only know that this is how they described how they were dressed. I don’t think it is likely they were attacked just for being dressed in women’s clothing, as going out at night in groups dressed in women’s clothing is not an unusual activity for members of mens sports teams at British universities.

  55. metamanda

    Most every (straight) guy I know has had some experience hanging out in predominantly gay male spaces. I think it should be required for all straight men, because it’s a really effective place to start with the consciousness-raising. At least they might start to have an idea of how women feel around them all the damn time.

    Nigel just needs this helping hand.

  56. finnsmotel

    As a very close friend completed a particularly energetic ogle, all I said was, “I can’t imagine what it must be like to be completely controlled by your libido,” and I got the stink eye for the rest of the day.

    His ogle had been camouflaged such that I’m sure the woman was not offended. And, I directed the comment at him. I didn’t even suggest that maybe the woman in question was human and deserved better whether she saw/heard him or not.

    Part of the problem is that there is a very large segment of the male population who have had success with the assumption that women respond sex-positive to being treated like shit. For me to point out that women should be treated better does little to educate or change a guy’s mind. Post-critique, all I’ve done is confirm my position as a non-contender for the pussy they’re chasing.

    For men, it’s all about ranking the messenger.

    Any guy criticizes the ogle = fag/chicken shit/afraid to score.

    Normal woman criticizes the ogle = bitter/dyke/divorcee/hasn’t had my man meat.

    What has to happen is for reasonable, traditionally attractive women to conduct a complete Pussy Strike against men who treat them badly.

    The problem is that traditionally attractive women stand to gain almost as much from patriarchy as the men at the top.

    -finn

  57. delagar

    My Nigel would absolutely look at his shoes. Then, when I called him on it, which I so absolutely would, he would explain to me, and actually believe this shit, how his buds didn’t mean the misogyny, how they were just playing, and what is up with me lately, I don’t have any sense of humor *left*.

    Oh: and Twisty absolutely is 48. You don’t get this wise overnight.

  58. Joan Kelly

    finn,

    I’m on board with anyone NOT fucking a person who treats them shitty, but I don’t know, somehow I feel like what “has to happen” is broader in scope and vision than ~~hott chix not putting out!!~~ For starters, why do us ugly irrational broads gotta sit this one out? We are, after all, the ones with the most time on our hands.

  59. finnsmotel

    Joan sez:

    “I feel like what “has to happen” is broader in scope and vision than ~~hott chix not putting out!!”

    I sez:

    Oh, I’m sure you’re right. Wasn’t trying to limit the call to arms with my comment.

    If I had a main point, it’s that, as a feminist sympathizer, I’m glad to take up arms for a new revolution. But, I think I will be disregarded as much as any female leading the charge.

    So, I would ask you this about the Nigels who are willing to join the cause:

    Are they/we doing so because A.) We’re great humanitarians and see the rightness in the cause. Or, B.) we are (consciously or un-) simply trying to improve our fall back position of castoff from the patriarchy?

    Is it possible to do A purely or is it always a little from column A and a little from B?

  60. SneakySis

    Still kind of taken aback by the post title. There are at least three (spurious) hidden assumptions in the claim that “there is such a thing as a PMS Disaster Level.”

  61. delphyne

    “What was once a rather clever way of describing men who have at least one female acquaintance who’d deny his potential for misogyny (that is, every man on the planet; being a Nigel doesn’t make a man special) has been taken to mean “boyfriend of a radical feminist.” Was that intentional? Did no one else notice the linguistic creep?”

    Me, me! I did!

    I used to have the impulse to talk about my ex-Nigel and how great he was in feminist forums (I still have it sometimes) but I resisted because I thought it might offend women who didn’t really want to hear about the goodness of him (or any man for that matter) given their experience of him might be somewhat different from mine.

    Most men are nice to at least some women, but unless I could talk to every woman my ex has ever dealt with it’s a bad idea to assume that he’s any different from the majority of the male sex who oppress women and hate us. “Not my Nigel” started out as a criticism of women who mistakenly thought their man was different from those bad ones over there, now it’s being turned into making Nigel, Dick, or John or whoever something cute cuddly and unthreatening, and a man we’re all supposed to be pleased to hear good things about.

  62. thebewilderness

    Dear Delphyne,
    I, of course, disagree.
    While there are many who bring the misunderstanding you describe to a discussion, I think that most women who describe their Nigel, do so with certain reservations. They know they are putting lipstick on a pig. Most women who would declare “not my Nigel” when confronted with a rape accusation aren’t prepared to go anywhere near a feminist discussion. When they do wander in, one of the first things they discover is that their Nigel is a pig wearing lipstick, special just for them. At this point they either expand their obstreperol lobe three sizes that day, or scream their outrage and beat a hasty retreat. If they really thought their Nigel was any different from any other penis bearing creature, they would call them a decent human being, not a Nigel. I could be wrong, but I think they get it, they just don’t want to accept it, because then they would feel the need to DTMF.

  63. thebewilderness

    I’m in moderation because I said penis. Hah.

  64. Shira

    What has to happen is for reasonable, traditionally attractive women to conduct a complete Pussy Strike against men who treat them badly.

    The problem is that traditionally attractive women stand to gain almost as much from patriarchy as the men at the top.

    I don’t know if this is true. I’m someone who is considered traditionally attractive – 20, white, very thin yet still large (for my frame, I’m a c) breasted, symmetrical face, long legs compared to my torso, etc. And this could very well be because I have never lived as someone who isn’t traditionally attractive, and I’m interested in hearing other blamers’ responses, but I disagree with the suggestion that I have almost as much to gain from patriarchy due to my hawtness as any man, much less the men at the top. It hasn’t spared me from harassment. It hasn’t spared me from sexual violence. It hasn’t spared me from having my opinions dismissed or disparaged outright. It sure wouldn’t help me if the forced-pregnancy morons win. Where is this supposed benefit that puts me on a level with “Men at the top”?

    Frankly, I don’t see how this argument is any different from the mindset that produces such compelling reasoning as “but strippers are exploiting teh MENZ by taking their moniez!!1! They have all the power!” It isn’t real power: it’s derivative at best, imaginary at worst, completely dependent on our sexual subservience, and it’s nothing compared to the power that “men at the top” have in patriarchy.

  65. shina

    About the Nigel-linguistic-change issue, I too find it odd to see people write about their “Nigels” being awesome feminist allies, when the term itself is supposed to be a device indicating that the men in our lives are generally quite complicit in performing their roles members of the oppressor class. I don’t think the use of it that I’ve seen online lately has been completely out of line however, even if it is just used to mean “boyfriend-of-a-radical-feminist”. Radical feminists have big, angry reactions to the patriarchy we witness out in the world, and then come home to someone complicit in that world order whom we love, trust, and to whom we feel very close. The term “Nigel” to describes them and our relationships with them encapsulates that cognitive dissonance quite well, I think. It does bother me, however, when people the term as a self conscious get-out-of-non-my-Nigeling-free-card.

  66. Jezebella

    Hm, I kind of thought “my Nigel” was an acknowledgment that every man, even the one we love, was no exception to patriarchal conditioning and asshattery, even if he’s nice to one woman in particular. This usage conflates all Nigels (boyfriends, husbands, baby-daddies, partners, whatever) into that category: guys who are mostly nice to at least one feminist but who are by no means perfect. If I had a Nigel, I would be wise to NOT assume his behavior is acceptable to everyone else. You just never know what they get up to when you’re not around.

  67. delphyne

    Dear bewilderness

    I knew someone would! I think if you look at the context, most women are using the term quite unironically or rather with a pretend irony.

    I don’t really understand why there is even any need to keep bringing men into the conversation (at least in their roles as nearest and dearest), somehow it seems to me to be a diversion from radical analysis. It feels the word Nigel has somehow given the green light to introduce men in a way that the word partner or husband wouldn’t allow. As long as we’re being jokey it is OK somehow.

    Andrea Dworkin was with John Stoltenberg for 20(?) years. She managed to write all her books without giving him a mention except in her autobiographical work.

    My radical approach would be to examine the impulse to keep talking about these supposedly good men. I was certainly surprised how much I *wanted* to bring my ex into the conversation even when I knew it wasn’t conducive to the topic at hand. I now wonder if it was other people I needed to persuade or myself and I still haven’t got to the bottom of that one. Of course that’s just my own experience.

  68. josquin

    Yes to Jezebella.
    I never thought the meaning had drifted to “male partner of feminist” but rather that even the seemingly sensitive, evolved boyfriend, husband, what-have-you can have P lurking in his heart.
    I don’t think women here are using it as a way of sneaking their “darling husbands” though the back door, but instead as a way to say, yes, I have a husband, partner, or boyfriend whom I may love, but yes, he too enjoys the privileges of the oppressor class simply because he is male, like all men everywhere.

  69. josquin

    And yes to Shina also.

  70. thebewilderness

    “I don’t really understand why there is even any need to keep bringing men into the conversation (at least in their roles as nearest and dearest), somehow it seems to me to be a diversion from radical analysis. It feels the word Nigel has somehow given the green light to introduce men in a way that the word partner or husband wouldn’t allow. As long as we’re being jokey it is OK somehow.” sez Delphyne

    I can’t argue with you there. I can understand the panic response of “not my Nigel”. For the life of me I cannot understand why anyone would think that their relationship with their Nigel is of any interest to anyone outside of a small circle of friends. We are fomenting a revolution here, fer cryin’ out loud.

  71. Jezebella

    Well, for once, Nigel was the topic of Twisty’s post, so people were answering the quiz.

    Not that Nigel doesn’t come up all the time, in every context, as you noted.

    And I’ve never in my life heard a man call another out for being a misogynist ass-hat. Maybe I just beat ‘em to the punch? Next time I hear something misogynist in male company I’ll wait a tick and see if any other men call the dude out on it. I’m not holding my breath, though.

  72. josquin

    Although I am not interested in people’s relationships with their Nigels in the specifics, I am interested in discussion about the cognitive dissonance, as Shina puts it, inherent in female-male partnerships.
    Commenters here occasionally put out the question:
    What the hell does one do if one is attracted to men?
    The quick admonition to abandon all hope and withdraw from the game doesn’t quite seem viable.
    I’m not advocating that Twisty become a sounding board for conflicted het women, but this reader, at least, finds a certain amount of interest in the “relationship-paradox” comments from time to time.

  73. thebewilderness

    josquin,
    You might want to check out the forum. There is a remarkable surfeit of ‘my Nigeling’ going on over there, all day, every day.

  74. Genevieve

    I was going to say that I didn’t quite know what my boyfriend would do in this situation as he has a tendency to talk about the attractiveness of certain female celebrities in the privacy of his own apartment, yet I’ve never heard him say anything disrespectful of any women in public (and he doesn’t drink, and isn’t the sort of guy who hangs out with a bunch of other guys in bars all the time–if he was it’s doubtful we’d have ever met, much less be dating), but then I remembered an instance when a friend of his (a mutual friend, actually, and a very good friend, but with a tendency towards insensitivity, to put it mildly) made a joke about rape…and while he didn’t get MAD, or call him a misogynist or anything, he did say, calmly (much more calmly then I could have managed) “Don’t say those things.” Now, of course rape jokes are not the same thing as ogling, and he probably felt more personally about the issue of rape jokes considering everything he knows about my past, but remembering this instance still made me feel rather lucky that I found a decent human being.

  75. josquin

    Thebewilderness,
    I did not realize there was excessive Nigel-documentation at the forum. (I admit to being generally too lazy to scroll through the various threads.)
    I can see how it would be annoying.

  76. Joan Kelly

    hot lady:

    What I think of when I think about the way patriarchy rewards good looking women in addition to men is not that women who fit traditional standards of beauty are equal to men in accessing power, but that some of them find the intoxication of being desired (and whatever personal privileges that affords them) more enjoyable than the soul-dislocating agony of full awareness re: the patriarchy. Hence they sometimes deny/defend the patriarchy rather than doing their fair share of blaming.

    guy who brought it up:

    You have shamed me. I was being snarky with my response, and then you came back with seeming sincerity. Please refrain from decent and/or convincing-but-fake-decency in future correspondence, so as to avoid another mishap like this one. Thank you.

    P.S. Everything in your response after “I’m sure you’re right,” is a blur. Were you asking whether I think that it’s possible for men to be genuinely against misogyny and willing to do what they can to purge it from themselves and others, versus whether I think guys just pretend to want/do those things to get in women’s pants?

  77. WSG

    I know at least two guys who would call out another guy (and I’ve seen them do it) for being misogynistic scum.

    Unfortunately for me, they’re both engaged to two of my best friends. Perhaps they have brothers?

    But yeah, 2 out of all the men I’ve known is not a good number.

  78. justicewalks

    What the hell does one do if one is attracted to men?
    The quick admonition to abandon all hope and withdraw from the game doesn’t quite seem viable.

    I just don’t understand the angst over all of this. Heterosexual women have 2 options with regard to getting off in the patriarchy: 1) Forgo satiating heterosexual urges in favor of making as few patriarchal concessions to men as possible. 2) Decide that satiating heterosexual urges is well worth the inevitable concessions one will make in homage to the penis-swinger’s privilege.

    Those are the only 2 options. They’ll be the only 2 options the next time this topic comes up (poor, beleaguered heterosexual women), as it always, always does because it’s always about the men before it’s about the women. If the first option just “doesn’t quite seem viable” to you, then go with option 2. But you know what? Option 2 isn’t the radical feminist option. Now, I’m not saying it isn’t a choice that some, maybe most, radical feminists make, but a preponderance of individual radical feminist partakers isn’t what makes something radical, or feminist.

    I once heard an interview with Catharine MacKinnon on NPR. The interviewer asked about her heterosocial/heterosexual life, and she refused to comment because, and I paraphrase, her relationships with individual men did not determine the course of her feminism, and were thus irrelevant to her cause. She also said that divulging the details of her irrelevant interactions with individual men could only be used against her. If she’d had good interactions, it would be said that her feminism was only theoretical, that what she sought was impossible in the real world, or that she wasn’t invested enough to be taken seriously. If, on the other hand, she had bad experiences with men, it would be said that she was damaged, bitter, unfuckable, and therefore fit only to be pitied and dismissed. But, ultimately, why would she compromise herself in this way for the sake of sharing personal details that didn’t even factor into her philosophy?

    delphyne said: “Not my Nigel” started out as a criticism of women who mistakenly thought their man was different from those bad ones over there, now it’s being turned into making Nigel, Dick, or John or whoever something cute cuddly and unthreatening, and a man we’re all supposed to be pleased to hear good things about.

    Someone asked the other day on another thread, I can’t remember which, what a “Nigel” was exactly. I was surprised by the lack of rebuttal to the response, which was something along the lines of “a Nigel is a man who’s doing his very very best not to feel entitled to the sex and labor of women, but who sometimes stumbles, and lets the misogyny slip through, but it’s totally benign little slip-ups because he’s trying so so hard which makes it kind of cute and endearing, and we shouldn’t discourage him from his efforts.” I thought to myself, since when does labeling a man a Nigel say anything at all about the character, let alone feminism, of the man in question? After all, even that man who was just arrested the other day for the rape and murder of a girl child, and is suspected in the rapes and murders of several other girl children, toddlers, and infants (oh, it doesn’t matter which girl rapist; pick any girl rapist/murderer you like) was a Nigel. And he was made so by his mother/daughter/sister/wife/girlfriend/whore who stood in the face of all the evidence that he’d raped, sodomized, tortured, and murdered several girls and said, “Not my man. He’d never.” In the case I’m thinking of, it was his wife.

    In a turn of “No true Scotsman,” women here have taken the focus off the woman behind the Nigel and are using the term to indicate some feminist intent on the part of the man in question. They have to narrow down the number of men to whom Nigel refers in order to de-emphasize the fact that “what about Nigel???” is really “what about the menz????” All men are Nigel. MacKinnon knew this, but unlike her, many of the women here do allow their experiences with individual men to color their feminism.

  79. tinfoil hattie

    What Josquin said, and what Shira said, double-time.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go kill off all my Nigels.

  80. tinfoil hattie

    P.S. Joke! I’m joking. (Hear that, FISA Folk?)

  81. josquin

    Justicewalks:
    you don’t understand the angst in all of this?
    Review your two choices again, and then think about why the paucity of desirable choices may give rise to a smidgen of angst.
    Having clarity about one’s choices does not preclude angst, if both choices are crap.
    As for Catherine McKinnon: she was keeping her private concerns out of the public arena. Very wise move. This does not prove that she has no private concerns, but just that she does not want them muddying the public’s interpretation of her philosophy.
    I was under the impression that commenting at Twisty’s was not quite the same as giving public interviews on NPR.
    I confess to appreciating the occasional discussion of private concerns with intelligent and sympathetic readers while still retaining a semblance of anonymity.

  82. Agnieszka

    “The problem is that traditionally attractive women stand to gain almost as much from patriarchy as the men at the top.”

    No finn, we simply do not have “almost as much to gain”.

    I can do that trick they do in 80s movies, where I take off my glasses and let down my hair (and pluck my eyebrows and shave my body hair and put on makeup and do my nails and wear a pushup bra and an uncomfortably short and tight skirt and expensive and crippling high heeled shoes and etc.) and transform from nerd to Beauty2K-compliant fembot, and while that turns me from ignored object to desired object, the key word is still object. I’ve been sexually harassed by men both for being too “ugly” and for being “attractive”. It sucks either way.

    Making myself fit the beauty standard does not protect me from street harassment or rape. It does not get me a better salary. It does not make me feel any less alienated from literature and pop culture. It does not make men pay attention to me as a human being. If anything, it increases the hostility of men who decide that their status is not high enough to acquire an object like me.

    And also, everything Shira said on this subject, I agree with.

  83. CoolAunt

    To me, all of this talk about how best to communicate to the average misogynist male that his woman-hating comments are hurtful and wrong without hurting his fragile widdow ego to the point that he either shuts down communications or attacks the messenger as well as why his widdow ego is so fragile are not at all different from the how-to-communicate-with-your-man and the Men Are from Mars bullshit that I’ve heard on Oprah and the Drs. Phil and Keith shows as well as every issue of every so-called womens’ magazine ever printed. Frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn why Nigel and his cronies are assholes nor am I compelled to learn how to speak to him and the rest of his asshole brethren within the asshole framework, which boils down to nothing more than using the proper tone and language of the inferior and subordinate so as not to unleash his inner asshole.

    Ideally, Nigel and his brethren would cease their assholery. As that is about as likely as monkeys flying out of my ass, the other option I choose is that I not communicate with assholes if and when it can be avoided.

    Now, if all self-proclaimed feminist men would grow balls as large as the ovaries of radfem women and call out the misogynist scum when they see him (day in and day out), in plain, upfront language, sans the pacifying, ego coddling language, the GOB (Good Ol’ Boys) Club might one day begin to reduce in numbers of members. As long as the tired, old boys-will-be-boys, permissive attitude remains intact, even when calling out the Nigels for their misogynist comments, well, boys will continue to boys, won’t they?

  84. Twisty

    Justicewalks wrote ” (poor, beleaguered heterosexual women)”.

    Perhaps you might explain what you mean by this? I ask because heterosexual women readers are probably going to think you’re mocking them.

  85. Jodie

    “My radical approach would be to examine the impulse to keep talking about these supposedly good men. I was certainly surprised how much I *wanted* to bring my ex into the conversation even when I knew it wasn’t conducive to the topic at hand. I now wonder if it was other people I needed to persuade or myself and I still haven’t got to the bottom of that one.”

    Oh Delphyne, this brings back such memories of when I was married (thank dog that’s all over and done with a long time ago). I know now that I was trying to persuade myself.

  86. juls

    finnsmotel wrote:

    “Normal woman criticizes the ogle = bitter/dyke/divorcee/hasn’t had my man meat.”

    Also: Fat, jealous.

  87. finnsmotel

    Shira sez:

    “Where is this supposed benefit that puts me on a level with “Men at the top”?”

    I sez:

    Not to pick nits, but, I didn’t say you would be on a level with the men at the top. I said “almost as much to gain.”

    But, you made some great points, so, I’m not completely in disagreement. I was being a bit pithy. (Sorry Joan. Absolutely no shame was intended.)

    Instead of discussing the presumably admirable lives of our forum members, let me offer a slightly different example (though some might argue with the label of traditionally attractive):

    First Lady Laura Bush

    Discuss.

  88. Joan Kelly

    Amotherfuckingmen to what CoolAunt said.

    And, I’m not a heterosexual but I’ve formerly played one off TV, and I disagree that forgoing one’s sexual urges is a) that effective of a way to address patriarchy and b) that effective of a way to live, for any human. The fact that I was once desperately in need of lunch and stuck in a place with only disgusting fast food did not make it a viable option for me to keep driving on an empty stomach. I am not saying sex with men is disgusting fastfood, only that even if one judges all one’s options as objectionable, the best answer still isn’t necessarily abstinence. Banging it out is a human need. Expecting people to go without it is not something I can get behind. And, as much as I can testify to the wonderfulness of sexually interacting with ladyparts, I’m well aware that the disinterest I have in planting myself face first in a pair of hairy balls is the same disinterest heterobroads have in girl diving. That’s all.

  89. phio gistic

    My Nigel has grown into a feminist ally over the last year. He wasn’t always that way, but he has learned a lot from listening to me talk about this site and feminist issues. He works with a seriously misogynist gay man who talks trash about women in front of women employees. N has publicly told him that he doesn’t want to hear it. Yesterday he called me and said “There’s a new guy at work and this morning he told me he knows a bunch of racist jokes. I told him I didn’t want to hear them, and now he and [gay misogynist] are making fun of me calling me ‘the innocent one’ and ‘too pure to talk to them’. I feel stupid.”

    I told him he was pretty wonderful and that those dudes are trying to get his goat to make him say something rash so they can feel better about themselves, since he’s shown them up to be jerks. It takes courage to do something as simple as tell someone you don’t want to hear it.

  90. CoolAunt

    “Instead of discussing the presumably admirable lives of our forum members, let me offer a slightly different example (though some might argue with the label of traditionally attractive):

    First Lady Laura Bush

    Discuss.”

    Hhhmmm…I think Laura Bush is pretty but there’s no accounting for taste, is there? But for the sake of argument (as they say; I don’t really want to argue, only discuss), let’s pretend that it’s a given that she’s attractive by media standards. If so, then she is living and highly visible to the public proof that women are oppressed and, conventionally pretty or not, must go to great lengths to have even tiny scraps of privilege and perceived but not actual power bestowed upon them. I mean, for crying out loud, the woman married and remains married to George Bush. Talk about desperation! It don’t much more desperate than that.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t join a Laura Bush bashing. Whatever privileges and advantages she may have been given, she’s had to pay and be punished dearly to receive them. That’s a fine example of oppression for ya’.

  91. delphyne

    I’d prefer to discuss why a bloke would try to turn the topic to Laura Bush rather than continue dissecting the proposition that most men are misogynistic scum given that they *never* stand up to their male friends when they hate on women.

    So you criticised your pal that one time Finn, what else have you done for us lately apart from telling us ladies to call a “Pussy” (can’t believe you think it is appropriate to use that word here) strike?

  92. CoolAunt

    Right on, Delphyne.

  93. justicewalks

    I say this, perhaps mockingly, but also introspectively, as I, too, am a heterosexual woman, because “what about the heterosexual women???” is a none-too-cleverly veiled inquiry as to the welfare of “the menz.” Male-beleaguered heterosexual women have exactly the same options in the face of misogyny as non-heterosexual male-beleaguered women. When we figure out how to get men to stop beleaguering women, period, we’ll figure out how to get men to stop beleaguering the heterosexual ones too.

  94. CoolAunt

    “He works with a seriously misogynist gay man who talks trash about women in front of women employees. ”

    Has he ever done the same to het men who talk trash about women in front of him, with or without women present? The fact that Nigel feels it necessary to call home and whine about being bullied in the schoolyard because he’s not allowed to do what the other boys are allowed to get by with has me thinking that he doesn’t so much believe that sexism and racism are wrong but that he must behave as if they’re wrong and not participate or risk being kicked to the curb by you. I mean, when was the last time that you had to call him because the racists and sexists around you treated you as an outcast because you wouldn’t laugh along with their hatred-based jokes?

    As for not participating in talking trash about other races, let’s not forget that men are included as members of other races. Besides, most racists and sexists won’t talk that shit in the workplace because it could come back to bite them in the ass. What they say outside the workplace, however, and even what they will silently tolerate listening to outside the workplace, is another matter entirely.

  95. finnsmotel

    “So you criticised your pal that one time Finn, what else have you done for us lately…”

    There’s no answer to this question that wouldn’t result in a severe roasting, so, I’ll politely withdraw from the comments section once again.

    For the record, I wasn’t trying to change the subject. It seemed reasonable to assume that the first part of the discussion was closed. I could accept it as fact (and supported it with a personal anecdote) that even the most well-meaning men rarely call each other out on misogyny.

  96. finnsmotel

    ““Pussy” (can’t believe you think it is appropriate to use that word here)”

    Seems tame by the standard set by the blog owner. Your mileage may vary.

  97. sun rat

    f) Nigel turns to ‘Booyah’ dude and says: “Dude, has anyone ever told you what a fine ass YOU have? I’d TOTALLY hit that.”

    I’ve always felt the best lessons are those immediately placing the offender on the spot.

  98. delphyne

    “Seems tame by the standard set by the blog owner. Your mileage may vary.”

    I think you need to reconfigure your misogyny sensors Finn if you think what you did there has anything to do with what Twisty does. Here’s a clue though, don’t use it. Ever again.

  99. CoolAunt

    “I could accept it as fact (and supported it with a personal anecdote) that even the most well-meaning men rarely call each other out on misogyny.”

    Finn, since you aren’t politely withdrawing from the comments section again, as you stated, I’ll take this moment to enlighten you to the fact that since most men rarely call each other out on misogyny, most men are not well meaning toward women. They mean well toward themselves and toward other men but not toward women. So those of you who like to think of yourselves as well-meaning mean yet continue to remain silent and not call out misogynist scum when they talk their woman-hating shit in your presence are neither well-meaning nor feminist (or anti-sexist, pro-woman or even humanitarian) and therefore shouldn’t label yourself as such.

    Even I, a woman who does call misogynist scum on the carpet when they spew that vile shit from their mouths in presence, won’t label myself radfem because I lack the courage to walk around in this world without makeup and unshaven. I’ll be damned if I lack the courage to tell you that you, dear sir, are no feminist. The same goes for all of your so-called well-meaning cronies who sit by silently while other men spew their hatred of women in your presence. You’re just another patriarch.

  100. That Girl

    I hope you feel better Twisty!

  101. eggbert

    I’ve got to say that my Nigel wouldn’t do a goddamned thing if a dude in his vicinity made a sexist, woman hating comment.

    After much heartache and many one-sided discussions, he has learned to stifle his slack jawed ogling in my presence. He has also learned to clean porn cookies of the computer before I get home. This is to avoid making me sad, NOT because he thinks that consuming porn is problematic. He has learned to stop sitting on his ass and watching while I do all the cooking and chores, but he still wields his ignorance of how to do laundry and operate a mop as a passive-aggressive tool against me: “See, wouldn’t it be easier if you just did it yourself, missy?” He has even visited this blog, but he made such obnoxious Me Me Me comments that he was banned without so much as a cutting rebuke. I tried to explain that this is one of the few spaces where he cannot be the center of attention. His eyes glassed over with incomprehension.

    The other night a dude cornered Nigel and began making odious drunken comments: “Blah blah blah fucken fat whores blah blah and those bitches with bad teeth”. I had a great view of their interaction and watched with interest to see how Nigel would respond. He caught me looking and rolled his eyes, but no “Knock it off, misogynist scumbag” issued forth. He works in the company of men, and I have been privy to their conversations. They all buttslap and lollygag and make sickening derogatory comments about women’s bodies. They ruthlessly criticize their female supervisor and make jokes about her PMS and recommend teen porn sites to each other. OF COURSE my dear Nigel takes part.

    After all that, I discourage people think of him as a monster or aberration; he is a Nigel like so many other Nigels. He is not a bad boyfriend and I do (in spite of myself sometimes) love him a whole lot. He is a giant part of my life, and my relationship with him is the most intimate of any relationship I have right now. Furthermore, he has treated me much better than any male ever has. His unexamined privilege astounds me, and some of his behaviors literally make me cry, and sometimes I want to give up on men altogether. What I mean to say is that romantic relationships are not exempt from being severely complicated by the Big P. Maybe I could find a guy who doesn’t act this way (doubtful and I don’t honestly want to try), but I doubt if any relationship between two human beings who are unequally valued by society could be all that harmonious and concession-free.

  102. finnsmotel

    Cool Aunt, please do not mistake me for a guy claiming to be feminist. I said earlier that I think of myself as a sympathizer, but, admittedly lack the capacity for much more.

    You said:

    “I’ll take this moment to enlighten you to the fact that since most men rarely call each other out on misogyny, most men are not well meaning toward women. They mean well toward themselves and toward other men but not toward women.”

    I can see where you’re coming from, but, I don’t agree completely.

    I think that all people who capitulate to a system for survival are certainly participating in some form of self-preservation, to varying degrees. And, yes, that self-preservation does sometimes directly or indirectly result in behavior that might suggest they do not mean well for others. But, isn’t it also possible that the preponderance of a person’s behavior should be used to make a fair judgment?

    For example, if a guy is 95% capable of sympathizing and/or empathizing with feminism, but, occasionally gets caught ogling women he finds attractive, is he 100% self-interested and 100% misogynist?

    I didn’t bring up Laura Bush to change the subject. But, it seems to me that the lowest hanging fruit/targets for radfem might be the people – both male and female – who actively perpetuate and reinforce the ideals and standards of the patriarchal system. She and her mate represent the pinnacle of that ideal. Cut off the head and the monster dies and all that. But, hey, if you think it’s more valuable to go after the minions, one at a time, that’s cool by me.

    It just seems to my admittedly novice blaming way of thinking that radfems attacking Nigels is exactly what the Bushes of the word would want.

    Does Nigel not call his college friends out for staring down someone’s shirt? Yes. Should he strive to do better? Yes. Is his passivity truly an active perpetuation of patriarchy? I’m not inclined to agree.

  103. finnsmotel

    “what else have you done for us lately”

    It’s been a while since you’ve had someone to flame, hasn’t it?

    ;-)

  104. delphyne

    “It just seems to my admittedly novice blaming way of thinking that radfems attacking Nigels is exactly what the Bushes of the word would want.”

    Well radical feminists know that men will always try to deflect the attention from themselves and they especially love to blame women wherever they can, hence Laura Bush from you.

    You might be a novice blamer but I think you completed and passed the advanced course in patriarchy.

  105. delphyne

    “It’s been a while since you’ve had someone to flame, hasn’t it?”

    It’s sad that even at this blog people can’t tell the difference between a man being challenged on his sexism and flaming.

    As we know Nigels aren’t going to call you out about your use of p*ssy or your attempts to blame a woman for the patriarchy it falls on women’s shoulders.

    Why not listen and think about it instead of the passive aggressive digs?

  106. finnsmotel

    “Well radical feminists know that men will always try to deflect the attention from themselves and they especially love to blame women wherever they can, hence Laura Bush from you.”

    Nah, I picked Laura Bush because the subject I attempted to introduce was: women as beneficiaries of patriarchy. I’m not saying that all women are beneficiaries; just trying to establish that there are many who have a vested interest in the status quo.

    (Is it impossible for a man to make this observation or does it have to come from a woman to be considered legitimate?)

  107. Jezebella

    Eggbert, your Nigel is an ass-hat and a terrible boyfriend.

    Just because he treats you better than any other man has done, he’s still not good enough.

    You can do better.

    DTMFA.

  108. justicewalks

    josquin,

    Having clarity about one’s choices does not preclude angst, if both choices are crap.

    I do not think both choices are crap. I think one is way more dignified than the other.

    Besides which, if women would stop seeking feminist approval for the choices they make in their private lives, there wouldn’t be any angst. The angst is born, not out of a scarcity of options, but out of the willingness to make patriarchal concessions in exchange for male company/sex, all the while framing those concessions as feats of feminism, just because it’s a self-proclaimed feminist doing the hand-holding, sugar-coating, and genuflecting, in the hopes of garnering a positive individual male response.

    As for Catherine McKinnon: she was keeping her private concerns out of the public arena. Very wise move. This does not prove that she has no private concerns, but just that she does not want them muddying the public’s interpretation of her philosophy.

    Catharine MacKinnon chose to keep her private concerns out of the discussion because they were irrelevant. It is because those intimate details were irrelevant to her philosophy that they could be put only to ill use by her audience. In other words, if MacKinnon’s warm fuzzy feelings toward individual men had any impact whatsoever on the way men as a class should be viewed in her model of feminism, she could have divulged the details within a context of her own framing and headed off any misinterpretations. You seem to be implying that it is the details themselves that would muddy the public interpretation, when really it is the public’s insistence that the details have anything whatsoever to do with her feminism that would muddy the waters.

    Which brings us to this:

    I was under the impression that commenting at Twisty’s was not quite the same as giving public interviews on NPR.

    You are right. But, it’s also true that the women commenting about their Nigels at Twisty’s actually do conflate their love for Nigel with their feminism. Their feminism, unlike MacKinnon’s, is in large part about how to get Nigel to “get it” because they love him. So, if they were giving public interviews on NPR, they wouldn’t have the same reasons for declining comment on their relationships with men as MacKinnon. For them it would be reasons of discretion, while for MacKinnon it is an issue of relevance.

  109. thebewilderness

    Yo Finn,
    Changing the subject from why the hell don’t the purported feminist allies call out their asshat friends on their misogynistic asshattery, to what about the semi, quasi, half ass privilege wealthy white women enjoy, when married to WPE, sounds like a diversionary tactic because it is. You are attempting to blame higher status victims instead of perps.

  110. Sue Who

    “Is his passivity truly an active perpetuation of patriarchy? I’m not inclined to agree.”

    Finn, passivity is exactly an active perpetuation of The P. What do you think that men do in societites where boo-ya is not the norm? Like, incidentally, in Europe where I live: here they exchange glances and nods in a tacit agreement to maintain The P. Everyone knows their place.

    Eggbert, your comment eloquently phrased the dilemma that most women face. In spite of any specific activities of your Nigel which may or may not make him an ass-hat, your final statement was quite perfect.

    Now I am curious – why are our Nigels always boyfriend and husbands? Why not our fathers and brothers and sons? Are our relationships with, as mentioned here, “individual men” limited to the romantic/sexual ones?

  111. Calabama

    Well, M.N. isn’t too verbal, but verbal enough to say “You’re a bunch of creeps” and walk away from his fellow football team members who chose a strip club for their team party, back in his college days. Later on, walked out on a film shoot when he arrived and found it was a porno. Has come to women’s assistance in random physical altercations. Escorts women at the local abortion clinic. All in all, a decent egg in our daily life too, AND he does windows — though toilets are problematic.

    Sorry for going on — I can see how it’d annoy — but in this post, Twisty DID ask for it. What’s really disgusting is that mere decency in men is apparently rarer than a blue rose.

  112. finnsmotel

    “sounds like a diversionary tactic because it is”

    Well, I sure don’t mean it to be.

    It’s obvious that men at all socio-economic stations generally benefit more from patriarchy than women; so obvious that I couldn’t possibly articulate it better than has already been done here.

    Granted I jumped in with my pithy helmet on and once again underestimated my inability to communicate humorously in this group.* But, all humor aside, what I meant to add to the discussion is that people of all genders tend to act in self-interest first, group interest second. For some reason, bringing up Laura Bush seemed, to me, to jive with Twisty’s point:

    “Anyone with the means to do so who doesn’t vociferously advocate women’s total liberation from male dominance and oppression is misogynist scum.”

    She didn’t say all men, she said anyone and I agree with that.

    IMO, whether it’s men being misogynist, men not calling each other on misogyny, women shaving and wearing makeup, or First Ladies, or whatever, I see everyone as a victim before I see them as a perp, regardless of their gender. I tend to give the benefit of the doubt that way, but, that’s just me.

    -finn

    * – I am humiliated that I can’t make anyone in this arena laugh, despite years of being told how funny I am by friends, of whom I count Twisty as one. Apologies.

  113. justicewalks

    She didn’t say all men, she said anyone and I agree with that.

    Did you read this post, Finn, because contained therein is a redaction of the sentence you cherry-picked as being supportive of a woman-blaming model of feminism you could get on board with?

    But there are still plenty of people for whom vociferosity is an option. Men, for instance. As it happens, men are the group I had in mind when I wrote the little quiz.

    So, there’s the redaction. Sorry, your views are not Twisty’s. In fact, if I were her I’d be good and tired of your constant selfish allusion to her words, first as an excuse for using misogynist language and now as an excuse for your woman blaming.

    Your misogynist contribution has been less than intellectually engaging and I really wish you’d follow through with your promise to recuse yourself from the thread. I can’t be the only one.

  114. PhysioProf

    “I’ll politely withdraw from the comments section once again.”

    Dude, I think there’s something seriously fucking wrong with your dictionary.

  115. finnsmotel

    “Dude, I think there’s something seriously fucking wrong with your dictionary.”

    Touche’.

    Farewell.

  116. zofia

    …if women would stop seeking feminist approval for the choices they make in their private lives, there wouldn’t be any angst.

    There wouldn’t be any angst? Bullshit. Angst is an inner struggle with insecurity and despair and is a part of living a considered life. There are many people who experience angst and don’t give a rat’s ass what other people think and are certainly not looking for someone’s approval. I love the way the everything is framed as a “choice” as if every woman out there has the resources (educationally, culturally,financially, emotionally, etc)and they simply need to make the right choice (right being whatever choice you happened to make).I don’t think that most of the women who come here are looking for “feminist approval”(whatever that means). We come because we know there is something terribly wrong and because we are earnestly attempting, within our own particular circumstances and narrative, to find our place within this revolution for our own sakes and for girls everywhere.

    I do not think both choices are crap. I think one is way more dignified than the other.

    This strikes me as utterly delusional although delusion is a great way to avoid angst.

  117. Valkyrie

    Darn – and I was just about to call Bingo!

  118. thebewilderness

    Finn,
    You played the “women wearing high heels is just as bad as men harassing” card and then finished up with the “humourless feminists” exit line. The problem isn’t that we misunderstand you. The problem is that we understand you very well.

  119. josquin

    Zofia, thank you.
    Your defense of my positions was exactly what I was going to try to say, and honestly you said it better than I would have.
    Justicewalks, you may not think both choices are crap, but I do.
    And thinking are choices crap or not crap resides in the eye/mind of the beholder, so I guess that makes us both right, eh?
    Your distinction between Ms. McKinnon and the “women commenting about Nigels at Twisty’s” was almost, dare I say, Mandosian in its complexity.
    Or maybe I’m just too foggy and dull today to be able to follow it.

  120. justicewalks

    Oh, boy. Now it’s delusional to recognize that a woman maintains a bit more of her dignity the fewer patriarchal concessions she makes. I don’t even know what to say to that.

    I love the way the everything is framed as a “choice” as if every woman out there has the resources (educationally, culturally,financially, emotionally, etc)and they simply need to make the right choice (right being whatever choice you happened to make).

    The whole discussion arose in response to one woman’s dissatisfaction with a solution commonly offered to disillusioned heterosexual women, and her question about what other options there might be. Obviously, if she didn’t feel she had a choice, she wouldn’t have posed the question thusly, and my response wouldn’t have been framed in such a way as to marginalize those women who do not have a prerogative in the matter.

    And, no, the right choice has nothing to do with what I do in my own life, but I will humbly suggest that if you’re feeling angst over your significant other’s misogyny, you probably haven’t made the right choice for you.

    There wouldn’t be any angst? Bullshit.

    It’s snarky ‘cuz instead of reading the “any” as having a scope delimited by the context of that conversation, you’ve extended it way beyond the intended bounds to include any and all angst. Don’t you feel clever? Har de har.

    We come because we know there is something terribly wrong and because we are earnestly attempting, within our own particular circumstances and narrative, to find our place within this revolution for our own sakes and for girls everywhere.

    Making patriarchal concessions for the sake of male company/sex isn’t revolutionary. I humbly suggest that if you find yourself making patriarchal concessions in your relationship that your contribution to the revolution will not involve your home life. Whether or not your concessions make or have made for a better patriarch with which to share your life, well, that isn’t a radical feminist concern.

    Allow me to elucidate. Cool Aunt, for example just admitted that she wears make up and shaves her legs. Needless to say, Cool Aunt’s contribution to the revolution will not involve her grooming rituals. I hope I’m not projecting when I say that Cool Aunt, given her candor here, is probably OK with that. She has, after all, made contributions in other ways to radical feminism with her writing on this very thread. She probably isn’t feeling any angst about it. It is probably the right decision for her.

    And I make concessions too. I wear earrings and bras I could comfortably do without and 2” heels sometimes. My contribution to the revolution won’t be my fashion statement either. And I am honestly OK with that. I feel no angst over it. I am at peace with the concessions I’ve chosen to make when compared with the principles by which I’ve chosen to abide.

    But they are concessions. And there are men who benefit from those concessions. And you won’t find me denying that. You won’t find me defending the boss who prefers heels to flats, or pretending as if my desire to wear them has nothing to do with the rewards he, and others like him, distribute. You won’t find me defending the catcalling, flesh-grabbing, woman-hating men on the street, in honor of whose refusal to control themselves I wear those bras I don’t really need. And even though I manage, in the presence of my war vet uncle, to bite my tongue about all the women American soldiers prostituted and raped during the Vietnam War, a concession if ever there was one, you won’t find me defending his purchase of Vietnamese women to rape, just because he seems like an OK guy now and he never bought and raped me.

    josquin, if you want clarification, just ask. It really is sickening to see women jump to compare women’s actions to men’s the second there’s a disagreement.

  121. redhead

    I agree with those who are saying that the definition of ‘Nigel’ has become a bit too sympathetic to the dudes.

    My definition of the term is a bit different. First of all, I don’t think of Nigel as an actual person, but a rhetorical device.

    It’s an example, used by a woman in a discussion about the misogyny of men, that is used to refute the point that men commit ‘x’, with the speaker supposing that the one dude she knows who doesn’t engage in ‘x’ therefore proves that ‘x’ doesn’t go on or is not a problem of gender/sexism, despite the overwhelming mountain of evidence to the contrary.

  122. PhysioProf

    redhead: You are spot on.

  123. Activist Mommy

    I’ve never heard a guy call another misogynist scum before either. I did have the pleasure of working with a young guy a few years ago that would roll his eyes and say ‘Dude, that’s somebody’s sister.” or “What if I said that shit about your mom?” to the other guys. I wanted to clone him.

  124. Rachael

    The last time that happened to me, my husband (My Nigel?) turned around with exaggerated false flamboyantness, a false lisp, and a handflip, and said “Oh REEALLY? Let’sss go!” Then switched to his serious voice, and angrily said “That’s my fucking wife. You show her some respect. And don’t do it to anyone else either. No one wants to hear that shit.”

    Hope that’s vociferous enough ;)

  125. mearl

    I pick sun rat’s option “f.”

  126. CoolAunt

    ‘Dude, that’s somebody’s sister.” and “What if I said that shit about your mom?” are like asking, “What if someone insulted or broke one of the your women?” It reeks of ownership, like back when rape was considered a crime against the father or husband of the rape victim because his property had been damaged. It’s better than agreeing with the woman-hating comments of the misogynist scum or just remaining silent, I suppose, but it still perpetuates the rules of the patriarchy by implying that those sisters and mothers are the property of other men and to disrespect or harm those women is to commit an act against another man.

    To say, “Dude, that’s a human being you’re saying that about,” and “What if I said that shit about you?” would be better because at least they put the women on the same level as “human,” which the misogynist scum believe themselves to be.

    However, I still find, “Shut the fuck up, you misogynist scum,” to be the most direct and honest way to put it.

  127. julia

    i second jezebella: eggbert what a terrible state for you. this is a ‘good’ relationship? whoa. once all the bad bits of nigel have been removed, what is left? and what can be made good about what is left? so he acquieces to your demands and gets rid of the porn cookies on the computer before you come home. how does that change his thoughts and views of women as sexual objects for his gratification – and what *you* know of his thoughts and views – when he is intimate with … you know who? oh, it makes me sad. so very sad.

  128. josquin

    Cool aunt’s comment is right on, and in fact I think Activist Mommy’s quoted comments are a perfect demonstration of Nigelism.
    The co-worker meant well, but couldn’t fathom that his comments still perpetuated the idea that men are the “real” humans, and that women are humans only in terms of their relation to men.
    It is glaringly obvious that those comments meant the following:
    “Dude, that’s some MAN’s sister”, or “dude, that’s some GUY’s mom.”
    For that matter, Rachel’s husband’s comments are a pretty good example of Nigelism also.
    The husband’s initial remarks imply that Rachel was deserving of respect because SHE IS HIS WIFE.
    Is Rachel’s husband a nice guy? Yep I’m sure he is. Did he understand that the “wife” comment was a coded disparagement of Rachel’s status as human with full equality to men? Clearly not.
    It’s these subtle things that men just DON’T GET. They are pervasive, deeply entrenched and they blind men AND women the world over.

  129. CoolAunt

    Finn’s drivel:

    Cool Aunt, please do not mistake me for a guy claiming to be feminist. I said earlier that I think of myself as a sympathizer, but, admittedly lack the capacity for much more.

    You said:

    “I’ll take this moment to enlighten you to the fact that since most men rarely call each other out on misogyny, most men are not well meaning toward women. They mean well toward themselves and toward other men but not toward women.”

    I can see where you’re coming from, but, I don’t agree completely.

    I think that all people who capitulate to a system for survival are certainly participating in some form of self-preservation, to varying degrees. And, yes, that self-preservation does sometimes directly or indirectly result in behavior that might suggest they do not mean well for others. But, isn’t it also possible that the preponderance of a person’s behavior should be used to make a fair judgment?

    For example, if a guy is 95% capable of sympathizing and/or empathizing with feminism, but, occasionally gets caught ogling women he finds attractive, is he 100% self-interested and 100% misogynist?

    I didn’t bring up Laura Bush to change the subject. But, it seems to me that the lowest hanging fruit/targets for radfem might be the people – both male and female – who actively perpetuate and reinforce the ideals and standards of the patriarchal system. She and her mate represent the pinnacle of that ideal. Cut off the head and the monster dies and all that. But, hey, if you think it’s more valuable to go after the minions, one at a time, that’s cool by me.

    It just seems to my admittedly novice blaming way of thinking that radfems attacking Nigels is exactly what the Bushes of the word would want.

    Does Nigel not call his college friends out for staring down someone’s shirt? Yes. Should he strive to do better? Yes. Is his passivity truly an active perpetuation of patriarchy? I’m not inclined to agree.

    I only just now found the time and the intestinal fortitude (yes, I do mean *intestinal* fortitude) to read that and, as expected, I’m now pissed off because of it. I’m pissed off at Finn because the five minutes that I wasted by reading that shit he posted is five minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. I’m also pissed off at myself because once again I allowed myself to get sucked into reading the same ol’ tired bunch of bullshit and lies that MRAs have posted and that I’ve read so many times before:

    -Radfems are anti-woman (because this feminist won’t bash Laura Bush; go figure).
    -Pointing out and complaining about the ways that we’re oppressed and hated is exactly what our oppressors and haters want us to do. (Because if we’d shut the fuck up, they’d surely stop oppressing and hating us.)
    -All men (Finn in particular this time around) aren’t horribly misogynist to all women all of the time, so why not give them credit for treating us like humans and equals part of the time. I mean, if Finn only gets caught ogling 10% of the time and no one notices the other 90% of the time that he spends ogling, shouldn’t women ’round the world be grateful?
    -Those who empathize and sympathize with women and feminists without so much as speaking up for a woman or women when they’re being disrespected, harassed or even threatened are well-meaning, too. At least they’re thinking about women as they witness our oppression and hear others say hateful words to and about us, “It sure sucks to be you, lady.” Glad to know you’ve got our backs, Finn.

    Shit, now I’m even more pissed off for spending another 15 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back on Finn by typing this response. One would think I’d know better by now than to waste my time that way. Somebody, stop me, now!

  130. thebewilderness

    Dear Delphyne,
    Having read this thread, I have changed my mind and no longer disagree with you. I was making an argument based on assumptions that are simply unprovable and mostly wishful thinking.

  131. finnsmotel

    “One would think I’d know better by now than to waste my time that way.”

    Well, I don’t feel like you wasted your time. I appreciate reading your reply. I apologize for re-entering the thread, but, I feel somewhat compelled to justify having wasted your time.

    For the most part, I agree with your points and had not considered how some of my comments could lead you to the conclusions you found. For example, I could not have guessed that a question about degrees male of complicity could suggest to you that I think you or any feminist ’round the world should be grateful to me or other guys like me for anything. Ever. I don’t.

    Maybe I can re-enter the conversation more appropriately by answering one of the initial questions presented.

    Twisty said:

    “I’m not saying it can’t be done, but I have never in my life heard a dude tell another dude in front of some other dudes that he’s misogynist scum.”

    If the question is “why not?” I would say it’s because we fear the same thing a woman fears when she doesn’t retaliate: loss of power within the patriarchal paradigm. Obviously to a much lesser degree, as we are not the primary targets of the oppression. But, if we did as Twisty suggests above, we become secondary targets.

    Is it chickenshit to avoid the confrontation? Yeah. Sorry, we should be getting your back more often.

    -finn
    (didn’t mention laura bush once ;-)

  132. PhysioProf

    “I apologize for re-entering the thread, but, I feel somewhat compelled to justify having wasted your time.”

    Dude, you’re wasting a lot of people’s time. As a wise person once said, “Shut up shuttin’ up!”

  133. delphyne

    I’d say Finn is almost Mandosian in his inability, or rather his stubborn refusal, to take the hint.

  134. redhead

    Writing superlong posts that don’t address the point and threaten to take over the conversation explaining how hard it is for men who don’t want to lose status in the P taking the focus away from criticizing men to focus on women who are aiding the P repeatedly threatening/promising to exit the thread and then still flouncing around a day later seeming bewildered that the meanie feminists don’t appreciate all this thrashing around = Mandos

  135. redhead

    Dammit, my post got messed up.

    It’s supposed to read:

    Writing superlong posts that don’t address the point and threaten to take over the conversation PLUS explaining how hard it is for men who don’t want to lose status in the P PLUS taking the focus away from criticizing men to focus on women who are aiding the P PLUS repeatedly threatening/promising to exit the thread and then still flouncing around a day later PLUS seeming bewildered that the meanie feminists don’t appreciate all this thrashing around = Mandos

    For some reason, it didn’t print my plus signs.

  136. thebewilderness

    That really is the heart of the thing, isn’t it? It could jeopardize a persons position and safety to stand up for what they purport to believe. So they let it go. They, or we, tell ouselves that it isn’t quite bad enough to be willing to do anything about it, yet. But if the person had said or done a thing that was really bad enough, then we would have spoken up. Certainly we would. Of course we would, because we aren’t like them, really, we aren’t.
    Failure to object is acquiescence. This time, next time, every time.
    Objecting can cost us, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, and we hardly ever get a cookie for it.

  137. kiki

    Failure to object is acquiescence.

    But when faced with an evil of such monumental proportions does your objection really amount to much (other than a feel good moment)? Can there truly be meaningful dissent? I don’t know. Does my carrying a re-usable shopping bag, or riding my bike instead of driving, or supporting local farmers really amount to a hill of frijoles? Of course I tell myself that it does and that at least I’m trying. But the truth is that although I live on the fringe of society in a mud house in an empty desert I am still stuck in the system. I keep moving further out and yet the P always seems to hunt me down. I think there’s danger in patting yourself on the back because you believe that your choices are better those others when in fact all of those supposed “choices” represent nothing more than shades of gray inside a shadow that is cast over us all.

  138. thebewilderness

    “I think there’s danger in patting yourself on the back because you believe that your choices are better those others when in fact all of those supposed “choices” represent nothing more than shades of gray inside a shadow that is cast over us all.”

    kiki,
    This thing that you seem to think I said, I did not say.

  139. kiki

    thebewilderness, lo Siento! At that point it was more a response to others on the thread, I should have been more clear.

  140. Caukee

    Fucking Finn ! I thought you got rid of him. Why is he allowed back ?
    In case you are thinking of responding, Finn, let me assure you that I am not interested, and I will not read it (I stopped reading your posts ages ago) but your name keeps popping up in other peoples’ comments. GO AWAY. NOW.

  141. Twisty

    Caukee, Finnsmotel was never banned. He is here because he is an old friend of mine in real life, and one of the few men I know who is interested enough in feminism to read this blog even semi-regularly.

  142. Caukee

    Your blog, but I find him disruptive.

  143. genevievetaggard

    Kiki, So true that we have to wonder sometimes how much our small “do-the-right-thing” choices really add up to, although, as you point out, it has to be better than doing nothing. I notice that each of the examples you give, such as carrying a reuseable shopping bag or buying organic, locally grown foods, is something you are able to do without having to involve anyone else. When it comes to the topic of women or men pointing out sexism with the hope that the offender will really learn something or, at the very least, shut up next time such a thought enters the brain, the question of whether our efforts add up to much would seem to depend on our persuading others. For me, that’s even an even more depressing thought!

  144. I am Also anonymous for this one

    I think individual choices are incredibly powerful when many people are making them, the propaganda about how little they matter is designed to get us to toe the line. Corporations and governments are really aware of how those individual choices can cook their geese and they will do and say anything to keep us feeling powerless when we are anything but.

    It is possible to choose not to allow men to profit from our unpaid labour (another good argument for nigellessness). Western economies were built on slave labour and are propped up on the unpaid labour of women. Imagine if that labour were withdrawn?

    It seems to me that men are either perpetrators or enablers. The Nigels of the world, by refusing to confront their friends, are enabling women to be abused and violated. They need to grow up, develop a basic level of integrity and stop being enablers.

  1. Are you a fake feminist? at I Blame The Patriarchy

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