Apr 06 2008

Homegirl blames patriarchy, scores book deal; spinster aunt actually buys book


I’d like to add a title to the Remedial Feminist Reading List, as well as to the OK, So I’ve Blamed The Patriarchy; What The Fuck Am I Supposed To Do Now? list, and to the Books You Must Do Everything In Your Power To Make Sure Your Teenage Daughter Reads Before Leaving For College And Preferably Several Years Before That list.

“Christ,” you’re probably thinking, preparing to be simultaneously angry, depressed, and frustrated, “she’s gonna start in on Dworkin’s Intercourse again.”

Nope, not this time, Paco. Today I allude to Amanda Marcotte’s hilarious and instructive It’s A Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments. It just came out the other day, or last month or something, so I like to flatter myself that I am among the first of the spinster aunts to put it on even one reading list, much less three.

Jungle isn’t dry radical feminist theory, which is what you always get here; it’s practical advice for living the simple feminist life in Boo-Ya Nation 2008, which you never get here.

Such as how to “run off” various species of assholes (MRAs, guys who see you as a “challenge,” Nice Guy Tee-Ems, etc) from your midst. Amanda’s big on running people off, and has figured out how to maximize results with minimum effort. For example, she observes that you can run off both Playboy fanboys AND Libertarians merely by telling them that you are a feminist. This, she says, is “kryptonite.”

She also suggests you can “fake your own death.”

Other topics: what to do when confronted with The Clenis; prank calls you can make to compulsory pregnancy “crisis centers; whether to out a given homophobe fuckwad politician; how to foil Girls Gone Wild. She even addresses the hot-button feminist footwear issue.

Also, because the book’s target audience is young enough to still care about it, and because those poor straight girls who want some kind of sex and/or romantic life are stuck choosing from a pool compromised by privilege and status, Amanda’s got heterosexual dating advice (with lesbo parentheticals where applicable). What if you find out you’re dating a guy who has internalized the Hollywood romantic comedy message, or a guy who “thinks that the female equivalent to being a sports fan is liking shoes,” or a Nice Guy TM?

Once a Nice Guy has slid into racist fetishizing, he is usually unsalvageable. The best thing you can do is wait until he brings home potential mail-order brides from Russia and slip them pamphlets explaining how to get a green card outside of marrying a Nice Guy.

I particularly enjoyed her skewering of the antifeminist feminists, such as the i-Feminists, the Concerned Feminist Pearl-Clutchers of America, the “equity” feminists, and Camille fucking Paglia, can I get an A-men. Camille fucking Paglia, the feminist even a liberal pornsick male can love.

Jungle is all jokes, but it isn’t all jokey. Contained therein is some primo patriarchy-blaming. She takes on PETA, Hollywood, abstinence-only “education,” the famous anti-Girl Scout backlash, and plenty more. No, it’s not a lesbian separatist revolutionary tract, but I pity the hardcore radfem who doesn’t get a bang out this book.

OK, so the cover has Lorna the Jungle Girl, a Marvel Comics dudefantasy character with a poised-for-funk-filled-bratwurst O-shaped mouth and a body that makes Barbie look like an unreconstructed mastectomy patient. This would not have been my pick. But I’m still putting a copy in the Twisty Bungalow Reading Room (i.e. the guest bath).

As an aside: in her book Amanda invokes the term “patriarchy-blaming.” Now that it’s appeared in print in a book labeled “POLITICS/HUMOR,” “patriarchy-blaming” is well on its way to mainstream acceptance. That’s right; it’s only a matter of time until “patriarchy-blamer” gets co-opted by antifeminist pussy cops to mean something like “bleached-blonde submissive in a chastity belt.”


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  1. akimaii

    “…the famous anti-Girl Scout backlash…”

    Huh? What was this all about?

  2. Amanda Marcotte

    Thank you so much! And good catch—we will get “patriarchy-blaming” into the dictionary one day.

  3. Amananta

    Well, I love a good book I don’t have to read while wearing full mental armor, waiting for the inevitable stab of sexism contained therein (same goes for movies.) Therefore – purchased! Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Tilly

    It’s too bad that Amanda has been known to censor people who comment on her blog and who are pro-Clinton or who criticize a sentence of hers in any way in a respectful way. She carries that over and makes it her personal business to trash other people’s reputation without care of damage or even checking the story she’s reacting to.

    If you do a google search on her, you’ll find plenty of folks who have found her to say one thing and do another when it comes to choosing ethics or not in her business.

  5. HistoricUpstart

    It’s on this poor grad student’s wishlist! Hopefully I can scrounge up the extra cash to buy it soon. I am interested to see if/how Amanda tackles pornography.

  6. Naadir Jeewa

    After much googling, I finally understood the jargon on this post. Though I’m completely lost on The Clenis, which has served as reason enough to order the book.

  7. ladoctorita

    Consarnit! I just bought and read this book a week ago, and was getting all ready to blog about it, and now you’ve beaten me to it.

    I don’t personally have any knowledge of or opinions on the author’s own politics/actions/etc., though I believe some others may; regardless, I thought the book was a readable, humorous, accessible overview of many topics in contemporary feminist thought. It’s a fun read for the intermediate-to-advanced blamer as well as a great introduction for the novice. In fact, I think it would be a perfect book to circulate among non-feminist friends or give as a gift to any young women you know, because it’s accessible (and applicable to daily life) in a way that, say, “The Dialectic of Sex” is not.

  8. Lara

    Tilly I am curious to know examples of what Marcotte has done to contradict herself or be a hypocrite. I really want to buy the book but I do not want to buy something from someone who does stuff that’s anti-feminist in a lot of ways.

  9. derrp

    “That’s right; it’s only a matter of time until ‘patriarchy-blamer’ gets co-opted by antifeminist pussy cops to mean something like ‘bleached-blonde submissive in a chastity belt.’”

    HAhahaha!!!! Twisty, I love you so very much.

  10. Cass

    “OK, so the cover has Lorna the Jungle Girl, a Marvel Comics dudefantasy character with a poised-for-funk-filled-bratwurst O-shaped mouth and a body that makes Barbie look like an unreconstructed mastectomy patient. This would not have been my pick.”

    Well, it beats the cover for “Full Frontal Feminism”, and that turned out well.

  11. Kathleen

    Lara — if you are able to buy anything, ever, from anyone who does not do something anti-feminist in a lot of ways, *alert the press*!

    That being said, I was not too jazzed by the cover, either. And one thing I love about Twisty’s place vs. Pandagon is how you don’t have to deal with one thousandth the bratty male behavior over here as over there. It’s inevitable, at Pandagon, that one feminist-basher with a male moniker turns up in the comments and pretty soon the whole thread is devoted to debating him (confession: I’ve gotten sucked in myself). God only knows its more attention than the fellow ever gets from women in real life and he hangs in to milk it for all its worth. It’s so depressing — 10 great comments from female-marked monikers, no-one responds, one idiot with a male-marked moniker appears, and the thread is off to the races.

    I don’t know what Twisty’s tips are, but somehow she seems actually better at *CREATING* a politically hospitable environment in her space versus just surviving inhospitable ones. How bout an instruction manual for that?

    Or, in other words — Twisty when are we gonna have a chance to buy *your* book?

  12. Kathleen

    Twisty, forgive me, I know the difference between “its” and “it’s” and acknowledge that I have sinned in the post above (should be “it’s more attention”).

  13. TP

    “Debating” a bunch of super-smart radical feminists about feminism is the purview of the hopelessly delusional male only. A lot of men come here for amusement and instruction, and are smart enough not to make too many stupid comments. Except me, I just can’t help it I guess.

    I already had Amanda’s book on order, glad to hear it is as fun as I expected it to be. Thanks to the last post I have hundreds of dollars of feminist books to read when I’m done with Dworkin’s Intercourse. Now if they’d only reissue her book Pornography.

  14. Chai Latte

    Whoo! Another great reading list book for meee!

    And yes, Twisty, please write a book!

  15. goblinbee

    I don’t know if I can get past that cover.

  16. atheist woman

    I have hated the Paglia since I discovered here on the internetz in grade school and realized that truth and justice were not universally understood concepts. On a more related note I need to purchase this book. There is a poster for Jonah Goldberg outside my door. Yick.

  17. atheist woman

    For those upset by the cover, *obviously I’m not sure* but it might just be for a bit of camp/irony?

  18. thebewilderness

    That’s what we like about you TP.

    Amanda dismisses all objection to her antifeminist acts as failure to perceive camp/irony.

  19. Lara

    Blah de blah blah “irony schmirony”. I am not buying the book, I am only going to read excerpts of it in a bookstore if I stumble upon it there. I think the whole meaning of “irony” is completely lost on multitudes of Americans today. I am sorry but where is the “irony” in the cover? Ok, yeah, it’s better than the one for “Full Frontal Feminism” but that still doesn’t say much. I would have preferred a dark-skinned hairy-legged lesbian spearing Tarzan on the cover.

  20. Amanda Marcotte

    It’s too bad that Amanda has been known to censor people who comment on her blog and who are pro-Clinton or who criticize a sentence of hers in any way in a respectful way.

    Huh? I’m “known to”? Or more likely, your comment got caught in moderation, I approved it, but you were so paranoid you jumped to the conclusion that most suited you. It happens all the time, but most paranoid people at least email me so I can correct them, instead of spreading rumors and playing the victim on other blogs.

  21. delphyne

    Last time I looked at Pandagon a few weeks ago they were advertising porn, including “The Anna Nicole Smith Sex Tape” so maybe this cover is simply in keeping with that. At least Amanda didn’t go with the upright gorilla carrying half naked white woman on the front which was her publishers’ first choice, then racism as well as sexism would have been helping sell a feminist book.

  22. Dawn Coyote

    How would a gorilla carrying a white woman been racist? Speciesist, maybe, but racist?

    Also, I can relate to the irony/camp defence. I called someone a pussy last week as a meta-joke which probably no one but me got. I’m still trying to decide if I should let myself get away with it or not.


    Can we please not do that THING where the Good is the enemy of the Perfect?

    Amanda isn’t perfect. No Feminist is. No Liberal is. NO ONE IS !!

    Being imperfect does not mean that you SUCK. You can be Very Very Good, and still be Imperfect.(See: Jfk, MLK Jr, Ghandi etc etc!!)

    THis is the same kind off thinking that says: “I am going to vote for McCain because Al Gore flies in a plane!! If GOre REALLY cared about the environment, he’s WALK everywhere!”

  24. Panic

    I don’t understand what the hell Seal Press is doing with their covers half the time. Full Frontal Feminism is one of theirs too. Shame too, because the content is excellent 99% of the time.

  25. BadKitty

    Here we go again. “I’m more feminist than you!” “You’re not a REAL feminist”!! Jesus Christ on a cracker, folks. As far as I know, there’s no litmus test for feminism. Ease up. The moral superiority gets tiresome.

    Being a devoted reader of both Twisty AND Amanda, I was already planning on buying this book. Thanks to Twisty, I shall do that tonight. Thanks for the recommendation.

  26. K.A.

    After the original gorilla cover and the reaction that ensued, I was not interested in this book. However, I think the new cover is MAKING FUN OF those those sexualized, racist depictions of women, because she knows her audience is laughing with her at sexualized illustrations, unlike the rest of the unfeminist world who take images of women like that at face value.

    The book preview on Amazon looked really funny though, and I’ll probably read it.

  27. Pinko Punko

    I know authors have very little say in their book covers, but I wish Twisty had been asked to design that bad girl. Personally I would have a gigantic sized manimatronic sausage taking a blow from a mixed-martial arts practicing blamer. I’m thinking one of the crazy penis drawings from the Superbad closing credits taking one in the snossage would work just fine.

  28. sarah r

    Yes, Twisty, I’m waiting for YOUR book of cultural criticism. So happy you’re back in the saddle.

  29. Lara

    Yes, K.A. but why can’t we just have one or two damned feminist books with covers that show illustrations/photos of women who are not totally porntastic? Who actually DEFY mainstream beauty standards? Is it “unfeminist” to wonder about this?
    So now you are saying because I am “taking the cover at face value” that I am “unfeminist”? Wow. What I am saying is that irony is unsuccessful when most people don’t get it. I have heard people use the excuse of “oh, it’s irony!” so many times for sexist and racist stuff in the MAINSTREAM media that I’ve become automatically suspicious. It’s not because I am some simple-minded idiot who doesn’t “get it.”
    “iro.ny – the use of words to express the opposite of what one really means”
    So, how is the cover “irony”? What is the opposite of the actual image? What is the image of feminist women that Marcotte WANTS to really convey? Is it the opposite of the actual image? Furthermore, what is the context for the image? Are only radical feminists going to see this book cover? These are all questions that need to be asked.
    I am sure the content of the book is just awesome, and Twisty’s stamp of approval has convinced me of that already. But I am annoyed with the label “irony” being used for every freaking visual medium in existence.

  30. Casey

    Thanks for posting your review, Twisty. I’ll check this out PDQ and pass it around to my friends who are raising daughters. Yay, Amanda!

    As for the cover art, authors rarely have final, if any, say about the cover art on their books. Book covers are designed by the publisher’s marketing and art departments. Those who don’t care for the cover of Amanda’s book have a bone to pick with the publisher, not Amanda.

  31. RKMK

    I kind of love the cover. To me, it’s all “Yeah, y’know what, I may be blonde and busty, and maybe I’m prone to wearing too much rouge from time to time, but I will still totally CRAM THIS SPEAR INTO YOUR JUGULAR IF YOU PISS ME OFF.”

    But mebbe that’s just me?

  32. atheist woman

    Lara, I read you. I was just pointing out that the *intent* was probably not just to have a porntastic blonde on the cover. Does intent always equal results? Nope, not in America at this current time. People see the porntastic blonde, they don’t even question it. It’s the norm, it doesn’t trigger anything for them, except that that is how women are *supposed* to look.

  33. a birch tree

    Anything in there about debating rabid sex-industry shills? I could really use a few sound bites to that effect lately in my day-to-day life.

  34. norbizness

    PP: I think I’m beginning to see why Simon & Schuster security treated you so roughly that one time.

    On a related note, I think I’m going to check Amazon to see if Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (“She’ll fight like a tigress to save the land she loves…”), starring the delicious talents of Tanya Roberts and Ted Wass, is finally getting the 5-DVD Platinum Collection treatment we’ve all been clamoring for.

  35. Pinko Punko

    Scene: New York Publishing House, Midbuilding elevator lobby

    The exalted publisher: “I bid you good day, sir, I’ll have to firmly insist you remove yourself from these premises.”

    Internet chunderwagon: “But the hulking member is just a SYMBOL! It’s really quite literary. Or perhaps I want a different word?”

    The exalted publisher:: “Bruno, we have a situation. Remove this interloper IMMEDIATELY. I said good day!”

  36. PhoenixRising

    If it is pleasing to y’all to continue using Amanda as your piñata over the cover art, feel free.

    My own experience with Seal Press, which published the book, was that the editrix was delighted to take a howling phone call over the cover art from the Arthur, as the late Molly Ivins used to say. But the editrix was quick to remind the Arthur that she, the editrix, worked with the publishers to determine cover art and that one might find a way to like it, or return one’s advance.

    YMMV. So now, when you sell your book, if it’s vital to you to control the cover art you’ll know to negotiate for that power.

  37. Rachel

    I love this blog! I got my blaming badge last quarter in my women’s studies class and I’m ready and willing to use it. Keep it coming and I’ll be on the lookout for your book too.

  38. Claire

    Read the whole thing unbought in the bookstore the other day (well, over two days, really). Enjoyable and informative overall. Not a fan of the cover art or illustrations either, though.

    I’m hairy-legged, have tattoos and bright (unnatural) red hair. I’m also old(er) and decidedly un-porntastic (still white and fairly conventionally pretty, unfortunately). I’ll pose for the revised cover. Anyone other volunteers?

    Very glad to see this advertised here, Twisty. Think it will do much good amongst the younger, boink-seeking set. At least those who have some grasp of what feminism actually is.

  39. Claire

    Er, that sentence should have read: “Any other volunteers?”. Sorry.

  40. Catherine Martell

    Very true that authors have no control over their covers. However, Amanda did choose and emphatically approve hers: http://pandagon.blogsome.com/2007/08/20/book-cover/

    It’s not what I’d have had, but to my mind the crocodile looks vaguely phallic (green? scaly? befanged? Yes, well, I’m not being literal), so I don’t hate it as much as I might. I would hate it even less if there wasn’t a man in the background with a gun, looking like a bicycle in search of a fish. And if the woman wasn’t white and blonde but dressed up all “tribal princess”. Sorry, was this the un-racist version?

    And yes, this cover is ironic. Irony is when what you say is profoundly incongruous with what is actually going on. Like when you write a feminist book and then objectify women and race on the cover. Ha ha! Fortunately, calling something irony justifies anything you do or say. (NB: that last sentence is meant as an ironic comment.)

    Let’s be honest, we’re a tough crowd. I’m delighted that feminists are still writing books aimed at a popular audience, and I’m delighted that the same are being published. I am also not a perfect feminist myself, and dread to think how people might judge me on the basis of my “cover”. I’m wistful for the day when Catharine MacKinnon was allowed to put only words on the cover of Only Words, but even the sight of a pornified white chick in faux-tribal gear with armed patriarchal backup won’t stop me reading Amanda’s book.

  41. Karrigan

    I like the cover.
    Don’t forget humour is a hugely powerful way of getting a message across.
    I’d guess that with a cover like this, a lot more people are going to pick this book up (perhaps even those turned off by the word ‘feminism’), and read Amanda’s feminist message. How could that be a bad thing?
    Plus, the cover is going to be an ever present reminder for novice blamers as they progress through the book. A woman new to feminism is probably going to have a very different perspective of the cover once she has read the book, and I think that’s great.

    Finally, it makes the book a good, non-threatening gift for friends/ young relatives who are not yet familiar with blaming rhetoric.

  42. pisaquari

    Given that a large audience for this book is the media/visual generation I don’t see why commenters concerned or upset about the cover’s implications are being mocked. Seems rather hypocritical given how many other threads wouldn’t give any similar image a free pass.
    Coupling the pornulicious image of a woman with the word/concept of “feminist” is certainly not making my life as a feminist any easier.

    It does seem, via Twisty’s analysis, that the content is accessible to many younger not-so-feminist persons–all hail to that. But images like these with the kind of reinforcement and backing they get from every other media outlet can muddy and dilute 1000 pages of brilliance. Those who do not accept and continue to question said images are necessary in the fight to make sure future feminist writers are not presented a cover option of Betty Boop with a brick.

  43. Christian

    Perhaps that’s a silly question, but what’s a MRA?
    Greetings from germany, Christian

  44. beigelights

    “Huh? I’m “known to”? Or more likely, your comment got caught in moderation, I approved it, but you were so paranoid you jumped to the conclusion that most suited you. It happens all the time, but most paranoid people at least email me so I can correct them, instead of spreading rumors and playing the victim on other blogs.”

    All you have to do is read Amanda’s comment, above, to get an idea of the general tone at Pandagon, where she suggested in January that the main goal of Democrats should be to get Clinton out of the race as soon as possible (!).

    I think 13-year-olds will probably relate best to Amanda’s writing.

  45. beigelights

    Ok, that was overly catty. I have a deep seated personal dislike for A.M. and Pandagon, which does not mean they are not valuable feminist assets. It does mean I will not be buying the book, because nobody wants to be around me when I’m as irritable as I am when thinking about this subject.

  46. Lara

    And MRA is a Men’s Rights Activist. They have a tendency to claim that women are “oppressing” them and that feminists are evil women who want to turn men into robotic menial laborers….or something like that. They are big supporters of the Patriarchy.
    Greetings from Washington D.C. :)

  47. xochitl

    Like Marianne Williamson said on Rush Limbaugh, “the new feminist vision is to be genuinely feminine.” Ladies, you can fight the patriarchy, but make sure you stick your boobs out while doing it.

    Having said that, a friend of mine bought this book and thought it was pretty damn funny and interesting.

  48. K.A.

    I think a large percentage of her book sales are going to be from Pandagon readers. Marcotte has always used comical retro sexist imagery because she knows her audience is coming from the same place she is. We are all on the same page here, and there’s no one buying that book who thinks she condones the creepy comic book guys from the days of yore.

    Maybe her editors/publishers who are concerned with marketing don’t interpret it the way she and her readers do though, and that’s what some of us are reacting to. Still, I think the majority of her target demographic find campy retro sexism funny and ridiculous, as someone else pointed out also. They’re in on the joke, not condoning that art genre’s original intent.

  49. Tilly

    I stand by my comments. You can search on Google for complaints. As inflamatory as it is, it’s true.

    Pandagon has censored people who were pro-Clinton or who had thoughtfully argued with Amanda’s points and there have been complaints about it. You get cut, and this is not for bad language or disrespectful behavior. In fact, if people who wrote about Amanda were as sassy and using the language as Amanda uses about others, they are cut from the site. And I’m not even talking about people being as sassy. Anyone disagreeing with her that makes her uncomfortable or is too pro-Clinton is cut.

    It’s disappointing when you build up an admiration, then you discover that the ethics are not there when the rubber meets the road.

    Amanda has gone after other feminists and commentators half-cocked without issuing an apology later. It’s great to be sassy and have witty putdowns, but being as careful with other people’s reputation as you demand that others are with your own is even better.

  50. Cass

    A friend of mine in a position to know says that you can tell a potentially praiseworthy men’s or father’s organization from an evil one by the presence of the word “rights”. You can inevitably get a more accurate picture by substituting “supremacy”.

    Inspired by this post, by the way, I stopped by the local feminist bookstore yesterday and picked up a copy of my own. It is very, very funny.

  51. beigelights

    I agree with Tilly that the Democratic nomination has really exposed people’s true colors.

    There are the pretty unbiased sites (Echidne & Shakesville), the sorta biased but pretty tolerant (Feministing), and the totally biased and intolerant (Pandagon).

  52. Christian

    “And MRA is a Men’s Rights Activist.” – thank you, Lara; I would not have guessed that. First association I had was “meal ready to eat” (MRE, not?), but google-ing and Wikipedia did not help either (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/MRA)… Well, you live and learn. So I would guess best translation into german would be “Chauvi”.
    At least I know now what “No MRAs in my car…” means. And I presume “nice guy” has the same meaning as shown on Heartless Bitches (http://heartlessbitches.com/), a site a friend of mine likes very much (she has shown me this blog here, by the way; she likes using my linux machines here for the fast connection).
    Greetings & nice evening,

  53. Puffin

    I’m so very tired of people excusing unoriginal, boring, sexist crap with a claim of irony. Next to that sort of thing, the Alanis Morrisette song is even somewhat forgiveable. Somewhat.

    But what a previous poster said about good vs. perfect feminism is a great point. It’s great when good feminists get published. There are no books by perfect feminists. And I can get behind anything that calls out Camille fucking Paglia.

  54. Dawn Coyote

    Who’s the target audience of the book?

    I’m going to buy it for a 14 year old girl I know is just beginning to navigate the complexities of the sexist environment depicted on the cover. I believe she’ll get the irony.

    Who’s the target audience again?

  55. Lara

    “And I can get behind anything that calls out Camille fucking Paglia.”

    True, I have always hated Camille fucking Paglia from the first time I had heard of her and her ridiculous and patriarchy-loving views.

  56. Pinko Punko

    If there were a Clinton-bashing continuum, Pandagon is not even close on an extreme end, nor is Shakesville anywhere close to lacking in bias. The best places for sanity discussing election coverage are The Daily Howler and Digby’s Hullabaloo. After that, I find arguments made via blog comment moderation and deletion kind of sad, especially when they don’t relate to the contents and/or even the cover of the book in question. I think election insanity does not reveal anyone’s true colors, I think it reveals the flawed humanity of people that are exactly like all the rest of us, who happen to write blogs. If we have previously overestimated certain individuals ability to emotionally divest themselves from particular topics, we have no one but ourselves to blame, because back when they were preaching to the choir using similar emotional and incendiary language we all sang in tune. Funny how when we now don’t agree the same tune seems so harsh to our delicate ears.

  57. goblinbee

    xochitl: “Ladies, you can fight the patriarchy, but make sure you stick your boobs out while doing it.”


  58. invisible

    Twisty, I’ve had a very bad revelation. Look at this:


    I don’t Blame the Patriarchy for this. I blame myself. I am so incredibly ashamed and sad.

  59. TP

    I’m glad that we can all agree that there are so few feminists in the US today that it is self-defeating to deny it of any one of them, except of course the male scum who preach to women about how much they know about real feminism and act like they know it all just because they’re almost finished reading the second feminist book they ever read (that might be me).

    Marxism and socialism died terrible deaths in the US due entirely to men who enjoyed arguing with each other over details, pretending it was treachery, instead of keeping focussed on the goal of converting others who couldn’t even understand such petty differences. There are degrees of feminism, just as everything else. Bringing along the sex-pozzies and the church-goers is more productive of a feminist revolution than condemning them with the righteous sneers of the initiate.

    Call them like you see them, but I hope it’s more like “You’ll learn!” than “You don’t belong because you don’t know yet.”

  60. Victoria Marinelli

    She takes on PETA? Fuck yeah. My thirteen year old daughter and I (we who comprise the vegetarian half of this family unit) had a big talk about PETA earlier this evening, about how they can provide some good resources, but.

    FWIW, last year, I got her Jessica Valenti’s book, which then got passed around her middle school until it was dog-eared; say what you will about Full Frontal Feminism‘s shortcomings, and I will probably agree with such assessments, but it was the best, most current, most accessible-to-newly-minted-teenagers thing I could find for her on the Barnes & Ignoble shelves. It worked; it got a conversation started, it whetted these nascent blamers’ appetites for feminist theory, and I think it did them some good.

    If Amanda Marcotte has improved on a similarly-accessible-to-young-women template, all the better. The very next thing I will do after posting this comment will be to buy her book.

    Then the kid and I can fight over who gets to read it first.

  61. Victoria Marinelli

    Oh and also, Concerned Feminist Pearl-Clutchers of America got not only a laugh, but an actual snort.

  62. invisible

    Twisty, Twisty! (I AM trying to shut my pie-hole!) I have a love for Elyza Gilkyson.


  63. Jenny Dreadful

    I’m not thrilled with the cover art but I still plan on buying the book.

    I’ve been reading Pandagon for a little over a year now, and although I haven’t always agreed with everything Amanda has ever written, I think she’s a powerful feminist ally who will probably reach people who would never have otherwise heard the gospel of patriarchy-blaming.

    Take me, for example. I graduated college in 2004 and honestly, I don’t think I ever described myself as a feminist, despite taking the requisite women’s studies courses and being pro-choice and anti-rape and all that. After leaving college and finding myself knee-deep in sexist douchebags in the corporate world, I started reading feminist blogs at work to maintain my sanity and sense of self worth. I mainly followed Feministing, Feministe, and Pandagon. These blogs were the trifecta of a new feminist awakening. I started calling out sexist douchebaggery whenever I saw it, even if the spewer of said douchebaggery was one of my Liberal Male Friends! I eventually worked my way over here, where I always read but rarely comment.

    As Twisty says in the FAQ, I Blame The Patriarchy isn’t a feminist primer. A fledgling feminist needs to read books like these so that she may one day become a full-blown Blamer.

    I feel like Amanda has had a lot to do with my having developed a feminist consciousness and disseminating it among my friends. I think that those of you who are discounting her don’t really realize that without people like her to reach out to people like me, there would be a lot fewer feminists, and women would suffer.

  64. Jenny Dreadful

    And I also feel like some of you don’t really care if there are fewer feminists as a result of your elitist exclusivity–maybe making the club more difficult to get into makes membership all that more special.

  65. Tilly

    “elitist exclusivity”

    Actually, that is my point. There’s a real disconnect between the sassy writings and the freedom and respect she offers to other people in real life.

    And I’m not talking about the usual suspects of the patriarchy. A thoughtful Clinton supporter will do it anytime, but I’m talking about smart people, respectful people, noted feminists, and anyone, really, she believes to be outside total agreement with her. It’s over the top. Search on her name and “censor” for example.

    In her speeches and writing, she’s had some incorrect information about other feminists and what they said and did and never apologizes if it works in a “zinger” for her. Things have appeared on her site under her own hand, then taken off the site and she’s denied it was there, with anger. Only it was cached somewhere by Google or something and you can see it. It’s really unethical to demand care about your own appearance, then to try get mileage on a careless story. I guess she’s an entertainer, not a moralist.

    It’s cheerful to see a sassy cover with sassy words.

    It’s not so great to realize you might give money to someone who is highly unethical in real life and never expects to be called on it. But in this big wide web world, news travels fast. And there are caches.

  66. fishboots

    Amanda is opinionated, sometimes wrong, but unethical is a stretch.

    And I’ve been told to suck Obama’s dick on Shakesville, so unbiased isn’t a word I would use to describe the goings on there during this primary. Officially undecided would be closer to the mark, and that really only counts for a couple of the posters. Fecke supports Obama, and Harding and Quixote are down with Hillary.

    It has gotten pretty heated all the way around, and neither the “Obamamaniacs” or the “Shillaries” are conducting themselves with anywhere near the decorum I would like to see.

    I will be picking up a copy today, because I want to give money to someone that has been fighting the Patriarchy in such a unabashedly public way, and has been publicy scorned as a result. I haven’t fought that fight, and I respect the hell out of someone that is.

  67. curiousgyrl

    Hi, blamers. Check out Democracy Now today for a story on KBR and rape. Bring something to get sick in.

  68. Jenny Dreadful

    Woah, Tilly, you’ve lost me.

  69. Karen

    What is the anti-Girl Scout backlash? Please elaborate on this.

  70. beigelights

    “Some of you don’t really care if there are fewer feminists.”

    Jenny, you make a good point. When things get really heated in the blogosphere I sometimes DO wish there were fewer feminists, but I know that’s not the answer. Eventually, I will probably have to get the hell out of the blogosphere for my own mental health.

    Mutual respect is important and you could easily say that Gloria Steinem “is opinionated and sometimes wrong,” but you certainly won’t find a respectful treatment of her shortcomings in many arenas. Is it more important to be inclusive of young, new-to-feminism blamers than to be inclusive of old feminists we may disagree with?

  71. Roozen


  72. Lara

    beigelights said:
    “…I sometimes DO wish there were fewer feminists…”

    Well, that tells me where you stand :/

    Jenny Dreadful said:
    “And I also feel like some of you don’t really care if there are fewer feminists as a result of your elitist exclusivity–maybe making the club more difficult to get into makes membership all that more special.”

    Why is it that deconstructing and analyzing what other feminists do, for the sake of not being hypocritical, is wrong? Why is it considered “infighting” (I am not saying you used this word) instead of what it really is – constructive criticism? If feminists unflinchingly went along with everything a person said just because s/he’s been slapped with the “feminist” badge THEN we would be pretty damned elitist, wouldn’t we? And we’ve certainly done that before and it’s gotten us nowhere.
    How about, for example, looking at the ways that white feminists have ignored or belittled feminists of color in our everyday lives, in our analyses, in writing about things? Is it “elitist” of women of color to deconstruct and criticize white-centered thinking among white feminists and feminist theory??
    Yes, I value very much the growth in the number of feminists just like you do, but I also believe that becoming and being a feminist is an on-going and growing process, which is exactly why I think that constructive criticism of, for example, visual media created/approved by fellow feminists, is totally valid and even necessary.
    In fact, I really want to read Marcotte’s book because I think we all know how rare it is to find a good feminist read that tackles many issues in a constructive way. However, just because some of us are criticizing the cover for not making more obvious it’s “irony” (if that’s even what was intended) it doesn’t mean we are dismissing all “mainstream” feminist writings and books as obsolete.

  73. draconismoi

    Evil, Evil Twisty! I have student loans and rent and groceries hanging over my head! How can I afford another book?! You are feeding my addiction!

    And I have a funny feeling this will not be available at libraries anytime soon.

    Why the hatred for the cover? Supporting (or not) a book specifically because of its cover completely devalues the message or story contained within it. As a scifi/fantasy devotee I am used to reading books with depictions of naked female bodyparts (never the whole body, that would humanize her) on the cover. Do they have anything to do with the plot? No. It says more about the publishing and booksellers’ industries than it does about authors that we judge, categorize and market books based solely on a picture rather than content.

    Amanda likes it? Great. Most (female) authors I read have issues with their (American) book covers. I’m going to settle for happiness that an author finally got a cover she liked. And I’ll wait to hate the book until I’ve actually read it.

  74. beigelights

    Lara, please don’t misrepresent me. If you read one sentence further, I said, “but I know that’s not the answer.”

    “Deconstructing and analyzing what other feminists do” is indeed important, but if it’s done with too much snark and too little respect it is not constructive.

    There is also the risk of too much navel gazing (i.e. deconstructing and analyzing but not following it up with action) and I think that’s something we should all consider while we’re reading and writing about each other in a big, online echo chamber.

  75. Wogglebug

    A gentle reminder: If you want to read a book but don’t want to give money to the author, or can’t fit a purchase into this month’s budget, check your friendly local library. If it’s a new, popular book you may have to join a waiting list, but chances are good you’ll be able to read it.

  76. Twisty

    To the hatas: your “deep seated personal dislikes,” your judging of the book by its cover, and your link-less accusations about “censorship” — for crissake, a blog is not the US Government — do nothing to elevate the discourse. Amanda Marcotte’s considerable intellect, progressive politics, and comparatively wide, influential audience make her one of the good guys. She is not using her superpowers for evil.

    Furthermore, this thread will hereby cease to referend her character. And when I delete you for defying me, it won’t be “censorship”. It will be me deleting shit from my own personal blog which exists for my own personal pleasure and upon which your commentary has no absolute right to appear.

  77. Jenny Dreadful

    Lara, I guess I was responding more to Beigelights and Tilly with their personal attacks. Of course it’s reasonable to debate the usefulness of employing sexist imagery on the cover of a feminist book, but I think calling into question Amanda’s feminist credentials is neither useful nor fair.

  78. norbizness

    Too late, Twisty, she’s already had her credentials placed under review by The Committee.

    Which is slightly unfair, because there is a chapter in there exclusively devoted to instructing one on killing large river reptiles armed with nothing but a leopardskin leotard and a spear.

    And if it is your birthday, order yourself a cilantroless taco of your choice and place it on my account.

  79. Pinko Punko

    I thought cilantro was OK, pork was out, and f______ was unspeakable among better consumers?

  80. Victoria Marinelli

    Twisty wrote: Amanda Marcotte’s considerable intellect, progressive politics, and comparatively wide, influential audience make her one of the good guys. She is not using her superpowers for evil.

    Hell yeah. And in my book, anyone who survives (with considerable grace, no less) the trial-by-fire that was the Bill Donohue fiasco deserves not only kudos, but book royalties. Major book royalties.

  81. Twisty

    PP, if you mean “foie gras”, it is true that at least one blamer eradicated my blog from her aggregator because I put up a picture of some of that tasty shit one time. It was the Last Straw!

    I love cilantro, though. Norb must have a hitch up in his bizness.

  82. j

    Maybe the unspeakable f-word is “frisée.”

    Shoot. I just said it.

  83. Lara

    Jenny Dreadful said:
    “Of course it’s reasonable to debate the usefulness of employing sexist imagery on the cover of a feminist book, but I think calling into question Amanda’s feminist credentials is neither useful nor fair.”

    Was I questioning her feminist credentials? If it came off that way, it was unintended. Anyway, what was the Bill Donohue fiasco Victoria is referring to? I’ve only been on Pandagon a few times…
    And do we have to go to independent/women’s bookstores to get the book?

  84. Pinko Punko

    j, I tried to hide its unspeakableness by a possibly inappropriate level of blanks- it is so uspeakable it misspells even allusions to itself.

    I feel becalmed about a possible cilantro né coriander brouhaha, because a meatless, cilantroless taco around here would be some onions and salsa of ones particular coloration. Is this a dog whistle against salsa verde??? I think the roja haters would claim such!

  85. Jenny Dreadful

    Lara, Bill Donahue called for Amanda’s head after she was hired by Edwards to blog his campaign. He insisted that she was a “bigot” because she has little tolerance for his particular band of religious zealotry. She and Melissa of Shakesville were both targeted and harassed by his minions.

  86. Victoria Marinelli

    Anyway, what was the Bill Donohue fiasco Victoria is referring to?

    Oh, dear. Capsule version: John Edwards hired Amanda Marcotte (as well as Melissa McEwan of Shakesville) as bloggers for his campaign, following which Donohue (and assorted and sundry wingnuts) came out screaming about (in essence) what uppity patriarchy-blamers these women were. (Also, they’d cussed on their respective blogs, prior to being hired by Edwards. Egad!) Following which Edwards displayed (in my view) some seriously reprehensible spinelessness and condemned his new hires’ previous patriarchy-blaming cussfests. (So, what? Did his campaign somehow not know about those very public rants in advance of their being hired? Or was were they just cowering to the radical right?) Subsequently, Marcotte and McEwan resigned.

    The brouhaha made the New York Times, CNN, etc.

    Amanda’s blog post on same may be found here.

  87. thatgrrl

    Seems there’s an easy solution to the cover controversy: make your own, especially if it’s going to be given to a blamer-in-training. Put your own imagery on it, or leave it blank, thus providing plenty of space for the reader to create her own relevant cover art. Encourage the reader to adorn the cover with her own writing. Pass the book around to your friends and write your own cover blurbs. Encourage marginalia. Take the lessons of the blogosphere and the internet to heart: the author need not have the last word, and the publisher’s decisions need not be final and eternal.

  88. tinfoil hattie

    Bleah on Seal Press and their white-centric slant.

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