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May 04 2008

Spinster aunt continues to tiptoe through the treacherous tulips of student newspapers

Today’s selection: The Brandeis Hoot, “Shopping for Truth: Feminist and proud” by Chrissy Callahan, May 2, 2008

I kind of envy Chrissy Callahan, who has carved out something of a college journalism career chronicling the eye-opening revelations she’s experienced simply by paying attention in class. When I was her age all I did was lie around the quad hootin’ a fattie. Maybe I would have done better in college if there had hung over my head the threat of hundreds of critical eyes squinting at my newspaper summary of Women and Gender in Culture and Society Studies 5a with Professor Sue Lanser.

Then again, maybe not.

Anyway. Callahan, her exposure to feminism in the above-mentioned course having somewhat enbiggened her obstreperal lobe, gamely imparts a sort of pre-feminism primer to the readers of the Hoot.

As our readings and discussions in 5a have proven, feminism doesn’t mean what you might think it does. To be a feminist does not mean you are a man-hater or a crazy person.

Ah.

Callahan knows what time it is. She grasps that her peers are neck-deep in Dude Nation. She is aware that even now, in 2008, the average person believes that women have already achieved “equality.” She is familiar with feminism’s “negative connotations.” Thus she is obliged to start at square one and explain, to what she clearly assumes is an openly hostile audience, that fighting women’s oppression isn’t tantamount to insanity.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: because of Dude Nation’s successful propaganda campaign, most women wouldn’t be feminists with a 10 foot pole, and the few who buck this trend are required to spend 83.7% of their time begging the citizenry to believe that they don’t hate men and aren’t crazy.

Callahan is young, and hasn’t yet looked into the abyss. She’s merrily unaware of the inexpressible enormity of white male supremacy. While she isn’t fooled by “prejudice [...] openly advertised under the guise of a beauty campaign,” and is “absolutely disgusted” at surgically-enhanced sexbots in the media, her grasp of feminist issues remains sketchy and pop-culture oriented. I nitpick here, not to rip young Callahan a new one, but to spotlight the excellent job Dude Nation is doing if this is what passes for a “feminist and proud” diatribe at an American university in 2008.

It’s like this. Callahan differentiates between “women” and “women of color” in the annoying the way journalists do when separating the “other” from the default: “[B]oth women and women of color have made gains in the workplace.” She is trying to illustrate her grasp of the “intersectional” quality of feminism — you can almost see her looking up that lecture in her notes — but omits to conclude that “women” is not a synonym for “white women.”

When she asks, in all earnestness, “Did you ever think about who takes care of those rich career women’s children?” the spinster aunt cringes particularly. Not only does Callahan neglect to challenge the antifeminist assumption that children are strictly the mother’s — not the father’s — problem; it clearly is Callahan’s expectation — unrealistic, given that persons of color populate 20% of Brandeis’ student body — that her audience has never given a moment’s thought to the minority experience, or to the untoward effects of an oppressive class structure.

It’s a novice move to appease the oppressor in your argument, and this is what Callahan does, more or less out the wazoo. She appeals to dudely authority in her discussion of domestic violence, agreeing that women sure can be bitchy sometimes by disclaiming “No one is about to deny that women too are capable of and do abuse men.” She shrugs off stuff like pay disparity and the “glass ceiling” with the mollifying acknowledgment that “baby steps have been taken.” And for her parting shot, she asks why we must differentiate between male and female, and wonders why we all just can’t get along.

Sure, those are mostly bush-league mistakes. It’s the stuff that Callahan doesn’t address that freaks me the fuck out. Where’s abortion? Where’s pornography? Where’s prostitution? Poverty? Lesbians? The disabled? Rape culture? Health care? Human trafficking? Undocumented immigrants? The virgin/whore dichotomy? Female genital mutilation? Honor killings? The megatheocorporatocracy? The middle-class myth of love and marriage?* Did Callahan neglect this stuff because they spent so much class time on nannies and plastic surgery that they didn’t get that far on the syllabus?

Or is it because these are the real issues, the controversial issues, the issues that actually challenge dudely rights to a submissive sex class, the issues of which you must not speak lest people think you hate men and are crazy?

Of course, as some of our high school blamers have recently reported, being a young feminist is no picnic. Maybe Callahan just doesn’t feel like alienating herself from the known universe by taking a stand on anything more controversial than Barbie dolls.

Score another one for the culture of domination. The idea that feminism is about “equal pay” will never die.
____________________
* See Germaine Greer. The Female Eunuch.

45 comments

2 pings

  1. Mary Tracy9

    Excellent post, Twisty, as always.

    Just one thing, in case you find yourself out of blogging material. With respect to poverty, health care, undocummented inmigrants and the megatheocorporatocracy. I understand these are all feminist issues but my question is: does feminism propose an idea for solving all these problems without “help” from “the left”? Is “the left” embedded within feminism (which I believe it is) OR does feminism have some other ideas under it’s sleeve that I haven’t heard of?

  2. Sophia

    Aw, poor kid. I wrote for my college newspaper seven or eight years ago, and I admit that’s the kind of thing I would have written and thought of as “eye-opening” at the time. It’s really sad that she has to begin, as you say, from the Dude Nation POV, and thus spend 75% of the time (as do we all) just arguing past the really basic and horrible assumptions the culture is founded on, but at least she’s trying to get the message across (even if she isn’t aware yet of the subtleties of phrases like “women and women of color”). It’s that phase of college “awareness” — I myself had to go delete the blog entries I made back in 2001 when I took Race, Gender and Class because having to reread the “epiphanies” of a middle-class white girl was just too painful. And who knows, maybe some kid picked up something from those 755 words that made ‘em think.

  3. Cass

    “I nitpick here, not to rip young Callahan a new one, but to spotlight the excellent job Dude Nation is doing if this is what passes for a ‘feminist and proud’ diatribe at an American university in 2008.”

    Point taken. I still think, though, its a bit harsh of you to drop Ms. Callahan in the “Women Hate You” department.

  4. Monkey

    Twisty, cut this girl a break, will ya? She’s taking baby steps. Here’s you from last month:

    “If Feministing manages to suck in a few more of the fem-curious by alluding to misogynist heteronormative reality shows as “guilty pleasures,” what of it? If only I, as a teen idealist looking for something to blame, had had access to Feministing! It might have saved me years of counter-productive fumbling.”

    Can’t we say the same about young Chrissy Callahan? So she’s getting some stuff wrong. So does Feministing, and so, spectacularly, does Amanda Marcotte, whom you’ve also praised glowingly. In time, she’ll get it right. My version of feminism at her age was proving that I could do as many shots as my guy friends. I’ve come a long way, and so will she, but it’s not gonna help to have spinster aunts (and hell yeah I am one) wagging their fingers at her on the internets. Is she making “novice moves”? Yeah-but she’s a novice. And so were we all once upon a time.

  5. goblinbee

    Great post. As usual, you hit so many nails on so many heads. Twisty 5a is the best class I’ve ever taken, and, so far, it’s tuition free.
    I owe ya. I would buy the text in a heartbeat. Any plans in that direction?

  6. Femme Futée

    Twisty, you make my life a more sane place.
    The more radical I get, the more people want to waste my time by telling me not all men are rapists or that if women were just more assertive, they wouldn’t “get raped” anymore.
    It’s really, really hard to be a woman in her late teens/early twenties and be radical about anything. Hopefully, this young woman has only just begun her feminist journey. We all started somewhere.

  7. Twisty

    “its a bit harsh of you to drop Ms. Callahan in the “Women Hate You” department.”

    Yipes, that was a mistake. Fixed! That’s a new category, and is supposed to be reserved for avid antifeminist right wing chicks.

  8. Twisty

    “does feminism propose an idea for solving all these problems?”

    Revolution, Mary Tracy9. A complete takedown of the social order. It is nearly impossible to envision a society that is not based on dominance and submission, and I expect that those of us who are fluent in patriarchy would find it uncomfortable, but that’s what’s gotta happen.

  9. TP

    Feminism, which really, when taken to the point of complete liberation from oppression of every kind, is the solution to the problems you cite, because many of the economic inequities you ask about are the direct result of the cult of male supremacy. Male supremacy has lingered, like some kind of parasitic disease that feeds off all humanity, by strict adherence to the core values of binary roles rather than unitary roles.

    Radical feminism is about equality, rather than reversing who is dominant. In a society where dominance and submission are the primary categories, one sex has to win, and the more evil sex has been winning for millennia, at the expense of their own souls and the sex forced into submission.

    Our capitalist system is based on winners and losers, with the winners taking all, hence poverty. This same mindset has invaded and monopolized our healthcare system, with resources devoted to enriching the victors of the intellectual property game rather than all humankind. As for undocumented aliens – who on earth can really give a shit about whether someone is legally in one state versus another, since they are exploited in either state?

    This is why total revolution is the only way. Not that I’m holding my breath or anything. I’m just grateful for any moves in the right direction, like girls taking on Dude Nation brainwashing any way they can!

  10. Kitteh

    Twisty, I wish you could come to my school. They show porn here regularly (from the Activities Board no less!!) and their idea of promoting feminism is to sell women’s hotpants underwear with “FEMINIST” in pink letters. I hate this place.

  11. Twisty

    TP, I would suggest that radical feminism seeks liberation rather than equality.

  12. Izzy

    “Or is it because these are the real issues, the controversial issues, the issues that actually challenge dudely rights to a submissive sex class, the issues of which you must not speak lest people think you hate men and are crazy?”

    Poverty, lesbian rights, and human trafficking are definitely huge issues (in a long line of huge issues) and they aren’t any fun. When bringing the average middle class college-age chicklette to feminism, it’s a lot more practical to start with issues she faces on a daily basis, like the beauty standard. For people new to defying the P, it’s much easier to ditch the mascara and miniskirts than to, say, organize a pro-choice rally. Baby steps first, then the bigger issues come with time.

  13. Kay

    I would suggest that her neglect to discuss all these important issues is more an issue of space, and of attempting to “narrow the scope” of the article, to use the phrase my profs all drill into their students. I nearly cried while writing my first Women and Gender Studies paper, when I realized I only had five pages to describe all that was wrong with an ad cut out of Cosmopolitan. If she’s writing for a campus newspaper, she’s got to focus on the basics, and of course use 83.7% of the article to convince them all that she’s not crazy.

  14. keres

    And what’s wrong with hating men? Even Cole Porter could see the sense of it.

    I hate men.
    I can’t abide them even now and then.
    Then ever marry one of them, I’d rest a maiden rather,
    For husbands are a boring lot that only give you bother.
    Of course, I’m awful glad that mother had to marry father,
    Still, I hate men.

    Of all the types of men I’ve met in our democracy,
    I hate the most the athlete with his manner bold and brassy.
    He may have hair upon his chesst, but sister, so has Lassie!
    Oh, I hate men!

    I hate men.
    They should be kept like piggies in a pen.
    You may be wooed by Jack the Tar, so charming and so chipper,
    But if you’re wooed by Jack the Tar, be sure that you’re the skipper.
    For Jack the Tar can go too far. Remember Jack the Ripper?
    Oh, I hate men!

    If thou shouldst wed a business man, be wary, oh be wary:
    He’ll tell you he’s detained in town on business neccesary.
    The business is the business that he gives his secretary!
    Oh, I hate men!

    I hate men.
    Though roosters they, I will not play the hen.
    If you espouse an older man through girlish optimism,
    He’ll always stay at home and night and make no criticism.
    Though you may call it love, the doctors call it rheumatism.
    Oh, I hate men!

    ps I’ve only recently started reading your splendiferously sublime declaimations and just wanted to tell how much I’m enjoying them.

    pps I’m dyslexic. Please attribute grammatical and spelling errors to synaptic glitches, and not quel horror to insouciance or ignorance.

  15. Edith

    Kitteh, do we go to the same school? I think we do.

  16. Pinko Punko

    Perhaps it is just the youngness of the onion. The school newspaper is an odd enviroment. Having endured four years of reading the Daily Smelly, yikes.

  17. slythwolf

    It could well be the onion’s youngness, Pinko Punko. You could be right about that. I myself still believe in the middle-class myth of love and marriage, and I ain’t even in college anymore.

  18. Amananta

    Sadly, as mild a feminist essay as this is, she is still likely to be ripped to shreds for having had the temerity to say it.
    After having sort of “gone underground” as a feminist for 10 years, I came back to it and became more radical than ever after posting a small comment to a friend explaining that the idea that men “always” lose custody of their children, and divorce judges are biased towards women, is a false idea, and posted a link to a study that proved it. No feminist analysis, nothing other than stating this was an urban legend of sorts. I was taken to task by a man who swiftly became hysterical in his denunciation of me as a liar and a man hater. I didn’t understand what had happened. I posted something in my own online journal about it, innocently marveling that anyone could be so anti-feminist and such a throwback in these days when, you know, we’ve nearly achieved full equality. My ‘friends’ all attacked me. It snowballed from there.
    Either she will be spurred on to read and learn more about feminism after she is attacked for writing this, or she will renounce feminism and spend the next few months apologizing to all the guys she angered in order to try to stave off the attacks they will launch on her. It all depends on how much she can take and how viciously they attack her.

  19. Chiroptera

    Izzy said, it’s much easier to ditch the mascara and miniskirts than to, say, organize a pro-choice rally. While I get the point of this, I think sometimes it’s the other way around. A lot of leftist men are pro-Choice, but I think fewer of them have stopped fetishizing women’s bodies. I know some feminists, including an officer in our local chapter of NOW, who wouldn’t step outside their house without makeup. Of course, Izzy did say organize the rally, which is different from just attending.

  20. atheist woman

    Well, I hate men and I’m crazy. Should I start my own feminist cult, Crazy Man-Hating Radical Feminists, or would they just assume I was referring to the real deal? This is mostly not serious.

    Also, I agree with Chiroptera. Some feminist women just do not get why makeup might not be all that feminist (or tiny handbags or stilettos or, trails off).

  21. ate

    Gah! Everyone is talking about student media these days and as someone still involved with the world of privileged, patriarchal institutions that ask you to pay them money whilst they apparently educate you I’m understanding it all. Sure I don’t actually attend any of these institutions anymore but I still pick up their publications and am involved with the people who publish or are apparently represented by them and still tear my hair out. Racist, sexist, queerphobic, homophobic, heteronormative, you name it: they got it!

    I agree wholeheartedly with your general analysis and have said the same things time and time again to whomever would listen to my rantings. Yet I have to say that it is amazing it even got published and the editors probably only decided to put it to print on the basis that it avoided partisanship. The poor girl is probably going to be on the receiving end of hate mail for months to come, which the paper will probably publish under the guise of ‘free speech’. Sigh. At least it might radicalise her when she experiences exactly how Dude Nation reacts to even her tremulous steps.

  22. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    This young onion has taken a bite of the feminist enchilada, but maybe isn’t quite ready for the whole combination plate. As her palate becomes more refined, and she’s introduced to Bitter Experience, I think she’ll grow hungrier for more.

  23. Twisty

    Well, I got ripped when I made my argument in favor of Feministing even though they’re not radicals, and now I’m getting ripped for complaining that a college sophomore’s (or whatever she is) idea of feminism isn’t radical. Tough crowd.

    I get that yall want me to, as Callahan might say, cut her some slack because she’s just a kid, because of certain peculiarities of the student newspaper medium, because she’s about to get eighteen bags of hate mail, because she didn’t have enough space, because at least she’s taking “baby steps.”

    I get the compulsion to be protective — Callahan is a young innocent, a “nice” feminist, perhaps, who needs to be protected from an “obnoxious” one — but I explained, right there in the middle of the post, that the purpose of my essay was not to pillory an individual, but to demonstrate, using a sample of published, pro-feminist, woman-authored student writing, the success enjoyed by the antifeminist zeitgeist. In order to do that it was necessary to point out, from a radical (i.e obnoxious) perspective, the aspects of Callahan’s supposedly pro-feminist report that actually replicate antifeminist thought.

    I sympathize with Callahan, I really do. I grasp that women are generally obliged, as a matter of survival, to capitulate to oppression, and do not blame them personally for this. Neither do I blame Callahan personally for writing a pro-feminist overview that doesn’t mention abortion et al; my whole point is that her essay exemplifies what a magnificent job dudely culture has done in declawing feminism. The notion that “baby steps” toward the idea that women are human are to be indulged pretty much sums it up.

  24. Debby

    Ugh, well Twisty, my alma mater (and I think yours…) is awarding an honorary degree to Phyllis Schlafly this year.

    So if you can bare another student newspaper, try this:
    http://media.www.studlife.com/media/storage/paper337/news/2008/04/30/FinalsGuide/Schalflys.Selection.For.Degree.Incites.Protest-3363473.shtml?reffeature=recentlycommentedstoriestab

  25. Debby

    Ack! Sorry about the ellipses. I forgot myself completely.

  26. Dr. Steph

    At least Callahan is getting something out of her classes. Many of my students spend their time defending the beauty myth and plastic surgery as a personal choice to aid self-esteem and other stuff that makes me wonder if I’m actually teaching from my notes or if aliens have taken over during class time.

    Stir in issues around poverty, sexuality, race etc. and they glaze right over, even as they study in the most ethnically diverse city in the world sitting beside a student who has told me that she will be sent back to her country to marry after her degree, even though she would rather go to graduate school. .

    Baby steps are better than fingers in ears.

  27. CafeSiren

    If I could give Callahan one piece of advice that might help both her writing and her nascent feminist thinking, it would be this: Drop the passive voice. Right now. For example:

    “It is clear that women are still discriminated against on the world stage, as are women of minority status. Furthermore, domestic abuse still exists and is frequently exhibited towards women.”

    Placing this in the active voice not only makes for a smoother read, it forces the writer to take a stand on who the agent is in this sentence. And once you’ve done that, you’re on the road to understanding, and hopefully, to action.

    Chrissy, if someone has noted the link and sent you over here: congratulations on taking those first steps. When the bastards (of both sexes) try to shout you down (and they will), you will have two choices: backpedal further so as not to offend anyone with your new convictions, or stand your ground in a reasoned, principled way. I, for one, am pulling for every young feminist out there to choose door number two.

  28. Bushfire

    I am one of these young onions you refer to. I have said some rather unintelligent things on my own blog and elsewhere, but I am always happy to read enlightening texts such as Twisty’s because as soon as someone spells it out, it just clicks in my young onion brain.

    In case anyone is terribly interested in the representation of feminism in college newspapers, I’ll add to the discussion that I became a feminist in part because of the misogyny in my own uni’s paper. After printing sexist crap, they would print feminist backlash in the letter section, but only to poke fun at the feminists. I, however, always thought those ‘crazy’ people had a good point, and started reading about feminism.

    I thought this little anecdote would give some of you hope that college newspapers, however awful, can make borderline feminists more feminist.

  29. Kitteh

    Edith, does the name Andrew have any significance to you?

    I am at least somewhat glad that my Sex & Gender in Anthropological Perspective class seemed to be pretty pro-feminist with fairly good attention to class and race issues. I suppose this university isn’t completely hopeless.

  30. Pinko Punko

    I don’t think she needs any slack. I do think that if in dudely society, as it were, the idea that women are human is afforded revolutionary status, as I believe it is, one cannot arrive fully formed at such a conclusion. Aliens from Obstreperon notwithstanding. I think this post is pretty nice considering the present environment amongst the internet. I think many of the commenters, some more advanced in their blaming than the Y.O., are really just recognizing some aspects of their former selves.

  31. Twisty

    “is awarding an honorary degree to Phyllis Schlafly this year.”

    It was just a matter of time. Actually, I’m pretty surprised they haven’t made her President of Missouri by now.

  32. Dana

    Not only does Callahan neglect to challenge the antifeminist assumption that children are strictly the mother’s — not the father’s — problem…

    Men can’t seem to cope with the idea that women are human beings, don’t appear to see children as human beings, can’t seem to dredge up the collective responsibility to pay their child support when necessary and NOT just when ordered or when they get the visitation they want, but you think we should make childrearing more the father’s problem? Why, exactly?

    I know the patriarchy sees childrearing as Lesser Than and therefore children’s caregivers as Worthless, but fuck ‘em, I don’t measure my worth by what they think of it.

    It is one thing to observe that there is a social problem, quite another to behave as though the social problem doesn’t exist because it “shouldn’t”. Shoulda-woulda-coulda is the mark of the immature and the mentally ill. Speaking from personal experience, having been both.

    It’s really hard being my child’s primary caregiver but it would also be really hard being a firefighter or jumping out of airplanes or running an Olympic triathlon. Odd that we encourage the latter three in women but the first is antifeminist and off-limits.

    I know the impulse is to oppose anything that an official antifeminist says because, well, they’re antifeminist. Totally get it. Believe me. But over the years I have come to be amazed by how much common ground there actually is between groups of widely disparate political philosophies. It’s as if sometimes two groups want to get to the same place but insist upon using different road maps. It makes it weird for me sometimes when I am reading feminist blogs, lemme tell ya.

    (And at other times reading feminist blogs is wonderfully enlightening, giving me the swift kick in the ass I need to take decisive action in my life. I don’t know if it was here or at another blog this evening but I’ve just had that happen again for a particularly difficult decision I was facing. Thank you, all of you.)

  33. Lara

    I don’t understand why everyone is getting so defensive and claiming that Twisty was “attacking” Callahan. She already explicitely stated that she’s using Callahan’s writing as an example of how much the patriarchy has “declawed feminism.” What is so hard to grasp here?

    “[B]oth women and women of color have made gains in the workplace.”
    -Callahan

    I really had to do a double take there. Are women of color women ? I mean, how oblivious do you have to be to not catch on to how incredibly wrong and weird that sounds? That’s more than just a “subtlety” Sophia, that was a slap in the face for me (maybe for a lot of white people crap like that is a “subtlety”) :/
    And yes, she is still going to get ripped apart by angry stupid doods and their female allies for months to come just because, *gasp* heaven-forbid, she thinks women and men should get equal pay. I used to think a little bit like her, but when I was 15 (I am now 23). True, she has to start somewhere, but Twisty wasn’t refuting that anyway.
    And it’s really fucking scary how much patriarchy has made mainstream feminism it’s damned puppet now.
    When people accuse me of “man-hating” I always say “who the hell cares? I have just been talking about the violent and sadistic oppression of more than half the human population and all you care about is men? Seriously?” Patriarchy literally and symbolically MIND FUCKS us. Scary scary shit.

  34. Lara

    “Men can’t seem to cope with the idea that women are human beings, don’t appear to see children as human beings, can’t seem to dredge up the collective responsibility to pay their child support when necessary and NOT just when ordered or when they get the visitation they want, but you think we should make childrearing more the father’s problem? Why, exactly?”

    Dana, the reason men don’t give a shit about children or think women are human is BECAUSE they are not expected to take responsibility for child-rearing in the first place.

    Oh, and I’ll add to the discussion in general that my university posts shit like “Homosexuality: A Mental Disease” and articles about how Muslims are evil and are taking over “our culture.” So yeah, university newspapers are fugly. Just earlier today there was a “sit-out” organized by the Women’s Coalition at my university protesting the university newspaper’s racist, sexist, and homophobic bullshit. This is also the same Coalition that supports the idea that “sex working” is “fun and liberating”, but I digress….

  35. miss crabby pants

    My first real feminist act in college(besides eschewing the scraping of hairs from my legs with a razor sharp – um, razor) was to set up a table in the cafeteria with all sorts of porno magazines I scammed from a friend who worked in a news shop. I wanted other women to see what their brothers, fathers, boyfriends, professors, priests and rabbis thought of them (us). Don’t like the college paper route? Find another way to say your piece. It’s all dangerous and all necessary.

    Thanks again, Twisty, for pointing out the extent to which our very ideas and identities are co-opted by the P.

  36. cf

    “Where’s abortion? Where’s pornography? Where’s prostitution? Poverty? Lesbians? The disabled? Rape culture? Health care? Human trafficking? Undocumented immigrants? The virgin/whore dichotomy? Female genital mutilation? Honor killings? The megatheocorporatocracy? The middle-class myth of love and marriage?* Did Callahan neglect this stuff because they spent so much class time on nannies and plastic surgery that they didn’t get that far on the syllabus?”

    She didn’t get that far because these bad things of dude nation don’t happen to UT undergraduates.

    Until, of course, they do.

    Why should they teach that these things happen at UT? Or any university for that matter?

    The Point of University is not to Educate. The point of The University is to mold young men to the needs of the megatheocorporatocracy and to marry young women off to them.

    The Hallowed Halls of Dude Nation.

    Chomsky said as much. He was right. Well, half right. He only considered the men.

  37. Izzy

    “The notion that “baby steps” toward the idea that women are human are to be indulged pretty much sums it up.”

    Wow. I hadn’t even considered the issues in this light. My first response was along the lines of “Hey, we’ll take new feminists where we can get them, even if it means starting them off on training wheels.” I didn’t think how strange it is to have to hold someone’s hand and walk them to the idea that women are independent, capable human beings with every right to their own bodies and well being. Accursed patriarchy. It sneaks up on you even when you think you’re fighting it (or perhaps especially then).

    I really learned something and that is, of course, why I come here. Thanks.

  38. Narya

    Thanks for the shout-out to Germaine–”The Female Eunuch” had much to do with my y.o. blaming, way back in the 1970s–which was an interesting time, in that the patriarchy in the form of Respectable Middle-Class Virtue had lost some of its sway, but Dude Nation hadn’t quite filled the patriarchal vacuum.

    I did get, and like, the point you were making Twisty. What I kinda hope happens to the y.o. you profile is that she figures out that she’s going to get a huge ration of shit from Dude Nation, no matter how mild her complaints, so she might as well minimize her appeasement strategies and go for the whole enchilada. (Few of us can eliminate appeasement entirely, and we don’t all agree on what counts as appeasement anyway.) The other thing I’ve discovered is that going for the whole enchilada, whatever I conceive that to be, has found me/us unexpected allies. Turns out there are lots of people out there who really would prefer not to be part of Dude Nation (including a fair number of men, IMHE) but don’t know how to articulate that.

    No idea why I’m feeling so optimistic today; perhaps my obstreperal lobe is still asleep.

  39. lenor

    I agree with Lara, how did the “women and women of color” debacle happen? I think I’ll just think of it as a typo.

  40. Joolya

    Well, I’m glad that this girl is relaizing that she isn’t a fembot. That’s nice. But the piece could really have used an editor. Yeesh.

  41. islandmamma

    ouch my eyes.

  42. Virginia Ray

    Edith
    Kitteh

    NAME your School – showing porn from the activities board? Name your school! There is a NOW chapter somewhere around and they will support campus actions — This is the time and place for you to organize. It is true that most women’s studies money is now split with gender meaning transsexual studies and the left controls womens studies and has returned the analysis to their divisive identity politics as opposed to equal rights and equal opportunity bread and butter issues. But the way to save yourself is to focus on the personal things in your life and environment that oppress and demean you as an individual.

    There is a wonderful post with comments on the Reclusive Leftist here:
    http://www.reclusiveleftist.com/?p=671

    Titled “Why morons think Prostitution is Empowering”

    I suggest it because it will give you the language to fight the dehumanization of women on your campus.

    That you do not name your school tell me you live in fear and isolation. Why are you so afraid? There is no light for others to find you until you light one in the darkness. Speak Up and encourage others who are afraid. You too can write for your newspaper. I do not think Twisty was unhelpful to the young woman. I think she was asking what happened to the feminism classes? Twisty, the left has co-opted them. They have become touchy feel identity politic and white guilt tripping BS.

    There is no law or history or truth of women’s experience, just prostitution told by Coyote members funded by the porn industry, founded by women who were never prostitutes and the status of Muslim women taught by males with books written by convert women who live in the west. It is all cultural relativism now called intersectionality.

    I will come back with a link to a report on one excellent women studies course when I can find the link.

  43. Virginia Ray

    This is from the blog called Radical Feminism, a post on a women’s study class. She does not post much . I asked her the name of this paper and she did not respond. I would like to know the name of her school and the name of this class as well.

    http://ceceliahouse.wordpress.com/2007/03/31/pornography-and-pop-culture-part-1/

    “Whisnant uses this opportunity to articulate a clear distinction between 2nd and 3rd wave feminism. She argues that viewing the difference as solely generational is a mistake.

    There is a fundamental difference between the 2 waves that isn’t reflected in current literature. In 3rd wave feminism, she argues, there is a reluctance to speak for other women, and thus, most of the arguments about what counts as feminist revolve around the choice of the women directly involved.

    Therefore, if a woman chooses to appear in pornographic material, that choice is necessarily feminist.

    Members of the 2nd wave believed that women shared a common condition, and as they began to uncover the political implications of their private lives, they felt very strongly that their personal decisions had much broader implications for women everywhere.

    Because of these divergent views about what constitutes feminist action, 2nd and 3rd wave feminists developed very different reactions to pornography. In fact, it seems like the 3rd wave arguments are less about pornography and more about personal freedom and autonomy.

    But those concepts are not uncomplicated. To say that something was autonomously chosen is so complex and contingent that it becomes a meaningless statement. These accounts rarely take into account the full weight of coercion, adaptive preferences, economic and social inequality, and a whole host of other factors that constrain one’s autonomy.

    We’ve been talking a lot in one of my classes about feminism being similar to membership in a union. In certain situations, you may be asked to give up something that is personally beneficial because your rejection of it works to the advantage of the entire group. This example was offered in our discussion of marriage, but I think fits somewhat into the ….”

    Read the rest at the link above

  44. shermanvolvo

    It always makes me sad when feminism is made to feel malleable for the majority / malestream, and hopeful that there are radical feminisms out there that don’t cater to the men. I remember in my younger years being all about “men can be feminists” and “feminism is about equality which is good for men too!’ While I may agree with this statements to some degree, the fact is is that they are no longer central to my feminism. Men can be involved in feminism provided they stay out of our way, and while I do believe equality is a goal, I am more interested in (as you say) liberation, as well as justice.

  45. GumbyAnne

    I have never been “feminist with a 10 foot pole” but I think it might actually be an improvement.

    And now I’m off to the lumberyard!

  1. The Natashas (Victor Malarek) « Not a Whisper

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    [...] example where the target is much easier, the blogger (Twisty Faster) of I Blame the Patriarchy takes to task the writer (Chrissy Callanhan) of an article in The Brandeis Hoot (a student newspaper) for [...]

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