Feb 12 2009

Spinster aunt reads a couple of GoogleAlerts

Once in a while it amuses me to read my Google Alerts for keyword “feminist” as I slurp down my soylent green kombucha. The blog results are always enlightening. A bit of a barometer. If the random blogger is any indication, feminism’s in bad shape, women. Here are two depressing examples from today’s alert email.

This post by blogger scarlettscion is typical of Google’s selections in the ”feminist” department*; it’s blandly pro-patriarchy and without much in the way of philosophic value. It is entitled “Am I a feminist?”

“Yes I fucking AM.” proclaims the author. But, she hastens to reassure her readers, she likes men. In fact, men don’t oppress women, “culture” does. And we’re all guilty of culture.

Her argument proceeds from the hypothesis that most feminists are judgmental buttbags. We hate men and we hate women who wear skirts. Our author is not that kind of hatey feminist. She is — and this is apparently her sole mode of feminist rebellion — the kind who “objects to ads” that “portray us as material objects.” But on the other hand,

A little objectification never hurt anyone. Ideally I’d like to see a bit more even spread of that objectification (where are all the sexy clothes for men? Why don’t they have hot uncomfortable shoes?) but that doesn’t mean that I think women looking sexy is BAD BAD BAD.

Possibly there’s hope for scarlettscion; she is under the impression that feminists hate “sex workers”, but at least she sort of gets that advertising is exploitative.

I’m not so sure about this guy.

Meet Ric James, outraged dude and self-described “common man.” He quotes an article describing a vicious expression of Saudi misogyny (woman sentenced to “100 lashes” and imprisonment after becoming pregnant pursuant to her having been gang-raped), then actually starts yelling at feminists for failing to force the world to end these travesties by making a big stink about this down at Saudi HQ. That’s right. In an unusual twist on the feminist-bashing trope, he’s supposedly pissed that women are ridding the world of their own oppression in insufficient numbers.

His argument is that, because he’s been forced to endure humiliating “diversity training” at the hands of “some woman with a glaring eye,” women suck. Which explains our failure.

Where are those women, those marchers, those picketers now? Shouldn’t they be in front of the Saudi Embassy or shouting at their elected reps or flooding the media (print, radio, and TV) with demands that we loudly condemn such actions? I know I do and say so when I get the opportunity. Where, I wonder, are they?”

Well, if we were anything like Ric James, we’d be sitting around on our privileged kiesters, self-righteously awaiting the right “opportunity” to “flood the media,” expecting a few disenfranchised women to fix the problem of male violence. But fortunately, we’re not like Ric James. Feminists are loudly condemning this shit all day, every day, all over the world. The trouble is, there are too few feminists, and too many people like Ric and scarlettscion. They’re more interested in deriding feminists than in listening to us as we howl into an indifferent wind.
* Fun fact: I Blame the Patriarchy has never been listed under “feminism” in a GoogleAlert.


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  1. Lauren G.

    Wow–google doesn’t know you’re a feminist? Yer off tha charts!! Or under the radar, or google’s an idiot. I’m glad you’re smarter than google. It’s also making me smile inside that this type of ironic situation doesn’t happen to me alone; even Twisty suffers it.

  2. Hedgepig

    It’s 2pm where I am and I was just contemplating a siesta with the dogs when I thought I’d pop in and check out the latest blamer comments and here I find a new Twisty post. Shouldn’t Texans be asleep right now? I mean, nighttime sleep, not the pathetic afternoon granny naps I seem to have become addicted to.

    Earlier today I was rummaging through the archives and I found the loveliest thread in which a porn-fancying, narcissistic, self-proclaimed feminist expert dude was deliciously put in his place by Twisty and the Blamers of ’06. I know it’s ultimately pointless to engage with these types, but don’t you wish specimens like Ric James could get a dose of the IBTP medicine?

    And I’d just like to comment on the passing over of the Mighty Blametariat post. Let’s do another roll call in a couple of years. It was a nourishing experience.

  3. Lovepug

    Why, Ric James, have I not stormed the Saudi embassy? Cuz I’m a super-freak, super -freak – I’m super freak-ay.

    Sorry, but as soon as I saw the dude’s name was Ric James, that immediately popped into my head. No one with the name of Ric James should ever be taken seriously. And dropping the K from you name will not help.

  4. Inkling

    “This post by blogger scarlettscion is typical of Google’s selections in the ”feminist” department*; it’s blandly pro-patriarchy and without much in the way of philosophic value. It is entitled “Am I a feminist?”

    “Yes I fucking AM.””

    It’s been my experience that any time someone feels compelled to state emphatically that they fucking ARE something, they secretly know they really fucking aren’t.

  5. Lar

    It never ceases to amaze and disgust me how the patriarchy turns things around and blames feminists for things like this, and also how many people actually buy into their propaganda.

    I had to stop watching the only American news channel I get here because certain anchors were guilty of the same kind of hate mongering against feminists. The last straw was when they showed footage of two teenage girls fighting. One pundit says,”You know, you have to wonder what the really radical feminists are saying about this. Not, you know, the normal ones who want equal pay for equal work, but the ones who don’t want you to open the door for them. They’re probably proud of these girls and cheering them on.” The other replies,”Yeah, and then look at these moms at the mall. They dress even skankier than their daughters!”

    Yeah, because I guess it makes us crazy radical feminists so happy to see girls beating each other up on You Tube. I thought I was going to have an aneurysm.

  6. Spiders

    I’ve fielded this “you feminists are cowards for not liberating Muslim women” shit from a few guys now. They are the same guys who hijack the issue of inter-personal/domestic violence in order to indulge in a bit of arab-bashing or general racism. That stuff is only ever perpetrated by Those Other Guys.

  7. Daisy P

    This is getting curiouser and curiouser!

    It has taken the pat-controlled-media all these years to not only instill in people’s brains, the image (an image works so much better than words, it is easier to remember quickly, and it paints 1000 words as they say), of a “feminist” LOOKING LIKE (emphasis on what they look like – you know what I’m going to say), sigh, let’s see if I can get all of the components here,

    Hairy armpits
    Moles on faces with more hair growing from them
    Army fatigues, dirty ones, feminists don’t wash clothes
    Teeth missing (feminists do their own dentistry)
    Hair cut using the bowl-on-head method, or not at all
    How could I forget, overweight or, flat-chested jealous bitches?
    Acne – young
    Wrinkles – older
    Acne and Wrinkles if they are very unlucky!
    Looking like witches without broomsticks, the ugly Sisters, the Wicked Witch of the East, the Evil Stepmother
    And, they shout too much (ie, they state their beliefs).

    Basically, just not delicate and pretty, excluded from happy-smiley relationshits with men because of what they LOOK like.

    So, the media has managed to put this image in people’s brains without much effort, successfully scared many women off from even saying the dreaded f-word, never mind claiming to be one, and yes, despite this, women’s issues just danged coming back, slipping into focus now and again (but of course, immediately sqaushed or dealt with appropriately by the media, not taking the issue seriously or whatever).

    This has sparked many a “discussion” and books written about “well, I’m not a feminist (see above description, god forbid), BUT”……….then proceed to faintheartedly discuss feminist issues which are still very much, if not worse, than before the media rape of the word feminism. Many analyses and debates about “what is feminism” because women just did not want to be seen as what the male-dominated media/culture defined as feminsim.

    So, the media crucify (for want of a better word) over the years, the radical, picketing, shouting, demanding, angry, unpretty, and hairy-armpitted feminists over these years, then, they take the “Pretty Feminism” and sell back to the younger ones who don’t remember as much. They tell them that it’s ok to be empowered, as long as you take your clothes off, and look a certain way, act a certain way, why your feminine charms ARE your power.

    Now, in this new improved media tactic, they are blaming the very people they metaphorically made into hamburger meat, for not doing anything about what they have been fighting all along to do, but have not been taken seriously, and have been told to shut up, not given a cohesive voice by the media, and they are now criticising feminists (the loud hairy ones) for a problem created by the media when they choose to highlight one of the problems of patriarchy which has existed for years?

    Why did they do this brainwashing exercise in the first place? Because their power was seriously being threatened. The “feminist” issue is probably one of the most successful, insidious, unique and ingenious strategies that the media/men have ever contrived against something they don’t like, possibly almost accidentally, I say “almost”, …contrived to put women off claiming power to address patriarchal oppression. They seriously damaged the cause of feminism, and it’s legacy is stronger than ever. All becuase the media put women off because they told them what a feminist LOOKED like.

    The media are very powerful, and will continue to be, and they are the reps of all male mentality. So, expect many more twists to how they can warp feminism even more in people’s minds. I didn’t think there were any more to be had, twists I mean, but there you go, we’ve seen this new one…..watch this new media space with dread.

  8. Laurel

    “In fact, men don’t oppress women, ‘culture’ does. And we’re all guilty of culture.”

    So the P is Nelson Muntz:

    [smack] “Stop oppressing yourself!” [smack] “Stop oppressing yourself!”

    That explains a lot.

  9. Kelci

    Nothing pisses me off more than people blaming feminists for misogyny. We’re loud and annoying and paranoid and complain too much and should just shut up and why haven’t we fixed everything yet?

  10. Citizen Jane

    A male friend of mine surprised my knickers clean off the other day when he told me I’m not a feminist. I was a bit too busy being surprised to quickly put together a response, but I did try and make the point that I think I would know better than him if I’m a feminist. It escalated into a full argument between us, where his entire basis seemed to be that I don’t hate men, and I don’t want power over men, so I am therefore not a feminist. WTF? I guess IBTM.

  11. speedbudget

    It would just be nice for once to be able to consume my news or my entertainment without being portrayed as a meat sock. Unfortunately, the media can’t go even fifteen minutes without reminding us who we are and what we are for. Why, just this morning on the news, I get a segment about a Sixers cheerleader in the Sports Illustrated Whack Off Issue. How, for the love of gob, is that news?

  12. MLH

    Ugh, Speedbudget… I go to the gym a lot and while I am on the bike I just look at the videos the gym plays on the screen while I listen to my iPod. I was telling hubby the other day about them, how men always sing and play instruments in the videos, and most women just dance around almost nude, long glossy hair windwept, shaking breasts and hips, etc, etc. Rarely do women play instruments in the videos, and of course they all have to be good looking, while that does not apply to men, who can be as fat and nasty looking as they want, they still get chicks to bump and grind for them. Boring! (female performers are becoming more and more indistinguishable these days! All of them have the same blonde, long hair!)

    Anyway, hubby said that nobody forced these women to be in the videos. And I responded that yeah, they weren’t forced with a gun in their heads, however, if they didn’t do these things, they would not have a career in music whatsoever. Because, who tapes the videos, writes the music, produces the videos, owns the record studios, buys the music etc, etc? Well, men, of course!

    Women were banned from performing in plays centuries ago. Along the times, men allowed women to perform in movies, plays etc. But of course, for the most part it has to be in a passive role, secondary to the main role which is almost always played by the male, and she always has to look good, while this is not a requirement for the guy.

    This brings me to the other comments made above. The hair-in-mole, unshaven armpit feminist stereotype that men have come up with -because they feel so threatened- would confirm that the remark I made about sexism in music videos would come from my inability to measure up to the beauty of these (so called) good looking women. In other words, I think that men say that feminists are nasty looking because they think we are envious of fembots. I have never had any trouble attracting males, I am pretty attractive and is the same with many other feminists. The pus-infected, smelly man-hater feminist stereotype has been invented by men who feel the need to put down a woman who talks back to them and demands equality, a stereotype that is also probably very much loved by fembots who compete for the attentions of the males, and have no interest in changing a patriarchal system because they are too busy applying lip gloss to realize that it exists!

  13. Jezebella

    Indeed, just this morning I heard on NPR that it’s actually *WOMEN* who are responsible, “significantly” responsible for the trafficking of women and girls! Who knew!? I mean, the guys who want to buy a woman (or girl) so that he might rape and beat her repeatedly, with impunity, forever and ever amen – those guys? Not a syllable said about THEM. Nooo, rather: it’s women who sell other women into slavery, so really, we’re doing it to ourselves, sisters!

    Frakkity frak, I almost ran off the goddamn road.

  14. yttik

    I’m currently having a crush on Helen Thomas. 57 years as a correspondent! But what’s inspired my recent admiration is how this tiny little woman, frail with age, appears to be striking fear in the heart of the patriarchy. They’re calling her a troll, wicked witch of the west,the beast, etc. She’s always been under attack, but now she’s actually starting to resemble some fantasy creature with mystical powers. And honestly, half the patriarchy seems to have been regressed back to small children trying to hide behind their mother’s skirts in terror. Beware, she’ll feed you gingerbread and cook you for supper!

    I was quite delighted to listen to the bloviating media boyz recoil in horror last night. If women could embrace the power of these images, we’d have a good weapon in our arsenal. Remember how much they hate it when we cackle?

  15. mir

    I am hand-screening a super cool sexxxily tight black man-shirt for Ric that says

    This is what a douchebag looks like.

    I wonder will the USPS deliver packages c/o Head, Up Ass? Maybe I’ll go with DHL.

  16. AngmarBucket

    We have to listen to him! He’s Ric James, bitch!

    Seriously, though, all women should avoid anyone who calls himself a “common man” or “just a guy.”

  17. LCforevah

    Daisy P

    I know this was covered somewhat by Faludi in her book, “Backlash,” as well as other articles older than her work.

    After World War II, when women had dressed minimally in knee-length skirts, when Rosie the Riveter was the prominent female image, things were really changed for women. Along comes the propaganda machine, now known as marketing, which along with our government, deliberately sent out messages to counter Rosie and change back all the gains women had made.

    I think most of us know this story, but we don’t seem to see that corporations, with or without government, continue the same thing today. scarlettscion is very obviously somebody’s shill. I haven’t the internet knowledge to find out who he/she is or who he/she works for, but if any Blamers out there can do so, I am betting that he/she works for some propaganda machine, whether in New York, LA, or the Google offices themselves. We need to know who he/she/them is so we can make contact and heap mountains of ridicule upon them. Let them know we are on to them.

    I pick on scarlettscion because while Ric James is out in the open as a chauvinistic idiot who can be contacted, scarlett is a hidden entity and must be brought into the light like a cockroach.

    We need to let media and marketing know that we know that they are liars, and ridicule them for it.

  18. speedbudget

    Jezebella, seriously, you were surprised? In a society where women are blamed regularly for their own rapes and beatings? Where it takes an act of Congress to ensure the ability to sue for equal pay? Where we don’t have an amendment or specific act in our constitution stating that we are, in fact, people and deserving of all the rights that people are born with? Where we don’t even have personal bodily integrity? It can’t be shocking that it’s our own fault that women are sex slaves. I mean, the men can’t help themselves, and it’s our fault for being the sex class.

    I’m going to go pour a nice, big shot of vodka.

  19. Jezebella

    Alas, yes, I was surprised. Why? I don’t know. I guess it was early, and I hadn’t had my coffee, and it was that bastion of “liberal media”, NPR. You’re totally right, of course: I should expect to be reminded daily that I am but a meat-sock and am actually oppressing *myself*.

  20. Nolabelfits

    Pardon my ignorance, but what is a Google Alert?

  21. ChelseaWantsOut

    First of all, I’m not a big fan of the green kind. I much prefer original or the ginger one.

    Secondly, I hear the “We just need to exploit men, too! Then everything will be great!” argument a lot. But if everyone is just a sex object, who’s there to enjoy those objects? And how will anything get done with all those objects just prancing around in slingback stilettos waiting to be ogled? Personally, I’d like to see an end to all shoes, except when absolutely necessary (when walking over hot asphalt, when the temperature drops below freezing, when walking over shards of broken glass embedded at odd angles in hot asphalt), and even then they should be the comfiest goddamn shoes imaginable.

    And finally, I hope Ric’s letter-writing, picketing, shouting campaign is going well.

  22. Hattie

    This is the kind of drool that passes for feminism in the mainstream press:

  23. Cycles

    “I recall the various marches downtown and the picketing over some feminist issue or another. Where are those women, those marchers, those picketers now?”

    Well, dontcha know, when we DO picket over something, it becomes an inconsequential trifle lumped into “some feminist issue or another.” By not flying into the streets with our shrieking outrage, we’re helping to maintain the gravity of the Saudi stoning. Hah.

    If feminists don’t immediately take wide-scale action about every injustice all the time, we’re traitors to the cause.

    I wonder, what is he really trying to get at when he asks where the throngs of protesters are? Is he accusing us of racism? Xenophobia? Laziness? Hypocrisy? Being imperfect? Not having the time and resources to address every injustice? For shame.

    Certainly he was outraged to hear about the stoning, but just because he’s upset doesn’t mean the universe is obligated to re-configure itself to make it all okay. Feminists: what are you doing to alleviate my shock and horror?

  24. Cycles

    Sorry, I said stoning. I meant lashing.

  25. Daisy P

    “I recall the various marches downtown and the picketing over some feminist issue or another. Where are those women, those marchers, those picketers now?”

    And Mr Super-Freaky, if you are old enough to recall this, where were you wben they were marching? Were you with them? If so, start a march yourself. You too can express feminist outrage! You don’t even have to be a feminist to express outrage at the injustice of this Saudi “justice”. That is, if you really believe injustices against women are a humanitarian issue, which would mean that you would have to think of women as being human, a difficult concept for many men to grasp nowadays.

    On the other hand, if you weren’t there with the marchers, shut the Freak up. You have no one to blame but yourself, and sometimes, personal responsibility is hard to swallow…so, take the easy way out and blame the people you probably shot down in the first place.
    Freaking hypocrite.

    And remember, when you point one finger, you have 3 more pointing back at yourself.

    I don’t know why I’m talking “to” him, he probably isn’t listening anyway, but I live in hope!

  26. Ayla

    What drives me insane is that if we (and by “we” I mean western feminists in general) advocate for Middle Eastern women, the cultural relativists and anti-feminists lambaste us as racists. And if we complain about a sexist beer commercial on TV during the Superbowel, we’re told that it’s stupid to pay attention to such unimportant things and anyway, why aren’t we advocating for those MIDDLE EASTERN WOMEN?? Huh???? Rinse, repeat…

    (note- the Superbowel typo was originally an accident, but too funny to correct.)

  27. VibratingLiz

    The absurdity of blaming individuals or groups of individuals for not solving catastrophic global/systemic oppression with their own bare hands always reminds me of that classic Onion piece, “Local Motorist Urged To Free Tibet”:

    “LHASA, TIBET—The two million citizens of Chinese-occupied Tibet are placing their hopes for liberation in the hands of Susan Unger, a Chicago-area woman who on Monday saw a bumper sticker urging her to free the long-oppressed land…

    The 26-year-old Unger, who has vowed to do everything she can to free Tibet despite her lack of experience at resolving international crises, was driving to a local pet store when she spotted the sticker. “As soon as I saw the Free Tibet sticker, with its slogan fashioned in yellow, Oriental-style characters superimposed over the Tibetan flag, I knew I had been confronted with the truth. I simply had to act.”

    Unger has already requested time off from her job as a customer-service representative at First Chicago Bank to fly to Tibet and meet with leaders from both sides. She said she hopes to have the situation resolved by next Friday, when she has to be back at work.

    “If I can’t convince [Chinese Premier] Li Peng to pull out of Tibet altogether, hopefully I can at least get him to stop all the human-rights violations,” Unger said. “I just hope I can get it done quickly–Tibetan lives are at stake. And besides, I’ve only got eight vacation days saved up.”

  28. Buffy


    Why isn’t RicJames out marching and protesting in front of the Saudi Embassy? Why is RicJames outraged that a woman is facing imprisonment and a lashing for being a victim of a violent crime, but still finds time amongst his outrage to remind us women that we’re just not DOING enough to please HIM?

    I mean dammit ladies, he had to listen to drivel about how women are equals in the work place and that you probably shouldn’t grope them without their permission. The nerve of us. We should be out to save the every man, woman and child in the world right after we suck his cock.

  29. Hedgepig

    Vibrating Liz – after I stopped laughing at that Onion piece I had a think about why it was so effective. For the humour to work it was important for the individual to be as ineffectual and powerless as possible, and that’s why the “local motorist” was female. It’s just not quite as ludicrous if it’s a man, because men are allowed to go off on doomed quests and pointless journeys without being considered ridiculous. Take Jack Kerouac. Just a bunch of dicks driving around trying to get laid, and it’s treated like this meaningful, mystical voyage of discovery.
    As many blamers have pointed out, when women protest in the streets we are ignored and ridiculed. But we’ll be waiting a long time before men take to the streets to protest the human rights abuses experienced by women.

  30. Jonathan


    “and it was that bastion of “liberal media”, NPR.”

    Unfortunately, the left is not a good ally to feminism.

    I wish they were though, we could do a lot of good with the left’s budget.

  31. terristrange

    It is very comforting to see that I am not the only female barraged with a bunch of “WHyd on’t you go live in a muslin contry and see what opression really is!!1”.
    Because female feminists are only doing feminist work because they are self serving (the opinion of the aformentioned morons), of course!
    This kind of mentality is called “cowardice in criticism”. It is much easier to point at a group that you have invested nothing in (muslims) and criticize their behavior or actions. You have nothing to lose by criticizing those who you are not really affiliated with.
    For instance, if I spend my time railing against the misogyny of another culture, which I have spent no time in, which does not impact me, I can stay relatively comfortable.
    However if I look at my own culture, and the things that happen around me that directly impact me, and that I directly impact and start railing against those, I could lose my comfort.
    It’s very easy to point the finger somewhere else.
    I’m not saying that misogyny in many muslim countries isn’t a problem, but I can’t really do much about that without first destroying misogyny here, what help could I possibly be without doing that first?
    It’s much braver to risk losing your privileges and comfort to try and change things.
    These are the same people who no doubt believed that the US was invading Afghanistan for feminist reasons, not for imperialist ones.

  32. PhysioProf

    Twisty have you seen this?


    Apparently, a 13-year-old boy and 15-year old girl are new parents.

    Comrade PhysioProf

  33. random_anomaly

    Jonathan, your link doesn’t work (unless I’m missing something due to lack of caffeine) – can you re-post it please?

  34. Veganrampage

    Why didn’t black people put a stop to lynchings? Why didn’t children make pedophile priests stop molesting them? Why didn’t the jews stop the holocaust?

  35. Itxaro

    I don’t think you need to be a corporate shill to parrot the backlash lines. scarletscion is basically the voice I hear all around me from other young feminists– it’s the ones who have convinced themselves that they’re only worth what men will do for them.

    This is why the whole “women need men like a fish needs a bicycle” was so so so important, and not just for our lesbian sisters; so long as women are convinced that they are only worth how much attention and acceptance mainstream men will pay to them, we will never, not ever, achieve equality. The fact that “feminists” can fall for this makes me despair.

    Because here’s the thing: being pretty and delicate and fuckable and quiet gets you cookies from the patriarchy’s instruments: patriarchy-aligned men and women. It gets you their affection, it trades empowerfulment for the desperate struggle for real power. It’s tempting to someone who doesn’t see the whole picture.

    The rest of us have to make our love and say “fuck you” to those who want to fuck with us. That’s a tough position to be in, and the patriarchy has always taught women that being agreeable is a virtue.

  36. Spiders

    cycles, he’s also missing the fact that women still *do* march. There are several annual marches here in my city that the msm deliberately ignore.

  37. Cycles

    Ah yes, ye olde “If I didn’t hear about it, it must not have happened” gambit. Touche, sir.

    I don’t think he wants to hear about scheduled marches and actions for general-purpose feminist causes. If we feminists are to be taken seriously, we need to have armies of women in reserve, ready to jump into the streets and start some shit the instant we hear about an act of anti-woman barbarism in the world. Luckily, such things are extremely rare, so it’s not like we’d be out there 24/7.

  38. rootlesscosmo

    @Hedgepig: always happy to see someone deflating Kerouac’s vastly overblown rep. Remember those elegiac pages in which the narrator of On the Road wishes he were “a Negro, or a Mexican,” because their lives are so warm and carefree and spontaneous? And that was before he decided Richard Nixon stood for everything that was good and decent about America. Whatta guy! Whatta writer! And now if you will excuse me I need to take a Gelusil tablet.

  39. StillWater

    I always shift around in discomfort when this hairy feminist stereotype comes up mostly because I seem to fit it. I’m about 40 pounds overweight (well the scale says so, I feel okay), hairy (I don’t shave anything, I end up feeling like a plucked chicken, it’s degrading), I cut my hair about once every two or three years if I can get away with it (I dislike hair dresser conversation), I’ve even got a bit of the acne, I go shopping for clothing when my clothes get too holey to pass as a decent citizen. I don’t have or watch TV. I’m a lesbian and have been all my life. I’m angry too.

    I actually start to feel like I’m not really a feminist because when this stereotype comes up is is almost always in the context of “feminists aren’t overweight fashion-challenged women who don’t like men”. I am always thinking “Hey, what’s wrong with being like that?”.

  40. Twisty

    StillWater’s point is a good one. The radfem response, whenever this “feminists are hairy dykes” thing becomes the subject, ought to be, “so the fuck what?” The whole “this is what a feminist looks like” campaign — I get it, but the subtext is wonky. It’s all “see, I’m a feminist and I’m not a hairy dyke, give me points for not screwing too much with patriarchal femininity stereotypes.”

    Pah. This needs its own post.

  41. Starlight

    Hmm, maybe we should picket the Saudi embassy! Good idea.

  42. orlando

    Perhaps the required post is one that deals with the trickiness of the both/and that is so crucial to feminism, of which the “this is what a feminist looks like” campaign is a perfect illustration. We need to BOTH insist on the value of the things being dissed AND insist on things allowable to or expected of women not be limited to those things. A feminist can look like a fat, hairy lesbian AND a massive range of other things and BOTH are fabulous, so shut up.

    Women aren’t only capable of girly things, but also, girly things are valuable. It’s such a trap, because whenever you get drawn into arguing one facet you risk implying that you don’t value the other, unless you explicitly take time to clarify and, hell, who can get someone to listen to a feminist for that long?

  43. Daisy P

    I did think after typing the post listing the attributes of what the media defined in people’s minds as a feminist, to point out, that they(the medis) focused on the insecurities that women have about their looks already, and played on that by implying that feminists were the exact opposite of what women thought they should look like in order to fit in, and what this image was, was their power, (in their eyes), the media having reinforced this idea about their power in the first place, and then playing on it.

    The media were putting off women because they focused on defining to women, in an insidious way, what a feminist LOOKED like, not what she stood for, and this is how they won. I was not saying that any of the attributes was negative to me, just negative in the eyes of the media, and to many women. It’s how they won that war.

    I was not saying a feminist should look or not look a certain way at all!

    I was merely pointing out, oh well, I’ve explained it as best I can, now I feel all defensive. I may just dig a deeper hole if I carry on.

  44. Daisy P

    Damn it…I forgot to say…I included the fairytale references in the hope that people could see that women being conditioned in this way, to think “pretty = good, ugly witches, old women = bad” type propaganda has been with us for many many years, and is just another way of the pat getting to little minds early on, in the pat-propaganda/brainwashing exercise addressing women and their looks, and the insecurities which develop as a result.

    Pretty and Ugly being defined by the men who wrote the fairytales, and now the modern fairytale fantasies of porn.


  45. Carolyn

    “relationshits with men’…fantastic typo. I was talking to a younger female colleague yesterday about why I have zero interest in getting involved with a man.

    Me: ‘Do you ever hear a man say ‘I never have enough time’?’
    Her: ‘No.’
    Me: ‘Do you ever hear a man say ‘I’m so tired all the time’?’
    Her: ‘No.’

    I think she actually gets it now. And to return to the topic…women aren’t out stopping male oppression because we’re so exhausted, since we do all the work.

  46. Daisy P

    Re…the article posted above on the 13 year old and 15year old parents. I don’t know why the tabloids are sensationalising this as I’m sure it happens a lot. But it is shocking to see. The horse is well and truly bolted out of that barn and the doors are pretty jammed shut. In the UK, it’s very bad.

    I did note one comment in an article about the above, by an MP, saying that basically, the sexualisation of children is the problem – ya think?

    This comment was put in the middle of a load of other comments about sex-education falling short, being the real problem. The true-est comment was almost, in the usual tactical media way, invisiblised. Sex education is part of the problem now. There’s too much pushing of kids into having sex “well, let’s take the easy way out, and just edge-u-cate the little monkeys so they don’t reproduce instead of tackling all the porn which is sexulising/influencing them”.

    Here’s a radical new idea! Let’s let kids keep their innocence again like they used to be able to do! Let’s get all the porn out of the way! *thump – faints*

    I do know that more and more adult men are being de-sensitised to the idea of sex with underage girls. This is the last boundary to be legitimised and it’s happening now.

    Loved the Local Motorist Freeing Tibet bit!

    And as for the younger fems having individual checklists as to what is feminist for them, doesn’t work like that, and this is part of the problem. If we all start having to carry around our individual lists of what feminism means to us, our excuse list as it were, then there is no such thing as feminism anymore.

  47. Daisy P

    ‘relationshits with men’

    That was not a typo….I use it all the time!

    I seem to be hijacking this thread….sorry!

  48. Carolyn

    Well I will too now, thanks to you….

  49. PhysioProf

    ‘relationshits with men’

    That was not a typo….I use it all the time!

    That is a good one!

    Comrade PhysioProf

  50. Hedgepig

    I don’t think anyone thought you were putting down any female attributes, Daisy P.

  51. thebewilderness

    I think the 13 year old stud story falls into the category of the UK annual celebration of the nations youngest dad.

  52. Donna

    Ric is not just a misogynist, he’s a fricking racist and elitist piece of pig poop too. Perhaps it’s never dawned on his pornulated peabrain that there already exist feminist organizations in places like Saudi Arabia and that it may just be that Western feminists feel its more prudent to assist their efforts in the way they request us to rather than barging in and saving them.

    This “you feminists don’t care about the women in X country!” is a bullshit MRA tactic that rose to prominence (at least in my memory) during the first Gulf War and then had a resurgence shortly after 9/11. It enables white doodz to advocate blowing up brown people Over There under the auspices of liberating oppressed women, while advocating keeping their boots firmly planted on women’s necks here.

  53. jezebella

    Jonathan, I was being sarcastic about NPR. I don’t need anyone to tell me that the left can be anti-feminist.

  54. Twisty

    “This “you feminists don’t care about the women in X country!” is a bullshit MRA tactic that rose to prominence (at least in my memory) during the first Gulf War and then had a resurgence shortly after 9/11. It enables white doodz to advocate blowing up brown people Over There under the auspices of liberating oppressed women, while advocating keeping their boots firmly planted on women’s necks here”

    Nice blaming, Donna.

  55. zooeyibz

    Because here’s the thing: being pretty and delicate and fuckable and quiet gets you cookies from the patriarchy’s instruments: patriarchy-aligned men and women. It gets you their affection, it trades empowerfulment for the desperate struggle for real power. It’s tempting to someone who doesn’t see the whole picture.

    So very true. I see so many of my friends, myself on occasion, getting sucked into this; lured into a false sense of security by compliments (I’m a total sucker for that “I really admire your intelligence” line). I try to keep Gloria Steinem’s words in mind: “Power can be taken, but not given. The process of the taking is empowerment in itself.”

  56. Laurie

    Heh. I see Ric James has a whiny post up about how the blametariat just doesn’t like him because he is a man.

  57. Jezebella

    Nice comment on his blog, Laurie. You pretty much covered it, I had nothing to add. That guy is tediously verbose, eh?

  58. Jezebella

    Also, I never bought one of those “this is what a feminist looks like” because I am fat, somewhat hairy, short-haired, unpainted, and 40ish. I figure I fit the stereotype, and the whole point of that shirt is that the wearer doesn’t fit the stereotype. Which kind of hurts my fee-fees a little bit, that all these people are running around in shirts that essentially say “I don’t look like YOU, you big fat hairy feminist!” to me. And everybody else that isn’t a hawt feminist.

  59. orlando

    I swear I’m not a paid-up advocate of the ‘TIWAFLL’ campaign (I’ve never even got around to buying the T-shirt myself, although I meant to), but I really think the concept deserves credit for better motives than you suspect it of, Jezebella. I think their point is to show what a variety of people fit the word, as well as to make a very public counter-statement to the “I’m not a feminist but” line, and the MSM’s common insistance that feminism is dead and no one calls themselves that anymore.

  60. Jezebella

    I didn’t mean to say that those were the motives of the shirt-wearers, not at all. Rather, that is my response to those shirts.

  61. Eliza

    Daisy, P., I love you. Great post on the looks strategy. Women (especially younger ones, though not exclusively)flee the feminist label because they don’t want to be associated with undesirability. It’s the perfect patriarchal trap. The foundation of female competition as well.

    Ruth Rosen articulates the media’s role in lashing back at feminism since the very beginning in “The World Split Open,” and it’s always interesting and tiring to see the same tactics employed 40 years on. I read these comments to keep from complete despair.

  62. Ron Sullivan

    Ric, honey, it’s your turn to go fix the Saudis. Didn’t you get your copy of The Agenda?

    The Tshirt I’m thinking of would have something like “This Is How A Feminist Looks At You” on it. And, y’know, I’d be looking.

  63. Daisy P

    @ Eliza

    Shucks thanks!

    I was thinking after re-reading that post that, since I was very young, I have “taken things in”. Back when I was a small girl, there was not the surround-sound (wallpaper some like to call it), of manifestations, visual representations of what men have in their brains about women.

    There was still the “pretty = good” thing, but this was not reinforced by such extreme images that are all around today. I can’t imagine what it must be like.

    I would still catch glimpses here and there of “girlie” peek–boo calenders on the wall when my Mom had to take the car to the mechanics, for example, or sometimes I’d get a naughty glimpse of so-called “detective story” mag covers on the mag racks, with a pic of a woman, half-dressed of course. Later, when babysitting for local people, I would find dirty books, and the inevitable P-boys, some not even hidden, bizarre if you know you will be having a young teenage girl over, and leaving them out.

    But I and I’m sure many other girls, not only internalised the non-verbal messages and took them to heart, I can only speak for myself and say that I also internalised my cognisance, not even formulated in words at that time, that the pressure was there, and to not conform was, although not against any law, very much still enforced.

    I internalised the fact that it was oppression, that it made me feel shitty, made me feel I had to measure up to this impossible rule, and the struggle between not doing it, and doing it, has been life-long.

    I don’t know, I get frustrated because I always think there is a better more clever way to say things, but I hope what I say rings some bells for any young and not so young females out there.

  64. scarlettscion

    Oh for heaven’s sakes. If you had bothered to READ my blog a little more closely, you would have seen that I was responding to what this bizarre conception of the word “feminist” is. I have always told people I am a feminist, the reactions I get (as I described in my post) annoy/bewilder/etc me. I NEVER said that I thought feminists did, said, wore, or WERE any of those things.

    I’m glad I’m pro-patriarchy, though, I didn’t know! It definitely was NOT one of my more philosophically inspiring posts, no…it was meant to relate an amusing incident at a dinner.

  65. scarlettscion

    I would also defend my assertion that we ALL play roles in the patriarchy (duh). Women oppress women just as men do, if not often more so. No one is exempt from the system (again, duh).

    No, that is NOT some sort of BS blame the victim argument. A woman who is sexually assaulted by a man is not then culpable for “participating in the system,” blah blah blah. I think we’ve all taken Gender Studies 101 and read our Foucault.

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