Feb 24 2009

Hugs, Twisty: only YOU can prevent assimilation

Today’s Hugs, Twisty asks the tone-deaf question “how do you fight the power?”

Dear Twisty,

I would like to refer you this ghastly t-shirt (appropriately classified as “funny” on this yahoo shop site), my knowledge of which is sadly not theoretical or internet-based. No, it was actually worn by a male acquaintance of mine at a pub I was recently enjoying a beer at

Being blissfully short-sighted, I did not manage to decipher the words on his t-shirt from where I was seated, but my friend did. She leapt to inform him that his t-shirt was disgusting, that he ought to be ashamed of himself, and instructed him to either turn it inside out or leave the pub.

Of course, he laughed, play-acted that he was adoring the attention she was pouring on him, then used his advantage of size and privilege to completely dismiss her once he’d had enough. Charmingly, he also managed to loudly and to other mutual acquaintances refer to the two of us as ‘ugly lesbians*’ who had a problem with his t-shirt. It was a trifecta of misogynist, privileged arseholitude, right there: Wear a t-shirt that constitutes an active threat of physical violence, bask in the attention you receive for wearing it, and then call the women who have a problem with it ugly lesbians. Do all of this while surrounded by trendy ‘progressive’ hipster fuckwits who will cheer you on for being so ‘daring’ and ‘transgressive’, and who will verbally agree with you about those silly ugly lesbians who have a problem with your absolutely hilarious t-shirt.

I am curious to know if you, or the Blametariat, have any tips whatsoever on responding to situations like this- is there anything at all that can be done that doesn’t play directly into the ‘transgressive hipster douchebag hero, getting up those feminazis!’ narrative? I am more than happy to consider world revolution and the overturning of the patriarchy as solutions, but it would also be nice to hear of immediate strategies. Ones that allow me to drink beer in peace with my eyeballs unmolested by rape & murder threats, without having to first establish an entirely new world order within which to do it. Because I’m fairly sure I will want to drink beer between this moment and the one where the revolution comes.

Hugs, Slashy

*We are, in fact, lesbians. His powers of observation were not deceiving him. I believe he was meaning to be insulting, though.

Dear Slashy,

I admire your dedication to beer.

Let’s imagine for a moment that you are like most Western women, and have been assured that you are entitled to certain human rights under the law. Let us further imagine that — although, sure, you’re aware that women do more housework than men, and get paid less, and are less likely to hold public office, and stuff like that — you have more or less believed that you’ve got it pretty good compared to women living under other regimes. Let us then imagine your surprise when, one fine day, you discover that it is all a lie. The misogyny you have been hearing so much about has actual, personal consequences right there in the local pub. Your humanity has been called into question right in front of you, and everybody thinks it’s hilarious.

Your outrage proceeds from the intolerable disenfranchisement forced on you by involuntary membership in a subjugated class.

You ask, essentially, for strategies to get patriarchy out of your face until it is made to really go away.

I regret to say that, due to the all-encompassing and self-propagating properties of patriarchy, what you ask is not possible. I might go so far as to say it’s not even desirable. I might go that far on accounta the big problem with patriarchy is that it is already functionally invisible, and it is this invisibility that is women’s worst enemy.

Often, late at night, I am plagued with the creeping suspicion that even women who identify as feminists (I don’t mean you personally, Slashy; I have now branched out into the twilight zone of spinster auntly theorizing) have a lethally inadequate understanding of the enormity of patriarchal oppression.

It might help to view patriarchy, not just as some abstract concept that Internet feminists blog about when they aren’t out shopping for flat shoes, but as an occupying force. Think, for a moment, about, oh I don’t know, Gaza.

Palestinians are human beings, and should be able to flit about the Gaza countryside without anybody shooting at them. Likewise, you are a human being, and should be able to drink a beer in a room where nobody is sporting the raiment of a death-rape cultist. But in no wise does being human ensure that conquering forces will perceive that humanity, or consider it sufficient deterrent to violent actions that keep you under their thumb. I aver that in an occupied territory where no organized resistance exists, individual public expressions of personal sovereignty are doomed to failure. This is because members of the occupying forces, their sympathizers, and the collaborators who survive by aligning their behavior with the occupiers’ beliefs and appetites, vastly outnumber the resistance.

In the case of women vs patriarchy, there is no resistance. There are a few professional feminists, a few “Save Roe!” campaigns, a few sexual harrassment suits, a few spinster aunts, but these are a drop in the ocean compared to the overwhelming popularity of the dominant culture. The megatheocorporatocracy has pulled off the most cunning instance of divide-and-conquer in the history of the world. They’ve got it all set it up so that women are trapped by economic necessity and/ or social convention in isolated nuclear families to which their self-sacrificing loyalty is ensured through a lifetime of indoctrination. Women who elude capture in that manner are taken into custody by consumer rape culture; the occupying forces keep them at heel by using them as receptacles and rewarding them for internalizing such messages as “I need big boobs to feel good about myself.” The interests of both groups of women are thereby aligned with those of the dominant culture, which contingency not only ensures the patriarchy’s continued self-replication, but discourages women — whom the system pits against each other — from fomenting civil disobedience, let alone riots and insurrections.

What I’m getting at is this: absent an established, organized resistance which can never congeal until women get hip to the truth about patriarchy, no stopgap measure, no letter to the editor, no appeal to the management, no snappy comeback to “dead women can’t say no” can possibly effect the outcome you seek. The occupying forces have neutralized your personal sovereignty. You have no right to object to behavior that is consistent with the global accords governing fair use of women.

The truth about patriarchy is this: insurrection will require, as its first step, copping to the one thing that no woman with either a family or a Nigel or a successful career as a hottie or an empowerful-grrl investment in the patriarchal canon can bear to admit: that men hate them.

Unless … you say that this sterling specimen is an acquaintance? I’d put a maggoty dead rat in a gift box and leave it on his doorstep.

It’s cheerful posts like this that make I Blame the Patriarchy the Number One Blog in the universe.



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  1. Shae

    A snappy comeback is nonetheless satisfying and can provide momentary relief, especially if it causes the crowd to turn its laughter at the oppressor.

  2. CLD

    Maybe a corresponding rad-fem t-shirt which blasts: “Dead boys don’t get boners”

  3. Deschant

    (De-lurking here). There is (or was) a feminist blog called Dead men don’t rape. I’m wondering if it would be a good idea to manufacture some t-shirts with these words on to shut some of those idiots up. I’m usually not for adopting this kind of behavior, but sometimes a feminist has to do what she has to do.

  4. Enid

    Perhaps….maybe not.

    But maaay-be….well, it’s worth a laugh: “guilt and/or shame.” Quo-TATEd because well we never know how much of these sensations are available to the prongsters.

    Approach the acquaintance, and instead of “Take off the death-pledge, asshat” say “My sister was raped after she was killed. It was really funny for her and me and my family, freaking hilarious. The guy that did it was reported to have a penis of record-breaking smallness. And you’re right. She didn’t say no, once she was dead.”

  5. iiii

    She might try complimenting him on his stalwart support of the dominant paradigm. Hipster dudes hate that.

  6. Apostate

    Twisty, I love you.

    I think that even our small efforts – such as our unapologetically feminist blogs – are an instance of fighting the power. At the end of the day, it is important to resist and not to be complicit in your own life and actions, even if you aren’t successful in overthrowing the patriarchy and the megatheocorporatocracy.

    Good for Slashy’s friend that she publicly and vocally dared to confront and object to an instance of the rape culture. That, right there, is fighting the power. I bet someone in that room, while too cowed to offer support at the time, thought about it later and decided she (and if we’re feeling optimistic, maybe even “he”) really didn’t approve of such speech in her vicinity and maybe she will object next time she is given an opportunity.

  7. PhysioProf

    Most dudes–especially those who would wear a t-shirt like that–hate nothing more than to be laughed at. Just sayin’.

    Comrade PhysioProf

  8. feral

    When I encounter my daily offensive manifestations of patriarchy, my conditioned response is to ask if this person’s comments/actions are conscious or deliberate. I can drive myself crazy battling in my head the possibility that this comment could be due largely to ignorance/lack of empathy and does not necessarily constitute a blatant attempt of exercising control over me. Every single conversation I’ve ever had with a man uneducated in feminist theory (and even with many who are) has led me to believe the latter: they do not care to learn empathy, to relinquish power, and will hurt/offend/oppress women in order to keep that power. Instead of pandering to those who choose ignorance, of listening to how he thinks and feels “as a man,” (as if I haven’t learned how men think and feel my entire life) I now try to remind myself of all of the deliberate, consciously motivated, cruel acts of misogyny that I and the women I know have survived. I think about those who do not survive.

    I’ve never had success with snappy comebacks; a crowd of like-minded men or even women would most likely paint you as the crazy, deluded feminist who can’t take a good, old-fashioned rape joke.

    I would seriously contemplate chucking menstrual blood on that T-shirt.

  9. Pinko Punko

    The dead rat lobby is going to j’accuse all over this. I feel like I might have beered his t-shirt.

    In this case, wearing that t-shirt suggests the wearer is already broken, so mocking disdain has got to be the path. You can’t ask someone like that to figure it out on the spot. I guess you need to treat them like their actions seem to desire.

    F-ing terrible. Blech.

  10. Notorious Ph.D.

    I’m three inches from weeping. Mostly at my own ignorance and impotence.

    Fuck. I *like* many men. I wish that most of them didn’t hate me.

  11. DanetteB

    I was reading through the posts the other day and spent some time considering the issue of patriarchy once again (Not that I ever dropped it but it exists at a different level at different times in my head. I began realizing how it had devastated my life when I read “Dance of the Dissident Daughter” by Sue Monk Kidd a few years back). I continued on with my deliberation– thinking about my own life and some of the women I know– considering some of the advice I have received from women about parenting- (especially post-divorce) and it suddenly occurred to me that as a species we are simply too damaged to revolt- as you suggest. And in so many cases we do not have the strength to even think of ourselves differently, let alone make others think of us differently.

    I am a librarian at a middle school (and I 100% agree with you- the schools are concentration camps!) and I watch the girls, help them find books, watch how they function in the world and I am astounded, simply astounded, that they are actually worse than the girls I grew up around in the sixties and seventies. (I will qualify my statement with the note that I work in a largely hispanic community– but even among the white girls this is true!) The most popular books going for girls are those rancid “twilight” series book and many of the popular books The nuddy pants series, the Gossip girls, etc. (I could make myself sick naming them all and what we read really says a LOT about who we are and what we think about and what we enjoy) All this crap– the junk the girls read is indicative of the mindset these girls have. Our children in general are going the wrong direction but OH MY GOD! the girls.

    I might add that a huge problem with an issue like the ongoing propagation of the patriarchy, in my humble opinion, is the connection it has to a wider issue – that of the rape and pillage of the common wealth (that means ALL OF US!)on the part of the wealthy. This might seem disjointed to some, but it’s easier to rob people when the little people are fretting over the cartoon monkey in the New York Post. And it’s easier to rape them when they are obsessed with the guy at the bar (not to diminish how your penpal felt when so marginalized- but the culture that produces the insulting t-shirt is the bigger problem. I doubt if he had it designed personally.) We won’t change things concerning the patriarchy when the power and the money is with a VERY small group of male (or male-ish- which is what I call women who wind up in that tiny subset of our wealthiest individuals and make a lot of money from bowing to the patriarchy) group of people in this country. They have us singing “I got no strings” all the while they are pulling at the strings. And while we’re bickering or going nuts over words like “concentration camps” or the afore mentioned cartoons they are laughing all the way to the bank!

    And to top the hot chocolate off with a generous helping of whipped cream, pop culture does not real allow for depth or real awareness. If sex sells, we’re going to sell it. If religion sells, we’ll make the prices reasonable. And as long as we’re selling (and teaching) pablum, then we will produce children who will continue to produce pablum. To have a truly more egalitarian, nonsexist culture, a woman friendly world, we would need real change. The kind of change we don’t really seem interested in making. We are really only interested in making money.

    But then what do I know…

  12. TA

    “Necrophilia, huh? I bet the laydeeez love it!”

    Because what’s the counter to that? “No, you don’t get it because it’s about raping and murdering chicks!”

    You said it, dude.

  13. rootlesscosmo

    One form of resistance, which has a fairly close analogue in the Occupied Territories, is the one-case-at-a-time struggle in the family (or divorce–yeah, interesting usage) courts. At least one radfem lawyer I know models her work on that of Felicia Langer, who spent much of her career litigating individual land suits brought by dispossessed Palestinians. It isn’t the Twistolution, and Langer’s practice hasn’t ended the occupation; these kinds of work may not even bring the day of liberation nearer. But family court is where state-enforced patriarchal power directly affects a lot of women, and a handful of lawyers are defending them from an explicitly radfem point of view. Mostly, like Langer, they lose, or at best lose less badly than if someone else were in the case; Twisty’s right:

    absent an established, organized resistance which can never congeal until women get hip to the truth about patriarchy, no stopgap measure, no letter to the editor, no appeal to the management, no snappy comeback to “dead women can’t say no” can possibly effect the outcome you seek.

    But the outcomes for some women can be made less destructive than they might otherwise be, and in light of the remoteness of the Twistolution, that’s a good thing.

  14. Fanny

    I agree with PhysioProf. I once heard that the thing men fear most about women is that we will laugh at them, while the thing women fear most about men is that they will kill us. We could probably argue all day long about whether or not murder is our worst fear, but the simple juxtaposition of the male fear (which I agree to be true) is really striking. It says a lot about the world we live in and maybe even sheds light on how to best undermine the P.

  15. slythwolf

    Maybe a corresponding rad-fem t-shirt which blasts: “Dead boys don’t get boners”

    Or a request that the DJ (if your bar has a DJ) play the 7 Year Bitch song “Dead Men Don’t Rape”.

  16. Nolabelfits

    Because what’s the counter to that? “No, you don’t get it because it’s about raping and murdering chicks!”

    Actually its the other way around with the statement on this t-shirt. Murdering then raping.

  17. DanetteB

    And by the way– it has taken me a lifetime to understand that my father (whom I adored) hated that I was a female– hated me. And for me, understanding that did finally awaken me to the intensity of the injury that has been done.

  18. Fanny

    I did email the distributor to voice my objections to the shirt. It might not do any good but I have had surprisingly pleasant experiences notifying the powers that be (not that info@blahblah.com is the top of this pyramid), so why not? For example, has anyone ever noticed that the nytimes publishes articles referencing playboy often provide the hyperlink to the playboy website? I always email the writer to let them know because it is actually the IT people who do this without the writer’s knowledge. The writers I have emailed were always appreciative and had the hyperlink removed since they know it reflects [poorly] on them.

    Shirt distributor: info@buzzymultimedia.com

  19. VibratingLiz

    In situations like that, I tend to act wide-eyed naive and sincere and confused. “Wait. I don’t get it. So your shirt is saying you can only date dead women because you’re so unattractive the live ones won’t go out with you? That’s so sad! Isn’t there anything you could DO about it, like maybe take more frequent showers or start using mouthwash or something?” etc.

    Everyone knows that the surest way to make a “joke” stop being funny is to have to explain it to somebody who’s not getting it. If he explained it to me, I’d just suddenly look bored, shrug, and say something like, “Oh. Well that’s pretty pathetic.” Then walk away dismissively. Bored, not interested. I wouldn’t let it get a rise out of me or have any power over me.

    Then I’d go home and lock the door and spend the rest of my life curled up in fetal position under the bed checking IBTP every 5 minutes. Some days I just hate everybody and everything, except the T&B here.

  20. gerda

    i do get the point twisty, but sometimes, us isolated suicide bomber types just cant help ourselves. humor is definitely the best weapon, the snappy one liner mentioned above is great if you can think of one, and i also enjoy the tortuous feminist deconstruction of the joke, repeated ‘but i dont understand’ for each part until they want to hit you (if they do its double points).

  21. Moo

    My moles in the patriarchy have informed me that men do indeed fear the mocking laughter of women, especially in reference to their penises. It doesn’t even have to be clever or logical for it to sting, particularly if the surrounding men join in.

    Here’s a possibility: “Wow, I guess your penis is so small that the only way you could get laid is if they’re dead!.”

    I’ve actually seen this kind of thing in action, and it is really surprising how upset men will got over such a stupid remark. It is also surprising how funny other men will think this is. I would suggest delivering the zinger, letting it sink in a moment, then leaving before he can gather his wits to get aggressive.

    It won’t cause him to change his behavior right then and there, but I”m pretty sure it will make him think twice before you wears that shirt again. It might also set a message to everybody that this kind of offensive “self expression” is something to laugh at, not with. Well, I’m a hopeful kind of person.

    In my experience indignant outrage rarely works, since you will just be dismissed as being hysterical, “bitchy”, emotional, etc…

    Another route to take is the Mommy authority figure position. What I mean by this is using a disappointed and disapproving tone, but not really upset or surprised. You know, chide them “more in sorrow than in anger.”

    Anyway, what I have learned is that as a women I can never get angry, outraged, or anything that can be perceived as upset and out of control. On the other hand, if I can stay very calm, then stern chiding, mockery, and, of course, inescapable logic can actually be effective, at least some of the time.

  22. Amalthea

    @ slythwolf

    Thank you so much for inadvertently introducing me to 7 Year Bitch. I think I am in love!

  23. Popes

    While I wouldn’t have told him to turn it inside out, I don’t know that I would have “laughed at him,” either. I don’t laugh off stuff of that ilk, though I do keep my voice completely cool while I break out some heavy sarcasm. The gist is the same: it’s disdain, which is what the others were getting at with the suggestions to laugh at him, I think. For me, it would have gone something like this: (insert appropriate satirical tone and pacing to get the full benefit)

    “What does that say? Wow. Advocating the murder and rape of women. On a t-shirt, no less. How very…cutting edge of you. Abuse of women. I don’t think that’s never been done before. At least, not an a cheap t-shirt probably made in a sweatshop somewhere in Asia. Nicely done.” (Perhaps adding, cooly, “I do think that may be a whole new level of fuckwittery.”)

    I really hate the PC blowback, wherein some people seem convinced that it’s transgressive and novel to spout crap like this because it pushes people’s boundaries and buttons. I deal with this a lot, and the response from my (hipster, so transgressive) male acquaintances is to tell me that my views of women and oppression aren’t the norm, even among women.

    Thereby suggesting, of course, that my views are wrong.

    The most successful way I have found to navigate these social situations is to 1) avoid these cretins whenever possible and 2) deliver any critique in an ice-cool, very collected tone of voice. Otherwise I’m obviously a victim of an unmoored uterus and a perfect target for continued baiting and harrassment.

  24. Hedgepig

    Imagine the outrage if the shirt had said “Dead fags don’t whatever”? or “Dead Jews don’t whatever”? THAT would be considered hate speech. Girls? Get a sense of humour!

    Just out of interest Slashy, are you in Australia?

  25. Jenn

    My suggestion is that you “sink” to their level. Obviously, the concept that proclamations of approval of rape in a public place are not approval is totally over their head. I suggest that you just walk up to them, laugh, and inform them (and everyone around them) that their shirt is trite, dull, and overdone. Ask if he thinks that he’s being subversive or original. Make him defend his answers.

    He’ll assuredly make a comeback about the inferiority of your gender or supposed sexuality, but it will look weak and trite as his shirt to the people around him. That’s honestly what you want to do: humiliate him. As he has made you, a law-abiding decent human being, uncomfortable in a public place to be sporting an entirely legal vagina, you ought to make him feel humiliated to sport such a stupid shirt.

    I haven’t figured out how to shame them without tacitly encouraging the culture of domination with insults and public shame, but I figure that making a loser look like a loser and regaining a bit of power at his expense is far better than hipster losers thinking that they are at all subversive or original.

  26. Sarah

    Did you also notice that there’s a product review on the linked page for the shirt? It says something to the effect of, ‘the reviewer wore the shirt when breaking up with his girlfriend and when he met his new girlfriend (??), and that she doesn’t say ‘no’ either.’ Stomach-turning.

  27. Eurosabra

    One of the problems with Gaza is that it’s so anarchic that abuse of power comes down to “man with a gun”, generally with state power or militia power behind him, varying only in the size of the gun and the hierarchy and the expansiveness of the ideology. Creative grassroots demonstrations of steadfastness have taken the form of harvesting crops under fire or bombardment of the opposing land with compressed-air-launched vegetables.

    Also telling that the shirt involved implicit murder/rape threat rather than the snarky sex-pos “Orgasm Donor” (which doesn’t imply anything about gender or orientation necessarily, but might leave partner’s agency iffy) or “Sex Wanted, Enquire Within” or even “Ask Me About Enthusiastic Consent” or other sex-pos hipster-of-the-moment memes. As in Gaza, terror is the goal.

  28. thebewilderness

    I know I’m out of step on this issue. It may be because I am so old.
    I would be inclined to ask necrophiliac dood if this is a new requirement of the sex offender laws.

    I used to detest writing on the outside of clothing. These days I am grateful to the rapists and potential rapists for labeling themselves as such.
    The appropriate response might be to than them for the warning, or possibly to pick up anything that could serve as a weapon should they come too near. Back in the day, when I went to the neighborhood bar, I always kept a pool cue in hand, because you couldn’t tell the asshats without a program. Now I guess they have made it a bit easier to ID them.

  29. perintegerhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Perinteger

    While it’s a hollow pleasure, there IS a product review section on that page.

  30. thebewilderness

    Criminy, that should be thank them. Spell check has failed me.

  31. Lovepug

    I’ve always wondered – and I really have formed no clear opinion on this – if it is either effective or radical to use tools of the patriarchy to fight the patriarchy.

    My dad used to say that the only way to beat someone was to beat them at their own game. While I was never sure exactly how he applied that to his own life, I am sure that I would feel a deep sense of satisfaction had I been at that pub and paid another member of the oppressor class twenty bucks to beat the crap out of the shithead with the t-shirt.

    I abhor violence, and I wish it weren’t sometimes so deeply satisfying.

    Yeah, and hat tip to slythwolf for the song suggestion.

  32. sarahcl

    I once saw a man wearing a “two girls one cup ski team” t-shirt (if you don’t know the reference, I strongly suggest that you DON’T look it up). I wanted to punch him in the stomach as I walked past him, but I didn’t.

  33. jezebella

    Just last week I used my temporary authority as a professor to force a student to invert his homemade t-shirt sporting crude sexual innuendo. It was really, REALLY satisfying.

  34. Claire

    This goes in the ‘Best Post Ever’ pile, for sure. Fucking awesome Twisty!

    I heartily concur with the wide-eyed naivete suggestion. Nothing kills a rape joke (or any other offensive joke/gesture) faster.

    It would’ve been extremely difficult not to kill the motherfucker with a busted beer mug/burst into uncontrollable tears/both, though.

    With all the evidence out there to support the conclusion, I am continuously shocked beyond measure that there are both people who cannot see that men hate women, and/or cannot understand why women fear/hate men. Seriously, it’s like a sky-sized industrial halogen lightbulb being shined directly into our forcibly-opened eyes. It’s the view.

  35. felicity

    Twisty I love you. You’ve summed up it all.

    Twisty hear my solution! Women need to know men hate them. You have hit the nail on its head better here than any feminist i’ve ever read or heard. But it is this refusal to accept men’s hatred why patriarchy is so fearsome.

    I’ve asked:

    Why do you defend men? Why doesn’t feminism appeal?

    – Men like me!

    Men like youth, and hate women all the more for having this short- lived power. Except surely you’ve heard the adage ‘shelf life of milk’. Youth can’t be all you have to offer.

    – I have a loving partner who has never slept with a prostitute. I’m also doing a business degree, youth isn’t all i have going for me.

    Because women do so well in business world!
    What can you do to make sure your husband doesn’t leave you for a hot new thing?

    … Then her face turned down. Instead of this lively ‘I’m one of the boys’ look, ‘she’s so against feminism’… her face dropped. A realisation she’s actually one of us.

    It’s this realisation which quieted her, more than anything. Women don’t realise men hate them, they associate more with neutral and (delude?) themselves life will be fine, they just have to get through it. The amount of girls at university who think feminism is repulsive! A year or so from competing in a job market where the same drive that gets women their degrees can only get them making the coffee, and clealy their bitterness is directed at the wrong people. We all have a drive, as evolved animals we strive to compete. In the patriarchy we’re fooled into watching men have a play in a world while our message is to be happy doing nothing. Men laugh at our lives of stagnation.

    So women can relax into marriage if a drive to compete will be laughed at…. Until their husband leaves them.

    There’s no way out. You can’t marry, compete in a male world, youth lasts for seconds. The solution – i’m sure – is destroying the fairytale patriarchy has given women to make so many think it’s not so bad. Men don’t realise all this hatred; (leaglising prostitution arguments, porn, rape culture) goes towards destroying the fairytale given to women to placate them.

    Why is it so necessary for marriage? What do men get out of it or is it part of the fairytale to smooth women into being divided? A completely crucial anchor of patriarchy we know is marriage tying one man down with a woman for the rest of his life. The church advocates it – why do women need to be held down by men for their lives?

    Marriage is one thing we need to see deteriorate. Ages where women had no rights at all, were ages where marriage was most important. Harbouring this fairytale of long- lasting love for women, and not the hatred behind it. Funny how men ‘getting all they can’ is never what P has striven to achieve; each man has to limit himself to a woman… and why?

    Getting through life for a woman isn’t enough. Sexists will knock her brick by brick. That ‘rape’ shirt was intended to be shown to the most demure of females, the ones who only aspire to cope; as well as we who might have something to say. See women in the background still do something to make men unhappy, why we can’t just ‘blend’ in a pub.

    It won’t be about blending when men hate you. This is the horror of a woman’s life, it’s coping, not blending.

  36. XtinaS


    Everyone knows that the surest way to make a “joke” stop being funny is to have to explain it to somebody who’s not getting it. If he explained it to me, I’d just suddenly look bored, shrug, and say something like, “Oh. Well that’s pretty pathetic.” Then walk away dismissively.

    I entirely agree with this comment.  I’ve done this in the past.  It won’t change the wearer, but it sure pisses ’em off.

  37. bee

    It may have been the venerable Miss Manners, but perhaps not. Someone with paralyzing wit and social grace wrote in praise of what Claire calls is “wide-eyed naivete” in the face of the truly horrifying.

    If I remember correctly, Possibly Miss Manners managed to suggest that in the course of one’s questions one can– should, in fact– manage to embarrass those who deserve it in a way that can’t be missed by Embarrassee or Onlookers.

    But perhaps that’s an advanced manners trick. So thanks, jezabella, for using your power for the good of those of us who don’t have the power or the social graces to do what needs doing.

  38. jackie

    I once heard that the thing men fear most about women is that we will laugh at them, while the thing women fear most about men is that they will kill us.

    I’d not heard this quote before, but it just gave me the shivers. This is the front page of my local paper today. http://www.columbian.com/article/20090224/NEWS02/702259988

  39. MaryK

    This post was incredibly inspiring in its realism. The whole freaking dealio isn’t a figment of our imaginations. As a general rule, men hate women, and I’d bet most don’t consciously know the depths of their misogyny.

  40. yttik

    I like the dead rat idea. I’d also bake him a batch of laxative brownies as a thank you gift for the delightful evening.

    If he has a car, you could attach a bumper sticker without his knowledge that says, “I rape the dead.”

    You could go around a bar and whisper to the women that you work for the health dept and you’re really not supposed to be saying this, but that guy has terrible looking sores he caught from having sex in mortuaries.

    You could run an ad in the paper giving his address as the next meeting location for Necrophiles Anonymous.

    No, there’s really nothing you can do, except dream about a bit of subversive rebellion.

  41. tinfoil hattie

    Then I’d go home and lock the door and spend the rest of my life curled up in fetal position under the bed checking IBTP every 5 minutes. Some days I just hate everybody and everything, except the T&B here.

    That’s already how I spend most of my days.

  42. Digger

    First, at the risk of coming across as a *beer-swilling* ugly- man-hating-lesbian (only 1.5 of which are true, depending on your definition of “swilling”; 2.5 if you define “man-hating” as “really, I’m a person too, yanno”), I’m with Slashy:

    “Because I’m fairly sure I will want to drink beer between this moment and the one where the revolution comes.”

    I was hopeful, I really was, that there would be an Easy Answer about getting through it. Naive? Probably; the personal narrative involves much head-in-sand, hands-over-ears “lalalalala” for the last almost 4 decades, until really very recently. I didn’t want to hear what Twisty had to say, but needed it. Teaspoons, as they say over at shakesville*.

    I will pull up my socks, pay attention, try to call it as I see it, try be a good role model, bail like mad with my teaspoon, and once in a while enjoy a beer, even if it is curled in the fetal position hitting reload at IBTP.** There may not be an organized revolution, but we aren’t in it alone. And that’s going to have to be good enough.

    * http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2004/10/inside-jokes-faqs-wev.html#click23
    ** I will also try to write shorter sentences.

  43. Virginia S. Wood, Psy.D.

    I aver that in an occupied territory where no organized resistance exists, individual public expressions of personal sovereignty are doomed to failure. This is because members of the occupying forces, their sympathizers, and the collaborators who survive by aligning their behavior with the occupiers’ beliefs and appetites, vastly outnumber the resistance.

    Doomed to failure, and quite possibly dangerous. There have been women raped and murdered just for being in bars, never mind for issuing this kind of challenge. My hat’s off to the woman with the courage to confront such an asshat–in a bar, no less! You rock, sistah.

    For myself, I’m going over to post a review on that t-shirt.

  44. Cycles

    It took me a long time to realize that patriarchy views sex as a victory of men over women. Being a bonehead, I had always thought it was a multi-person effort; good sex has two or more enthusiastic participants who riff off each other’s energy and movements. The chemistry is what makes it fun and different from masturbation.

    In the past, I would have thought, huh, dead girls don’t say no, but they also don’t say yes yes YES in orgasmic explosions. They just sit there. If you’re looking for a hole to stick your dick in, you could use anything. Why do you have to resort to a girl-shaped hole that can’t fuck back? What dipshit would want to wear that on a shirt?

    It was a dark day for me when it all started to make sense.

  45. Ayezur

    I am new and can I just complain for a moment about hipster understanding of transgressive? Because I need to point out, what they do is not transgressive. It merely expresses alternate social norms. There’s a long tradition of intellectual rebels in this society and they have their place, but very few of them have been genuinely transgressive. And that shirt, in particular, is not transgressive because it does not defy social norms. It merely expresses openly the rich and flowing vein of sickness and rot that feeds the patriarchy, which is the foundation and cornerstone of society.

    This blog is transgressive. It exposes and criticizes. It refuses to compromise. That t-shirt is not.

    I am glad to get that off my chest.

  46. Mare Island

    Amanda at Pandagon has linked to this post; looks like she’s collecting come-backs.

  47. Carpenter

    I certainly agree with the idea that the waking up and confronting the big picture is the only way to set lasting change in place. However I have 2 small objections. The first is that there must be things to do in the mean time to keep from going absolutely insane. The second is that it might be true that confronting such assholes in audibly in front of other women and men may in fact be small steps needed to start making people wake up to the big picture. Small rebellions may be necessary but not sufficient.

  48. Slashy

    Hedgepig, yes, I am in Australia. Sydney, in fact. We drink beer in pubs here.

  49. nails

    I don’t think it would put a dent in the problem on a serious scale, but there are a lot of responses that can make people feel like assholes when you really cant get them back with humor. I think responses like “My sister died that way” could potentially make decent yet misguided human beings feel like shit, and if they dont most people within ear shot would probably care, or think the shirt guy is a serious jerk for not caring, etc. I do not know why that tactic seems to work so much better than pointing out that its a messed up thing to happen to anyone and that it happens all the time, but it has worked better in my experience to guilt them. My preference probably has something to do with being raised catholic…

  50. Spiders

    I’m also with you, Slashy. I like to sit and drink beer and play a game of pool, and I won’t be kept out of the pub by dude hostility, even though I’m often the target of it. Somehow, the hostility that I know I will certainly face makes it even more important for me to go there.

    @felicity-“Why is it so necessary for marriage? What do men get out of it or is it part of the fairytale to smooth women into being divided?”
    Statistically, men who are married are healthier and better off than men who are not. This is because wife=personal carer. The opposite is true of women, single women live longer and are healthier due to not having played the role of personal carer/domestic/sex slave for years and years.
    They do it for themselves because it benefits them, then they deceive us into thinking they’re doing us a fucking favour by marrying us.
    I notice that wedding culture and suburban heteronormative marital “bliss” are being more heavily promoted through pop culture and entertainment/news media than they were say twenty years ago.

    I disagree with Susan Faludi when she claims that the backlash period is over.

  51. Lindsay

    @Spiders – Susan Faludi thinks the backlash period is over?

    Wow, when I first read her book (last summer, I think) I was struck by how contemporary it all seemed. In my mind, I mentally swapped her 1980’s political and pop-culture references for current ones.

    And, heck, didn’t she just write another book, The Terror Dream, about the backlash functions of the War on Terror and its attendant masculinity fetishization?

  52. dr. fantastic


    So does the (insert oppressor name here) hates you work for other things as well? Do all white people hate people of color? Do all heteros hate lesbians/gays?

    Is “hate” really the issue, or is it institutionalized privilege?

    I’m not a man so I can’t say, but I think that many white people are indifferent to people of color, rather than actively hating them. They just don’t give a crap. But I’m not sure that men as a class are indifferent to women.

    I’ve been wondering this for a while: if gender difference insisted on by patriarchy is different because it is inherent in the family vs. race which oppressors like to pretend is homogeneous in their family?

    Still not sure.

  53. Hattie

    Hmm. Looks like the Twisty moderator thing did not like my last posting. It was so choice. A link to a wonderful rant about how men have to put up with women. Ah well.

  54. Tupe

    @ slythwolf

    I’m getting my Xacto knife and spray paint out RIGHT NOW. Thanks for the catch phrase.

  55. Eliza

    Hattie, my sympathies. I need to find my post or recreate it, since that happened to me too.

  56. Eliza

    Apostate, your reply makes me feel even worse, since if I had a nickel for every “sown seed” of hope that maybe someone else in the room would “get it,” I’d be rich right now. I feel as VibratingLiz does. I’ve been tackling this problem of patriarchy’s snaky invisible power for about 40 years now and it still amazes me that we’ve made almost no progress. And Fanny’s summation, that men fear we will laugh at them and women fear that they will kill us, is patriarchy in a nutshell, still, after all these years.

    Political equalities that we have achieved have been based on classical liberalism’s arguments, that have prevailed when those arguments were marshaled for other purposes, such as abolition and civil rights. They have not addressed patriarchy’s fundamental views of women. So we get the vote and maybe more access to money and reproductive control than we used to have. But the vitriol becomes worse, and more acceptable. And woman-hating is alive and well.

    That, in part, explains my devotion to beer.

    Thanks, Twisty, for a post I can bring to my young onions in Women’s Studies, for both the boys and the girls in class to ponder.

  57. otoc

    I wish there were an archive somewhere of the daily woman-hating that happens in the patriarchy and women’s horrific suffering, the things that are not kept on record anywhere because they are not reported on the news or to police. Obviously that’s a huge task and I know that individual bloggers and commenters do what they can but a centralized effort might make it clearer to people who dismiss this kind of thing as not being reality that it is happening all around them.

  58. TheBellWitch

    Ugh. How again can anyone deny the existence of rape culture?

    This strategy has worked for me lately in those situations where you can’t just BTP (And how sad is it that that’s most of life?):

    Dude: (Makes misogynistic joke/comment)
    Me: (Disgusted stare)

    Which, because dudes NEED your fawning attention, never fails to get a response along the lines of: “Oh my god, you hate me! She hates me!” or “What? You don’t think that was funny?” (Hoping you’ll either giggle and forgive or respond seriously, in which case they’ll call you an ugly, humorless lesbian.)

    Me: No. I just didn’t get it. Can you explain? Slowly?

    I guess the danger here is that they will explain, but in my experience, they just get flustered and embarrassed. And then file the incident away and resolve never to trust that person again. I can’t tell you how many business colleagues/acquaintances are on my list.

  59. WonkyFactory

    Carry a knife. Not even men fuck with drunk girls with knives. And he’d probably be too worried about looking like a pussy to call the cops. Even if you did spend the night in the slammer for slicing up his T-shirt, you’d at least get to feel more human.

  60. not a dudetiful wife

    You know it’s a zen question at this point: who is worse, the tool that wears such a t-shirt or the woman who thinks he’s an adorable rake? That’s a trick question because it’s all about the collective peen culture. You see, it’s more important than a woman’s life that the peen is honored and gets to have the power to say when sex happens and with who. It is unbearable otherwise.

    Not…that women are ever attracted to men who wouldn’t sleep with them….or they get a woodie, ever, that is unsatisfied….

    Unsatisfied women…let me look it up in the Dude dictionary…oh, yeah, I see “ugly dyke” There it is under “u.” See also “bitch.”

    I believe that if that dude is hetero, if he thought no woman would have sex with him after wearing that shirt, he wouldn’t wear it. The same if he wore a shirt with the n-word instead. He wouldn’t wear it, most likely, because not only would he not get laid, he would likely get his ass kicked. We have free speech and for those who are complete tools that will wear such things, I believe that there are only two things that will deter it: women who shun the fellow and not tee-hee and fawn like he’s that Seth actor that I don’t get the attraction…. or a good ass kicking. You have to admit the threat of violence made the n-word unacceptable in many social venues. Too bad, but it does point to the fact that power doesn’t change willingly.

    The world and what is acceptable does change and has changed if we stick together on it. Even if he didn’t step out and take it off, just loudly pointing out the fact he’s a jerk for wearing it makes change. You don’t know who is overhearing it. It may not even have occurred to them that they have an ability to object and that “good women” are not agreeable or “dead.”

  61. PatriarchySlayer

    Twisty, question for you? How do you moderate your discussion on these comments. A few of these peoples are suggesting that you have removed some of their posts. I guess I am curious as to why. I have read what your blog is about, and I understand if these comments aren’t helpful, why put them on there. But isn’t airing out some of these comments the best way to deal with possibly inconsistencies in our thinking, or explain why we agree or disagree with something?

  62. Rebekka

    not a dudetiful wife, that sounds ominously like you’re blaming women for their oppression, rather than BTP.

  63. ChelseaWantsOut

    Blah. That’s just crap. And this (kind of thing) happens so frequently, it’s just INSANE to me that most people can’t see it.
    I’m not sure how I feel about the naivete response, though. It seems a little too much like “Don’t let ’em know you’re smart!” or “Good girls don’t know such things,” or, uh, “Lie back and think of England,” or something.

    Today I was at a WOMEN IN GAMES AND ENTERTAINMENT meeting (for crying out loud), and some dude was there making sexist comments. When we were going around the room making introductions he said he was there because he liked women, broad grin, slow nod, wink wink. Pretty much everything he said was dripping with innuendo. At a meeting of an organization dealing with women’s issues (which he repeatedly referred to as “Women’s Club”). COME ON! Long story short, I called him out on it, all the women in the room backed me up and agreed that his comments were making them uncomfortable, and he said something about having to watch himself to keep from “pissing Chelsea off again.” Which, needless to say, pissed me off again.

  64. TwoBees

    Dr. Fantastic wrote: I’m not a man so I can’t say, but I think that many white people are indifferent to people of color, rather than actively hating them. They just don’t give a crap. But I’m not sure that men as a class are indifferent to women.

    That indifference is hate, usually expressed as “I don’t see you as black, I just see you as Bob or Mary” etc. They pretend not to see something that is part of that persons life. They see the colour, but they deny it for fear of being racist.

    Questioning the wearer from a position of not understanding and asking repeatedly “Why?” sounds good to me. So does a pint mug to the side of his head.

  65. Serene Wright

    I’m sorry. I’d just come back with a shirt that says, “Dead guys are stiffer, longer.”

    That should shut them up.

  66. Spirella Bones

    Serene — is it bad that that cracked me up?
    Rigor Mortis: the new Viagra.

  67. LJ

    I Blame the Patriarchy IS then number one blog… in my universe.

    Also, where do I sign up for a “Dead Men Don’t Rape” shirt?

  68. pyramus

    I agree with PhysioProf. I once heard that the thing men fear most about women is that we will laugh at them, while the thing women fear most about men is that they will kill us.

    Fanny, I read years ago that it was the indispensable Margaret Atwood who said that. Googling something like “margaret atwood men women laugh kill fear OR afraid” will supply you with evidence (if it matters–I like to know these things), and also depress the living hell out of you.

    I don’t know what one could do about a T-shirt like that. (There are hundreds more of a depressingly similar nature at a place called T-Shirt Hell. Probably best not to visit the site if you don’t want further evidence of just how much men hate you, and pretty much everyone who isn’t exactly like them.) Maybe playing faux-naive and saying, “So you mean you can’t get live women to sleep with you, and you have to go to the morgue?”

  69. Tomecat

    All I could think to say when I saw that shirt was:

    “Well I certainly understand why no LIVING woman would want you, but I’m surprised that you’d want to advertise that fact.”

    And yes, IBTP is the absolute best site on the interwebz.

  70. Caro

    Some great rebuttals about a disgusting t/shirt!!

    And I think, considering just how bad it is.. that you are all being very restrained! I would have ripped the horrendous thing off that guy, poured my drink all over it – then made him swallow the damn thing, saying “Now you have a REAL reason to hate women, don’t you”!!

    I have some friends who do not identify as feminists. But however sexist they can be…they would NEVER attempt to assault my senses with trash like this!! Think I will also complain to the site selling them. Please join me.

  71. Caro

    PS: I have just done what I said I would and e-mailed the company: info@buzzymultimedia.com that sell this t/shirt and complained.

    Look at the ‘product reviews’ section on the page..there are many people agreeing with us that it is disgusting (not ALL are – but I would say the majority, hate it).

    If you are going to e-mail the company…I suggest you copy and paste the above contact address to your personal e-mail box. When I tried to use their e-mail facility…I could not find a ‘send’ button!!

  72. gare

    Kudos to Dr. Faster (faster than what though?) for quickly going beyond the symptom to the general malady.. the guy with the shirt (if we may be medical) is like a guy sitting in the emergency room with an ax he buried in his own head). The malady is truly men hate women. This started with Adam.. (genesis, its not just phil collins).. Adam hated Eve.. he got all the blame since he knew better before she did, and did NOTHING! Men hate women because they can give life.. they can communicate better. They’re smarter. They grow up faster (not you Twisty). Well one grew up to be faster. Its possible to hate a group of people you live with. Dr. Faster prescribes conquering the disease, not putting a bandaid on the idiot with the ax. Kudos. Now, if she just took Blue Cross….

  73. slashy

    I’ve really appreciated reading everything everyone has to say about this, most especially Twisty’s brilliant (as usual) treatise.

    In continuing to discuss this with women of my real-world acquaintance, and forwarding them the link to this discussion, I’ve managed to bring some seriously awesome Blametude into my day-to-day conversations. So while no perfect snappy comeback has been discovered that will destroy Patriarchy or even reliably defuse it’s noxious presence at my local pub, I am reminded that when you bother to loudly object to shit like this, you’re speaking up for loads of other women who might not feel that they can/ought to, and sometimes doing that creates the connections between people and ideas that wake us up to the visceral, oppressive truth of the world we live in.

    All of which edges us closer to the revolution, and the day when I will be able to drink my beer, in public, comfortable in the knowledge that everyone around me acknowledges and respects my inherent humanity. I imagine that beer will taste very fine indeed.

  74. Twisty

    feral: “my conditioned response is to ask if this person’s comments/actions are conscious or deliberate. I can drive myself crazy battling in my head the possibility that this comment could be due largely to ignorance/lack of empathy and does not necessarily constitute a blatant attempt of exercising control over me.”

    Two things. One, it doesn’t matter whether the actions are deliberate. Intent is not a free pass.

    Two, but of course they are deliberate. This is the whole point of my post. Misogynist behavior is consistent with the global accords governing fair use of women (I’ve been using that phrase a lot lately. Maybe it’s time for a timesaving blogular acronym. GAGFUW!). In other words: men hate you. Patriarchy hates you. The megatheocorporatocracy hates you. Don’t drive yourself batty trying to calculate someone’s intentions! You already know the answer!

  75. tinfoil hattie

    I agree with PhysioProf. I once heard that the thing men fear most about women is that we will laugh at them, while the thing women fear most about men is that they will kill us.

    Fanny, I read years ago that the indispensable Margaret Atwood who said that.

    It was actually Gavin de Becker in The Gift of Fear.

  76. speedbudget

    After clicking over to the article in the Columbian, I saw this:

    “Fairgrieve said prosecutors believe the act was a forcible rape.”

    The girl was 13. He was 30. Didn’t we talk about this the other day?

  77. Twisty

    PatriarchySlayer: “Twisty, question for you? How do you moderate your discussion on these comments. A few of these peoples are suggesting that you have removed some of their posts. I guess I am curious as to why. I have read what your blog is about, and I understand if these comments aren’t helpful, why put them on there. But isn’t airing out some of these comments the best way to deal with possibly inconsistencies in our thinking, or explain why we agree or disagree with something?”

    I am cut to the quick! Why are you so willing to believe that I have deleted perfectly reasonable comments? I only nuke those without philosophic value, those what are antifeminist, and obvious spam.

    Most disappeared comments reflect a combination of glitches with the World Wide Web, my spamulators (which are robots and do not make value judgements), WordPress software, your web browser, your ISP, and my ISP.

  78. DanetteB

    not a dudetiful wife: I’m with you there. And Rebekka— it’s not that women are to blame for the ongoing assault by patriarchy but when a woman is abused, physically, emotionally, or verbally assaulted, and she keeps coming back for more, then she is participating in her abuse. I don’t think this is controversial– I think we all realize that too many times women allow themselves to be abused. But this is a truth for all of us and it is not until we realize we participate in our abuse that we free ourselves.

    We have to quit living as victims. (Which, honestly, I am still trying to do). My ex-husband was a master manipulator and emotionally abusive- and I didn’t even realize what I was allowing (in great part thanks to my religious upbringing and more specifically the churches hallelujahs for a marriage that lasts– *puke*). He has not changed and I have son that I have to share with him so there is an ongoing relationship (really that’s too strong a word– we don’t communicate beyond making arrangements for meds and pickup/dropoffs). He’s still abusive and there was a moment when the guilt of divorce and the backlash from my children and parents nearly crippled me- but I had a friend who helped me obtain a backbone and am now more aware when he’s up to old tricks and I put a stop to it (generally an email to his lawyer is the most effective tool).

    Also, I will agree that physical violence may have punished a verbal abuser (using the “n” word) and helped to create an atmosphere of fear among brazen caucasians who felt they could disregard other people’s humanity and use terms that were derogatory and hateful– I would suggest however that the cultural atmosphere of the time did more. My ex is black and having sort of operated in both worlds, the atmosphere of racism is much stronger in people of color than among white people. This may not be popular, but there it is. I never met a more racist individual than my (thankfully!) EX-father-in-law. And having bi-racial children, I am more concerned about the victim mentality among the African american community and how it encourages them to operate as victims than I am about how oppressed they are by the white people they meet along the way.

    We cannot operate as victims– it has been a devastating and paralyzing atmosphere among the African American community. Sitting around and complaining about “the man” and waiting for somebody else to fix things has not done anything for them except keep them in the cycle– in some cases they are racist among themselves. I will never forget listening to the young black men I went to college with talk about how stupid this one young man was because his skin was darker than theirs. “After all– everybody knows that a darker brother is dumber just naturally.” how offensive that is. The X was often called whitey or an uncle Tom for succeeding in business by his own family. This kind of behavior- this taking on the mantle of the victim– should be avoided at all costs! The lesson of what it reaps should be recognized and when we see it happening– it should be stomped out. Naming a behavior, recognizing an abuse is important but to wait for someone else to rescue you is to keep the shroud of victim on your shoulders. (that’s why I think Twisty is important– she’s a Namer!)

    BTW: I think the innocent “what does that mean?” look/approach is just brilliant. It takes the power out of his hands– he cannot accuse you of being a bitchy, stupid anything. And handling a situation is empowering for the bigger battles of culture– it won’t change the world but it will give us all the strength to fight the real battles.

    “Those who anger you, conquer you” ~Elizabeth Kenny

  79. Popes

    My last post was lost to the Spamulator (probably because I had a lot of links in it), so here’s a repost, minus links.

    I also wrote them. I said:

    I confess, I’m at a loss as to the concept behind this shirt.

    Is it suggesting that men murder “girls” who don’t want to have sex with them, then rape their dead bodies?

    Is it suggesting that dudes having a hard time getting dates start cruising cemeteries, as the bodies there might share the stench and less-than-ideal appearance of the undateable dude?

    Or have I misunderstood completely, and is this shirt besmirching the good names of dead girls by implying that they don’t say no to drugs? If it’s the latter, they’re dead, folks. I doubt a little pot or smack or whatever is really going to matter at this point.

    Just trying to clarify. I’m sure it’s really funny. I just can’t see how.

    For your reading pleasure:

    (link to article on femicides in Juarez)
    (link to the story about the TV exec who beaheaded his wife this month)
    (link to article on rape and muder of women soldiers in the services)
    (link to article about the rape and murder committed by US soldiers abroad)

    Just run a Google search for rape and murder. Read 10 articles that pop up. How can any person with a conscience make such horror the butt of a bad joke on some cheap t-shirt?

    Also, I could be blanking, but I don’t think the “explanation” of the “joke” was up in the description early yesterday. (The WayBack Machine had snapshots archived from 2007 that suggest it wasn’t–does anyone else remember for sure?) Maybe with a few of us writing, they’re now trying to justify it? For that matter, the most recent positive comment (which went up after 2 blamey ones) sounds like a total PR sham comment. I smell a rat.

  80. DanetteB

    I owe an apology: I started a thought and leapt to another without any transition. I said, “Also, I will agree that physical violence may have punished a verbal abuser (using the “n” word) and helped to create an atmosphere of fear among brazen caucasians who felt they could disregard other people’s humanity and use terms that were derogatory and hateful– I would suggest however that the cultural atmosphere of the time did more.” I didn’t mean to end this here– I have a migraine and as a result my brain is jumping around too much. It might be evident in more than that one spot…

    At any rate, while I have the chance I might amend this to “it may have OCCASIONALLY created an atmosphere of fear”– my point here is that there was a cultural shift during the sixties about how we treated African Americans. The consciousness of people was raised. Violence generally begets violence and an attack generally justifies (whoever wrongly- see Israels ongoing assault on the Palestinians) retaliation. When Martin Luther King Jr. united people together to fight back- revealing the abuse and the intense racism in this country- he SHAMED racism into a subordinate position. Today racists -Ku Klux Klan members their ilk- just look extreme and horrible. They no longer have power (although they try to hide who they are and get power).

    As I said yesterday– If we truly want things to change then the little battles are only prep for the bigger ones. We should be watching the political scene (not just the abortion battles) diligently. Voting for real progressive voices- those who really want to change things- not just the person who says the right stuff– is crucial. If someone says they support women’s right to have equal pay but then refuse to see how universal healthcare is also a woman’s issue (and allows a woman to get an abortion without being preached at) then they are after a vote not justice for women. Anyone who doesn’t understand that regulating banks stops them from ripping off undereducated black, white, or hispanic men or women -is no friend to those who have been abused by a corrupt system. Anybody who doesn’t get that the education system has been destroyed and emptied of it’s value- making our children into little production line machinery parts that will one day grow up to work their asses off but not have the ability to think about how they are being used by a few powerful people in order to make them wealthier. And if they aren’t taught critical thinking skills and to question the system, then they won’t question the patriarchal system they are dominated by. Social Justice is justice for all.

  81. rows

    Men hate women because they can give life.. they can communicate better. They’re smarter. They grow up faster (not you Twisty).

    Afraid I must disagree. Gender essentialism is part and parcel of what got us into this whole mess. When you deny that gender is a spectrum, when you allow for two fixed, bounded categories and assign them attributes (even “positive” attributes), and when you draw a definitive line between those attributes and the physical body/given piece of biological whimsy, you are enabling a dominative system.

    Patriarchy loves absolutist dualisms; it relies on those kinds of (totally fraudulent) constructions to perpetuate itself. You can’t oppress without an oppressed class; patriarchy is such a successful oppressive system because, largely thanks to the (fictional) male/female distinction, it has INTERNAL reinforcement. Serene caused a shitstorm the other day when she said that 99% of women want to run back into the arms of their oppressors, and while I think that “why not blame those weak-willed, hysterical women” is exactly the wrong tactic, she did touch upon something really important: women often DO want to be “feminine”/protected/caregivers/objects, etc. In short, they (are made to) want to be women.

    Patriarchy is an ingenious sandtrap. It’s created a bogus category that those assigned to said category not only clamor to participate in, but consider a real and naturally occurring category. That’s why it’s SYSTEMIC. That’s why it’s INSIDIOUS. That’s why it’s existed throughout time; if it were incredibly overt, it would have been overthrown long ago.

    If we want to be liberated, we have to recognize that all woman-assigned attributes a) are inherently harmful, even the benign-seeming ones, b) have no real enduring value other than what patriarchy has assigned them. Mother, life-giver, spouse, daughter, lover, protector, protected–what say we mutate these bullshit categories beyond recognition? If we can dismantle gender, we step in the direction of dismantling patriarchy.

  82. phaedras

    Thank you so much for this post. In so many situations I can slice up people’s idiotic stances with barely any effort and definitely with glee, but I do find that when faced with what I can only understand as publicized sociopathy, I am too saddened to come up with any response. When I see/hear men who proudly and publicly proclaim their misogyny, I think less of us as humans.

    I don’t want to understand what motivates their deportment in the world. I don’t want to humiliate them. I want them to not exist because I am not imaginative enough to understand how we are both human without it completely dismantling any concept of universal humanism I’m able to grasp.

  83. DanetteB

    Nice post rows! In fact, the religious establishment revels in gender essentialism (at least the Christian religious establishment does). They love to go on and on about the wonderful characteristics of women– making a box just fit for them to die in.

    Let’s kill that beast!!!

  84. Jonathan


    “Gender essentialism is part and parcel of what got us into this whole mess. When you deny that gender is a spectrum, when you allow for two fixed, bounded categories and assign them attributes (even “positive” attributes), and when you draw a definitive line between those attributes and the physical body/given piece of biological whimsy, you are enabling a dominative system.”

    Right on. And to echo your comment, I’m going to re-post my Dworkin quote from earlier, as this is a much better context for it:

    “In considering male intellectual and scientific argumentation in conjunction with male history, one is forced to conclude that men as a class are moral cretins. The vital question is: are we to accept their world view of a moral polarity that is biologically fixed, genetically or hormonally or genitally (or whatever organ or secretion or molecular particle they scapegoat next) absolute; or does our own historical experience of social deprivation and injustice teach us that to be free in a just world we will have to destroy the power, the dignity, the efficacy of this one idea above all others?”

    ~Andrea Dworkin. Part III TAKE BACK THE DAY. Biological Superiority: The World’s Most Dangerous and Deadly Idea. 1977.

  85. not a dudetiful wife

    I also disagree that men hate women because women can get pregnant and are able to communicate, etc….

    Actually, that argument sounds like an old episode of Roseanne, where Becky’s husband tried to scam her and get sensitivity points by saying men were jealous of women because they could give birth.

    Here’s my non-phd theory. Men get angry at women about kids, but not because they are jealous of being able to be pregnant. Kids are like property to these men. They could give a shit about becoming pregnant themselves.

    Fundamentally, men are raised to believe that when they are happy, the world turns. They are surrounded generally by adoring female faces when young and when little Timmy is happy, mommy is happy and fulfilled and Timmy is surrounded by adoring female smiling faces at his achievements or just being himself. The attention of men is harder to get, while women are happy Timmy pees himself. A girl child might even get more scolding for being “messy.” Men get the idea this is how the world should be always throughout their lives with every woman. Adoring, smiling female faces. And then you scoop in the general dismissal, second class status that Timmy witnesses in his family towards women and the world and you have yourself perfect built in bias from the crib.

    Mommy denying herself doesn’t help the situation, where she never demands time to herself, her own ambitions, etc. It’s really hard for men to recognize women as having minds of their own and equal citizenship, but it’s not hard to see why when and if their primary mother always denied herself. I know some mothers who will never even watch a single show a week they want to watch on TV at home with their sons or make their sons go with them to do what they want…even for a few hours. I know this smacks of blaming women. I was raised a little differently. But women have GOT to be sure to show themselves to their kids as having a life of their own and preferences and choices of their own. They have even GOT to have their kids share with them their own choices so that the kids learn to be at least politely interested in what the one they love cares about. It’s not going to kill Timmy if mommy wants to go see something for a few hours on vacation that doesn’t totally entertain Timmy…or Daddy. It’s part of the slow process of getting kids to recognize mommy is a person herself too.

    Women are generally able to separate their sexuality from this, and they are generally not surrounded by adoring male faces who are happy when they are happy and rascally. So they don’t get the message that when they are happy, men are happy and smiling at them adoringly. Even in high school, there are no male cheerleaders for women. So much is about building up the “stronger” men. Mommy has great powers and could make him happy if only she cared. Even some younger women in the work place can expect the older women to be “mommy” to their ambitions, until they are surprised that the older women in the work place are not their nurturing mommies or grade school teachers. The expectations that women give up themselves and nuture and deny themselves is soaked in both women and men.

    But the complication is the sex drive. Gee, sometimes I wish I were gay. I don’t mean that to be offensive to lesbians, but truly, sex drive is biological, because I see more women that like women than men that like women.

    At the root of it, no pun intended, is not the power of pregnancy or communication, but the power to say no. The power to say that a man’s erection is not your responsibility. The power to reject sexually. And also to select others. So men have said that women don’t really have a sex drive and only like money and hugs. Or have sex with other men to be “mean” or a bitch. Or that they are sluts or abnormal, unnatural women.

    And that is a big part of the hatred. How unfair. To have an attraction and be turned down. Or to have an ambition and to have a woman get the prize – and not step aside demurely and offer the last cookie on the plate.

    Men grow up and they blame their lack of success on the women in their lives, they blame their lack of full sexual satisfaction on the women in their lives, they blame their movement in business on the women in their lives, they blame their cash situation on the women in their lives. They would be more successful, shinier, happier, if only the woman on their arms would attend to them better. Sometimes they beat their wives to even out the frustration of power.

    Women rarely blame their husbands for their lack of career and social success and when they are sexually unfulfilled, there are any number of magazines to tell them how to lose weight or be more appealing. If only she cared, she wouldn’t let herself go…If only she tried harder, disciplined herself more and tried harder again, Timmy would be happy. Everything is her fault. From the failure of the tribe’s crops to an unhappy husband. Ever notice that when a country goes to the fear and quaking from an unhappy and jealous god that the first thing they do is make laws to restrict their wonton, selfish women? Apparently, even god has women on probation most of the time and women are responsible for god’s mood. Women could make god feel better and happy…if they cared enough. Sound familiar?

  86. thebewilderness

    “We cannot operate as victims– it has been a devastating and paralyzing atmosphere among the African American community. Sitting around and complaining about “the man” and waiting for somebody else to fix things has not done anything for them except keep them in the cycle–”

    Excuse me? Is that what has been going on all these years? Is that what women have been doing all these years?
    No. It is not.
    This is the patriarchy’s argument. If you really wanted to be free, you would be. But all you people do is sit around pissing about how you want us to get our boot off your neck.
    Then, when we take it to the streets, the patriarchy is so shocked that all that pissing and moaning just might have been consciousness raising, and plotting, and planning.

    Sometimes it is just venting and complaining. Naming the abuse as oppression, however, is not what perpetuates the oppression.

  87. DanetteB

    You said: “Sometimes it is just venting and complaining. Naming the abuse as oppression, however, is not what perpetuates the oppression.”

    Ummm– I believe I said something in a previous post about how important it is to NAME oppression and I said that was what I appreciated about Twisty. That is completely different than say, a christian woman (not unlike the woman who works across the hall from me) talking about the patriarchy in the church and complaining that all the leaders are men. Excuse me, you’re involved with, support, condone, a patriarchal institution. LEAVE IT!

    It is not the same as my neighbor who used to come down and tell me about her husband hitting her or cheating on her and then going back home to make his dinner (and not out of fear!)- who finally left him– three times! But then and went back to him –three times! and as far as I know is with him today.

    That is not the same as my daughter- beaten for 30 minutes by her father- mad that he hit her, bitching constantly about his controlling behavior also saying to me he is the only one who understands her and she just wants an apology. (And yes, I have told her over and over again that her father does not love her, that he did not raise and he is using her. but until she’s ready…)

    That is not the same as some who do just sit around complaining and wait for someone else to compensate them and save them.

    So yes, some women do just sit around acting like victims.

  88. phaedras

    Right on thebewilderness! That gender spectrum concept may be academically interesting but is rendered nearly meaningless in many real world scenarios. An effeminate man is still a man and at least in the business world will be listened to over a masculine woman.

  89. yttik

    This is an unequal and oppressive society, so I believe women have to be allowed to say such things as “women are better communicators” without being reminded of the horrors of gender essentialism. Because every quality assigned to women is viewed negatively and as inferior to those qualities assigned to men, you have to make allowances for the women who wish to observe that females might have some characteristics superior to a male’s. That alone challenges the patriarchy.

    Resistance to the patriarchy is still in it’s infancy. It’s much more effective to say, “women are better communicators and should be paid accordingly”, than to say “well, we don’t really want to enforce rigid gender stereotypes by promoting such an idea”.

  90. DanetteB

    And when you point out that the patriarchy says, “If you really wanted to be free, you would be. But all you people do is sit around pissing about how you want us to get our boot off your neck.” you are not really hearing what I am saying– at all. They use that kind of language to justify what they do–

    I am not excusing them!

    What I am saying is the patriarchy aint going to hand us nothing and if we want it we have to get up ourselves and take it. If we aren’t willing to tell some women they have to get off their asses and stop being victims then we’ll never get anywhere. Martin Luther King’s brilliance was getting people united to injustice in spite of differences (just like the ones that we see on this blog).He convinced people who were resigned to their status in life that there was a better way! And when the people stood together- there was change. If they had said, “Oh, you know… it’s kinda scary out there. I don’t think I want to worry about sending my kids to that school or getting a front seat. Who cares? it’s not that important…” Then their struggle- his vision- would have been worthless.

    And in the same vein– the woman who goes out with an asshole that wears a t-shirt like that is ignoring the billboards that say who he is and what he is about (and he should be thanked for warning us all who he is– I agree with you there one hundred percent!). She’ll learn pretty quickly who he is. If she stays- then she is choosing victimization.

  91. Carolyn

    I totally agree that playing the ‘straight’ woman is the best comeback to something that’s supposed to demean or objectify you. I was riding my bike past a bar one day and a guy standing out in front of it with his friend made a jacking-off gesture at me. A red light happened to stop me just at that point, so I got off my bike and walked it over to him with a curious expression like ‘well, let’s have a look’. The leer immediately disappeared from his face, he turned bright red, and he and his friend slunk back into the bar. I thought that was hilarious, but women take a huge risk with this kind of action–I can think of a couple of more recent occasions where I did just smile silently and put up with shit, so as not to either make a scene at a formal event or put myself physically at risk.

    And I want to question the idea that men will stop doing things if they think it lowers their possibility of getting laid. I used to think that, but after observation and consideration it’s my opinion now that men perform heterosexual courting behaviour more for their male audience than for their female audience–they pretend to do stuff that ‘girls like’ to prove to their dude buddies that they’re not gay, rather than to actually attract women. They don’t give a shit what women in general, or any woman they’re attracted to in particular, thinks of them. I could continue with evidence, but I’ll just leave you with one example–think of how embarrassing it is for a man either in real life in front of his friends or in media portrayals (‘don’t be that guy’) to actually do something just because his girlfriend likes it.

  92. Miss Andrist


    The correct answer to that shirt is:

    “Dead girls can’t say yes.”

    And the MILITANT follow-up is:

    “But a rapist would ask what the difference is.”

    Then (if you were me, that is) you might punctuate your point by communicating the presence of your switchblade, and how it is relevent to the conversation.

    For more information, refer to Twisty’s redefinition of consent versus fair use of women.


  93. jael

    That is completely different than say, a christian woman (not unlike the woman who works across the hall from me) talking about the patriarchy in the church and complaining that all the leaders are men. Excuse me, you’re involved with, support, condone, a patriarchal institution. LEAVE IT!

    That is not the same as some who do just sit around complaining and wait for someone else to compensate them and save them.

    So yes, some women do just sit around acting like victims.

    Danette! Danette! You make it sound so simple.

    Just walk away from everything your life has been to this point. Throw away your friends, your family, your support circles. Be reviled by these people. Have your children withheld from you by their father, who tells them you’re in league with the devil.

    It’s so easy! you’re involved with, support, condone, a patriarchal institution. LEAVE IT! however didn’t we all think of it before, if all anyone has to do is walk away? So easy. Women everywhere just need to get their hot to trot socks on and be off! We’ll show that patriarchy!

    (see above: throw in walk away from sex work; walk away from dressing particular ways; walk away from interacting in particular ways; walk away from friendship circles…)

    You know what, it IS a bit like your daughter (that sounds like an awful situation, sending her many good thoughts and hope she sees the light soon) and your neighbor. The patriarchy’s greatest trick was to convince us it didn’t exist. It’s insidious – if you’re raised from birth to believe that girls should just be pretty! or should submit to men! or are going to find maths really really really hard – why be surprised that women pretty themselves, stay in the church and drop math as soon as possible?

    we all (more or less) have a need to be loved; to feel loved – be it by our friends, our community, our asshat fathers and partners. this need to be loved means we’ll often act in ways that are detrimental to us, if we think it’ll get this love: we’ll stay in church; as teenage girls we’ll have boyfriends who we do things for we’re not comfortable with; we’ll return to abusive partners; we’ll wear shoes that hurt our feet.

    All because we think that if we get it right; wear the right clothes, just show our father we love him, just focus on the kids; we’ll get it right and all the bad stuff will disappear.

    Identifying oppression is just the first step. But it’s the next step – what we do about it – that matters. You’re right – that adopting the role of a victim can be hugely damaging; we perpetuate victim behavior if we’re only passive beings, acted upon by more powerful social actors. However – we dont’ get to this point by going Stop Acting Like Victims! Just Leave the Church! Get Over It, Black People! (not that you said all these things.. just verbal license) It’s a process of realization – like the one you allude to with your daughter.

    And part of our job is being part of that process of realization; softly, quietly; in a non-alienating manner – and being there when the lightbulb does go off: hugging your daughter as she weeps and weeps and weeps when she finally gets what her father is; when a women finally walks away from the nightmare that has been her experience of a church. But always – gently, gently, with the victims; with the oppressors, raise hell; with the victims; always remember they’re victims. And focus on helping bring about change; not demanding CHANGE!

  94. Ciccina

    I’m sorry I don’t have time at the moment to read all the comments, so forgive me please if I’m being repetitive.

    But, to be quite frank, I wonder if T-shirt boy would be so keen to wear his favored apparel if he thought doing so would get him bashed over the head with a bottle.

    T-shirt boy, you see, does not appear to have the capacity for human decency. And when you are dealing with someone who has no decency, all the snappy comebacks or meaningful allusions in the world aren’t going to mean jack sh-t. T-shirt boy does not care about you, your feelings, or your rights; nor those of any woman. The only thing T-shirt cares about is himself. That’s what makes it possible for him to wear a t-shirt in public, among strangers, any one of whom might have been raped, or have had a loved one who had been raped and/or murdered, and so on.

    So the next time T-shirt boy wears his T-shirt, make him pay. Seriously. Do what any number of guys would do if they were deeply offended by another man; hit him. But given what I suspect may be a size and weight differential, don’t use your fists. You want to really make sure he feels it.

    Alternately, goad him into taking a swing at you, and then have him arrested.

    Either way, it will make T-shirt boy think twice about his behavior. Because the consequences will affect him, not someone else (whom he didn’t care about to begin with).

    And just think, when your friends tell you what you did was wrong, you can have the added satisfaction of informing them that it was all his fault; he shouldn’t have worn such provocative clothing. With that t-shirt, he was practically asking for it.

  95. Kathleen

    something that makes me suspect that speaking to the boy in question (and kudos that you did, Slashy) actually *does* mean something in the whole scheme of things is how afraid I would be to do so. Like, if I were in a bar, and some guy I knew through friends showed up with that t-shirt on, I’d probably think, oh god, that’s gross, but I don’t want to have a confrontation, plus he’s kind of advertising that he’s a rage monkey, I double don’t want to have a confrontation, I’ll just edge away.

    And you know, at some level that is cowardly. I can’t really comfort myself by saying, well, it doesn’t matter anyway cause the Patriarchy etc., or oh I’m just wisely protecting myself against potential male violence. I think it takes guts to say to the guy — dude, that shirt is disgusting, the same way it takes guts not to let racist comments slide when they are uttered in your presence, etc. Like, of course those little tiny moves don’t make racism or sexism go away. But they at least shift the burden of feeling socially out of step on to the person it belongs with.

    along the lines of telling the guy that by wearing such provocative clothing, he was “asking for it”: I don’t know about the beer bottle over the head plan, but that last line of Ciccina’s comment was hilarious.

  96. norbizness

    Hmmm, apparently The Copper Tank moved down under.

  97. DanetteB

    Jael said: “Just walk away from everything your life has been to this point. Throw away your friends, your family, your support circles. Be reviled by these people. Have your children withheld from you by their father, who tells them you’re in league with the devil.”

    Did you go to my blog and read my postings? How did you know that is what I did?

  98. jael

    Good for you, Danette.

    If everyone were as strong as you, everything would be so easy!

  99. jael

    wait a sec – i may have misunderstood you: I stated the above in reference to your comment at 12.54:

    Excuse me, you’re involved with, support, condone, a patriarchal institution. LEAVE IT!

    not in reference to you.

    Kudos to you that you have done the above. It was my observation that many people find this very hard to do. And in the end – unless we’re separatists, and even if we are, then we’re going to be in collusion with some aspect of the patriarchy (ever buy anything manufactured in factories in china?); crying disengage, while a reasonable response, is not a reasonable action toward those still engaged. we need to show them how to, why to.

  100. DanetteB

    And no Jael- I didn’t think it was easy at all. And I did it (too late apparently) so my daughters wouldn’t accept being treated as a belonging (as I did from my father). But I truly did leave it all behind- fiends, family, church, home and ex (who then told my children I was, essentially, in league with the devil and turned them away from me) My parents no longer speak to me– when they realized they couldn’t control me any longer and that I believed differently than they did (I quit going to church and and admitted that I didn’t believe in the bible like they did, I saw it more metaphorically. I didn’t tell them I was an atheist- course I wasn’t one then), then they decided the silent treatment was the solution. I decided if they were still going to try and control their over 40 yr. old daughter that they didn’t love me they loved owning me. MY friends dumped me (not OUR friends but my best friend –from college) and I lost everything.

    And gained EVERYTHING.

    As far as helping my daughter and others. Yes, it requires some gentle, loving arms at times– but it also requires backing off and allowing people to learn. I do not preach at my daughter nor do I run around criticizing her or calling her a victim. I have tried to empower her at every point and have made that exact offer to her. But I also have to draw a strict line because part of the dynamic with a daughter is they take on the attitudes of the father when they are not willing to see him for who he is. She is abusive towards me and I will not tolerate it. I cannot for her– or my sake. There are victims and then there are victims– a victim of rape is not the same as a WILLING victim of the patriarchal system.

    When you know better, you choose better.

    I’ve been in the trenches and I have never ever said it was easy or tried to imply that it ever would be easy.

  101. jael

    Nice post. And you’re right about the backing off. I agree with pretty much everything you’re saying but this:

    There are victims and then there are victims– a victim of rape is not the same as a WILLING victim of the patriarchal system.

    I’m not so sure I’m with you 100% on. In that – you have to know that the patriarchy exists to be a willing victim. You need to have the breakthrough moment, than chose not to act differently. Until you know better, you may be complicit in your oppression but you cannot be conscious of say complicity. You just keep on trying to get it “right”; when you get it “right” all the bad things disappear.

    i hope your daughters get their lightbulb movement sooner, rather than later. and all power too you in your journey. It sounds like it’s been something of a wild ride so far; hope the learning has been profound and worthwhile.

  102. DanetteB

    Thanks Jael– and perhaps that is a bit strong- saying “WILLING victims” but girls have more information and have more people fighting for them than girls did in the pre-Ford/Carter days. They should no better if they don’t. But that is part of where our education system is failing our children. They are going backwards– unthinking– just regurgitating rather than learning to think critically about… anything. They will be math wizzes and history morons. They won’t even understand what the civil rights movement was really about. They won’t know about the suffragettes were because there just won’t be time in between taking tests.

    As far as “willing” though…perhaps it would be better to say, “a victim of rape is not the same as a victim of molestation”. A rape victim will willingly accept your intervention and help. Being molested is more insidious. The victim may enjoy the actual feeling of the contact but don’t want it. Someone who has been molested may even deny it was molestation– or they will just blame themselves and remain in the relationship (like my mother did). The only way to stop it is to tell someone and get yourself out. But then what you do is critical– keep on accepting what is being meted out or find a way out. In my view it’s time to get out.

  103. jael

    Hey hey! this will be my last post before i head out (and turn this into an total jael-danetteb two ring circus:)

    one thing: it’s not our education system, it’s your education system; i’m not from your land of the free.

    that aside, it’s the same everywhere; china to australia; us to bolivia. the information you’re talking about is politically destabilizing information. that there is more information does not, in and of itself, mean that there is better access or better understanding – indeed, often the more information the less capable we become of navigating it. while there is more information about patriachy there is also much more competing “noise”; other voices in opposition. the roar becomes deafening.

    that we ‘should know better’ i think it a misnomer: patriarchy is a bit like water and finds the path of least resistance, reinventing itself a million times over. Free love gives way to sex libers gives way to fun feminists; freedom from “modest” dress gives way to dress for sexual performance and so forth. it’s as if every alternative becomes part of the machine; the machine eats it up and spits out a new model of hierarchy.

    i am totally, 100% with you though on the comment:
    the only way to stop it is to tell someone and get yourself out.

    what i’m less convinced of is how reasonable a thing that is to expect of others. why do women return time and time again to abusive partners? children want to please abusive parents? wear high heals because your boy friends likes it? i think for many women, the investment is so substantial that they truly believe they cannot, just cannot, walk away, tell someone. they’ve surrendered so much of who they are; they’re so convinced they just have to be a little bit better and everything will be ok, that they cannot see the actual reality of their situation.

    so i suppose the question is: How do we get women out of these situations? how do we help them reach that moment of realisaiton?

  104. otoc

    When you are told what a stupid idiot you are, how you have no common sense, how everyone thinks you’re horrible and ugly and worthless, how you can’t navigate life on your own, how your perceptions are wrong, over and over again, you begin to doubt yourself to the extent that you become PARALYZED, not believing that you can do ANYTHING, not even tie your shoes right. And patriarchy does it to us in so many ways every day. The hitting always comes after a target has been primed or emotionally abused enough to accept that they are inadequate in some way or many ways so they cannot do any better, and most often that happens in an unconscious process. The hitting also doesn’t become a regular thing all at once. It happens once and he is so apologetic you think he just made a mistake (and you hear all around you in the patriarchy that this happens and nice guys can make mistakes, nice guys don’t become monsters, you can spot a monster, plus you KNOW him, he can’t be that bad) and you go back and he continues to isolate you from anyone who will help you feel like you don’t deserve bad treatment, and so on and so forth. And they often pick women who don’t have much self-esteem to begin with.

    It is a complex process, victimization, with a lot of things that happen “unseen”, that’s all I’m saying.

    And my dream scenario in that bar would have been to pee in a beer mug, wait for it to cool, then have my girlfriend go start the car…

  105. Mare Island

    Not a Dudetiful, that was some twistalicious blaming. What a great summary of the female (specifically, mommy) condition.

  106. MHW


    Racism is not racial prejudice, but the use of systematic power and privilege to exploit, harm, otherize, and malign racially marginalized groups.

    Black people cannot have racist attitudes toward white people. They can have prejudice toward white people, but they lack the systematic power necessary for racist attitudes.

    The idea that black people are just being whiny and should buck up already is ridiculous I mean, come the fuck on. Police violence is a very real threat. Do you know who Oscar Grant is? Identifying white privilege and negative bias against black people and other racially marginalized groups is not whining, it is a mode of resistance. Just because you have had unpleasant experiences with some black people does not give you the authority to preach about the problems of the black community. Having bi-racial children doesn’t give you that right either.

  107. felicity


    Of course, marriage is what little women must aspire with our lives for – when it harms us (what are the domestic abuse stats, 1 in 4 women abused in marriage?)

    Women delude themselves men’s hatred has love behind it. ‘However mean, he has a penis, I have a vagina so he’s flattering me!’

    I once pretended to be a male feminist on this forum and was being as mean as I could to this girl, who was being nicer the meaner I got. She perceived my hollow replies as flattery to herself – even though I can attest as a straight girl I had no interest in her and was trying to be repellant.

    Women always think however mean a man is, his attention must be some display of testosterone and him getting flustered over his lack of control. However I know hatred when it’s there; it’s there in the media every day. Any powerful male system hates us. When men get an opportunity to control via the media, marriage, the church, it always works against us. Women confusing this absolute hatred with male desire for them is the problem.

    I always go on about 1 in 5 men sleeping with prostitutes; men no longer being attracted to their wives and sleeping around; rape being power and not desire… To pop a girl’s dreamy bubble of delusion about male lust for her. Marriage, this idea women are always wanted, is bullturd! I cling to the hatred men show, but to disillusion women. Women do have the shelf life of milk to men so stop going on about their lust for you! And don’t go on about your business degree, what chance do you have as a woman?

    You are not on this planet to eternally please men, this lasts for seconds while you still have pimples! I love ‘shelf life of milk’. I love tearing down this delusion women are eternally wanted, because I believe when women truly feel they are not wanted and have no place in the world, or within marriage, then women will group against patriarchy! And I want that – a sisterhood where men can back the fuck down and hatred isn’t mistaken for flattery.

    Destroying this delusion is possible. Tell P cheerleaders:

    – Youth is all men care about with women
    – They don’t care about keeping you, 1 in 3 men cheat and divorce
    – You are not wanted in a male world and job market.
    – Anything you strive to do will not be taken seriously
    – Your human drive to be good at something and succeed, will be laughed at.

    Kill marriage (the ‘women are wanted *really* delusion), and you’ve kicked patriarchy in its collosal ballsack.

  108. feral

    Thanks, Twisty, for a breath of sanity.

  109. nails

    The term ‘racism’ is not about power according to the dictionary sense of the word, and thats how a lot of people are going to learn about what the word “racism” means. I think the results are totally different depending upon what race you are a part of and how oppressed they are, but trying to make racism have a new definition doesnt do any good with trying to talk to other people about this issue. they will straight up not listen or start out with those ‘so when exactly do the scales tip so that black people can be racist? what is the cut off point?” type of questions and it goes no where.

  110. Courtney

    “When you deny that gender is a spectrum, when you allow for two fixed, bounded categories and assign them attributes (even “positive” attributes), and when you draw a definitive line between those attributes and the physical body/given piece of biological whimsy, you are enabling a dominative system.”

    Possibly, but there is some good evidence that a male brain is simply a slightly broken female brain. ;)

  111. jael

    Black people cannot have racist attitudes toward white people. They can have prejudice toward white people, but they lack the systematic power necessary for racist attitudes.

    MHW: what?

    so how about say vietnamese and cambodian opinions of each other, is that racism or prejudice? lao v thai? viet v lao? or individually powerful black people v individually powerless not white people? actually; where do east asian’s in america fit, against who do they have racist opinions, and against who prejudice? do h’mong have more power or less than arabs?

    Identifying white privilege and negative bias against black people and other racially marginalized groups is not whining, it is a mode of resistance.

    it s pretty ineffective mode of resistance though; you can identify all the privilege/bias you want; then what? stopping at the point of identification is the call of who ever wants to stop there; but while i don’t think we can demand that people act without a moment of realisation; having a moment of realisation and not acting on it is hardly a dynamic resistance, as it were. and it sure as hell becomes whining; if it’s worth acting on, it’s worth acting on. action is not just the purview of the advantaged. we cannot demand people have a moment of truth; but one would hope they would act on the realisation if they have it (and in some cases, that may be choosing not to act; but then that’s another situation all together)

    (ps: i think you model of racism works well in a void; where you have a heirachy of two. however, that doesn’t actually exist in nature. it does in litery criticism, but that’s not nature..)

  112. Paul H

    Thanks for the heads up about the t-shirt. My first response to that guy would draw a quick Assault charge, but having thought it over now I’d say to him ‘you mean to say you’re so dickless you can only get corpses?’ and laugh, long and loud.

    It was brave of the woman to call him out on it in a bar situation, and though he laughed her off, it does show him as someone who is not cool.

  113. DanetteB

    MHW: yes I am aware of the difference. I spent much of my married life considering that.

  114. DanetteB

    MHW: I don’t have the right to look at the influences around my children and judge which ones are going to make them more successful???? Sorry! I do think I do. You don’t have the right to tell me I don’t if I don’t have the right to have the opinion that I do– if you have to be black to understand the black experience then you have the be the mother of black children to advise the mother of black children.

  115. DanetteB

    And to clarify because some of this conversation had gotten off track because they have not read what I have posted previously… (many “What?” responses I have received have taken what I wrote and responded as though it were the only one –not the response to someone else in the first place)

    The systemic problems we have with patriarchy (which I agree wholeheartedly with Twisty about) are not going to be solved by going nuts over individual incidents like this t-shirt issue. Yes, we should all feel aware and empowered enough to address an offender in an appropriate manner and as an individual each time I do this, it makes me stronger. But it will not fix the failure of the system (though we often have the illusion we can fix things one person at a time)…

    What I have said in relation to CHANGE has nothing to do with telling abused women to just get out. I think I pointed out that I KNOW how difficult that it. I didn’t stay in an abusive marriage for nearly twenty years because I was lazy. And if you thought that is what I said, then read my post again and try thinking while your doing it.

    What I have said is: we have a BAD system which needs to overthrown. Not just in the U.S. but internationally. The U.S. in case after case makes the rules –and supports oppressive regimes that use sexism, racism, etc. in order to keep segments of the population down. And women and children are the easiest target. Of course telling a woman to “just get out” is ridiculous. And I never said that. When I said “LEAVE IT” I was referring specifically to a situation– a friend who attends a very patriarchal church. She considers herself a feminist. She could find a church that is more “egalitarian” (well, at least less sexist), at least but she doesn’t. And in my humble opinion, when you KNOW you are being kept from power and you really believe it’s wrong, then you should do something even if it is evacuate. But as I pointed out, this kind of action empowers the individual- but it does not change the system.

    And I think we need to change thing. We won’t change them with a Civil rights kind of movement. There is simply no way for women to do that now. The suffragettes did the heavy lifting for us– our work is now to have a vision for a new society and to find a way to build it. So for a example– If women had healthcare via the government and could find work that pays them what the men in the building make (and to that point– Education: Education is not valued in this country- and perhaps this is a message for just American’s. Anti-intellectualism in this country is insidious! but in addition to that educators are paid what they are because it’s generally “woman’s work”. They don’t really need the income in too many voters opinion. And the voters vote school board members in who uphold their values– is that local and instant enough for any of us?…) but I digress, if women made better income then there is one less thing to be dependent on a man for. But changing the healthcare system or education system in won’t happen with the lobby system that currently operates in this country. Insurance companies and healthcare companies are far too powerful. They pull the strings where this issue is concerned. Any politician who is not willing to take on the insurance companies with the awareness that they are failing women in this country is not the woman’s rights advocate he claims to be. And as long as there is no way to provide the basic most fundamental needs that a woman has when she leaves then we can’t expect women to leave bad situations with the pie in the sky dream that they will just walk out in the world, get a job and everything is now good. They have to be able to provide for themselves, get healthcare, get food, pay electric bills, etc. The system is set up right now that trying to get help for issues such as this is nearly impossible.

    Here’s another example: Right wing agencies are now in the business of “helping”– I was a referred to one not too long ago when I needed some legal advice. Here is what happened: I was afraid I needed some representation because my X was pushing me into transporting my son back and forth to sports on his side of town (30-45 minutes away). It was creating havoc on our time together but it was also impeding my ability to work the second job I have to work to provide for us. So I called this agency. They didn’t say they were christian but it was pretty clear, pretty quickly. When I told the woman my story she said, “Well I think you just need to take advantage of that drive time… you know, just talk and have time to be together.” “What???” says I. “But I have a second job and I wasn’t so much as ASKED about the schedule for this. I was told. And on top of that, I don’t want my son to play football.” Her condescending response?? “Well, I think you have to do what’s right for your son here. He wants to play football and you should just take advantage of that drive time.” When I expressed my outrage at her advice she said, “I’m sorry I’m not saying what you want to hear, dear.” So this is the advice that is being offered to women who have nowhere else to turn–??? their ex is taking advantage of the situation, using the children to bully her now and the “helpful” people that the government now pays to “help” are christians who want their patriarchal sytem to be the defining system in this country. Sorry but that is a bad system! Our government should not be giving a dime to religious institutions -for women’s sake -for humanity’s sake. For that matter they should be taxing these damnable institutions.

    What I am saying is: that it is the rich and powerful in this country who benefit and encourage ongoing systems that subordinate and they are the real problem. If our government were about the business of protecting PEOPLE in the first place, rather than being of and for and by the corporations, then we might BEGIN to change the systemic problems inherent in the patriarch. If we had a government that did not walk hand in hand with big business (and I will include the church in that “big business” category because the religious institutions in this country are big business, they have tons of political power and they have a tremendous desire to be the defining influence in what the family should look like, men’s roles, etc.) then we might have a system that protects women -for that matter protects all the poor- when they need help rather than continuing their subordination.

    That is where real change begins!

  116. DanetteB

    There is a phenomenon that CAN happen with women– does happen among African Americans when they take on this role of victim. And again, I’m sorry that I step on toes here but it is real and it is a huge problem.

    The problem is when the victim uses their victimization to manipulate and oppress in return. Being a victim does not necessarily mean you then have sensitivity for all victims and want to help them succeed!

    My X was a master at this– if he felt that I was taking on too much of a role in raising his son or influencing the financial decisions that he was making, then he reminded that I was ONLY a white person. And he reinforced this with our children. “You know your mother is white– she’s not hip. She doesn’t get it.” (marginalize, marginalize, she’s a nobody, she’s a nobody) My daughter (the one he beat) was heavily influenced by this and when we divorced, she would not live with me and as I have also stated, became as abusive as he was toward me. I watched him to do to others- never realizing how he also did it to me. I felt sorry for him– there were times he legitimately was the victim of racism. (For example– he was never taught to read. He was dyslexic and it was a struggle but who cared if the only black kid in the class was an idiot?– )But does this give him cartes blanches to turn it on me? And it was my sympathy concerning his experience with racism that allowed him to keep disappearing me. And frankly, it wasn’t his hatred for white people– it was a hatred for women. He treated me just like his father treated his mother. The white part was a convenient way to try and disconnect me from my daughters.

    In another, less personal situation, a young black woman penned a new book. The book was about an important issue– the Ku Klux Klan in Denver. But it was poorly written and received a bad review for being POORLY written (I know the reviewer well and I KNOW she would not reject the book if were well written). The author emailed, called her, pushed her, bullied her into changing the review. She didn’t do herself any favors by doing this- nor did she do her book any favors. A better written tome on this ugly time in Denver would have been so much more effective! But she got her good review and stifled free speech in the process.

  117. Twisty

    DannetteB, it’s time to move on. Your views have been duly noted.

  118. random_anomaly

    Point at his shirt and loudly say:

    “That’s good, because everybody else will. Although live girls don’t have maggots”.

  119. phaedras

    And then there are the women who do fight back:

    “A Spanish mother has taken revenge on the man who raped her 13-year-old daughter at knifepoint by dousing him in petrol and setting him alight. He died of his injuries in hospital on Friday.”

  120. Agasaya

    Fighting these things is not impossible, just extremely unrewarding. Benefits aren’t seen for centuries and even then, are merely accomplished by instilling fear in men for expressing their basic wishes for controlling the other gender. And yes, I’m the unimaginative blamer who contacted the FBI about that video game in which men could virtually rape mothers and their daughters. Let’s make a few more afraid to indulge.

    I’m not as good at analyzing these things as the rest of the blametariat. What I lack in intellect, I make up for in action. I am filing a complaint with yahoo for offering for sale garments praising necrophilia and suggesting women are still valuable after death for their one and only true purpose. Maybe someone will be concerned about a mild loss of profits.

    I suggest the appropriate rejoinder for the next guy you see wearing this tee-shirt might be, “Do you really want to announce to the world that necrophilia is the only way you can ‘get any’?

    The fun part of this rejoinder is that he won’t even understand the term necrophilia and wonder why all the bystanders are amused.

  121. Miss Andrist

    Re: Phaedras
    On the subject of women fighting back, a little story –

    My sister was a Marine.

    For those who hear “female” + “soldier” and immediately assume “desk jockey, she was combat communications. They told me that means she runs around on the battlefield with a giant radio on her back.

    She married another Marine a week before she shipped out to Parris Island. Just after graduating from boot, they got into a fight and he took a swing at her.

    She mopped the floor with him.

    A year or so later, between tours and whatnot, they had another fight and he tried to hit her again.

    She cleaned house with him again. The next day, she filed for divorce.

    Oh, he was significantly bigger than her – they’re both Marines, but he was Supply and never saw combat. She’s 5’6” – perhaps 130. Downright dinky. If she could, I can: “One hundred thirteen different ways before I need a weapon.” So! The next time you hear that “women are physically inferior” crap, just think of my sister and kick that asshat in the throat. (I would.)

    My sister is awesome. (If you can’t be like Twisty when you grow up, maybe you should be like her? I have a personal daydream where lioness-like females, modelled after my sister, band together and grind out the patriarchy like a discarded cigarette beneath our spitshined Size 6 boot. Usually, we start with Rush Limbaugh’s stupid face.)

  122. Donna

    @Agasaya: “Let’s make a few more afraid to indulge. ”

    What you’re saying is men are raping beasts at heart, and I agree. I also agree we can sadly only make them ‘human’ by social convention and a will to conform with standards of decency! Men want to rape children, not just pedophiles. There are statistics suggesting men are more sexually attracted to 12 year olds than 30 year olds (phallomantric testing). We’re awful hush hush about facts of life that should ensure we’re able to keep men down, for our own safety and the safety of our offspring.

    Yet we have to play with their will to conform – cos hey, half the world is woman and not ruined by penis drives. They want to live alongside us, they have to repress their nature.

    We’re indeed very quiet about men, how they prefer children to women, how their will is to rape and be violent against us. A culture with extreme violence against women, and until I investigated the stats myself I never knew.

  123. Donna

    @Miss Andrist

    Hm my fantasy is being realised as we type. The internet causes inter- connection, something women have never had before. No matter how oppressed we become from here (I feel it’s gonna get lots worse), a band of us tigresses know the truth. They can’t take that away, nor our inter- connection now. This is something they can’t remove. I feel we’ve started something BIG. Removing men from appearing in a ‘no mess’ feminist space has created a hugely interesting dynamic. It seems small but it’s huge. Women are finding a sense of themselves, without feeling sexy, without feeling non- sexy, we’re finding ourselves start to appear. I’m not gonna over analyze a great dynamic though, just here to enjoy!

  124. caitlinate

    The greatest trick the patriarchy ever pulled was convincing the world it didn’t exist.

  125. thebewilderness

    Thank you for doing that.
    I, too, have spoken up.
    You are absolutely right that you can’t do everything about everything, but you can do something about what is right in front of you.
    We cannot know the long term effect of daring to speak up, but we know it is right to do so when we can.

  126. ivyleaves

    It seems to me that the shirt is being addressed for the wrong offense. It is not necrophilia that makes it blameworthy (if only that were it – we’d all be off the hook), it is the implication that you should murder a woman to get sex.

  127. Hedgepig

    caitlinate said: The greatest trick the patriarchy ever pulled was convincing the world it didn’t exist.

    Ain’t that the truth.

  128. Sara in Detroit

    In my parents’ not-so-fair suburban city there was a hearse parked for weeks near the police station that said “DEAD GIRLS DON’T SAY NO” across the back window in huge neon green letters. Seriously, this vehicle never moved, and was more of an advertisement that anyone’s means of transportation. So one night my mom and aunt spray painted over the entire window with gold glitter, and the hearse was never to be seen in their not-so-fair small-ish town again. (I might add that this same town is currently in the news for trying to ban a book for “pornographic” reasons: the high school AP English teacher assigned a nonfiction book that has a passage about rape in it, so apparently we’re teaching my little brother’s friends that rape = porn. Unfortunately not so ironic, but I digress.)

    PhysioProf’s comment way up there reminded me of a quote I read once, “At their core, men are afraid women will laugh at them. At their core, women are afraid men will kill them.” Hmmmm.

  129. TheLady

    Dear Twisty,

    But but but… That is so confusing! My reading comprehension is obviously at fault, because what I’m reading in you reply to slashy is that while we deprecate and abhor the patriarchy in all it forms as being evil and depraved, and wish fervently for its overthrow, we mustn’t preform individual acts of rebellion against individual instances of oppression, because that is pointless; we should just wait for the revolution.

    Which thesis actually robbed me of sleep last night. I mean, isn’t that a little, I don’t know, Calvinist of you? Sort of, let’s just sit around and wait for Rapture? I’m not attacking, I’m genuinely perplexed. And also, what kind of light does that put all of us in? The Blametariat, I mean? Are we just engaging in pointless intellectual masturbation?

    Assuming I’ve read you wrong (likely, since the above is not at all congruent with how I usually read you), what do you mean? What is your proposed strategy for dealing with the oppression that’s actually on our plates every day, other than choking it down?


    Bemused of Bedford

  130. Agasaya

    Hello “Thebewilderness’,

    The consequences of speaking out are generally that the next generation becomes better acquainted with what they are fighting. The original speakers-out rarely survive the experience. My ‘soap box’ regards chemical poisoning. This is a patriarchy issue once you realize that toxicity levels under market research and development protocols are set at what a healthy, adult male can ‘tolerate’ in exposures. There are few if any legal restriction upon toxicity levels in residences. They exist for workplaces but are rarely enforced.

    Huge levels of illnesses in women are preventable but remain unavoidable, because we are inundated with levels of toxicants that are amazing. I have measured them with reputable laboratories from samples taken in offices and residences. The results are terrifying – one lovely apartment had formaldehyde levels above those in Katrina Trailers; most showed pesticides which lead to a broad array of damage including auto-immune diseases, brain damage, malnutrition, genetic mutations, cancer and reproductive disorders… and is likely responsible for the rise in developmental disabilities to one in six children. If you also speculate about what those biochemical impacts have upon male functioning, you also up the level of irrationality significantly beyond expected degrees.

    My grammar and spelling may not always meet criteria here – it is hard work since I lost a layer of cortical cells to pesticides. Justice is not forthcoming because it is in the hands of men. I likely won’t be able to speak for very long but have been handed the torch and drop embers along the road as I pass through.

    The carbon footprint is nothing compared with the trail of chemicals deposited in your own homes and workplaces. Many are central nervous system depressants. Begin fighting the patriarchy in the grocery store by not purchasing the idiocies of pollution – not just of the environment but our internal organs. These consist of simple things like pesticides, synthetic fragrances, cleaning solvents and adulterated foods which alter hormones, deplete valuable enzymes and cause frank organ damage.

    For example, my article here:


    The myth of a ‘level playing field’ for both genders is partially health related. Past the age of puberty, ill health is predominantly a female issue (prior to puberty, more males are affected). The first simple, basic remedy is to require full disclosure of product ingredients. Truth? First thing to toss if you want to remain ‘blame free’.

  131. eb

    TheLady, Nothing you can do or say will change anything because to most people the patriarchy is a unicorn and they react accordingly when you point out that you see it, because they absolutely can’t see it.

    Over 30 years ago Yoko Ono wrote, “Woman is the Nigger of the World.” Until most women see that as a truth, the patriarchy will remain a unicorn.

    Then what does one do? Well, if you are an artist (maybe your are), and you found out that no one would ever buy one of your paintings, would you stop painting?

  132. Agasaya

    Update on Tee Shirt complaint to Yahoo – they replied with a link to their rules explaining relevant regulations to me, even though they cannot expressly state the nature of any actions they may take.

    The obscene tee shirt appears to be a violation of their policy for sales of items which says:

    “Any item that promotes, glorifies, or is directly associated with groups or individuals known principally for hateful or violent positions or acts, such as Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan”

    Hopefully, it will disappear. The intent behind it will not, of course, but every inhibition of its expression is one less exposure to humiliate and intimidate.

  133. Hedgepig

    Agasaya, do I understand you rightly? Yahoo has acknowledged to you that the t-shirt may in fact fall under their definition of hate speech? Is this possible??

  134. Agasaya


    I have had dealings with yahoo before on complaints against psychos using email to intimidate people (criminal issues). They have been very responsive in the past. They are not allowed to tell you what actions are taken regarding complaints. However, they try to get around that if you ask whether you were justified in sending the complaint. Then they can say, no, or again let you know if you are on the right track. They sent me the link to this rule from their site so it ought to fall under that heading.

    So, the complaint is justified, apparently. It remains to see what happens about it. So many complaints are ‘justified’ yet unaddressed. Still, Yahoo canceled service to a couple of individuals I made complaints about in the past and, in one case, told me I had the right to prosecute in court. I declined to do so but felt they were on the ball at least.

  135. Hedgepig

    Interesting info, thanks Agasaya.

  136. ivyleaves

    I have used the complaint process to get similar things banned in the MMO that I play. A guild named “Sapped Girls Can’t Say No” in World of Warcraft. “Sapping” is an attack in the game that puts the victim to sleep standing up – unable to do anything. The response was immediate. I report outrageous stuff all the time to them, too bad their own developers name stuff really badly as well.

  137. Le Chat Noire

    So the solution is what? Organized revolution? I know we can’t always “win” in isolated incidents like the one mentioned by Slashy, but does it not seem futility-inducing to pretty much tell someone – well, you as an individual are powerless before the patriarchy.

    I don’t know the answer, but I do want it to involve kicking some – metaphorically speaking – patriarchal butt.

  138. Serene Wright

    Men hate us because they are burdened with a sex drive that gives us THE APPEARANCE of power over them, from where they stand.

  139. Twisty

    “So the solution is what?”

    Women’s revolt. Women’s revolt. The solution is women’s revolt.

    My failure to get it across that women’s revolt is the solution plagues me sorely.

    I understand your reluctance to grasp that anything short of revolt is merely a bandaid, I really do, but there is no other solution, girls. Seriously. I mean it. I don’t know how to express it any more clearly. Revolt. Revolt. Revolt is how oppressed populations get rid of occupying forces. It’s not my fault; that’s just how things are done.

  140. Donna


    Please shut up, sex drives do not determine misogyny.

  141. Agasaya

    Twisty wrote:

    “Revolt is how oppressed populations get rid of occupying forces.”

    Very true which is why our individual acts of rejection and reprisal for unacceptable behavior are models directed AT other WOMEN. You don’t really expect males to change, do you?

    Males can’t easily continue their actions in a climate of complete rejection. Women can’t raise males to think differently unless they can raise them in a society where misogyny has low visibility.

    In a society where women dress FOR other women, we can at least set a standard by which women reject abuse FOR other women. “Dissing” the tee shirt wearing cretin is not the goal but drawing the attention of bystanders to his unacceptable behavior is useful. One or two will ‘get it’ and that is worth the effort.

  142. jami

    the patriarchy revealing itself is what drove me at top speed to IBTP today. the instance i saw even mentioned how hilarious it is that they’ve tricked female collaborators into getting boob jobs:

    (i’d understand if you enspamulated any link ever to askmen.)

    i’d say the 11th way the patriarchy has brainwashed many women is by convincing some women that male smug sitting-on-the-couch is an endearing funny joke to be exhaustedly tolerated.

  143. jami

    serene, don’t shut up.

    i think men hate us, though, because it’s useful to see us as deserving anything they wish to do to us. as with black slaves in even worse times for human liberty.

  144. jami

    addressing the original topic more directly:
    it’s hard to distinguish my own aversion to conflict from collaborating, but i think it would be valid to treat t-shirt dude like a comment troll. if what he wants is attention, ignore him. if the rest of the group supports him, leave. go be part of a smarter, perhaps smaller, group. it’s nice that you had at least one other “angry lesbian” by your side. i suspect there were some quieter gals cheering you and not t-shirt dude on as well. but that group of people sounds like it’s dominated by jerks. why hang out with people who think you aren’t fully human? i made that mistake in my twenties, and jesus franklin christ it leaves you miserable.

  145. larkspur

    The guy in the t-shirt is a terrorist. What to do? Whatever you feel like at the moment. Your well-being is the important thing. Depending on how I felt at the moment, I might take the VibratingLiz approach and just ask the guy: “What does that mean?” and see if I can get him to spell it out. Because the point of it is for women who see him to understand that he is a Big Man who will take what he wants, and if you are a Little Woman who does not feel like spreading your legs for him, he will either find one who does, or find one who can’t choose, because a receptacle is a receptacle, and that is all you are, bitch. Underlying this is the assumption that a woman cannot exist without a man of her own, and that we must therefore seriously consider giving up our personhood to keep him. “Okay, sometimes I don’t feel like ‘doing it’, but a man has needs, and if I don’t give it up, he’ll go to someone who will, and even a dead girl is better than a non-compliant girl.”

    Again, depending on my mood, I might try stirring up a little trouble. If I like the bartender, I might say, “Wow, look at that guy. Is he a regular?” Just to see if I could get a little buzz going. I might also jab a sharp elbow at any male companion of mine and tell him, “Lookit, he’s one of yours, what with the penis and everything. Maybe you should edumacate him.” Not because I need anyone to fight for me, but because any male friend of mine had better realize that he has a stake in this, too. If he’s a friend of mine, he wants a better world, and saying, “Well, I’m not like him” isn’t good enough.

    But if t-shirt guy showed up next to me as I was unlocking my car door to go home, I might just kill him, because they are never going to take us seriously unless they come to believe that they might not survive the encounter.

  146. Missannethrope

    Dang, y’all, this has been an awesome string of comments. As an old lady blamer who has tried many responses to such blatant woman-hating as that T-shirt, I can attest that the best approach is wide-eyed naivete. Asking the wearer to explain the t-shirt is a lot more deflating to the t-shirt wearer than huffily lecturing (which always falls on deaf ears). It may not be Twisty’s full-fledged revolt (revolting? we’re disgusting!) but it’s at least very personally satisfying.

  147. Hedgepig

    I used to wear Amnesty’s “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” T-shirt around Sydney. The number of people who felt completely at ease making negative comments about it was remarkable. It seemed like a fairly uncontroversial statement to me, but it seemed to piss everyone off. Now I realise it’s the most controversial claim you can make.

  148. Carolynn

    Hi Twisty,

    Just wanted to de-lurk to tell you that I read IBTP religiously, and have linked to this entry on my own blog out of total respect:

    In order to make sure I’m on topic- if I’d been eating at the restaurant with the hipster dude you describe, I can safely say I would have immediately employed my Withering Gaze(TM) in his specific direction. I can also assure you I would have (been) revolted. I might have even revolted right over to his table, and revolted onto his dinner plate.

    Thanks for blaming with such continued fervor- you say out loud so many things that are rolling around in my own brain, but you’re much more clever/advanced-in-blaming/straightforward than I could hope to be. I’m working on it, though.

    Striving for the ideal balance of sarcasm & righteous indignation,
    Carolynn in Iowa (yes, Iowa)

  149. PatriarchySlayer

    Two things I would like to impart, not of my own wisdom though. Firstly, those that have commented regarding abuse, etc. You might find it interesting to take a peek at “Why Does He Do That?” By Lundy Bancroft, about angry and controlling men, sometimes classified as abusive depending on the situation. Yes, it is written by a dude, but he fully and frequently acknowledges the patriarchy as one main reason why there are more cases of men abusing women than vice versa. I thought it was quite remarkable that as a male, he can have that much insight into his own gender. I was quite inspired.

    Also, the question as to why do does the patriarchy/men try to control us, keep up marginalized? Simone De Beauvoir makes an interesting comment in “The Second Sex”. She discusses the many reasons why men began doing this…but I took it more like this: they began this control game because they could. So they did.

    Did I mention how much I hate women who blame EVERYTHING on feminism without backing it up with anything? (Random comment, sorry)

  150. Cathy

    Thank you for your efforts, Agasaya! I agree that we should dis the creep for the benefit of other females, not hoping to change him. Something like, “God, what kind of loser is proud nobody wants him?” Then both women laugh at him and go to some other area.

    Your comment about pesticides was also relevant to me, as I suspect I’ve suffered brain damage from them. A date rape drug used on me may have contributed as well. Some study was done which showed that stay-at-home moms had cancer more than paid working women. Chemicals used for cleaning were ruled out because housekeeping (for pay) women did not have similarly higher rates of cancer. Pesticides used around the home (deemed safe for 200-pound men) may well be the culprit.

    I believe the revolution has begun. It just doesn’t feel like one because we aren’t firing guns (I doubt we can beat the violent ones at their own game), and also because we are seriously outnumbered by those who prefer the status quo. But I’m ready to kick it up a notch. Even if the dewds never get a clue, we’re setting an example for our daughters. I’ve been such a doormat, but that is beginning to change.

  151. VibratingLiz

    As always, I heartily second PatriarchySlayer’s recommendation of Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft. (Spoiler: the answer turns out be, surprise surprise, because he knows he’s privileged and deep in his being he believes he’s entitled to do that. Whatever “that” is.) This book saved my sanity, and is better than ten years of therapy. My only nit to pick is that the title really should just be Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Men. I suspect Bancroft originally wanted that to be the title but his publishers nixed it as too radical.

  152. Agasaya

    You’re welcome, Cathy. Dr. Kaye Kilburn has a paperback out called Endangered Brains you may want to see. It is an unfortunate truth that males are also getting stupider (as are we, at a faster rate) from the chemicals.

    Kilburn studied people who had developed occupational asthma and found most had decided injuries to the central nervous system (memory, coordination, executive thought processes etc.). He went on to study thousands of ‘normal’ people and found that 70% of the population were suffering from premature degradation of cerebral functions. Cleaning products are high among the hazard list as well – cancer is down the road for many but other illnesses and organ damage are happening now.

    Add chemically induced mood disorders and early loss of mental powers to men’s already dangerous tendencies and – well, it isn’t a bright prospect for those investing in change. And as for change, the reproductive damage doesn’t make for brighter kids. If we want to get strong enough to make any changes, we have to stop buying poison and stop allowing it to be force-fed to us.

    I recently learned that tee shirt slogan is the name of a song – wonder if that’s how it is justified? Didn’t bother to look for it on the net. Maybe I’ll ask the next guy I see wearing one to sing it.

  153. 33rats (aka madeleine)

    Please everybody, read Marilyn French. “Beyond Power. On Women, Men, and Morals”, wich she spent 12 years reseasrching in a hostile academic environment, as well as “The War on women”, give the true picture. Misogyny is ages old. There have been documented waves of feminism ever since the Assyrians and the Greeks. It is worse than you rhink. The only thing to do is to just go on, although they will too.
    Please read those books. You have to know your enemy. It really is even even worse than you (we) thingk it is.

  154. PatriarchySlayer

    VibratingLiz, I’m really happy that you found it a good resource. I just finished it today actually, and having just also finished the Feminine Mystique, I was curiously shocked as to the very similar chapters on a better world. I guess I really shouldn’t be considered that the root of the problem of partner abuser was the root of the problem of the mystique as well: the patriarchy. I guess it was refreshing to hear (or read) a man admit it for once.

  155. Maggie

    So a man telling a woman what to wear (high heels, short skirts) is the patriarchy in action, but a woman telling a man what to wear (a shirt that isn’t offensive) is feminism?

    I’m not a lawyer, but my law enforcement training would lead me to believe that the t-shirt was not an active threat. Beering it, as suggested by one of the previous comments, would have been assault, which actually is an arrestable offensive, unlike wearing the crass shirt, which falls squarely under the first amendment.

  156. amend

    I dunno, I thought necrophilia immediately *which would make more sense since it’s supposed to be a /funny/ t-shirt…the whole kill and rape thing never crossed my mind.

  157. Twisty

    “I dunno, I thought necrophilia immediately *which would make more sense since it’s supposed to be a /funny/ t-shirt…the whole kill and rape thing never crossed my mind.”

    Because the normalization of rape culture has been a smashing success!

  158. VibratingLiz

    “So a man telling a woman what to wear (high heels, short skirts) is the patriarchy in action, but a woman telling a man what to wear (a shirt that isn’t offensive) is feminism?”

    Let’s carry that logic a bit further: “So a man with telling a woman he’d like to rape her is the patriarchy in action, but a woman telling a man to fuck off and leave her alone is feminism?”

    Hmmm. Yeah, could be.

  159. felicity

    Most things men tell women is the patriarchy in action, Maggie. Anything women tell men is an affront to their ego and thus, you would say feminism.

  160. PatriarchySlayer

    Going along with that train of thought, to me it wasn’t about telling someone what to wear or not, I believe it was more about promoting hate crimes and violence than anything else. I mean if the shirt had some comment about Jews or a minority race and someone else found that offensive, is that the same thing? Aren’t we just talking about basic human rights? Some t-shirt sayings are very crude and tasteless, and some promote violence. I think one issue is deciding where that line is.

  161. Carol

    “So a man telling a woman what to wear (high heels, short skirts) is the patriarchy in action, but a woman telling a man what to wear (a shirt that isn’t offensive) is feminism?”

    The equivalent would be a woman telling a man to wear a shirt in a color that brings out his eyes or snug jeans that show off his butt. Although neither would slow his gait like high heels. If a woman was wearing a T-shirt slogan bout murdering men, then a man would be equally justified in asking her to cover it.

  162. Alex

    Unless … you say that this sterling specimen is an acquaintance? I’d put a maggoty dead rat in a gift box and leave it on his doorstep.

    It’s cheerful posts like this that make I Blame the Patriarchy the Number One Blog in the universe.

    Oh that definitely makes I Blame the Patriarchy number one for me today. As long as said theoretical rat was long dead to begin with, poor sad thing.

  1. Tom Bevan needs to get a clue : The New Agenda

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