UPDATE: I slogged through David Lean’s Dr Zchivago the other night, the primary message of which film is “when the oppressed revolt they become hate-filled thugs, liars, murderers, and cold fish incapable of appreciating Omar Sharif’s doe eyes.” The guy who puts the revolution ahead of his personal life turns into a genocidal maniac and ends up blowing his own brains out.
This just in, from one “Dr Nick.”
“Twisty, you have a lot of patriarchy blaming on your site (which is to be expected from the title!), but a dearth of actual revolutionary science. You talk about wanting to revolt, but I want to know how you want to revolt, how it should be organized, etc. Are you a communist among the authoritarian/Leninist branch? or a more libertarian socialist?”
Dr Nick’s a magnanimous guy. He offers me a choice of two selections from the Dudely Poli-Sci Menu. My sibling Tidy utilizes a similar gambit with my pre-school nieces. It’s not “what do you want for lunch?” but “will you have boiled liver and Brussel’s sprouts, or a vat of strained pus?” The young relatives don’t yet realize they can counter with “steamed mussels in garlic broth.” Saps.
Naturally Dr Nick is baiting me. He read Marx in college (sophomore year), and wants to know what in the world the loony feminist will do with a $1.98 concept like “authoritarian/Leninist.”
Well, Dr Nick, I am neither an “authoritarian/Leninist branch,” nor a “more libertarian socialist.” That shit’s for putzes. What I am is, I’m a Spinster Auntist.
Say, here’s some “revolutionary science” for y’all: I had my lab assistant Phil run some gels, and we found out that women aren’t from Venus after all. Women belong 100% to the species H. sapiens! Look for my revolutionary science findings in an upcoming issue of Nature.
“Explain yourself, Feminist!”
Dr Nick attempts a familiar ploy. Jesus in a jetpack, if I had a nickel for every time some dude, feigning a desire to familiarize himself with my views, has expected me to produce, using the language of 19th and 20th century bearded European misogynists, a detailed program for revolution and a post-patriarchal society! Then, blammo: dude cannot resist attempt to malign program with dudely reasoning proceeding from preexisting framework of sexist social, juridical, and cultural institutions. Blown lobe ensues.
For example. Say I happen to argue, on the subject of prosecutorial standards pertaining to rape, the following:
Imagine that all women are considered by the courts abide in a perpetual state of non-consent. “No” becomes the default position, and does not require re-stating at any time. In fact, “consent” would not apply to women at all; we would exist as inviolable entities, 100% human beings with full personal sovereignty, the way men do now. We could, if the idea didn’t gag us with a spoon, have as much heterosex as we want, but the instant we don’t want, the dude becomes, in the eyes of the law, a rapist. This shifts the onus onto the dude not to be a barbarian. He can reduce his risk of being sent to the gulag by ceasing to rape, dominate, prod, cajole, shame, nag, or act like a prick. He can avoid it altogether merely by keeping it in his Dockers.*
It’s a wackaloon idea that challenges a status quo wherein women are considered receptacles to which men have all-access passes. Thus must a knobjectivist dude, who only moments before was solicitousness itself, now spooteth out a bunch of stupid patriarchy-loving legal crap supporting the time-tested, rape-a-riffic, women-are-whores, what-about-the-men hegemony. If he’s on his A game, he will not omit a lecture on the practical application of feminist theory, beginning with how feminists should be nicer to men if we expect to convert them to our cause. In closing, he will allude to his girlfriend’s lesbian stripper roommate, asserting that her existence invalidates the entirety of feminism. If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it 2739 times.
That’s right. It turns out that dudes who cruise patriarchy-blaming blogs to criticize “dearths” of “actual” revolutionary science, and who demand to know whether a particular spinster aunt is a neo-Molotovian Sputnikist, aren’t interested in a post-patriarchal society at all! They are interested in suckering feminists into tedious “debates” showcasing their tiresome vocabularies.
Fortunately, it is completely unnecessary for dudes to be converted to or to understand or even to give a flying flip about patriarchy-blaming.
However, for the Ladies in the audience who might be wondering what the heck I mean when I say “the solution to patriarchal oppression isn’t pole dancing, or holding out for a Nigel who will clean the toilet, or even — tempting though it is! — mass suicide; it’s feminist revolt — who’s with me?”, check this shit out.
I allude only jokingly to a Bolshevist-type armed insurrection dealio. A successful feminist revolt would involve, at minimum, a global femininity wildcat strike (that’s a Trotskyesque “united front” for the Dr Nicks in the house). Therefore, because everyone is so heavily invested in femininity, and one of femininity’s governing principles is the primacy of the nuclear family unit, a family-line-crossing united front contingency is merely a pleasant figment of my obstreperal lobe.
You and I both know that, if such a throwdown were to occur, it is extremely unlikely to transpire at the instigation of women like the mostly white, mostly comfortable Western readers of I Blame the Patriarchy. We enjoy broadband internet, access to antibiotics, and strawberries in winter, and as such are not sufficiently motivated by unbearable circumstances to produce the class of professional revolutionary guerrillas that a revolt would require. I suspect that even some of the fairly hardcore blamers would be unwilling, if push came to shove, to commit fully to a repudiation of capitalist-actuated femininity, citing the “we gotta do what we gotta do to survive” clause that currently enables comparatively privileged feminists to, with a clean conscience, bleach their mustaches and buy jeans made by indentured women in the Northern Mariana Islands.
Consider, for a moment, those cherished feminine behaviors the heave-ho of which a femininity work-stoppage would necessitate: misogyny, sex**, marriage, reproduction, nuclear familyism, child-rearing and other unpaid labor, attractiveness, head-tilting and other submissive affectations, fashion, glowing skin, letting disaffected musician boyfriends mooch off you, hot girl-on-mop action, etc. And among the counterrevolution’s initial retributive actions would be contempt, spurnage, job loss, poverty, violence, and the potential forfeiture of whatever paltry privileges accrue to women who capitulate.
It’s a tough sell for Western women, despite the fact that, as you have already observed with your keen eye, the consequences of a femininity work-stoppage would be pretty similar to the consequences of the practice of femininity. The difference is that in the hypothetical scenario, women will have put the revolution ahead of the “do whatever we gotta do to survive” oppressor-appeasement clause, thereby acquiring some real fucking leverage at long fucking last.
It is impossible to know what women might do if they had some real fucking leverage. Abolishing Kiss tribute bands would be a good start. Capitalism, government, religion, porn, heteronormativity, and the Housework Industrial Complex** can’t survive without a sex class, so that shit would all go, too. One hopes that the revolution wouldn’t just replace the current patriarchal dystopia with a different one, maybe based on music snobbery or something. Man, I’d be a total outcast in that culture because I only listen to yacht rock. Steely Dan! Who’s with me?
* The Elimination of Consent is one of the favorite themes here at Spinster HQ; I take it out for an airing every couple of months or so, whether it needs it or not. A fairly elaborate discussion on the topic can be found here.
** Sex could be reinstated as soon as the consent thing described above got carved in stone.
*** Hey, have you seen that TV commercial where a talking bottle of cleaning fluid weeps because the lady of the house has replaced him (it’s a male spray bottle) with golden-earringed Übermensch Mr Clean? O how he longs to be “squeezed” once more.