Oct 03 2009

The comfortable feminist

I wouldn't let this dude into my kitchen with a ten-foot pole.

I wouldn't let this dude into my kitchen with a ten-foot pole.

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.


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  1. yttik


    This post is satisfying enough to replace sex, chocolate, and even Swiffer mops. Actually getting out of bed in the morning suddenly seems like a good idea.

  2. norelpref

    A consummate and well deserved smack down. Delicious.

  3. buttercup

    I was with you until you demanded I give up my significant relationship with my mop. Damn you, and your neo-Molotovian Sputnikism!

  4. Pinko Punko

    The incredibly smooth stylings of Loggins and Messina are a small price to pay.

    Great post.

  5. Laughingrat

    Jeezy Creezy, Jill, this is a thing of beauty.

  6. Panic

    letting disaffected musician boyfriends mooch off you
    That one’s pretty easy to give up, actually. All I had to do was turn 30.

  7. Kelly

    It’s a wackaloon idea that challenges a status quo wherein women are considered receptacles to which men have all-access passes.

    You need to add, ‘girls’ since P apparently considers them prime at about 13.

    Guys like this remind me of Otto from a “Fish called Wanda”.
    Otto: Apes don’t read Philosophy
    Wanda: Yes they do, Otto, they just don’t understand it.

  8. Dr. Righteous

    Twisty Jill, your intellect is matched only by your command of the language. Lately, truly, each post is better than the last. I thought that your previous post was the best ever, but you’ve already topped it. Besides being a great smack-down, this post is really thought-provoking — not to mention conscience-pricking.

    I discover, upon reading your list, that I have been engaging in partial work-stoppage for decades. I can congratulate myself that I don’t do mopping, or any other housework for that matter, for Nigel; I don’t do sex, fashion, makeup, etc. I must not be doing the head-tipping thing either, because I get a lot of flack about my “attitude.” Don’t shave my legs & pits or hide/eliminate facial hair, check. Buy union-produced goods, check. Already married, but would never do it again, half a check.

    Good for me, right? Well, not so fast, little missy.

    Because on the other hand, I have struck these girl-delegated hand-jobs-for-the-Pat off my job description one at a time, over the years, which is a whole lot safer than an out-and-out strike; more like a sick-out, in which the strikers intend to return to work before any real consequences can accrue. Sick-outs are for chickens.

    And being married is a major sell-out, in exchange for some limited physical/financial/socio-legal security–the pat on the head I get from the Pat for still, despite the other stuff I do or don’t do, being a good girl.

    The list of other Y2K femininity-compliant jobs I have not struck is too long for comfort. And I can’t BTP for that, only my own lack of intestinal fortitude.

    So thanks again for an educational, enlightening post, and it’s back to the barricades for me, re-inspired. Hm, let’s see, what can I strike today?

  9. sonia

    I’ve wondered for a long time what your revolutionary leanings were.

    I myself often fantasize right before falling asleep, because it puts the mind in such a wonderful state of peace, and really-don’t things seem a little more possible right before you pass out?-what the result would be globally if by some miracle every single woman in the world woke up the next morning with no loyalty to patriarchy. like it fell away while we slept, and when we woke up we weren’t capable of thinking or acting in male interests anymore. ooh! ahh.

    every night I there’s a new angle on the results. it’s delish.

  10. agasaya

    Nothing short of brilliant. However, Dr. Dude will merely envision you are revisiting the plot of Lysistrata. Nothing other than a dearth of sex seems to occur to men when the phrase, ‘female strike’ is uttered.

    At least until the rent is due. Perhaps a new work called “Atalanta Shrugged” might work for him?

  11. CassieC

    Thanks for the post, Jill, and thanks for mentioning the Mariana workers (those clothes get “Made in USA” labels, too! and so they are, in a sick sick way).

    I comply lots, I feel guilty some. I have another question for you, and I’ll make it a binary in honor of this post: do you think the P requires a sudden, fast, all out revolt, or do you think that the ebb and flow of feminist progress, backlash, more progress, has the potential to wear the P down? Because we have come quite far from being a step above cattle in the “neat-o stuff I own” list of the P, but there is still so far to go. So: sudden revolution, or gradual change?

  12. Frumious B

    Western women, huh? By that I assume you mean “middle- to upper-class women in the developed world” since lots of Western women don’t have access to those things and lots of Eastern, Southern, and Middle women do.

    Anyway, it’s not as though women in the developing world can merrily waltz out of femininity, nuclear-familyism, child rearing, etc, etc. If anything, it is the privileged women who are more able to chuck all that and suffer fewer consequences.

  13. yttik

    “If anything, it is the privileged women who are more able to chuck all that and suffer fewer consequences.”

    This is a good point. I once tossed a job by forgetting to suck it up and keep my mouth shut. It was delicious, like ahh, so this is what privilege feels like. Finally we meet! Nobody else had the luxury to protest, they needed the money.

    It’s a complex issue, however. For some women on the very bottom, “freedom is just another name for nothing left to lose.” For some at the top, romance with a swiffer is just too good to let go of.

    Jill’s point is perfect, however. Revolutions don’t happen when people still have some comforts left, when they aren’t willing to risk losing it all in a quest for something better.

  14. Fede

    Surely Dr. Helpful was only trying to provide you – and by extension all us Savage Death Islanders – with some much needed order and structure to whatever ‘thinking’ can be considered within our capacity in our enraged and frankly uncivilised and, yes, unHELPful state. He didn’t have to, you know.

    – Fede, M.Sc., LL.B., M.A., Ph.D., DDT…

  15. Notorious Ph.D.

    Thanks for this, and especially for the first part of the post. No movement can ever gain headway if we let the opponents of that movement define the terms of the debate. That’s a fixed game, and we shouldn’t play.

    If I may jump in with a partial response to Cassie C’s question with some recommended reading? Judith Bennett’s History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism has a wonderful chapter on what she calls “patriarchal equilibrium,” in which she challenges the whiggish notion of progress over time for feminism, arguing that without a sense of deep history, we can get distracted by short-term gains into ignoring long-term and persistent inequities. I’m pleased and proud to say that she posted a summary (and expansion) of that chapter over at my blog several months ago, if you’re interested in taking a look. The comments function isn’t letting me post a hyperlink, but clicking on my name and going to the March 29 post in the archives will get you there.

  16. Comrade PhysioProf

    Is there an official hat of Spinster Auntism?

  17. stingray

    Brilliant. I don’t have say it again.
    Now, what was that you mentioned about yacht rock??
    I’ve dreamed of the day the smooth grooves of Steely Dan would find their way here. And finally we can rest easy, I mean smoothly.

  18. cypress

    Steely Dan. Yes.

    Oh how effectively your lobes function. What would my life have been like between 30 and 40 years old had I but had access to such smart analysis of the heteronormative patriarchal leftist [in a Canadian way] patriarchal intellectual Nigel.

    These past years, of my early 60s, have brought joy and delight as I have developed the fabulous habit of reading this blog, for which I thank you.

  19. 14th

    In Germany “Mr. Clean” is called “Meister (master) Proper”.
    So, it’s easier to fall in love with your cleaning agent (and let him in your kitchen), isn’t it?

  20. Jill

    “Western women, huh? By that I assume you mean “middle- to upper-class women in the developed world”

    You don’t need to assume anything, since in the post I wrote precisely what I mean, qualifying — in English — the word “Western” with the phrase “the mostly white, mostly comfortable readers of I Blame the Patriarchy.”

  21. Alonzo Riley

    Just read up some of the elimination of consent theory and I love it! It stimulates the imagination because of how quickly it would transform a society. There would be waves and waves and ripples too.

    Legal systems would still be evidence based, so the only thing that would need to be established in court would be if sex had taken place. Basically, evidence of sex plus the woman’s word would result in a criminal conviction. (If no evidence would be needed and it could simply be a woman’s word that sex had happened, that would be a different world, but I’m not imagining that one.)

    I doubt that the law would be capitalism busting, though, so it would seem like capitalists would quickly get to work creating tools for both cataloging/organizing evidence of sexual activity to sell to women, and then tools to “clean up” for men. Perhaps if marriage survived, rings would be substituted with sperm vacuums and body suits. It’s interesting to see how patriarchy would hold on. Still though, it would radically change how people interacted and coupled up.

    I’d love to read a novel by someone who visualized the world where this one legal change occurred.

  22. Kelly

    Steely Dan? “Everyone’s Gone to the Movies” took them off of my list.

  23. sylvie

    Hmmm. Guilty as charged. Even as a devoted reader, and fairly radical feminist, I am quite comfy in my privileges and giving them up first in order to get something better later on for all of us would be really hard. I find myself wanting the incremental change, and recognize that this is because while still a member of the sex class, I have it pretty damn good, work- and family-wise.

    It makes me and I am sure many others uncomfortable to be called out on this. Even the commenters so far have not fully taken up your point about our comfiness in the privileges we do have. Good call.

  24. thebeardedlady

    In Man Made Language, Dale Spender writes about how the battles over gendered and sexist language have been fought anew with each generation of women. Because we don’t have a ‘herstory’ or a culture, many of the gains made by feminists before us are lost. Each woman has to find feminism by herself; there is no structure, no tradition. (I know that there is both structure and tradition, but these become apparent only once one has come to feminism.) So, gradual change over generations doesn’t seem to work for women, because there is nothing to support the incremental progressions, and the next generation ends up fighting the same battles.

    And then looking at the battle for suffrage, in the UK, it’s clear that women were only able to win the vote once they had become sufficiently radicalised – and that meant not just having radical theory which connected the suffering of poor women and of children to the withholding of suffrage, but it also meant having an organisation that supported theory and activism. It was a relatively short period of time between the radicalisation of the movement and winning the vote. Women fought and died for the vote, took to the streets, were raped, imprisoned, force-fed – everything that you would expect. We didn’t get the vote as a result of lobbying and making polite requests – though women did this too. There were lots of divisions and antagonisms within the women’s movement at that time. There were lots of moderates and middle class women who were never radicalised. Still. The ruling powers were forced to give women the vote when it became obvious that, one way and another, they weren’t going to stop fighting for it.

    The patriarchy is so pervasive; it stretches back into the past and distorts that, and reaches into the future and squeezes out all hope. It makes us believe we are weak and pathetic and that our resistance is futile and puny. But there are lots of things we can do that will help to radicalise other women and free our own minds.

    Since I first came across this blog, and proceeded to read it from post to post, so many things became clear to me. I’ve been calling myself a feminist since I first read the Female Eunuch at the age of 13, but I had never met anyone else who ‘got it’ too. I’ve heard expressed here beliefs I held secretly, thoughts I couldn’t quite make coherent. It’s no exaggeration to say that this blog, Twisty, and many of the commenters, have changed my life. Words and ideas are powerful – not just the P’s words and ideas, but ours too.

    I hope they are, anyway. I feel they are. I’ve had quite a few glasses of vino this evening. Apologies for spelling mistakes and overblown rhetoric.

  25. Amananta

    One problem I find with this idea, however, is that it lends itself to a certain martyr-like attitude. See, if you then give up all your comforts, you’re “living simply so others may simply live” and being all noble and self-sacrificing and thus BETTER than all those spoiled, comfortable women, which in turn lends to a certain resentment of them.
    The other problem is that it doesn’t work. I don’t know anyone that was helped by my years of living in intense poverty, without health insurance, a telephone, or most of the things many people in America take for granted. The very biggest impact I had by living in such a way was the tiny dent my lack of having the money to buy anything made in the production of said products by abused sweatshop workers (who are mostly female). The outcome of my choosing (sort of) to live simply was that I had no power and no voice, and thus no ability to be heard or change anything.
    Rather than encourage a martyr-like lifestyle of having comfortable upper class and middle class women give up everything to live in morally pure poverty-stricken conditions, I would suggest they use that extra money and time and energy to help other women. And by “help” I don’t mean “buy them all pretty dresses and Gucci handbags so they can look more normal”, but ASK what they need and BELIEVE them (instead of assuming poorer women are necessarily ignorant and incapable of handling their own affairs, or just too lazy to have gotten ahead in life or all on drugs and all the other stupid things I’ve seen richer women assume about poorer women). At the very least go volunteer one day a week at a women’s shelter or center or something.

  26. agasaya

    Don’t apologize for privilege. Use it. Women who have had and managed to retain their privilege are key to all progress. Poor and sick women rarely gain access to the law. Cases which set precedents never make it to trial because there is no choice as to whom will represent you. Lawyers today do NOT go to trial. Profit taking is highest with least effort in settlements and many good cases never make it into the courts at all because evidence gathering costs money and must be substantial before you even find a lawyer. Most people are forced into settling out of court in sealed agreements (for very little as it stands, part of industry costs of doing business), so no one benefits from the precedent.

    Industry made litigants into bad guys using the press to ridicule them. For instance, there’s the old woman with third degree burns from McDonald’s coffee, a case which was very valid as analyzed in the Wall Street Journal of all places. They had settled with many other litigants over the same issue but thought an old woman didn’t have to be dealt with similarly. Still, she persevered, utilizing the Constitution properly. Now others can’t be similarly victimized because their key to higher sales was through improved taste obtained by setting the temperature of the liquid far higher than the competition without warnings. People know what hot it, but don’t expect caffeinated superconductors.

    Use of the courts is another privilege so DON’T settle. Use it to make the next woman’s life possible if it doesn’t sacrifice your own.

    Or maybe even if it does.

  27. Jill

    “Rather than encourage a martyr-like lifestyle of having comfortable upper class and middle class women give up everything to live in morally pure poverty-stricken conditions […]”

    I encourage nothing of the kind. I merely postulate that revolution is doomed when the perception is that there is more to lose than to gain by revolutioning.

    “their key to higher sales was through improved taste obtained by setting the temperature of the liquid far higher than the competition without warnings”

    This I cannot grasp. Coffee hot enough to cause 3rd degree burns, even after it has cooled, cannot taste good. It’s one of the laws of thermodynamics.

  28. figleaf

    “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.”

    Good! Thanks. I don’t know enough about different revolutionary theories to presume, but since I know you’re heavily influenced by Firestone I was wondering the other day if you were holding out for her era’s fascination with privileged-college-student version of Marxism. Which is only a little embarrassing compared to her now even more obsolete Freudian stuff, but also nowhere near as valuable as her articulate, fresh and (for me anyway) plausible and compelling vision of what a gender free society would look like.

    I still think the (non-Firestone) idea of a straight-up sex strike would be dumb and I think I can finally explain why. And I think I’ve mentioned before that in the face of a strike the chances are higher than ever before that men would just switch to sex with themselves, each other, or inanimate appliances. I’ve also mentioned that the idea of using sex for leverage is as deeply patriarchal as it gets, with the perverse effect that whereas individual men might notice and/or be unhappy Patriarchy itself would be on it’s knees whispering “please, please, yes, let this work!” Which makes your “could be reinstated” second footnote not just dubious but ominous because whether you mean it that way or not, without overturning the dominant paradigm a “successful” resumption of (hetero) sex would be perceived by too many strikers and strikees as an affirmation of sex as transactional.

    This is just my opinion but if I were designing a patriarchy-smashing strike I’d probably advocate refusing to either offer or engage in transactional sex. Which no matter how “consensual” and no matter how gently or genteely conducted (sorry, Nigel) is and always will be indistinguishable from rape. And therefore shouldn’t be resumed even after a revolution. (And no, duh, I’m not talking about going back to that pre-Dworkin Polanski-era “sexual revolution” crap where hetero sex was still absolutely transactional but the cost for men was supposed to be at or near zero and where women were “empowered” to say yes but not yet empowered to say no.)

    Since a lot of the other stuff you mention in your list, Jill, like familyism and unpaid domestic labor (which, incidentally, is just more fallout from the whole notion of hetero marriage as a particularly elaborate sexual transaction) would also obviously follow from a refusal of sex as transactions. Same with all the other submissive affectations which are, after all, are based on the idea that men are doing the paying so they should be treated with the respect employees are supposed to give their employers and vendors are supposed to show their customers.

    Clarifying the notion that it the problem is *transactional* sex — something you might do willingly or even enthusiastically but you’d have to do no matter what — would put a huge dent in the whole feminists hate sex business. (Far as I can tell most feminists, being human beings and all, rather enjoy sex. But being human beings and all they just don’t like the idea that you shouldn’t do it unless you’re trading something for it from one side or another.)

    But anyway, mostly, I just wanted to say thanks for the explanation. Except for disagreeing with that footnote this post helps a lot.


  29. Jezebella

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that all people who go by the name Dr. [Firstname] are pedantic assholes: Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura, Dr. Nick, for example.

    Also, I seem to have missed the Revolutionary Science 101 class in undergrad. Such a shame.

  30. nails

    What the heck is up with all the hopelessness for women in the 3rd world? Western societies have had an overwhelming negative impact on those countries, and comfortable people consuming goods directly related to that (see: damn near everything) is a part of the machinery that keeps the practice going. A revolution like the one Jill proposes would help people in a huge number of very poor countries. Perhaps poor people would be allowed to develop their own economies and live decently outside a system of western domination. A great amount of effort goes into preventing that, so it isn’t as though people haven’t been constantly trying to resist. Countless people have died trying to resist the system of global domination, the amount of courage it would take for us to do what Jill has in mind (or any feminist revolution) is so miniscule compared to the amount displayed by others. Seems like people are too friggin lazy or comfortable to do their part.

  31. sally

    I think the patriarchy is still to invisible to women. It’s there, but the level of denial to make it all okay is incredible. Although racism is a part of partiarchy, when you consider women and the patriarchy, seeing partiarchy is difficult because unlike pure racism, the patriarchy sets up the power equation for women to be inverse to their age.

    So like frogs in heated water, young women don’t see it so much, although, clearly, if they thought about what REAL power they had and how much they really had leverage under the patriarchy, they’d have to challenge it, which is pushing that faux power away. Scary. And then it is often the rebellion part that you believe men over your Auntie and think, “With me, it’ll be different because I don’t see The Man she sees. He’s just one misunderstood puppy. And she must be jealous and bitter to warn me of the patriarchy, because things seem pretty nice to me. With me, it’ll be different.” And then you are fucking David Letterman or something.

    It really is like breaking an addiction, where something inside tells you, I must have that drug or I will die, which is a lie. The lie of the patriarchy is, without me, you are nothing. And ugly too. And let’s shame your sexuality too if you dare challenge.

    I’m struck at how much feminism is similar to labor activism in America. You see all these knobs in red states, who are working for WalMart and corporations who demean them with abuse that they have to deny and swallow everyday, going to teabagger events and anti-union events, and they’d rather challenge anything else (abortion, gays, whatever) than challenge the thing causing their lives the most pain and taking their power – the alpha dogs, the heads of their businesses, the chairmen of the board, corporations, and the boys-club of cronism. They burn their steam off righteously yelling at Rosie O’Donnell or something and saying Hillary has a big ass or something. You know, something productive. You know, for people who don’t believe in evolution, they sure want to be in a dog pack. (Dogs are giving me the side-eye for that comment.) They don’t see that the patriarchy is not just for feminists to smash, but is really key to smash to make America actually work better for more people.

    They cannot confront the partiarch though or the partiarchy making them fearful everyday and defines them as “less-than” or losers if they challenge the older dudes that have their picture on the wall at work or are deacons in the church telling them they’ll go to hell for demanding fair labor treatment and organizing.

  32. Jill

    “What the heck is up with all the hopelessness for women in the 3rd world? “

    As a spinster aunt, I am one of the world’s most accomplished revolutionary scientists, and my suspicion is that this so-called 3rd world will be, if it isn’t already, the next ground zero for women’s civil rights activism.

    This was supposed to be the point of my post, but I forgot to make it. Which is probably why I have instead been understood to be complaining that affluent, educated Western feminists are lazy and self-involved.

    We are, but that wasn’t my point.

  33. Tigs

    The way to revolution is through economic development. As women and other historically disenfranchised groups have gained political power, real social power has quickly and unidirectionally moved into the economic sector.
    Women need to be staunch advocates for their own individual and categorical women’s economic interests. This includes women working in sweatshops and women striving for top leadership positions in law firms and corporate positions (only 12 Fortune 500 companies are headed by women).
    How to do this, I’m not exactly sure but there are several policy arenas that, while not directly revolutionary, can be supported immediately:
    -Laws supporting paid family leave / subsidized child care
    – Legal support for actions under fair wage laws
    – Ascension of women to leadership within union boards (ex. only 2 of 7 members of the SEIU leadership board are women) and expansion of union representation into more women-dominated fields such as hotel, domestic, and child care workers
    – Directing purchasing dollars towards fair labor / women-owned/operated production.
    – Individual women prioritizing their own economic security (I have not yet managed to do this, but I hear Suze Orman might not be a bad place to start).

  34. Doctor Nick

    Don’t hate meeeee ;_;

    I think you misread my intentions. I’m not attacking you or trying to bait you into an answer that will make everyone hate you, I’m honestly interested in seeing what your views are! I enjoy this blog a lot, and it’s been a big part in reexamining my own patriarchy. And, since you talk about revolution a lot, and I didn’t think it would hurt to just think about how such a revolution turn out. I wasn’t intending to limit you to those two choices, it was supposed to be open ended, but I forgot to add a “or what?” on the end there.

  35. Doctor Nick

    Also, I sometimes forget that you get hundreds of comments on these posts, and many of them are trolls from patriarchal assholes. I should have realized that my question would have seemed like troll-bait in this context, and I’m sorry I didn’t word it better.

  36. YodaSaysDO

    First I will say I consider myself a feminist; it’s something I know
    I am but don’t have much of a memory left after chemo for
    breast cancer, so I’m not a very good “argue-er” on the subject.

    I do, however, read your blog and follow along, trying to learn
    a thing or two, which, thankfully I have.

    I read today’s entry and sat back in my chair feeling kind of…
    sad? Confused? Maybe even angry. How can you do ‘A’
    but not do ‘B’?” is how my simple mind is seeing things.

    See, I don’t understand how to join the dichotomy between
    going full-tilt with the sort of feminism you outline here,
    and eating meat and not only eating meat but also eating
    foie gras. Sexual politics of meat, et al. Not only meat,
    but “rich peoples’ meat”. You’ve said before you eat foie
    gras. And I’ve seen plenty of meat filled food items.
    How do you do both; be a feminist and a carnivore?

    I eat meat and feel like shit about it, as a human and as a
    feminist. My breast cancer was ER/PR+ and they told
    me to stay away from soy phytogens and any meat or
    dairy that has growth hormnes in it. Wow. So. I’m not
    sure WHAT to eat any more. All I know is there’s a certain
    level of feeling shaky and the floor rising up to meet me
    that so far has only been assuaged by some red meat.
    And no, I don’t feel good about this.

    But anyway. Question was, how do you bridge these gaps in
    your own life?

    By the way, I’m a homo commie pinko, and I vote.

  37. K

    Jezebella, my chiropractor goes by Dr. Francine and she’s a pip!

  38. K

    But I love the Austen nod.

  39. Dr. Righteous

    Back in the ’60s there was a Mr. Clean ad on tv that involved a woman who wanted her kitchen painted. She’s getting an estimate when Mr. Clean does his tornado thing into her kitchen and says, in effect, “Wait, you stupid slut, your kitchen is just filthy!”

    And he cleans it for her, thereby demonstrating that she doesn’t need paint, just to (a) get a clue and (b) get off her lazy ass and wash her walls. Also, in doing that tornado thing, he demonstrates how inefficient she is by comparison.

    My grandmother kept a spray-bottle of that sexist asshole in her kitchen.

  40. Cimorene

    The problem with a wide-scale feminist revolution is that I can see no way of organizing it. I mean, I could up and rearrange my life so that it would be far more like revolution-y than it is now. But if I did it all my by lonesome, my family would probably get me put into an institution (literally). “[T]o commit fully to a repudiation of capitalist-actuated femininity,” giving up material goods, refusing to engage in patriarchal apparatuses (from food I eat to the clothes I wear to the house I live in to the electricity I use to the bits of this computer I’m using that were strip mined by underpaid workers to the make-up I wear to christmas dinner), and all that, would do me no good if I was the only one doing it, or even if the several people who read this blog did it with me. We’d all just get ignored, dead, or put into asylums. In order for this plan to work–and it totally would–we’d really need to get every woman, or at least 95% of women, on board with the plan, and begin in one flash-bang moment. Sure, we would give up a bunch of comforts–at least, those of us who have those comforts would have to give them up. But if we did it at the same time, we wouldn’t have to give them up for very long. Sure, there would be violence. But it couldn’t last very long.

    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

    If we all did it at once, then these initial retributive actions would be extremely temporary. Even the horror at giving up male privilege pales in comparison to the extinction of the species for men, right? And some sort of Sabine-esque abduction and rape-to-make-babies scenario on the part of the men who would be really, really against giving up that privilege would be short lived, as it’s really just not maintainable long-term. And surely there would be at least some dudes who would be on our side.

    What we need is some sort of bat symbol that lets everybody know when we should go wildcat. And also a specific list of suggestions on what and how to do or stop doing–the patriarchy is indeed to pervasive that even if I tried to revolt and de-patriarchalize my life, I’d probably forget to do something imperative to the continuation of the P, because I sometimes can’t see what aspects of my life are wicked p-centric. Reading this blog, and other radical feminist books and blogs and papers, is instrumental in my “oh yeahhhhhh. right. oh god. shit. ok then.” moments of realization, seeing just how many ways my life and person are contributing to the patriarchal system without my knowledge, understanding, or consent.

  41. Fede

    Funny how having it comparatively easy seldom makes it easier to make an effort. The comfortable feminist – oh, how important it was that you pointed this out, Twisty – is less likely to be on the front lines of a revolution. If she even supports it.

    Because there is a very real danger that, while identifying as a feminist, a spoiled white Westerner will in fact angrily refuse to recognise the degree to which patriarchy informs and forms her own life. It’s so insulting and horrifying how deep ‘The Patrix’* really goes – right into the ‘outposts in your head’ – that it seems easier to lash out at that suggestion rather than denting one’s self-respect with the admission and risking what comforts one has to lash out at the P itself. The result being not only a comfortable feminist, but a reactionary feminist.

    It dawned on me at 5am this morning, not having slept a wink, that I am a reactionary feminist. For example, it has taken me 14 years to admit to myself that the three Nigels I’ve had in that time, including my current one, are all male chauvinists, even if they are the enlightened pick of the litter. I have spent longer than 14 years raging against patriarchy, so what took me so long? I blame the patriarchy that it did, but I also blame my misplaced sense of self-possession.

    No need to name names, but earlier today I visited some of the other sites dealing with feminism, and what I saw very nearly had me tearing my hair out in despair. The need to preserve some sense of dignity has people insisting that they do everything they do out of that ‘choice’ they so fervently need to believe in, and it has them completely on the defence the moment someone suggests that said choices may not be all they’re cracked up to be.

    That’s the aspect of backlash that saddens me the most. A bit of privilege makes us turn against those who would have us fight for more.

    I heard the question posed somewhere, Which is the more powerful human emotion: fear, or laziness? I don’t know the answer but no doubt both play a role in keeping the comfortable feminist complacent.

    On the more positive side, doesn’t our relative affluence and freedom put us in a position to bring some actual valuable solidarity to the table for women’s activism in worse off parts world, to boost their leverage? If we can’t agree among ourselves on whether or not ‘sex-pos’ or taking your husband’s name can be feministic, at least we should be able to rally our energies for that. If not, our laziness is inexcusable.

    Ok, that was long-winded and probably not news to the experienced blamers here, but having been a silent lurker for some time, and English not being my first language, I needed to get warmed up. Plus I obviously love the sound of my own keyboard. Hope you bear with me.

    *Someone among the commenters here came up with that brilliant title in an earlier thread, but I can’t recall who or where!?

  42. yttik

    Okay, women should refuse to carry any shame for the patriarchy or for what pitiful little privilege they might have. For too long women have had to carry the shame. We didn’t create this system and many of us have opposed it daily. The majority of us are not spoiled, privileged, lazy western women, we have been on the front line for decades fighting for the right to vote, abortion rights, for domestic violence laws, for sexual assault victims, for financial aid to foreign countries to actually land in the hands of women.

    The patriarchy continues, not because women are too lazy and comfortable to fight against it, but because we are well trained to accommodate the practice of separate, divide and control. In this thread we can see the divisions popping up already, third world women versus western, rich versus poor, religion, politics, race, age, you name it. Without solidarity and unity there is no revolution.

  43. sally

    I want to respond to this: “would do me no good if I was the only one doing it, or even if the several people who read this blog did it with me. We’d all just get ignored, dead, or put into asylums.”

    I also want to respond to a recent editorial on Alternet.org where, a woman wrote that she’s a feminist…but… she doesn’t want to fight with her husband over housework. So she does it all. And then she argues that what we REALLY need to solve her housework problem with her husband is : worldwide change, mad men taken off the air, lot’s of legislation supporting women’s equality.

    So she lobbies for all of this in the name of feminism…wanting women and men to band together to pass laws and improve television shows, but she is unwilling to, in her words, to get into a fight with her husband over laundry. When the worldwide problem gets solved by feminism, then her husband will stop taking privilege over her in opting out of non-enjoyable household support.

    Sure, I think.

    Then I think I’m sore at this feminist. I’m sore about the whole “non-feminine” woman as pathology too. I blame the patriarchy.

    But, I think, some folks need to be schooled that it’s not all or nothing for better today. It’s not global change before confronting your husband. It’s not ALL about legislation or I have to get a full posse to do it with me. Sure, I’m all for that. But confronting The Man is also about the small and in your own personal relationships.

  44. Jill

    “You’ve said before you eat foie
    gras. And I’ve seen plenty of meat filled food items.
    How do you do both; be a feminist and a carnivore?”

    It is true that I once ate “rich people’s meat.” Although the foie gras episode was an anomaly; it’s not like I dined 3 times a day on the stuff. But more to the point, your information is out of date. Here, written last year, is the mea culpa you demand.

    Now you know all about my diet. For my next trick, I’ll reveal more irrelevant personal data. Perhaps a photoessay documenting my bowel movements.

    Oh, and chemo brain-freeze? I feel ya, sister. Do I ever.

  45. humanbein

    Feminist peoples of the world, you must throw off the chains of oppression by arguing ceaselessly over who is and is not feminist enough, about whether feminism is really this or that, and spend valuable time making up obscurantist terms to define your differences from each other until you fall apart completely in bickering disarray, much like US Communist party so gloriously did. Only by proving that you and you alone are the true expert on all feminist theories will you be able to create factions and sow internal dissent until entire movement become one big pile up of each of us proving other ones wrong! Is only way to run revolution! Ask any man!!

  46. sally

    Humanbein – I agree. You don’t need fancy Master’s degrees or terminology or theory or feminist committees to say “Hell, no!”

    And embrace the fact that saying “Hell, no!” to the partriarchy doesn’t require a whole argument and justification with a dude. And actually can be quite tasty and enjoyable.

  47. Pinko Punko

    I know Jill must use the most decadent and wasteful of toilet paper. Dried centipede husks are even a luxury for some people’s bits. Flagellate thyself!

  48. agasaya


    Please try to get past the guilt over whatever kind of diet you need to be well. There is this bizarre, group hallucination in which people believe we can all eat the same diet and be both politically correct AND well.

    Never gonna happen.

    Poisoning by pesticides (in your case, perhaps chemo) alters biochemistry. In my case, an acquired genetic mutation rendered my ability to process sulfur extremely poor. Green and orange veggies can put me away while precious amino acids can only be derived from meat and turkey. High protein intake is essential. Supplements, uhm, only a couple which are compounded. I am illustrative but not necessarily representative given lack of data – few even know to take such tests but it’s common enough that Medicare paid for it!

    I had sufficient privilege to learn the basis for the terrible transitions my body was taking. So, I wound up eating free range and organic meats. No guilt for being at the top of the food chain as long as the animals live decently and are ‘harvested’ as humanely (bad term no matter how done) as possible.

    Vegetarianism is an ideal, precluded in my case, by the P. Let your body dictate its needs rather than your politics. This way you will be well enough to alter the politics that now restrict your personal choices. Be well.

  49. Twobees

    First off, would all those MRA’S with questions about how the revolution will proceed please form one line over there, to the left? That’s it, just along that wall there. No, height doesn’t matter, just stand next to the wall. All your questions willbe answered in a minute. Would anyone like a cigarette?

    Why do the door-to-door Patriarchons insist on knowing how it will happen before they concede that it needs to happen? It reminds me of a certain filmmaker who won’t agree to face justice unless he knows what that justice will be. And why do they think their approval is of interest to anyone?

    Seriously, I don’t know how this will happen, or even if it is possible, but for most (all?) of those doubts I blame the patriarchy. They set up the standards for success/failure that I have internalised and that clog the obstreperal lobes like a soothing blend of velveeta. It looks like cheese, it tastes like cheese but dammit it just ain’t cheese, and the sooner its out of there the real cheese makes it pale in comparison… jump starting the ‘Lobes often gives rise to some mighty strange imagery…

    Is wackaloon a bad thing? I thought the consent proposal to be pretty solid, actually. It is basically what we have now, where consent is taken as a given, with a little realignment that says Yes Means Yes, all other go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect 200$.

  50. marj

    I would join your revolt. I really would.

  51. Eleanor

    Jill, I wonder if anyone has shown you the consent laws that now nominally exist in NSW, Australia? I say ‘nominally’ because obviously in a screamingly misogynist society, they’re not gonna work properly, but they are conspicuously similar to your idea of women being in a state of non-consent until proven otherwise. They were only introduced recently.

    Here is an opinion piece describing the difficulties with them, but basically it’s this:

    “In 2007 the consent laws in NSW were changed to reflect that a person is never in a state of consent unless they actively and freely state that they are. Before this, women were imagined to be in a constant state of consent unless they specified otherwise (preferably by chanting ‘No means no’, hands on hips).”

    Googling ‘nsw rape consent laws 2007’ bring up reactions of wildly varying quality, but yes. Someone, somewhere understands what you meant by the famous rape law theory.

  52. Jill

    Hey thanks, Eleanor. I am the world’s foremost legal scholar, but I must have missed that issue of Aussie Rape Law Quarterly.

    It’s not quite the same as what I propose, but it’s at least on the same planet, and I can envision it significantly ameliorating outcomes.

    I was once in a band called The Significantly Ameliorated Outcomes.

  53. buttercup

    Coffee hot enough to cause 3rd degree burns, even after it has cooled, cannot taste good. It’s one of the laws of thermodynamics.

    The heat at serving doesn’t improve the taste, but using ridiculously hot water to brew and holding it at higher temperatures improves the perceived taste (mostly smell) of low-quality Robusto coffee beans, like the ones used by McDonalds. (I think they’ve started using some Arabica in their blends but not nearly enough to change or even disguise the fact that their coffee is crap.)

    Anecdotally, I didn’t notice that McDonalds coffee smelled like coal tar until I quit smoking.

  54. Julie

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are a deity among mortals.

  55. Hattie

    Just taking it all in. Great post and great discussion.

  56. fannie

    “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.”

    When I read this I was reminded of the dood comic book Y: The Last Man, about the only man who survives a plague that kills every other man on the planet- making him the only man on a planet full of women. (Because really, what the world needs is another comic book about a man, even if he’s the only man in the ENTIRE WORLD, but I digress). The authors of this comic book envisioned airplanes literally falling from the skies and the earth’s functions practically grinding to a halt due to the calamity of every man, but one, dying on earth instantaneously.

    The comic book has its moments, but I find it unimaginative as the overarching theme tends to be sort of a masturbatory motto of Men Are Very Important and the World Would be Very Scary and Chaotic if only women were in it.

    This comic book needs a less “knobjective” counterpart explaining the implications of female work-stoppage.

  57. Laughingrat

    Fannie–I admire your fortitude in getting through any of Y: The Last Man. My friends kept pressing it on me despite my misgivings, so I glanced at it and as far as I could tell, it was like the deepest, darkest fears/fantasies of the Men’s Rights movement. Fie upon them.

    Can anyone recommend any radfem comic artists/works? I don’t necessarily mean something like Hothead Paisan, but more like a regular comic book without all the misogyny. Yeah, I know, keep dreaming.

    Humanbein, what the heck? We can’t discuss what feminism is, how to make changes, or how our choices might negatively affect our fight to be recognized as people? How are we supposed to communicate, then? Telepathy? Criminy, this stuff’s important, and discussing it is not divisive.

    Sally, I worked my ass off for my “fancy Master’s degree”; should I feel ashamed for working hard to make my life better through a career change? Or is this just random anti-intellectualism on your part? Talk about divisive.

  58. Deanna

    Which is the more powerful human emotion: fear, or laziness?

    Fear is stronger, but laziness gets to be quite an attractive habit. First you stop wearing heels and panty hose, then makeup, then coiffing/dying/streaking/whatever your hair, then shaving your legs and pits, cleaning up after other people, non-reciprocal oral sex, and onward and outward until you no longer give a flying fuck what anybody else thinks.

    I occasionally back slide on the cleaning up after other people, but I’ve got the rest of it down. I wish it were as easy to make good shopping choices – laziness doesn’t work in your favour there.

  59. eilish

    Capitalism is the tool of the patriarchy, so that puts the kibosh on ownership of anything for feminist revolutionaries.
    Problem: I am willing to forgo acquisition of housing, large appliances, cleaning products and shiny/pink high-tech objects,but I don’t think I can bear to set free my cat. I know a couple of women who feel the same way about their kids. I am extremely conflicted.

    Discussion of the Feminist revolution gives rise to the inevitable “you can’t be a feminist if you ” rebuke, which is a cause of grievance to heterosexual feminists who like pink, and don’t do radical. The thought that a woman can like sex and still be feminist tends to arise stubbornly in her mind, even though she has read “The Origins of the family, private property and the state” by Friedrich Engels (so much more readable than Marx) and cannot deny it’s truth.

    Luckily for those who feel affection for a Nigel and want to keep him, have already started child-rearing and can’t stop half-way,or really like handbags; the feminist revolution began shortly after patriarchy and women have reclaimed a lot of the territory that goes with sex, children and property.
    We might never have the kind of feminist society Ursula Le Guin envisioned in “The Dispossessed”, but if we all keep fighting, we won’t go backwards.

  60. elnorrigb

    “As a spinster aunt, I am one of the world’s most accomplished revolutionary scientists, and my suspicion is that this so-called 3rd world will be, if it isn’t already, the next ground zero for women’s civil rights activism.”

    Your post reminds me of the book “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder. Kidder follows this doctor named Paul Farmer who is combating poverty, AIDS, and TB in developing nations–often through small hospitals built by non-profit dollars. Farmer’s an anthropologist as well, and spends a lot of time in the book reflecting on the origins and perpetuation of poverty and disease. His thesis is two-fold: 1) The best way to free people from disease is to eradicate poverty and desperation (and in the case of AIDS, this applies particularly to women); 2)people in the West should start acting like human beings.

    Your comment about 3rd world civil rights activism reminds me of one problem with which Farmer contends: people in 3rd world countries are consistently punished for seeking equality themselves. “Is it responsible, is it wise, to push the poor to claim what is theirs by right?…We know the answer to that question, because we are digging up their bodies in Guatemala.” We can only imagine what lovely (NOT ameliorated) outcomes result when women do the same. Thus the need for people like Farmer, and like us.

    Anyway, it’s a good read.

  61. procrastinatrix

    Loving this post and the discussion in the comments.

    As a privileged, comfortable American feminist I lived in Ethiopia for three years in the early 2000’s. I LOVED reading about the great work of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association, who bravely work for women’s economic, political, civil rights, despite intermittent banning by successive governments there.

    Long way to go there as here, but these are some effective revolutionaries. Looked for a website but couldn’t find one. Best I could do was this link on an Ethiopian affairs blog: http://nazret.com/blog/index.php?title=ethiopia_ethiopian_woman_awarded_by_the_&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

  62. procrastinatrix

    ..and I’m also a big fan of the Elimination of Consent idea. Looking forward to reading the Australian law stuff tonight.

  63. Ottawa Gardener

    Long time reader, first time commenter. May I just say, sign me up.

  64. fannie


    Well, if the “critical acclaim” and reviews on Amazon are any indication, doods think the comic is the greatest thing since Wonder Bread. It’s too bad really since, as you rightly note, it is essentially an MRA fantasy book that fails to acknowledge that, as Twisty notes, reality is a patriarchal dystopia. From the perspective of the one male character, the Amazon Womyn Hate Men (of course) For Practically No Reason At All!

  65. Flores

    I feel compelled to jump to Firestone’s defense. Her take on Freud and Marx still reads well to me. While later researchers rightfully tore Freud’s methods apart, his importance can’t denied. He wasn’t merely making stuff up, but trying to interpret and explains the existing culture. Firestone showed how patriarchal constructions muddled his analysis; rather than being hopelessly dated, her revision of Freudian theory resonates with 21st-century reality. In like fashion, her cybernetic communism becomes more and more relevant with each advance in automation. It’s grossly unfair to say she simply embraced the privileged and popular Marxist thought of her time. To the contrary, she disassembled and remade Marxism from a radical feminist perspective. She combined this recentered socialism with a prescient appreciation for the transformative power of technology. The Dialectic of Sex was a visionary work that will retain its impact for generations to come.

  66. 1st Step

    Rescue Wikipedia from the clutches of Patriarchy, starting with the Patriarchy page.

  67. Cathy

    Jill, you have gotten to the core of the problem: Those with enough power to effect change are too comfortable to rock the boat (much), and those who are miserable enough have no power, as all their time is used just trying to survive.

    Your “wackaloon” idea will never go over with the menz, because they are so sure that women are all vindictive, fickle liars, that we might completely consent, but then in the morning change our minds because they left their dirty underwear on the floor. In other words, they are afraid that we will behave like them.

  68. DaisyDeadhead

    As an ex Yippie, of course, I have to say no, no, no to the Programme. I prefer Yippie tactics, designed to bring millions of now-apathetic women into the movement:

    Mass burnings of diet books and cosmetics, huge bonfires. (Ideally, the size of a small island.)

    Sit-ins of selected patriarchs, wearing fun costumes. These could go on for days or weeks, with shifts changing.

    Free-access feminist TV, available 24/7. We could include music videos, interviews and stuff like that. Twisty, you could be a TV star.

    Once we have the TV station up and running, we should be able to stage mass “tea parties” of our own.

    If Glenn Beck can do this, anyone can. Really.

  69. Felicity

    A feminist TV channel is my fantasy dream. Free from dudes/ tools posting comments and having to take an edgy stance like in articles, it is imho totally the next step in a revolution. Finn Mackay doing speeches, writers, artists, witty people untangling the nonsense of every day craziness. Then we establish leaders. We might even need a password to watch the stuff.

    Even just a ‘Women’s Network’ with a feminist angle! But in the UK we have enough men actually campaigning about stuff like ‘Loose Women’, which is a mere panel of four women discussing womanly things (about as far from feminist as you get). Mm the problems of a feminist TV channel in a patriarchy…

    Not saying it wouldn’t reel in viewers – males with their testicles in a twist for a start. Plus it would be the only thing other than ‘Living TV’ which is female friendly. Who’d have thought women might enjoy TV which doesn’t spew bitter hate at them?

  70. Jill

    “Twisty, you could be a TV star.”

    Gaak! I’d rather die screaming.

  71. FlorenceCraye

    Jill Psmith, thank you for being you. Talking with most people about these issues is like trying to peel an orange with another orange.

    Regarding your piece on The Elimination of Consent, you have beautifully articulated one of the crises of sex: that women are seen as passive participants whose role is to consent to men having sex with them. Women don’t have sex; they merely let men do it to them (or else try to revoke the assumed consent). Fuck letting men do it to. That’s what consent is predicated upon, and that’s why it’s so problematic. Thanks for sharing this, you’ve cleverly articulated something I’ve been having difficulty expressing.

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