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Oct 16 2009

Ways In Which the Internet Sucks

meghanmcc Savage Death Island is happy to launch a new feature. It’s the greatly anticipated Ways In Which the Internet Sucks feature!

We begin with a charming instance of Whataboutthemen?! appearing this morning on the Atlantic’s website. But first, the backstory:

Meghan McCain — Young Republican, internet columnist, “Colbert Report” guest, and daughter of John — posts a self-portrait on Twitpic.

A “twitpic,” I have discovered, is a photo with a short URL, suitable for tweeting.

McCain tweets this URL.

Uh-oh! In the self-twitpic, McCain has failed to completely disguise the fact that she has breasts. Her “tens of thousands of followers” retaliate for her public femaleness by loosing a torrent of abuse, a Public Shaming Action consistent with the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women. According to WSJ blog Dijits, McCain responds to the beatdown thusly:

“So I took a fun picture not thinking anything about what I was wearing but apparently anything other than a pantsuit I am a slut. [...] When I am alone in my apartment, I wear tank tops and sweat pants, I had no idea this makes me a ’slut’, I can’t even tell you how hurt I am.”

I will touch on the tragickal patriarchy-blaming implications of that statement in a moment. But first, the whataboutthemen Atlantic piece.

Appearing in a column called “Spatwatch,” with the classy and original headline “Meghan McCain’s Breasts Launch 1000 Ships,” is an account of two dudes who get into it on Twitter over McCain’s photograph. The dudes, if anyone gives a crap, are ABC correspondent Jake Tepper and some knob described as “conservative blogger Allahpundit.”

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a blog with the word “pundit” in the title, I say to myself, “Jill, that’s one blog you can safely omit from your reading list with every expectation that your life will continue to be fun-filled and carefree.”

The substance — I use the term loosely — of the Tepper/Allahpundit tweetbroglio: Tepper chivalrously attempts to buck up the wounded McCain by instructing her on the intricacies of mob psychology, describing her detractors as “mean 9-year-olds.” Whereupon this Allahpundit dude goes apeshit, his temper flaring because he apparently interprets Tepper’s defense of McCain as a personal affront. The exchange progresses until both dudes have kissed and made up and are stroking each other’s pundits.

I mention this because, instead of discussing the sorry state of affairs that has compelled hordes of dickwads to deride McCain for having boobs, instead of deconstructing the larger, ultra-misogynist zeitgeist of the Internet, the “Spatwatch” piece completely ignores the actual story (i.e. “Woman punished by fans for appearing in public as human being”) in favor of showcasing the egos of a couple of Dude Nation losers.

Same shit, different day.

Meanwhile, observe McCain’s own rhetoric. She clearly knows the rules. Here she is after the shitstorm, commenting the double-standard that just slapped her upside the head.

[W]hen Rep. Aaron Schock or Rep. Jeff Flake post pictures of themselves without their suits on—and their shirts, for that matter—they are proclaimed “hotties.” But put me in a tank top and I am suddenly an embarrassment to the Republican Party and women everywhere.

She grasps that, as a member of the sex class, she exists continuously in a state of pre-porn. She understands that she is only allowed to wear tank tops when she is “alone in [her] apartment.” That’s because, in public, she will be judged by Dude Nation’s occupying forces and their collaborators, all of whom have exacting (but ever-fluctuating) standards with which members of the sex class, who ceaselessly walk a fine line between virgin and whore, must comply.

McCain’s mistake is in momentarily forgetting this detail and imagining herself to enjoy fully-human status.

When her scandalous tank top photo — you’d think it was a shot of a wide-open beaver with a crack pipe hanging out of it for all the attention it’s getting — makes national news, she quickly realizes her error, and — here the spinster butt sprouts a boil — issues an apology to her Twitter fans. She takes down the twitpic and contemplates deleting her Twitter account. She’s sorry if she “offended” anyone by publishing a likeness of her personal self in non-regulation Young Republican-wear.

She has, she says, “learned a valuable lesson about the Internet and the boundaries between personal and public use with social media.”

The lesson? Men don’t have boundaries.

Beatdown successful! Congratulations, Dudes!

193 comments

8 pings

  1. Violet Socks

    Is “Tepper” a joke I’m not getting? Because the dude’s real name is Tapper.

  2. rachel

    I hope that, despite this absurd episode and its myriad tragical consequences, I may be allowed to continue thinking that Meghan McCain is awful.

  3. sonia

    her breasts look really uncomfortably smashed together and up. it looks to me like she has big breasts for her frame and she was sitting around the apartment and thought they looked good in her new Wonderbra and decided to show off on Twitter a little bit. it’s stupid that beauty standards involve breast torture. okay, okay. it’s stupid that there are beauty standards. okay, it’s stupid that men have social prerogative to comment on beauty standards.

    okay, it’s stupid that men have social prerogative to comment.

  4. Nolabelfits

    Looks to me like the requisite lips out, head tilted downward but eyes up’ boob showin’ crap teenage girls post on myspace all day long. A joke, perhaps? Or just business as usual. How old is she anyway?

  5. Jill

    OK, “Tapper,” then. I am not acquainted with the guy.

    But are you guys kidding me? Did I write somewhere in the post “Please post a bunch of comments assessing the Beauty2K Compliance of this woman’s boobs”?

    I weep for the future.

  6. Ash

    yeah, really. I hate how people called her a slut and everything else because, OH MY GAHH, you KNOW she has boobs in this picture!! What on earth?? A woman with breasts??? That’s disgusting!! Hide them!! Only whores have breasts, therefore breasts are evil and naughty sexual objects. 9_9 Thanks for actually blogging on this topic. I thought nobody noticed it. The [general] public reaction made me sick. Misogynists are everywhere, but ESPECIALLY online!

  7. Nolabelfits

    I’m not assessing the beauty2K compliance of her boobs. Just making an observation that it looks like the same old stuff I see my teenage daughters and friends posting. Its practically a requirement to show your boobs these days. I blame the mainstreamning of porn. I get where you’re coming from with the post.

  8. yttik

    Fortunately it was only a top shot. The top half of boobs only evokes horror in the US, exposing the bottom half can actually be a criminal act. There is a diagram of the legalities of the female body in my state, much like a butcher’s map.

    Meghan’s journey into feminism is kind of interesting to watch. She gets close and then jumps back like the water is just too cold. Her mother is an interesting character, too. She’s done quite a bit of work with women around the world. Last July she wrote of aid work in foreign countries: “If wealthy nations want their assistance programs to be effective, they should look to the women who form the backbone of every society. With some education, training, basic rights and empowerment, women will transform a society — and the world.”

  9. sonia

    no, no-sorry, Jill. I was saying, it just seems like a small flirtation for the amount of crap she received. and also, it just looks like it HURTS. I don’t think it’s her issue, IBTP.

  10. Hedgepig

    What strikes me is that she thought she knew the rules: display of enhanced upper bust = societal approval, and she got a shitstorm instead. She didn’t realise that for each directive to females there is an equal and opposite directive, in this case: display of enhanced upper bust = societal shaming. Maybe now she’ll realise she has way too many x chromosomes to ever get it right.

  11. Amnesiac

    I wonder who forced her hand. I’m sure it only took one phone call from Daddy to instigate that apology.

    But I think the bigger issue here is the fact that no mention has been made of the Andy Warhol book in the picture. I’m sure there’ll be a follow-up apology for that soon. Women with public breasteses and reading BOOKS! Save the men!

  12. agasaya

    She should next wear a chador or burqa when tweeting and ask the Party which one they prefer. Regulations really ought to be more specific, like for girls in parochial school. How many inches below the neck or above the knee.

    Always best to have the rules in writing!

  13. Kate

    I am pretty deeply bummed by the first two comments in this thread. What McCain does or does not do with her breasts is nobody’s business, and neither is it appropriate for them to be commented on by men or, gasp!, women. Her breasts are not the issue, her face is not the issue, the terrible book she’s reading is not the issue.
    I hope I’m not a fool for expecting better of Blamers.

  14. Larkspur

    Yup, Meghan McCain is most fortunately in constant possession of big healthy breasts. This is a good thing, and I am pleased for her. I hope she loves them, and that they last her a good long lifetime, and that nothing bad every happens to her or any part of her bod.

    But I do not like that cloying, kittenish twitpic. I wish she hadn’t been pummeled ruthlessly for revealing cleavage. But I could get real snarky about McCain’s current profligate lifestyle without saying one single damn discouraging word about her breasts, and that wouldn’t necessarily make me anti-woman or anti-breast.

    I don’t have to like her. Yeah, yeah, yeah: if she showed up at my door, all desperate, saying: “O, the patriarchy, the patriarchy! It loves me not! I am but chum in the patriarchal sea!” I would totally let her in and see that she’s safe and comfy. But if she wanted to stay for a while, she’d have to do some chores. Just like everybody else.

  15. hero

    Liking the idea of McCain doing some chores around the joint. Whichever joint you like.

  16. Violet Socks

    I just want to say that I love this paragraph:

    She grasps that, as a member of the sex class, she exists continuously in a state of pre-porn. She understands that she is only allowed to wear tank tops when she is “alone in [her] apartment.” That’s because, in public, she will be judged by Dude Nation’s occupying forces and their collaborators, all of whom have exacting (but ever-fluctuating) standards with which members of the sex class, who ceaselessly walk a fine line between virgin and whore, must comply.

    It’s so beautifully constructed. I’m particularly thrilled by “a state of pre-porn,” but all of it is wonderful.

    I apologize for posting a comment that doesn’t substantially contribute to the discussion.

  17. The Nerd

    When I heard about the controversy, I thought to myself “My god, what- are we all insane?!” (And I don’t even believe in god, so that’s saying something.) Here we are talking about how fleshy certain parts of her body are instead of commenting about the book in her hand, and how the subject of that book may or may not have destroyed the respectability of the fine art scene through his blurring of the lines between practical and decorative graphics. Its as if there’s a trigger attached to the rationality center of everyone’s brains that can be switched off at the sight of some mammaries!

  18. Nolabelfits

    Violet Socks,

    I too love that paragraph. I am raising teenage girls in a crappy neighborhood on the edge of the ghetto amd the whole idea of a “state of pre-porn” makes me crazyy and lucid at the same time. Its so true. I’m sick of fighting against it.

  19. virago

    “She understands that she is only allowed to wear tank tops when she is “alone in [her] apartment.”

    Apparently, women can’t even wear tank tops or nothing at all when alone in their apartments or hotel room for that matter. Just ask Erin Andrews. People still manage to blame her for that!

  20. rachel

    kate, what about my comment bums you out? It does not make mention of any topic that you’ve listed

  21. sonia

    @Rachel-

    she’s trying to insult me but got it wrong.

    how is it not okay to comment on her breasts? all I was saying was this looks very uncomfortable. lighten up.

  22. sonia

    I guess I better censor my thoughts better before I comment on this blog again. just to clarify:

    “it looks to me like she has big breasts for her frame and she was sitting around the apartment and thought they looked good in her new Wonderbra and decided to show off on Twitter a little bit.”

    by that I meant- it seems like she felt her appearance lined up with cultural standards, was at home alone feeling good about that and decided to show off a little. I don’t view showing off feeling sexy as unfeminist, and in fact what I was saying was, it’s ridiculous that she got flak for it. and in the same comment I went on to say that beauty standards are ridiculous, as is the male prerogative to comment on them.

    what is the f- problem?

  23. sonia

    actually, you know what? who even cares. I’m not the first person or the only person who feels like contributing here requires another language, or is walking on eggshells. there is definitely a party line here and if you don’t say it exactly right you might as well shut up.

    i might read from time to time but I’m done commenting here.

  24. Comrade PhysioProf

    Another lesson she is, hopefully, learning is that when your celebrity is based on pandering to the depraved fantasies of woman-hating sick-fuck right-wing shitbags, it is only a matter of time before their woman-hating depravity turns on you.

  25. Hedgepig

    sonia, I understand what you’re saying. I don’t know why feminists are so hard on each other. Perhaps it’s got something to do with being such a marginalised group. It also might be one of the other ways the internet sucks. We might not be so quick to yell at each other in person.

  26. CassieC

    I didn’t hear any “yelling”. Kate said she was deeply bummed, Jill wept for the future and I can echo both those sentiments.

    How about this guideline: when something shitty happens to a woman, try, just try, to leave her out of your reaction. Focus on the bad guys. Because in a patriarchy, when you say anything about the woman, it’s likely to be along the lines of “I don’t like her boobs either, but …” and that is shitty, no ifs ands or buts about it.

  27. Hedgepig

    No one said they didn’t like her boobs. I believe what people said was they didn’t like what she apparently felt she needed do with them to comply with current beauty standards as dictated to women by patriarchal forces. The expression of sadness and distress that young women feel the need to distort their natural form is not an attack on young women. Is it considered a mis-blame to target patriarchal artefacts such as push-up bras? Weren’t we all just recently lamenting the wearing of foot-disfiguring high heels? If a woman took a snap of her tortured feet wouldn’t we say “poor girl I wish she didn’t feel she had to wear them?”

  28. otoc

    There are hordes of woman-hating sick-fuck left-wing shitbags and nothing Meghan did means she deserves anyone’s woman-hating depravity turned on her, right, left or female.

  29. Catherine Martell

    It doesn’t matter whether we like the photo or not. The cause of the offence is the misogynist reaction.

    The internet-based arm of the patriarchy demands that women’s bodies be commodified completely, and rewards those who comply with a brief flicker of its lordly attention. But if a woman’s body is visible in a context which, by constantly changing and undefined rules, is judged doubleplusungood, then she is a revolting slut and must be loudly humiliated.

    When women classified as non-whores make the mistake of turning men on, even unknowingly, they are immediately and publicly reclassified as whores. In a patriarchy, sex is shameful, and women – being the sex class – are held responsible for preserving male virtue. So, when a patriarchal dude gets a hard-on, and feels ashamed, he does not blame his own unrestraint, or question why he feels shame in the first place. Instead, he feels immediately that it is the fault of the object which aroused him – a woman. SHE aroused HIM, so she must be a filthy slut, and he feels entitled to hate her for it.

    Yes, it’s possible that by taking a “kittenish” picture, Meghan McCain may have tried to play the patriarchy’s game and lost. But it’s still not her fault. Discussing that picture, its content, her boobs, or her as a person are all just sideshows, distracting us from the main event. Which is, as always, blaming the patriarchy.

  30. Comrade PhysioProf

    There are hordes of woman-hating sick-fuck left-wing shitbags and nothing Meghan did means she deserves anyone’s woman-hating depravity turned on her, right, left or female.

    Of course there are woman-hating sick-fuck left-wing shitbags and of course she didn’t deserve what happened.

    The specifics of what happened were, however, quite a predictable outcome given the specific brand of shitbaggitude typically exhibited by the woman-hating right-wing sick-fucks her celebrity is built around. The only reason anyone knows who the fuck she is is because she is John McCain’s daughter, and the only reason anyone gives a flying fuck about her activities on the Internet is because she sells herself as some new kind of young, hip right-winger.

    The people who are angry about her activities on the Internet and to whom she apparently felt obligated to apologize are woman-hating right-wing shitbags who have bought the sales job. These people want her to be “young” and “hip”, but only within the same-old right-wing ideological definitions of appropriate women’s behavior.

    Pointing out the unique political dimensions of this particular incident should not be interpreted as implying that it does not also occur in the broader context of patriarchy.

  31. speedbudget

    I can’t wait for the day a picture of a topless woman generates as much excitement as a picture of a topless man.

    I hate bathing suit tops. They never fit right, and I think I would look less obscene without one on. Don’t get me started on bras.

    IBTP

  32. Honora

    Maybe I am terribly naive, but I think that it is possible that Meghan has large breasts and after awhile they became, I don’t know, like a part of her body. She may not even spend every waking moment of her day fixated on the size of her breasts. I think that the camera angle is weird and that the intent was not to turn on pimple-faced losers all over the world, but to ‘tweet’ or whatever they call it. ‘Tweeting while female’ may be more dangerous than Meghan realized.

  33. Cimorene

    The reason that comments by feminists backhandedly blaming a woman for having big boobs while seeming to blame the patriarchy makes me particularly upset is not merely because I find it evokes a forehead-slap for the state of feminism today, but because I personally have big boobs.

    And let me tell you, I don’t own a tank shirt that does not make me look “kittenish” or sexy-like or porntastic. Even if it’s 100 degrees and I have to run around after children I nanny all day, I have to re-arrange my uniform around other people’s opinions of my fuckin’ breasts. Because menfolk will stare at them when I go buy an ice cream cone for a 6 year-old, women will look at me–or “whisper” loudly at me–like I’m a hussy, pseudo-feminists will cluck about how I’m so desperate for male attention that I feel the need to display my breasts to the world (because I probably have low self-esteem, probably because my dad left my mom when I was 6), and other pseudo-feminists will use my breasts as a platform for pointing out porn culture, shaking their heads at my compliance at porn culture. All because I have fucking blonde hair and big boobs. Neither of which I am responsible for. And neither of which I’m going to apologize for, even if I tend to look like McCain looks in her picture all summer long.

    Well I’m sorry if having big boobs and posting pictures of yourself on the internet–even if said picture is meant to emphasize the book I’m reading–is a threat to the state of women-as-human-not-sexbot movement. But I’m pretty sure that I should be able to depend on other humans, especially other feminists, not to take me to task for some fat deposits, essentially jumping on the drudge report bandwagon in the name of some feminist cause.

    And for the record this is less about playing the not-feminist-enough game and more about being personally pissed off at the way young, blonde, big-boobed women are treated en masse at the hands of many feminists. I don’t need looks of sympathy or disapproval simply for biological traits, and the comments about McCain are just too similar to the comments I get all the damn time.

  34. Jill

    McCain’s intent is irrelevant. In fact, anything about McCain personally — her politics, her father, how she feels about her boobs, etc — is irrelevant. The important objet de blame here is that an angry mob flared up the second it sensed that a woman was getting out of line, and whipped her back into shape.

    Women’s bodies are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the dominant culture. See Catherine Martell’s comment above.

    The specific rules McCain broke are an interesting footnote, though, within (as someone suggested upthread) the context of the public persona and its relationship to both consumers of personae and to institutional power.

  35. yttik

    “Pointing out the unique political dimensions of this particular incident should not be interpreted as implying that it does not also occur in the broader context of patriarchy.”

    Actually it does matter because lately politics have managed to trump feminism, so we now have a situation where it is becoming acceptable to bash women, to dehumanize them, if they are on the wrong side of the political aisle. Recently one of the so called liberal TV dudes referred to a woman as “a mashed up bag of meat with lipstick on it.” In an unscientific poll, about 78% of the population agree it is acceptable to trash women if they do not share your politics.

  36. Jill

    “it is becoming acceptable to bash women, to dehumanize them, if they are on the wrong side of the political aisle.

    Yup. I mean, nobody ever needs a reason to bash women, but this is a good one, now that women are beginning to pop up with more frequency in political contexts. Pillory an antifeminist conservative knob with my blessing, but not because the pornocracy deems her phenotype unseemly.

  37. Virginia S. Wood, Psy.D.

    Thanks, Cimorene. That was totally enlightening.

    Sonia, yes, there is another language here. That’s because language is everything when it comes to determining how we see an object or an issue. It’s not a secret code permitted only to high muckety-mucks of feminism. It is a hard language to learn, though, and I hope you will keep at it. I struggle sometimes for hours with some of Jill’s linguistic twists and turns before I catch on, and I am always nervous about using one of her expressions the first couple of times. I doubt if I’m alone here in that.

    Nobody here (except for the trolls) is trying to enforce a party line. It’s a learning process. Every time I post I take a risk that I’m going to get it wrong and get taken to task for it. But that’s how we learn. So stick around!

    When Jill “weep[s] for the future”, I don’t think she’s putting individual Commenters down, but is calling all of us to examine our own internalized sexism. The patriarchy wants us to criticize and attack each other–a house divided, and all that.

    I didn’t like the picture either. But that’s not the point for the purposes of this post and ensuing discussion. It’s another vestige of the internalized self- and other-woman-blaming patriarchal bullshit I grew up with and am still rooting out. It is also a major distraction from the issue–as it is meant to be.

    As a side note, I am thinking that women of my age exist in a perpetual state of post-porn.

    In the meantime, IBTP and am off to the Doc Wood Re-Education Camp for some more rooting-out.

  38. tinfoil hattie

    I think part of Ms. McCain’s grave error was in having breasts while she photographed herself, instead of having breasts while some slavering pig-dude photographed her. She acted as though she owns her body. We women don’t own our bodies, of course. She needed to be smacked down for acting as though she does. Her apology speaks eloquently to that fact.

  39. humanbein

    Here in the backwards state of Pre-Porn, just south of Iowa and north of Georgia, we pride ourselves on our citizen’s ability to fetishize almost anything as a spunk-producing hormone-pumping credit to our virility and dudelieness. The other day I told a fellow I knew that I thought toe cleavage was kinda hot and next thing I knew he was humping a Blahnik like bunny rabbit. If that McCain posts any photo of herself at all on the internet we’ll still see her as we see everything in our good state: grist for the mill, baby!

  40. birkwearingblamer

    Good point, tinfoil hattie. She got uppity and had to be smacked down. The dudes who can’t control their dicks can’t stand her having any control over her own body. Especially considering how powerful her body is over them. Boobs make them go brain dead.

  41. goblinbee

    Cimorene, loved your post. One of my daughters is extremely large-breasted (age 23). There’s not a sensible thing she could wear in warm weather that would not show cleavage. Not that she would want to (wear anything sensible). I have stayed completely away from discussing her body with her (I don’t talk about issues much with my kids). I do like her style and the vibe I get from her. She does not sexualize her breasts and seems to consider it the other person’s problem if they do.

  42. Pinko Punko

    Tapper is a choad. I’ve been saving some screen caps from CNN.com for just this moment. I note a particular gender bias in these atrocities.

  43. Nolabelfits

    The problem as I see it is not the posting pics vs not posting pics or the size of the breasts or the amount of cleavage or whatever. Its the whole fetishization of breasts in the first place. Their primary purpose after all is infant feeding, but men have managed to appropriate breasts for themeselves.

  44. birkwearingblamer

    Do I need a “sarcasm” disclaimer in my post above? You know about the “empowerful nature of breasts”?

  45. xtimu

    She was gonna be smacked down if she showed ‘em and smacked down is she didn’t show ‘em. Patriarchy is all about smacking down “uppity” women. Why even bother? IBTP.

  46. goblinbee

    Ack, I meant above that my daughter DOES dress sensibly for the weather. Which means tank tops in the summer.

    I got so confused by my own double negative.

  47. Natalia

    Great post, Twisty.

    >.< at some of the comments here.

    She acted as though she owns her body. We women don’t own our bodies, of course. She needed to be smacked down for acting as though she does.

    Yes. This.

    I take pictures of myself, I also have dudes (and women) take my picture, and I can see the dividing line.

    It makes me sad that Meghan McCain got bullied into apologizing, but neither can I blame her. This entire episode is pretty awful.

  48. thebewilderness

    So, what exactly did she apologize for? Having breasts, or exposing an unsuspecting public to the fact that she has breasts? Are Republican women allowed to have breasts?

    Is this Republican “respectable cloth coat” syndrome?
    Srsly, the d00dz and their wankfests give me a sad.

  49. Frumious B.

    Oh dog, I’ve only read the first 4 comments, and 50% of them say it looks like Ms. McCain did it on purpose. Et tu, Brutus? The Blametariat is blaming Meghan? The Patriarchy has won.

  50. Frumious B.

    Whew, just got to comment 5. Thank dog for you, Jill, I weep tears of gratitude.

  51. FemDoc

    Funny how the ONLY time the showing of any portion of the breast is explicitly banned is when performing the physiologic function for which it is intended, i.e., breast-feeding an infant. Breast-feeding my children was the only time of my life I had to go through impossible maneuvers in order to hide my breasts (and the feeding baby), so as not to upset da menz, who seem to be offended by the idea that breasts exist for infant nourishment, and not for the personal enjoyment of the dominant class. One time, I was feeding my infant son at daycare, facing the wall for Crissakes, and I was asked to be more discreet because, well, some dude who was dropping off his kid was “embarrassed”. You’d think I was having a bowel movement in the corner of the room. Hey, my kid needs to eat, so if you can’t handle it, don’t look, asshole. It has nothing to do with you, anyway.

    At any other time in a woman’s life, breast (or any portion thereof) exposure or cover-up is governed by rules expressly made by the 49% of the population who actually lack these modified sweat glands (well, they have them, they just don’t get to use them). Hell, as Jill as mentioned in previous posts, even those sisters who no longer HAVE breasts must follow the rules of cover-up, lest they offend delicate male sensibilities. Shall we even mention bra and bikini tops for pre-pubescent girls? Breasts that are not even developed, yet already existing in a state of pre-pornification. More fodder for the Roman Polanskis out there, who enjoy sexualizing little girls, I guess. Helps rationalize raping them later on.

    The more I think about it, the more I realize that breasts are the ONLY “secondary sexual characteristic” on the ADULT female to which da menz give the nod. Body hair (especially on the vulva and mons), and even the adult vagina and labia seem to be problematic for doodz. It seems that, in the Patrix, a pre-pubescent girl with large, gravity-defying breasts is the “beauty standard”. Of course, when a feminist points this out, she is met with arguments that da menz shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for their “natural” attractions. Dammit, I ruin all their fun, just like breast-feeding my kid in public. REAL, NATURAL bodily functions and appearances of lady-parts are not welcome in the P.

    My 5 year old daughter once spied a nursing female cat and pointed out her “udders”. Why our culture attaches such weird sexual significance to human udders is beyond my understanding, and well, you know. IBTP.

  52. Jonathan

    “apparently anything other than a pantsuit I am a slut.

    Are women in the Republican party even allowed to wear pantsuits?

    Are women on social networking sites even allowed to post pictures of themselves in pantsuits?

  53. sally

    I get the pre-porn argument. But there are also other things at play. Everytime that Anderson Cooper appears in some form of skin-showing, his pictures are passed around the internet. Even so, you don’t see his cloying self-made portraits exposing his chest. You don’t see Rachel Maddow pushing the cleavage on a leaning down self-portrait. Or even, Katie C. Although people lost their shit seeing Michelle’s bare arms and Obama in a swim suit, but these where not cloying self-portraits.

    We may be prissy about women’s titties, but we do hold that the more professional commentators don’t push the cleavage on a twitpic. They don’t push the peen either, and men that have dared to have stupid pictures made of them, when they want a poltical or media talking career have been mocked too.

    Megan has been making the rounds trying to start a career as important-to-listen-to commentator and editorialist on every show and outlet that would have her. This isn’t all about losing the shit at the sight of tatas. It is also about the counter-point of her spilling out of her top with her attempt to make a career as having more to offer than nepotism and requisite partriarchy-pleasing cute blondeness.

  54. birkwearingblamer

    Where I live, Republican women are the ones with the implants. Gotta snag a rich white dude to pay for that.

  55. Amananta

    As a woman who has committed the crime of being female on the internet, I can assure you there is no way to win. If I wear “too little clothing”, I am a slut. If I never post pictures of myself in clothing that accentuates my sexay hawtness, I’m boring and ugly and prudish. If I take a picture at a flattering angle, I’m clearly trying to give a false impression of myself to avoid the shaming I need to get for not being patriarchally-approved thin. If I post a bold picture of myself in which I’m visible in all my human frailty and flaws, I will be mercilessly shamed, the picture taken and put on 4chan with howling hordes of young males screaming “LOOK! A OLD (aka, not teenaged) UGLY WITCH DARED TO SHOW HER FACE ON THE INTERNET!” If I fail to display a picture of myself at all, people get antsy. Non-exposure is not an option either – it “proves” you have “something to hide”!

    Summation: If I’m “pretty” and show it, I lose.
    If I’m not “pretty” and show it, I lose.
    If I refuse to play, I lose.

    I’ve met a few women on the net who pretend to be men just to avoid dealing with this.

  56. FemDoc

    The only reason “professional commentators” don’t “push the cleavage” is because the P governs what is considered “professional”. Apparently, the display of any female parts, or even the intimation of HAVING female parts is NOT “professional”, unless displayed in such a way that is deemed titillating, but safe, to the P; Anne Coulter’s crossed legs in a miniskirt, for example. In other words, as long as lady parts are displayed in a non-threatening, “feminine” (a concept made up by the P) way, a woman MAY be allowed to move up in the ranks.

    Of course, men don’t have to “push the peen”, either. I don’t have to remind anyone that, in the P, penis=power, so the display of the penis is completely unnecessary. It is taken for granted that anyone with power will have a penis, and those without will have to play by the rules as mentioned above.

    In a made-up universe where all humans are seen as human, people would be able to wear whatever they are comfortable in and, as long as they do their jobs properly and intelligently, would be considered “professional”. In fact, in my made-up universe, men could wear evening gowns and women could wear tuxedos if it pleased them, or maybe we would all wear sweatpants and tennis shoes. The idea of gender-based dressing would be annihilated, and so concerns about how much cleavage display is “proper” would be moot, since women’s body parts would not be seen as sexualized objects.

    Time to grab a beer and ruminate more on my made-up universe. The first thing to go is the bra. The thong is a close second. And what the fuck is up with neckties, anyway?

  57. sally

    No doubt on the internet, there’s a way that the undercurrent of hatred of women comes out. That’s why I am careful and have fully moderated commentary on my site.

    But I want to point out that there’s something else in addition at play here in Megan’s case. She’s been wanting to create a serious commentator role for herself, and that’s always been a tricky thing. Especially without a lot of education, credits, accomplishments, and it’s competitive even if you have those. There’s a whole lot of accomplished, smart, articulate women and men who’d love to have the slots she’s been getting in media outlets. If you play on your hawtness and want to be a political commentator, someone’s going to make fun.

    If you took a guy who poses as she did, exposing some of his male assets, and he had connections and media jobs, people would make fun of it, particularly if people didn’t think he was very smart or original. I don’t think that a guy who wanted Katie Couric’s job would Tweet a picture showing the hair trail to his penis or how glorious his chest was – self-taken especially. It’s one thing to have a picture at the beach and to have one taken by yourself like a teen on FaceBook and sent by yourself.

    I know people say that “hey women have breasts…” But men have chests they could expose and the choice to wear low cut pants. And they don’t if they want to have a show on MSNBC or CNN or be a Senator. If they do, they get mocked. They even mock Johnston’s bid to be in Playgirl.

  58. Jonathan

    @Jill:

    McCain’s intent is irrelevant. In fact, anything about McCain personally — her politics, her father, how she feels about her boobs, etc — is irrelevant.

    Can we add boob jobs to the irrelevant list as well? If I see one more blogger question whether McCain’s breasts are real or not, I’ll set my monitor on fire.

    The P loves implants:

    1. The implant-loving dudebags hate women with implants and call them fakers and sluts.
    2. The implant-hating “progressives” hate women with implants and call them shallow fembots and sluts.
    3. The religious-right hate women with implants and call them satanic sluts.
    4. Any women without implants who has breasts will have their pictures examined under a microscope, concluded that they are fake, at which point rules 1-3 apply.

    No wonder the FDA re-approved them so quickly.

    You know who I blame.

  59. yttik

    “It is also about the counter-point of her spilling out of her top with her attempt to make a career as having more to offer than nepotism and requisite partriarchy-pleasing cute blondeness.”

    In other words, you are saying she’s a bimbo with nothing to offer the world but her boobs? Never mind the BA in art history or her internship at Newsweek and Saturday Night Live, or the book she’s writing. Sad. This is why the patriarchy continues to flourish, because so many women insist on working as it’s foot soldiers.

  60. TwissB

    Certainly what McCain wears when she is alone in her apartment is her own business, but when she invites the entire internet world into her apartment to view her attire (not to mention the body in it), it becomes the business of anybody with nothing better to do than comment on it. That’s all.

  61. Cimorene

    “Everytime that Anderson Cooper appears in some form of skin-showing, his pictures are passed around the internet. Even so, you don’t see his cloying self-made portraits exposing his chest. You don’t see Rachel Maddow pushing the cleavage on a leaning down self-portrait. Or even, Katie C.”

    If Anderson Cooper took a picture of himself and exposed his nipples, nobody would care. Because nipples only signify sex on women, not on men. So that’s a moot point.

    As for Katie Couric, well, when she got moved to evening news they all said she wouldn’t be taken seriously and couldn’t cut it as a journalist. Why? Because she has legs. Seriously. And legs on a lady = sexxy, and sexxy = stupid, and stupid = woman. So, actually, even when women don’t put pictures of themselves on the internet, they’re still getting judged because of their bodies. Shock me shock me shock me.

    And why do we hold these “serious” anchors to different standards? I couldn’t care less if Rachel Maddow posted pictures of herself on the internet; it doesn’t make her show any less enjoyable or her news any less intelligent. Meghan McCain’s boobs do not negate her intelligence, and posting pictures of herself doesn’t negate her intelligence. I don’t like McCain very much (for a Republican she’s ok, and I appreciate her stance on gay-marriage, but she’s still a Republican), but I don’t understand why people are censuring her instead of the people who reacted by calling her s dumb slut, or the culture that says boobs = woman = sex = dumb.

  62. veganrampage

    In cultures where female breasts are not fetishized women report no sexual gratification from stimulation involving said breasts. I suppose the Western equivalent would be activity involving an elbow, unless one is into elbows.

    In addition, the male human breast is capable of producing milk fit for consumption of human infants.

  63. CassieC

    Isn’t there a feminism 101 post on this already?

    Listen, all you boob-picture shamers (and I don’t care if you’re offended by the angle, the “implants”, the lighting, the “coy” look, seriously, it’s all the same shaming crap):

    Your complicity will not protect you.

    Your complicity will not protect you from the patriarchy and its many manifestations when it/they decide you step out of line. Which they will, no matter how hard you try to conform and abide by their rules. Because until women are allowed to exist and do their own thing free from constant reminders of their proper place, none of us are safe, none of us are free.

    Having each others backs, defending each others right to exist in our own way, is one of the best ways of fighting back. You have nothing to lose but your chains, yaddi yadda.

  64. Natalia

    Your complicity will not protect you.

    Yes.

  65. Babs

    Here’s the thing- of course the object of blame is the legions of twitter people, but we can’t just give McCain a “pass” on intent because she is female. This is a “sexy” picture. That she, of her own volition, posted. Tank top or no tank top, the facial expression and tilt of the head says it all. And there is NO POINT to the picture, no context whatsoever, no article that it illustrates- it is just a picture of Megan McCain. I can only think that she put the picture up because she happened to take it, happened to think it made her look pretty, and put it up because she wanted POSITIVE feedback from her friends, essentially, praise about how pretty she is. The fact that it backfired should just give her another reason to leave her political side- the people she represents will never see her as a fully realized human. In a world where the feminist agenda is in place, there will probably be no tilts of the head and coy expressions to indicate femininity, but even if there are, there will be no reviling and ridiculing of said photographs due to the revolutionary idea that women are people.

  66. Mikage

    Megan McCain wanted praise? Wanted people to think she was pretty? Dear me, get out the pitchforks. How dare a woman want anything? In this society, her role is to sit quietly in a corner until a man graciously notices her and gives her something. Even if it isn’t what she wanted.

  67. Gayle

    “The fact that it backfired should just give her another reason to leave her political side- the people she represents will never see her as a fully realized human.”

    Neither side seems to think women are human.

    I’m sure she thought the pic was cute and uploaded it, Babs. As someone way upthread said this is a standard internet pose on Facebook and Twitter. That in and of itself is worthy of discussion.

    Perhaps if we did so in another thread without bringing up McCain we could have a discussion about it without shaming an individual. (??)

  68. Natalia

    This is a “sexy” picture. That she, of her own volition, posted. Tank top or no tank top, the facial expression and tilt of the head says it all.

    Oh dear, oh dear. How dare a 24 year old woman take a sexy picture. By herself. We’d be charitable and give her a pass if some thug was holding a gun to hear head and she looked sufficiently miserable, right?

    You can count me out of such “feminism” real quick.

  69. speedbudget

    Okay, I wasn’t going to respond to sally, but I can’t let that shit lay there.

    sally, I have breasts that are the exact same size as the ones in question. THERE IS NO WAY TO LAY DOWN AND TAKE A PICTURE WITH A CAMERA WITHOUT YOUR TITS LOOKING LIKE YOU’VE PLASTERED THEM TO YOUR CHIN.

    FFS. Lay off her tits.

  70. yttik

    Uhhggg. Men hate you. Women hate you. Welcome to the patriarchy.

  71. agasaya

    This episode is a grand statement about our society. However, it may not call for quite this degree of angst on behalf of Meghan McCain.

    The picture is not an enhancement to a resume in the business world. Given her family connections and career choices, ALL of her actions are a part of her resume and have an effect upon her personal and professional ambitions. There can be no doubt that Ms. McCain is aware of this, so let’s give her credit for being capable of anticipating the results of those actions. The results were not necessarily in opposition to her (unknown) goals.

    Her body, as do all of our bodies, belongs to the Patriarchy. So what else is new? Any ‘apologies’ may involve regret for a lapse in judgement (possible, but unlikely), for the societal response she predictably received for her pose (societal structure is indeed worthy of regret) or may have been a welcome opportunity for further media coverage.

    The name’s McCain and media is her game.

  72. ElizaN

    Am I the only one who’s initial reaction to the photo was, “Eww, she’s reading about Andy Warhol!”?

  73. FemDoc

    Yay, CassieC!

    Why the hell can’t a woman tilt her head and smile without it being a sexual come-on? My 5 year old daughter likes to tilt her head and smile. I don’t think she is trying to be “coy”, and she doesn’t know what “sexy” means. Jayzus, that sounds just like, “Well, she was asking for it!” McCain was publicly humiliated for showing her breasts, whether on purpose or accidently. Other women are raped for similar actions. We shouldn’t put up with ANY of that shit, and I don’t care what her politics are. Could there be some schadenfraude at work, here? Perhaps other women are quick to blame McCain for the reaction of internet users to her breasts because she belongs to a party that historically tries to set back women’s rights? Would women react the same way if Rachel Maddow (the liberal example of the day, I guess) was publicly humiliated for wearing a tank top on Twitter?

    A woman should not have to apologize for the way her body makes other people feel. Ever. I must be living in a cave, because I have not seen the same kind of publicity surrounding male politicos (and thankfully, I have seen no nipple shots of Sean Hannity or any of that ilk), and I’ve NEVER heard a man apologize for purposely or accidently showing a part of his body. I sure as shit have heard them “apologize” for getting caught lying, cheating, and raping, though. Somehow, this is not construed as being “unprofessional”, and most of their careers seem to go on anyway.

    And yes, veganrampage, the male breast CAN be induced to make milk, if we can pump them full enough of hormones. Might be a good idea–then perhaps breast-feeding will become a publicly acceptable religious act, and not something that needs to be shamefully banished to the ladies’ room.

  74. rachel

    “Oh dear, oh dear. How dare a 24 year old woman take a sexy picture. By herself.”

    It has been my impression that whenever Meghan McCain’s less impressive actions are mentioned, her defenders bring up her age. She’s 24, of course she wants to be on television all the time. She’s 24, of course she can state her total ignorance of economic matters while simultaneously vying to represent her party. Taking a “sexy” photo of herself? 24. Twittering, with the punctuational abuse likely to cranial hemorrhage among Jill and her commentariat? 24. Obviously, whatever thing she does in her naked pursuit of status should exist outside the realm of judgment, as that is just how 24-year-olds roll.

    Well. I’m 22 and I find Meghan McCain exhausting. Her cultural prominence really drives home society’s base opinion of young women, that only a silly person like McCain would ever be allowed to represent us in political media. Of course, McCain is happy to reap the rewards of these massaged standards, to the tune of a six-figure book deal and endless airtime, where she’ll dismiss her own ignorance by reminding us “she wasn’t born yet,” a statement that aims injury at any young woman’s attempts to be heard and taken seriously, resting on a logic system which assumes that as a young woman herself, she is a de facto idiot. If these moments remind us of anything, it is that all the internships and degrees cannot save one from acting like a terrific jerk.

  75. yttik

    Beam me up Scotty, there really is no intelligent life on this planet.

  76. delphyne

    “her naked pursuit of status”

    You are so right, rachel. What a slut – a status slut that is. Maybe we should just go right ahead burn her.

    There has to be more to be said about the sheer rage that women who present themselves in the patriarchally approved manner rouse in so many people. What is it about picture of a pair of breasts, even in a very patriarchal context, that makes people almost uncontrollably angry? Sarah Palin got the same kind of thing – even though she kept her chest covered. Sandra Bernhard wanted to see her gang-raped by black men in New York (proving she was a racist and sexist in one fell swoop) and she wasn’t the only one with rape and punishment on her mind where Palin was concerned. All because – what? – Palin was conventionally attractive and presented herself in that manner.

    I don’t get the rage. I really don’t. The worst you’d thought you could expect from feminists would be mild disappointment that Meghan appears to have been brainwashed by patriarchal values into presenting herself like that. But the anger, no, I don’t follow.

  77. rachel

    “Maybe we should just go right ahead burn her.”

    Yes, because objecting to a quest for power absent a second objective is tantamount to wanting to commit unspeakable cruelty.

    Wait, what?

  78. goblinbee

    Rock on, Rachel. I had hope for future generations reading your post. Because these are complex issues, and it will take brains and heart to get them all sorted out. You seem to have both, in spades.

  79. delphyne

    It’s the same mindset. Witches were seen as powerful which is why they were burned. They were scapegoats for the real power-seekers and power abusers of course – men. You are utterly disgusted that Meghan McCain is seeking power (of course I’ll have to take your word for that claim because I hadn’t realised that Twitter was the path to world domination). The question is why though, why is a woman seeking power (I think you mean attention in this case actually) subject to such rage and contempt?

    Look at the language you’re using – “naked pursuit”. Other words you could have used perhaps – shameless, brazen, wanton. You’re tapping into misogyny. Why?

  80. Natalia

    Um, Rachel? I actually didn’t point out her age to excuse her – BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T NEED BLOODY EXCUSING, JAY-SUS. I still remember when Hillary got a bunch of crap for some cleavage. This can happen to a woman at any age, though I think it’s especially pervasive when you’re young, hence the mention of McCain’s relative youth.

    Beam me up Scotty, there really is no intelligent life on this planet.

    No kidding.

  81. yttik

    Why don’t we discuss Rep. Aaron Schock’s “quest for power”? Let’s talk about his “naked pursuit of status”. Let’s point out what a “bimbo” he is, what an “attention whore.”

    Let’s go comment on his blog and inform him he’s wearing the “uniform of a slut.” He’s got some half naked photos of himself wearing a pair of boobs on his head, which practically screams, “I am a heterosexual, damnit!”

    Yes, I’d have to say his “quest for power is (certainly not) absent a second objective.”

  82. rachel

    “Look at the language you’re using – “naked pursuit”. Other words you could have used perhaps – shameless, brazen, wanton. You’re tapping into misogyny. Why?”

    “Shameless” implies the desirability of shame. I do not wish to imply that.

    “Brazen” refers to the possession of a harsh sound. It seems no better than “shrill,” that modifier so often used to imply a woman can’t employ her vocal cords without offending her audience.

    “Wanton” is defined as “a licentious (ie, sexually impulsive) person, esp a woman.”

    “Naked” is, I think, by far the least worst of the options so far suggested.

  83. rachel

    “This can happen to a woman at any age, though I think it’s especially pervasive when you’re young, hence the mention of McCain’s relative youth.”

    I don’t know what you’re referring to, here. What can happen to a woman at any age? What is especially pervasive when you’re young?

  84. thebeardedlady

    Cassie C: “Listen, all you boob-picture shamers (and I don’t care if you’re offended by the angle, the “implants”, the lighting, the “coy” look, seriously, it’s all the same shaming crap):

    Your complicity will not protect you.”

    Excellent comment, thank you. Thought it was worth reiterating.

  85. Gayle

    I just reread Racheal’s comments because I thought I missed something.

    They have nothing to do with the Twitter pic or the reaction to it. They’re about McCain’s performance as celebrity pundit.

    I don’t understand the pile on. Racheal’s somewhat OT but beside that, what’s the issue?

  86. CassieC

    err, not to pick on you when so many others have been following a similar vein, but Rachel, you missed the sarcasm train in Delphyne’s comment. They’re ALL horrible misogynistic ways to describe McCain’s behavior (which shouldn’t even be topic, as I’ve been trying to point out). They’re all horrible, and, yes, you picked one of them. Still proud?

    And Gayle, the WHOLE POINT is that M. McCain is a famous woman victim of a sexist pile-on. Coming in with a comment along the lines of “fine, I don’t hate her for her boobs per se, but I do hate her for reasons X and Y” is sadly not OT: it’s a continuation of the sexist behavior. Because lord keep us from simply defending a woman’s right to exist: that would be too brave! Let’s make sure we first agree that this woman is not faultless and does deserve at least some hate!

    Yttik, is there room for a few extra in your beam?

  87. Natalia

    I don’t know what you’re referring to, here. What can happen to a woman at any age? What is especially pervasive when you’re young?

    Getting slut-shamed for inhabiting a female body. Just like Hillary did. Hence, you know, me mentioning Hillary. And the equally depressing crap she got when people were suddenly reminded of the fact that she has ZOMG BREASTS.

  88. delphyne

    Rachel isn’t off topic at all. All the people trying to shame Meghan McCain for that stupid picture have exactly the same feelings about McCain’s “naked pursuit of status” and “quest for power” aka as you say Gayle, being a celebrity pundit (oh no! she’s trying to run the world!). It’s her femaleness in doing those things that they find offensive which is why there is so much rage targeted at her. Ticking the boxes for patriarchal attractiveness just doubles the feelings of contempt.

    If a woman is on the receiving end of a misogynistic pile-on, it isn’t an act of feminist solidarity to ignore that and instead proclaim what an asshole she is. The point is that no woman, whatever her political point of view, deserves that kind of treatment.

  89. CassieC

    err, not to pick on you when so many others have been following a similar vein, but Rachel, you missed the sarcasm train in Delphyne’s comment. They’re ALL horrible misogynistic ways to describe Meghan’s behavior (which shouldn’t even be topic, as I’ve been trying to point out). They’re all horrible, and, yes, you picked one of them. Still proud?

    Yttik, is there room for a few extra in your beam?

  90. CassieC

    Gayle, sadly Rachel’s comment is not OT: it’s merely a continuation of the sexist pile-on. Because when a woman is attacked, lord forbid us from simply defending her right to exist: that would be far too brave! Let us first affirm that this woman is objectionable for some reason, so she therefore deserves some of the sexist hate coming her way.

  91. CassieC

    Sorry for the multiple posts. Failing at interneting. Jill, feel free to delete with abandon.

  92. octopod

    ElizaN, no, you aren’t. I can’t goddamn stand Warhol.

    yttik: “There is a diagram of the legalities of the female body in my state, much like a butcher’s map.” This is terrifying; I didn’t know it was set out that specifically, and the format is certainly revealing. So to speak.

    Ugggh, this discussion. “State of pre-porn”, is right. McCain is a goddamn Internet columnist. If she were some kind of dignitary, bound by standards of professionalism, well, then, it would be debatable. But if there are standards of “dignified professional conduct” for bloggers, I don’t think the memo’s gotten around yet. This is just rank sexism — both at the original link, and here in the comments.

  93. Gayle

    “If a woman is on the receiving end of a misogynistic pile-on, it isn’t an act of feminist solidarity to ignore that and instead proclaim what an asshole she is.”

    Fair enough.

  94. jezebella

    What’s with all the Warhol-hating? He was a queer artist who tore down the boundaries between “high” and “low” art, and not obviously misogynist that I can recall.

  95. JBT

    As women, we all participate in female impersonation – given that this “role” is not natural, but learned. It doesn’t matter who you are; as a female, you will be subjected to the gauntlet of judgment, comment and threat of violence, if not actual violence. Sadly, it is often women, even feminist women, “manning” the gauntlet.

    As a woman, once you reach the end of the line, you will know that you are simply not good enough – your feminism isn’t good enough, you’re not hawt (or you’re too hawt), you’re not appropriately owning your privilege, your sexuality is wrong, you’re not politically astute, you are a collaborator – in short, you are a complete failure in every way. At one time, I believed that the Internet might allow a banding together of women and a sharing of ideas; I used to participate regularly on feminist chat boards – but no more. Who can keep up with all the gauntlet-running? If you use the wrong word, if you tweet a sexay picture of yourself, if you disagree with the prevailing wisdom, if you live with a Nigel, if you believe in a deity, if you have (or not) children, if you have privilege, if, if, if. You can never be alright, and in fact, you will be attacked in a way calculated to hurt you most. Then, you will be expected to be grateful for the criticism, a la some Maoist, cultural revolution public shaming.

    I find I have to steel myself to read comments on feminist blogs. There are only so many years allotted to us. I find myself asking, “Why bother?” It certainly does not contribute to my happiness. Oh, but then I am not inclusive or activist enough. That’s right. I am a total failure. You win: I am old and tired and I give up.

  96. Laughingrat

    As someone way upthread said this is a standard internet pose on Facebook and Twitter. That in and of itself is worthy of discussion.

    Perhaps if we did so in another thread without bringing up McCain we could have a discussion about it without shaming an individual.

    You’re right, Gayle. It is worthy of discussion. Unfortunately, every time someone in this thread has tried to discuss that, or discuss how McCain’s pose fulfills the commands of the Femininity Mandate, they get willfully misinterpreted and screamed out of the comment thread. You yourself, in your last sentence, make it clear that Babs had better not even mention the topic here, because doing so is intrinsically “shaming” McCain. Never mind that that’s not actually true; once you’ve accused her of that, everyone’s going to pile on, and nobody better bring up the topic ever again.

    I have yet to see any post in this thread which shames McCain. I have seen comments which tried to discuss the ways in which McCain might have been trying to fulfill the Femininity Mandate without also condemning her, much as Jill has often talked about how women wear high heels or uncomfortable lingerie in order to please men, without making those women her objects of scorn. Conflating someone’s referral to actual facts with some kind of approval of those facts is a low and common silencing tactic. I’m surprised to see it here; it’s usually reserved for more right-wing spaces, against speakers who are trying to call out racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of oppression.

    Is this willful misinterpretation, followed by the gleeful mobbing of commenters, some kind of mob-think jockeying for authority? Despite this being a feminist blog, that’s something that’s happened here on more than one occasion. Or is it that the persons who are so determined to shut down conversation along certain lines are triggered by what happened to McCain and are taking their fear and anger out on the nearest, and least-deserving, targets?

  97. birkwearingblamer

    “Or is it that the persons who are so determined to shut down conversation along certain lines are triggered by what happened to McCain and are taking their fear and anger out on the nearest, and least-deserving, targets?”

    You may be on to something here. Slut-shaming for a photo is only a hop, jump and step away from rape followed by victim blaming. Gawd knows many of us have experienced that.

  98. yttik

    I know, nobody wants to talk about Congressman Schlock’s boob shots, his own and the pair that are resting on his head. However, I just want to point out that the woman’s head is either cut out of the photos or else is blurred so as to protect what must be her “shamefulness.” What shamefulness? Why the shame of having boobs, I presume.

    Lounging half necked in chair wearing a pair of boobs on your head is completely rational way to get ahead in the world, however actually having boobs attached to your own body, that’s shameful.

    http://www.tmz.com/2009/03/23/congressman-schock-can-sure-stomach-it/

  99. magriff

    Hey! Everybody go read or re-read “Right Wing Women” immediately.

  100. delphyne

    This is an attempt to shame Meghan McCain, laughingrat, by Rachel:

    “Taking a “sexy” photo of herself? 24. Twittering, with the punctuational abuse likely to cranial hemorrhage among Jill and her commentariat? 24. Obviously, whatever thing she does in her naked pursuit of status should exist outside the realm of judgment, as that is just how 24-year-olds roll.”

    Rachel is demanding her right to judge McCain for her actions, not defending her from the misogynistic abuse she has been subject to.

    And it’s not mobthink jockeying for authority as you so insultingly put it, to object to Rachel displaying that kind of misogyny. It’s fairly standard disgust at sexism.

  101. thebewilderness

    ElizaN,
    That was my first thought too.
    I was all set to castigate her for her reading material. Unless she was reading it for purposes of mockery.
    But Noooo.
    It’s a public display of breasts castigation.
    I thought the wankers had done a quite thorough job of public shaming.
    I suppose it is a good exercise for us to display our sexist conditioning in this fashion from time to time, no matter how painful it is to read.

  102. birkwearingblamer

    magriff, it’s not just the right-wing. Plenty of “progressive” dudes hate us. The Democratic party threw women under the bus a long time ago.

  103. otoc

    Right on, CassieC. There is no winning, there is no “correct”. You do not have control over the way other people see you, because (if you are female) you are a blank screen that the whole world can project their shit onto. Both the Openly-Misogynist Right and the Openly-Misogynist Left agree: Hillary is an evil, power-hungry monster out to destroy us all, Sarah Palin was prancing around in lingerie and sucking lollipops to get votes, everything that doesn’t get accomplished right now is Nancy Pelosi’s fault, and Meghan McCain can’t be taken seriously if she has breasts.

    The patriarchy doesn’t give a crap how much time you spend separating yourself from those other, Very Bad wimminz (who are slutty! uneducated! uncouth! undignified! power-mad! smelly! unfashionable! jellybeans!) — you’re still a stupid slut to someone. Yes, that’s right: we’re all stupid sluts to someone out there. I think I’m going to put that on a greeting card.

  104. yttik

    “Here in blaming and shaming the oppressed, the powerless, the left colludes with the right. There’s no reason to look to the left for justice, so people look to the right for order.”

    Andrea Dworkin, commenting on the shift to the right in US politics.

  105. rachel

    “err, not to pick on you when so many others have been following a similar vein, but Rachel, you missed the sarcasm train in Delphyne’s comment. They’re ALL horrible misogynistic ways to describe McCain’s behavior (which shouldn’t even be topic, as I’ve been trying to point out). They’re all horrible, and, yes, you picked one of them. Still proud?”

    I apologize for missing the ironic use of the word “brazen” in the same post where the I am un-ironically compared to a witch hunter. Fortunately, I don’t feel the need to feel bad when people on the internet disagree with me. It’s not being picked on, it’s engagement.

    For the record, this is my last post of the day, I really should be studying:

    Meghan McCain and I are cultural intimates in one sense, two young ladies with enough privilege, at least, to be able to access the internet. If I feel a strong urge to criticize her, it is like the urge one gets to criticize the person living down the hall who plays their music too loudly, and at all hours. Those who live in another building can shrug and tell me I’m crazy for letting this person bother me, that I should spend my time only being bothered by wealthy white gentleman rapistmongers. They are correct. However, that presupposes that there exists some method by which I might stop living within the vicinity of this person, or else learn to ignore the sounds they make, thus avoiding the patriarchy’s encrazening effects. I have not yet discovered this method.

    Likewise, they will tell me it is improper to comment upon this person’s rudeness in a conversation started specifically to remark upon the injustices done to them by others. They are again correct. What her commenters did was unjust. They are douchebags for doing it. I only wonder when and where she may be engaged on her effects, if there will ever be a discussion here about them, or if they are considered always negligible, and my own discomfort in reaction to them always villainous, by dint of its direction.

  106. octopod

    jezebella: I don’t hate him for any political reason; I just don’t like his art.

  107. otoc

    Sorry, not buying it. I’m in my mid-20′s and if I were to stop defending every young woman I didn’t personally want to hang out with, well I wouldn’t be a feminist, because Feminism isn’t a social club.

  108. Shelby

    Irrelevant for these purposes I guess but when I saw that picture without reading any of Jill’s commentary (which was spot on) I thought it was Lili Taylor in her portrayal of Valerie Solanas in I shot Andy Warhol.

    And completely off topic I’d just like to give 16 year old Australian Jessica Watson a huge chukkas on her attempted solo round the world yacht voyage which started yesterday. Cod knows the patriarchy tried hard to stop her and every idiot with an armchair has an opinion on why a girl should be restrained from following her dream when she could be at home thinking about what she’s going to wear to the prom.

  109. Nolabelfits

    Right on Shelby.

  110. Anna Belle

    birkwearingblamer, I agree with everything you say, I would just amend “progressive dudes” to read progressives. My so-called “best friend,” a vag-bearing Democrat who lives in Maui and calls herself a wildlife biologist, and whom one would think would have the mental and moral capability to value twenty years of friendship over the casting of a single vote, dis-owned me over my vote for the only vag on a major ticket last year–Sarah Palin. I am apparently a monster for doing the math.

  111. TwissB

    Why waste space (so much space!!)mulling over the odd body display of a silly nobody when we could be considering the weird anthropological/archaeological guesswork image of the oldest clebrity humanoid found to date – a lanky, hairy creature who appears to have tromped merrily through endless eons clothed in nothing but a bikini top which the trembling hands of her discoverers have removed to expose two startlingly pale white hairless breasts. How could this mammary embellishment not be a product of the feverish minds of her finders? Experts, what say you?

  112. TwissB

    Sabotaged by my own hand: …celebrity..

    By the way, was it in Right Wing Women that Andrea Dworkin said “a woman has to make the best deal she can”?

  113. vinoveritas

    @birkwearingblamer
    That’s Dworkin’s exact point in chapter 3 of “Right Wing Women.” “We have met the enemy and he’s our friend. And dangerous.” We need more Dworkin up in here!

  114. Jonathan

    @magriff:

    Hey! Everybody go read or re-read “Right Wing Women” immediately.

    Dear Cod, I second that one.

  115. CassieC

    Yttik,

    I kept thinking you were bringing up a hypothetical congrssman Schock. The name, you see, was too silly, as well as the boobs-on-the-head situation. I’m sorry. Reality should not be underestimated.

    Anna Belle,

    Palin might have been the only vag on the ticket, but hers is a extremely Patriarchy-complicit anti-vag type of vag, if you get my drift. I am no democrat, but the interests of my vag are far better represented by Obama-Biden. Think.

  116. delphyne

    “However, that presupposes that there exists some method by which I might stop living within the vicinity of this person, or else learn to ignore the sounds they make, thus avoiding the patriarchy’s encrazening effects. I have not yet discovered this method.”

    It’s called the off switch on your TV or reading something that isn’t about Meghan McCain on the internet or in newspapers, Rachel. 99.9999999999999999% of stories aren’t about her you know, even here at IBTP. On the other hand switching off or turning away is not something you can do with loud stereo person.

    Likening her to a sound polluter comes across as if the only way you could be happy in her regard is for her to be silent. Right wing women are allowed their voices and opinions too you know. You’ll have to get used to it. You don’t have to agree with her to acknowledge that she has the right to her voice.

  117. nails

    This happened once before, when someone called her fat. She was really confused, she said something like “What is the point? How dare a fat girl have an opinion?”. I recognize that confusion, where you think if you are good enough that sexist crap won’t happen to you, that men will respect you as an equal. I am sure its especially strong when your political environment says that anyone can get what they want if they work hard enough. This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better, that’s for damn sure. I can’t imagine the pressure of being that young and trying to do something like essentially be a PR person for a major political party when your family is all involved. How many people know what they are doing at that age? I detect a bit of skeeve in the whole thing, like with most famous parents who make their kids famous.

    I agree with Cassie about the voting thing. John Mccain has one of the most misogynist voting records out there, and Palin was clearly being groomed by the Bush campaign’s people. Palin was not the only woman to vote for out there at all anyway. I think it is important to note also that when you vote for people who are in this high of an office you are more or less voting for business interests rather than people themselves; the people who represent the business interests cannot really step out of line without some serious consequences. The appearance of the candidate may have a positive social impact on people who share those characteristics, but over all the president’s race/gender/class/whatever cannot reasonably enter into many decisions they make in office.

  118. yttik

    “John Mccain has one of the most misogynist voting records out there…”

    Yes indeed. Thankfully Obama has appointed the woman loving, pro-life, anti-gay Tim Kaine to head the Democratic National Committee, so we all have a nice, safe refuge to run to.

  119. yttik

    “the interests of my vag are far better represented by..”

    Interesting irony, there. One problem seems to be that the Gov is forever deciding that it not only owns your vag, they are infinitely more qualified to represent the interests of said vags then we are.

  120. rachel

    “You’ll have to get used to it. You don’t have to agree with her to acknowledge that she has the right to her voice.”

    Well, exactly. This IS how I get used to it. I call her a silly person. And this is how you get used to me. You call me a cretinous woman-burner. And we all retain the rights to our voices, which we apply towards such useful and high-minded ends, and the beauteous cycle is renewed, etc, etc.

  121. ElizaN

    Jezebella, I saw “Andy Warhol’s Dracula” many years ago, and it was one of the films which really opened my eyes to how much men hate us. I’ve avoided his work ever since.

  122. Kelsey B.

    @ElizaN: That’s a really interesting coincidence that you brought that up. I was just studying a film written/directed by the man that played Dracula in the Warhol movie for a class. The film in question featured an extensive rape scene, which my prof lauded for its beauty and high aesthetic quality. High five for higher education! Yeah!

  123. Jezebella

    You realize Warhol didn’t actually write or direct that movie, right? I don’t know the legal ramifications, but it is no longer even called that, it’s called “Blood of Dracula”. So, your ill-will should rightfully be aimed at Paul Morrissey, not Andy Warhol.

  124. birkwearingblamer

    Thanks, vinoveritas, for that clarification. I’m putting in on my reading list.

  125. Solniger

    Whats gotten into everyone? That picture is really, really not the same as walking down the street while in the posession of breasts. Its an obvious flaunt, which would be absolutely fine if the patriarchy didn’t exist but it does. In the context of the ‘P’ I am annoyed that once again a woman in the media will be talked about for her breasts. Well shit, how is that news? Ditto about the straying too far from the ‘accetable for women’ behaviours. Was that news to McCain?

    Dude nation is flinging feces as usual, thats no reason to change your mind about what is and isn’t ‘empowerful’.

  126. CassieC

    Cimorene, upthread: “I don’t own a tank shirt that does not make me look “kittenish” or sexy-like or porntastic.”

    Solniger, for all you know, M. McCain was not thinking of her offensive boobage when she was taking the damn picture. Or maybe she was. The intent of her boobs, and what the commentariat feels is empowerful or not, is besides the point: she’s being attacked for having boobs, so methinks that’s the level at which feminists should defend her.

  127. Natalia

    Its an obvious flaunt, which would be absolutely fine if the patriarchy didn’t exist but it does.

    Anything but that!

    And women in short skirts are totally asking for it.

  128. wiggles

    “LOOK! A OLD (aka, not teenaged) UGLY WITCH DARED TO SHOW HER FACE ON THE INTERNET!”

    I made a snarky comment on YouTube a while back and this guy went into my profile looking for damning information. I’d put my birth date in my profile for some reason so he found out I was *dun dun DUNNNN* 40 years old!!! He sent me private messages and comments on my channel all “HA HA You’re 40!” until I blocked him.

    He had a video of himself on his channel, he looked about 45.

  129. Jezebella

    The term “flaunt” is just so loaded with patriarchal baggage, Solniger, that I would use it with extreme caution.

  130. Solniger

    eh this is inane. Somebody showed her breasts. Likely outcome should have been for the world to ignore this. Menz starting frothing at the mouth or alternatively flinging dirt. Feminists started beating chests in sympathy or rage. I really don’t care who did what, and have not even bothered to read the Atlantic article as my life would not be even remotely enriched by that. There is absolutely nothing new to learn from this episode.

    Now its time for some ice-cream and then sex, pictures of which I will not be sharing with the world and which no one should interpret as meaning that women shouldn’t be having sex. (or breasts)

  131. agasaya

    McCain doesn’t require defense for doing something that isn’t offensive. Her apology:

    http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/megan-mccain-apologizes-for-twitter-photo-uproar_100261443.html

    was critiqued for being a ‘non-apology’ by Hall on MSNBC. It basically said she’s sorry for those who were offended, rather than being sorry for her actions. It is the classic “I’m sorry you’re stupid enough to have a problem where none exists.” apology that professionals and celebrities adopt in order to appear to be on several sides of a fence (in case you thought there were only two sides).

    She had sixty thousand followers on twitter. Out of sixty thousand, even a couple thousand lousy reactions are worth the pain to someone seeking attention. If solely intended for fun, one sends these pics to people known to you. If intended to make a statement of any kind, you send it to sixty thousand twits and live with the consequences.

    She herself says it was a learning experience and one we can also find educational. She did nothing wrong and the public responded in a most conventional manner. Life goes on with nothing won nor lost for women in general. McCain can make future plans according to how she feels about the feedback received. She has chosen to lead life in the public eye (unlike many of us) and needs the education to grow beyond Daddy’s legacy for ‘ladies’ in America.

  132. socialworkerblamer

    Blamers Anonymous intro: I am a recently retired (invisibly post porn) grandmother who worked in the rape crisis field for decades.

    The current judging of Ms. McCain has crossover attitudes to client rape trials I’ve attended. Was the woman/teenager wearing a tight short skirt? Moving then to a voyeuristic description of the Egregiously Mannered One’s physical appearance.

    I would add that women are not the only ones treated as “pre-porn” opportunities.

    Children are molested every day and told they “asked for it”, or are simply seen as little more than an available commodity for their self-entitled perps. And men are also raped, more than people might think, although research and statistics assume not as frequently as women and children.

    Patriarchal narcissism has many controlling behaviors including but not limited to: sexual abuse or assault, physical consequences to a person’s health and mental health, economic repercussions, and the chronic and tenacious wearing down of the individual’s belief that they are free to speak, dress or act as they want without critical, degrading or sometimes traumatic consequences.

  133. Felicity

    ‘He had a video of himself on his channel, he looked about 45.’

    Nothing frightens dudes like women having worth past 30 – and female ‘tools’ buy into it and help the myth from insecurity. It’s weird how it all works, I’ll read sites like this and older women are wiser and it naturally seems should be superiors; we enter the real world and we’re ‘superior’ if we don a schoolgirl outfit and can look 14.

  134. FW

    The Patriarchy is calling, so I haven’t read all the comments yet, but up til about halfway through there is this assumption that M.McCain is using her body for status gain, that she posted this pic to gain attention in her position as a republican.

    Forgive me if it’s been mentioned, but what if that wasn’t the primary reason? What if it was good old new-fashioned flirting online? What if a component of this was to get actual sexual attention from a specific person? And what if she actually didn’t realize that everyone else would take such notice of her boobs too?

    (full disclosure – I am a big boobed blonde who has noticed a difference in the way other women treat me depending on how thin I am at the time, and how long my hair is)

  135. nails

    yttik- that is the definition of a false dichotomy. Mccain being outrageously misogynist doesn’t make other candidates perfect. What other people are up to doesn’t make mccain less outrageously misogynist either.

  136. veganrampage

    I was referring to male breast lactation without any chemical inducement. This fact has been covered up for years. I was attempting to point out a few ways we auto-think about breasts that are wrong because we are patriarchyized.

    Much like when people repeat the phrase “hunter gatherer” to refer to the human species, when “gatherer scavenger” is more accurate and makes hella more sense if you think about it for two minutes, but we are all brain washed.

    Not surprising this thread, as we females are taught to despise and compete with each other from birth. Gotta quit it.

  137. delphyne

    “Well, exactly. This IS how I get used to it. I call her a silly person. And this is how you get used to me. You call me a cretinous woman-burner. And we all retain the rights to our voices, which we apply towards such useful and high-minded ends, and the beauteous cycle is renewed, etc, etc.”

    The problem is Rachel that your reasons for singling her out are sexist and your criticism of her is sexist. So, two things that I as a feminist don’t plan to get used to any time soon.

    Not liking someone and not liking sexism are not equivalent.

  138. Natalia

    Now its time for some ice-cream and then sex, pictures of which I will not be sharing with the world and which no one should interpret as meaning that women shouldn’t be having sex. (or breasts)

    Good for you for being SO much better than cheap sluts like Meghan McCain. Pat yourself on the back.

  139. thebeardedlady

    We don’t really have Meghan McCain in the UK, but we did have Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, in a photo which revealed some ‘cleavage’ (hideous word). Upon press condemnation for whoring herself about, she responded with words to the effect of, ‘Big deal. Believe it or not, when I get up in the morning the main thing on my mind is not which top to wear that will protect me from other people’s prurience. Get over it.”

  140. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Her politics may rankle me, but I feel sorry for any fellow female who is just learning that a) men hate her, b) women hate her, and c) her most transgressive behavior is having been born female, rendering her thoughts and opinions null and void regardless of her appearance.

  141. Nolabelfits

    TwissB says:
    …we could be considering the weird anthropological/archaeological guesswork image of the oldest clebrity humanoid found to date – a lanky, hairy creature who appears to have tromped merrily through endless eons clothed in nothing but a bikini top which the trembling hands of her discoverers have removed to expose two startlingly pale white hairless breasts. How could this mammary embellishment not be a product of the feverish minds of her finders? Experts, what say you?

    Not an expert here but I saw part of the special last night. They had her all wrapped up in some picture postcard nuclear family bullshit.

  142. goblinbee

    “Big deal. Believe it or not, when I get up in the morning the main thing on my mind is not which top to wear that will protect me from other people’s prurience. Get over it.”

    I think Jacqui Smith may have caved. Headline from October 11:

    “Home Secretary admits she may be showing too much cleavage”

    In the article she is quoted as saying, “In future, I shall try to pay a little more attention to what I wear.”

    (I’m not from UK. Is Mail Online a reputable publication?)

  143. thebeardedlady

    Dear Goblinbee, the Mail (or the Male, as it should be known) is the vilest, most reprehensible, woman-hating, racist, right-wing, shit-stirring bag of nasty that has ever tried to pass itself off as a newspaper. One of their star columnists is currently in the shit after having claimed a gay popstar died not from natural causes, but from actually being gay, and being in a gay civil partnership. I’d forgive you for thinking I’m making this up.

    But I’ll believe you about Jacqui Smith. I think they (female politicians) pretty much have to back down and say the right thing, otherwise they would spend their entire careers trying to fend off this sort of bullshit.

  144. vinoveritas

    Meghan McCain isn’t using her body, boobs or otherwise, to gain status. You know how I know that? Because it CANNOT BE DONE. Not by a young pretty blonde conservative and not by any other woman.

  145. mearl

    Sally said, “I get the pre-porn argument. But there are also other things at play. Everytime that Anderson Cooper appears in some form of skin-showing, his pictures are passed around the internet. Even so, you don’t see his cloying self-made portraits exposing his chest. You don’t see Rachel Maddow pushing the cleavage on a leaning down self-portrait. Or even, Katie C. Although people lost their shit seeing Michelle’s bare arms and Obama in a swim suit, but these where not cloying self-portraits.”

    agasaya said, “She herself says it was a learning experience and one we can also find educational. She did nothing wrong and the public responded in a most conventional manner. Life goes on with nothing won nor lost for women in general. McCain can make future plans according to how she feels about the feedback received. She has chosen to lead life in the public eye (unlike many of us) and needs the education to grow beyond Daddy’s legacy for ‘ladies’ in America.”

    I’d like to know, just for the sake of comparison, how many semi-famous, politically inclined sons of U.S. Senators post coy twitpics of their cute sexy selves. And, of course, I’d also like to know what the public reaction is (or was).

    I don’t disagree that the slavering/condemnatory public reaction and the forced apology is a nice big pile of patriarchal b.s., but I won’t be surprised if Meghan McCain will wear moderately sexy fitted skirt suits from now on, toes obediently on the line.

    There is almost no way to be Dude-Approved hawt and be taken seriously. And there are plenty of women out there using it to their advantage, either by baring or not baring the hawtness. This goes on constantly in politics, in law, in engineering, in the press, in medicine, in academics, in all these areas where everyone pretends ONLY to want to be judged on merit. I disagree that being 24 makes one wide-eyed and naive. 12-year-olds are sexting it up, and THEY know what the implications are (granted, fewer of them might grasp those implications as fully as 24-year-olds). It’s been well-established on this blog that women capitulate to the P with the full knowledge that it will get them something: money, attention, approval, a job.

    This is not me saying, “Stupid slut deserved it!” This is me pointing out that I probably couldn’t take any GUY in business or politics or law or the press etc. etc. terribly seriously if I was staring at the outline of his testicles in his skintight hot pants, on or off twitter. That’s why I want to know if there are notable instances of this. Help me out, here.

    Does anyone disagree with me when I say I think Rachel Maddow gets judged on ability and merit because she doesn’t wear her hair long & bleach-blond, because she doesn’t put on wads of Dude-approved makeup, or because she doesn’t stuff her breasts up to her neck in a Wonderbra? She’s got them. Why aren’t they all over the internet?Does Anderson Cooper post twitpics of himself laying on his bed at home, shirtless? When it comes to being taken seriously in the public eye – whether you are male or female, or if you’re in politics or show biz – there’s a game, and the successful people are the ones who play it well. It doesn’t apply so much to men, but it still applies.

  146. TwissB

    Thanks, Mearl, for lining it up right.

    About that Agaricus, TJill. How big is it in real life? Any more in the immediate vicinity, Agarici being gregarious as penguins? Did it have a ring when it opened? Gill color? Scent? Spore print? Did you dissect it or one of its companions? Inquiring mind hungry for details.

  147. delphyne

    “12-year-olds are sexting it up, and THEY know what the implications are” I can’t believe you said that. Do you really think that 12 year olds have even the faintest idea of the implications of their premature sexualisation, apart from the fact that they want to appear grown-up and that’s what adult women do?

    Yttik has already posted a link to a photo of a Congressman in his bathing suit displaying his six pack. He’s still taken seriously, he didn’t get hammered for doing it. I’ve seen pictures of Tony Blair with his shirt off and all that resulted from that was that he got “Torso of the Week” in a celebrity magazine, he wasn’t on the receiving end of a massive pile on declaring how disgusting it was that he publicly displayed his body with cameras around.

    The double standards are not the fault of the women on the receiving end of them and “she knew what she was doing” isn’t an argument.

  148. Felicity

    I used to get attention from older men at 12, but never realised until later how much that wasn’t what I wanted. Saying that, one old man approached me in a bar when I was wearing a hoody. So 12 year olds are sexualised and held up as potential fuck pieces whether they like it or not. I suppose it’s easier to blame the victim though..

  149. Jezebella

    Mearl, when you said, “There is almost no way to be Dude-Approved hawt and be taken seriously,” I had a light-bulb moment. I’ve been wondering why Ann Coulter is such a right-wing media darling when she’s also Dude-Approved hawt. I haven’t been able to parse it, but I think I’ve got it now: they really *don’t* take her seriously. She is popular to the right-wing Dudes the way a monkey singing opera might be popular: it’s not what she’s saying, but the fact that she is *saying it at all*. It’s like, “Look! Barbie TALKS!!” They surely, to a man, don’t think she actually writes her own books or thinks her own thoughts.

    I feel so much better now.

  150. Shopstewardess

    thebeardedlady -

    “the Mail (or the Male, as it should be known) is the vilest, most reprehensible, woman-hating, racist, right-wing, shit-stirring bag of nasty that has ever tried to pass itself off as a newspaper.”

    Word.

    Although on the odd occasion I read The Guardian, which is supposedly the nearest thing the UK has to a national daily newspaper for people with left-wing views and a social conscience, I find that it is better than the Mail on racism and sexual orientation, but its level of sexism is not much different, just more covert.

  151. niki

    I come into this thread with my head down in humble ignorance, but I recall a day not too long ago when everyone on this blog was like ‘Wtf is up with women who play into the patriarchy, with the high heels and stripper pics, etc etc??’ I found solidarity in this viewpoint not because I think any woman deserves scorn for being any kind of person, but because having worked with a lot of p-compliant women, I sorta felt like the P-compliant stuff was a bad way to go about attempting (and I realize all is futile) to receive praise of any kind. By ‘bad’, I mean ‘Geez I feel uncomfortable going into this public space as a woman when all of these other women are doing the empowerful sexy dance because the atmosphere here is now all sexy and stuff’.

    Quick example: I had to drop out of the club scene in my hometown because of the sudden influx of stripper-happy ladies. I didn’t do this because I hated on the ladies, but because the atmosphere created by their presence, in full knowledge, was one of sexAy, where the men figured that any women that would attend such a place was all about the seXay. I know the problem is The Men, ultimately, but how can I not kinda also think ‘Thanks, gals, for deciding to encourage the seXay here, knowing how the male attendees would behave’? I want to move past this victim blaming stuff, but how?

    Please don’t hate, I come here to learn, not to be gang slapped. Where did all the ‘Why the seXay?’ go?

  152. Hedgepig

    I’m confused too, niki.

  153. thebeardedlady

    “12-year-olds are sexting it up, and THEY know what the implications are”

    No. No they don’t.

    Shit. You totally plunged me into despair with that comment.

  154. birkwearingblamer

    Who gets to decide when a woman is too P-compliant? Doesn’t that make the “decider” like a church lady, judging harshly and predicting a P-complain woman’s ultimate doom?

    Some of us, myself included, are going to look P-compliant no matter what we do. Very petite women, for instance, are considered “cute” and less threatening to men. Do I get a pass for that? Only if I don’t sextext?

    No person should be set up as the Grand Poobah of “appropriate” female behavior.

  155. Kelly

    “12-year-olds are sexting it up, and THEY know what the implications are”

    No. No they don’t.

    Shit. You totally plunged me into despair with that comment.

    Me too.

  156. Hedgepig

    “Who gets to decide when a woman is too P-compliant?”

    This is a really important and sticky issue for us as feminists. The McCain happy snap really showed up some differences between Blamers: some simply saw a well-endowed woman, some saw a woman striking an “empowerfulizing” pose.
    As birkwearingblamer said, some of us are going to look P-compliant nomatter what we do. And this goes for all women. Just by being female, we are the targets of patriarchal assumptions. Does this mean we should never ever say about a woman “she’s wearing heels/a push-up bra/a dress/a sports corset/a barbed-wire bodice/thigh-high boots/an apron/a tank top with no bra/a tank top with a padded bra: she’s being patriarchy compliant”?
    This isn’t a rhetorical question. I really want to know: should we abandon all analysis of displays of femininity because we know that whatever women do, the patriarchy has a reason ready and waiting why it was the wrong thing to do? Should we say, it doesn’t matter if we all wear tank-tops with “Slut” written on them in sequins because the patriarchy considers us sluts anyway? I’m almost ready to say, forget the whole idea of self presentation that is phony empowering because there is no way we can present our female selves that truly gives us power.

  157. otoc

    Here’s the thing, I could walk around in a brown, tweed, bell-bottomed jumpsuit with a brown tweed turtleneck underneath, complete with combat boots, a shaved head, and zero makeup, and someone would be sure that the way I apply my clear, unscented chapstick meant I was sexily coming on to them, or that secretly, I am a wild whore, ala the Sexy Librarian thing. What are we supposed to do? If there are no clear lines, how do we follow them? Isn’t that what makes many of us feel like we are driven crazy by the P — the arbitrary rules/enforcement? What about all the women in Those Other Countries who don’t have access to high heels/push-up bras/skirts above the ankle/makeup? How are they responsible for causing Patriarchy? Also, there’s a difference between criticizing performance sexuality and criticizing women who are “too dumb” to not be as feminist as we think they should be. I mean, I didn’t grow up in the McCain household, did any of you? Did your famous & beloved (by both sides, at least until 2008) father famously call your mother a cunt in public and get little or no flack for it? We don’t all find feminism in the same way or at the same time, and unfortunately a lot of us find it because of something bad happening to us. I feel protective and worried about young women who I see as not being aware of how much men hate them, not scornful. I want them to find feminism before they are hurt, not bash them for not being aware of what they are not aware of.

    What bothers me the most about the shaming of women instead of compassionate critiques of ideas or behaviors is that strategically it is the absolute stupidest thing Feminism can do. I certainly don’t want to be a part of that kind of feminism and my opinion is that a majority of your Average Janes don’t either. And while it’s all well and good for academics to get together in spaces intended for academics to get together, there just aren’t the numbers of RadFems with perfect grammar and perfect P-compliance-radar that you might guess.

  158. Natalia

    ‘Geez I feel uncomfortable going into this public space as a woman when all of these other women are doing the empowerful sexy dance because the atmosphere here is now all sexy and stuff’.

    I lived in a country where most of the women wore hijab, and I got sexually harassed, but I wouldn’t make that an issue for the women. What they’re wearing is their business, my problem was with the men.

    If I met you for coffee, and you said, “Natalia, what’s up with that dress, the atmosphere here is now all sexy and stuff,” I’d probably just figure out that you and I are very different people.

    I could be 100% wrong, but it seems that you’re surrounded by individuals who you don’t have much in common with. Your beliefs and life philosophies do not match up, and you find yourself in situations that make you very uncomfortable. Time to find more like-minded friends? I know it’s easier said then done, but it’s a beginning, no?

    I know the problem is The Men, ultimately, but how can I not kinda also think ‘Thanks, gals, for deciding to encourage the seXay here, knowing how the male attendees would behave’?

    When I was little, I had a friend who became sexually active early. Some of the neighbourhood boys noticed that I wasn’t like my friend, and decided I was haughty. They cornered me and tried to set my hair on fire as a way to “teach me a lesson.” I still have flashbacks. But I don’t blame my friend. We’re conditioned to blame other women for the horrible crap that men do, but I am not going to play that game. All it means is that in the next round, I’ll be the one taking the blame for something awful that some man did.

    I want to move past this victim blaming stuff, but how?

    Flip it around. Let’s say that you and I were feminist buddies. And I came to you and yelled, “Niki! The way you dress, the way you talk, it turns off these dudes I’m trying to explain the cause to, because they’re all like, ‘I don’t like your friend Niki, my fragile male ego quivers in her presence, and it makes me hate your stupid feminism thing.’ So we can’t hang out anymore until you wear heels and talk like I do, so we can present a united front.” That would be an epic fail, right? You’d have every right to be uncomfortable and upset.

    she’s being patriarchy compliant”?

    If you live in a patriarchy, you’re being patriarchy-compliant. Every time I look in the mirror before I leave the house, I go – “Look at her. She’s being especially patriarchy compliant. Nice boots, glad they were on sale.” I could self-flagellate or talk about how I actually hate dressing the way that I do, but that would be dishonest. I could also choose to dress differently, but that would be equally dishonest.

    I get punished for looking p-compliant all the time. I also have plenty of friends who get punished for not looking p-compliant enough. Hell, I think we all know stories of women who are gang-raped because the menz decide that they can “correct” their looks and behaviour. We live in a scary world, for which there is no appropriate uniform. Which is why we need to be taking care of each other, no?

    I think talking about patriarchy compliant looks is an important stepping stone, but not really a means to an end. The people calling McCain a slut aren’t going to be respectful of the humanity of a woman who looks different either.

  159. speedbudget

    She has, she says, “learned a valuable lesson about the Internet and the boundaries between personal and public use with social media.”

    The lesson? Men don’t have boundaries.

    Beatdown successful! Congratulations, Dudes!

    See, guys, to me, this was the crux of the post. Not what her boobs were doing, now what shirt she was wearing, not what angle her head was tilted at. I don’t give a shit about that, because if you replaced her with a man showing his chest, it wouldn’t have mattered. There’s the point.

    And yet, most of this thread, it seems to me, has been about how women are responsible for the way others react to them and how McCain should have known better.

    I think the point of the story was missed with all of this discussion about McCain’s breast tissue and what it was doing or not doing in the photo.

    I wish we could have discussed more the double standard that exists and all the interesting ways in which men exploit that and get away with it, even to the point of a half naked Congresscritter lounging legs open on a chair with a woman’s breasts artfully crowning his head WHICH WAS MENTIONED AND LINKED IN THIS VERY THREAD and promptly ignored for more discussion of what that McCain chick was doing with her boobies.

    That made the point for me even better than Jill’s awesome writing. It’s sad.

  160. delphyne

    From a strategic point of view it’s pointless deciding which women are too “patriarchy compliant” and grading them on some sort of scale.

    Even if we did manage to work out an exact scale of patriarchy compliancy – 100 points for marriage, minus 5 points for comfortable shoes, 25 points each for taking a photo of your cleavage or appearing trussed up by barbed wire but still sexy, perhaps – and place each individual woman on it, it wouldn’t change anything. Men would still be pressurising women into being sexual for them and then shaming either if they did go along with it or of course if they didn’t. As long as women aren’t wielding misogyny against other women (don’t be a tool of the patriarchy!), criticising them isn’t going to change anything for the better.

    The power lies with men. The problem lies with men. It doesn’t lie with women doing whatever they have decided it takes to survive in male supremacy.

  161. CassieC

    Speedbudget, most of the thread is actually debating the issue, to be fair. It’s depressing to have to argue it at all on a feminist site, IBTP in particular, but it’s not as though this thread was 90% criticism of McCain’s right to exist while breasted.

    On the topic of 12 year olds: I see both sides. A little girl who does the flirtatious thing will in fact be rewarded with positive grown-up attention and comments. A little girl who is a butch geek with an attitude and a love of books will get much less positive feedback. It’s called grooming for prostitution when pimps do it, but to a lesser extent everyone does it in this society: groom little girls to prepare them for a life of second class citizenship and objectification. We reward girls for compliance and cuteness, we reward boys for being noisy and stubborn.

    When I’m stuck babysitting girls, I always try to do whatever they want to do while being as noisy and rambunctious as possible. But it’s far too little, too late …

  162. delphyne

    I think it might be a form of wishful thinking – “If only women would stop doing these things, everything would be all right”.

    It wouldn’t. Men would still be oppressing women. The fight isn’t against other women, it’s against men – pretty much every one of whom is complicit in upholding male supremacy over women.

  163. niki

    Thanks for the comprehensive yet not smack-down explanation, Natalia. I’d never stop hanging out with a woman because I found her far too P-compliant (on my own personal scale of P-compliant) although you’re right, I might not have a whole lot in common with her, philosophy wise. It doesn’t mean we can’t share an avocado sammich and hate us some Patriarchy together, despite our differences in appearance. It might mean I won’t go to a strip club with her for said sammich, but that’s another story.

    Perhaps the core of all of this ‘What do we do about the P-compliant thing?’ lies in the feeling of absolute powerlessness, due to the fact that yes, men have the power and yes, men make these ridiculous rules and double standards and will gouge us wherever we go and whatever we do. So where do we start? We’re not gonna edumucate The Mens any time soon, unless we all band together and have a bunch of male children and kill off the previous generations of entitled asswipes and re-write the history and rules of nearly every culture that exists on the planet. I’m down for it, being a socio-politico-anarchois and all, but it sounds like a daunting task. I think this is probably why women tear into each other – because we want to start somewhere, and it seems easiest to first address the people actually listening, i.e. the women.

    Having said that, if we can’t grouse about our own personal interpretations of P-compliant behavior and educate each other (myself included of course!) about solutions that can actually be achieved, what are we doing? Complaining? The men aren’t listening. They really don’t care. Is there anything that can be done?

  164. Kelly

    On the topic of 12 year olds: I see both sides. A little girl who does the flirtatious thing will in fact be rewarded with positive grown-up attention and comments. A little girl who is a butch geek with an attitude and a love of books will get much less positive feedback.

    I have a daughter this age and this is not the case in my community. A 6th grade child who “does the flirtatious thing” (whatever that means) is not rewarded and girls with “an attitude and a love of books” are not at all likely to get “less positive feedback” in fact these traits are highly encouraged. I’m sure this varies according to country, culture, race, class and a host of other factors but girls in my part of the world are expected to do well in school, usually participate in a sport and/or play an instrument, and are pretty kick ass and fairly no nonsense. I don’t usually place elementary school kids into categories like “butch” so I can’t comment on that except to say that the average 6th grade girl wears jeans, gym shoes a t-shirt and hoodie and as my son will tell you, they will nail your ass in dodgeball if you’re not quick enough. Girls this age read rings around the boys, have won top honors in the science fair two years running and they deserve better than to be talked about like they’re brainwashed Lolitas.

  165. polly styrene

    Maybe the real reason the men are angry is that the woman with breasts is getting in the the way of their true lurve for each other?

  166. MplsVala

    Anna Belle said: “birkwearingblamer, I agree with everything you say, I would just amend “progressive dudes” to read progressives. My so-called “best friend,” a vag-bearing Democrat who lives in Maui and calls herself a wildlife biologist, and whom one would think would have the mental and moral capability to value twenty years of friendship over the casting of a single vote, dis-owned me over my vote for the only vag on a major ticket last year–Sarah Palin. I am apparently a monster for doing the math.”

    Wow. What math would that be? Perhaps my problem is that I’m a progressive, but it seems entirely reasonable that any given “vag-bearing Democrat” would consider you too stupid to continue to associate with you. It was clear well before voting day that McCain had selected Palin because he believed that many of the Hillary supporters were so mentally impaired that they would vote for the “vag” rather than the candidate who was more pro-woman. Would you actually be willing to argue that she was qualified? Few would. She may have been giving you the benefit of doubt for twenty years until you pulled a move that removed all hope. You’re the first person I’ve encountered that the ploy actually worked on. Or are you deeply anti-abortion too. Do you have a nifty poster of Palin picketing clinics up on your wall? And how about those wacky religious views? Fear not, she’s been blessed by the witchhunter who is widely praised (in her social circles) for destroying the lives of witches. He could tell they were witches because they didn’t obey him. It’s easy to get pictures of her various blessings, one of them was displayed on Alaska’s webpage, the taxpayers paid for the trip. Do you agree with her position on the separation of church and state? Other than her “vag” just what do you find voteworthy in her? Please explain this “math” of yours. McCain was eager to continue the wonderful Bush policies and Palin’s ideas were even worse. I find it amazing that a seemingly coherent woman could vote to do that to us and the entire world. And brag about? And be surprised that former friends are ashamed of her? How sad for you that we ended up with a President who has a vested interest in seeing that society gives women an even chance.

    I also have a problem with “Men hate you” and the assertion that “a) all men exercise — and benefit from — male privilege whether they want to or not.” I don’t think that is true. Especially irksome is the implication that this makes it is okay to diss all men without respect to their actual behavior. It seems to ignore the fact that there are men who are working just as hard as any woman to change things for the better. Often those guys take quite a bit of societial abuse themselves for their views. I doubt they experience much male privilege, they are too busy fending off attacks that they are not sufficiently masculine. Admittedly, this is not a large segment of society; but, women who choose not to approve of any man because of the intrinsic misogyny all men everywhere are heir to, do us all a disservice by failing to support those who are suffering for the same cause.

  167. Jill

    MplsVala:“I also have a problem with “Men hate you” and the assertion that “a) all men exercise — and benefit from — male privilege whether they want to or not.” I don’t think that is true. Especially irksome is the implication that this makes it is okay to diss all men without respect to their actual behavior.”

    Especially irksome are commenters who make this bush league assumption.

    This site is for advanced patriarchy-blamers. That’s why it’s called “I Blame the Patriarchy,” not “The Man-Dissing Blog.” Go back and read the FAQ. Meanwhile, show me a man who doesn’t benefit from male privilege, and I’ll show you a woman.

  168. Anthony

    Hello,

    This is the first read of this blog for me. I am a man, but one who agrees with you in your “about the blog” blurb. In short, I come in peace, so if you have penis auto-hate, please set it to “off” for a minute.

    I agree that it is a shame that there was any kind of backlash, let alone a severe one, over this picture (and not just because she’s stacked). It is just another example of the double standard that exists. I have two points, either or both of which may have been already covered in the unreadably-large amount of comments.

    One is that I’m sure a big part of the torrent of abuse was from females as well. Granted, you could argue that these women are either brainwashed by my fellow men or just so jealous/desperate for attention that they speak out against her showing off, but you can’t just blame men for this.

    The other point is that I completely agree about how disgraceful the “coverage” on Atlantic and lack of actual coverage about the real issue is, outside of this blog. They latch onto the story because a network corespondent is involved, but like everyone else, overlook the real story. It’s going to take someone who is logical, progressive, fair and selfless getting to a position of real power in the media before this can change, sadly. And for them to last at that position… well, let’s just say we are screwed.

  169. Jill

    Anthony: “This is the first read of this blog for me. I am a man, but one who agrees with you in your “about the blog” blurb. In short, I come in peace, so if you have penis auto-hate, please set it to “off” for a minute.”

    Fuck you.

  170. Jezebella

    Aaaah, the fuck-you is such a satisfying response to a troll, innit? So refreshing, so invigorating, so freeing.

  171. nails

    Anthony’s post is like a weird template for clueless dude opinion writing. It has that special dude combination of talking down to everyone and a half assed attempt at looking like he means well. Oh, and that whole “I am qualified to discuss this, even though I am not” thing.

  172. Felicity

    ‘I am a man.’

    Bahaha!

    “One is that I’m sure a big part of the torrent of abuse was from females as well. Granted, you could argue that these women are either brainwashed by my fellow men or just so jealous/desperate for attention that they speak out against her showing off, but you can’t just blame men for this”

    Yeah, we can.

    Read all of the comments, and you’ll realise women get all the blame without needing any in a patriarchy.

  173. agasaya

    Jill,

    Anthony’s post should become the new example in your instruction manual for males considering participating in the conversation. Why don’t you levy a tax on the men whose comments violate those instructions? They can undoubtedly afford it since they are the guys who either own the entire world (like AIG execs) or men who merely believe they own the female half of society. After all, the only women who could ever disagree with the views stated above would have to be those defective possessions who are haters of male genitalia.

    As opposed to the breast haters, who made the nursing of children a crime if viewed by males. As opposed to those slavering after views of breasts, forcing so many women to become terrified of other women who permit their breasts to be visible in society. Such exhibitions merely confirm the ‘slutty’ status of women around the globe and increase our persecution.

    Yeah, women are the ones who are responsible for McCain’s problems on Twitter. And how about those women in Sudan who broke the law by donning pants? Must have been the women who ordered them jailed and beaten.

    You really couldn’t find a better illustration of your major points. Dubious readers can simply be directed to the end of this thread.

  174. Anthony

    hahaha, well I guess the the auto-hate is on regardless (I was just trying to make a joke, like you recommended in your FAQ; you should also mention in your FAQ that men shouldn’t try this). I’m just glad my post was not deleted!

    I wasn’t trying to troll, nor talk down to anyone, I thought this was an interesting post, and I enjoyed reading it. I realized that the site is called “I Blame The Patriarchy,” so I admit it was foolish to say “You can’t blame only men.” You can blame anyone you want, but did that comment warrant such responses? If you have any patience or tolerance, maybe you all could have imparted some insight upon me rather than just defaulting to abuse.

    So am I not welcome here? I’ll leave you all alone if so.

  175. Larkspur

    Bye.

  176. Jill

    Anthony:“I was just trying to make a joke, like you recommended in your FAQ

    One of the generally accepted prerequisites of jokes is that they contain actual humor.

    “you should also mention in your FAQ that men shouldn’t try this”

    Should I, really? Gosh, thanks for the advice!

    In your rush to judge me as a man-hater, you appear to have overlooked that men make actual funny humor-jokes on this blog all the time.

    “So am I not welcome here?”
    Now that’s funny!

  177. Anthony

    haha, well I’m sorry you didn’t think my jokes were funny. As I said earlier, I am new to this blog, so I haven’t read much yet.

    I didn’t rush into assuming you are a man-hater! You rushed into assuming that I rushed into that! What are you getting so upset about? You’ve overlooked all the praise I’ve given you and what points I’ve made that I’m sure we can agree on just to take cheap shots at me for no reason. I’m not mad, just confused.

  178. Jezebella

    Pssst, Anthony: read the FAQ. Twice. Then go find the Feminism 101 blog. Read all of it, twice.

  179. Anthony

    OK, thanks Jezebella, I will. F101 is great.

    This blog however seems to be solely about anger-festering and abuse and rather than eye-opening, open-mindedness or actual progress. I would like to see equality, and am looking, clearly, in the wrong place. Some of you, whether you realize it or not, are part of the problem, despite wishing you could be the solution.

    If anyone wants to learn how to put words in other people’s mouths, read agasaya’s post.

    For frightening amounts of elitism, see nails.

    For all other general intolerance, read Jill.

    So feel free to attack and complain about this post too, or delete it, whichever, I’m done wasting my time here.

  180. Kelly

    Ah, how nice of Anthony to come and school us dumb broads. But hey, it’s really just a frustrating waste of time since we rudely rebuffed his tutelage after he indicated that he is willing to condescend to our level to illuminate. Alas, it seems he’s flounced and we’ll no longer be able to bask in his generosity. Pity.

  181. pheenobarbidoll

    Hey Ant- This blog isn’t here to serve you, open your eyes, help you progress or aid you in a path to enlightenment in any way.

    That’s your fucking job. Hop to it.

  182. Felicity

    Anthony, you clearly *are* confused. Like the fact you need to address Jill directly with a minor issue you have about the site. Nothing’s attractive about being an ego- maniac whatever the sex! I think we’re miffed you come in here with a stately ‘I am a man’ and then talk with the air of royalty or like a spaceman’s landed. Funny how some men come in here and manage to get on fine – I’m betting it’s not hard. It’s the last thing we need, and if you’ve read and digested feminism 101 I’ll eat my fingernails.

  183. nails

    Yeah, its frightening and elitist to actually know what I am talking about and express annoyance at the dudes who don’t, that infest the one corner of the internet where I usually do not have to encounter them. You could try picking up a book about it first, or just trying to figure it out instead of giving your extremely EXTREMELY typical kind of response. We are all drowning in regular dude perspective outside of IBTP, I am sure it stings a bit to hear but you really aren’t bringing anything new to the table. At all. We know already, its a big leap to go from what most people think about womens issues to what most IBPT readers think. I mean, it sounds really harsh, but you can just go look at other feminist websites, or just discuss this with other dudes you know. We get what you are saying already, like, years ago. This is why you are talking down to everyone with your post, because not only have most of the readers here invested enough time to research feminism but we live our lives every day. but it is so urgent that we listen to what you think anyway, right?The degrees they hand out on this subject aren’t fluff classes, there really is a lot to discuss and learn about feminism. The idea that you are automatically qualified to discuss any subject is part of the dude privilege you have had the joy of internalizing your whole existance. How you intended to come across doesn’t really change how it works, and it seems like you are trying really hard to be pleasant, but you are being pleasant while doing something unpleasant to the blametariat. Hence twisty’s FAQ. This conversation could happen 10,000 times over and feminism 101 blog is a lot more well suited to educate willing dudes in the ways of savage death island.

    See, I spent a very long time being extra polite and patient with dude nation, making posts a lot like the one above with a lot more sugar coating and care crafted in. It doesn’t make a difference most of the time so I became a lot less interested in doing so, but perhaps you will be one of the few that learns something from this experience.

  184. speedbudget

    Goddamn. I missed the feminist-blog-reading-male trifecta. I think we should all get party hats and kazoos for having a guy hit all three major douche points in three posts only.

  185. mearl

    Alright, Anthony aside, I’ve got to follow up on the responses to my earlier statement.

    When I said that 12-year-olds are sexting and that they realise the implications, I was not, I repeat, NOT SAYING THAT ALL TEENAGED GIRLS ARE FULLY AWARE OF THE IMPLICATIONS OF SHARING SEXY PHOTOS OR TEXTS OF THEMSELVES. ARGH!

    I only meant that there ARE exceptions. Girls DO have agency, and knowledge. A few of them DO know, to some extent, that there are implications attached to sexting, and yet they do it anyway for fun. I also have to specify that I was NOT talking about 12-year-olds who are in contact with older guys who are exploiting them, nor was I talking about unwilling victims of pedophiles; rather, I was referring to girls who use technology to communicate within their own age and peer group. Not ALL 12 (and 13, and 14, and 15) -year-olds are completely naive about sex or what can happen when you engage in something that could potentially get out of your hands and your control: when I was in junior high my friends and I were not every last one of us victims of Dudely balls of hormones forcing us into backroom blowjobs. Some of us would WANT to explore for ourselves. Some girls I know had sex with a handful of guys, ON PURPOSE, because they wanted to, because they liked the arousal and exploration and the orgasm that came with it. It wasn’t because these girls were “ugly” or unpopular or had no self-esteem, and it didn’t result in their being ostracised or targeted by either boys or girls at school or out of school. Some girls did what they wanted with their sexuality, and remained unscathed by it. There are exceptions to the idea that younger girls or women DON’T know what they’re doing when they act in ways that seem to capitulate with the P. I doubt that it’s the norm, I was just saying that it exists. Please do not get depressed about what an ignoramus I am.

    That being said, it’s true that more often than not, when 12-year-old girls send naked cell phone pics or sexy texts to guys in their classes, it results in the girl being labeled a slut and the photos or text being shown to about 50 other people in ways the girl didn’t originally intend. I’m fully aware of that side of things, for which I blame the P. Which leads me to the meaning of the statement I posted above:

    I was trying to make a lame comparison between
    a) younger girls who take sexy photos with their cell phones and b) a media-savvy 24-year-old, posting a photo of her blond self with boobs in the foreground on the internet via Twitter.

    It’s a lot more of an amorphous subject than that of a female Enron employee or famous athlete who decides to pose naked in Playboy, but I am still NOT a fan of capitulation when it comes to intent. I have no idea what McCain’s intent was, so yes, I am making assumptions here when I say the following:

    It is far more likely that a 12-year-old just wants to be approved of and have fun, and then her life turns to crap because of one photo. But to say that 24-year-old Meghan McCain wasn’t aware of the porn2K-compliance of her photo is a little far-fetched.

    HOWEVER, I fully understand that the point of Jill’s essay is that intent has little to do with it. I thought about all the times I was walking with my friends down the street in the middle of winter, the lot of us wearing some very unsexay parkas, hoods up, long johns, sorrells, the works – and lo and behold, passing carloads of guys would STILL scream out their windows at us. I agree that the problem is with the Patriarchy and its view of any woman, hawt or not, as an object of sexualisation and humiliation.

    And although I checked out the photo of the Congressman in his swimsuit, I disagree that it’s the same thing. I guess it’s a matter of viewer interpretation, but if the McCain twitpic had been of her laughing it up poolside in her bathing suit, Mai Tai in hand, with some headless hawt young guys presenting their speedo-encased sausages to her in a way that made her look like she was in control of the ‘sexuality’ of the situation, I might say yes, that’s comparable. I don’t consider McCain’s photo to be similar to that of the Congressdude’s. I also think that if she posted a photo of herself like the imaginary one I described, people would have likely gotten their underwear in a bunch about a woman having too much control over a situation involving half-naked guys. Or they’d still say she was a slut. She wouldn’t have gotten a thumbs-up, high-five, you-go-girl response from her Twitter followers.

    I always get too wrapped up in the subtleties of any photo or video or text, especially when it causes an uproar about scandalous sexayness. But I can’t escape the fact that the male gaze goes hand in hand with the P. That’s why I wanted to know if there were any straight males in politics that had posted photos SIMILAR to McCain’s and hadn’t gotten in shit for it – photos that would be considered sexy, intimate and revealing by straight female standards.

    Oh, the shit I get into for thinking out loud.

  186. speedbudget

    That’s why I wanted to know if there were any straight males in politics that had posted photos SIMILAR to McCain’s and hadn’t gotten in shit for it – photos that would be considered sexy, intimate and revealing by straight female standards.

    mearl, I’m honestly curious why you think that the Senator’s photo doesn’t fit into this category. I mean, he’s sitting there, six-pack in the forefront, sweat running down his chest, legs spread, smiling in a come-hither way into the camera. And yet you immediately make his picture a non-issue. Could that be the Patriarchy blinding you? Could that be evidence of the double standard?

    I’m not arguing with you or jumping on you. I’m honestly curious why he gets a pass from you and McCain doesn’t. You refer to her “blond self with boobs in the foreground.” Would it be less porntastic to you if she were brunette with boobs less apparent?

    If intent is what you are thinking about, I would imagine the Senator’s intent was to titillate more than (and I’m taking McCain’s words for it, as we all should) McCain’s, since she just snapped a random picture of herself to post for friends.

  187. Kelly

    When I said that 12-year-olds are sexting and that they realise the implications, I was not, I repeat, NOT SAYING THAT ALL TEENAGED GIRLS ARE FULLY AWARE OF THE IMPLICATIONS OF SHARING SEXY PHOTOS OR TEXTS OF THEMSELVES. ARGH!

    Twelve year olds are not “teenaged” by definition. And in most places they are in their last year of elementary school not Jr. High.

  188. delphyne

    “if you have penis auto-hate”

    Where can I get myself one of those? I might have to give one to all my female relatives and friends for Christmas too. The perfect gift.

  189. delphyne

    “Girls DO have agency”

    Have you actually read this blog, Mearl?

  190. mearl

    Speedbudget, like I said, it’s viewer interpretation. To me (a straight female), the photo of the Congressdude implies several things: he’s lounging poolside, having fun. He’s shirtless, but I don’t see that as necessarily a sexay pose for a female audience. A good lot of the time, men like to show off their physiques to impress other men and women are a less-important secondary audience in this process. From what I can tell, there is another person who took the photo. Could be a male friend, could be a female friend. I could be wrong, who knows, but there is less of an intimate quality about the photo. And the bikini-clad woman putting her breasts on his head paired with his gleeful frat-boy facial expression (I didn’t see it as come-hither), implies to me that he’s showing off (more to other men) what HE can get for himself sexually. Photos mean all kinds of things to all kinds of people. Men can pose in what looks like more submissive and vulnerable ways, and women can pose in what looks like more controlling and confident ways. Whether the viewer finds something sexy all depends on how the viewer sees sexiness. I’d say Pete Wentz’s penis photo that he took of himself with his cell phone, the one that caused a big scandal, is more of a comparable photo to McCain’s, even though he’s a musician/ pop celebrity, not a political figure. I notice that Wentz is roundly considered a “douche” by the male music community, because of the photo as well as for many other reasons. Guys don’t approve of other guys trying to look sexy for women, but they DO approve images of other guys looking like they are studmuffins with hawt women at their disposal. And porn-tastic-ness isn’t limited to having blond hair: see Megan Fox. Hope that helps.

    Delphyne, I know you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, so you know I’ve been here for years, I’ve read the blog and commented many times, and I’m not an idiot. I’m trying to say that although every woman, man, child and animal is subject to the Patriarchy, it’s with the question of personal agency is where one gets into the victim-mentality debate. To capitulate, or not to capitulate: that is what I debate. Of course I’m curious about McCain’s intent – I’d love to know whether she wanted the photo to be sexy or whether she was honestly just taking a photo of herself and happened to be wearing a tank top at the time and didn’t care or didn’t think much about it. The result, of course, is that Patriarchy screws women over no matter their intent. Didn’t I say that I agree with Jill on that?

    Yes, I am silly enough to believe that people have a degree of personal agency within Patriarchy, even while the Patriarchy beats down upon them. As to age, I was 11 in Grade 7 because my birthday is in November, and then I was 12 for the rest of it. My friends and I oscillated between making up dances on the front lawn and trying to get guys to put their hands down our pants and up our shirts because we liked it. I suppose I am naive about sexual goings-on to some extent, because I grew up having most of the control over where and when I would have sexual encounters. I almost NEVER had guys pressuring me or taking the lead in any of it. My good friends were pretty much the same way. A lot of guys didn’t like me OR my friends because we were always turning the tables on them.

    As to agency in sexual development: I think it depends on what stage of emotional and physical development someone is at: some of my female friends didn’t have sex or orgasms until they were 19 or older, some were happily having multiple orgasms at the age of 14, during sex with guys or girls. I don’t disagree that the majority of girls in junior high aren’t ready for the implications of sex or sex-related shit. Anyhow, I’ve digressed WAY off topic, and I’m withdrawing on this one, with a Napoleon Dynamite, “GOSH!” I know that anecdote is a crappy form of evidence, and I agree that the Patriarchy will blow up in your face you no matter what your intent. I’m glad that you questioned my comments, because it made me think and re-think what I meant and how I look at things.

  191. nails

    Jesus lord, this post has a shit ton of comments.

  192. Jezebella

    Heh. Jesus lord is one of the few entities who has NOT participated.

  193. Lewis

    This post by Jill and the many comments here and on related posts have revealed the nature of the optical illusion so completely that events like the takedown of McCain stand out in high relief as I browse the internets.

    Trawling for GLBT political news yesterday and came across
    a lesbian librul blogger
    throwing Carrie Prejean to a pack of women-hating commenters on her site. Just one more of the many ways that the internet sucks.

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