Jul 10 2010

Horrifying frizz experiences and other stories


Sometimes I feel the patriarchy most of all with feminist groups, and the P leaves me alone on occasion in the real world. Hell, I turn off the TV and the patriarchy almost ceases to exist. Then I’ll be on a feminist committee and feel like women actually grouping together against the patriarchy are the most deadset against us getting anywhere.

But I refuse to believe I participate. [from a blamer comment on the Spot of Art post]

As a professional expert spinster aunt it is my sworn duty to inform you, blamer, that you are wrong-o.

What you are experiencing is Anti-Oppression Fatigue. You’re pissed at the feminists because they’re a ceaseless reminder that patriarchy does not leave you alone. You’re tasering the messenger. Ouch! It burns!

You can turn a jaundiced eye toward the arguing feminists, you can shoot your TV, you can imagine that the dominant culture “leaves you alone,” and you can refuse to believe stuff that’s actually true. But your agency is illusory. It is not possible not to participate. There are wheels within cogs around sprockets under layers of dung upon substrata of filth. To wit:

Even if — as you enjoy what you perceive to be a patriarchy-free moment — you’re lounging on the couch you made yourself from sticks you found in the woods, wearing the rough-hewn mu-mu made from cloth you spun yourself from the bamboo you grew on your roof, eating a salad of organic homegrown alfalfa you raised from heirloom seeds and gazing at this post with the computer you hand-built from scrap metal found in a dumpster — there is no way — no way — you personally have not availed yourself of the products of human oppression.

Even if nobody is molesting you, harassing you, hitting you, pimping you, judging you on the size of your ass, selling you carcinogenic wrinkle cream, working you like a dog in a strawberry field and paying you jack shit, taking naked pictures of you and posting them on the Internet, feigning interest in how you coped with your most horrifying frizz experience, sending you subtle messages through film, TV, the Internet, and other media that you’re nothing but a piece of ass, preventing you from obtaining an abortion, threatening to fire you if you don’t put out, leaving your toilet seat up, or murdering you, a gazillion women and kids actually are experiencing this shit — patriarchy — as a big, violent bummer.

The dominant culture of domination is all up inside your shit, too, like one of those 30-foot parasitic worms winding itself around your intestines. It oozes from every pore. You collude with it daily. It’s your first language. Deny this at your peril.

Patriarchy is the reason women don’t get it together and throw a feminist revolt, not feminists. The whole set-up is rigged, see?

Remember, ladies: whenever a feminist takes a day off, a penisface gets his wings.


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  1. Laughingrat

    Thank you.

  2. SageCrane

    I apologize for the length of this comment, but I think it is really important that sister blamers know about this excellent book: so I am quoting the Lead in to Chapter 2 (The Illusion of Love)
    “Capitalism is not wicked or cruel when the commodity is the whore;
    profit is not wicked or cruel when the alienated worker is a female piece of meat; corporate bloodsucking is not wicked or cruel when the corporations in question, organized crime syndicates, sell cunt; racism is not wicked or cruel when the black cunt or yellow cunt or red cunt or Hispanic cunt or Jewish cunt has her legs splayed for any man’s pleasure; poverty is not wicked or cruel when it is the poverty of dispossessed women who have only themselves to sell; violence by the powerful against the powerless is not wicked or cruel when it is called sex; slavery is not wicked or cruel when the tormented are women, whores, cunts. The new pornography is left-wing; and the new pornography is a vast graveyard where the Left has gone to die. The Left cannot have it’s whores and its politics too.”
    Andrea Dworkin, Pornography: Men Possessing Women

    The book is “Empire of Illusion”: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges
    I hope that many of the advanced blamers that read and comment here will read this book, or at least this chapter, which makes the hideous, grotesque face of left-wing, liberal Pornography impossible to ignore.
    I am old, and perhaps this won’t shock others as it did me. But I truly had no idea the depths to which the Patriarchy had sunk. (I write that knowing I will probably be called naive.) So be it. It made me very glad I am old, and won’t have to see this go on much longer.

  3. MPMR

    Don’t forget “and powering that scrap metal computer with a hand crank.”

  4. Siren

    Yep. My upbringing was probably as “protected” from the patriarchy as it’s possible to get in this culture, and it still lives everywhere in my life, my personhood, my thinking, my body. Wiener drippings everywhere.

  5. Comrade PhysioProf

    There are wheels within cogs around sprockets under layers of dung upon substrata of filth.

    Cool-ass sentence!

  6. Sunhat

    Yes. And it does make me tired.

  7. sonia

    Accepting that the patriarchy is around me at all times, strangely enough, at long last gave me some peace. I don’t like it at all, but trying to fight em all at once was hard, and just resisting and channeling my energy as far away from prescribed outlets as I can is much more effective and strengthening.

    Penisface gets his wings! He. That reminded me of those evil little monkeys in Wizard Of Oz. That’s totally what that would look like- a bunch of sadistic monkeys in red jackets flying in a group under the cloudy sky, eagle-eye spotting opportunities for douchery.

  8. nails

    The question was if participate=perpetuate for most, I think. It does make me want to shoplift everything.

  9. Alexa

    It seems the other blamer has a point as well as Jill. We all know about patriarchy being everywhere. It’s also strongest in feminist circles where we seem to argue by default and put a big critical spotlight on other feminists just like the fiercest perpetrators. I’d say radical feminists are different, but this in before another flame war breaks out on this radical feminist blog.

    Feminist bashing is popular in feminist circles. Patriarchy is perpetrated more by some feminists than others. Maybe patriarchy is everywhere, this force we can’t control which is stronger in places it’s being fought against directly. But this seems bullshit to me, arguing feminists are fully aware of perpetuating dominant culture while bickering and shouting down others. Deny this at your peril.

  10. Lady K

    Yo, dawg, I heard you liked radical feminism so we put patriarchy in your patriarchy-blaming so you can blame while you blame.

  11. Bushfire

    Instead of thinking about frizzy hair, I’m going to drink a beer and then cook dinner.

  12. AlienNumber

    After I grew my leg hair for a while, I paraded it around angrily hoping some asshole will comment on it so I can call them brainwashed assholes to their surprised dumb faces. Nobody commented, except for some girl-friends and I told them they should try not shaving their legs themselves, because liberation feels sweet.
    Well, leg hair didn’t feel that sweet in the end. I didn’t mind other girls’ leg hair, in fact, I loved it, but every time I looked at My hairy legs I had too many thoughts and felt just a little too anxious/uncomfortable etc. They reminded me of the Patriarchy more than anything else in my life. So then I shaved my legs and will probably keep shaving them for a while. Eventually I hope to be able to stop shaving and feel as indifferent towards the hair as I feel towards the everything else I don’t bother noticing.

    I guess what I mean to say is that not doing what the Patriarchy expects of you (by being a feminist for example), in my experience, exposes Patriarchy the most and is very personally difficult sometimes. But it’s difficult because I’m just not personally liberated enough yet. IBTP, but not other feminists.

  13. Zef

    “The most dead-set against us getting anywhere” compared to whom? Men’s rights organizations? The US government? Why are feminists dragging their feet when everyone else is eager to start solving shit, anyway?

    At least Avon is obviously serious about empowering women. “Avon Advance Techniques Frizz Control Lotus Shield” sounds like a martial arts stance.

    Lady K: reading your comment I nearly choked on my Patriarchy Brand cereal. IBTP.

  14. FemmeForever

    whenever a feminist takes a day off, a penisface gets his wings

    Wiener drippings everywhere

    Thanks, ladies. I really needed those unexpected belly laughs.


  15. Comrade Svilova

    “The most dead-set against us getting anywhere” compared to whom?


    Also, AlienNumber, I’m about 3 months into not shaving/waxing/etc and I’ve only gone out in shorts or leg-revealing skirts a few times because I do feel extremely self-conscious. I’ve talked about not shaving my legs with a few friends and was saddened by their “but I do it for me!” response. Anyway, even though I still react negatively to my own legs’ appearance, I’ve been feeling stronger and stronger each time I go out with my hairy legs. Maybe eventually it will feel normal? How awful that what is actually normal and biological and natural feels so wrong, right. IBTP (not feminists).

  16. Ma'Whis'Ki

    I dunno… I see female grit and grouch and pissed-offness with ‘wiener-droppings everywhere’ (Good one, Siren!) as positive values, because it’s the patriarchal model that says women aren’t supposed to argue with anyone, ever, at all, and be happy with their lot as well. I also don’t see all (supposed) in-fighting as counter-productive. As far as I’m concerned, a lot of it is ‘I am starting to stand up for myself’ practice, which is sorely needed.

    The way I figure it is that every woman on the planet is a walking-wounded example of PTSD to some degree, because *there are ongoing psychic consequences* to thousands of years of systematic rape/torture/mutilation/death/slavery, and healing from PTSD is sometimes messy and chaotic– the mess and the chaos *is* part of the process.

    If we are going to learn to effectively kick every last one of the oppressor-group in their badly-prolapsed-ovary-pouches (both literally and figuratively), and keep the hurt on until they back off (because that’s the only message the perps even begin to hear), we cannot be afraid of a few intellectual disagreements among ourselves– they are the springboard by which we learn to move in decisive mental, spiritual, and yes, *physical* self-defense.

  17. Saphire

    “… because it’s the patriarchal model that says women aren’t supposed to argue with anyone, ever. As far as I’m concerned, a lot of it is ‘I am starting to stand up for myself’ practice, which is sorely needed.”

    See, as the blamer once again finding her views at the heart of fresh controversy, I totally disagree that we need to argue!

    I keep hearing how the petty disagreements and infighting are healthy and necessary, preparing us or keeping us active. It’s an extension of stockholm syndrome, keep knawing at each other to identify with the oppressor. If this is how it *has to be* then a few penisfaces will have to sprout their wings in my absence, as a day off is sorely needed on my part. Sod arguing with people every time I make the point men are weird. I can say this to my friends, they’d all toast to it; say it to feminists, they’d tear me down. Because I don’t meet the impossible high standard for women daring to talk about their rights.

    Tearing each other down is fucking tiring and keeps the dominant paradigm in check. I also have a personal anecdote where I got kicked off a feminist committee and the several bigger feminists alongside me hated me and bullied me to tears. They made life for me a traumatising nightmare. So that’s the backstory. Apart from this blog and rallies, other feminists don’t have a sisterhood vibe.

    I do blame some feminists sometimes. We’re at the heart of the fight against the patriarchy – what we do matters more than your average misognist’s bullshit. But we give in to our own type of woman bashing when we can barely tolerate each other as women trying to fight.

    For some reason, I’m resistant to whatever makes everyone else perpetuate the patriarchy. I cave into society’s pressures but I don’t fight to support the dominant paradigm.

  18. Blind Horse

    Such a bullseye of a post. I hate turning on the TV, even though I only watch the morning news to get the weather for the day. The newscasters are patriarchy-compliant enough to frost my ass, but the commercials are what really make me want to drop-kick the tv each morning.

    The game is rigged, and the house keeps winning. But your last line about penisfaces getting their wings will fuel my fire for awhile yet.

  19. Ron Sullivan

    And the other half of the problem is that it’s a committee.

  20. _fluff

    I feel so lousy. What can I do? I’m the style of lesbian known as ‘femme’, and I look like all the other girls, and spend my hard-earned money on beauty tools like the other girls. I’ve followed this blog for three years, but I still shave my legs and wear heavy makeup and tight skirts. I really, ardently, wish I could be better, but I feel so self-conscious and almost inhuman when I don’t shave my armpits and wear mascara. I am an angry, man-despairing dyke, but I still dress to please the patriarchy.

  21. Cara

    Feminist bashing is popular in feminist circles.j

    Oh, baloney.

    There. “Bashed”. Have a nice day.

  22. Alexa

    Bashing you right back cow. Thanks for proving my point that we hate each other!

    First kiuku is ‘bashed’ off the site, then yttik gets bashed with every post, then sapphire – the best posters by of course.

    Haha was listening to some men who were saying they should take over feminism – I definitely agree. Even the best of radfems are clueless bickering wastes.

  23. Mayday

    If you hate everyone on the site and think they’re all clueless wastes, Alexa, then why are you still reading and posting? Serious question.

  24. yttik

    “What you are experiencing is Anti-Oppression Fatigue.”

    Or perhaps she is experiencing what I am experiencing, that many feminists don’t know how to do anything but attack other women, as evidenced in the previous thread where the pedophile Rivers is defended ad nauseum while I am criticized for using the term “artiste.” Or perhaps the previous thread where I was accused of having a squishy lady brain, practicing woo, and dancing naked in the moonlight.

    Maybe, just maybe, too many feminists act like fucking patriarchal handmaidens and do such a good job of it, the “real world” almost seems like a friendly place.

  25. Alexa

    You guys stop pretending you hate hierarchies so much – when this blog with jill at the top is exactly that, a big sweaty hierarchy.

    Enjoy dwelling in patriarchy right on this blog. You don’t want us to learn, you want us to cry and be stagnant. Fuck that.

    And who am I pretending cock has ever been a bad thing? I love men!!

  26. Alexa

    Yttik you’re amazing. A godsend. You’re just unreal and a fountain of sense, truth and genius. If I get kicked off, may whatever goddess bless you.

  27. SelinaK

    I just had a frightening frizz experience after reading Alexa’s post.

    Why are women expected to always get along and agree with each other? Why is it so shocking that we can actually get into arguments and have a difference of opinions?
    Oh, yeah…

  28. shopstewardess

    I’m highly familiar with hierarchies, as I’ve worked in one for 25 years. This blog is about as unhierarchical as it is possible to get without being a complete anarchy.

    Up to 30% of the members of my union, including me, are now facing being sacked over the next year. It’s not radical feminists I’m blaming.

  29. sonia

    I 100% agree that commentators on this blog can be really unfeminist. However, I think Jill has always handled the insane amount of popularity she’s received without becoming arrogant. She still states her opinions in basically the same way she always has and I do think she wants people to think for themselves-however this is her space so she states just that, her opinion. Just saying. But yttik I feel your pain-a lot times the commentation here is a little hmmm. or a lot. I want to use a middle finger emoticon. The comments at you have been unfair.

  30. Veraswami

    Of course even this terrific blog is hierarchical: it exists in the patriarchy. Absolutely nothing can escape the dominant paradigm, that was the very point of this post.

  31. iamlegs

    Aliennumber: When I was younger I had beyond hairy legs (looked like black mesh long underwear), and i used to go full natural in college. And you’re right-it takes so much energy to be different.
    Although the feel of a breeze through the leg hair is really special. The rustle sounded like, ‘fffuccckofffffmmmmeeeeennn” and was a siren call for lesbian hookups.
    But then I got a patriarchy2K-compliant job and went back to wearing pants.

    But recently, in my middle age I’ve discovered that the color/amount of hair on the legs, now not so different from the arms! And so I’ve been displaying it again. Results below:

    Coworker: (significant glance at legs)
    Me: (holding arm against leg for them to see) What’s the difference?
    Coworker: you should shave your arms, then!
    Me: (eyeroll)

    “I also don’t see all (supposed) in-fighting as counter-productive. As far as I’m concerned, a lot of it is ‘I am starting to stand up for myself’ practice, which is sorely needed.”

    I totally agree. I’ve often learned a lot from these heated discussions, and also from troll-disciplining on various sites. It gets unstated assumptions out in the open, and you get to hear strategies for explaining key points.
    And yes! We need to learn how to hold our own in a discussion, because discussing things is the only way social values have ever changed.

  32. Comrade Svilova

    Iamlegs: Do people like your coworker even know how absurd they are being to offer unsolicited grooming advice to others? I’m curious whether your coworker is male or female; not that it makes a substantial difference, but it does give the comment context.

    I have to say, it’s really strange having a conversation with someone who is staring at my legs instead of my face.

  33. Sylvie

    I spend time here because the signs from TV etc are as subtle as a smack in the mouth with a wet fish. I’ve got jaw drop fatigue from the constant “how the fuck can they say/do/show/sell/claim thatness” of, well, almost everything media generated.

    Pomo abstract concept one upmanship apart, Deleuze and Guattari’s take on pragmatics has some useful views on language workings. Generally being believable is a minor quality of language, it’s major function is to compel obedience and/or silence. They elaborate, it’s their job.

    Going with “disagreement is good”.

  34. speedbudget

    yttik! I though I was the only one who said artiste. I got bashed! I feel better knowing I have a bash buddy.

    Sometimes I feel like when we get a really good discussion going, it’s like we’ve all been stuck inside the cabin for the whole margarita vacation cause it’s been pouring out and we are running out of salt and someone keeps double-dipping in the guacamole and whose sock is that on the couch?

    I love you all. I love getting bashed by you all. It makes me think damn hard.

  35. speedbudget

    Alexa, you don’t have to hate men to be here. Many of the commenters have Nigels. There is a rule here about not bringing your significant other into discussions, which might be why you weren’t aware of that.

    Happily you don’t have to hate men to be a radical feminist. Some of the regulars are men. You can, however, hate knobs. I know. It’s hard to tell the difference. Just let them talk for a minute. You’ll know who is who.

  36. Jill

    Even the best of radfems are clueless bickering wastes.

    I believe it states in the commenter’s manifesto that commenters who hate everyone on the blog except yttik may consider themselves relieved of the obligation to comment. So long, Alexa. I’ll miss your twinkly eye, your peach salsa, and your impish ways!

  37. Siren

    Ha, you know, I actually jammed up here for a few seconds. I was all like, whoa, this is really weird. You mean as long as the person hates yttik she’s allowed to stay? Does the person have to hate EVERYONE but yttik? What’s so bad—or so good—about yttik?

  38. The Voracious Vegan

    Holy hell this post was brilliant. I’m off to scrub the layers of dung off my sprockets….

  39. EmilyBites

    Thanks for pointing this out, Twisty. It is hard to think about this shit all the time, and the temptation is to turn on the people with whom you feel bad.
    But it’s just fatigue; when you talk to radfems about the P, you feel angry and grumpy, so you might mistakenly get angry and grumpy with feminism. Sometimes even women have trouble identifying with women, because we are so reviled as a group. IBTP.

    A female friend I’ve known since I was ten called me sasquatch t’other day. Summer is here!

  40. AlienNumber

    This feels a little like gossip now that she’s (deservingly) kicked out, but I never expected those vile sentiments to come from under Alexa’s fingertips. I thought she was cool instead of hateful.(p.s. Alexa, if you’re still reading this, in my experience, the girls who feel the need to publicly declare they love cock so much are usually closeted lesbians. So be careful there. I’m writing this as a lesbian)

    In different news, the borderline feminists who hate feminists, they are like the people who hate the messenger.

  41. sargassosea

    Yttik –

    “…too many feminists act like fucking patriarchal handmaidens…”

    Wait. I was under the impression that some blamers here (you and Alexa, to name two) are very much anti feminist-bashing. Or is it only when you are the ones being “bashed“?

    In any case, it’s clarifying to see that (both of) you can “give it as good as you get it.”

    (Jeez, somebody stop me before I whip out the ‘ol H-word!)

  42. simone

    But maybe it’s _not_ the patriarchy, or at least not solely the patriarchy. Maybe, even if we lived in the ultimate feminist utopia, we’d still have unpleasant behaviors on committees. There’s a dreary “nature or nurture” question lurking here, as well as one asking “what _would_ the world look like if we could stand outside it, sub specie aeternis, and consider what it might look like if we omitted the patriarchy and all its trappings?”

    However problematic certain groups of feminist women can occasionally become, I appreciate those interludes when I’m a part of them. Most of my time is spent in a male-dominated profession, and a society in which many of my female neighbors confide in me that they’re afraid to do something for themselves because their husbands wouldn’t approve, or afraid to speak in public because women’s voices are discounted and denigrated. In comparison, the occasionally fucked-up dynamics among certain feminist women are easily endurable, and good dynamics are bliss.

  43. nails

    Lets be real here- all this shit about bashing is really about how nicely criticism is voiced. Its the framing wars people have had at scienceblogs all over again. It is a question of substance vs manners. I think IBTP should be a place free of people commanding pleasantness from women.

    I am 99% sure this is ONCE AGAIN an extension of science week hurt feelings (kiuku being ‘bashed’ out of here and how mean and patriarchal everyone except the woo camp are). Having posters hint at it all the time is really starting to piss me off. Say something or don’t, vaguely trying to insult people for a fight you had a thousand times already is really ridiculous. I am assuming everyone here is an adult, so fucking act like it.

  44. nails


    What I did first was buzz my hair. Really short. You can’t undo it or cover it up. You get used to it after a week or so, and men don’t hit on you as much. I think it is a good first step, just dive right in. All the other stuff is easy after that.

  45. Ginjoint

    The rustle sounded like, ‘fffuccckofffffmmmmeeeeennn”
    I am going to be laughing about this ALL DAY. And tomorrow too. Thank you.

  46. Mujery Legs

    So much LOL, so little time.

    The speck I have to contribute to this discussion is that I have been ashamed of things that come out of my mouth in feministy discussions. IMHO we absorb so much of the patriarchy/dominant culture (even though it is heterogeneous) without being able to question it, and sometimes it takes verbalizing idiocy as if it was our own in a critical context, to hear how stupid it is. So feminist bickering can be really productive and wonderful, insofar as identifying where patriarchy ends and contestation of it begins is an ongoing process of constant critical reevaluation.

    Especially when it involves making an ass out of myself. As in: OMG, do I really believe the Women’s Center is derelict because it doesn’t have a kitchen? Or was that a joke? Or was it a joke but also something that sprang to mind because the patriarchy is IN my mind??? Or: wait, did I just say rape victims shouldn’t have been out drinking/dressed like that anyway? I don’t believe that — where did it come from? Etc.

  47. Nolabelfits

    This is like a season of “Survivor” where someone gets voted off the island every week. Stick around long enough and maybe next time it will be you.

    P.S. I kinda miss Kiuku!

  48. Judi

    yttik says “that many feminists don’t know how to do anything but attack other women,” and EmilyBites adds: “Sometimes even women have trouble identifying with women, because we are so reviled as a group.”

    Of course our discussions run into trouble sometimes – we are trying to communicate with each other as humans, and this is a skill that we have never seen demonstrated. Has it ever even been proven possible? I have no idea how to talk as a human, to other humans. I’ve only been trained, since birth, how to talk as an object to potential and actual oppressors, and to other objects which are more or less pleasing to the oppressors than I. The languages I speak, the only languages I’ve ever heard spoken, are made of fear, aggression, dominance, compliance, and appeasement. We can’t know for certain if there is any other language for us to communicate in—we’ve never heard it, but we’re trying. Sometimes it’s so frustrating it makes the hair on my legs get all frizzy. IBTP for all of it.

  49. Jezebella

    You know, it is not unfeminist or anti-feminist to disagree with another feminist. I have no idea where this trope comes from, but it needs to be done away with, pronto. All it serves to do is silence feminists.

  50. Valerie

    Men have in-fighting within their groups all the time. It’s called war. And according to the History channel, it’s the most important thing that could ever happen to anyone, anywhere.
    What a mad bunch of glory hogs. Pathetic.

    They are very clever at taking their weakness, Ego, and turning it into a plus.

    I don’t want to be like that, but it’s nice to be able to spot it when I see it.

  51. Slashy

    Hey other femme lesbian commenter up there- just wanted to offer a tiny moment of femme solidarity from another femme reader of this blog. Your comment made me want to tell you, don’t fall into thinking that decisions you make, like shaving your legs or whatever, mean you have insufficiently learned from this blog. Nobody needs the anxiety of an internally judgemental un-beauty-standard colonising their brain alongside the life-long-learned beauty-standard. Makes for a crowded brain with less room for appreciating margeritas, tacos, feminism, lesbianism and whatever else makes you happy. We’re all complicit in different ways, we make the efforts we can- cotton hand-spun mu-mus or vegetarianism or non-leg-shaving or whatever- but they don’t define us as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ feminists- a thousand flame-wars on that precise topic aside. Also, a lot of the raddest feminists I know are femme lesbians, although that could be selection bias speaking.

  52. Comrade Svilova

    We’re all complicit in different ways, we make the efforts we can- cotton hand-spun mu-mus or vegetarianism or non-leg-shaving or whatever- but they don’t define us as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ feminists- a thousand flame-wars on that precise topic aside.

    Absolutely, and if my comment about leg-shaving sounded prescriptivist, I apologize. For me, it’s been a choice of where to non-comply that works for me, but there are plenty of ways that I find myself complying where bare-legged feminists might be resisting P2K. It was meant as anecdata, not an exhortation for all to do the same.

  53. iamlegs

    Yes, and for me the point was that even small instances of non P2K compliance create enormous pockets of resistance in the immediate milieu, which can be a huge energy drain. Hence pants (and now leggings! whee! & pants with skirts!), because shaving=ingrown hairs, which I fear far more than patriarchy-compliant gay male coworkers with no sense of the absurd.

  54. Slashy

    I was specifically responding to the blamer way up who was being a bit down on herself about the leg-shaving & mascara, but thanks for the responses! To throw in some more andecdata, I don’t shave my legs either! Or my pits! And I wear short skirts, strappy tops, and heels, in public! I can totally agree that it is quite amazing how vigorous & vocal the push-back against being female-shaped & even female-dressed and yet UNFORGIVABLY HAIRY is. At least once every few days, in the many countries I have traveled through in the past month, I have had groups of men pointing at my legs, commenting and laughing like I am the wackiest sight ever beheld! The only appropriate response I have come up with is to raise my arms & flash my pit hair too, all nonchalant-like. This constant harassment is worth it for me, to be hairy yet girly & apparently confusing & in need of correction, but I’d never prescribe it to anyone else who had a different experience of her body & any desire to avoid the exhaustion of being publically mocked & shamed wherever she goes. Sydney, London, Berlin, Budapest- the male gaze & it’s ever-so-helpful mandate to tell you You’re Doing It Wrong is global. Or so my recent observations suggest.

  55. AileenWuornos

    “Remember, ladies: whenever a feminist takes a day off, a penisface gets his wings.”

    Some really valuable advice here. I’ll have to remember this.


    That quote, I feel, is one of the most powerful pieces of writing that Dworkin ever penned. As probably one of the younger blamers on here, it really shocked me, and hell, I grew up in an age where “gonzo” is the norm.

  56. nails

    I put this post through the oh so popular “I write like” analyzer, and it spit out Stephen King.


  57. mearl

    Whooooeeee! Tell me about it, Jill. I’ve been a messenger with a bullet in my guts for years, and that’s no matter who I’m talking to: it could be my female friends or younger women whose consciousness I’ll try to raise, or the members of the penis class who are running around with ingrained hairbrained notions, whose consciousness I will also try to raise (I’m still naive enough to think it isn’t futile).

    Yes, I am a masochist of sorts, but despite all the (repeat) declarations of “feminism doesn’t apply to my life,” “I haven’t experienced sexism,” “You’re blaming me for the ills of my entire gender,” and of course the “You’re just angry and this is just unpleasant and I’d rather be blowing bubbles and pretending things are dandy,” I keep at it. Why? Because I am secretly filled with glee at the thought that when the young woman or dude in question finally DOES run across a situation in their life that illustrates my point, they will remember what I said and maybe be able to deal with it more constructively.

    As for the penisfaces who get their wings (fucking brilliant!), just notify me if you see a crowd of them flying by and I’ll roll out the cannon.

    Frizz crisis comic relief!

  58. Ruby Lou

    Okay, the patriarchy does not leave us alone. Ever. Well, we’re not leaving them alone either. Are we not trying hard enough? Maybe. Say, kudos for the superb Andrea Dworkin quote. Sweet and tangy as a lemon slurpie on the seventeenth day of no rain.

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