Jan 16 2011

Hugs, Twisty: Pornsick dudes give blamer the screamin’ mimis

Blamers, blamers, blamers! Though my blogularity has been in remission lo these past weeks, I have missed you. The blog will return, I swear. Until then, allow me to resurrect one of my favorite recurring features. I allude to the “Hugs, Twisty” feature. You remember “Hugs, Twisty,” right? It’s where I publish a blamer email instead of writing my own essay. I scrawl a few platitudes at the end and sign it “Hugs, Twisty.” The idea being that the wise and mightly blametariat take up the cause in the comments.

Today’s “Hugs, Twisty” comes from blamer B. It appears that B is newly awakened to the horrors inherent in feminist awareness — especially those relating to the dreaded Male Gaze — and is struggling to keep it together.

Dear Twisty,

I’m just so confused and depressed about things and I really want to get your thoughts. I am having so much trouble with all the images and portrayals of women everywhere I look and with all of the male views on fantasy (even without porn) and I don’t know if I’m taking it all too far, or if other women really do feel as affected by these things as I am. When I mention how I feel to other people they tell me that I need to lighten up and that I just have a low self-esteem (which I know I do, so I start to believe them even more), or they use the lines on me about it all being normal for guys to do this or that, and I’m just losing confidence in what I think (or at least thought I believed) and I feel completely alone. To try and find support, I started looking at blogs, but I was feeling even worse because I see so many where the minute a woman makes the slightest indication that something makes her feel bad about herself or insecure, everyone (including women) beat her up with the same things others have told me. I’m new to your site and with what I’ve been reading the last few weeks, I’m finding some reassurance, and wanted to see what your views were on:

1) ads and commercials like Victoria’s Secret, GoDaddy, and Hardees? – Am I overreacting that these bother me?

2) magazine covers like Maxim, Cosmo, Sports Illustrated, Wired (did you see Wired’s December issue cover?)

2) movies like American Pie?

3) does it bother you at all that almost every movie has at least one female topless scene?…even movies like 21 Grams or Open Water…it just seems like it is beginning to be a given thing in every movie. Technically, these movies don’t have to have it in there…I can’t help feeling that it’s just a given to cater to men

4) masturbation? – I hope it doesn’t sound silly … that’s how insecure I am … but when men are blogging out there, or men you know or are in a relationship with, are saying that they are fantasizing or masturbating daily about attractive women they work with or that they see in public or in movies or commercials, and they say that it’s no big deal, but then in the same breath, they tell you that you are the most beautiful woman to them and that they love you more than anything, I just can’t get my brain to think that’s true. Am I overreacting to feel that way? I just see it that men are “consuming” women around them and fantasizing to these “ideal” and “unrealistic” pictures of women that are EVERYWHERE, and I just can’t see how they aren’t possibly considering how “real” women are not measuring up. But again, I just keep being told that I have a low self-esteem, and I have to admit, that because of all of this, I really do. And I’m not finding other women who feel hurt by this.

I have found women who are against porn, which I was happy to find validation on my views of that. But these other topics, especially the fantasizing have me so distraught. It’s difficult for me because it is a private issue, but when you know that all men are doing this all the time and you know that they are looking at women so as to “consume” their looks, I just don’t know how to cope with those feelings, so I am worried that I’ve taken it too far.

I really wish I could find a group of women in my area who feel similarly on some of this stuff as I do and would want to meet maybe once a month to just talk about how they handle all this in their workplace, in relationships and just in their minds. I almost feel like I can’t watch a movie or read a magazine without it all affecting me, and I’m wondering if most women are just “coping” by ignoring it since it’s too ingrained in our society, or if they all feel the same way I do and are finding relationships where others support them.

Thanks for your thoughts on this


Dear B,

Dang. I feel ya. Oppression fucking sucks.

You’re not overreacting. You’re trusting your perceptions. This is essential for anyone who wants to function as a sentient being with personal sovereignty. You have observed that our social order is profoundly misogynistical, and you have chosen truth over complaisance. Well done. Unfortunately, this path, though liberating in a bunch of important ways, can often be pretty difficult and painful in practice.

As a matter of survival, most people — men and women — have a huge personal investment in preserving the social order. This is why they tell you to lighten up when you question the legitimacy of the culture of domination. They don’t want to face the painful truth. Even self-identified feminists do this. Don’t be too hard on’em. The indoctrination is strong within us all.

Pornography is not, as you suggest, a “private issue.” It is the graphic representation of violence against women, packaged as public entertainment. The masturbators you describe are porn addicts. Porn addiction is richly rewarded in our culture, so naturally there are about 12,786 of these knobs on every bar stool, street corner, and yacht.

Quick fix: if some dude makes you uncomfortable, do whatever you can to just stay the hell away from him. If you’re up for a little activism-lite, tell your friends who use pornography why it’s not OK. Boyfriends who use pornography should be dumped without delay. Without delay!

Obviously you can’t stay away from all men all the time, and you can’t change the rotten way men think about women, so the best long-term defense is to develop a real awareness and deep sense of your own humanity, so the withering gaze of dudely pornsickness can’t turn you into a commodity in your own mind.

One way to gain a sense of your own — and all women’s — humanity is to bone up on feminist theory. It’s a disorganized mess, but there’s a reading list link on this here blog of which you might avail yourself, to start with. You might also click on the blamers’ blogs. Many of them share basic feminist views on pornography and other stuff, and reading their blogs might help you feel less isolated.

I wish I could offer a formula that would eliminate the patriarchy for you, but there isn’t one. Well, that’s not exactly true. There is one little scheme, which, if implemented even half-assedly, would pretty much take care of the problem. Of course I allude to feminist revolt. Alas, it’s an idea that never seems to get much traction. As previously noted, antifeminist indoctrination is strong, even among feminists.

We all just have to scrumble by as best we can. The main thing is to keep a sense of humor.

Chin up!


P.S. You’re not alone. This blog, for instance, has like 3 or 4 thousand readers. Or at least it did back when I could be bothered to post.


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  1. minervaK

    I think this may be a first (I allude to being number one poster on one of Twisty’s missives)…

    Blamer B, you most certainly are not alone. I myself live in almost complete isolation (as much as one can and not get thrown into the loony bin) from ‘society’ because of it. I also feel frequently as you describe: hopeless and alone with my fury and nausea.

    Keep in mind that the ‘self-esteem’ issue is something the patriarchy uses to keep you in line. When I feel it, I’m now able (at my advanced age) to see it for what it is, but that is after long long painful years of experience with the ‘cures’ for this ‘low self-esteem:’ a newer, more revealing dress; a weight-loss program; ‘assertiveness’ traning (i.e., how to look sexy while demanding extra foam on your latte); meditation / religion / ‘self-help’ groups — you get the idea. Your feeling of disgust at what you see is the humanity that hasn’t yet been beaten out of you. Cling to it like the life-raft that it is.

  2. Citizen Jane

    How can you be a member of an oppressed group and not have low self-esteem? I hear of people who do it, but how? I don’t see how it is possible.

  3. JJS

    Nope, not alone at all, Blamer B.

    Twisty, minervaK and Citizen Jane pretty much cover what needs to be said – I’d just add that a) some days are less painfully alienating than others, b) coping mechanisms are good but they only go so far when the problem isn’t you, and c) there’s some good support and camaraderie in feminist forums online when you need to shout and squick-out about it. Hang in there. Feeling pain when injured truly isn’t pathological.

  4. humanbein

    Remember that all who surround us are in flux. They veer from misogyny to mere sexism and all points in between. Many people, when dealing with animals and small children, even rise above hierarchy and paternalism into nonjudgmental love for minutes at a time. If you don’t sink into the dogma that everything that is not perfect is all bad, you can find much joy and certainly far more self awareness and the joy that brings in a life informed by feminism. B, you are a wonderful person to have risen above your culture enough to grasp the sickness that lies behind it.

  5. shallowwater

    blamer b, you don’t have low self-esteem. you think you are worth more than being stared at like a piece of meat by mouth-breathers. that sounds like you have pretty high self-esteem relative to many other humans to me.

    It never really gets less gross, but it does get less shocking. And as time goes on, you’ll start finding more and more people, online and IRL, who agree with you.

  6. Maren

    I really empathize with blamer b. I’m surrounded almost entirely by like-minded friends (plus a Nigel), but often I feel overwhelmed not just by the Maxim/VS-style displays of women, but simply the constant barrage of women’s images at all. They’re all pretty, they’re all slender, some are sexualized and some are just very well attired, they’re all airbrushed and made-up and in my face, constantly. I have a dear friend who’s one of the bitterest feminists I know, but she’s also obsessed with fashion and her blog is full of shots of gorgeous, starved models in gorgeous clothing. I know she picks shots that are less calculated to appeal to a straight man’s eye (let’s not go into the queer man’s eye stuff), but I still feel so *battered* by images of perfect feminine beauty I could scream.

    And on the self-esteem front, I feel like it’s impossible to *build* any unless you keep your head firmly down and wade against the current blindly. People who say your reaction to these images is caused by your low self-esteem have it entirely backwards — where did that problem come from to begin with? I’ve been working on body acceptance lately, trying to appreciate what my body can do instead of what it looks like because I was tired of using other people’s opinions to decide how I felt about myself, but it is fucking hard work. Everywhere you look, from signs in the makeup section of Target to billboards when you’re stuck in traffic to ads online, on tv, and in magazines, all you see is a certain type of women. And somehow your mind blocks out the actual women you see every day, who don’t look like that but aren’t lit up and shoved in your face.

    Ugh. Sorry, blamer b, I have no answers for you. But you are very much not alone.

  7. EmilyBites

    Hmmm…internet ate my half-finished comment, so hope I’m not repeating myself here.
    You’re not alone, Blamer B – today I saw a Virgin Atlantic advert that featured a woman done up like a porn star. Then I saw an ad for mouthwash that featured a naked woman in a field, with the camera lingering lingeringly on her ass. Then I saw an ad for the excremental UK tv programme ‘Strictly Ice Dancing’, in which the female contestants are put into bikinis made of sequins.
    You’re not taking things too seriously, women-as-meat is a concept that’s pushed on us everywhere, and the fact that it affects you just proves you’re getting the message.
    Like Twisty said, the most important thing is to try really hard to have a sense of humour about it, and read feminist blogs (but not necessarily the comments unless they’re heavily moderated!).

  8. polly

    How can you be a member of an oppressed group and not have low self-esteem?

    Very simply – by not internalising the views of your oppressor. There is a difference between a)recognising one is oppressed (which results in being angry) and b)blaming oneself for the oppression (which results in low self esteem).

    Being pissed off by society in general is not the same as having low self esteem, indeed I would argue you need pretty healthy self esteem to object to being treated badly, in that you realise you deserve better. However what is happening here is the common reaction experienced by women who object to misogyny, ie they are told they are JUST JEALOUS.

  9. Melissa

    Thanks for posting, Twisty. I missed ya.
    A couple of thoughts, B.
    1. “Lighten up” is something I have been hearing my entire life, beginning when I was a small child, by family members. Sometime in my late 30’s, in therapy, I finally realized what it really means: “Your thoughts/feelings do not jive with my version of normal. Therefore, you are stupid/inferior/oversensitive” (my personal favorite). You are not the problem. The patriarchy and/or general douchebagedness of those who talk down to you like that are the problem.
    2. As a novice blamer of about a year now, for a long time I have been working on how to NOT feel like a commodity in my own mind (as Twisty says) when, in the company of a man, he looks at me like I’m a steak and he has the A-1 sauce I need. A few years ago on a blind date, the dude said I was “breastalicious” within 5 minutes of meeting me and I DIDN’T EVEN END THE DATE. My point being, hang in there. Take baby steps. Be gentle with yourself and those around you. But don’t deny your gut.
    3. I think most of us feel alone in our frustration with the patriarchy. That’s why we read blogs, and blogs that address our needs, like this one, are so good. We depend on them to keep our faith! Happy learning!

  10. Kelly

    You are not alone, and you are right. I’ve found that the more I read and educate myself and listen to wise Blamers such as Twisty here, the less it bothers me. For me, finally naming the thing and admitting it exists brought a huge sense of relief. No, it wasn’t me “imagining things”.

    Everyone is different and this sense of relief may not develop easily. I’d add what others (like Melissa) have said, don’t put pressure on yourself to tilt at windmills in some awesome 100% way, there are just too many windmills and some of us are better than others. Just the other day at a restaurant my mother and I were having lunch. She’s always listening to my baby-radfem rants and wholly endorses and tears up when we talk. We’re in the middle of one such talk and the proprietor comes up and starts grabbing on her. I froze (angrily), she let him do it (out of fear). Neither of us spoke up. I am still pissed at myself and I think she feels ashamed. She feels ashamed HE was a dick. Yeah.

    Keep reading Twisty, this space is long a long cool beer on a parched throat!

  11. nakedthoughts

    “The indoctrination is strong within us all.”

    that includes within ourselves, not just ins our neighbors and friends. That could be what part of the struggle is as well. you not only have to combat everyone else saying “lighten up”, but you have to combat yourself saying it.

    so don’t be too hard on yourself either.

  12. justpassingthrough

    I agree whole-heartedly with everything that’s been said so far. The pain is most acute in the beginning, when the blinders are first removed, but it does get easier with time. You gradually become accustomed to your role as an outsider-looking-in, you develop a thicker skin, you become more sympathetic towards fellow feminists who haven’t yet reached your level of awareness.

    Read radical feminist (and rad fem-friendly) blogs often, be selective about the people you associate with IRL, never, ever date a man who uses porn or subscribes to gender essentialism. Authentic feminist allies aren’t easy to come by, so I recommend wholesale rejection of our culture’s obsession with romantic relationships. We’re told, practically from the time we’re popped from the womb, that it’s impossible to find happiness without a SO. Lies, damned lies.

    Aside from IBTP, here are a few rad fem/rad fem-friendly blogs that bolster my feminist spirit:

    Someone up-thread mentioned feminist forums and I know I’d appreciate it if people could post links. (Thanks!)

  13. justpassingthrough

    I forgot to mention Jezebel.com (I won’t post a link because it isn’t technically a feminist blog, and I don’t want to offend anyone by posting links to non-feminist content.) It’s a wonderful melting pot of feminists of all stripes (and therefore a little headdesky at times), but if you’re offended by “sex positive” content and discussion, you may want to forgo becoming a Jezzie.

  14. Ms Faerie

    I am not new to the patriarchy but I am new to patriarchy blaming so I am victorious to find a place for similarly minded people to hangout. I learned very quickly (last Friday) when challenging misogynistic men was how darn much they hate being questioned by ‘Fem bitches.’ They are even more inconvenienced when you are confident and know your shit. That’s when they’ll often offer you the wisdom to ‘Lighten up.’ What’s even worse is when they claim to be well meaning folk but fail to extend their good nature to the likes of women. The way I see it now is: I’ll lighten up when you stop offending me and my gender and when I have nothing to fight for anymore. As for self esteem, let them see the stress in your face, the premature ageing, the first signs of grey, the increasing widening of your hips because chances are the patriarchy sped up the process anyway.

  15. Notorious Ph.D.

    Blamer B., I have a pornsick friend who I had to downgrade to “friendly acquaintance” because he tried to make me feel like shit when I called him on it. Which I did, frequently. I ended up having to distance myself from him, telling myself that it was easier to be his friend if I didn’t interact with him too regularly. You may need to do this with some of the dudes in your life. You don’t have to make an announcement; just leave quietly. Don’t try to reason with them more than once.

    There are many opinions and arguments out there, but only YOU can be the judge of your own experience. And anyone who tries to tell you that you’re not experiencing what you manifestly are is someone who should be avoided.

  16. Mujery Legs

    I feel you, B. There’s nothing wrong with you for feeling the way you do, and you are not alone.

    Rad Geek is not devoted exclusively to feminist analysis, but has really awesome rebuttals of some common anti-feminist idiocies re. wise ones like Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin: http://radgeek.com.

    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy similarly has some great glosses of a lot of the names you see mentioned in Twisty’s bodacious reading list. Just doing a search for feminism in here is a good place to start IMHO.

    I would also say, if you don’t like the culture, make your own. A good way to find a group of supportive, like-minded people like you’re looking for is to start a project. Can’t stand the magazines around town? Start your own. Hate the movie industry? Buy a camera of some sort and start shooting.

  17. Yankee T

    Dear B,
    No, no, no, you are not alone. I am continually horrified by the expectations of society that women continue to allow themselves to be the tools of the patriarchy, and when we protest, we are pronounced to be “man haters” or “over reacting.” I have 2 daughters, now 18 and 22, and I am constantly pointing out symptoms of patriarchal thinking all over their world. I think it’s beginning to sink in…but sometimes it’s so subtle that I have to repeat myself, oh, 100 or so times before they see it.
    You do not need to “lighten up.” You just need to find places of refuge such as this.
    Bon Courage!

  18. niki

    Welcome, welcome and welcome. Welcome, especially if you are straight, to cognitive dissonance and absolute deadpan truth. Like Aunt T said, it helps to find a sense of humor while working towards your natural goals of personal sovereignty and freedom. We may bicker from time to time but we’re all here because it’s hurting us.

  19. Jill

    “[…] especially if you are straight […]”

    No shit. The non-hetero life is no picnic for sure, but sometimes I think that all the straight girls who manage to not end up as the featured homicidal maniac on “Snapped” deserve a fucking medal.

  20. a little night musing

    You know what’s sick*? What’s sick is that B feels so alone, after so many years of women trying so hard to fight this shit. At the very least, B should have evidence she’s not alone. But Noooooo…

    ““[…] especially if you are straight […]”

    No shit. The non-hetero life is no picnic for sure, but sometimes I think that all the straight girls who manage to not end up as the featured homicidal maniac on “Snapped” deserve a fucking medal.”

    What Jill said.


    And I mean “sick” in the non-complimentary sense.

  21. awhirlinlondon

    Why thank you! I’ll take one of those medals, please. I’ll be in line behind B, to whom welcome. The now defunct (sob) Bitch Ph.D. blog has some excellent archives as well.

    Yes, avoiding the self-commodification is bizarrely hard sometimes and it’s particularly wicked in that it is the self that’s fucking over the self (with the encouragement of the all-pervasive P)and so the self-loathing can get pretty extreme. Much more fun to loathe other people.

  22. speedbudget

    If you are straight, it helps to take a long-term verging on permanent hiatus from dating. Firstly, you will learn that you can, in fact, survive without some douchebag being a big baby in your life. Secondly, you will be relieved. Thirdly, it will take some awesome shit to make you decide to give up your wonderful single life, and not just awesome shit on paper. You will learn to discern the guys who are just making the motions at being woman friendly from the ones who really are. Then you can decide on your own terms whether you want to date them or not. And if they are truly woman friendly, they will not get all pissy about that. It helps to have as your first requirement “no porn.”

    I joined a book club a few years ago along with a Stampin’ Up club. I never expected to find radical feminists in either one. I was surprised and gladdened to learn that lots of ladies are radical feminists, whether they know it or not. You can find support in all kinds of lady spaces, cause most ladies, in a space with only other ladies, will admit to the fact that the world is a mysogyistical (mysogical?) place, and they will happily discuss that with you.

  23. Jill

    “You can find support in all kinds of lady spaces […]”

    This is true, except at meetings of the Right Wing Women’s Anti-Abortion Quilting Circle.

  24. redpeachmoon

    wow, welcome B and welcome back Twisty! this is the conversation I’ve missed. Offering support to us all instead of arguing and blaming each other re: the military industrial complex. I am freshly appalled by our culture, daily. Being barraged by images of my teen aged niece and her girlfriends porning it up in cheerleading outfits for their FB pages, singing along to desperately women-hating hip-hop, trying to figure out what this culture is all about (yet rejection my input and preferring
    woman abuser Chris Brown’s ideas.) I remember being so happy at 17, thinking I’ll never have to wear high heels or a girdle or makeup.. feminism had changed all that! Silly me.. moving out of the woods changed that pretty quick, but not my inability to know what I wanted as compared to what the P expected. And my struggle continues! 30 years with my Nigel, mother of 2 Nigel’s! post menopausal and looking after my 92 yr, P-loving Mom. I blame the P for so much. Thanks for listening Jill and blamers. It’s hard to not despair.

  25. TwissB

    Per Twisty: Boyfriends who use pornography should be dumped without delay. Without delay!

    I’d revise: Boyfriends who use pornography and/or the Bible, Koran or their equivalents should be dumped without delay.

  26. joy

    Let’s go yet a step further.

    Boyfriends should be dumped without delay.

  27. Shinila

    Excellent. Our world is insane because to everyone who keeps women down after our rights were allegedly won, it’s just a little game. In every advert and every 16 year old on page 3, it’s a game intended to rub women the wrong way.

    I also agree about anti-feminism being indoctrinated amongsy feminists. The amount of feminists I’ve heard spouting MRA ‘be nice, how dare you!’ crap at other feminists is astounding.

    I find site’s help like this brilliant gem, where women like us just laugh about how fucked up our world is, 1) that this shit exists, 2) that no one bats an eyelid, 3) that society pretends to think it is valid and humane in other ways while women remain completely oppressed.

    I find keeping one persona for reflecting on feminism, another for the real world helps – also reading feminism like this helps remind you you’re human, which instantly instils confidence. And we radical intellects pondering the issue are so much better than the dirtbags defending it, y’know?

    p.s. Jill, I’ve been reading the stories of Sherlock Holmes. You’ll be pleased/ weirded out to know you *really* strike me as the female version of him ha ha. His persona, no-bullshit speech and yours are very similar. A distant ironic view of how foolish everyone else is around you – but this fully justified by your actual genius. You both sound very alike in personas.. except I don’t think he was a radical feminist ha.

  28. EmilyBites

    Amen to the calls to eschew non-feminist men. Having your reality denied is mental torture, and I for one would rather be alone!

  29. Shopstewardess

    Disclaimer: the following is just the Shopstewardess take on understanding and dealing with the patriarchy. Please don’t shoot me for it, just disregard at will. Apologies for the length of the post.

    Ever since white European men circumnavigated the glove in the 16th century, the modern patriarchy has run the world for the benefit of white, heterosexual men, usually (though not exclusively) those who are upper and middle class and are able-bodied. Economically, socially and culturally, all the structures of modern human life have developed in a way that naturally suits that particular subset of human beings. The effects of these patriarchal structures are enhanced by 400 years of practice and tradition, and by the accumulated ownerships, both of property and of access to social and cultural activities, which have accrued during that time. Naturally, the patriarchy would rather no-one noticed what they have done and are doing. Congratulations, B, on being one of the exceptions to the rule.

    In a world in which the patriarchy is the background to all spheres of human activity, life comes more easily for those who belong to the subsets “male”, “white”, “heterosexual” and “able bodied”. Members of other groups can adopt various stategies for dealing with this situation: I classify these strategies as assimilation, accommodation, avoidance and activism. It’s possible to use a combination of strategies, or use different strategies at different times of one’s life.

    If you pretend, through your dress, speech, actions, mannerisms and behaviours, to be white, male and heterosexual, or equivalent to this, you may be accepted into the group. Of course, if you “assimilate” you are always at risk of being thrown out of the group: those who have assimilated but then visibly transgress tend to suffer stronger sanctions (running from social ostracisation to imprisonment, or even suicide or murder) than those who commit the same transgressions but are “natural” members of the group. And making it obvious that you are not one of the natural group – for instance, by getting pregnant, or making a claim of sexual harassment, is also likely to get you thrown out.

    This strategy (also “adaptation” or “appeasement”) implies an acceptance that white heterosexual men are at the top of the economic, social and cultural heap, and that a wise member of another group uses this fact to acquire rewards by providing support to them.

    This has been a common method by which women try to survive the patriarchy: traditionally as either wives and mothers or as sex workers. In either case, services are provided in return for access to the economic success of the patriarchy (access to good housing, support for child rearing, money). (The “accommodation” stragety is often also used by ethnic minorities, particularly when immigrating to a country where the dominant culture is white, for instance through the supply of “exotic” food to the patriarchy.)

    There are number of problems with the accommodation model of survival. The obvious one is its implicit acceptance that white heterosexual men have the right to their position at the top of the human heap, a woman’s role being secondary and supportive. In the economic sphere, this explains both the “glass ceiling” for women undertaking traditionally masculine roles, and the sex-segregation of women into employments which are lower-paid than those which are traditionally undertaken by men. In the more tradtional role such as that of stay-at-home wife and mother, the economic, social and cultural capital will typically remain mainly in the hands of the males (for instance, even in the rare case of assets being evenly split on divorce, the greater earning power tends to stay with the man, who over a period of time will therefore again become wealthier than the ex-wife). And the rewards can always be taken away (when the first wife is swapped out for a second).

    The “accommodation” strategy also leads to an over-emphasis on culturally “feminine” behaviours which are seen as desirable to and supportive of men, particularly concentrating on women’s physical attractiveness to the male gaze (young, slender), and explaining the disproportionate role taken by women in relation to housework.

    Avoidance is about removing one’s sphere of economic, social and cultural activity away from those spheres in which the patriarchy dominates or is interested in, and operating within alternative structures.

    Typically, this strategy is used by ethnic minorities, and in more recent times and to some extent by men with a homosexual orientation. It seems to be difficult for women to use this strategy.

    Avoidance can be very successful, in that areas of economic activity relating to minorities are often overlooked by the patriarchy, so providing considerable opportunities for economic success to members of those minorities. But it is also limited, in that it restricts the sphere of activity to that available within the minority group, which is itself less dominant than the patriarchy. Taken to extremes, some persons operating in an ethnic culture are so completely within that culture that they do not have access to the language used by the patriarchy, and so are particularly disadvantaged in accessing the goods of, or challenging, the patriarchy.

    Activism is about challenging patriarchal assumptions, through words and actions.

    Those of us who are not white, heterosexual, men owe the rights and freedoms we have to those who have in the past fought for, and those who continue to fight for, those rights and freedoms: those who campaigned for an end to slavery, for the rights of women (and of poor and working-class men) to vote, for equality under the law and for freedom from violence.

    But confrontation through activism is a high risk strategy for those involved, with consequences from the relatively trivial but still intended as demeaning (“shrill and hairy-legged feminists” or, as in your case, B, being called “humourless”) to imprisonment (the suffragettes, Nelson Mandela) and death (Martin Luther King).

    If you take up the debate there is a very useful primer on the best way to approach any discussions on the issue of privilege at http://blog.shrub.com/archives/tekanji/2006-03-08_146

    I’ve used all of these strategies. When young and making my way in the world I used a lot of assimilation. Now I am middle aged, curmudgeonly and have a certain degree of financial security, I find that a combination of avoidance and activism serves me best. (Accommodation was never much in my style, which is largely why I am, happily, single and childless.) Good luck to you, B, in whatever you chose. There are no perfect solutions, but by understanding the problem and choosing your response to it, sanity and long-life are more likely to be yours.

  30. DancesWithCats

    B, I literally cannot leave the house without being affected by these things, so let me be about the 25th or so person to assure you that you are not alone. I stubbornly remain outraged despite repeated exhortations to “just calm down” and explanations that “it’s really not anything to get worked up over”.

    I wrote a lot more on the subject of porn-using boyfriends/spouses, but deleted it. Instead, I’ll be succinct and say that I’d also like a medal. Because fuck this shit.

  31. sargassosea

    “Amen to the calls to eschew non-feminist men.”

    There are anti-feminist men and pro-feminist men, but there are no feminist men so there can be no non-feminist men.

    Blamer B, you’re definitely not alone and you’ve come to one of the best places to begin your travels.

  32. J

    Hi B,
    If you want a feminist site that picks apart all the sexist shit in the media, The Hathor Legacy is a good one.

    I know how you feel. When I was younger and just coming into my feminist sensibilities, I too “had low self esteem”. Doesn’t help that my whole family were anti-feminist apologists and/or Catholics.

    But I dropped the sadness when I realized that I was ENTITLED to my RIGHTEOUS anger! We women are so socialized away from feeling anger that we think if we feel it, it must be unwarranted, or irrational. Well, I say FUCK THAT. My anger at the way my gender is treated is righteous.

    Best of luck to you. Keep reading, keep absorbing, and do please avoid people who try your sanity.

  33. Citizen Jane

    Shopstewardess, holy crap. That should be in every Sociology 101 textbook in the world. What a fantastic breakdown of how the oppressed deal with their situation.

  34. Linda

    Nice supportive thread. That’s what it’s all about.

    B,1. You’re not alone. 2. Ditch the dudes. Your physical and mental health will improve considerably. You will be happier for it.

    Shopstewardess – do you mind if I link to your comment?

  35. Rugosa

    Good comments all. The only thing I can add is that you need to develop a filter to screen out a lot of crap, just to keep from going crazy. Example, I have to work with a couple of nimrods 25 years younger than I am who are in managerial positions above my grade (not direct reporting relationships) and who talk to me like I’m stupid. Even though I have much more experience in our area of work. I sometimes mention that, just to reinforce to myself that I am a valuable part of the team. It probably doesn’t register with the nimrods, but so what? The work relationship that does matter is the one with my actual boss, who respects my intelligence and skills, and who has a pretty good track record of mentoring young women. If _he_ talked to me like the nimrods do, I would be out of there like a flash.

  36. Barbara Rubin


    Interesting that you used Piagetian learning theory terms, ‘assimilation and accommodation’ which describe the manner in which we adapt our normally resistant psyches to incorporate novel information. (http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/assimacc.htm) It requires us to tolerate the intermediate stage of disequilibrium between the receipt of new information and resolution. Learning requires us to modify our existing cognitive structures to create an entirely new framework of knowledge as we acquire new facts.

    Learning is hard work and is therefore heartily resisted by those unwilling to alter the early framework in which white males ‘create’ the framework. Of course we need to remember that patriarchy preceded white western European culture and is known in most cultures. The WASP phenomenon was more of the technology and wealth triumphing over poverty or inferior weaponry. But the learning curve is the same – and women have been challenging it since time immemorial, being taught indirect ways to suggest other possible ways to regard facts lest the woman be named shrew or she-devil. Having studied linguistics, the speech of women is littered with indirect directives (It’s stuffy in here rather than Open the damned window!) and more effusive expressions of gratitude etc. We ‘think’ we know rather than state facts challenging male psyches to assimilate more willingly. If we’re lucky, accommodations are made without entailing loss of life in the process.

    However, women have a fundamental disconnect between the information presented and our internal search for equilibrium. That conflict between the bad information coming in (as per B’s letter) and our attempts to reconcile it with our basic ‘truths’ is a very large burden to place on anyone’s shoulders. Male privilege begins with their inundation with this knowledge base they are rarely, if ever called upon, to justify. Women are always justifying what is obvious to us until we simply tire of the process for lack of positive reinforcement. The constant repetition of faulty input about who and what we are is overwhelming.

    Tomorrow, I’m off to Berkeley Law School to see if I can find the kind of minds which might allow that input to be accomplished. Drove 3,000 miles to do this. Wish me luck.

  37. Rae Kay

    Good luck, Barbara.

    Hugs to B – and to all the rest of us who’ve seen “the man behind the curtain” in society, but don’t know how to process it all.

  38. ew_nc

    minervaK – You said it for me, although much more eloquently.

    It’s so nice to see this issue being discussed. Since having my consciousness raised by way of radical feminism, I’ve had little peace. Once that anger is tapped, it’s like a high-pressure hose; difficult to control. However, I’d never go back to my previous state of blissful ignorance. Because alongside of that now-tapped anger lies a very real sense of power and understanding. And that has given me more “self-esteem” than any therapy or self-help book ever did.

  39. milou

    I really, really empathize with Blamer B and y’all.
    What really gets to me is when other feminists think pornutopia is awesome.
    It makes me feel misguided as heck

    You are all awesomes.
    Thanks so much for your blog, Jill.

    Re-designing a relationship in which dude was addicted to porn, as a self-valuing feminist, is an extremely extremely difficult thing to do, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I agree with Jill about getting out while you can: even if you rescue said relationship, prepare to be traumatized like hell for at least two years after he “quits” (especially if said porn is a triggerfest to past events). Oh, and of course you will be the non-trusting one and the one who can’t let things go. Really allowing yourself to feel what you feel about the patriarchy, while he may support it, is too mightily inconvenient — he’ll want his cake (awesome kick-ass smart political girlfriend) and eat it too (why can’t you trust moi?). Wait I’m supposed to value myself *and* trust you again instantly (by which I mean within 10 years)? Erm does not compute. I say *leave*. But of course, I understand how hard it is, seeing as I didn’t follow that advice myself, and I am fairly happy now. Happier than I would be with any other man. I also love him to death. Self-hating? Perhaps. Ugh.

    So I hope you’re a dyke, or at least bi.

  40. milou

    I might add that said partner is not a *white* dude, so not completely privileged as hell

  41. Liz

    I feel for you B. Every day is a bit of a struggle – having to decide how much of the world you can stomach without getting sick.

    Like yesterday I foolishly read a piece by Tracy Clark Flory over at Salon.com call “The modesty of the porn generation”, or something to that effect.

    The article was so “assimilated” it is truly depressing and the comments are enough to make you take a long walk off your building’s roof.

    I would love to see more blamers step in and comment to balance the hating a bit. (Then come back here for some Blamer Healing-it’s pretty gross over there).

    For the record, B, since I started speaking my mind more often and less apologetically on the issues you raise I have been surprised by how many people have stepped up in agreement. Remember that other people are feeling silenced as well, so leading by example can help alleviate the all-pervasive shaming and bullying we are so familiar with.

    And speaking up also weeds out the losers, saving you valuable minutes of your life you may otherwise have wasted on them.

  42. joy

    Cutting men out of one’s life does a huge bit of good for bringing personal peace.

    Imagine: not having to starve, or shave, or simper, or feel shame, or feign stupidity, or fear his anger, or basically take care of that giant baby all the time.

    Then imagine never having to do that again.

    Whether that giant baby is your boss, or your father, or your brother, or your nigel, or the prospective nigels you wish to impress for the purposes of dating, or a stranger on the street, or a longtime friend. Cut him the fuck out of your life. It’s like a breath of fresh air to surround yourself with positive things that don’t squash your humanity.

  43. tinfoil hattie

    There are anti-feminist men and pro-feminist men, but there are no feminist men so there can be no non-feminist men.

    A few days ago, my 10 y.o. said proudly, “I’m a feminist!” in response to someone asking, “How do you become a feminist?”

    I don’t have the heart to tell him, No, you’re not actually a feminist. I’ll leave that little harsh reality for later, when we discuss male privilege more fully.


  44. Cortney

    I understand this feeling very, very well. I am just about to quit blogging altogether because of the constant abuse and harassment I receive. The enormity of the constant assaults will really get a gal down, especially the “little stuff” that we are supposed to be able to just get over.

    My way of dealing, right now, is to just stop blogging and to cut off all “friends” who tacitly condone the bullshit. Check out my blog if you care to see the whole post on this.

  45. Solniger

    I hardly watch T.V. but just today while trying to find the weather channel I stumbled upon two commercial that made me snear. One was for Jenny Craig, a college student loses 75 pounds and tells us “I have never smiled this much in my life”. In another ad, some under eye cream shit makes a woman exclaim “it changed my life!”

    Everyone goes through their usual daily existential crises but the myth our culture hawks is that any problem you have as a woman can be cured by looking conventionally beautiful which is complete and utter bull. If it was true all beautiful women would be pranicing around on cloud 9. Which ofcourse they aren’t remotely, having had to deal with toxic levels of male attention.

  46. DancesWithCats

    Cortney, I just read your post. I am so sorry you’ve had to deal with that. I don’t blame you for quitting–it’s hard to face vitriol like that every day.

    Giant thumbs down to the commenter who said you’re giving up on feminism–that’s ridiculous. This is what you have to do in order to take care of yourself. Nobody has any business criticizing you for not wanting to take another punch.

  47. yttik

    On Cortney’s “I quit,” first of all, I’m not sure it’s even possible to quit. Once you see things for how they are, there’s no turning it off, but one thing that really helps is to stop caring. Not to stop caring about making the world a better place, but to stop caring about what people say and think about you. It’s really unfortunate that so many women are raised to be people pleasers, that it’s so ingrained in us to care if some dude is accusing us of having low self esteem or verbally abusing us on the internet. Threats, harassment, intimidation, are a way of life for many women, but what makes them so effective is that we still care about what people think of us. All that misogynistic hatred from the drunken frat boys on the internet is painful, because we still care about how they perceive us. Stop caring. The less approval you can get from this bunch the better off you are.

    Women are taught from day one to give the opinions of others far more importance then our own perceptions. It’s not about growing a thicker skin at all, it’s about giving your own opinions of yourself more weight then those of some dude who comes along and accuses you of having low self esteem.

  48. Solniger

    I know this blog doesn’t encourage links but I remembered this clip from one of Margaret Cho’s routines that I found pertinent. While I don’t agree with her about everything she is one of the few ‘famous people’ who gets the minority status of women in society and talks about it openly.


  49. tinfoil hattie

    yttik, sometimes it’s also a matter of being afraid. Many women bloggers have received death threats and/or been harassed and/or physically assaulted for having opinions.

  50. Cortney

    Yep, it is the death threats and rape threats that have made me feel like blogging is too dangerous. I live and work in Chicago and I fear that I am too easy to find should someone decide to make good on a threat.

    I appreciate the advice though, yttik. I think I have excellent self esteem, all things considered. My mental health just requires a break from blogging at this point. It does make me wonder if I would have been better off not knowing.

  51. yttik

    I know Tinfoil, but life as a woman in this culture is pretty much nothing but death threats. Check out TGW on the latest Kayne West video.

  52. Shopstewardess

    @Citizen Jane, thanks.
    @Linda, not a problem for me. If you look at the bottom of the right hand column Jill sets out the relevant attribution techniques.
    @Barbara, thanks for the link. Not a conscious connection, but perhaps growing up in a family of educators rubbed off a bit more than I knew. I hope you are having a productive time at Berkeley.

  53. Bianca

    There are men who *don’t* watch porn? I have honestly (depressingly) never met one.

  54. Claire

    B. – you hit the nail on the head about why porn and general media pornulation piss me off and always have. It’s the cognitive dissonance inherent in the mindset of a guy who says (to a straight woman such as myself) “I love you and you’re the most beautiful woman alive, oh, and that actress whose job it is to be hot is SO UGLY, and by the way my computer is chock-full of pictures of chicks with boobs the size of your head, but you’re still the most beautiful.” What? Seriously, what? Why are we supposed to take in all this information and only believe one of those things is true and the rest is supposed to float off into the Boys Will Be Boys ether? Is that a human thing to do, objectify and consume and denigrate a group of people and then claim you love one of them?

    I hate porn. I really, really hate it. Took me long enough to figure out that was hate, though. As a novice blamer I have eventually realized that that’s what the weird sick-to-my-stomachness means when I encounter a facet of the patriarchy that I’m supposed to accept but can’t: for a while I thought it was self-loathing, but no, it’s rage. It’s probably what you’re going through. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

  55. certainty principle

    [Note from Twisty: This comment, written by a dude, falls squarely into the “Patriarchy Hurts Men, Too!” category, as well as the “I’ve Learned So Much From You, Keep Up the Good Work!” category, and also the “Confessions of a Well-Meaning Dude Looking for Feminist Absolution” category, not to mention the “Guidelines for Commenters Don’t Apply to Me” category, and the “Really, Really Long” category. Because the male experience of patriarchy is the last fucking thing anyone cares about here on Savage Death Island, I usually don’t let these through, especially when they involve descriptions of the writer’s personal dudesex — eeew! — but I needed a good example to put in the aforementioned Guidelines for Commenters. By which I mean, read on at your peril.]

    I just came upon this blog for the first time, read this most recent post. I’m a man, and for several years have been struggling with the comprehension that this stuff is all out of whack. First I realized that I like men as well as women, then I started seeing men, then I stopped seeing men because any man who was attracted to me made me feel nonhuman, and then came the long period of questioning, WHY all men made me feel like that, was that how all women felt, all the time, and, worst of all: was it possible that every man could be giving me that feeling, as of objecthood, and that I myself was not guilty of giving it to any woman?

    So I’ve been trying for over a year to pin down and weed out all this hand-me-down chauvinism. It sucks, trying to walk the line of being cognizant of all the little things you do, ways you cast your eyes, and what they mean about you and what they do to the women around you, and consciously altering these behaviors, while still all the while not hating yourself for it because, after all, you didn’t WANT to grow up this way. But each time I get bummed out I think that it probably sucks for women even more.

    Anyway, I mostly wanted to express my gratitude; your blog is one more thing making what I’m doing and what I believe more solid and valid. In a world where men, in various fugues of unaware desperation, constantly expect me to identify with behaviors that make me feel sick, and where many women grow noticeably pensive and hurt just being around me because the absence of the feeling of subjugation in my presence makes them more cognizant of it in the presence of their fathers, boyfriends, etc.–that the shit they put up with is not the way things are, but what people do– it’s really easy to feel lonely and in the wrong.

    So DON’T QUIT! I still haven’t met any other men who fail to grow defensive when I mention my own gradually dissipating subtle and unwanted chauvinism, but I figure I can’t be the only male doing this. I spend most of my time with women, as I don’t feel the folie à deux pressure of the Patriarch Lie as much with them, but the men I do spend time with have seemed to grow more introspective as each time their actions ask me to confirm their subconscious sexism, I defer. Recently, one of my male friends spontaneously told me that he’s been noticing himself exerting a subtle pressure on his ex-girlfriend, with whom he is friends, whenever he’s around her. “I don’t like that,” he told me. “I don’t like that I do that. How do you stop?”

    Us men are behind you too! We just have to confront our own individual participation in the events of patriarchy, which, yeah, is way easier said than done, but once it’s done, we too are disgusted with the way things are, and we’re willing to change things. I mean, sure, a lot of people are just hopeless, but shit’s changing so fast these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if in ten years a blog like this had readers in the millions rather than the thousands, and men like me had started our own blogs, frankly and without fear speaking of learning to view everyone as people, rather than as Men and Women.

    Thank you so much just for existing and saying these things that need to be said. I know it gives me courage to keep going and living the way I think is right, and I hope it does the same for everyone else reading.

    Oh, and P.S., in response to B’s letter, as a male who’s been the perpetrator of all these things:
    1) Those ads and commercials bother the hell out of me too.
    2) I can’t watch those movies.
    3) I hardly watch ANY movies these days, all but the best movies don’t treat women as real people, and even the best ones usually fall short.
    4) You’re right about masturbation, and it feels like a goddamn disorder. As a guy, well at least for me specifically, it’s like a compulsive dissociation, a fugue state where all of a sudden I’m thoughtless and blank, the desire to porn-style masturbate. I’ve found that the only times I really feel satisfied and happy and normal after masturbating is when I visualize sex with someone who makes me shine and who I make shine. And even with that knowledge, the urge to just watch porn or jerk off about a random woman still nags me. Seriously, this stuff is messed up, the weird associations and the PRESSURE to think and feel a certain way. It is my own theory that almost every single man and the vast majority of women have a dissociative disorder, derived from the fucked-up way we all think about sex.

  56. tinfoil hattie

    @yttik: yeah, I know – isn’t THAT video just a fine example of “art.”

  57. Liza

    So, what do you think about this: http://www.girleffect.org/question

    Even when they claim to be doing the right thing, they $%#^ it up.

  58. Shinila

    yttik – oh my days, I saw that video too?? Now *this* is the type of hate propaganda that makes me think all women should be armed with shotguns for our time. So that when everything eventually goes haywire and we get burnt at the stake again we’ll be ready.

    No i’m not joking. We live in a world where every bit of media is propaganda to get men to hate women and women to be oblivious. It can go either one way – we eventually get burnt at the stake again and Kanye uses more sexy corpses in his second video; or feminist revolt.

  59. Shinila

    p.s. Not gonna link to Kanye’s video – but here’s a feminist critique of it:


    About as bad as it gets. This is where that argument for ‘choice’ regarding women ‘wanting’ to be a part of this or watch this looks weaker and weaker.

  60. Jill

    “I know this blog doesn’t encourage links […]”

    This is not an impression I ever intended to make. I like links. Link away!

  61. ew_nc

    Ok, I read certainty principle’s comment. Now I have to go take a shower with lye soap. For about 3 hours.

  62. Xandy

    There are many sad parts of Certainty’s post, but I have two particular favorites:

    1) He seems to be under the impression that if he feels guilty and miserable all the time he will oppress women less. Really, it just means he probably sucks to be around. I have sympathy for his friends who probably have to assure him constantly that he’s such an awesome evolved feminist!

    2) He honestly seems to believe that pretty soon all the menz will get fed up and start a revolution and help out the womenz and everyone will have a radfem blog yay!

    Maybe he should stop feeling sorry for himself and read some theory.

  63. SKM

    Certainty principle uses the term “hand me down chauvinism”. Nobody is a born chauvinist; bigotry is learned. So, all chauvinism is hand-me-down by definition. Certainty principle appears to be deflecting responsibility. Not an auspicious start.

  64. tinfoil hattie

    Interestingly, I used to think porn was A-OK, just people having sex, just one more way to spice up a love life! It was Nigel’s adamant disgust with porn that made me look at it for what it is. Here’s how fucked-up patriarchy is: I used to think there was something “wrong” with Nigel because he didn’t like porn. I used to think he was repressed, and not open to new experiences. When I think of myself back then, I cringe.

  65. B

    I know this exposes even more how really new to all of this I am, but can someone direct me to the post where this “Nigel” character was introduced, or fill me in on him? I did a search, but can’t seem to find where he came from.

  66. Cycles

    Last November I glanced through a friend’s self-help book, something like “The Four Hour Work Week.” Title doesn’t matter, and I call bullshit anyway.

    One piece of advice was, in effect, “Remove yourself from politics for one month. Don’t read political blogs, don’t engage in political debates, don’t watch TV shows that cover politics. People who steer clear of the day to day details of the American political scene tend to be much happier people.”

    Fuck that, I thought. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. If nobody’s paying attention, the fuckers will just be able to get away with more evil. La, la, la, life is great when you turn a blind eye, oops, wow, when did we slide into New Gilead Megacorporotheocracy McWorld, Presented By Maxim-Taco Bell(TM)?

    I was, however, inspired to try removing myself from the American Political Scene as such. The quotidian insults lobbed as entertainment, like what Sarah Palin said and how Keith Olbermann reacted to it, and what op-ed piece on TownHall dot com spawned a righteous retort at Shakesville; the stuff that’s important for initial eye-opening, but which, upon prolonged and repeated exposure, smarts like acid, perhaps unnecessarily.

    Which is different from maintaining an awareness and improving the world you live in, sometimes through political means and involvement. Surely there are better uses for one’s time than reading and constantly getting mad about who-said-what. At least that’s the conclusion I reached after my experiment. Which, by the way, ended last night when I plunged into Shakesville to read a month’s worth of excellent posts.

    That’s a long way of saying, once the eyes are opened, it can be hard to turn away from the overwhelmingness of the train wreck before you. Sometimes you deserve a break, if you can carve one out. Not sure how one would go about doing that with patriarchy, which you can’t just remove from your RSS feed o’ life. Perhaps that’s a promising business proposition: a week-long, ranch-based Patriarchy De-Programming Spa And Lasagna Buffet program. I mean ranch both as in the location, and as an important condiment at every meal.

  67. B

    What do you when you are at the point where you really need counseling to cope with this and if you’ve been to a few different counselors who end up using the line at least once, “Well, all guys do that…” and leave you feeling horribly worse?…I mean really worse? The more I go to these “professionals” and aren’t hearing the empathy I’m looking for, the more depressed, lonely and insecure I’m getting. I’m getting a little worried that I don’t know how cope. My marriage just ended because of a lot of these issues, and I’m really struggling since a huge life change is attached to this. I guess like you all said I should be yelling “freedom!” but it just left me all too confused and insecure to do that.

  68. Metal teapot

    I sort of agree with Bianca. The advantage of a (hypothetical) Nigel who admits to watching porn, is that he isn’t watching porn behind your back and lying to you because you are being “an unreasonable bitch”. I possibly should trust Nigel’s more but I can only split them into those who watch porn and admit to it, and those who watch porn, lie about it breaking your trust then blame you.

    An alarming personal experience from me was talking to two male PhD students at my university, but not in my department, who admitting quite happily that they spent most of the time in tutorials they supervised staring at the “hot” female students. This made me feel uncomfortable incase my old supervisors did the same to me. It just seems a fact of life that wherever you go, and whatever you are doing men are looking at you and accessing your looks. If you pass, that is no better at failing. The PhD students I mentioned had similar reactions when they had a talk from a female visitor. I felt sorry for her that most of the people in the talk where only thinking about how hot she was and not about her work.

    It actually surprises me how brazen men are about this sexism. They just announce it quite happily to you as if it was the most normal thing in the world. I can’t help but think that anyone who denies sexism and objectification exist just need to ask a man, nearly any man and he’ll happily talk about how he objectifies women, or thinks it is logical to employ the hotter women etc. I’d have at least thought guys would try to deny it!

  69. Cimorene

    I have to echo folks’ responses of empathy. I similarly went through this sort of phase–it felt like my brain was what a cook might call rapid boil with all the hits of patriarchy and the resultant anger I was getting. But for me it was less sad and more debilitating anger. Then a kind of hatred of men so strong that I felt like I was going to have to move away from society forever to keep myself safe. For the record, I got a dog, who has similarly been subject to the ravages of a sadistic culture of incomprehensible violence. He has been like a balm to my soul. And also he hates almost all dudes and barks at them if they get too close to me on the street, and his animal sense has validated my own loathing. I say this because the only way I got out of the first stages of awareness–in which my own anger frightened me with its violence–was by getting a dog. And reading a shitload of feminist theory, the kind that had me talking out loud in the library to agree with the author. And feminist fiction.

    Also: Remember that time that IBTP had a forum? Well that experiment (as far as I know) imploded. But maybe we can have another experiment. Maybe there can be an IBTP-esque internet-dating-esque social networking thingy site. Like, OKCupid (which I’m pretty sure is kind of like eharmony or any generic dating site, right?) but instead of Love And Romance And Stuff, it can be so that radical feminists who feel isolated can perhaps connect. I mean, what if B is actually the woman who lives above me? But I’d never know, because all we talk about it the snow and occasionally a bit of cat-related news. It can be difficult to bring up the eradication of our society as we know it in casual conversation; likewise, it’s awkward to ask your acquaintances if they are ready to reject pornography and all its works in order to accept radical feminism as their non-hierarchical savior.

    I’ve gotten to the point where I’m pretty much reluctant to make new friends, what with most people being total assholes. I just cannot take another woman who seems to be a feminist only to reveal, after hours of carefully crafted smalltalk and taco nights and pot lucks, that she actually TOTALLY LOVES THE SUICIDE GIRLS. For example. So now I have my several feminist friends, sprinkled across the globe; I have one dog and three cats; and I have a live-in partner who has always been fully on-board with my radical feminist beliefs. And I’m not looking for new friends because the disappointment, the explanations, the exhaustion–it’s too much. I don’t want to have to explain (i.e. defend) what I meant by “rape culture” to another person when I just want to chill out and have a beer; explanations and pontification are for the internet. But if there was a radical feminist dating site (sans expectations, necessarily, of romantical happenings) then I could make a new friend or two, perhaps, based not entirely on their socio-political beliefs: the assumption of decency and a similarity of said beliefs could be there to begin with, a kind of baseline from which other traits might be able to determine one’s compatibility.

    I mean, not necessarily IBTP. I was just like, Seriously what if B lives on my street and I don’t even know it!!!!

  70. joy

    Cimorene, that’s a good idea and a good point.

    (Here I was ready to cringe when I saw “dating site”. Lucky I kept reading.)

    Subtext of your comment: The terrifying thing about radical feminism is that it can get us hurt or even killed. It can get us locked into insane asylums. It often has. That’s why we don’t talk about it in real life. And that’s isolating, and terribly lonely, when it doesn’t have to be that way.

    Who knows, some of us could live in the same city, even the same street. In a larger city, such as New York or LA or London, etc, it’s not totally unfeasible that more than one radical feminist could live in the same -apartment building.-
    A number of us definitely live in or around NYC. A number are located in the vicinity of Austin. That’s only a start.

    Think about it: other marginalized groups and pseudo-marginalized groups, everywhere from Black activists to transpeople to BDSMers to furries (not to imply that all of these things are the same as the others), have ways of meeting up. Even large gatherings. Why not radical feminism?

    Oh, right. The patriarchy has this whole ‘divide and conquer’ strategy, tied to the ‘keep silent for fear of your life’ thing, going on.

    We can figure something out anyway.

  71. Bushfire

    We blamers are probably all over the English-speaking world. I’m in Toronto- not sure how many Canadians post here. I’ll bet if you really wanted you could get other commenters to email you if they’re in you’re general area.

  72. Noanodyne

    Well, it’s been nearly two years since the famous “The mighty Blametariat: global threat on the march” post and 292 blamer-locating comments, so maybe we could have a new round of telling where we’re located (unless Twisty is up to firing up a speed-blamer service where we all get to know each other in rounds of 2 minutes each)?

  73. vivelafemme

    Hell yeah. We need community. I know I’m sick of feeling so isolated in my day-to-day, connecting only online. If any of the blamin’ ladies of metro Detroit want to get together, I’m down.

  74. Bushfire

    I never knew that happened!

  75. Bushfire

    Now I may be blocked for repeated postings on one thread, but I just went and read the glorious thread from 2009 about blamer locations. Someone mentioned translating IBTP into other languages and I thought YES YES YES.
    It looks like there’s a good helping of French and Spanish speakers around here. Moi, je peux traduire vers le français, mais j’aurais besoin de l’aide de quelqu’un de Montreal! Now I will wait to see if this interests anybody (including Twisty).

  76. yttik

    It’s really difficult for women to all come together, even if they all have the same rad/fem belief system and know exactly what you mean when you say “rape culture.” Not saying it shouldn’t be attempted, just that separate, divide, and control permeates our existence, and people should be prepared emotionally. Feminist history is full of examples of divisions and splits and hurt feelings from people who are all basically on the same page. Contrast this to the brotherhood where some feminist will post a blog and 150 dudes who don’t even know each other will all work in unison in the comment section to attack, almost as if they’re all reading script from the same Pornsick Dude Manual. The level of support, loyalty, high fives, they all give each other is one of the few skills women could learn from them. Imagine what the world would look like if we had an army of feminists who could automatically unite like that, almost as if they had been trained to do so from birth.

  77. Shinila

    I think this whole divide and conquer thing – how we don’t exactly jump up to give each other high fives but we’ll point out a grammar mistake or how someone slipped and used a bad word instead.

    … is so down to what Jill said. Feminists are indoctrinated with anti-feminism. Why liberal feminists all become strangers to one another and find many ways to tear a post down. To talk to anyone, even someone totally down with radical feminist theory, is talking to someone has lived by the system.

    The solution is scrapping this whole ‘what it means to be a feminist’ and ‘ur not doin’ it right’. Hello liberal feminist,this is an extension of MRA crap. It should be every day women, like us, reacting with anger against the system. Not shouting at each other ‘be nice, how dare you woman!’.

    What I do love is how you can’t get more bad ass than being a radical feminist. I agree with Joy, telling a therapist how the world works gets us locked up one way or another.

    We are missing the unity, when it gets to the point on liberal feminist boards you start lookin for a single point of agreement. A feminist movement doesn’t exist while the people in it have such anti-feminist reactions. Feminism is about being allowed to react. For women, it’s not about asking for justice and getting it like other movements. It’s about grouping together and shifting hatred and prejudice. Hatred, not pity calls, is what will get women ahead one day. I’m being realistic on how the world works. Asking for justice is tin speech from the 60s.

    Unity isn’t really that hard, once we learn and acknowledge that calling a sister out is anti-feminist indoctrination and to bite our tongues if we ever disagree.

    We also need to understand it’s just a game for men since the 60’s to keep us down. ‘Metal teapot’, those supervisors were trying to wind you up. Basically women need to start playing too.

  78. Bitch, Esq.

    B, you asked “What do you when you are at the point where you really need counseling to cope with this and if you’ve been to a few different counselors who end up using the line at least once, “Well, all guys do that…” and leave you feeling horribly worse?…I mean really worse?”

    I am not experienced in the counseling department. The only answer I have for you is this:

    Keep reading and participating in feminist blogs, which will help validate the truths that you know, even if the counselor(s) you find don’t. Maybe some other of us has more experience with counseling and can offer more.

    If it helps, my own, single, long-term relationship (with a man) ended in large part because of the patriarchy. As a man, he could not, in some fundamental way, accept that I was tempermentally different from him, so what I accepted as a straightforward introversion-extroversion distinction that was easily accommodated by him going out during the week with his friends without me whilst I stayed home happily doing introvert things and recharging my mental batteries, became this Big Huge Deal that we fought about all the time. Now, this blog is not about differences in temperment (but if the subject interests you, run a google search for myers-briggs and pick up David Kiersey’s “Please Understand Me” at your library) it’s about patriarchy, and, from the distance 15 years allows, it was the patriarchy that led to the breakup, not the fact that I’m an introvert and he was an extrovert. Because the patriarchal system that we live in insists that he is right because he is male, inherently undermining every argument I offered as to why me not being exactly like him was ok – ergo I must just be ‘hysterical’. My argument wasn’t dismissed because the argument was wrong, but because “I” was inherently wrong. I was pressured by this man, constantly, indirectly and directly, to do things I did not want to do. And I did many of them. And I hated myself for giving in, but I just couldn’t fight it all the time. Which is why I left him. Your most intimate relationship should not be one that causes so much self-hate.

    If he had seen me as a true equal, he would not have done this to me. But because I was a woman, fundamentally, he must be right and I must be wrong. Whatever the debate between us, that was the default conclusion that I had to overcome, and all the man had to say is “no.” Because, in the patriarchy’s eyes, being a woman, there already is something wrong with me.

    I blame the patriarchy.

  79. joy


    Re: needing counseling and finding none:

    First, read the essay “Sex, Lies, and Psychotherapy” by Dr. Catharine A. MacKinnon. (Prepare for a lot of rageful sputtering and perhaps tears. But it should help you understand, completely and graphically, that the problem is NOT with YOU.)

    Second … actually, that’s all the advice I have to offer right now. However, if you happen to live anywhere near NYC, I know a really good, feminist counselor. Email me — either way, if you want. edj.uv.reason -at- gmail.com

  80. phio gistic

    It looks like there is a real hunger for feminist community, something like Jezebel that has a staff and is updated frequently, but without all the porn and obsession with Hugh Hefner.

  81. Cimorene

    @yttik: I am definitely aware of this problem. But! I have to say also that I’ve spent significant time in all-women, feminist-friendly, brilliant spaces, and though rife with the kind of ruffled feathers/drama that you get in, FOR TOTALLY RANDOM EXAMPLE, college or a theater group, there were never the kind of break-ups you seem to allude to in your post. Not to say that those fissures don’t happen–they totally do, and I’ve been known to swear off the internet for weeks after witnessing the breakdown of another feminist space.

    BUT. I feel like those spaces were frequently breaking down because of internet-related problems (communication, misunderstanding, people getting angry when [it seemed to me] they were arguing about an issue that they seemed in total agreement about, etc). AND I think that a lot of the breakdowns I’ve witnessed also had to do with the explicitly feminist/political/activist objective of said community–and I think a lot of the historical issues you mentioned may also have been due to the goal-oriented nature of said communities. Like, if two women who are trying to run NOW don’t get along, then it causes a problem not just between them as individuals but within the organization as a whole; if two suffragists don’t agree on the best method of activism, then their disagreement becomes not just theoretical but can cause tension and, eventually, splits in the activist community.

    I was talking about an entirely social thing. I don’t necessarily want friends to sit around and talk about the patriarchy with, or friends with whom I can plan the revolution–or, well, I do want that, but I also want friends that will appreciate my vodka infusions and watch movies with me and play card games with me and admire my cats with me, and so on. There is no agenda in friendship beyond itself. It’s just that, going to see movies with someone who doesn’t get why I don’t want to go see The Hangover, or who doesn’t understand why I want to talk about how the rape scene was filmed like a sex scene, or my occasional joke at the patriarchy’s expense–those are not the friends I want. I want real-life friends who are just my friends, but who have the same baseline expectation of understanding of the world.

    I mean, I disagree with my feminist friends aplenty. One of my friends is even in divinity school! The Jesus kind! And I find Christianity to be entirely ridiculous! But since she’s a total feminist, and since she is the kind of future minister who’s like, JESUS IS A FEMINIST, and who marches in gay pride parades and, most importantly, who thinks that eradicating sexism and working for the liberation of women, people of color, poor folk, and all oppressed people is the work of god. So you know–we’re on the same page. But if we had to organize the revolution, lard would that go to hell, what with her wanting to include Jesus because she finds strength and liberation through his book, and what with me wanting to get rid of all religion because it’s pretty oppressive/dumb. But since we just hang out and are friends, our differences aren’t causing fissures–we just disagree.

    Anyway, I’m sure you already know this. It’s just that in my experience, all-women environments are ridiculously supportive and strengthening, and I get cagey when people imply that women-in-groups can’t get along like we’re all angry tigers or something (which, I know you weren’t saying).

  82. minervaK

    Joy (or anybody, I guess), you don’t happen to know a good feminist professional shoulder to cry on near Austin, do you? Because, like B, there have been times when I’ve known that said services would almost certainly benefit me, but I’ve given the mainstream counselling community and its patriarchy-fouled ideology enough of my hard-earned money already.

    B, my condolences on the break-up of your marriage. I’ve been shackled to a patriarch for thirteen years now, and it ain’t easy. My Nigel is a fairly reasonable human being, yet, like all of them, often fails to understand that he’s soaking in it, when it comes to honky penis-bearing privilege. Those are the times when I long for someone I can pay for an hour to listen to me bitch, without them actively exacerbating the original problem. Suggestions, anyone?

  83. joy

    For the record — anybody and everybody is welcome to email me, for any radical feminist reason.

    Color me ‘ready for a genuine radical feminist community.’

    Wait … perhaps I’ve been thinking of this wrong. For some time (read, years), I’ve been imagining and planning the revolution as some kind of armed movement, and have thus attempted to incite radical feminist-led riots/street violence/vigilantism/etc.

    But maybe revolution could also look like … a mailing list. Or regular meetings in various cities/locations.

    Regular meetings could serve multiple purposes: if you are single, and don’t keep in touch with family, someone will know if anything happens to you. (ie, you do not show up on Wednesday, or call or text or email.)

    Women having each other’s backs online is a great step. Women having each other’s backs in real life is damn near halfway to a revolution, as it stands now.

  84. joy

    Oops, comment inviting all blamers to email me for any radical feminist reason has gone into moderation, perhaps due to revolutionary ideas triggering the spam filter.

  85. snow black

    Dear B, about “Nigel” — I can no longer remember who first introduced this Nigel character, but “not my Nigel” has long been a standing joke-phrase, summing up the tendency of us straight ladies to regard our own particular partner as somehow exempt from whatever nasty male habit is under discussion.

    By extension, any male partner has become a Nigel.

    And welcome, welcome, welcome. You are the fish who noticed the water.

    It’s always better to know than not to know, in spite of the pain. I do think sometimes that for us straight women part of the pain is the pain of unrequited love. No, I don’t mean all us feminists need is a good lay — I mean it’s so shocking and hurtful to realize that we’ve invested so much emotional energy in men, who quite simply regard us as subhuman.

  86. minervaK

    special to Twisty (or whoever is moderating comments): please delete my most recent comment (still in moderation cue, from over here). On consideration, it feels a little too personal to post on the internet. XO-MK

  87. Linda

    “Seriously what if B lives on my street and I don’t even know it!!!!”

    Keeping in mind of course that people outside of the US do have access to the internets.

    @yttik – I agree, it would be good if we could adopt that automatic assumption of unity that the dudes have. But they do that through fear of each other and thankfully, women don’t fear each other that much yet. Also, we need to keep in mind that mainstream feminist discourse is still very white/middle class-centric and feminists who feel alienated by that are not afraid to say so, whereas the dudes are far more willing to cleave to the mainstream majority opinion.

  88. joy

    Linda, not to invalidate your point about the divide-and-conquer, dudefear strategies, but many non-middle-class, non-white, non-establishment, disabled, etc. feminists feel very uncomfortable speaking up.

    It can seem like people simply aren’t even reading what they/’we’ have to say. I for one had a huge go-around with a poster at another blog and had to stop even reading there because she felt my anticapitalist, lower-class status made me incapable of understanding issues. Such as, for some reason, the way class oppresses women. Yeah, because I definitely don’t understand that on a very visceral level.

    I’ve chosen to stop reading or commenting on various blogs for long periods of time because I question the practice of keeping a Nigel and advocate against women having children, and it makes me uncomfortable to voice these viewpoints in most forums. Other women practice the same tactic for the same and different reasons.

    It’s not comfortable to hold views outside of mainstream anything. Possibly because, as women, we’re trained so thoroughly to hate the idea of making other people (and for feminists, this means other women) uncomfortable.

  89. Shinila

    Linda, that is one perspective, i.e. dudely unity through fear or unity through respect?

    I think in our woman-hating culture that’s what feminists are indoctrinated to lack – a lack of respect for women, especially those talking about their oppression, and a little anti-feminism.

    That’s why I steer clear of liberal boards – to avoid this ‘be nice, how dare you!’ chide that comes after every time you say you’re oppressed. As a black woman, I think it sounds catty when a woman gets talked down because she’s white and middle class. I’ve seen MRA-types use this ‘but you’re white!’ defence interviewing feminists on TV and it’s low.

    Being liberal isn’t for me and I don’t like being told, as I react against a system that hates me, I have to ‘be nicer’. It sounds too MRA and like i’m in a position to apologise all the time. Again, i feel this is through to the best of us being indoctrinated with anti-feminism.

  90. Shinila

    I’ve noticed how many times I wrote ‘I think/ I feel’ in that post. I’m ashamed of that because on normal topics I state my opinion like a jet launch. Whenever I write about my oppression I’m in a constant state of apologising for my views. That’s not good. That’s through anti-feminist MRA responses from other feminists, making us feel like lumbering heavy weights who have too much to say.

    I’m never writing ‘I think’ in my posts again. Or ‘being nice’.

  91. tinfoil hattie

    b, Hugs if you want ’em – you’re in a vulnerable and hurting place, and I’m sorry. It is hard out here. The community at IBTP has been very validating and helpful to me. Not so much other “feminist” blogs, such as one where I am right now engaged in a discussion over whether it is my job, as a feminist, to help “the Pick-Up Artist (PUA) community” learn how to pick up women. Yes, I have been told twice that it is Valid Feminist Work.

    So I came back here to shower.

  92. B

    You said something about it being hard for women to get together to voice all their beliefs that to some might be too extreme, and I think you have a point. But I wonder if we couldn’t initiate discussion groups with women in our communities to focus on pornography only (and maybe blatant objectifying establishments or activities in our communities) just to get women talking about it. If we kept discussions isolated to that, maybe women who are afraid to speak against this “norm” might build confidence. Discussion groups can focus on seeing how women and parents and girls really feel about the Hooters up the street or the huge Victoria’s Secret ads in the mall. Or the commercials on at SuperBowl and the Victoria’s Secret fashion show that on PrimeTime. Or talk about what they really think about the Girls Gone Wild group coming to town and if their daughters are going on Spring Break. Another thing I thought about was if we could get people together in my areas to maybe go to high schools or colleges and do a one hour thing to talk to girls/young women about the pressures they’re facing in regards only to pornography-type activities. It seems like we’re all in consensus (and even women on other blogs and some men too) that if we just focus on pornography, we can have some dialogue. I just really think that there are more women out there than we know who would want to talk about this. Maybe small groups can turn into big groups and then into community groups that want to take action….WOAH…I better stop….my head is spinning at the thought of a revolt on pornography!

  93. minervaK

    Mang (btw, I love this word), I am really feeling Joy’s comments. I’m also a voluntary non-breeder (though I do keep a Nigel), and I definitely do not talk about this in ‘mainstream’ contexts. Even the most feminist people I know react to it like I’m some kind of cannibal.

    Maybe this isn’t radfem party line, but I kind of understand the kneejerk reaction. Any time a human steps out of the hivemind definition of ‘normal,’ it reacts to her as a threat — I think it’s a survival mechanism installed by our social history. However, I start to grind my teeth when said hivemind proceeds upon the kneejerk reaction without stopping to question its validity.

    The problem, see, is that doing that requires time and effort, and I rarely have extra available to run the offender through human rights 101 so that s/he’ll have a basis for responding appropriately to my objection. It’s much easier and more productive to simply remove myself from the offender’s scope of influence, and spend my consciousness in arenas where it might actually have some impact.

    This is why I rarely attempt to respond to flaming-bag-of-shit comments on blogs, etc. Yeah, maybe it puts out that one bag of shit (and that’s a big maybe), but then I’m in bed for the day with a migraine and unavailable for productive discourse/living/etc. I WISH I was, like, Hera with a sword and shit, but I didn’t come off the line with those skilz. I certainly honor and admire those of you that did. In my next life…

  94. nails

    Cimorene- I like the idea of social networks of radical feminists, but I also fear the kind of harassment that will invite from dudes and empowerful feminists. Maybe if it is like LJ used to be, by referral only? Voting people out? I don’t know. I sometimes wonder how many women like me exist out there and wanna meet em. Maybe IBTP should have regional meet ups? This is one of the bigger sites…. maybe we should try using meetup.com in our local areas. I am moving soon and the membership of the MRA group here is about 12x the lightweight women’s group on meetup here, so I think I will wait a few months.

  95. joy

    MinervaK, yes, it’s sometimes not even worth it. These days, when the flaming bag of shit’s been dropped by a d00d, I can laugh and point and mock him derisively …

    but when it’s another feminist, I tend to react with a sheer visceral response — anger, the feeling of betrayal, hurt. Like I’m clutching my stomach and backing away growling. I’m often thrown into a funk for DAYS, even a week once.

    We’re supposed to be in this together! We EXPECT dudes to say, “But what about BABIES?!” or “But I LIKE fucking, just take birth control!” or “But money is -good-“, or “But not all men are mean! Stop limiting my choices!”

    When it’s from another woman, another feminist woman, it’s like getting suddenly punched in the face.

    B — your idea is a good one, but unfortunately porn isn’t the only problem we face. Limiting overall discussion to porn and the harms of porn isn’t a productive strategy.

    However, plenty of blogs have already started to address the problem (Nine Deuce’s porn series being my personal favorite place to start reading), and there are many other blogs and resources published by former porn ‘actresses’ and ‘sex workers’ (word choicage I dislike, because it lumps in pimps and traffickers while ignoring the trafficked and coerced, but that’s neither here nor there).

    John Stoltenburg, former partner of Andrea Dworkin, has an entire project already launched to do exactly what you outlined. The resources are out there, in force. It’s just a matter of getting people to see and believe them.

  96. minervaK

    oh, i love babies. i just can’t eat a whole one.

  97. minervaK

    and could we accept, just as a conversational shortcut, that women who participate in denigrating other women are not, in fact, feminists, no matter how thickly they apply the term to themselves? yeah, i know i’m asking for a pro-sex punch in the chops, but christ in a sidecar, we’ve got sarah fucking palin claiming the adjective these days. that shit right there is enough to make me want to invent a secret handshake or something.

  98. speedbudget

    B, having read your recent comment about your marriage breaking up due to what I think is your nascent radical feminism, I just want to let you know that I support you. You are doing the right thing by cutting that Nigel out of your life. Take some time for yourself. Be single. Enjoy it. It really is nice to be single, and you can live a lovely life without some Nigel in it.

    In re: the comments in general, I’ve seen a lot of comments here where women are disbelieving that there are Nigels out there who don’t watch porn. There are, I promise you. It’s hard to find them, but there are men out there who don’t enjoy the objectification and graphic representations of rape inherent in porn. Maybe they can’t articulate that, but when I talk to these men about their abhorrence of porn, it basically boils down to them being uncomfortable with exactly what we dislike about it. And as a result of their non-porn consumption, they tend to treat women exactly like regular people. We are not some foreign, alien species to them. It’s weird, that connection. But not really.

    I’m not saying they are common, but I just wanted to let those heterosexual women on this blog who are still hoping for some companionship in the future or now that these men exist. You have to carefully watch men’s interactions with women to discern if they are telling the truth about their consumption, but they do exist.

  99. K.A.


    Every single thing you articulated, I share in my experience of the world every day, too–even the fantasy stuff. Even wondering if other people have this problem because I find validation in the agreement on pornsickness, but also hate all the rest of the stuff you mention. It is not your low self esteem talking. If you had ridiculously high self esteem, you may be bothered by it less or not at all, but it would be serving as an opiate that buffers you from reality, not as the thing that makes you perceive reality “correctly.” While I cannot recommend a descent into emotional rawness as a desirable state of being, it actually can serve a purpose: heightened awareness of the world around you. You are perceiving reality more acutely, not inaccurately. Trust yourself on this one.

  100. ElizaN

    B, you’re not overreacting, you’re drawing logical conclusions that others around you are refusing to see. The one thing I want to add to the comments above is that in a social structure built on women’s unhappiness, a woman’s happiness is a revolutionary act. Be angry and sad, too; these are real, and reasonable, responses to the situation in which we live. But try to find happiness as well. Few things drive the P as crazy as a woman who refuses the kool-aid in favor of a great margarita.

  101. B

    Thanks Speedbudget,
    Actually HE ended the marriage because of these issues and so I get filled with these overwhelming feelings of self-doubt about how I feel about everything. Was I over the top with all of this?

  102. slade

    “we’ve got sarah fucking palin claiming the adjective these days. that shit right there is enough to make me want to invent a secret handshake or something.” minervaK

    I was thinking the same thing…if this woman is calling herself a ‘feminist,’ I need a new word or something. Maybe she’s a ‘little f’ feminist where we’re a ‘Capital F’ Feminist. LOL. I like the idea of a secret handshake. Something to give me and others that ‘sense of belonging.’

    I have isolated myself so much. It’s got to the point that going to the grocery store is just another horrid chore out there in this slime-filled patriarchy.

    For example, I decided to go to a movie as a treat for my b-day this past Tuesday. I’m old…58. I had watched The Golden Globes and that Facebook movie had won so I thought, “OK, I wouldn’t have a Facebook account for anything, but it might be interesting to see how these young people are faring out in this slime-filled world.”

    Well, the only good thing about this movie-going experience was that it was Senior Day (had to be 60…I lied) so the movie only cost $5.00 and I got a free popcorn using the AMC card.

    I was so completely disgusted by this movie I thought I was going to SCREAM during it. I feel so sorry for young women today. I hated this movie and everyone in it….except for the dude who was scared by his girlfriend. She ultimately started a fire in his apartment….that was one of two decent moments in the movie. And that gross Timberlake was in it as well. I was just in absolute shock that this could be considered a good movie.

    And that little snot was named Time’s Person of the Year? I went to college….but this Ivy League bullshit. WTF?

    So after this pathetic movie, I have to stop at Trader Joe’s on the way home to return some nasty-tasting crap and pick up some wine because I need a drink. The parking lot isn’t crowded so I feel better. I get my wine and some other foodstuffs.

    I get in line to check out and the checker dude just ignores me. He is sipping tea from his little sippy cup and talking with one of the other checkers. I look at him and this guy is Halloween Ugly…fat, white, bald, with this huge and long scraggly beard and covered in tats (as I said, I’m old and too many of them just freak me out…sorry). I tell him I have some returns and sit them on the counter and he says, “Aren’t you too young to be buying wine?”

    I blew. I’ve had to listen to that stupid line for going on 30 years now. “You think you’re being cute? You think I’m supposed to feel good now, as*hole? All you have done is remind me that I’m old. Does that make you feel good about yourself? You like reminding women that they are no longer youthful Eye Candy?” By then the manager arrived since I had returns and I asked him, “Don’t you train these idiots not to use sexist and ageist comments? Does this ugly piece of sh*t ask the old men customers if they’re too young to buy wine? Is it too much to ask for this dolt to simply say ‘Hello and thank you?'”

    I grabbed my wine and told the two dudes to “F*ck off!”

    I had been wanting to say that for years. And I did it on my 58th f*cking birthday.

    I went home and enjoyed “Glee” and drank the entire bottle of that Sauvignon Blanc.

    I really just want to move to the country and hide out with a bunch of animals. I can’t find any like-minded Feminists (with a Capital F) anywhere around me. I live in Dumfukistan, the former state of Ohio.

    And B…I am a big believer in always having a few Valium around, because we live in a world that is much worse than the one I grew up in.

    As my grandmother told me after I had graduated from college and was headed to California, “Whatever you do, don’t get married and don’t have kids.” That was 7/3/77. She said I was a lot like her.

    I hope this little rant was OK.

  103. tinfoil hattie

    Ramen, Speedbudget. They are rare, but they do exist.

    b, you’re not over the top. You’re right. You’re right, right, RIGHT. No wonder he turned tail and ran. I know that probably does not help you feel better. But he is the loser, not you. You emerge with your integrity intact. It is hard to be brave. Really hard, and lonely.

  104. Ayla

    B, the fact that your ex-husband (I do so loathe the “Nigel” meme or slang or whatevah-the-heck it is) left you for your feminist beliefs (otherwise known as thinking you are human) means that you definitely did NOT go over the top, overreact, or anything else. If an overreaction happened, it was on HIS part. But you know what? It sounds like his overreaction might have been the best thing could could offer you in this situation.

    I’ve always been a feminist, but radical feminism takes the whole thing to a different, deeper, truer level. And you are wading right into that. After my radfem awakening, it took over a year of regular visits to radfem blogs and websites before I stopped feeling like my brain was going to pop out of my head from sheer rage.

    tinfoil hattie – I hope you visit this thread again and see this. You left your email address for me months ago, maybe even a year ago, in another IBTP thread when I asked for a radfem contact to talk to about a situation that had occurred with a friend of mine. I did not take you up on that offer at the time because I was overwhelmed and decided to mentally bury it instead , but if the offer still stands, I would love you email you about it now.

  105. yttik

    As to counseling, sometimes Domestic Violence programs have womens support groups or individual counseling available. I spent many years working for one program that served a lot of women who were not always physically abused, but psychologically abused. I’m sure there are some good people working in other counseling services, but in my experience locally that wasn’t true. They tended to re-victimize women, blame them for having low self esteem or anger management issues or failing to get dinner on the stove in time or being too feminist.

    Ending a relationship can be sad, but when it leaves someone feeling wrung out, as if you must be a defective person, as if you’re the only one to blame, as if you must have deep seated psychological issues that caused the whole thing, it’s likely you were a victim of emotional abuse. When a healthy relationship ends, the people involved don’t usually suffer a loss of equilibrium. It took me years to realize this, for a long time I just assumed that emotional abuse was a normal part of every relationship. I didn’t realize that relationships could end peacefully with both people’s souls still intact because nobody had spent the whole time having their sense of self whittled away.

  106. B

    Thanks everyone. I think all my insecurities started when I discovered his porn addiction. After which he begged and swore that it was all horrible and would never do it again. But I just couldn’t trust him anymore, and my awareness of all these issues just escalated to a hypersensitive level….which I was worried was over the top. I was trying to cope and figure out….didn’t know anything about addiction…other than that I’m learning that relapses are practically inevitable…..and I also knew that it just made me sick and out of control mad since before we married he knew me as an angry letter writer….always complaining to companies about objectifying women and all that. And we had even talked about porn before marriage and he knew I had no tolerance for it. And I just couldn’t get past it, and he didn’t want to handle fixing the mess he made. But I didn’t know if all the things I was getting so hypersensitive about was just from finding the porn or if it wasn’t over the top regardless.

  107. Le Chat Noir

    Voluntary non-breeder with no Nigel – also wants radical feminist community.

  108. sonia

    I don’t have the time to read all 99 other comments, which I can see totally rock from a glance, and if I’m repeating someone else’s statement, sorry.

    You should trust yourself, first and foremost, girl. Ultimately, as Twisty has pointed out in some awesome ways, the most relevant feature of patriarchy is how it is all encompassing. You are swimming in it and breathing it all the time so looking out and trying to find a sane anything is pretty hopeless. Other feminists are probably the best and most rational, sane and grounded form of support and reality checking but the ultimate test has to be what makes you uncomfortable. Because of course patriarchy will always tell you you’re overreacting.

    Personally I don’t even like it when a dude stands too close to me in line and I have no problem telling them so, so a “you-should-look-like-this-or-at-least spend all your disposable income trying” Victoria’s Secret commercial can kiss my entire ass.

  109. ibtp.nyc

    Let me try this again without the actual email address:

    Sorry if this is not the right place for such a proposal, but I’ve just created an email account, ibtp dot nyc at gmail dot com, that any blamers would be more than welcome to send me mail at regarding some form of radical feminist community in New York City. This could be as simple as some kind of listserv with events and opportunities of interest to radical feminists in the area, or, if there is general interest, we could maybe talk about meeting for coffee, drinks, or a stroll in the park (when the weather is less horrendous). I’d love a book group, but that might just be my western roots showing.
    This is coming off a little like a personal ad. It just seems like something should come out of this thread, especially if there are other blamers who would love to have some sort of real-life community and are keeping quiet because a comment page is not an ideal forum for personal-type communication.
    Twisty, I’ve missed your posts! Thanks for doing what you do.

  110. shopstewardess

    This thread has inspired me to look for a feminist community in the neck of the woods I’ve just moved to, and I’ve found one! Not sure if it’s radical, but it has certainly been campaigning against a lap-dancing club in the next town over. My application to join has just gone in. Good luck to everyone else in finding/founding groups too.

    As a voluntary non-breeder, I have found the Voluntary Human Extinction site a useful resource in proving arguments against the prevailing breeder tendencies of this world. It’s not feminist, but it is radical – http://www.vhemt.org/

    Robert Jensen at the University of Texas has written against men’s use of pornography and is the nearest I’ve found to a man being radical on the subject. He’s still enraging, of course, but it’s not a subject I’ve cared to investigate too deeply, so there may be others out there who are better.

    B, it is entirely possible for you to be right and others to be wrong, but given the way the world is it is hard for a woman to internalise that belief. Keep working on it!

  111. tinfoil hattie

    Ayla, please do.

  112. speedbudget

    B, you were absolutely right in your beliefs. I look at my radical feminism as a nice sorting mechanism. Once men find out where I stand on my own personal humanity, the assholes tend to turn tail and run while the decent ones stick around and even support me. Embrace your awesome radfem self!

  113. madeleine

    B, somthing like that same happened to a good friend of mine, after 9 years of a supposedly feminist relationship, only she was the one to leave. It is a betrayal on the deepest possible level. Anything hurtful he may have said to you was just to overshout his consciousness of his own incredible shittyness. Now, almost a year later, my friend is visibly happier than before the breakup, and very relieved that she can hear herself think again.
    Take your time. Be alone with yourself for a while, you’ll be in good company. Be nice to yourself, you sound like you deserve it.

  114. Alexandra means She Who Wards Off Men

    Blamer B, your plight inspired me to comment here for the first time. I’ve been lurking literally for years, just absorbing the awesomeness, but your email brought a proverbial tear to my eye and I just had to pitch two more cents into the pot o’ comments.

    If I dare to hint to my so-called friends at the injury done to women every day I get the same crap heaped upon me. Although I haven’t yet heard the “low self-esteem” BS, I usually get “you’re sexist toward men” or “you won’t win any support with that attitude”. Ha! My acquaintances are now too afraid of my complacency-destroying wrath to engage me in conversation on woman-related topics. I stay sane by lurking around this blog and occasionally blowing off steam at one or two true friends.

    You just have to start where you are, recognize the truth of your own experience, and take care of yourself. Oh, and remember how many of us are lurking out here, feeling exactly the way you do.

  115. K

    http://www.jassytimberlake.net is the web site of a feminist, patriarchy-aware therapist in western Massachusetts. She does sessions on Skype as well as in person, although apparently insurance companies won’t cover them. I think she even reads this blog, or has in the past.

  116. J

    yttik, just wanted to say, I loved your comment. Especially about the emotional abuse working insidiously like that, so true.

  117. Comrade Svilova

    My Nigel is okay in many ways, and is non-porn Nigel. But he’s not interested in fomenting revolution, and that’s really harshing my mellow. He says that it will never work, and he doesn’t want to be made sad by focusing on the bad things in the world. He doesn’t understand that I can’t avoid it. Very small example: he loves “How to Train Your Dragon.” I liked it, but was pissed off that Astrid is the usual Token Girlfriend Won By Our Hero. B, there’s no patriarchy-free place for us who have had our eyes opened to its horrors. And people who don’t want to see the P for what it is find those of us who can’t help seeing it to be really depressing companions.

    So anyway, my Nigel’s not so bad, but he’s not great either. And it kills me that he thinks he’s right about almost everything. It’s made me more willing to stand up for myself, because I have to stand up for myself at home all the freaking time. But it gets old. Sigh.

    Not sure what to do in my own life, except that I would love a radfem community. Anyone in NYC / upstate NY? I e-mail the ibtp dot ncy at gmail dot com address. It would be great to meet some folks.

  118. tfirfe

    Stumbled across this UK site. It would be nice if there was a site that publicized activities and groups like this around the states.


    Wish there WERE a bunch of groups like this to publicize about.

    Can anyone direct me to any groups around San Francisco? I’d drive 50 miles to go to one. Haven’t been here long and have been searching but not having any luck.

    So what about a website to post just meetings/events/activities across states, suggestions and information for letter-writing campaigns with dates for scheduled mass mailings of individually crafted letters (mass mailings of form letters are no fun…if they all look different, someone might actually have to sit and at least partially read them all). Something like active.com for athletic events across the states.

  119. tinfoil hattie

    I’m in the DC area. Northern VA. Anyone else?

  120. Noanodyne

    B said: “I wonder if we couldn’t initiate discussion groups with women in our communities to focus on pornography only”

    Anything that gets women together and talking about real change would be a good thing. And I think the issue of pornography (and the other shitty ways the media represents women that all use pornography as reference) is an excellent focal point for all kinds of reasons.

  121. maria

    Blamer B,

    My nigel had a porn addiction before I met him and a previous girlfriend had him go to addict meetings, etc. He said that any guy using porn cannot respect their significant other and if they don’t get rid of it after the SO says that it hurts them, then they simply don’t care about the SO.

    While this is blamer 101 material, I thought it interesting that a man on the other side of the fence is so adament about their excuses being bullshit. I hope it brings you confidence.

  122. TwissB

    B-Your straight to the point question has prompted a rich response from Blamers who empathize with your experience through so many lessons learned in their own lives. All the way through, I’ve been becoming so overloaded with eloquently expressed insights to which I wanted to reply that most have dropped out of my basket.

    Joy said that “…unfortunately porn isn’t the only problem we face. Limiting overall discussion to porn and the harms of porn isn’t a productive strategy.”

    But consider this. Pornography comes up in the conversation with good reason because it is linked with prostitution and reproductive misogyny as Primary Sex Discrimination. United, these are a politics and practice that targets for extreme punitive treatment women’s sexual/reproductive organs – the one physical characteristic unique to women. They are the perfect gotcha for owning, invading, and oppressing women without causing the slightest risk to men or limiting their sexual options in any way.

    Any criticism of the three in the same breath is a powerful weapon, since men count on being able to fiercely protect each of them as a separate issue. Men rely on their very own First Amendment to stop women in their tracks if we dare to attack pornography and abortion restrictions. And to silence any women who dares to reject what men assert as “God’s Will.” It’s a bluff. We couldn’t hurt the First Amendment if we tried since only men have one (Roe v. Wade’s claims, as Justice Scalia kindly reminds us, are unfounded).

    There is a real role and challenge here for radical feminists to put their efforts where their mouths are. The scaredy-cat refusal of Official Feminism to confront men as a class (All men get the pay-off from keeping women down – personally, professionally, economically, etc. – so ALL men link arms to enforce sexism in various ways and it’s a waste of feminist energy to focus on separate enemies across the male spectrum.) frustrates and angers me because it’s been keeping the so-called Women’s Movement moving backward for far too long as it falls for every anti-feminist ploy like “Porn-positivity” and “Prostitution as choice.” Not to mention “Freedom of (not from) religion.” Sarah Palin is just repeating a common tactic by pasting the feminist label on anti-women policies, just as Victoria Woodhull did in the 19th Century.
    Your idea is a good one, but unfortunately porn isn’t the only problem we face. Limiting overall discussion to porn and the harms of porn isn’t a productive strategy.

  123. chicago dyke

    oh, what a great post! this is a drive by, i can’t read all the comments. but i wanted to share a moment with the letter writer. one moment that for me was generated here.

    what is sexy? “holding hands, walking down the beach in the sunset.” Jill said that once, and it was profound to me. for me, it revolutionized how i understand porn. i don’t have the link, but she was talking about (paraphrasing) “what else could be sexy other than naked women humiliating themselves that could stimulate sexual response in various beings?” and she was right. porn is such a narrow category. it’s really that simple. if we were talking about what to feed dogs, we’d say the same thing. which is, “a dog will eat raw chicken, or rice, or cat puke, and even shit, and be fortified by it. that doesn’t mean dog owners want, nor even dogs themselves, to live by only eating shit.” porn is the same deal. Twisty will yell at me because i’m a tad more, um, forgiving than she, but i will say this: outside the Patriarchy, some people might, possibly, maybe, be able to have the conversation in which *some* forms of objectification were… less hateful and objectifying. but we don’t exist there. thus and so: why porn? there is, simply, no good reason for it, other than patriarchal self empowerment.. yet even more powerful is the notion that anyone who has felt true love and attraction for another knows- nakedness is not the only turn on. nor is bondage, humiliation, subjugation… nor any and all of the markers of the Patriarchy in porn. all of us can become excited and motivated by images (or sounds, or smells, or taste, etc) that are outside the narrow range of porn. this isn’t rocket science, and no woman, nor man, should be ashamed to understand this. and yet! it’s so damn hard, for so many, to reach that. porn is like junk food for far too many; easy to critique, but hard to give up in practice, even as it is killing us.

  124. TwissB

    Sorry about the repetitive last paragraph. As I was climbing off my soap box, the ’nuff said demon grabbed hold and shot me down to the Blame command before I could tidy up.

    Which gives me a chance to say that I love the “my Nigel” term but see it reserved for wishful denial that all the things said about men’s intransigent sexism don’t aapply to others but not to the husband or partner who is “my Nigel.”

    Some years ago, two feminist friends of mine were invited to speak to a local Texas homemakers club about women’s rights. In discussion of sex discrimination and other sexist practices, one woman stood up and said, “But our husbands aren’t like that.” At which another club member turned to her and replied, “We don’t know any of them that well.”

  125. TwissB

    Please someone, take this computer away from me. Of course I meant to say:
    …things said about men’s intransigent sexism apply to others but not to the husband or partner who is “my Nigel.”

  126. joy

    “Speed blaming” as a much-needed-concept-we-never-knew-we-needed is right up there with “IBTP3K” (o how we need thee).

    Bring on the future of blaming.

  127. Aileen Wuornos

    Blamer B,

    You are doing one of the most valuable things that a womon can do in the patriarchy – daring to think for herself and value herself outside of the terms predefined for us by the status quo. [ shameless self promotion time ] – I have written somewhat extensively on Why I hate Porn. So has blamer Nine Deuce of Rage Against the Manchine (her’s is a 9 part series, and it inspired mine, so it is therefore better.)

    And as for over-turning the big P, I vote for the nice old fashioned Menocide.

  128. speedbudget

    tinfoil, I’m in Delaware. I wouldn’t mind driving somewhere for margaritas and blaming.

  129. K

    There are calls for meetups on a recent (Saturday January 22 2011) open thread at Shakesville. Perhaps the two commenting communities could join forces?

  130. nails

    showstewardess- Jackson Katz writes a LOT of feminist analysis of pornography and rape culture. He does a lot of work speaking to boys and men and pointing out (rightly) that this masculinity bullshit hurts women and kills a shitload of people.

    the rest of ya: I’ll be in the SLC area for a little while longer. I’ll be moving to Oregon at some point.

    Meetup.com really is a good way to start a IRL group. I think you have to pay a little money to start a group, but the enthusiasm here makes me think a lot of folks are willing to pay to start one in their area. You can plaster it all over FB and other websites. Heck, if any of you guys want I will blog your meetup pages- I don’t have as good a following as here, but its something. The alienation of living in an oppressive culture is fucking painful- its what 1984 was about, isn’t it? I am at skeptifemblog at gmail.

  131. tinfoil hattie

    speedbudget, I’m game. There’s a cool restaurant in Baltimore called “Miss Shirley’s” that would be fun. Or that tacky shopping center off I-95 – White-Something? I met another friend from Delaware there, once. You can e-maile me at tinfoilhattie at gmail dot com. Let’s do it! You’re one of my internet heros. Heroines. Superstars? (Damned f-ing gendered language)

  132. phio gistic

    B and others who suffer from relationships with porn-using-men, don’t ever doubt that what you have experienced is betrayal. Sneaking porn is betrayal. Lying about porn use is betrayal. For a relationship to recover from betrayal, the betrayer has to earn back trust. The only real way to gain trust back is to be trustworthy. To doggedly stick it out in the face of all the well deserved doubt and suspicion, and live it, by being trustworthy day by day for as long as it takes. This is a long and difficult road and many men can’t or won’t take it. It’s so much easier to blame the one betrayed for not handing over trust on -his- schedule, without his having earned it.

  133. Cortney

    I am in Chicago and would desperately love to have some folks to blame with. Sadly, many of my friends just don’t get it and even within the academic feminist sphere, it is hard to meet any truly radical women.

  134. speedbudget

    I am your internet superstar with sparkles. And jazz hands. White Marsh Mall? LOL That place will suck any blaming out of us, I’m sure. If you say a place is cool, I’m down with it. E-mail coming up from a gmail address.

  135. DancesWithCats

    I don’t suppose there’s anyone in Oklahoma, is there? :( My most radical friend is still a sex poz, more or less. I think she finds my beliefs a bit frightening.

  136. meowbaby

    WHOA WHOA WHOA, WHAT!!!???!!! Speedbudget you are in Delaware????? Holy cannoli, I just felt my heart split wide open! Where are you? I’m in Newark. We simply must meet. I have been lurking here for five years and reading your commentary all this time–and you live in Delaware?? Holy crap!!

  137. ElizaN

    tfirfe, I moved to the East Bay recently, and this comment thread inspired me to look for something around here. This group sounds good to me, and I hope the SF branch has more events soon so I can start going! http://www.radicalwomen.org/intro.html

  138. Patriarchy Slayer

    In response to the question about why men seem better than women at sticking up for each other and being united.

    I think that part of this is because this “way” (the patriarchy) has been instilled in everyone’s minds for generations. Brainwashing makes the company line pop out a lot easier than when you’re groping in the dark searching for answers because you know there has to be a better way than this shit show.

    Feminists are trying to create a better world, and that’s hard work. And we’re not going to agree on everything. But at least we’re trying to create a discussion. But we do need to have each others’ backs, especially when the alternative is feeding your fellow females to the anti-women wolves (male or female).

  139. Patriarchy Slayer

    Oh and just in case there is a feminist revolt happening in my area (I’m in Edmonton), let me know! I’ll be there!

  140. Claire K.

    Comrade Svilova: I once had something like a Nigel (I’m a lesbian and he was, in theory, celibate but for all practical purposes that’s how it was) who was a lot like that. He could never understand why I’d get angry at the misogyny in movies we watched together, I’d get fed up with him for defending “the good parts” and he’d get angry at me in return. We also had some great conversations about how I was oppressing women by not opposing women’s-only colleges –apparently their existence reinforces the gender binary– and how the best way to help rape victims is to teach them to meditate so they can let go of their egos, the true source of their suffering. Basically, the dude’s problem was that he was sure enough of his feminist cred not to have to listen to any actual women and that, not having to experience misogyny himself, he was able to abstract things to the point that helping real women, immediately, in concrete ways came second to vague philosophizing if it mattered at all. I think this is a fairly common problem among dudes who consider themselves feminist, pro-feminist, not sexist douchebags, or what have you. On second thought, I hope your Nigel isn’t like this dude because his ideas of what he could get away with because he was oh-so-liberal and enlightened extended to some pretty nasty, violent stuff. Interestingly, although he hated this blog when I first showed it to him I’ve seen him commenting here lately, always in chipper but feminist-y ways. It’s kind of creepy; I’m not sure if he’s improved since I last spoke with him or if he’s just so full of himself he doesn’t realize a dude who once emailed Twisty saying “Um, I think I raped this girl, how can I make it up to her?” (I don’t know whether she answered him) has no place dispensing his wisdom on a feminist blog.

    Agh, sorry, my first comment here turned out to be full of “I”s. But sometimes I like to read other people’s personal stories so I hope they won’t mind my sharing mine.

    By the way, my ‘home base,’ as it were, is in upstate NY and I’d love to see some sort of radfem group there, but I’m out of the country currently and not sure when I’ll be back so unfortunately I can’t be much help.

  141. speedbudget

    meowbaby, I am going to do something that is generally frowned upon here on Savage Death Island: OMG. Yes, I am in Delaware, if below the canal (but only slightly!). I would love to get together. I have a gamer email address that is safe for comments threads: wowgame194 at gmail dot com. I will try to check it more often in the next days.

    Tinfoil Hattie and I are planning a meet-and-blame for the near future at a breakfast joint in Baltimore if you want to ride with. I think it would be a hoot!

  142. ivyleaves

    I also live in the East Bay. I spent a bit of time a few years ago looking for any sort of group for feminists and was stunned to realize that there wasn’t anything, even the famous feminist bookstores were defunct. I mean if Berkeley doesn’t have one, it is really bad out there. I would definitely be up for getting together.

  143. beanphed

    Here’s a site that could help connect y’all with like minded folks around the world who are opposed to pornography. (It’s a small list but growing).


  144. Aunti Disestablishmentarian

    Here’s one way to deal with the meet-up organizing, start a regional Google Group.

    I started 2:

    New England and Chicagoland. If you are interested in Meat (Meet) space blaming in those locales, Let’s do it!


    New Englanders:

    I’ll ask Melissa at Shakesville, and Renee at WomanistMusings if they are interested in posting these links and inviting their readers to create their own regional meetups.

    Please contact me: auntidisestablishmentarian gmail if you have technical or practical thoughts.

    Blame On!

  145. Jezebella

    @Patriarchy Slayer, do you know Bird and/or Intransigentia, sometime commenters here? They are in your neck of the woods.

    @Slade: you are my new hero.

    @anybody who lives in the Mississippi region of Dumbfuckistan, fer crissakes, let’s have some margaritas! Holler at me on my blog.

  146. gwyllion

    how about the Portland Oregon area?????

  147. meowbaby

    This is great! I happen to really really enjoy breakfast-what are the odds? I will dispatch an email immediately!

  148. tinfoil hattie

    meowbaby and anyone within driving distance of DC/Baltimore/DE, I’m at tinfoilhattie at gmail dot com.


  149. tfirfe

    Eliza N and Ivyleaves….check out SF craigslist Activities in Mission District posted Jan 23.

  150. antiporn activist

    Sorry I’m late, I heard that our map was mentioned! http://www.antipornactivist.com features a Google map listing antiporn activists around the world. Go to http://antipornactivist.com/work-with-others.html and find the Partners in Crime map. Then contact us to add yourself.

  151. Doctress Julia

    I’m in Madison, WI… I wish I could find some rad feminists to hang out with… sigh…

  152. Noanodyne

    Doctress Julia, I thought Madison was a hotbed of radical feminists!? Carolyn Gage regularly stops in there or has her plays performed there and where she goes, radicals are sure to follow. Here’s an event that should bring out the ones who are also lesbians:

    February 12-27, Madison, WI:
    Sappho in Love, Stage Q.

  153. AlienNumber

    Brilliant analysis! Thank you for writing it better than (pretty much) anybody else would.

    and I have a question (for anyone): in choosing the title of this post, why “death by femininity” and not “death by pornography”? I’m thinking, it’s men and their hatred who killed her, not really femininity and herself (unless of course you define femininity as one of the myriad ways in which men hate women). On the other hand, I see why you wouldn’t want the word pornography in the title, because it will attract legions of non-blamers.

    This was inspired by a comment my feminist prof. made who said she dislikes the term “Violence against women” because it masks who the oppressor is.

  154. AlienNumber

    oops, wrong essay. Sorry.

  155. blondie

    We’re dancin’ the old two-step …two steps forward and one step back.

    Women get to vote, to be not literally a man’s property, to(supposedly) have a right to not be discriminated against on the basis of gender, and what happens?

    We step out of the shade cast by the chivalrous parasol of the patriarchy into the glaring pron-sun of the male Gaze. And still the prevailing culture tells us that the only thing that matters is how men see us.

    If you feel yucky, slimed on, like you are prey, your instincts are dead on.

  156. Patriarchy Slayer

    @Jezebella, no I’m not familiar with those blamers. I will have to be on the lookout here. Thanks for the heads up!

  157. Maria

    Thank you — Twisty, as well as the commenters. I am beginning to have a better understanding of a breakdown I ahd a couple of years ago due mostly to my job. And I stayed at the job for two more years! Why? Because the boss staring at my boobs and having porn on his computer screen when he called me into the office and speaking to me like I was a moron but treating less-intelligent men like their words were the utterances of the gods and talking over me and embarassing me in front of clients and requiring me to let him know when I was going to the restroom (and I could go on, but I won’t) was just “boys will be boys” and “how the world works.” I was told I was the problem, and I believed it. I’d been raised to believe it, and I hadn’t come as far as I thought, I guess.

    I quit that lousy-ass job (finally) and I can’t tell you how great it feels. Reading your comments has helped me to reframe what happened and given me food for thought as I begin the search for a new job. Thanks again!

  158. Carmen

    Oh, thank God I found this blog…after reading the MRA bullshit at the good men project, which is really just angry Harry in disguise. At least Harry is upfront about his woman-hating.

    As a young woman recently come off of about 15 year of what one poster called “accommodation” and which I call subjugation, now, at age 28, I am FESTERING WITH RAGE, and I feel so frustrated that I really have no outlet to express it. People–women as well as men–will tell me that I am overreacting and that man-hating won’t get me anywhere (although who knows, it might get me away from men).

    The funny part is, men ARE human, some of them have had a raw deal too, and the ones I’ve loved who have had a raw deal have always taken it out on me. But it was their fathers in the first place who taught them what a “man” was. A cowardly, wife-beating, child-abusing man.

    I am attracted to men, which may be fortunate rather than how I feel at the moment (which is that it is unfortunate), because it might force me to learn to approach the topic with more understanding, and willingness to patiently attempt to make men in my life see the light, an absolute necessity if society as a whole is going to change. However, for some reason, despite my love for another woman, I am scared to death of my own attraction to women, perhaps because it was preordained for me by sneering family, who–though loving–also always predicted me to be the one to grow up to be lesbian, because, you know, I was “strong-willed.”

    As a teenager I had a rare complicated thyroid disorder that was dismissed and misdiagnosed by a number of (male) doctors, despite my resting pulse of 112, inability to sleep for a week, and tendency to pass out accompanied by a sensation of light passing through my skull. They said I was mentally ill and I was sent to a number of psychiatrists, who attempted to pacify me (as aggression and dissent, already a big part of any preteen and teen girl’s life, were only compounded by illness). It was drilled into me that femininity and passivity were desirable traits, not my hulking, acnified, Dickey-and-overall-with-one-strap-hanging-down-wearing style of the hour. When later my illness was discovered by my dermatologist (after my legs swelled to double their size and sheets of skin began peeling off), my illness was finally diagnosed, I was given some medication that I was supposed to have to take for the rest of my life, and then my disease spontaneously went into remission. I should emphasize that my “hypochondriac” mother also came down with the same illness simultaneously, and never gave up crusading for me, even when everyone else–especially my controlling father, who blamed me for my illness–had written me off.

    After that, I lost the acne, the weight, the grease, the overalls, and the Dickeys. I gained some makeup, skirts, form-fitting shirts, and flirtatiousness. I was suddenly HAWT the way all gorgeous 15 year old girls are, but–unbeknownst to me at the time–I had absolutely no ability to say “no” after my years of training. This led to a series of rapes and abuses for the next 10 years that included one anal rape, three vaginal rapes, countless other incidences of sexual assault with hands, fingers, and tongues, and one 5 year abusive relationship in which my “soulmate” tried to kill me on multiple occasions.

    I have been TRYING to see men’s point of view. I understand how the patriarchy has shafted them too, and how being primed to see women’s bodies as objects–and to feel resentful for women’s sexual power–is spiritually sickening for men too.

    But, when I hear from MRA assholes that “the CDC has buried stats about women committing 40 percent of the country’s violent sexual assaults against men” and other such bogus bullshit regarding women’s reproductive rights and fiscal autonomy (as well as their supposed haughty “privilege”) I want to SCREAM. As unfortunately naturally pornulated girl who had a hearty dose of misogynist indoctrination, I have suffered GREATLY in a country which is supposed to be one of the leading countries for women’s rights, and which is NOT supposed to be, oh, I don’t know, the Congo or Afghanistan. Yet I have been beaten, raped, drugged, and fondled all the same, and yes, told by the cops when I reported that it was my fault.

    Is it okay to admit how absolutely fucking angry I am right now?

    And where are all these other feminist women who won’t shrink away from me when I say that this idea of the “feminist erosion of the marriage institution” ain’t such a bad goddamn thing? If women are able to define themselves other than by their relationship to men, and their success is defined other than in terms of marriage, men might have to actually bring more to the table than–gasp!–being willing to marry some chick, women will have more options, and the birth rate will go down, contributing to social justice and harmony and a sustainable environmental policy for everyone.

    So seriously, as an up-and-coming young feminist, how can I make friends with you older, wiser women? School me. I want to be an activist.

    I have been a writer forever–poetry–have won many awards as a teenager when my father and mentor sent out my work. Since leaving home I have submitted nothing, though now I am in a renowned MFA program with a full scholarship, and the head of the program is a progressive bisexual woman, thank God. I plan to write about my experiences, honestly, in the form of the memoir of a girl’s life growing up in this effed up society. I could use any and all advice (which I only say because I know this is a dude-free environment).


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