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Aug 18 2011

Spinster aunt can’t shut the fuck up all of a sudden

Radical feminist blog discussions can take some interesting turns, some of the interestingest of which arise from the wacky circumstance of Savage Death Island’s status as — and we don’t want this to be true, but true it is — a patriarchal subculture. We can’t exist outside or independently of the dominant culture — nothing can — so we’re stuck trying to invent a post-patriarchal world order from within patriarchy’s crapulent boundaries. Even as we’re relegated to the crapulent lunatic fringe, we’re enfoisted with the crapulent language of patriarchy, and its crapulent traditions and conventions, and its crapulent art. Every time we complain about some particularly crapulent aspect of all this crapulence, we get resisted, often by feminists themselves, because crappy though it may be, this is the only culture we’ve got. We’ve gotten kind of used to it. We forget, pretty often, to question its authority.

Take the other day, when the discussion turned to the crapulence of horndog author Vladimir Nabokov and his icky novel Lolita. I said something like “this is some crapulent kiddie porn shit, yo.”

Whereupon a reader, obviously experiencing one of those spontaneous liberal-dude fugue states that overtake us all from time to time, and careful not to “pick a side of the argument,” commented

But there is a greater issue at stake here: that of censorship.

You probably remember, couple of days ago, hearing the unmistakable roar of a lobe revving up to about 7800 SPM.* That was my lobe.

What follows is more or less how I responded to the idea that some tiresome dude-novel should be exempt from feminist critique on accounta censorship-is-bad. I had to add some stuff, of course, to prevent this post from being dangerously shortwinded.

1. There is (I said) no greater issue at stake than the liberation of women from patriarchal oppression.

The liberation of women from patriarchal oppression is more important than a man’s right to 24-hour access to poontang. It’s more important than a woman’s right to the performance of sexy empowering femininity. It’s more important than a scholarly analysis of a canonical work. It’s more important than censorship.

Censorship has meant this and that and the other thing over the years. The government won’t let you burn flags. The authorities herd you and your “Who Would Jesus Bomb?” protest sign into a “free speech” zone when Dubya shows up at a rally. The secret police throw you in prison for writing stuff unflattering stuff about your totalitarian government. Your library uses content-control software. The TV network bleeps out your (or Gordon Ramsay’s) F-bombs. The self-censoring Internet feminist uses the word F-bomb instead of the word fuck for no reason.

In the context of Internet feminist discourse, however, censorship seems to be something only feminist dissidents do, probably because we hate freedom! Censorship means “the practice of feminists voicing dissenting opinions on the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women.”

According to this interpretation, we Nazi feminists, with our intolerable idea that the fetishization of women’s oppression violates all women, are to be harassed, shouted down, and condemned by the liberal dudes found swinging from every rafter of the Internet, in an effort to suppress our dissent. Why? Apparently because saying “Lolita sucks” is tantamount to demanding a book-burning. Of a beloved, transgressive monument to lyric dudeliness.

Ironically, dudely suppression of feminist dissent is itself censorship, the very -ship that these free speech-lovin’ dudes purport to be against. Censorship is apparently bad only when it threatens to undermine DudeNation’s death-grip on its own sceptre of passion.

2. It is not censorship to advance feminist critiques of dudeliocentric art-porn.

In order to perform actual censorship, a censor must first occupy a position of authority over the censoree, and must be able to command minions sufficient for enforcement. The dudes and dudesses of DudeNation, for example, censor radical feminists all the time. Have you ever seen a radical feminist sitcom, fashion spread, toilet cleaner commercial, or New York Times bestseller?

It’s no secret that this very blog gets hit with DDoS attacks all the flippin’ time. Censorship!

Conversely, radical feminists, dangling by gnarled claws from our remote precipice out in Lunatic Fringe, are in no position to censor anything. We’re not in power. We have no authority. We enjoy little privilege. We command no minions. Even if we wanted to, which we don’t, we couldn’t prevent even one celebrated genius from writing child rape fantasies and calling it art.

About all we can do is advance feminist critiques and submit feminist analyses, both here on the Internet, and through the awesome power of those super-effective patriarchy-busting “THIS DEGRADES WOMEN” stickers hastily applied to American Apparel ads in bus stops. We can argue that the publication and artification of Lolita-esque child rape fantasies contributes to the fetishization of women’s oppression and is therefore antifeminist and inimical to all women generally.

We can also suggest remedies. Such as “if you make pornography you’re a misogynist rape apologist douche, so cut it the fuck out, you dumb fuck.” And also, “if you consume pornography you’re a misogynist rape apologist douche, so cut it the fuck out, you dumb fuck.” In fact, pretty much, “whenever you are anything but wildly enthusiastic about the repeal of male privilege, you’re a dumb fuck doing something you should be cutting the fuck out.”

3. The revolution will render all graphic representations of rape obsolete by smashing the domination/submission paradigm.

Once domination/submission bites the dust as the primary model upon which all human relationships are based, 99.9% of the beloved literary canon will start to look dated, corny, and bigoted, because it was all written in support of, from the point of view of, and under the auspices of patriarchal oppression. By bigots.

In other words, since oppression will cease to be fetishized by the enlightened survivors of the revolution, pornography will cease to exist, all on its own. The demand will evaporate. No censorship required! Just add common sense and simple human compassion!

4. The degree to which the idea of a world in which Shakespeare, Joyce and Nabokov are considered quaint relics of a barbaric age makes one uneasy, it is precisely to that degree that one is imbued with, invested in, and brainwashed by patriarchal mores.

Go ahead. Defend The Taming of the Shrew as a feminist bildungsroman all you want. You know you’re just pulling a bunch of English major bullshit outta your status quo-lovin’ ass.

To recap:
Is Lolita art? Sure, why not? It’s misogynist, barbaric art that degrades the whole species. Awesome.

Should Lolita be banned? Nah. Banning it, or any other pornographic “work,” would be like trying to treat 2,567,438 purulent boils with a single drop of Boil-Away.** Banning stuff never works. It just creates shadowy, subterranean subcultures who get off on the bannedness of their precious banned thing.

In any event, banning Lolita would do nothing to eradicate the underlying humanitarian crisis of which it is a symptom. Instead, I suggest a feminist response to pornography that advocates — persistently, and with salty language, ridicule, satire, and shaming — the eradication of any social order predicated on the existence and oppression of a sex class.

___________________
* SPM = Spinspulsations Per Minute

** By Ronco

108 comments

4 pings

  1. Fede

    Another post to print out, laminate, and hold up in front of all those male, ‘enlightened’ ‘friends’ who purport to have a ‘nuanced’ ‘point’ to make on the subject of misogynist art.

  2. Kea

    Interestingest? Epic Fail!, oops.

  3. vitaminC

    Off topic, but so very delightful: A resident of libertarian Utopia Chandler, Arizona (AKA the state with no gun control) accidentally shoots his own penis off.

    http://thedailywh.at/2011/08/08/nut-shot-of-the-day/

    If only all the world’s problems could self-correct like this.

  4. Tanya

    What on earth would art look like without patriarchy? What will survive post-revolution? It is hard to imagine art that doesn’t perpetuate hokey patriarchal bullshit. This blog is awesome and wonderful but it will be irrelevant post-patriarchy.

  5. keira

    Of course there’ll still be art post patriarchy. It’ll reflect whatever haunts/gladdens/monetises the souls of whoever is still around.

    It just wont have headless naked ladies or rape fantasies or evil bitches as central themes, because they wont be there to be reflected.

    Hopefully, we wont even miss IBTP post-patriarchally, because we’ll all be so busy hanging out with fabulous, funny, eloquent women in non-internet land.

  6. Saralyn

    “The liberation of women from patriarchal oppression is more important than a man’s right to 24-hour access to poontang…more important than a woman’s right to the performance of sexy empowering femininity…more important than a scholarly analysis of a canonical work…more important than censorship.”

    Ah, thank you, thank you, thank you for this. I sometimes fail to have the words to articulate my point when living within a society saturated by patriarchy, thinking with a brain washed since birth by patriarchy while attempting to communicate with more patriarchy saturated people. This needs to be put on a sign on every street corner, every bus stop, every school room, every mens (and women’s!) bathroom in the world! Perhaps only adding in “REVOLT!” at the end.

  7. keira

    Damn. Sorry Twisty, I didn’t mean to make work for you, I should have thought a little harder before using a bunch of moderation-required words.

  8. whatabout

    Seriously, I need advice, or words of encouragement, or something because I just can’t take it anymore. I’m in my 40s now and after 40 YEARS of crap, I just don’t want to see it anymore and I truly don’t know what to do. Now there’s a show, Playboy Club, and the latest poster for the Dragon Tattoo, where all I’m hearing are people saying how small her breasts are?!. Not to mention that my office went to a work happy hour last week, and two of the males convinced two female nurses in the group to make out in front of everyone. These were two women with a college education. There’s no hope. It’s just non-stop. It’s an ASSAULT. It’s everywhere I turn. I can’t escape exploitations, entitlements, consumption and the degradation of women and sex.
    Please. I am seriously asking or any advice on how to get by living and working with all this around. I don’t watch movies anymore. I don’t watch TV. I don’t read magazines. I am finding more and more friends who are just jumping on board with it all or just looking the other way, or even loving it. I don’t know how to ignore it or cope with it.

  9. Ciara

    Great argument, I will have to remember these words next time I get into a discussion with a dude-pacifier.

    On a related note, what novels WOULD you recommend for the radical feminist. Sure you can find some non-fiction out there branded as feminism but you never get a sticker on your novels saying “feminist friendly”.

  10. Doctress Julis

    Oh, whatabout… if you lived close to me (Madison, WI) I would hang out with you and we could commiserate… I am as fed up as you are.

    I just read The Female Man by Joanna Russ. I have to re-read it- I was confused about who was what where when…? Vonda MacEntire? CJ Cherryh? James Tiptree?

    I like Robert Heinlein, but I hear he’s problematically sexist. I need to know why, and I feel stupid (it’s usually so obvious!).

    I just saw Taming of the Shrew performed at APT in Spring Green. I was like, ‘Oh, a play about abusing women! How quaint!’ I said it super loud and obnoxious, and offended some assholes. :D Teehee!

    Love this post, love this blog, love your thoughts Twisty. When are we all moving to Savage Death Island? I have my bags packed.

  11. Doctress Julia

    Oops, it’s Julia, not Julis!

    I love how, when I post these things on my Facebook (which I am a micron from getting off of), not ONE of all the hundreds of people ‘Friended’ by me have ANYTHING TO SAY. No comments, no Likes, nothing. Crickets. Sometimes I find that I’ve been “defriended’ by a dude who doesn’t want to hear about his privilege. It’s ‘depressing’. YES, YES IT IS. Good riddance, I say. I don’t want any of those turds around.

  12. Doctress Julia

    Oops, did my comment with good feminist sci-fi authors go poof…? Dang…

  13. Carpenter

    It definitely gets tedious trying to separate the wheat from the turds in almost everything I try to read. I find it much less infuriating to read non-fiction for this reason; the turdy parts are simple declarative sentences which I can mentally disagree with and move on, whereas in fiction the turds are woven into the plot and character descriptions.
    Then there is the eternal question of when I should completely reject works. Should it be only when they are all sexist crap, or just partially/mostly sexist crap? It seems valuable to call out the crap and take the good parts, but it gets pretty exhausting and at some point I am tempted to just dump the entire thing. This happens to me almost any time I read anything, forget Lolita, it even bothered me when I read the autobiography of freakin’ Gandhi.

  14. Jessie

    I love this post.

    The whole “censorship” arguement has really poisoned discourse on things like pornography. If one objects to a misogynist book, video, show, ad, or commercial, people start screaming about censorship. Well, that or they assume you’re religious.

    I don’t get it. It’s really not that complicated to understand that because a person is voicing an objection to something, that doesn’t necessarily mean she is in favor of banning it. I’ve also noticed the same guys who have a nuclear meltdown when one criticizes the pornography industry don’t get too upset when one criticizes any other type of media. Just don’t touch their beloved porn!

    Of course, there’s the argument that if one doesn’t approve of porn (or Lolita, etc) that one can just not watch or read it. That’s also a stupid arguement. Of course the fetishization of female oppression affects me, as well as all other women.

    whatabout: I understand your frustration. Sadly, I think to get away from it all, you’d have to live in the middle of nowhere where there are no people. Yes, I’ve fantasized about that but of course it’s not too realisitic. All I can say is that you’re not the only one who feels the way you do. Personally, to relax and get away, I spend a lot of time in the woods with my dog hiking and birdwatching.

    Also, your post kind of reminded me of this post:

    http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2011/01/16/hugs-twisty-pornsick-dudes-give-blamer-the-screamin-mimis/

  15. Jill

    Don’t even get me started on that pedophile Gandhi!

    There have been a few threads on feminist or feminist-friendly literature. Check the tab up there in the banner where it says “Reading List.” And feel free to add more here. If it gets more than a few suggestions I’ll stick’em in the Reading List page.

    I have to say, though. It’s pretty slim pickins. Most everything you have to make some excuse for.

  16. Woman With Stylus, Pompei c. 700 CE

    As an English major I feel I have to correct you on recent scholarship’s revelation of Shakespeare’s highly nuanced feministic approach to cultural bah hah hah hah no fucking way can’t do it sorry.

    “Quaint relics of a barbaric age.” Jesus, you ain’t kidding Twisty. Hey, remember that part in like two or three or more of Shakespeare’s comedies where it turned out the male and female leads worked out a tricky marital economics issue by raping each other? Ho ho, laugh fucking riot! And all of the original, eloquent “gawd, vaginas, gross!” poetry. Timeless shit right there.

    @Ciara: As I suggestion, I really like Sandra Cisneros and her chronicling of the fucked-up lives of US-Mexico border women who nevertheless manage to pull through with a heaping helping of “fuck you man”.

    Anyway, semester’s starting so you’ll excuse me while I head off to re-read famed hard-boiled author Raymond Chandler’s groundbreaking detective novel “The Big Sleep.” Here’s a taste:

    “The giggles stopped dead, but she didn’t mind the slap any more than last night. Probably all her boy friends got around to slapping her sooner or later. I could understand how they might.”

    Fucking. GENIUS.

  17. Jill

    Sadly, I think to get away from it all, you’d have to live in the middle of nowhere where there are no people.

    This hasn’t worked for me so far. I’ve been living in the middle of nowhere for 5 years. The trouble is, you can’t stay out here forever. Sooner or later you have to go into town, and it’s a rural town, so everybody is a Christian fundamentalist.

  18. Kea

    I go into town once a week, buy my groceries and leave. I speak only to two women: one at the checkout and one in the cafe.

  19. Hermionemone

    Hey, whatabout going for a bike ride; it takes your mind off things; you get some fresh air, see the scenery go by; you depend on no one, harm no one, but still get somewhere. It makes you stronger the more you do it, especially your legs, possibly useful someday for butt-kicking the P! Truer than you might think after 100 years: “Nothing has done more for the cause of women’s freedom than the bicycle” – S.B. Anthony

  20. Satchel

    Censorship is apparently bad only when it threatens to undermine DudeNation’s death-grip on its own sceptre of passion.

    Ain’t THAT the truth.

  21. vitaminC

    Ooh, sorry Hermionemone. You can’t escape the P on a bike. If only we could.

    Case in point: A woman is harassed by NYC cops due to the sexy distraction of her pedaling legs.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/bike-blog/2011/jun/15/cycling-skirt-motoring-hazard

    Ya see, if she gets run over, raped, or similarly shat on, it’ll be HER fault! Safety first, people.

    That said, the article is all right. Some quotes:

    “The problem with cycling in skirts, it seems, is less about real risks to road safety, and more to do with the invective that tells women to rein in the way they present themselves to prevent crimes and accidents.

    Blaming cyclists for bad drivers is the same as blaming any victim for a criminals (sic) actions, and all cyclists should be free to wear whatever they feel comfortable in.”

  22. Bushfire

    whatabout, you need to find some feminist friends. Think about where there might be a feminist hangout around you: is there a production of the Vagina Monologues near you? Is there a women’s shelter? Is there a queer film festival? Is there a left-wing political group? Anything where you might find progressive people.

    In the meantime, make a penpal on this blog. I’ll bet if you post an email about 10 people will contact you, because we’re all starved for feminist company. If you’re on Facebook, go to the I Blame the Patriarchy facebook group and go to the discussion page. There is a list of what blamers live in what city and maybe you can meet up with someone close to you.

    You will always be depressed about the state of the world. I cope by having a support group of feminist friends and pretty much not talking to anybody else.

  23. Carpenter

    I get you about making excuses. In the sciences it is totally cool to pick out the good stuff: you can respect Tycho Brahe for what he did right, and not have to believe that the sun goes around the earth like he did. But trying to pick out the good parts of everything else leaves me with an uneasy feeling. Sometimes I can do it; I can totally believe Titus Andronicus belongs in the garbage can, and there is no excuse for the end of the Merchant of Venice, but that I can keep the main theme of Hamlet. Then there is stuff that just seems like a mess to me and I have no idea what I would do with it after the revolution.

  24. ivyleaves

    For Doctress Julia:
    http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2007/03/05/psst-over-here-this-is-the-thread-for-sci-fi-geeks/

    Has some analysis of Heinlein.

  25. Noble Rat

    It shouldn’t, but it still disappoints me when enlightened liberal dude bros vehemently insist that Old White Man Piss-Artistry is more important and valuable than women’s lives, let alone women’s dignity.

  26. Hermionemone

    Thank you, VitaminC, for that item about the woman “almost ticketed” for bicycling while wearing a skirt. Sometimes I cycle for peace and solace, as recommended to blamer whatabout. For that I head down the side streets, parks and pathways, or out of town altogether.

    But sometimes I enjoy being “in the motorists’ face” right there on the road. Nothing demonstrates the impotence of impatient dudes in 300HP SUVs stuck in traffic, better than an apparently carefree (but appropriately wary and wily) cyclist, possibly wearing one of those nearly-illegal skirts, zipping around or through the traffic jam, on her personal zero-emmissions 1/4 HP or less. It pleases me to receive the occasional insult due to my superior mobility, as it means one more a$$hole driver is that much closer to having his apoplectic aneurism.

    Curiously, there seem to be fewer epithet-hurling incidents lately. Maybe the worst automorons have already had their aneurisms, maybe my small demonstrations, plus those of an increasing number of other cyclists, have led some motorists to mellow out a little and accept our presence on the road. Or perhaps they’re watching my skirt-clad 50-year-old butt churning, much good may it do them: I’m leaving them behind.

  27. Comrade PhysioProf

    a single drop of Boil-Away

    It’s also a floor polish!

  28. Rachel

    The best version of Taming of the Shrew I ever heard of played it completely straight. As in, Katherine in tears, angry, and bitterly miserable through all the final lines. Making it clear exactly what position she’s in and what immense injustice she’s received. According to the story, it left the audience awkwardly twisting in their seats and breaking for the exits, and was cancelled shortly after opening.

    This post was wonderful.

  29. tinfoil hattie

    Physio, you are mistaken. It’s a dessert topping.

    whatabout, you can e-mail me. tinfoil hattie at gmail dot com.

    I am part of an e-mail group of feminists who connected through a pretty well-known feminist blog with which we had become discontented. We have continued to e-mail and blame throughout the years. It has helped tremendously.

    I also second the idea of going to the IBTP facebook page; I have met one blamer for breakfast (each of us driving over 100 miles to get there!) and another blamer for several breakfasts (we live very close to one another! Hooray!)

    When I began reading IBTP, I was fascinated and couldn’t tear myself away – but I wasn’t buying everything Jill wrote. Now, 4-5 years later, I spread the bitter gospel every chance I get. Sometimes, I do it JUST to piss people off. They should feel pissed off part of the time, if we have to feel pissed off 100% of the time!

    My comment’s too long now, so please e-mail if you’d like to.

  30. Nepenthe

    The worst part of cycling in skirts is getting the fabric caught in the chain and suddenly finding one’s self half-naked on a busy street. Never figured out how to get around that, although clearly it’s possible.

    Please Jill, never shut the fuck up.

  31. Bushfire

    Please Jill, never shut the fuck up.

    I just have to second that.

  32. Embee

    This post belongs in the new cannon.

    I read it out loud (to myself and my sleeping, 17 month old daughter) because I loved the way it sounded and I wish that I had so spake to my liberaldude teacher at my uppity boarding school 20 years ago. Yeah, the one that always stood so close behind me in the cafeteria line that I could feel his erection. The one who used to “check” on me in my room at 10:30. Him.

    The cycling in skirts thing reminded me a one of my favorite people in my former city (Atlanta). Often during rush hour she could be found riding down busy Ponce de Leon (agh!) Avenue, wearing a skirt that would flap in the breeze, and a large backpack on her back. She was 200 lbs if she was an ounce and she was AWESOME. The dudes didn’t know whether to indulge this porn fantasy by slowing and whistling or mock her failure to adhere to the physical standards of the Drrty South (blonde, 5’2″, 95 lbs, D cup and chiclet teeth).

    It was a brief domination but she dominated.

    I think I love her.

  33. Jessie

    [quote]This hasn’t worked for me so far. I’ve been living in the middle of nowhere for 5 years. The trouble is, you can’t stay out here forever. Sooner or later you have to go into town, and it’s a rural town, so everybody is a Christian fundamentalist. [/quote]

    Right. I should have noted that, to truly flee the patriarchy, you’d have to go to the middle of nowhere and stay there. Alas, most people have to go to work, or get supplies.

  34. Brenda Johnson

    Thank you.

  35. baddesignhurts

    @VitaminC, as a blamer resident of Chandler, AZ, I am embarrassed to say that that story made me laugh until I cried. Especially because he de-dick-ified himself with his girlfriend’s pink handgun. The truth, it is sometimes more poetic than fiction.

    I eye-rolled when I read that censorship comment, because *discrediting* something and hoping that people choose of their own free will to stop consuming it is sooooo very obviously the same as using the force of the law to compel their behavior. By similar logic, Jill is being censored because The New York Times didn’t hire her to write a daily op-ed.

    Although the world would be dramatically better if they did so.

  36. Boner Killer

    Just have to say, read the comments about Gandhi and am now furiously running google searches. I keep seeing “Did Gandhi Beat his Wife?” popping up along with forum posts discussing his child-molesting pastimes while he was “celibate.”

    Hole-ee-shit

  37. Melinda

    I’m reluctant to ask things that are none of my business, but Twisty, I’m just dying to know how you make a living! Like so many women, I conform to the patriarchy’s expectations to a certain tolerable-but-irritating extent because (I think) I need this job.

    But as for your main point regarding censorship, I can only add “same goes with First Amendment rights”! The Bill of Rights deals with our relationship to the government, not to each other or private businesses or our employers. We don’t have to tolerate every stupid thing someone says, and telling someone to shut up isn’t violating his right to free speech.

  38. Yardshark

    And especially, screw Larry Flynt. What a freakin assshole.

  39. minervaK

    whatabout: the only thing that works, for me, is to look upon the culture in which I live as something of a joke. As in, the only sane people in it are those trying to live outside of it, and, as Twisty reports, it’s extremely difficult to Subvert the Dominant Paradigm from within the Dominant Paradigm; i.e., the chances of me finding anyone who sees the Patriarchy’s fucked-upness in the same way that I see it is extremely slim. Somehow — I don’t know how to explain this — that understanding helps me live with the clueless behavior I witness on a day-to-day basis (sometimes by looking in the goddamned mirror). When I realize how unlikely it is that the next person I run into will be completely appalled by the onslaught of shit she’s gotta wade through just to make it from sunup to sundown, failing to find (or be) that person stings less. It also makes finding places like IBTP that much sweeter.

  40. allhellsloose

    Read Andrea Dworkin: this from the the preface of Intercourse (which I’ve not got round to reading fully yet, though it can be accessed in parts from Google books) – her take on sick but venerated misogynist dudely authors is excellent.

    “The public censure of women as if we are rabid because we speak without apology about the world in which we live is a strategy of threat that usually works. Men often react to women’s words–speaking and writing–as if they were acts of violence; sometimes men react to women’s words with violence. So we lower our voices. Women whisper. Women apologize. Women shut up. Women trivialize what we know. Women pull back. Most women have experienced enough dominance from men–control, violence, insult, contempt–that no threat seems empty.”

    I’ve just finished reading a Room of One’s Own by Virginian Woolf – who preferred the ‘naked contact of the mind’.

    I would recommend watching ‘Bloody Town Hall’ a documentary available in 9 parts on You Tube. Check out the awesome Jill Johnstone and Germaine Greer taking on sick but venerated misogynist dude Norman Mailer.

    Whatabout: What Minervak said – look upon it as a joke. Smile inwardly constantly at your ability to rise above it. Your head is well and truly above the water.

    Never shut up Twisty. I, for one, love to hear you roar.

  41. Sylvie

    “But there is a greater issue at stake here: that of censorship”. One of range of arguments used by gasbags who won’t let others get a word in edgeways.

  42. allhellsloose

    Gah! Corrections!

    Town Bloody Hall

    Jill Johnston

  43. Comrade PhysioProf

    This post belongs in the new cannon.

    KABOOM!

  44. ewige

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! This is a big help to those of us who are less able to articulate just why Lolita gave us the howling fantods.

  45. speedbudget

    You can also just embrace your humorless feminist side, and when the dudebros start their cajoling for the ladies to act sexually in a way that titillates them and objectifies the women at a work function, you can just say haughtily, “Seriously? At a work function? What the fucking fuck?” And down the rest of your drink in one gulp and walk out.

  46. naath

    EXACTLY! Also, of course, they are trying to censor you and your opinion that their work is garbage. They are permitted to create garbage books, you (and I and anyone else) are permitted to write reviews saying that their garbage books are garbage; freedom from censorship should work for everyone.

    (and @Napenthe – the trick is to purchase a chain guard, which handily also keeps one’s trousers, boot laces, scarves, and assorted cruft from the road from getting into the chain as well. Many bikes lack these guards because of the assumption that all cyclists wish to prioritise a low-weight bike (easier to go fast) over a comfortable bike (that doesn’t chew up their clothes))

  47. phio gistic

    How did criticism come to equal “censorship!11!!” in the dudebrain? Saying something is a disgusting piece of crap that encourages rapists isn’t quite the same thing as being on a crusade to destroy every copy in existence.
    I think the dudes do know how bad (for instance) porn really is but since they get off on it, they have to keep this tenuous soap-bubble pseudo-reality afloat, in which it’s all just good empowering high-paying fantasy fun for a bunch of happy women that are making happy free choices. If they let the bubble slip they might have to look at what they are actually getting off on and face what they have become. Much easier to claim censorship and go on their self-righteous way.

  48. Lurker Lyn

    When will douchebags grasp the difference between criticism and silencing?

  49. Former Blamer

    Preach it, Spinster Aunt!

    My 14-year-old inner child thanks you. And wishes you had been around when she was going through high school.

  50. buttercup

    CPP, you’re a droll MFer.

    The bike riding thing doesn’t work if you’re disabled or too poor to buy a bike that you can actually ride. I’d do it in a heartbeat if I could afford a proper bike suited to fatties but even with a decent job, I can’t afford to get a Mirena for my perimenopausal misery, let alone an expensive-asssed bike that won’t crumble under my weight and will allow my gimp leg to operate it.

    whataboutit, I highly recommend the company of animals. If you don’t have pets, volunteer at a shelter. Animals seldom judge, and sometimes, when you catch the look in their eyes, you swear they’re blaming right along with you.

  51. tinfoil hattie

    Buttercup: Try freecycle.org, if there’s one set up near where you live. You wouldn’t believe the stuff people give away!

    I’m sorry about the Mirena, too. Health care in America: So good, if you can afford it!

  52. laxsoppa

    “How did criticism come to equal “censorship!11!!” in the dudebrain?”

    At the exact moment when criticism was directed at the P and its dudebrain programming. Women *should* be silenced, and their problems unacknowledged and unadressed, especially when said problems are to do with patriarchal programming.

    Freedom of speech, along with consent and a multitude of other free will -based ideas, is a non-concept in the patriarchal reality of the underclasses.

  53. yttik

    If you can’t bike, walking sometimes helps. I can’t remember the exact joke, but after walking for five minutes you forget why you were mad, after ten minutes you forget who you are, and after 15 minutes, you forget where you live. Once you’ve forgotten all these things, the stress will be gone.

    Having a sense of humor is really important too. Power doesn’t like to be laughed at. I suspect that’s why they always try to label us humorless feminists. Women are not humorless at all, how could we be? The patriarchy provides us endless material.

  54. Bushfire

    I’m reluctant to ask things that are none of my business, but Twisty, I’m just dying to know how you make a living!

    And while you’re answering unecessary personal questions, some of us may be wondering if you have any particular sexual orientation. Like, do you play for my team.

    Alright, I’m going to try to behave now.

  55. Kyllie Pinker

    Soooo interesting — and such interesting comments too! Personally, I think we’ve got to vision the opposite of patriarchy so that the opposite can happen. It’s similar to science fiction writers who envisioned, for example, on Star Trek telecommuting long before Skype. So Ladies — I’ve written a book that does just that… Koites: An Ancient Myth About How Sex Relationships Came To Be (on Amazon.com). It’s not just a shameless plug — it’s the answer to shameless Nabokov. Grrrrrrrr.

  56. allhellsloose

    Virginaian?

    To the lighthouse with ye. Virginia.

    Read A Room of One’s Own: the sentiments within it is, sadly, still relevant.

  57. Flora Poste

    “Crapulent” means sick from gross overindulgence in food or drink.
    And “disinterested” means “impartial”, not “uninterested”.

    sources: Webster, verbmall.blogspot.com, any English dictionary.

  58. quixote

    @whatabout, how to get away from the crapulent cesspool of dudeliness?

    Dear God, if you ever find out, send a carrier pigeon to let me know!

  59. minervaK

    whataboutit, I highly recommend the company of animals. If you don’t have pets, volunteer at a shelter. Animals seldom judge, and sometimes, when you catch the look in their eyes, you swear they’re blaming right along with you.

    Oh hell, I completely forgot that one. Side benefit: animal people often turn out to be closet blamers.

  60. Anya

    Yay! Thank you, Twisty! I recently had the gall to critique a Chekhov story in my Russian class because it was so blatantly misogynistic, and of course some stupid prick-on-a-stick completely dismissed my point and called me a philistine for daring to criticize such a great author. And I was left speechless with rage, so thank you for writing this wonderful comeback that I wish I could’ve used at that moment.

  61. Jill

    “Crapulent” means sick from gross overindulgence in food or drink. And “disinterested” means “impartial”, not “uninterested”. sources: Webster, verbmall.blogspot.com, any English dictionary.

    You appear anxious that I read a dictionary definition of disinterested; I found your link to its page in Webster in the moderation queue. Why is this? Is it a clue of some kind? Maybe to the whereabouts of the Maltese falcon? Or the Lindbergh baby’s true murderer?

  62. sonia

    totally. censorship has only ever been a battle between men who think the female body is dirty and will corrupt and men who think exploiting and abusing the female body will liberate hearts, souls and minds.

    ooh, censorship. edgy issue! except it’s not, as you point out. it’s the same old.

  63. sonia

    and also, if there is a valid point about censorship, it’s that oppressive systems ought not be allowed to block liberatory points of view from being spoken and distributed. Lolita is hardly liberatory unless you’re a sadly misunderstood and oppressed PEDOPHILE.

  64. sonia

    it’s so frustrating how men get away with whining about how their forms of abuse are marginalized. like, ooh, poor you, it wasn’t enough to fantasize about violating a minor, you had to write and distribute it and then whine about it? ugh. misogynists just use any good cause to further a bad one.

  65. Discombobulated

    The 19th Century Russian writers, like Chekhov above, and Tolstoy and Dostoevsky have me all bewildered. I would love a really in-depth critique of the world view and world order they express in their works.

    Because I cannot figure out for the life of me what they, but really Dostoevsky, is saying about women, or men and women, and so on. Dostoevsky’s characters have men telling their wives to be meek and submit, and then another female character goes around giving those men sound slaps in the face, and men abuse women and then hang themselves, and women are abandoned and hang themselves, and really it’s just a whole bunch of people running around with outsize emotions dueling and committing suicide and being murdered and scheming, and the only group of people who don’t seem like real, whole people are the Jewish characters. Dosotevsky really did not like Jewish folks, apparently, judging from his novels. But the Christian Orthodox or atheist women? I just can’t tell! They all feel like wholly real people, and yet both they and the men are completely inexplicable to me half the time.

    Same with Chekhov. In “The Lady With the Dog,” the main character Dmitri is clearly and outrightly hateful towards women, but the author is not saying this is right or good–not even obliquely, underneath the narrative. In fact, in the end, there is some sort of reversal, and in the middle there is a transformation, but he never admits it (the male character). But the entire story is from Dmitri’s point of view, and so his wife and his “lover” are both seen from a distance, and I just can’t tell. Is he truly changed, or is he simply deeply in lust? And what is the narrative underneath it saying?

    Oh well. I’m just hoping someone out there reading this comment list can throw me a rope to haul myself out of this quagmire.

  66. Saurs

    censorship has only ever been a battle between men who think the female body is dirty and will corrupt and men who think exploiting and abusing the female body will liberate hearts, souls and minds.

    YES.

  67. Jill

    Screw those Russian fucks.

  68. yttik

    Discombobulated, one must be properly programmed to understand most great, male works of literature and art. They have entire classes around how to interpret this crap, what the author/artist was saying, because, and this is important, no rational person would be able to make heads or tails out of it without the proper indoctrination. There is no mystical message, no great moral hiding in there waiting to be revealed. It simply is what it is. If the patriarchy had not endorsed Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and told us they were the Greatest of Greats, they would likely just be rather sad and tormented books about pointless human suffering.

    Women’s instincts are sound when they say things like, “for the life of me I can’t figure out what he’s saying!” Yes, one would expect so much more from the “father of great literature,” or the “greatest novel of all time.” Considering all the fuss about them, I was expecting the secret to eternal life or perhaps some hint on how to find peace and serenity in the world.

    I’m not entirely looking down my nose at Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Considering the abusive fathers, the military training, the fascism, the horrendous oppression of women, the poverty, the disease that could steal half your children, I’m impressed that they were able to write at all. That is a real testament to the human spirit.

    As to “what were they saying?” I don’t think they knew. I think they were just trying to make sense out of it all themselves.

  69. Cootie Twoshoes

    Discombobulated, one way out of that steaming pile of shit is to read some James Tiptree, Jr. (real name Alice B. Sheldon), particularly Houston, Houston, Do You Read? about a future where men have ceased to exist, technology develops at a snail’s pace, and everybody is provided for. There’s nothing confusing about it.

    And, if you’ve read it before, it’s a nice world to revisit.

  70. violet

    “censorship has only ever been a battle between men who think the female body is dirty and will corrupt and men who think exploiting and abusing the female body will liberate hearts, souls and minds.”

    Yes. This.

  71. Discombobulated

    “Screw those Russian fucks.”

    Noooo! Not my Nigelikov!

    Cootie Twoshoes, I will search out that story. Vonda McIntyre was one editor of the anthology it originally appeared in, I see. Her recent-ish short piece “Little Faces” was a hell of a story.

  72. Kristine

    “When will douchebags grasp the difference between criticism and silencing?”

    When they stop silencing women long enough to actually reflect on their misogynistic beliefs.

    Please please please never shut the fuck up. Your blaming has changed my life. I will never view the world the same way again.

  73. minervaK

    I highly recommend not reading any men, ever, at all. I purged my bookpile of dudebros some years ago and have had a much better reading experience ever since. It’s not just the Russians, either. It’s all of them, every male writer, everywhere. If a woman isn’t demeaned somewhere in a novel, it can’t earn the Patriarchal Stamp of Literary Greatness. It’s a requirement. It’s in the by-laws.

  74. sixdeadboys

    So many critiques — of Lolita; Hustler; religion; femininity; strippercize; whatever — devolve into anxious reassurances that nobody would ever presume to censor, oppress, impinge upon, or otherwise harsh the mellow of fun lovin’ liberal leanin’ dudes. Jeez. You wanna see censorship? Oppresion? I can pick out -maybe- three books on my shelf of literary cannon where men don’t have Important Things To Say and women aren’t toilets. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post.

  75. Lidon

    “Crapulent” means sick from gross overindulgence in food or drink.
    And “disinterested” means “impartial”, not “uninterested”.

    According to Merriam-Webster (as well as other dictionaries), disinterested also means “not interested”. In addition to the first definition, crapulent means “excessive indulgence” or “intemperance”. Just sayin’.

    Anyway, don’t have much else to add except that I too haven’t read any books from a male author for some time and well, can’t say I miss it! IBTP.

  76. Lidon

    Is it a clue of some kind? Maybe to the whereabouts of the Maltese falcon? Or the Lindbergh baby’s true murderer?

    Totally irrelevant, but that made me laugh out loud.

  77. Bushfire

    Have you folks seen this gem of a news story?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2026575/Soya-Keaveney-Modelling-underwear-12-pregnant-15.html

    It’s ripe for a carnival of patriarchy-blaming.

  78. Cyberwulf

    @Bushfire: No shit. I love how there’s no criticism of the magazine (one of these “women’s magazines” that trawls for the most outlandish “true stories” they can find for their feature articles) for publishing the pictures. And no mention of the girl’s father whatsoever.

  79. sier

    “Because I cannot figure out for the life of me what they, but really Dostoevsky, is saying about women, or men and women, and so on.”

    As I’ve understood, Dostoevsky was never interested in any respect about the nature of sex or gender. His primary goal was a purely abstract fight against the “logic” of nihilistic despair, and to defend the intellectual “invasion” of related western ideas into Russian society. As such, his characters, be they male or female, reflect the behaviours and attitudes of people in his time. It is unsurprising, then, that women in his novels are equally as complex as the men; though being from a foreign society, still quite inexplicable at times. Patriarchal assumptions abound in his society, but women also occasionally refuse to play by some of those rules, and his literature reflects that.
    So in my opinion, I wouldn’t say he was purposefully out to defend or reinforce patriarchy, but he hardly challenged anything.
    All these words to say, yeah he’s pretty much just another dude.

    Also, yes, he was totally antisemitic.

  80. KJB

    Censorship is apparently bad only when it threatens to undermine DudeNation’s death-grip on its own sceptre of passion.

    Now THAT’S art.

    Lurker Lyn: thank you for summing up my thoughts perfectly.

    I don’t know if any blamers know of Catherine Hakim, but… urgh. She has somehow managed to publish a book about how women should be empowerfulise themselves with ‘erotic capital’ to get ahead and how radical feminists have joined with patriarchs to prevent this so far! She was interviewed by a feminist Guardian writer and proved herself to be a personal, as well as professional, douche: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/aug/19/catherine-hakim-interview

  81. Lyndon

    Thanks for all the comments on this work. I’ve really only been reading literature for the last two years, at least on a consistent and more informed basis, but I must say I found Lolita and Pale Fire to be intriguing. Unlike the Russians, it is hard to discern some meaning or purpose to Lolita, other than, in Nabokov’s words, purely for aesthetic purposes. I still struggle with what exactly I am gaining from literature overall, as compared to reading philosophy or discourse theory or science. I feel like art should help us to find a better way of living, of thinking of ourselves, and of thinking how we can structure society to better such selves; and casting off the old glorified canons, especially including things like Lolita, may be a good step to doing that. That is, we should be creating and recognizing “better” art that will help us better understand the self and thus create improved relationships and selves.

    Lolita was of course problematic and rapist, but if the work had some other importance I could not pierce it or understand it in the first place. If what people get from such a book was only titillated perversive excitement, then of course it should be depressed in value. I feel like such a judgment is wholly outside my ability given I was frustrated from the start about the lack of meaning I found in it, but that does not mean it is worthless on that account, only that I could not ascertain such meaning. As far as it can be useful and intriguing only from an aesthetic point of view, I still do not clearly grasp what that means or why such a conception should fascinate and help us.

  82. Mildred

    Censorship! PSHH!
    So last week, at work when two collegue dudes told me that I could make a lot of money in Amsterdam, prostituting, I inevitably became churlish and told them that prostition is a form of paid rape, to which one merely stood there agape while the other said, “I’m not listening to this crap,” and stormed off.
    Now, I don’t particularly like spending time with these people, but I work in a kitchen, and if there are no social respites it is hell. All week I could barely prise a word out of either of them until this morning when I thawed the ice by saying they need not change the way they speak around me. We’re all homies again now because they’re assured I’m not going to kick up a fuss over their conversations about “fit birds” at the pub — “she knew what she was doing with all that cleavage showing”.
    THAT, is censorship!
    I put up with this crap because its a cash job and I don’t have a visa.

  83. Mildred

    I highly recommend the company of animals.

    My mother in law’s terrier, Sean, is a radical lesbain feminist. She barks her head off if men and women hug but is fine with ladies hugging. She has never been de-sexed and at 10 years of age remains pup-free and will bite off the head of any male that attempts to change that fact. The only dog she has the hots for is a middle aged poodle bitch down the road, sometimes they disappear for days at a time.
    She should be on Savage Death Island’s coat of arms.

    So anyway, when’s this revolution kicking off? What are the particulars? Because I don’t think the company of animals, a bike ride, a walk, enjoying another feminist novel, reading IBTP, or even meeting up with other rad fems is going to cut it for me long term.

  84. Fictional Queen

    Honestly,one is scared to say anything negative about these Great Works of Art…Oh,when will the beautiful day arrive when all this stuff are relics of a barbaric past?
    That is,if men haven’t made us extinct with their wars and weapons of mass destruction before then!

  85. allhellsloose

    KJB regarding your post on Catherine Hakim: those are my sentiments exactly!

  86. Frumious B.

    @Bushfire

    Now if *my* 15 year old daughter were pregnant, I would call her a dirty slut and kick her out of the house. \sarcasm

    Nice article about how there is no right way to be a mother. Grandmother-to-be is a bad mom for not trashing her daughter, mother-to-be is a bad mother for being 15 and enpornulated.

    Quotes from the article:

    Soya’s exercise regime included 200 sit-ups. ‘I’m terrified of getting fat,’ she admitted. ‘I want to be a model, a singer or an actress, and they’re hardly ever fat.’

    Soya had posed for the provocative pictures – the bikini shot taken while on holiday in Egypt

    Soya had been going to discos at the age of seven and wearing make-up, mini dresses and revealing tops. By eight she was desperate for fame.

    Headlines from next to the article:

    Youthful Halle Berry reveals her dangerous curves in low-cut maxi dress

    Gorgeous in grunge! Eva Mendes slips into torn denim shorts to film beside a very rugged Ryan Gosling

    ‘Abs coming…’ Imogen Thomas reveals the results of her Bikram Yoga regime by posing in her underwear on Twitter

    Head, meet desk.

  87. stacey

    Oh, I forgot to mention that Echidne of the Snakes has a guest blogger re-populating the writing canon with women. This is the latest, post, I think, with linkbacks to old posts:

    http://echidneofthesnakes.blogspot.com/2011_07_24_archive.html#8962989880793231039

  88. stacey

    I agree with Flashing Lights. One *has* to speak up, and stick to one’s guns. It’s sometimes terrifying, but it has to be done. It gets easier the more you do it, and it makes one feel much, much better for having said something.

    (I especially like calling misogynists out by being perky and innocently inquisitive. To use the “she knew what she was doing with all that cleavage showing” example, I’d say, “Good gracious! Whatever *was* she doing? Please explain!”)

  89. shopstewardess

    @Flashing Lights and Stacey: you are absolutely right in principle. In practice, lots of women are clinging on to the bottom rung of economic life and challenging the patriarchy is a sure way to get knocked off it. The supports which should be there (trade unions, and equality rights and employment rights lawyers) are often themselves under the cosh of patriarchy and the support they can provide doesn’t cover the gaps of a lost job and no references. Those of us in stronger positions need to take up the burden for those less able.

  90. lizor

    @KJB

    Thanks for the link.

    “I am slightly too old to capitulate just because someone is unpleasant to me. This you might call my unerotic capital.” Love it!!!! As Stacy says, sticking to one’s guns is the only way to take on this complete insanity.

    And speaking of which, I read an accompanying article here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/feb/11/women-relationships

    It’s lobe-blowing to read the comments: so many histrionic cries of “this is sexist against men!!!”

  91. Chocolate Tort

    Cootie, I’m reading a collection of Sheldon’s short stories (most, but not all, were written as Tiptree) now. They’re amazing, as you noted. The person who put the collection together suggested that “Houston, Houston…” is supposed to be disturbing, but I gotta say, I found it hugely refreshing. The male viewpoint character is such an unpleasant person, I can’t imagine that we’re really meant to sympathize with the revelation that… well, I won’t spoil it if anyone hasn’t read it.

    Whatabout, I had a flash of rage come over me the other night riding home on the train. Two clearly intoxicated young ladies were singing and dancing on the subway pole — by “dancing,” I mean rubbing their crotches on it — to the laughs and cheers of their male companions. The sight of it enraged me — not the young ladies themselves, but the revelation that, wow, this pretty well sums up so much of male/female relations. So much of what so many women — myself far from excluded — seem to do is pander to the male gaze, trying desperately to be accepted and to ignore the contempt as they egg us on. I don’t blame the women. IBTP.

  92. Fictional Queen

    Male acceptence is overrated…what,exactly,is the value and benefit in that? Who cares if they accept us or not.I’ve decided that male reaction doesn’t mean shit to me anymore.

  93. Helen Huntingdon

    KJB and lizor, thanks for the links. lizor, I couldn’t help being struck by the end of that article where a man is utterly surprised his wife is leaving him. I see that meme a lot — the “she never told me,” meme.

    But whenever I’ve heard a specific guy invoking it, it turns out the woman in question did tell him quite specifically what was wrong, and he just shrugged it off. Pointing this out generally gets the response that he still couldn’t be expected to know that she might leave him. I tend to find this ruefully amusing — if you shrug off your partner’s concerns rather than address them, that sounds like a really obvious predictor for getting dumped to me.

  94. Fede

    Fictional Queen, I wholeheartedly agree.

    And Mildred, your story made me seethe for you. How dare that halfwit tell you he won’t listen to your “crap” and walk off? And then afterwards expect you to make amends!? What a scumsucking, intolerable prick. I hope he ends up selling his own ass to revolting, cruel and entitled-crazed men; we’ll see what he thinks of your point then.

  95. Fictional Queen

    Yeah…I guess I meant more the value and the benefit to your humanity,to your worth as a person…
    “Women who appeal to male ideals of beauty and temperament are rewarded with very lucrative careers in modeling, singing, and acting.”
    Where they’re inevitably fapping material for men,which is horrible..
    “Women can marry into millions of dollars worth of money, and even in divorce can walk away with millions of their own.”
    Marriage!
    What I mean is,if being a hot girl means you drip from human rights,then I’d see how it is valuable.But I find the more feminine you get,the more hatred you earn,and I can’t tolerate it.
    Also,I have a theory,and that is men’s stupid ideas and desire for domination and sense of inferiority and whatever it is that makes them what they are,shouldn’t be women’s problem.For example,men say they can’t not rape,and they also say rape isn’t a big deal…By that standard,shouldn’t men rape each other?And no one would have a problem with it based on what they say! We should have our full human rights,and men should invent religion for each other,put each other on uncomfortable clothes,strip for each other,marry each other,dominate each other,etc…But they shouldn’t be able to drag us into this shit!!

  96. Fictional Queen

    I find being desired so scary!
    You’re right though.
    What a completely shitty system.

  97. Bushfire

    I may get banned for posting so many links, but this commercial is so obscene I just have to share it. Some of you might have seen it already if you watch Sarah Haskins.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9JZWpZS6-g&feature=related

  98. Mildred

    @ Flashing Lights

    Horrible, yes. Lucrative? Yes. But how many of those women would give up such an amazingly lucrative career for some other career which probably pays a lot less and involves a lot more work (as in, actual merit based on something other that just looks)? Not many. So, the patriarchy wins, because nobody wants to lose what they got, even if they know there are dudes in their parents’ basement fapping to them.

    God… This really hit home. Back when I was a fun feminist in my teens and 20′s, also working at a restaurant, being sexually harassed I made the extremely cynical decision to just work as a stripper where I’d be paid more for my sexuality. After all, that’s why I was hired as a waitress over other girls, that’s why male customers flirted with me (and I with them) — for the tips. That’s the crux of fun feminism to me in a nutshell, capitalise on your humiliation, because you’re already suffering for it anyway. I used to read pro-sex blogger sites and around the time of my ‘radical awakening’ I noticed that most of these women were turning revulsion into arousal and really embracing all these masochistic elements of hetro sex/relationships. And this kept running through my head, that if they were really being so revolutionary with their sexuality, why were they always falling to the same female sexual stereotypes, especially submissiveness, they were always dressed up like porn models even if they did not look like porn models, trying to shoe-horn themselves into their push-up bras and that narrow genre of hotness. And likewise I thought that if these women get off on basically fantasising that they’re being raped — this is bad enough, but doesn’t that also mean that the men are getting off on raping!
    But you can’t criticise any of this because that would be sex-negative and I shouldn’t shame these women into feeling bad about their sexuality and its their choice and sexuality is oh, so complicated. But if its so complicated why is it always the same porny motifs?
    Obviously, something was fishy!

    Flashing Lights, you are right of course. But I feel like I do what I have to do in terms of femininity to keep my head above water, no more. And this falls into that category. I make a pittance but without the funds I can’t buy the visa that would allow me to get a better job. I live in this small Northern English town with massive unemployment rates and when I happened to stumble into this cash job I felt like I’d won the lottery.

  99. stacey

    Oh… how… unoriginal.

  100. KJB

    Allhellisloose – Thanks. :-D

    Lizor – Yes – I have learnt the hard way NEVER to read comments on Guardian articles that are even remotely feminist. It blows the lobe.

    Helen Huntingdon – Oh my gosh, what you are saying has so much resonance with me. I dumped my ex in exactly that manner 3 years ago, and he has recently started trying really hard to get back into my life. It’s creeping me out.

  101. Helen Huntingdon

    KJB, that’s not surprising. In his view you had no valid reasons for leaving in the first place, so you should have had time to get over whatever strange little feminine emotional spasm prompted your behavior and be all ready to want him back now, right?

  102. Doctress Julia

    ivyleaves, thank you. I am a huge nerd, and it is really something, argh… many sci-fi fans are misogynist scum.

    Twisty, you kick ass- I also say please NEVER STFU. Ever.

    You have changed my life.

  103. Kathleen

    “Conversely, radical feminists, dangling by gnarled claws from our remote precipice out in Lunatic Fringe”

    oh, Jill. This is why I cain’t quit you.

  104. Kathleen

    seriously, I’m happily making little claw motions in the air. the laffs, they are balm for the blamer soul.

  105. Jill

    Ha ha ha ahhhahhaha!

  106. Dilly

    Loving you forever, Twisty.

  107. StillWater

    After reading Lolita a few years ago I couldn’t figure out how anyone thinks the book is sexy or thinks the book should be banned for promoting child abuse. The book gave me the chills. I came to the conclusion that many of the people that talk about Lolita like it is titillating haven’t read the book at all. It’d be like reading through Dracula and wanting to go out and kiss a vampire.

    It’s too late for us, isn’t it?

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