Nov 23 2011

Little Niggling Instances of the Redoubtable Efficacy of Patriarchal Oppression, Part II: Shit I Saw on PBS

God, PBS sucks. Here’s why.

PBS, though it wants you to believe that it’s above this sort of thing (which it tries to demonstrate, as I have noted elsewhere, by those promo spots wherein divers Attractive Sample Children of the World in colorful rompers leap across the screen in slow-motion), definitely shoulders its fair share of the global misogyny-load.

First, have you seen the latest feel-good PBS promo montage? Among the various images of joyous human triumph and closeups of frogs licking their own eyeballs is a clippet excerpted from a show in which Tina Fey is awarded the Mark Twain Prize for Humor.

As you know, Tina Fey approaches greatness in many respects, and comes as close to a feminist presence as is tolerable by network television. Here is one of the pithy, relevant bits she did during her acceptance speech:

And, you know, politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women — except, of course — those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape kit ‘n’ stuff, but for everybody else, it’s a win-win. Unless you’re a gay woman who wants to marry your partner of 20 years — whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us. Unless you believe in evolution. You know – actually, I take it back. The whole thing’s a disaster. — [cite: HuffPo]

Her speech ran several minutes, but the clippet PBS selected for the montage depicts Fey, the closest thing we have to a TV feminist, ducking her head in an apparent curtsey. Non-ironically.

Really? Tina Fey is too threatening a personage to be represented on PBS with an unbowed head? Come on.

OK, that’s a small thing, a split second thing, but you know as well as I do how those split seconds add up to whole lifetimes.

The Palin bit, incidentally, got edited out of the final cut of the award show. Way to keep it real, PBS.

Meanwhile, a four-part series entitled “America in Primetime” uses clips from “groundbreaking” television shows to explicate the manner in which TV character archetypes supposedly reflect actual human experience. The result is a stone butch dudefest.

The series imparts this message: “TV is about dudes, it’s awesome, and it’s art” (“Primetime’s” secondary argument for the awesome artness of TV appears to be that, compared to 2-hour feature films, TV series are a lot longer. But I digress).

Each episode in this “Primetime” series takes as its subject one of four character archetypes: “The Independent Woman,” “The Man of the House,” “The Misfit.” I watched “The Crusader.” This episode, quoth the website, “delves into the increasingly grey area between right and wrong as television heroes confront internal demons while seeking their own forms of justice.”

“The Crusader” features interviews with actors and writers who keep insisting that TV “mirrors” the “human experience.” You will hardly be surprised when I reveal that, in order to be a crusading TV hero who mirrors the human experience, you have to be a white dude in the middle of a bunch of physical violence. Human experience, according to American television, is white dude experience. Examples of TV crusaders: House from “House,” Sipowicz from “NYPD Blue,” Hawkeye from “M*A*S*H”, Jack Bauer from “24.”

Of course, PBS, as I mentioned earlier, loves diversity, so the producers of “Primetime” throw in a couple of tokens. They can’t profile an Asian crusader because none exists (well, there’s Kwai Chang Caine from “Kung Fu,” but that guy was only half Chinese, and problematically David Carradine was entirely white). Undaunted, they’re lucky to be able to kill both black and gay birds with one stone via Omar from “The Wire,” the noble gayblack criminal gunslinger so beloved of edgy American audiences.

“Primetime” also includes a perfunctory chick hero. She is neither Xena nor Buffy nor Starbuck nor Sidney from “Alias” nor Max from “Dark Angel.” No, she’s Scully from “X-Files,” a choice that particularly reeks of tokenism.

Scully's baby

Sure, we love Scully, the gun-toting FBI scientist field agent with the blazing news-anchor helmet hair, but let’s face it: the only thing she crusades for is the status quo. Scully has no demons, seeks no personal brand of justice. She’s just the tame, unthreatening, adult voice of reason, who, as Gillian Anderson here laughingly notes, is always filmed physically walking several steps behind her dude partner. They never give her anything more interesting to do than foil and rebuke and be secretly in love with the vastly more compelling and demon-filled and crusadery Mulder. Naturally — because what else can you to do your female lead? — aliens abduct her and rip out her ovaries. Mulder, on the other hand, is off getting high with the Indians. And when Mulder leaves the series? Like all female leads on TV shows that have run out of steam, Scully is of course saddled with an unwieldy alien baby. She spends the entire final season whingeing “My baby! My baby!” Scully can only be considered a crusader if you define “crusader” as “baby-obsessed killjoy who plays second banana to the much more complicated dude who really is a crusader.”

Says “Primetime” interviewee Diablo Cody, woman creator of “The United States of Tara,” in an attempt to explain the dearth of TV chicks with complex interior struggles,

Not to get all women’s studies on you, but maybe the idea of a hero with a really straightforward goal is sort of particularly male.

Yeah, for the lovagod, Diablo, don’t get all women’s studies on us; the dudes for whom TV is written find that very unsexy.

UPDATE: I have since watched the “Misfit” and “Independent Woman” segments of “America in Primetime.” In the former, it’s all dudes again. Dudes, dudes, dudes. Nerdy or quirky dudes “who defied comic stereotypes and societal expectations to reflect America’s diverse personalities.” White dude personalities, that is. Dwight from “The Office,” Gomez from “The Addams Family,” Louie de Palma from “Taxi.” Etc. Again, there’s one token chick, Tara from “The United States of Tara,” a character who plays dissociative personality disorder for laffs.

Unsurprisingly, most of the (all white) women characters featured in the “Independent Woman” segment are more accurately described as either misfits or crusaders or both (Roseanne, Mary Richards, Murphy Brown, Nurse Jackie), but are lumped together in a special “strong woman” ghetto because they are Vagina-Americans.

The clips are entertaining, but I stand by my original assessment of the series’ uncritical acceptance of a certain level of misogyny in entertainment. “Independent Woman” has that brainwashed tone you always encounter whenever the discourse tries to argue that since the death of June Cleaver modern women are livin’ the life of Riley. The thesis: since women TV leads don’t have to be paragons of motherhood anymore, and in fact can even have drug habits and be clinically insane in addition to being heterosexual hotties who remain deeply concerned with their relationships, modern television is a reflection of women’s liberation from patriarchal oppression.

Such as when the affluent white gals on “Sex In the City” sit around chic Manhattan restaurants discussing blow jobs. Women on TV, says “America in Primetime,” can be anything imaginable. Except, it turns out, a crusader or a misfit.

In a patriarchy, convincing the sex class they’re not oppressed is the name of the game. Thanks, TV!

Incidentally, I didn’t bother watching the “Man of the House” segment because those doofus dad sitcoms make me want to rip my own head off.

Scully’s baby photo here.


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  1. Notorious Ph.D.

    There are so many ways to take this series’ categories down, so I’ll just lob in the one that seems most obvious to me: can you imagine them doing an episode on the archetype of “the independent man”? Of course not. And the manifold reasons for why not prompt me yet again to blame the patriarchy.

  2. Hoolia

    Ever since the 60 second Exxon ads on PBS, it’s kind of been over for me. But color me unsurprised.

    Also, I just have to say, I have seen three episodes of US of T on trans-Atlantic flights and I thought it was so, so, so appallingly bad. Bad acting, serious problematic portrayal of mental health issues, the characters are horrible people, and did I mention the terrible Dawsons-Creek-meets-One-Tree-Hill writing? I fucking hate that show, and am embarassed for Toni Colette, who also looks really hungry in it.

  3. buttercup

    the P is like the world’s ugliest magic eye picture. Once you see it, you can never get the visual stench out of your sight.

  4. Barbara P

    buttercup, that is so funny and so true!

  5. Pinko Punko

    I think they might be saving the ladies for the episode about the drunken promiscuous libertine sidekicks. Or maybe the “sassy” ethnic minority. TV is a wasteland, but I think P is also a wasteland. Buttercup nails it above. I love it. Also, some people squint really hard and can’t ever see it no matter how hard you convince them it is there.

  6. KittyWrangler

    Hmm, when you’re thinking in a circular patriarchal feedback loop I suppose it’s hard to think of POC and female characters at all because the shows that feature those characters mainly appeal to women and POC, and no matter how large their POC and/or female fan-bases they are not reflective of “human” experience. And when women and POC are written into “human” shows their non-male-straight-whiteness is so freakish it is blinding to the human viewer. I guess that’s why it’s as if Twin Peaks, Ugly Betty, My So-Called Life, Buffy, Everybody Hates Chris, Veronica Mars, Designing Women, I Love Lucy, Sex and the City, all soap operas, and Grey’s Anatomy never existed. And although I like Rosanne I don’t see what’s independent about her unless you count not being a doormat; the premise of the show is the family’s interdependence.

    You know what would convince me that TV and film don’t have a problem with women? If there were so many depictions of women that were so varied that women don’t have to sift through the detritus of the two or three notable female stars to suss out something worthwhile to identify with or defend. No more “How Twilight is Sorta Feminist,” posts or “Is Ally MacBeal the Face of the Modern Woman?” crap. IBTP!

  7. Lovepug

    Geez we owe you a taco trio and a pitcher of margs for taking the bullet by watching that.

    PBS has become a tool of the man along with NPR.

  8. Kea

    People still watch TV?

  9. Noanodyne

    Is that the same PBS who deigned to give us 1.5 whole hours about “Women Who Rock” and only showed it once, but has bankrolled Ken Burns’ next 15-week man-opus about toe cheese for untold millions so they can show it enough times in the next decade that none of us will ever think of toe cheese without thinking of Ken Burns? You mean, that PBS?

  10. Judi

    From the moment we learn to focus our eyes, we are trained to accept as “entertainment” an uninterrupted, unrelenting stream of messages that tell us, in hundreds of different ways, “this is your place–stay in it.” Be decorative, be useful to the patriarchy, or be scorned. I love scorn.

    I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to be entertained without being simultaneously demeaned. No, I do know, because there’s this blog. That’s about it, though.

  11. ew_nc

    Yup, I had a similar reaction to watching this America in Primetime drivel. I had to change channels during the dude episode because I was offended to the point of being ill when “Sipowicz” from NYPD Blue was shown calling a woman a bitch and grabbing his crotch. It’s downright sad that PBS saw this as something to comemorate.

  12. Fede

    I will be having two T-shirts especially printed. One will read

    In a patriarchy, convincing the sex class they’re not oppressed is the name of the game. Thanks, TV!

    and the other

    the P is like the world’s ugliest magic eye picture

  13. Shelby

    Sex AND the City. Great post Jill.

  14. Comrade PhysioProf

    OK, that’s a small thing, a split second thing, but you know as well as I do how those split seconds add up to whole lifetimes.

    Your point is even bigger than that. The splittier the second, the more significant the choice.

  15. Jill

    “Sex AND the City”

    Lard knows it matters.

  16. niki

    The whole Scully thing was so vastly depressing. She seemed so rational, so intelligent, so strong, until the TV Gods decided they’d had enough of that bullshit and gave her a baaaaaybbbbbeeee to blubber and cry over for several shitty boring episodes. It sucks that she didn’t bow out of the contract after all of her kick-assness after seeing the retardedness that was to follow.

  17. Saurs

    What pissed me off about the Scully as Aggressive Skeptic was that the whole deal was a pyrrhic victory for women in fiction: yay we’re no longer constrained within the role of Patient Mommy figure for brilliant, scatter-brained dude, or its counterpart, the Delusional, Irrational Hysteric. But as the X-Files universe prized above all else dude-intuition and the “courage” of blind faith, women were still positioned, through Scully, in opposition to the values espoused therein, and given that aliens or whatever were, like, the height of scientific discovery, even as resident scientist she was inadequate and proven wrong in every episode. Which is the story of women in art in general: if emotion is good, we’re cold, calculated automatons, enemies of the sensitive aesthete; if reason is king, we’re fundamentally physical beings, “social” creatures of the most superficial brand, lacking a true inner life and built only for pleasure or to bring up the chill’n.

  18. Saurs

    The mark of female inferiority being any and all characteristics opposite to what dudes currently think they possess, what attributes dudes perceive in themselves, hence reinforcing the ludicrous fantasy that our biology predicts and defines us and that we women are a different, lesser species altogether.

  19. crickets

    “Which is the story of women in art in general: if emotion is good, we’re cold, calculated automatons, enemies of the sensitive aesthete; if reason is king, we’re fundamentally physical beings, “social” creatures of the most superficial brand, lacking a true inner life and built only for pleasure or to bring up the chill’n.” Saurs

    AMAZING. Thanks.

  20. Jill

    Nice blamin’, Saurs.

  21. Jill

    Sex AND the City, by the way, is one of the main culprits behind the funfeminist lifestyle craze. Their obsession with dude relationships is so empowerfulizing. And Kim Catrall did nudity! No wonder the show is featured in the “Independent Woman” segment of this series.

  22. bitch with opinions

    One dream of mine is to film a gender reversal for every patriarchal piece of shit on TV. If Seinfeld makes a joke out of a restaurant that hires only women with D-cups (and cutely has the officers of the equal opportunity employment commission too bonerfied to properly investigate), youtube the fuck out of a scenario of a restaurant that only hires men with six pack abs and two bumbling ladyvestigators who google eye at them instead of doing their fucking job. If a comedian tells “politically incorrect” jokes about how being a slut is easy, but being a stud is hard (I shit you not), copy and paste his phraseology and fill in the approximation of offense to men, like Patriarchy Mad Libs.

    Alas, it’s finals season in grad school land and I don’t own a video camera.

  23. Maria

    Parks and Recreation has a real feminist edge. It’s such a refreshing thing to see, and it keeps coming -one character just enrolled in women’s studies after sitting in and being genuiningly fascinated. Also, a girl made a Gertrude ‘Stein’ during crafts once :)

  24. Amrit

    For the lovagod, blow up your TV. It’s a mindless, energy-sucking nullity. I haven’t had TV for a year and, after the initial detox, I am infinitely happier, P notwithstanding.

  25. yttik

    What strikes me as ironic in a bitter kind of way is that in order to have a strong female character who is real and believable, they have to be over the edge, slightly psychotic. Kathy Bates in Misery, Dolores Claiborne, Charlize Theron in Monster, come close. What is a logical, believable, and real response to the crap these women had thrown at them? If they were men it would be two hours of heroic violence, vigilante justice. Bruce Willis suffers an injustice so he blows up an entire city and takes out a couple of small countries. He’s not viewed as psychotic and doesn’t have to be killed in the end to stop all his destruction. He’s a hero.

    I’m certainly not condoning violence or psychosis, but when Diablo Cody says, “maybe the idea of a hero with a really straightforward goal is sort of particularly male,” it is true. In a world where women are not allowed to defend themselves, not allowed to go on the offensive, and can’t be trusted to know the difference between good guys and bad guys, it becomes nearly impossible to have a strong female character with any depth. She will certainly never be a hero because breaking any of the rules will designate her psychotic or evil or both. Women are not allowed to “delve into the increasingly grey area between right and wrong as television heroes confront internal demons while seeking their own forms of justice.” Women are black and white, two dimensional characters, sexually available or psychotic. We are not allowed to participate in the “grey area between right and wrong” because we cannot be trusted to understand morality.

  26. Super Anon For This

    Delores Claiborne was a tremendous story. The book was written entirely in first-person, brilliantly. The story showed the one choice left to a woman with no way out: live with the horror, or kill the bastard. Claiborne chose wisely.

  27. Jill

    “For the lovagod, blow up your TV.”

    I am happy for you, but this is not a luxury that professional patriarchy blamers can afford. TV and the internet are the two primary patriarchy delivery devices. It is necessary to watch TV so that I can blame it.

    “it becomes nearly impossible to have a strong female character with any depth. She will certainly never be a hero because breaking any of the rules will designate her psychotic or evil or both.”

    So true.

  28. Kea

    Jill, there’s plenty of blaming to do even without a TV. I never run out.

  29. Jill

    “there’s plenty of blaming to do even without a TV.”

    I don’t disagree. I’m the last person to go around advocating that people watch TV. Nevertheless, misogyny in pop culture is one of the focuses of the blog. Hence, TV for Twisty.

  30. Shelby

    Sex AND the City, by the way, is one of the main culprits behind the funfeminist lifestyle craze. Their obsession with dude relationships is so empowerfulizing. And Kim Catrall did nudity! No wonder the show is featured in the “Independent Woman” segment of this series.

    How to clear a room of blokes. Put on a Sex AND the City dvd. They hate it. They’re afraid of it. They denigrate it, so I figure it can’t be all bad. Granted it’s too tired to get out of bed these days, but when the series started it was subversive and amusing.

  31. Judi

    And then there’s Woody Allen — seems every time I turn on PBS lately, they’re running, or re-running (who can tell?) yet another episode of their 18,000-hour “Let’s All Worship Woody Allen” festival. I puke on the Patriarchy.

  32. Bon

    Great post Jill! I know it is technically only a cartoon, but Daria Morgendorffer from MTV’s cartoon series ‘Daria’ was always a pretty excellent crusader and misfit in my eyes at least. Still, it doesn’t make up for the rest of the garbage on T.V.

  33. Suezboo

    Are any of you ace blamers involved in the debacle over at Pharyngula? I dropped by and the level of sheer ignorance was appalling.A woman sceptic commented on a case of probably unconscious sexism and sighed.She was immediately attacked by a mob of patriarchy defenders, mostly of the “These feminists are so hysterical and overreactive” school.PZ (usually one of the guys on the right path)aligned himself with the latter.Sigh.

  34. Rugosa

    30 or 40 years ago, independent women of any degree were rare on TV. I remember the Mary Tyler Moore Show; it was considered edgy for a 30-year-old woman to live on her own and not be constantly husband-hunting. The patriarchy can’t see women other than through the binary lens of manproperty or not-manproperty, today labeled “independent”. Hence, quirky or crusady or misfit women are all in one category regardless of other characteristics.

    “A little song, a little dance –
    A little seltzer down your pants”.

  35. tinfoil hattie

    I remember Cagney & Lacey – that show was positively feminist! I loved it!

    I am also very weary of the new crop of Dude Shows: Dudes build cars. Dudes build motorcycles. Dudes go crabbing in the North Atlantic. Dudes chase hogs (Women who chase hogs are “Lady Hoggers,” I shit you not. Real name of a real show.). Dudes buy junk, dudes save restaurants, dudes wrestle catfish, dudes pawn shit. Dudes chop down trees, stage destructive experiments, build guns, go shooting, wreck shit.

    Ladies spend 40 hrs a week collecting coupons and 6 hrs at the store buying 50 bottles of mouthwash, 43 candy bars, and 25 bottles of shampoo. For $8.16. Ladies fight with their bridesmaids, dress embarrassingly, lament their fatness.

  36. Le Chat Noir

    I’m with Kea and Amrit – no TV in my home. Who needs 24/7 brainwashing advertisements interspersed with “entertainment” and Faux News. No thanks!

  37. bitch with opinions

    Ladies spend 40 hrs a week collecting coupons and 6 hrs at the store buying 50 bottles of mouthwash, 43 candy bars, and 25 bottles of shampoo. For $8.16. Ladies fight with their bridesmaids, dress embarrassingly, lament their fatness.

    Don’t forget have babies! So. Many. Babies.

  38. Jill

    Re “Lady Hoggers”: I know! I threw a half a sandwich at the TV when I saw the ad for that show.

    Coincidentally, I am about to become a lady hogger myself. I won’t be running the hogs to earth with hounds and guns, though. I will be trapping them in a hog corral and then calling another lady hogger to come and get them.

    Lately the local Craigslist is full of dudes who offer to come out to your place to hunt hogs. The ones who say they’ll do it for free, those are exactly the bloodthirsty dickwads I wouldn’t want within ten miles of here.

  39. buttercupia

    Women hoard, too. Mostly. Men occasionally hoard, usually manly stuff like junk cars and home repair shit, but women hoard food, craft supplies, and used adult diapers.

  40. Judi

    Rugosa says (November 25, 2011 at 6:35 am): “The patriarchy can’t see women other than through the binary lens of manproperty or not-manproperty, ….” *

    That is IT. That is the very thought that has been trying to clarify itself in my mind. The P just cannot see us except as accessory to some man. Any one of us, or any part of any of us, that tries to exist in a way that is not derivative of a man, is invisible to the P. The P is only able to recognize “woman” as a shadow cast by “man”; take the man out of the picture, and the woman-shadow POOF disappears. The concept of “woman” cannot exist independently in the P; it’s like dividing by zero: undefined, disallowed.

    I spit on the Patriarchy. (And the P says, “Hey, who spit on me? There’s no one there!)

    *I punctuate with some hesitation here, hoping not to inadvertently inflame the fervent anti-elliptical passions of the community. I pray that such punctating may be tolerated In this instance, as it does not indicate that my mind has wandered off vaguely, but rather that I’m quoting only a portion of what was a perfectly good entire sentence written by someone else. Just about the only thing I remember from High School is my quite drunken English teacher slobbering on about the proper time to wield the terminal ellipshis vershus the ellipshis. I will never, ever forget.

  41. Sarah

    Bitch with Opinions: There is a handy-dandy extend-o app for the Chrome web browser that reverses all the pronouns and “genderswaps the world for you.” I highly recommend it for all your reverso-desires. It is called”Jailbreak the Patriarchy.”

    Also: I hear tell of the older generation of feminists doing consciousness-raising events wherein they did just such retakes of classic tales, reversing the genders in order to show how ridiculous gender roles were. It’s a pity no one does that now. We must all chip in to purchase you a video camera posthaste.

    Personal anecdote warning: In college we were rounded up to attend a Most Edifying staging of The Tempest as interpreted by the Very Best and Most Edgy Shakespeare-Worshiping Troupe Ever. They made the Commendable and Edgy Decision to make Prospero a woman, calling her Prospera. Naturally, they simply hypersexualized Prospero/a. Prospera spent the majority of the play seducing everyone left and right.

  42. tinfoil hattie

    Suzebo, PZ Myers is a sexist asshat. A 300+ comment thread with the vast majority of commenters saying, “Yeah, it’s sexism, all right.”

    So PZ writes a new post mansplaining how we feminists see sexism eveerywhere, and
    it isn’t sexism, and golly, why don’t you women pick your battles?

    THAT post has over 1,000 comments, and I can’t make myself read them. It’ll just be more evidence of Rugosa’s brilliant blaming. We can’t have opinions, sre, ’cause a couple of men have different ones.

  43. Ayla

    PZ Myers? Seriously? Fucking hell. It’s too early/late for me to look into this shit now, but I don’t think my fellow blamers are mis-reporting. What a fucking bummer.

    (Please pardon the tangential post.)

  44. squiggy

    Thanks for the Chrome app link Sarah! Getting up today, weighed down by the P then something so simple as an app lightens the load.

  45. Deepika

    hi – tried looking for the pz meyers threads mentioned. can’t find em on scienceblogs or freethoughtblogs. where should i look?

  46. buttercupia

    damn, I thought PZ was one of the rare good ones.

  47. tinfoil hattie

    Deepika, you’ll have to scroll dowb to a post called, “Sometimes a bunny is just a bunny” or some such.

  48. GMM

    Apperently making a casual observation on possible – possible – gender stereotyping is “baiting” people into a flamewar and ruining feminism and the “safe space” poor Mr. Myers tried to create for us womenfolk. “I have never seen feminism reduced to such appalling depths of triviality” says PZ. He goes on to tell us how to pick our battles (the commenter didn’t make it into a battle, just said it would kinda suck). “I’ll be more impressed, though, if you take a moment to instead come up with real instances of oppression, discrimination, and intimidation of women.” Because the commentator TOTALLY implied this is the worst thing in the world.

    I guess this is PZ version of “Dear Muslima.” Great job!

  49. Milly

    I wouldn’t expect much from a man who can’t see how porn degrades women. Too many porn freaks over there for my taste anyway. The commenters seem to regularly compete with each other for the title of biggest porn hound/ sex fiend. Yuck.

  50. tinfoil hattie

    I’m really glad SOMEONE has finally acknowledged what we feminists have hidden for so long: Women can only care about one thing at a time.

    Is it my imagination, or is patriarchy getting ever more suffocating? Seems like people don’t even pretend anymore.

  51. Someone Else

    Maybe the rogue donkeys could chase the hogs away! And let’s not forget the Stealth Longhorns that are lurking in the night. Those Stealth Longhorns might be ninja cows, creeping about in the twilight and then WHAMMO! They stomp a hog.

    It could happen. What?

  52. tinfoil hattie

    BTW Deepika, it’s on Freethought blogs.

    Re: animal rescue, hogs, etc.: I wholeheartedly applaud your efforts, Jill. THANK YOU. I have neither farm nor fence with which to effect such rescues, so I appreciate your doing it.

  53. pheeno

    “The ones who say they’ll do it for free, those are exactly the bloodthirsty dickwads I wouldn’t want within ten miles of here.”

    My cousin does this for free. It’s how he supplements food for his family and he makes sausages and jerky and sells it for extra cash. He isn’t blood thirsty, just poor.

  54. Saurs

    Yep, self-serving philosophy of Myers et al. re porn and prostitution echoes all the talking points of an earlier period wherein dudes fought fearlessly to paint and sculpt and compose lyrics about nekkid women, dead nekkid women, and the rape of both and either in the name of artistic expression. It’s not so much a blindspot on the part of self-styled feminists as it is simple narcissism, the belief that your erect wang / clit somehow objectively just rises to the occasion (nobody socialized to find violence against women erotic, heavens no) and to deny that fleeting pleasure is something akin to witchhuntery, that pro-pr0n dudes and dudettes endorse the kind of violence that if it weren’t being daubed or recorded or broadcasted or lovingly put to rhyme would be completely illegal not to mention unethical, would constitute rape, would be castigated by those same people as wholly beyond the pale. Yes, the second pen is put to paper and the camera is turned on women are, for some strange reason, always curiously being victimized. Oh, but they all agreed to it, every single one, they love it ‘cos dudes speaking on their behalf say they do (also, end-of-porn interviews) and also ‘cos some porn actor somewhere really did enjoy it (I give you the wonderful revisionist American historiography meme where slavery saved black folk from themselves), choice not constrained, one’s will and consent not ever being eroded by circumstance or prevailing culture.

  55. Jill

    “My cousin does this for free. It’s how he supplements food for his family and he makes sausages and jerky and sells it for extra cash. He isn’t blood thirsty, just poor.”

    Of course I’m a dumbass and hadn’t considered the novel idea that people might hunt for food and rather than pleasure. Out here I am surrounded by hunting leases where wealthy assholes pay some guy to bait the deer all year long and then they come and blow’em away for fun.

  56. pheeno

    We have a lot of those too, but also cotton and peanut farms where the hogs wreak havoc. Evidently, hogs do not suffer from peanut allergies.

  57. Lovepug

    NPR.org SUCKS! I don’t know why I still go there. Every frickin day there’s an article about obesity, mostly childhood obesity and what’s the upshot? It’s Mom’s Fault!

    One woman commenter took the opportunity on NPR’s latest handwringing over The Childhood “Oh-My-God-Think-of-The-Children” Epidemic Tee-Em to plug her new book.

    She points out that on her new book, “an excerpt from the blurb on the back cover of my book reads that it should be “…required reading for every bacon frying, hot dog wielding mom, whose children are looking more and more like the candy apples they routinely consume…”

    Yes, because mothers are shit and do nothing but feed their kids processed meats and candy apples all the day long.

    In light of the recent news story about how the State of Ohio took a kid away from his mother because he wasn’t losing weight fast enough, I’d like to show authorities the size of the hot dog I’d be wielding if they came to take my kid for being fat.


  58. ivyleaves

    This obesity epidemic thing is some really toxic shit, and it is so insidious as it sounds altruistic and not subject to either a conservative or liberal political viewpoint. Much like misogyny, everyone can get behind it without thinking much. I think it is designed to create a huge market for weight loss drugs that are in the pipe. A lot of cash to made there.

  59. Cyberwulf

    The most magical part of the PZ Myers “Sometimes a bunny is just a bunny” post is how he blithely ignored all the objective evidence that a cartoon he posted was sexist, until at last the Creator (of the cartoon) spake (admitting that s/he deliberately portrayed the girl bunny as the stupid, blindly religious one and the boy bunny as the smart, scientific one). And lo! his eyes were opened, and he reversed his opinion.

  60. Anne

    Did you all know that POS The Playboy Club was actually created for a female audience? That’s what I was told, and it makes no sense to me. No wonder it flopped. It’s been canceled, right?
    I’m not sure what’s going on with Pan Am the other empowerful nostalgic historical revision, but it appears to be in the same vein of the heteromale perspective of female empowerment being youth and hotness.

  61. lizor

    Isn’t Diablo Cody one of the leading lights of sexyfun empowerfulment?

  62. tinfoil hattie

    ” … children are looking more and more like the candy apples they routinely consume…”

    Has anyone even eaten a candy apple since about 1965?

  63. yttik

    Good point, tinfoil. I think any candy apples still in circulation are from 1965, just like our fruit cakes.

  64. KittyWrangler

    Caramel apples, though, I have seen here and there. S.e. smith at Tiger Beatdown has a lovely post about that NPR series: http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/11/21/npr-and-their-fat-hatred-can-kiss-my-hairy-ass/#more-4194

  65. Lovepug

    Gee whiz thanks Kitty Wrangler. Excellent link, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s noticed that NPR has declared it open season on fat kids. NPR deleted my comment to the woman hawking her book. Apparently it’s okay to use NPR as free advertising for your crap and insulting book, but it’s bad manners to call someone out about it. Further evidence they suck. She’s probably a friend of one of the editors. I’m also hoping no one responds to the woman looking for a Weight Watchers group for her 13 year old daugher. That sounds like an express train to eating disorder land.

  66. Anne

    Cyberwulf – Did that happen? I was looking for the turn-around in the comments there and haven’t had any luck.

  67. Metal Teapot

    Twisty, while I agree about Sex and the City the TV show, can I recommend the book, just for how disgusting it is. There are strong similarities but the book at shows a different world, where the men hold the power and the women struggle to deal with the situation. I wouldn’t say it is wonderfully feminist but the air of despair in the writing makes it far more interesting than the idealistic nature of the TV show. The book made me so glad I wasn’t part of that dating scene. Interestingly the other books I have read by Candance Bushnell are not very positive in how they show the male characters. While her books sort of portray sex work positively it doesn’t portray it as empowering but as a means to money. I think her writing is very interesting and she portrays a certain side of contemporary culture very well and with a large amount of cynasism.

  68. GraceMargaretMulligan

    PZ didn’t exactly reverse his opinion on feminists who dwell in trivialities or acknowledge the way he blatantly mischaracterized the commenter’s intent (she ‘baited’ people into a flame-war). Just had to acknowledge that the intent was to show the female as credulous and the male as logical. In other words, the commenter was right to wonder if that was the intent of the cartoonist.

  69. Cyberwulf

    Anne – if you scroll down to the “Older Comments” link on “Sometimes a Bunny is Just a Bunny” and click it, you’ll bring up the first page of comments. At #430, PZ declares that yes, the cartoon is indeed sexist because the artist is on record as deliberately choosing the girl bunny to be the religious airhead. For as we all know, intent is the only thing that matters when it comes to determining what is sexist and what isn’t.

  70. tinfoil hattie

    Actually, Cyberwulf, dudes are the only thing that matters when it comes to determining what is sexist and what isn’t.

  71. Cyberwulf

    Damn, I keep forgetting that, tinfoil hattie. I don’t know how, since they’re always reminding me.

  72. tinfoil hattie

    Yes, well, PZ Myers &!Josh Holland (of Alternet) will keep you apprised. Silly girl!

  73. Yankee Transferred

    Among the best blaming posts ever, Jill. Thank you for this. I am so tired of people espousing the virtues of PBS. It’s like people don’t even SEE this shit.

  74. Frumious B.

    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. PZ does have his moments, but then, sadly, he has his other moments.

    Scully was kind of a mother figure even before the baby (that I didn’t know she had). Scully was the mother to Mulder’s man-child. She was the responsible one while he went off on his flights of fancy.

  75. Nimravid

    Oh, PZ Meyers changed his mind on whether the author intended the cartoon to be sexist. But he doubled down on it not being important that something he posted was sexist, and it certainly should not have been mentioned even in passing. It detracts from real issues.

    I suggest scrolling down to his comment at 757 and taking notes on when it’s appropriate to say anything about sexism. He has an easy rule: it’s off-limits unless we’re specifically told otherwise. He’s really looking out for the cause- the “rest of the world” is going to think complaining about anything short of murder is ridiculous. The problem with feminists is that we keep bringing up sexism every time we see it. We don’t know how to pick our battles, and even when something is obviously unimportant we go and run our mouths. I was despairing that women might never achieve equality because of my lack of skill at knowing whether I should be offended. But luckily he’s going to help us by deciding what’s worth fighting about so we don’t hurt feminism by complaining about something stupid and bringing attacks on ourselves because we should have known what would happen if we complained about something men didn’t think was important.

  76. M

    This is only tangentially related to the post (i.e. not related), but it does connect into the same issues (kind of?).

    My girlfriends young daughter has recently begun playing on online game for kids called Wizard101. It’s a typical RPG, questing sort of deal. As a reward for certain quests you receive badges that you can wear. One badge that was just introduced into the game reads “King of the Jungle”.

    Someone wrote a post about this badge…asked if a badge could be created for girls to wear as well. People, predictably, told her that not only is King of the Jungle fine for both boys and girls to wear…little girls should feel empowered by wearing it, since King is a title of power. The discussion goes on for quite a few pages. Many responders have much fun mocking the idea of a gender neutral badge. Anyway, this only relates to an online game for kids…but the discussion is fascinating/disturbing. Here is the post


  77. tinfoil hattie

    Nimravid, women don’t know what we want. Men will tell us! Ever so helpfully, of course.

  78. norbizness

    It is amazing how having 100 times the channels has led to more homogenization and less challenging television. When I was a wee toddler (back when Twisty was my babysitter), you could actually get Maude, the skewering wit of Louise Lasser as Mary Hartman, Mary Tyler Moore (and spinoffs), and childless, professional married couple Bob and Emily Hartman (both actors threatened to quit the show if they saddled Suzanne Pleshette with a kid and a stay-at-home attitude).

    Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker spent more time showing a mirror to society’s ugly face than all 2095 episodes of Sex And/Or Up The City.

  79. quixote

    Good point, norbizness. But on the other hand, my sources tell me that there are channels devoted to fruit juice, and that you can follow curling or, for all I know, the tiddlywinks championships if you want. So there’s an increased diversity of some things. Definitely not of points of view, though. Hmmm. I wonder how They managed that neat trick?

  80. speedbudget

    quixote, I would guess by buying up all the media outlets one newspaper, channel, and radio station at a time and then providing you nothing but shit to watch and then claiming that’s what everyone wants to watch.

  81. Cyberwulf

    He has an easy rule: it’s off-limits unless we’re specifically told otherwise.

    Well, Nimravid, you can understand that. I mean, it’s so tiring for a male feminist to have to always, always notice sexism and call it out. He’s gotta have a break. Let me see if I can help him out by not being a woman for a while.



    No, still a woman.

  82. Saurs

    Seriously, Cyberwulf, LOL @ that straining sound.

  83. speedbudget


    Something popped, but I don’t think it was the right thing.

  84. lizor

    So true norbizness. It’s creepy how far messaging has regressed in “entertainment”. I recently heard a stat that 1 in four hollywood films has a rape scene. Like I want to pay for a frigging trigger on my time off?

    I do appreciate Twisty braving the airwaves (or megabytes) on our behalf. I find it too psychologically damaging.

    I’ve recently been watching a british TV series from the 1970’s called Upstairs Downstairs which is incredible progressive in our current context. It closely examines class hierarchies, has an equal number of male and female writers, a balance of male and female characters and a balance in who gets the story line. The most revolutionary aspect of this show is that they have gay characters who – gasp! – have story lines that are NOT about them being gay! Imagine!

  85. Lovepug

    I need help with my NPR addiction. I keep stupidly reading it every day, and every day I find an aggravating misogynistic or hating piece of crap (in addition to their weekly FAT PEOPLE ARE DOIN IT WRONG! shaming articles).

    Today’s piece of crap reports on a “study” that says women get more stressed out by multitasking. The avalanche of comments from idiot men saying amen to that has begun.

    Why do I keep doing this? I need to get over my delusion that PBS and NPR are still what they once were. I guess the conservatives have won. They’ve stripped down public radio and television to the point where they just another commercial entity.

    Gone are the Upstairs Downstairs days.

    I would like a nice news website that doesn’t rely on this crap. So far I don’t think one exists.

  86. Lovepug

    I also miss the heyday of Ms. magazine and Mother Jones before they turned to that sanctimonious brand of liberalism.

  87. Hane

    Yeah, Lovepug. Thought I’d never miss the ’70s, the era of my young adulthood, with its scary inflation and high unemployment. *sigh*. Them was some good feminist days, though.

    Oh, and FUCK NPR to pieces for its interminable fat-bashing screed. Because we all KNOW it’s poor women’s fault that the only cheap foods they have quick access to is processed carb-fat-sodium shit. Oh, and that they can’t work in a little gym time between working two jobs and taking care of their kids.

  88. bitch with opinions

    Thanks for the link, Sarah!

    PZ always seemed a little “I managed to grasp the basic fundamentals of white male privilege, so I can do no wrong” to me. What he doesn’t get is that you don’t get a free pass on being a sexist, privileged ass 50% of the time if the other 50% of the time you check it. And does that man put his wife on a goddamned pedestal. Christ.

  89. lizor

    Yes, missing the “progressiveness” 70s is deeply depressing.

  90. Fannie Farmer (Mrs.)

    PBS, like NPR, is being more closely supervised by the Patriarchy these days than in former decades.

  91. Kea

    Ah, the ’70s, sigh. Then everyone said women could not do XYZ, but we all thought we’d go and do it anyway. Now we all know that women can do XYZ, but even 5 yr olds are jaded enough to know they won’t be allowed.

  92. JfC

    While the internet is a cesspool, it has some pockets of sanity, unlike television. I recently found an interesting anti-sex work blog demonstrating superior blaming by a former sex worker stating that she intends to use the material for a book. She also mentions certain chapters and headings, but the blog cuts off abruptly in 2008. Googleing her user name doesn’t produce any fruits. I was wondering if anyone knows what has happened to her, and if she has completed the promised book. Here’s the blog in question: http://whyihatefunfaq.blogspot.com/

  93. Kea

    JfC, she was probably murdered or in some other way silenced.

  94. Ugsome

    Lizor, I just watched The Next Three Days and am left wondering when I’ll ever see a movie that isn’t a race, sex and class trainwreck. Gawd. Is it too fucking much too ask for? Don’t answer that.

  95. veganrampage

    PZ stinkhole used to give Zuska, the only feminist blogger on Science blogs or whatever the hell it’s called a terrible time. Zuska left S.B. and went ? I can’t remember anything. Google her.

    He’s a known anti-woman, anti-girl, anti-female he-man woman hater, just so you know.

    Naturally, his blog is O so popular.Barf bag me.

  1. L’ Homage des Feminism « El Paso Stonewall Young Democrats

    […] Little Niggling Instances of the Redoubtable Efficacy of Patriarchal Oppression, Part II: Shit I Saw… Published by Jill on November 23, 2011. 94 Comments […]

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