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Dec 15 2011

That’s a more

Some day maybe I’ll write a post. Until then, two things.

First, via PhysioProf, this: after millennia of sprain-free use by Romans in sensible shoes, they’re remodeling the streets of Rome to accommodate stiletto heels. Apparently the picturesque cobblestones of old are a hazard to the ligaments of pedestrians on Via del Corso who, though insufficiently fem-proficient, must nevertheless cave in to pressure to sport pornulated footwear. Ditching the stilettos? Unthinkable.

Farrier with hoof

The second thing: this is what my dude farrier said to me yesterday, after delivering the unpleasant news that my horse has developed thrush from standing in mud: “Now don’t get all dramatic and act like a woman.”

125 comments

  1. Pinko Punko

    You can get thrush on the foot? Is there some sort of topical anti-fungal or does it go away if it keeps dry?

  2. Twisty

    I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at the bottom of a horse’s hoof, but it’s got crevices. Poop gets lodged in there, and turns into pathogen soup under certain circumstances. You have to pick it out every day or — thrush! The cure is Thrush-Off, a tincture of somethin-r-other.

  3. buttercup

    And of course, women will be blamed for messing up Rome. Not tourism in general, not the European economy, not the crowds that make it more like disneyland than history, but women’s insistence on wearing P2k compliant shoes to see the ancient institutions upon which modern patriarchy and child-raping are built. And art. Don’t forget art.

    Thrush-Off needs a late night TV ad like Head On. Apply directly to thrush!

  4. Keri

    I don’t know why I did this but I read an article entitled “What women want” this morning on a silly yoga blog. Why I did that to myself, I do not know. Written by a woman it describes us as all impish and mysterious but certainly not human.

    Some dude commented on the blog said that we are an “unperfect storm”. Thus my day begins with my hide chapped right from the start. Thrush plus dude commentary would do it fo sho.

  5. Fannie Farmer (Mrs.)

    The thrush a horse gets is not the same as the thrush a person gets.

    3. a chronic disease of the horn of the sole of a horse’s foot. Fusobacterium necrophorum is usually present and the smell is offensive.

  6. lizor

    We used to brush the inside of the hoof with diluted Jeyes fluid after picking to keep the thrush at bay. Hopefully it clears quickly , and preferably attaches itself to the sack of the sexist arse of a farrier.

  7. hayduke

    I’m betting that horse is pretty darned clever, and can be trained to kick in response to certain key phrases. The donkeys would be really excellent candidates for this – what’s the word on ‘em, by the way?

  8. JMT

    Can you tell that dude to go fuck himself? Or hire someone else?

  9. ew_nc

    Did you fire dude farrier’s ass?

  10. nails

    Fannie- from what I understand thrush is slang for yeast. Is something other than yeast to blame for horse thrush?

  11. quixote

    Not exactly slang, nails. I think. A good medieval term for a set of diseases that were later found to be (mainly?) yeast infections. I have the vague impression it was also applied to some fungal diseases.

  12. Phledge

    Thrush in humans is in fact caused by yeast, usually normal flora that has either overgrown due to antibiotic use or has gone criminal in the absence of a normal immune system.

    When I read about the stiletto nonsense then immediately thereafter saw a pic of a horse hoof, I feared that the patriarchy had become so mad as to suggest high-heeled horseshoes.

  13. ivyleaves

    Yeast is also a fungus, but the scientific name for the horse thrush seems to indicate it is a bacterial infection.

    As far a shoes for women and cobblestones, I suspect metal horseshoes were designed to protect their hooves from cobblestones, but no footwear is designed to protect women from anything. The footwear that does was designed for men, then made in women’s sizes.

  14. Alex

    Your horse has my sympathy. I’m on immune suppressants, which I will have to remain on for the rest of my life, and I get oral thrush every couple of weeks, and on rare occasions systemic thrush. It really, really sucks. A lot. Poor horse.

    And your farrier really needed to be kicked in the mouth. Or infused with a really, really bad case of thrush. So he could act all “like a woman” about it.

    And that thing about Rome? Why not spend money instead on educating women and men about the horrors that hells will wreak on your feet, knees, and back? Grrr.

  15. gwyllion

    i want to
    know what you retorted to said farrier dude – inquiring minds and all that!

  16. Ruby Lou

    This is a new low in discouragingly stupid patriarchal perversion. They’re going to ruin the cobbled streets of Rome so women can continue to appease men’s relentless fascination with women in pornulated footwear, which footwear permanently and seriously damages the connective and supportive tissue of the women who wear it. There goes another of my cherished delusions, that Italians’ love of their historical and architectural heritage is greater than their jones for seeing women in high heels. Of course, the opposite is true.

    The photo of the thrush-afflicted horse’s foot was hard to see. I didn’t realize horses’ feet were subject to such things, what do the wild ones do? Just suffer sore feet? Is hoof tissue enervated, does it hurt? And I also didn’t realize there was any mud for horses to stand around in over there in Cottonmouth County. So it’s been raining, maybe?

  17. tinfoil hattie

    What happened to the kick-ass woman with the long nails? No more farrier-ing?

  18. Comrade PhysioProf

    Thrush-Off

    It’s a floor polish! No, it’s a dessert topping!

  19. yttik

    “Now don’t get all dramatic and act like a woman.”

    I think one problem women have is that we don’t get “all dramatic” often enough. No doubt this is because we’re constantly told not to “act like a woman.” The thing is, a rational human being, when confronted with some of the crap women often face, really would throw a fit. Men have full blown mantrums all the time. That’s how they modify the behavior of those around them.

    Needless to say, I am not advocating drama or violence, I’m just observing that this is yet another way that women are prevented from using the tools that full human beings are granted. We are not allowed to express much emotion and if we show we care about something we are often mocked and ridiculed. We’re allowed to care about men of course, like the burden you would put on that poor farrier were you to get the vapors, but that’s it.

    Women are not supposed to have emotions. I suspect that’s because it creates empathy and it’s hard to keep women in their patriarchal box if you start viewing them as fully human.

  20. Mujerylegs

    Tea tree in almond oil cures that: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19403294.

  21. Mujerylegs

    The horse thrush, obviously. Not the patriarchy.

  22. slade

    At least the asshole didn’t say ‘girl.’

    I hate the world except for Mother Nature.

  23. Absotively

    I’m finding it hard to be that upset over the Roman cobblestones. Busy streets require re-surfacing more than once every few millenia, so although this street may have had cobblestones for a long time, I doubt the particular cobblestones in place now are anything special. And as someone who occasionally rolls her ankle when confronted with a slightly irregular sidewalk while wearing sensible shoes, I also doubt that their use so far has been sprain-free.

    But mostly I doubt that any city would spend a large amount of money to make life easier for patriarchy-compliant women. Further reading indicates that the cobblestones are damaging historic buildings and are expensive to maintain, which seems more likely to be why they’re replacing them.

    Perhaps when the mayor said this is “especially for women in heels,” what he meant was that since this is likely to be unpopular, he’d like to blame women for it.

  24. LS

    Clark-Flory’s latest article on Salon: “A reader is pursuing his budding interest in Asian women without his wife’s knowledge, and feels like he can’t stop.” Can’t bring myself to read it, but again, her new articles are horrible.

  25. Twisty

    “Clark-Flory’s latest article on Salon [...] Can’t bring myself to read it, but again, her new articles are horrible.”

    What does this mean? How does it relate to Roman cobblestones or equine thrush?

  26. Lovepug

    I wouldn’t fire the farrier. I would just make a point from her on out every single time he utters a word, saying shit like, “Heavens no! Why I just can’t stand that kind of talk! You will excuse me but I must take to my bed with a cold compress.” Practice fake fainting spells.

    I would also recommend wearing a set of pearls for you to clutch and maybe a lipstick stained lace handkerchief.

  27. speedbudget

    It’s like the Patriarchy took their cue from the South Park song “Blame Canada” and are instead blaming women for everything. I knew there had to be a sensible reason for the repaving. So, yes, in order to deflect the ill-placed anger of the citizenry, let’s blame on the ladies and their inability to change shoes.

    I’m sorry, but my understanding has always been that ladies in the city wear sneakers to commute to work and change into their stilettos once they get to the office. Are things different in cobbled Europe?

  28. EmilyBites

    Sounds entirely plausible, Absotively. Everybody loves to moan about change, and everybody loves to blame the silly women, so this is perfect.

    Googling the story to try and find some original sources, I found the ‘high heels=stupid’ story repeated about a million times, but then a USA today story quoting a guy at the culture ministry (Italo Fazio) and a municipal boss in charge of roads(Maurizio Galetti) explaining that the vibrations of modern traffic over the old cobbles is damaging historic monuments and buildings, and that the cobbles are difficult and expensive to replace (very few people are now trained to do so), also slippery when wet and a danger to scooters.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1494108/Rough-ride-as-Rome-prepares-to-ditch-cobbles.html
    This Telegraph article repeats these points. Obviously it makes a better story if it’s the fault of frivolous, sexy ladies, though.

  29. janicen

    yttk: “Men have full blown mantrums all the time. That’s how they modify the behavior of those around them.”

    Agreed, but men cannot use the ploy often lest they be subject to the most derisive of insults, acting like a woman. They might even be told to “man-up”, or be threatened with having their “man card” revoked, as in the Miller Lite commercials, which never seem to go away. I have yet to meet anyone who drinks Miller Lite, so I wonder if the only purpose of its existence is as a tool with which to denigrate women.

  30. bludot

    janicen: “Agreed, but men cannot use the ploy often lest they be subject to the most derisive of insults, acting like a woman.”

    Not true. Men can have mantrums all the time and it enhances the admiration of other people. See, for example, Steve Jobs.

  31. yttik

    “I have yet to meet anyone who drinks Miller Lite, so I wonder if the only purpose of its existence is as a tool with which to denigrate women.”

    You might be on to something there. I don’t know anybody who wants to drink a beer that looks the same going in as it does coming out.

  32. smash

    Phledge, bwahaha @high heeled horse shoes. They would never make those, because horses should be more comfortable than women.

    Bluedot, Bwahaha @mantrums.

  33. Jezebella

    Prior to my radfem awareness, I went to Rome and was positively impressed that the women of Rome were able to skip lightly about the city, up and down the hills, in their trim little suits and stiletto heels. I felt like a giant clod in my sensible tourist day-hikers. I didn’t see a single Roman woman turn an ankle or look even remotely inconvenienced by the cobblestones. Which is not to say it didn’t happen, but clearly Mr. Mayor just wants to blame the ladies and their silly shoes for having to pave centuries-old streets.

  34. quixote

    “Mantrum.” Perfect. Once again, the blametariat shows its genius.

    (Nothing to do with cobbles. Sorry.)

    (Have you ever ridden a bicycle over cobblestones? Old wounds still trouble me when I think about it.)

  35. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Horses and women deserve healthy, comfortable shoes.

  36. veganrampage

    Still the biggest insult of all is to be “accused” of acting like a girl or a woman. Count the number of times you hear/read/watch this shit in our pop culture and you’ll be brinking on full out rage much like I. Men are the true sociopaths and project their insanity on to us by default.

    Italy is a terrible place for women. I lived in Rome for 3 years-don’t ask. A woman is either a whore or a wife, and rape is the weekend(and weekday)entertainment.

    Your poor horsey is going to need constant attention to her feet, and needs dryness along with Goddess knows what. I’m sure you will attend to her. Almost as much fun as discovering your cat has diabetes, and inexpensive too!

    Bah, humbug.

  37. Doctress Ju'ulia

    Oh, that comment would’ve had me firing him on the spot. Instant consequences, and all that… and, yeah, it’s always womens’ faults. By default.

  38. Lidon

    “Not true. Men can have mantrums all the time and it enhances the admiration of other people. See, for example, Steve Jobs.”

    Mantrums, I love it! Yes, last time I checked, men are indeed allowed, and often encouraged, to get angry.

    I hope your horse gets better soon.

  39. Angela (formerly iamlegs)

    All these ‘Jill should fire the farrier’ comments are beginning to wear.

    Two rebuttals and an emotional reaction:
    1. Jill is not a superhero, and shouldn’t be required to uphold some higher standard of behavior. There’s ideals that one writes on one’s blog, and there are realities that one lives with. Jill is not any more immune to the patriarchy than the rest of us. It’s not fair to require Jill to wish-fulfil. I believe this point has actually been made right on this very blog at least once before.

    2. It may not be as easy as it seems to fire or replace somebody who provides an essential service just because they’re being a patriarchal asshole. “Just fire that guy/Just don’t go there/Just use a different service provider!” may not actually be a realistic option. Especially considering that patriarchal assholes are commoner than dirt. You’re probably going to run into a frying pan/fire scenario anyhow.

    3. It feels rather holier-than-thou when people write in all, “Well I’d've done it, amirite ladies?”

  40. Fannie Farmer (Mrs.)

    “Almost as much fun as discovering your cat has diabetes”

    My stepmom’s cat had diabetes. The vet said to inject insulin, but she wasn’t comfortable with that. After a while the cat died, but he didn’t seem to be suffering. He died at home, in her arms, peacefully.

    She loved the cat, but not enough to inject it with insulin.

  41. Laura in Rome

    What Absotively said.

    Alemanno is a right-wing twit who is attempting to appear chivalrous in order to deflict criticism of his decision which is going to be fought tooth and nail by neighborhood associations. The fact is that via del Corso is in an area dominated by high end boutiques and mall-type chain stores (they just opened a Gap, for example). Lots of stilettos sold near there.

    This year I have seen the highest heels imaginable and women buy them here without blinking an eye–it’s automatic. The concept of beauty here and its intrinsic link to male domination is so deeply ingrained in Italian culture that it was hardly an aspect touched by feminists even in their heyday in the late ’70s, unlike their counterparts in France and England.

    Frankly, I am pro-paving. I don’t wear heels, and the cobble stones kill my feet after just a few hours of walking. The asphalt also absorbs sound and vibrations better. Good for buildings, good for vehicles, good for all feet.

  42. Sarah

    Italy is a terrible place for women. I lived in Rome for 3 years-don’t ask. A woman is either a whore or a wife, and rape is the weekend(and weekday)entertainment.

    Well, if their rape culture is anything like Spain’s, I’m not surprised. Reading Cuentos Españoles in a dual language English/Spanish format right now, and that is some of the creepiest and most misogynist shit I have ever seen. Cervantes (the same dude who wrote Don Quixote) wrote a piece called The Power of the Blood in which a teenage girl is abducted, raped, impregnated, slut-shamed while giving birth, and then later tricked into marrying the rapist. And this is portrayed as OMG *~so romantic~*!! And there’s another one which is like Taming of the Shrew on steroids.

  43. Kea

    Yeah, Italian culture does seem pretty mysogynist, but it’s all relative. It is even worse in some new world Italian conclaves, where the older generation have managed to keep the old ways alive, longer than in Italy itself. I love Rome, with or without cobblestones.

    Anyway, I’m off into the mountains in order to avoid Newton’s birthday. See y’ll later.

  44. Pinko Punko

    So horses’ hooves are like a pug’s face? Hope that everything gets cleared up.

  45. janna

    I hate blanket statements like “Italian culture does seem pretty mysogynist. (sic)” What culture doesn’t seem misogynist?

  46. Doctress Ju'uulia

    janna, exactly. I was on r aw nooz on the article about the new U.S. study about male violence perpetrated against women, and someone said: “All religiously insane societies hate women.” To which I replied: “All societies are religiously insane.”.

    I’ve used the word ‘mantrum’ twice today already. Urban Dictionary needs a definition.

    FTP.

  47. tinfoil hattie

    The title of this post is tremendous.

    And every culture is thoroughly misogynist. IBTP.

  48. Rain

    My Twitter Timeline is just full-on news tweets about Kim Jong Ill(sp?)’s death, and the “disappeared” anchor woman on North Korean news is apparently back reading the said news crying her eyes out. At the same time. Politics aside, that’s some skilled news-reading. South Korean army went on high alert, and Japanese working women are still in stilettos. I wasn’t aware that cobblestones were bad for historical buildings and such. Much of Tokyo is turning their roads to cobblestones, I think to reduce flooding, as well as making it easier to notice cracks in the earth after an earthquake.

  49. TwissB

    When one’s dude farrier says “Now don’t get all dramatic and act like a woman,” consider Bonnie Hunt’s anecdote about that point late in the evening at a merry family holiday gathering when one hears the fatal words “what’s that supposed to mean?” and it’s all downhill from there.
    It would be interesting to see how said farrier would deal with a gimlet-eyed Spinster Aunt, ordered not to act like a woman, snapping “Whazzat supposed to mean??

  50. KWillow

    … just found my way here from driftglass.

    So Rome will install decent, walkable paving? Yay! Maybe I’ll return. Visited Italy 3 years ago, walked and walked in sensible shoes, thru Venice, Florence, Pompeii & Herculaneum, Naples. After one afternoon walking in Rome: blisters on both feet, heels and toes. Went to a local pharmacy and tried to buy “bandaids”. Blank incomprehension from pharmacist-clerk. Then, remembering a historical romance scene, I asked for “sticking plaster”, and vola! good old band-aids were produced.

  51. Mildred

    It ruffles my feathers a bit when I read something along the lines of men demanding women to wear high heels, yes they are evil torture devices of the patriarchy but… I mean its so much more nuanced than that.
    I run into this all the time in my life when I debate feminism with dudes (yes, yes I know it is futile), they always say BUT WOMEN ARE THE ONES WHO WANT IT.
    Remember that dude, years ago writing in that his wife is begging him to buy her ballet boots (don’t google it, it’s very creepy), and see, we are just so out of touch we don’t see that some ladies just gosh darn love heels.
    I don’t see, nor have I ever experienced a boyfriend or a lover saying YOU MUST WEAR HIGH HEELS. I mean, lingerie, dresses, other creepy stuff, yes, but not heels, heels seem more psychological to me, somehow women have been conned/conned themselves that this masochism, the height, I do not know = power.
    My boss, a 27 year old blonde with fake nails who is also a qualified chef will work a full shift in platform stiletto boots, she said to me that she thinks staff respect her more when she wears them.
    The funny thing is if you ever feel shit about this, about your skin, your body, the way you look, the things you’re expected to do and you want to vent about this to a man you get, ‘well you don’t HAVE to do these things, maybe you shouldn’t be so vain.’

    I agree, sure, evil patriarchy etc etc, but to say that men are demanding this isn’t accurate, sure it is all part of this feminine facade, all accessories of being ‘the girly girl’ that is so sought after.
    I don’t wear heels, no, because I find them unbearably uncomfortable, but do I engage in other p compliant behaviours, of course! I’m not free because I am educated, I don’t think any woman would be, education is not going to cut it, not giving a fuck about what people think about your looks is the only thing, and that is very hard to give up when you are young.

  52. humanbein

    Mildred, many of the actual details of performing femininity are not specifically requested of women by individual men in any overt manner. To a person who performs masculinity, merely knowing the name of a specific style of women’s shoe is a violation of the dudely code and can cause him to be accused of being less masculine, and therefore less human and in a degraded state.

    The rules and specific rituals of femininity are so complex and ever-changing that men cheerfully exploit the confusion to punish and reward women randomly, which becomes so anxiety producing that women search for feminine trappings to buttress their own confidence in a world where women have to be sexy but not too sexy at all times, and sexy means feminine, and feminine, once examined, is a state of degradation that men are attracted to but seem to hate, especially if they come at all close to performing femininity themselves.

    This might not be the best explanation possible, but reading more feminist theory will make it all clearer.

  53. Lovepug

    @humanbein:

    No, that was a fabulous explanation. And I think it fleshes out what Mildred was getting at.

    It is indeed way complicated, and men rarely have to do the dirty job of directly enforcing it. Practicing femininity is largely enforced by other women. We’re raised to view other women as competition for the available men, and our wedge to win said men is our prowess at femininity. Women will passive agressively call attention to either other women’s shortcomings in that area or to their own false self-depreciation designed to elicit a counter statement by another woman which confirms the success of the femininity attempt.

    Not that men don’t do it as well, but as with all things, women are the patriarchy’s janitors. Men get to save their enforcement for when they really want to make a woman feel like shit. And absolutely men prop up enforcement among each other by policing how in tune they are with feminity practices. Nothing elicits a faggot epithet quicker than knowing the name of a designer.

    Two non-sequitors: I’m pissed that Elizabeth Faulkner didn’t win the Next Iron Chef (and I need to stop watching stupid reality tv), and can someone explain why the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is so acclaimed? I just read a review of the movie and it sounds like both film and book are one long rape apology.

  54. Helen Huntingdon

    Mildred, when your boyfriend/husband/whatever and his friends pay a lot of positive attention to hot women in heels and give you the subtle cold shoulder when you don’t wear them, yeah, he is demanding that you wear them, quite loudly and clearly.

    Sure, there is a lot of pretense that dudes don’t care about shoes, but the ones who protest that shoes are something only women care about invariably turn out to be the ones who are extraordinarily judgmental about women based on the footwear said women happen to be wearing.

    Then there’s the fact that the world isn’t built for short people. If you’re short, it’s hard to find a way to sit in a conference chair, for example, that doesn’t make your legs go to sleep. But a pair of heels or platforms suddenly means your shoes are in contact with floor instead of dangling in the air. Heels mean you can see over the speaker’s podium and people can see you behind it. When your male colleagues treat you as more professionally serious when your feet don’t dangle in the air and you can see over the podium (and yet they don’t make sure that every podium has a Scully box and that the chairs are of reasonable size), they’re demanding that you wear heels or suffer for it professionally, loud and clear.

  55. Lovepug

    Having read a couple of more reviews, I guess Girl With The Dragon Tattoo does have some feminist cred, though more along the lines of Kill Bill. I’ve not read any of the books. Some of the reviews I read were a little off putting. At a minimum, I would have to say the movie must be pretty triggering. I know the books were popular, but they were never on my radar for some reason.

  56. josquin

    Lovepug: I resisted the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for months (even the title made me mad). I finally read the novel and now believe that this book actually does have feminist cred. It was originally titled “Men Who Hate Women” and you can’t get much more direct than that. I wish the U.S publishers had kept that title instead of the “hott edgy girl-child” title it now has.
    It was certainly not a rape apology, and the rape scenes were not eroticized in any way. The weird thing is that I was reading a review of the movie, and the reviewer sorta shook his head saying that the rape scenes were somehow not sexy. This made me furious. Of course it implies that there is something inherently erotic about rape. F the P. I would like to write a review with a movie where a man is tortured to death and then shake my head wondering why they didn’t make it sexy. This post is rushed. Sorry. But that review just fried me.

  57. Anne

    “I don’t see, nor have I ever experienced a boyfriend or a lover saying YOU MUST WEAR HIGH HEELS.”

    I have. I’ve also gotten it from some guys who weren’t boyfriends/lovers. Coworkers, even. And it’s not so much “YOU MUST WEAR HIGH HEELS” as it is, “you should try dressing more feminine” or “why do you always dress like a boy?” or “do you even own a skirt? *chortle*”
    A steady stream of that ish can wear a girl down, especially if she doesn’t have the blaming skills to counter it, and sensible loafers don’t really go with dresses and skirts.
    There’s also corporate dress codes. And the fact that you’d be hard pressed to find office-appropriate women’s shoes at Payless or Ross that don’t have an enormous spike attached to them.

  58. sam

    “Then there’s the fact that the world isn’t built for short people. If you’re short, it’s hard to find a way to sit in a conference chair, for example, that doesn’t make your legs go to sleep.”

    Amen, sister. You could expand that into an excellent treatise on ‘height privilege’ and feminization’s infantilizing aspects.

    I wear heels but a few times a year, and on those days I notice how much the public world is fitted in every way for men.

    sam, 61 inches

  59. yttik

    Patriarchy is a system, rather than an individual man. Individual men don’t have to tell us to wear heels, because the culture at large screws with our brains so much that we start to believe that wearing heels makes us taller and more powerful. We start to believe that the only way we can get respect is to conform to femininity standards. Next we are told to empowerfullize ourselves with our sexuality, usually by saying yes to sex with men. None of these things are about genuine feminine power, they’re all illusions, but even the illusion of having some power can be preferable to the reality.

    In some other countries, women actually “choose” to wear burkas for the same reasons. They also believe they are empowering themselves as women. When you are an oppressed class starved for some power and control, even the strangest things can become very seductive if you believe they are going to give you some power. Foot binding, stilettos, big hair, burkas, FGM, porn.

  60. tinfoil hattie

    lovepug! Yes! Faulkner! She was robbed! She is inventive, cool under pressure, and consistent.

    Iron Chef is just Dudes Cooking Exotic Shit.

    /derail

  61. Saurs

    Iron Chef shit

    Zakarian and his constant fucking reiteration that his fellow contestants were mere “girls.” Girls, girls, girls. There was a point at the end of one of the episodes — Burrell, Guarnaschelli, and Falkner still there, all amazing and charismatic and inventive and funny, far more knowledgeable than that pedantic, lecture-y, schoolmaster-y ass Alton Brown — at which he must have said “girls” about fifteen times in three sentences. And these were short fucking sentences, no confusing clauses or anything, his typical robotic monotone delivery. FUUUUUUCCCKKK. Smug, unimaginative white boy with his half dozen fire places and regular holidays to St. Barts. Argh.

    /Iron Chef shit

  62. buttercup

    Girl with the dragon tattoo was a piece of patriarchal shit. The protagonist was a proxy for the author/reader, a “mary sue”, and the main point of it was that the heroine would sleep with him, of course. I got so angry I nearly threw the book across the room, except it was a library book. No plans to see the movie. No plans to read any more of the books. No feminist cred. More like “feminist? Crud.”

  63. pheeno

    “Iron Chef is just Dudes Cooking Exotic Shit”

    And pretending that when they cook it’s a fucking genius level miracle and they should be worshiped for it.

    Please. Millions and millions of women cook 3 meals a day every day for their families and have since the damn dawn of time. But a man cooks and it’s like he’s found the cure for cancer.

  64. Saurs

    This is why the channel is so perversely fascinating. It’s so openly contemptible of its audience, and it glorifies an industry that is hostile to women in a particularly old-fashioned way.

    You get glimpses of that through the channel although they’re never fully explored, like in competition shows where painfully young men, lacking the self-editing skills of their more mature counterparts, are so easily threatened by women that in interviews they can’t help but give voice to the sorts of misogyny even average dudes would have a difficult time defending. Even in the pastry shows (the laaaaaadies’ traditional domain), dudes are generally given a leg up, or the producers have to cheat to make sure enough men win.

    And what started out, in very shoddy fashion, to be vaguely instructive television has all but become a nauseating lifestyle show: dude chefs are allowed to duke it out amongst themselves and put on masturbatory stadium performances, are let loose on the streets to critique their peers or big up their friends or instruct dumb ladies or save people’s restaurants, while the bulk of women are non-professional, book-writing types in yer bog-standard soft porn flavors (the sassy black army brat, the well-heeled forty-something ex-ex-pat, the snooty aristocrat and poor man’s Martha Stewart, the vacuous Californian, the agoraphobic Southerner who is personally responsible for other people’s deathfat) doing in-studio cooking programs or travel holiday shows (husbands and children feature prominently).

    People forget that it takes skill, knowledge, and empathy to actually teach a displaced audience how to cook something, why to use to a particular method: Julia Child and Graham Kerr got this, and didn’t have to dumb shit down in order to be fun. Apart from a judge here and there, Burrell and Guaranaschelli are the only professionals left (the channel pushed out folk like Susan Feniger and Sara Moulton long ago) who are allowed to have some authority about what they’re doing and who do it well. Dudes are generally discouraged from giving a damn about how other people are getting on, ‘cos the point of life is to win win win, and make sure everybody knows just how much you’re winning. So you get perennial douche Bobby Flay constantly saddled with women as sous-chefs and nursemaids in order to make him accessible, but all he does is bully them or whine at them like a scolded child. You get Steingarten who is visibly disgusted by the mere presence of women and their opinions, who literally suggests their subjective experiences are wrong, their palettes must be mistaken. You get that manchild Guy Fieri who apparently can’t be in the same room with a woman without giggling like a ninny and whose “off-color jokes” about wet pussy, or whatever, have to be edited away lest people get a glimpse of what a dumb tool he is. You get (or had) Anthony Bourdain who suffered the ignoble humiliation of actually sharing a channel with Rachael Ray, and whose grouchy ire is generally directed at women, whom he perceives as easy targets, and who basically admits that the machismo cultivated by a lot of executive chefs is actually designed to keep women out of their kitchens. And how many other channels can say they once employed, in front of the camera, a would-be wife-murderer?

    Plus, there’s the irony of professional cooks giving thanks to the skills their (largely working class*) mothers taught them, admittedly in a condescending way, but incapable of lowering themselves enough to teach working class folk the same. ‘Cos that would mean, in some terrible sense, that we all cook and eat and have at least that much in common. And that scares the living shit out of boys what done good.

    *And that’s another poorly explored (or deliberately disguised) reality, that professional cookery is a service industry, and by and large occupied by unsung working class people and people of color working long, long hours for very paltry wages beneath temperamental white folk.

  65. Saurs

    (I’m gonna write it before someone else does: Get Your Own Blawg, Motherfucker! Sorry for the tealdeers above.)

  66. JoJoDunc

    Off topic, I know, but I’ve just been listening to a radio call-in show discussing hazing in college marching bands (it’s all voluntary, dontchaknow), before which I was reading an article about Joe Paterno and his pathetic non-response to the sexual abuse of a young boy that had been reported to him, etc., etc. I am craving the article that connects the dots between male-dominated organizations (football teams, military schools, Boy Scouts, the effing Catholic Church, etc.) and sexual abuse of children, indeed abuse of anyone not in the patriarchal inner circle. I don’t feel qualified to write it myself. Twisty?

  67. pheeno

    “perennial douche Bobby Flay ”

    That should just be his name.

    “Anthony Bourdain”

    Anthony ” oh look , I’ll cop a squat with the Natives and eat bugs because I’m ever so progressive and edgy” Bourdain.

    Fucking hate those two so bad, it would take the will power of god almighty itself to prevent my fist from smashing their noses should would ever meet.

  68. pheeno

    See? The hatred is so bad I even fuck up a simple word and change we to would.

  69. redpeachmoon

    Loved it Saurs! Well done. Such an abusive industry.
    Are there any feminist food sites?

  70. Jezebella

    Saurs, you are 99% spot-on, and brava, BUT: Paula Deen is not personally responsible for anyone’s fat (deathfat or otherwise) but her own.

    Bobby Flay has been on my shit list since he jumped up to the counter and stood on the cutting board when he was on the Japanese Iron Chef. What kind of disrespectful douchebag STANDS ON THE CUTTING BOARD GROSS?! I believe the Chairman even scolded him. I’m sure he thought he was being edgy.

    My current Food Channel irritation is with the “best baker ever” competitions, which are not about baking but about *decorating cakes*. Call it a cake-decorating contest, not a fecking baking contest. I’m just going to say it: fondant tastes like shit. Bake something delicious, please.

  71. Saurs

    Oh, Jezebella, I completely agree, re Deen as a convenient scapegoat for a phony “epidemic” or “crisis,” wherein upper middling mainly white Americans, svelte in the way only a posh gym membership and hours of leisure time can buy, find a brand-new way to hate poor people, this time by calling them fatties. Paula Deen’s personal history is so bitter-sweet to me; she’s very corny and she’s a shill for an inhumane industry, but I don’t care to police her or her body in any such way, honestly. Just merely parroting the party line. (I also don’t find Giada De Laurentis vacuous or Sunny Anderson sassy, for fuck’s sake.)

    pheeno, his show? Good Lord, I can barely stomach the books. All of his programs are the same, right? Acting out the fantasies of all sheltered white boys everywhere throughout history who long or have longed fervently to eat and fuck their way through the so-called third world, striking glowering poses like the food biz’s very own Nick Cave or Jim Jarmusch dude so desperately wants to be. I almost enjoyed myself watching one of the later Food Network episodes in which a group of his friends tried to coax him into a spirited round of karaoke. He was such a miserable killjoy about it, grumbling to himself and shoving off their approaches and looking incredibly awkward and out of place as they sang right in his face and made him look silly. It was great.

  72. josquin

    Buttercup:

    I must say I didn’t see that the main point of the novel was the fact that Lisbeth slept with what’s-his-name. She slept with a female friend a few times too, but I didn’t see that either as being the point of the novel. It was just what she wanted to do. I’m curious as to what other aspects of the novel you thought were allied to the patriarchy. As for the Swedish film, I quite liked the fact that the actors looked like regular people, not like Hollywood “people”. There was relatively little conformity to standards of female sexbot obligation. That lack of conformity is extremely rare in film. I doubt one would be able to say that about the American version.

  73. IBlameRonPaul

    While reading these comments, I can’t help but envy (just a wee, tiny bit) women living in certain European countries, not because of the heels-or-not-heels-ready streets, but because of abortion rights. While not perfect, many European nations have easier access to abortion than most American states (85% of all counties here have ZERO access to an abortion provider, and waiting periods and other asinine restrictions abound), and higher equality indices for women.

    I’m damn sick of my right not to die because some godbag thinks that an unwanted blob of cells’ “right” to invade my body and suck off my nutrients must be forced on me at state-mandated gunpoint. No, I won’t survive a pregnancy, and the odious idea that I must take “personal responsibility” at all times to ward off pregnancy, including being hyper-alert for rape and date-rape drugs, condom breakage, and so on, makes me FURIOUS.

    I hate Barack Obama, but I’ll vote for him anyway. He’s done nothing for women’s rights, except for bull-shitey puff pieces like the Ledbetter Act, and very little for gay rights, but at least he’s not actively trying to appoint anti-choice judges to the Supreme Court. That’s more than I can say for Ron “Sanctity of Life” Paul, the BAD doctor. (If I hear him referred to as “the good doctor” one more time, I will KILL.) Smug, condescending “libertarian” freakshow, with his eyebrow wigs and smarmy bedside manner, who wants to not JUST overturn Roe, but load us stupid-ass Americans up with more and more “fetal rights” legislation that chips away at my right not to die as the result of the very, very rare occasions I have P-in-V, or due to rape. You see, the bad doctor has delivered 4K babies. And he’s never performed an abortion once! Ergo, abortion is NEVER necessary. I wonder if he’s plumb brain-dead. I don’t know about you, but I don’t typically see an obstetrician when I want an abortion or Plan B.

    The number of “feminist” dudes caterwauling about liberty this and freedom that – which far as I can tell, amounts to them frolicking about the streets with a bong in hand – do not give one frag about women. And neither does Ron Paul!! The PaulBots are also miraculously, universally, stupifyingly blind to this monster’s faults. And faults he has. In spades! If you are female, gay, black, or really anyone but the top 1 percent, Ron Paul hates you and wants to f**k you hard and fast. In the arse. Without lube.

    But to the LiberalDude contingency, the thinking must go something like, “Ron Paul hates war. Ron Paul says I hate the right to do drugs! Ron Paul can do no harm. Ron Paul forever!” I fear he’ll win the GOP nomination. And worse.

    When Roe falls, I propose women take to the streets in protest. Organize sit ins and Freedom Rides for Choice. And above all, deny every LiberalDude (and GodbagDude, goes without saying) in America P-in-V sex. If said dudes try to take it, we strike back with force. Weapons. Pepper spray. Beatings. It’s Occupy Freedom of Choice, on a grand scale.

    Problem with this is, as alluded to above, many women love enforcing patriarchy. The “oh noes, what about the fetus?” brigade will be out in full force. And you can expect to see armies of women, trained from cradle to grave to please and placate, will go ahead and indulge the BroDudeship with as much P-in-V as their little hearts can bear.

    Sweet patriarchy on a pogo stick, I hate this garbage infested country. If its citizens dropped dead tomorrow of massive pandemic disease, I can’t say I’d be sad. But I’d settle for just Ron Paul dropping dead. If he dies, I’m throwing a party. You’re all invited. Bring beer. I’ll make the margaritas.

    And please, loyal readers of IBTP, please get the word out about what a hideous monster Ron Paul is. Don’t do like the stupid American media and attack Paul on the racist pamphlets, because his brain-dead bots already have their answers memorized, ready to bark on cue, like legions of American school children trained in the know-nothing fact-reciting for the standardized tests they take. If you vote, please tell the token LiberalDude (and “LiberalWoman”) in your life that Ron Paul is not your friend unless you’re a rich white man who sits on the board of Exxon-Mobil. Show and tell. Numbers and facts. Specific legislation this Friend of Godbags Everywhere has passed or proposed. He/she probably won’t care, because – states’ rights! and pot! – but it’s worth a try.

    None of the other feminist blogs are discussing this bad, bad doctor, who’s taken the young voting bloc by storm. We need to get the word out before it’s too late for our reproductive rights.

  74. crickets

    Josquin:

    I think Noomi Rapace is a very conventioanlly attractive woman under the haircut and other trappings of “alternative subculture” that she was wearing in the film – she’s slender, tall, blue eyed, and has bone structure – but yeah the actor who played Blomqvist was your average middle aged chap – just another example of male leads being allowed to look the character and female leads having to look “hot” under any circumstances. Would Lisbeth Salander be so fascinating if she was ugly? I doubt it. There are so many descriptions in the book of Salander’s physical appearance, you can tell that, however well the novel was meant, she was some kind of fantasy for Larsson – Blomqvist is certainly a fictional stand-in for Larsson (exactly the same job/political outlook/characteristics except with a “more exciting” sex life, ha!) I do believe the novel was meant well, was meant to make a point about the exploitation and abuse of women considering Larsson’s political background and the statistics included in the book, but it slips into that melodramatic sexy-killing genre described in Twisty’s posts about detective shows, which is a real shame. When i was reading the book i kept thinking “I wish a woman had written this” – it would have been different, probably better. It’s always the books that men write about women that get all the publicity. I suppose you could say that Salander is written as “rising above” femininity by being given “male” characteristics such as rage, technological skills, desire for vengeance, willingness to kill people, and a desire for women – but she retains the required sexbot attributes too – her physique, her desire for older unattractive men, vulberability (she is described in the novel as a victim, despite being hailed as a strong female character). It’s difficult – there are things i found positive about Salander and the series, but so many negative things as well – it sucks that books like Larsson’s are the best we get in the mainstream. Salander as written by a woman might be out there, but is probably unpublished or unrecognised.

    Lengthy post over.

  75. buttercup

    Josquin, there are many reasons I feel this way. Some of them are contained in this post.
    http://www.therejectionist.com/2011/12/eleven-thoughts-about-lisbeth-salander.html
    (Not mine, obvs, but good)

    I actually popped in to wish the Blametariat a happy Winter Solstice. Happy Winter Solstice, y’all. May the return of the light bring joy to your hearts, in the northern hemisphere at least.

  76. Lovepug

    buttercup:

    Link is spot on, thanks! Particularly this one:
    “Here’s what most women I know who have been raped did to the person who raped them: Nothing. There’s not much you can do. If there were, most women I know probably wouldn’t have been raped. I worked once, more than ten years ago now, with a woman who shot her abuser. She’s still in jail. He’s fine.”

    I didn’t know the book was written by a man. So, kind of glad I didn’t spend time on it. I’m having a hard time not comparing it to the Kill Bill series. It’s funny how men conceptualize rape in terms of revenge. To them, I guess it would be automatic that if someone rapes you, of course you will just go kick their ass. What they don’t realize is how it really works. Justice is rarely served. I will admit to enjoying the idea of revenge, and I’m not opposed to women using weapons and defending themselves. However, the cold reality is that we are regularly and frequently attacked by the patriarchy in ways large and small and most of the time there’s nothing we can do.

  77. pheeno

    “striking glowering poses like the food biz’s very own Nick Cave”

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaa!!!

  78. Keri

    Even the nicest seeming dudes make commentary that pisses me off. I was in a media training the other day where we had to practice being on camera. A man I work with, whom I like by the way, made some comment about how “we girls always look nice because we have make-up on” to help us feel better about practicing. UGH. I personally had the minimum amount of obligatory job related face shit on and I really hate being called a girl since I am 45 fucking years old. IBTP.

  79. josquin

    I appreciate the comments and link re: Lisbeth. And yet…I am somehow not convinced. It’s almost as though the writers are taking away the character’s integrity by forcing her into the box of an exploited woman, by denying that she had any real agency and was therefore a tool of male fantasy. I don’t see her as a conforming attractive woman, in spite of being small and thin. She had no breasts to speak of, which was so frickin great. {You simply NEVER see that in film.) She had a hard face with an imperfect complexion or at least was lit that way. She slept with whom she wanted, and does it really matter if the guy was older and unattractive? She did it for for the sexual release, and because she liked him, not because she was obligated to for typical patriarchal exchange reasons. She was not broken by any means, but was depicted as a complex Asperger’s type of person which comes with its own set of challenges as well as extraordinary gifts. She didn’t need what’s his name to survive – he in fact needed her to save him from dying the hands of the murderer. His agency and autonomy was basically down the toilet at that point. Her revenge on her rapist was not depicted as a fantasy of how to deal with rape – it was made very clear that most victims of rape are silenced and forgotten. But, I am in the minority on this forum and I appreciate the other points of view! (sorry – went on too long)

  80. Lovepug

    josquin:

    Well, the book was sure popular so I’m assuming the author had signiicant writing chops. That you had a different reader response than others just means it was probably well written, all patriarchal undertones aside.

    We’re all different in the ways we interpret and respond to the patriarchy. Also, we’re different in what triggers us. I find there is plenty of shit men do and say that doesn’t bother me. For instance, I would have found Twisty’s farrier comment hilarious. But other shit sets me fuming in a nanosecond. Like Elizabeth Faulkner getting snubbed. If I had something heavy in my hand I would have thrown it at the TV.

    I’m glad you’ve been responding because I have not read the book at all, the film reviews are all over the place, and I appreciate ALL of the blamers responses because it helps me flesh out my own opinion.

    But I’m holding fast on my assertion that Bobby Flay is a Supreme Tool and to anyone who says otherwise I’ll say, “QUIT YO JIBBA JABBA!”

  81. TotallyDorkin

    The thing that always sticks out in my mind when someone writes a fictional story where terrible things happen to the characters, is that the author had to choose to make those terrible things happen, and the characters were probably as real to them as actual people.

    So in that light, Larsson’s decisions to subject his female lead to a gruesome and brutal rape and loads (loads!!!) of infuriating misogyny while his male lead gets to sit in a day-spa prison or play sherlock holmes does not strike me as even remotely feminist.

  82. ElizaN

    JoJoDunc, this isn’t exactly what you requested, but is related: http://health.yahoo.net/experts/menshealth/why-joe-paterno-did-nothing

  83. phio gistic

    Doesn’t Salander start the second book by getting breast implants and going to the beach and having sex with a 15 or 16 year old boy? Or did I dream that?

  84. Satchel

    lovepug thus: Well, the book was sure popular so I’m assuming the author had [significant] writing chops. That you had a different reader response than others just means it was probably well written …

    Gotta disagree with the idea that popular = well written. Even the most casual perusal of any given week’s NYTimes bestseller list should destroy that notion tout suite.

  85. buttercup

    Satchel, also see “Twilight”.

  86. Satchel

    Gah! ::: shudder :::

  87. JfC

    Saurs, you are one of the most excellent blamers around. I appreciate anything you say, whether you choose to write it in comment or blog form.

  88. josquin

    Totally Dworkin,
    It sounds like you are saying that authors by definition must condone the bad things that they create for their characters.Now, I can think of examples of that, like perhaps American Psycho, and I think certain writers do make characters suffer just for the lurid sadistic thrill of it. But I certainly think that responsible writers can create awful circumstances for their characters for very valid reasons like exploring the psychology of these types of injuries and and exposing awful truths which may have hidden under rocks like snakes for too long. If we damn all writers on those grounds, it doesn’t leave authors much to write about, except for happy-happy-joy-joy 24/7 which would pretty much eviscerate literature as an artform.

  89. lesbonaut

    “striking glowering poses like the food biz’s very own Nick Cave or Jim Jarmusch dude so desperately wants to be”

    This explains the inexplicable amounts of Bourdain-love I often heard from a female colleague (who seemed otherwise sensible in many ways). She loved Jim Jarmusch and Nick Cave.

    At least Jarmusch has done some fairly watchable works of probably-unintentional camp, and I view Nick Cave as practically comedy. But there is nothing even remotely redeemable about Anthony Bourdain.

    The truest part of the Rejectionist post is:

    “I guess ‘Is awesome, loves self, probably won’t have sex with you’ would make for a pretty short book, though. Or at least, not a [conventionally] compelling one. Because it wouldn’t be about men.”

  90. Lovepug

    Yeah, I can totally see the point with Stephanie Meyers as the poster child for popular yet crap writing. But in general, for a book to sell, it has to have some kind of merit. I wouldn’t read a Stephen King book if my life depended on it (horror’s not my thing), but I’ve heard from other well read folks that he is a good writer. John Grisham and Danielle Steele too. Shit, Nabakov was a total knob and all, but he could write (though from what I’ve heard a lot of his work was “edited” by his wife). Again, I’ve not read Larsson’s book, so I’m mostly talking out my ass. Suffice to say, there are many good writers out there whose books I would not enjoy.

    I guess my point was that when a book’s character elicits multiple interpretations and characterizations from different readers, it probably means the writer did the work of making the character complex and enigmatic. From what I glean from the comments here and other pieces I’ve read, though the book may be steeped in patriarchy, Lisbeth as a character is not one you can sum up in one quick sentence. Unless of course you read the recent People magazine that I read yesterday while waiting for my daughter which gave a summary of Lisbeth that sounded more like they were talking about a wayward Kardashian or something.

    So, am I reading it right that things get worse in the subsequent books?

  91. josquin

    Lovepug:
    I think the lone-wolf character of Lisbeth is actually about as far from the attention-greedy toxic hollowed-out Kardashians as you can get. Honestly, I’m wondering if the so-called critics of this novel actually read it. (Forget the stupid promos for the American film version – of course they are performing contortions to try to sexy-up the story and portray Lisbeth’s and Thingabob’s relationship as “hott.”)
    But I think you’re right that the authors of popular books often have polished writers’ chops, even if the books are pretty much crap. It’s like TV sitcoms. They may be crap, and they may promote crap, but the actors are still polished technicians, and if I were to try to do what they’re doing, I’d fall on my face. Although I would probably have hated the luridly banal Twilight books,(okay, I didn’t read them) I couldn’t have written them myself to save my soul. Best-selling mediocrity still takes technical skill.
    And with this comment, I’m sure I’ve reached my limit for this thread! I will toast the upcoming New Year with a fine Elderflower cocktail with best wishes to all blamers and eternal gratitude to Jill.

  92. tinfoil hattie

    Delores Claiborne, by Stephen King: Not horror. Definitely one of the best books I have ever read. Many feminist themes, even. Written entirely in first person. Brilliant and gripping.

  93. pheeno

    Yes, Dolores Claiborne was awesome. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon was also quite good.

  94. piratequeen

    All I want for solstice is a Twisty post
    a Twisty post
    a Twisty post.
    Gee if I could only have a Twisty post
    I could better blame the
    pa-tri-ar-chy.

    In other news, there is nothing that cannot be co-opted by the P: http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2011/10/hm-to-release-lisbeth-salander-inspired-clothing-l.html

  95. josquin

    I know I’ve exceeded my commenting limit but my head is blowing up with disgust at piratequeen’s link!! Co-opted indeed. Once again: if a movie featured a male prisoner of war who was tortured, debased, and used as a tool by a sadistic monster, would H&M make a cute, sexx-ay, hott clothing line featuring his look? I know that’s not a very good analogy: my head is too blown up to think of one.

  96. pheeno

    “betting that more women will be looking for that certain ‘bottled-up rage over constant rape by misogynists’ look this season.”

    What. The. Fuck.

  97. Saurs

    Hey, thanks JfC!

    This measured discussion of Larsson has been far more interesting than the usual fanboy reviews found in any glossy highbrow rag. Wasn’t there a blamer book reading club at one or another time?

  98. Cootie Twoshoes

    Blamer Book Club???!

    Yes, yes, please, sign me up! It’s possible to set up book clubs on Good Reads, and it keeps track of titles and club member discussions. How’s that sound? Anyone want to try it?

  99. quixote

    Cootie, you mean like have blamers pre-filter books for levels of patriarchal crapola so I don’t have to get slapped in the face with a dead smelly fish when all I wanted was a good story? That would be great. Count me in.

  100. lizor

    Love the link, Buttercup!!

    “Fuckable damaged girls are always skinny in books by men; fat girls are a different kind of damaged. Which is to say, unlovable. Remember that, the next time you tell someone Lisbeth Salander is strong.”

    If this book was feminist it would not have become the popular franchise it is. I admit I neither read nor watched except the trailers and synopsis. It looks like we have the pleasure of watching a Suicide Girls type hottie get raped (the supposed payment /justification for which is getting to watch hot alt chick do some violence). Then we get to see her have loads of sex with an old dude and also – bonus! – get to hear about the extreme sexual torture of the other female character.

    A skinny, emotionally detached youngster who loves to fuck is such a tired porn fantasy. This shit is right out of Philip Roth.

    Love the take down on that blog. Thanks Buttercup.

  101. TotallyDorkin

    My point was not that writers condone all the things that they write happening to their characters. It was simply that I find it helpful to remember that fiction is about writing with no real-world constraints, and therefore the intentions of the author can be interrogated in a different way.

    From what I remember of the Larsson books (I read them a while ago) Lisbeth Salander is subject to massive levels of graphic abuse and misogyny, and Blomkvist is subject to lots of sex and important dudely research. I think that comes from a place of deep-seated misogyny.

  102. Frumious B.

    Ok, not related to this thread at all, but I have to vent to a sympathetic audience. Is anyone else sick of hearing the phrase “blue bra”? Why is the color of her bra relevant, except to add that extra frisson of pornulation, sexualizing the victim without actually mentioning sex? Longtime blamers may remember Jill writing about the description of the nighties worn by a couple of women in domestic enslavement when they finally escaped. Same phenomenon, and I am about to puke on my own shoes. Feh.

  103. TwissB

    Thanks to Lizor. It’s good to read outright dismissive feminist analyses from minds not clouded by post-feminist academicized flim-flam.

    “If this book was feminist it would not have become the popular franchise it is.” That says it all and should obviate the need to dig through endless pages of junk in a futile search for a positive feminist angle.

    What interests me is what causes some women to try so hard to engage with material like this at all despite the huge promotional and popularity warning signs? Fear that being too critical will isolate one from the group chatter on a popular subject? Or a well-grounded but depressing recognition that misogyny rules?

  104. josquin

    Totally Dorkin:
    You remember incorrectly. Lisbeth did research AND the sophisticated computer hacking to bust out the offenders. She orchestrated a masterful take-down and revenge on her rapist, and prior to that, threw gasoline at her abusive father and set him on fire. (The rape scene was absolutely devoid of voyeur-eroticism. Is was a brutal, foul attack by a disgusting toad, and depicted as such.) Lisbeth was essentially her own agent, and did as she pleased. She had approximately as much sex as Blomkvist, usually with her female friend. She was no broken tool of the patriarchy. Did anyone here actually read this book? And please let’s not disparage all skinny women as de facto tools of the P, nor dismiss every female character who CHOOSES to have sex as a tired porn fantasy. And yes, I know that “choice” is often actually appeasement, but sometime it is truly a choice. And now I am choosing to not comment any more on this thread even if people keep piping up with remarks that sound like they read a completely different book.

  105. TotallyDorkin

    Josquin is apparently the voice of objective observation. How nice to know.

  106. lizor

    TwissB

    “What interests me is what causes some women to try so hard to engage with material like this at all despite the huge promotional and popularity warning signs? Fear that being too critical will isolate one from the group chatter on a popular subject? Or a well-grounded but depressing recognition that misogyny rules? ”

    Yeah, I’d say both.

    I just came from Montreal’s ‘groovy’ alt video shop where I was looking to pick up an obscure old film at the request of a friend. I was sickened to see endless video covers of sexed up women – lots of images of guys fully clothed accompanied by (there were at least six like this) women with clothing that covered everything but their butts/genitals. One held a cake that said “enjoy me”. W.T.F??? This shop is the non-mainstream film intellectual’s “heaven” – one of the most “respected” in the country. The Latin American section was 60% porn (art films about sexually “insatiable” women).

    As for “unsexy” rape scenes – who knows who is getting off on what? I am sick of the justification for the continual feeding and normalizing of rape in “entertainment” as “showing the audience how awful it is” by putting a camera on it. When you consider the percentage of women who have been raped – a huge chunk of the viewing (and buying) audience, this is a blatant “fuck you” to us all.

    I think if a writer director wants to educate audiences about the horrors of rape, all of the victims in the scenes should be men. That would truly be an education.

    I’ve been having a fantasy that survivors would all simultaneously wear t-shirts that say “I am a rape/sexual abuse survivor” The sheer numbers would make it a revolutionary communications event. However, I don’t have the courage to do it myself, hence my designating it a fantasy.

  107. Friend of Snakes

    It is heartening to know there are women who read only feminist literature, I guess. But reviewing books one hasn’t read reminds me of that woman who reviewed a dance performance for The New Yorker without going to the performance. Do you also only listen to feminist music? Go to feminist plays?

    I’m not scoffing, really. There was a time in my life when I would buy records and tape only the female performers. Then I stopped taping any songs if they even mentioned men approvingly. Then I only purchased records by lesbians (didn’t spend too much those years). Then I stopped buying records. But even then I wouldn’t have dreamed of writing a review of, say, the Stones that I’d never gone to hear at all.
    Come on, y’all.

    I loved the three Swedish movies, especially Men Who Hate Women. Didn’t read any of the books. I didn’t find Lisbeth especially attractive, but then I’m not into massive tattoos or facial piercings.

  108. lizor

    F.O.Snakes:

    I don’t watch “entertainment” where I am asked to witness a woman being raped. Period. I try hard to avoid this, but guess what? I fucking end up seeing a shitload of it anyway.

    I attempt to watch films where my intelligence is not insulted, I am not expected to swallow demeaning degrading messages about women’s appearance, our “essential nature” or stories that contain tiresome, predictable P-proscribed insulting-to-triggering fantasies.

    This desire for basic respect narrows the field considerably and I have a right to be pissed off about it. My dollar has 100 cents in it like anyone else’s and I have the right to discuss pop culture’s relentless depictions of rape, whether I have sat through those depictions or not.

    You sound like a straight dude but if you are, in fact, a woman and you are “cool’ with having your nose rubbed in the shit of someone else’s contempt, knock yourself out. But don’t fucking “come on y’all” me.

    There is a difference between “reviewing” something, which no one who did not see/read “Dragon” attempted to do. We are discussing a hugely popular, massively profitable European, and now American, entertainment product.

    I chose not to waste precious minutes of my life joining the trend of consuming these stories and I explained why. Don’t put words in my mouth. Don’t lecture me on what I can and can’t discuss, and please spare me the deets on how you like your lady folk decorated.

  109. Friend of Snakes

    Oh my goodness, lizor, are you saying you not only haven’t read any of the books, but you also haven’t seen any of the movies? Well, I wasn’t addressing anyone in particular, but you surely are 100 percent pure on this whole Lisabeth Salander thing, that’s for darn tootin’.

    Don’t put words in my mouth. Don’t lecture me on what I can and can’t discuss…

    Huh? Did someone do that to you? Who? Where?

    Listen, anyone who uses that old, “you sound like a straight dude” shaming technique when they have a disagreement with someone loses massive points with me. So I guess we won’t be chatting any further. I’ll probably still read your analyses of things you haven’t seen or read, though, as long as they aren’t too long. :)

  110. Gail Green

    The dragon-tattooed girl, like the spike-heel-wearing Roman and the farrier disparaging womanly emotion, is emblematic of patriarchy, which I always blame and tonight, cannot avoid unless I wish to retreat to my home and bed with an armful of feminist literature.

    This is my first year, as a post-Xian, not celebrating Xmas (point of principle) but still trying to be out among living, breathing people and the bright lights. (Coffee shops with wifi seemed like a viable alternative. I’ve tried several and all have the same piped-in music. He, Him, Hymn or “Santa Baby” being sung by a throaty, spike-heel-wearing Roman.)

    I’m getting slightly worn out from recasting in my head the piped-in Xmas standards omnipresent everywhere in public space. (“Oh, come let us adore Li-i-i-fe and free ourselves!”) It’s been going on since Thanksgiving!

    You can experience the prevalence of social brainwashing when paying attention to how the original caroling words as male-invented make you feel. (For me, it’s like being slimed with gooey, dragon-tattooed ick). But I can chip away a little at that globally constructed male privilege and sing along, just for a balance of fair play: “Oh, come let us adore He-e-e-r-r-r-r, Wisdom is Good.”

  111. Triste

    My two cents on Salander – particularly coming from a straight dude author, the rape scenes could be interpreted as being fap material for sick fucks, and whether or not he intended for it to be used as such material, the fact remains that a lot of sick fucks probably yanked it while reading those scenes. The violence against the abusive father and rapist failed to undo the damage done to Salander, but I found it interesting that in both cases the abusive male was somehow scarred in a way that would theoretically prevent them from raping/abusing again – Salander’s father was torched and the rapist was tied down and, IIRC, had something along the lines of “I am a pig and a rapist” carved/scarred/tattooed into his body. The idea of clearly labeling rapists/abusers with such visible marks is mildly compelling.

    Unfortunately the idea is rather lost in the sensationalism of the whole thing, in my opinion. The story has the bones of a feminist tale in it. It’s the details that are typical Hollywood tripe. It wouldn’t take all that much shifting crap around to make it fantastic. Take away the part where Lisbeth inexplicably decides she wants to trust Blomkvist enough to have sex with him, despite his age/her history of being horribly abused by men/etc. Make the violence more subtle and less Hollywood over-the-top. Don’t linger so fucking much of loving shots/descriptions of Lisbeth being sexually tortured.

  112. buttercupia

    Yeah, I read the book. The first one. I said I read it. After that I was done. My opinion stands.

  113. Doctress Ju'uulia

    “I’ve been having a fantasy that survivors would all simultaneously wear t-shirts that say “I am a rape/sexual abuse survivor” The sheer numbers would make it a revolutionary communications event. However, I don’t have the courage to do it myself, hence my designating it a fantasy.”

    I’d do it with you, lizor; I’d wear it every day.

    I haven’t read any of the Lisbeth Salander books, I just CAN’T. Not when I know it’s rape-apologist so blatantly. I’d end up screaming with rage, and that scares my cats. I read some other sci fi recently recommended to me by a dude- The Diamond Age (or ‘An Illustrated Primer For Young Girls’, GAG!). ‘Strong, beautiful female char gets raped’ was the inevitable gist of it. I threw it across the room, too. I want female characters who do NOT inevitably get raped or abused. When an author pulls that tired shit even once, I ‘write them off’ forever. Xed off my reading list forever, and never to be mentioned again.

  114. Cootie Twoshoes

    Yes, quixote! That’s exactly what I have in mind, a place for blamers to recommend to or warn about or discuss with other blamers any book with an ISBN. I’ll set it up when I get some free time in the next coupla days and post the link on this thread.

  115. Nimravid

    I saw the American version of the movie. I wish I had read more about the background before I spent my money on it.

    The thing that always sticks out in my mind when someone writes a fictional story where terrible things happen to the characters, is that the author had to choose to make those terrible things happen, and the characters were probably as real to them as actual people.

    (trigger warning)

    She was “actual people.” The back story is that when he was 15, Stieg Larsson witnessed 3 of his friends gang-rape a 15 year old girl named Lisbeth. And he did nothing to stop them. There are some worse suspicions in my mind when he wrote a book in which the author’s fantasy alter ego has sex with Lisbeth. Leaving that aside, it doesn’t have to get worse than him witnessing his “friends” raping someone, not intervening, and then making graphic entertainment out of it.

    http://radicalhub.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo/

  116. Saurs

    Cootie Twoshoes, thank you for volunteering to set up a Goodreads club for us. Nonfiction selections amongst feminists, womanists, and radfems is usually a given, but I’m dying to know what kinds of fiction everyone digs, especially the fluff holiday reading sort. There was a fantastically long, informative (and to my mind, entirely alien) thread on science fiction (mixed with a bit of fantasy) a coupl’a years ago that made me a bit glum I didn’t grow up a more clever child. I suspect if one isn’t weaned on certain genres early enough that it’s tough to acclimate to as an adult. That’s my excuse, anyway.

  117. Saurs

    (That penultimate sentence is all grammatically fucked up an’ shit, but you all know what I mean.)

  118. buttercupia

    Yikes, nimravid. That’s horrifying.

  119. Cara

    Listen, anyone who uses that old, “you sound like a straight dude” shaming technique when they have a disagreement with someone loses massive points with me. So I guess we won’t be chatting any further.

    Oh, how unfortunate. I’m sure she’s sorry she’s lost points with someone using the “come on, you silly broads, lighten up” shaming technique.

  120. Twisty

    Hey yall I have liberated your gazillion imprisoned comments from the moderation queue. Sorry for the delay, but you know how customer service sucks this time of year.

    Also:

    I’m sure she’s sorry she’s lost points with someone using the “come on, you silly broads, lighten up” shaming technique.

    Heh!

  121. Cootie Twoshoes

    Okay, blamers, here’s the goodreads Blamer Book Club: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/60430.Blamer_Book_Club

    Twisty, are you around here these days? It would make me feel better if you looked it over and let me know if you are or are not okay with the book club’s direct reference to your blog.

    I’m a little embarrassed by my lackluster description on the group page, so if anyone wants to bedazzle it, please do. Also, I don’t know how to put links in the description. If Twisty gives an A-OK it would be nice to add a couple links to this radfem haven.

    Well, however this pans out I can’t tell you how extremely stoked I am to talk books with other radfems!

  122. buttercupia

    So how does one go about joining this book club?

  123. Cootie Twoshoes

    Follow the link, buttercupia. When you’re on the goodreads site, you’ll have to create a user account. It’s set up like just about all social media. Once you’re an official goodreads user, go back to the above linked page and “Join Group.”

    I added one book to the group to kind of pave the way. I’ll wait to see if others get into it before doing any more.

  124. Twisty

    Twisty, are you around here these days? It would make me feel better if you looked it over and let me know if you are or are not okay with the book club’s direct reference to your blog.

    I am around here, albeit intermittently. But as you can probably infer from my sustained sub-par performance as a blogger, I cannot be counted on to pay regular attention to Internetian phenomena. I am all for a patriarchy-blaming book club, though. It’s genius! I’ll advertise it in a post.

  125. quixote

    Woohoo! So, I signed up to Goodreads, and started rolling around in the Blamers’ page. One thing I’m realizing: I have (how should I put this kindly?) simple tastes in books. Twelve year-old level? Maybe nine. You folks are way ahead of me. So I’ll probably be reading more than contributing anything useful. This looks like it’s going to be fun!

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