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Jan 21 2012

Pinkness ensures replication of patriarchal ideals

How delightful to follow a link on the US birth control coverage benefit to HuffPo’s “Women” page. Everything is baby-pink!

What a relief, all that pink, because the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women clearly state that if the fairer sex go longer than 16 minutes without girlification, ghettoization, infantilization, and condescension, they’re liable to start acting like unfuckable men. From there, as you can well imagine, it’s but a short, slippery hop to the cosmos-rocking vortex of horror that would be the dissolution of the gender binary, followed closely by the total destruction of oppression culture as we know it.

In short, to save the galaxy, public institutions need to keep women’s shit pink. So kudos to the internet’s most popular blog for doing its part to ensure the ongoing safety of the status quo.

The reassuring baby-pinkness sets the “Women” section apart from the regular Huffington Post. The regular Huffington Post color scheme is a non-giggly, trustworthy forest green. This green HuffPo, of course, is not for women, but rather for normal people, people who dig porn and don’t dream of weddings 18 hours a day. Replete with gravitas, it’s got stories about Newt Gingrich’s horndog open marriage, a girl getting eaten by a crocodile, a severed head found in Hollywood Park, and a photo of that slut Snooki without her slut makeup.

But the pink women of America don’t give a shit about that crap. What we want is a list of the Top 10 cities where “sensitive men” can be found. We want horoscopes, because astrology is totally fun. And when we read about Newt Gingrich, we don’t want to think about the South Carolina primary, we want to ponder the weighty question of whether you should let your husband screw other women. We want articles explaining why booty calls (“comfort sex”) are awesome. We want about 257 other articles on relationship management and self-loathing. In short, as long as it has to do with sex, it has to do with women. Women equal sex!

The birth control coverage benefit, by the way, is one of the few not altogether depressing things to come down the women’s health pike in quite some time. If you missed it: it ensures (with the usual godbaggy caveats) that health insurance will now cover prescription birth control. For years misogynist jacknuts who adhere to the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women have concluded that any sexual use of women, such as compulsory pregnancy, is perfectly awesome, and that the whole concept of reproductive health is just a feminist, America-hating scam, and that legislation ought to reflect the sacredness of the dudely seed over the health and well-being of us second-class glory holes.

For a second, over at the Huffington Post, while reporting on a rare government platform that appears to quasi-validate the human status of women, the natural order was out of whack. But luckily the aforementioned blog post on the victory for women’s reproductive health appears on a “liberal” forum in a pink ghetto surrounded by infinite messages that women are sex toilets. Whew! Natural order restored!

116 comments

1 ping

  1. Hari

    I remember so clearly one of my very first truly IBTP thoughts on this topic when I was mere ingenue of radfemness in my late teens: I noticed the extreme proliferation, within Women’s News pages/Mags/etc of articles about sex (keeping dudes excited/fixated on YOU alone), relationships (keeping dudes happy/fixated on you), fashion (keeping dudes excited, appropriately to home, workplace, leisure time) housekeeping, arts of dinnerparties and all that. It seemed so strange to me.

    I even said to some GF’s–”isn’t this strange?” naming the ‘womyn’s news’ trends in that direction.

    “Um, strange you say? How so?” answered they.

    “well, with all this constant flow of expertise from psychologists, decorators, fashionistas, doctors etc, it makes it look like being married, and being a proper womyn is such hard work! Like, um, I don’t know–like it’s maybe not exactly natural to us at all, if we need to receive so much instruction about it all the time!”

    Almost needless to say, my peers concluded that it was me that was strange, case closed.

    I did notice awhile back, that some newspapers changed their previously ‘Women’s Section’ to things like ‘Lifestyle Section’, only changing by adding a few items of interest to mainly men like men’s health issues. Then some changed back, I guess out of respect for ‘inclusion’, to Women’s Sections–like HuffPo.

    But yeah, pink. Not only is HP’s Women’s page pink, it is in most other ways just as useless to us as ever.

  2. Lidon

    Ha! What would I do without this blog. Unless they’re flowers, which is tolerable, I already happen to despise the color pink so it’s really adding insult to injury for me.

    I didn’t realize insurance didn’t cover birth control, probably because I’ve been getting it free from Planned Parenthood under a program they offer (which unfortunately does not exist in every state). Of course in Barcelona, I was able to buy it over the counter for 7 or 8 euros. *sigh* And we Americans think we’re so damned progressive.

  3. Penny Sociology

    Why am I not surprised? I’ve been boycotting HuffPo and their sexist linkbaiting for ages (also, Wikipedia and their donkey punching animated gif, but I’ve found them much more difficult to boycott). Sounds like HuffPo is being true to form with their reporting of this bit of good news.

    On another note, I’m a long-time lurker and first-time commenter. I LOVE your blog, Twisty!

  4. lizor

    Wicked wicked wicked post! Thanks so much for this blog!

  5. Justine

    So I’m clicking through all the categories on the navigation bar to see what color Huffington Post used for each category.

    On the ‘Parents’ page, which is mostly green, the ‘Women’ category button is in purple. Since I’m on the ‘Parenting’ page, I’m obviously a woman, but look! Huff was considerate enough of my nontechnical, internet-illiterate female mind so they made the Women’s page link stand out. Thanks Huff, I could have been stuck on the Parenting page forever.

    Hey, the ‘Impact’ page is pink too! Thank god. I thought I might be relegated to only the ‘Women’ and ‘Parenting’ pages. It’s a more vibrant pink than the women’s page was. This page seems to deal mainly with volunteering and charity. Obviously “women’s work”. Isn’t that right Huff?

    Strangely, ‘Military’ is also included under the ‘Impact’ category, which effectively means that the Military news page is in hot pink too. I’m sure this in an oversight on the part of Huff’s designers.

    I’m so glad that the Huffington Post is color-coding my news categories so that I know what I should be interested in.

  6. lizor

    After much lobbying from friends I watched “The Royal Tenanbaums” last night, because apparently I just HAD to see it.

    Wes Anderson is most certainly the king of quirky nice guy P-dudeness.

    The story is of a family with three genius children – two boys one girl – and what does the girl do with her life? Travel the world being tall thin blond and screwing men! That was the sum total of her history! Oh – and a line at the end about her writing a play, but that was not important. More important than her silly writing hobby, all of the male characters wanted to have sex with her, even her father acknowledging the supreme importance of her high level of fuckability in a nudge, nudge kind of way.

    Puke, puke, fucking puke.

  7. Comrade PhysioProf

    Yep. And the New York Times puts almost all of their articles addressing anyfuckenthing specific to women in their “Fashion and Style” section, even if it has to do with business, health, science, politics, or whatthefuckever.

  8. ivyleaves

    That way no men will accidentally read about anything having to do with icky feminine interests! Can’t have “real” men knowing and possibly understanding anything whatsoever about women and their lives, can we?

  9. Mildred

    what would be in a publication for women if there was no patriarchy?

  10. Jezebella

    The only publications women “need,” without patriarchy, would be publications specific to our biology. Otherwise, it’d all be Publications for Tacqueax. [which I'm probably spelling incorrectly.]

  11. Hari

    Comrade PhysioProf—

    Well yeah, of COURSE! B/c anyfuckenthing we womyn DO, be it business, health, science, etc–we are going to damn straight do it with Fashion and Style! And moreover, whatever we do will be So Totally Special as ‘womynly stuff’ as to likely fail to meet standards for The Real…er, teh menz…News.

    Jezebella…erm… Tacqueaux? Do tell.

  12. yttik

    If you really want to blow your lobe, you should visit the dudely science section of HuffnPuff. They’re currently debating the existence of the G spot.

  13. ivyleaves

    Huff post is such a disappointment. I kinda got a glimmer when Ariana Huffington publicized the idea, right around the time she published “Pigs at the Trough,” and even wrote her an email. Never got a response, so I kinda knew it was PR hogwash, but I still didn’t expect her to want to be Just another one of the hogs feeding.

  14. miri

    It looks more like purple to me – a light lilac shade, if you will. But the point stands.

  15. Kea

    As an abstract colour, I quite like pink, although I objected to wearing the pink and purple knitted sweaters in the ’70s, in patterns that matched my sister’s. I can wear pink now occasionally with pride, because (i) I am invisible anyway and (ii) my non-compliance is so blatant that I invariably get a comment along the lines of, “I’m surprised to see you wear pink”, and that’s an instinctive reaction from people who don’t actually understand what they’re saying.

  16. redpeachmoon

    Arianna Huffington has also recently named Anne Sinclair, devoted wife of serial rapist knob DSK, the new editorial director of the French Huffington Post news and comment website.
    Thank you Twisty, for all you endure to keep us posted.

  17. Kea

    How about the dragon tattoo review: Unlike the poster and the clothing line and the beautiful corpse imagery in Vogue, the film itself gives the character an empowering sense of control.

  18. Jezebella

    Hari, at some point in the distant past, a place I cannot find with the search engine, Twisty proposed the use of the gender neutral “tacqueax” to refer to human beings. Except I’m probably spelling it wrong, which is why I can’t find it by searching.

  19. TwissB

    In contrast to the Women’s mags’ preocccupation with articles on how to attract and hold a man, the complimentary (hah!) copies of a Men’s mag that, owing to some marketing data glitch, kept arriving at my mailbox for awhile were full of breezy advice pages on how to f8ck’em and shuck’em.

    About women=sex, Twisty’s deep knowledge of 19th Century literary and political rhetoric may remind her that Victorial gentlemen were wont to refer to women simply as “the sex.”

  20. damequixote

    @lizor I know of the family that movie was based on and unfortunately that is pretty much her.

    The P is always pulling some compartmentalizing marginalizing hooey, but I’m continually amazed at the number/kinds of women taken in so easily. It offends.

    For reasons known only to my subconscious (what the hell is going on in there?) I have found myself srguing online with teenaged and 20 something lesbians who DESPISE other gay women who do not wear makeup, heels and do not make themselves porn compliant. They tell me I am a ‘despicable person’ who will never enjoy the advantages they enjoy from society because they conform to a ‘standard’. They also say any lesbian who does not wear makeup and present as “femme” (just omg) is a disgrace to all gay women.

    Knowing they know nothing of the world, I posted an old picture of Fran Lebowitz and asked if she too was ‘horrible’ blah blah. They said yes, and gave me a list of things that should be done to her IMMEDIATLY (in a salon at least) as she is no doubt suffering without the advantage of ‘femininity’. Then I informed these little pink brained vehicles for eyeliner that she was one of the editors of Vanity Fair…you could hear the cyber crickets.

    In an attempt to educate, I have tried to get them to read some of Twisty’s brilliant posts but we’re safe. They’re no doubt on the pink section of Huff-Po.

    Revlon called.
    Brittany answered.

  21. Bushfire

    The word tacqueau is mentioned in this post and it may have originated from this one.

  22. tinfoil hattie

    Well, my link shows up purple, but since purple is pink’s girly first-cousin, I reckon it’s the same damn thing.

    Oooooh – can we have an argument? “Which is ‘worse’ – pink, or purple?”

  23. Hari

    Thanks Jezebella and Bushfire…a newbie hear, ya know, I’ll need other tutelage probably, too.

    In fact, such a newbie that I desperately need someone to tell me what an MRA is.

    thx!

  24. Bushfire

    Hari, you’re very lucky you don’t know what an MRA is. If you’d like to ruin your innocence, here’s an introductory reading list:

    Twisty’s FAQ section on MRAs, a Wikipedia page on the U.S. men’s rights movement and the blog Manboobz, which makes fun of MRAs.

    In other news, I tried the “pinkness” experiment on my own local newspaper, the Toronto Star. There’s always a bar on the side with titles of popular reads, and whenever the words “The Kit” comes up, there’s always a really asinine article following it. I clicked it just now, and sure enough, The Kit is a hot pink “fashion” section and the main article is “trends we like on men” or something or other about fashion and hott guyz. I don’t have a clue why I’d want to read that– I’m there to read the news, like anybody else.

  25. allhellsloose

    Brilliant as usual. I hate the ‘women’s pages’. So full of crap as you have described and as for sensitive men. PUKE!

  26. Jezebella

    Tinfoil Hattie, I would argue that’s “worse” is that *colors* have been gendered. I, for one, like bright colors and shiny things. This includes pink and purple, and has since I was a tot. I don’t want to conform to pinkification, but I also don’t think it’s fair I should have to reject my favorite colors just because this century’s western patriarchy has decided they’re inferior and girly.

  27. Jezebella

    Bushfire, thanks. I knew I was off on the spelling.

  28. Treefinger

    @Penny Sociology

    Oh geez, I got curious about the donkey punch .gif. Urgh. I just *love* how doing sketchy porn gifs and drawings on the sex pages makes wikipedia immune from criticism.

  29. Twisty

    “I also don’t think it’s fair I should have to reject my favorite colors”

    It’s a global humanitarian crisis.

  30. Jezebella

    Heh. First world problems. What ya gonna do?

    Hattie started it!

  31. Stella

    I am reminded of the time, long ago and far away, during my early phase of nascent, halting, unsure radfeminism while in grad school in the UK*, that I read the book “Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating” by Erik Marcus (http://www.erikmarcus.com/) and was offended by the fact that he broke down his nutritional advice into the following categories:

    Children
    Adults
    Special Diets: Women, Pregnancy, and the Elderly

    I can’t find these pages to reference exactly, but it was something similar to that. I would refer to the book, but I’m no longer vegan and sold all my vegan books to buy tacos. Sorry.

    Anyway, I wrote Mr. Marcus a polite, Southern-lady email (back when I was still a nice Southern lady) suggesting that to lump 51% of the population into the category of “special dietary needs” was both offensive and factually incorrect. Mr. Marcus responded to this gingerly-worded and reasonable suggestion with a rude email basically telling me I should find more important things to worry about (like TEH ANIMALZ OMG), and that I was stupid. Again, I’m paraphrasing. I wish I still had the email, but this was way before Gmail, comrades.

    Thanks for posting about this and providing a space to discuss this kind of ghettoization; like others here, I am routinely surprised by other women’s *lack* of offense, and remain flabbergasted that we are treated, essentially, as a sub-category of children.

    All hail Barbara Ehrenriech for her “Welcome to Cancerland” critique on all that is Brand Pink.

    Also, HuffPo sucks. It’s like a virtual tabloid for the NPR crowd. I can’t believe anyone “reads” it.

    *Where I also got free birth control (in my case, the Pill), as well as all other forms of medical care, through the NHS as a mere visiting foreign student.

  32. IBlameRonPaul

    Many shades of pink are difficult to work with in the context of designing sites and interfaces, but that particular shade looks especially heinous. Designer fail. HuffPo jumped the shark a long time ago anyway, when it turned into a tabloid – but then, what American newspaper isn’t half- or whole-tabloid these days? Oh, maybe the New York Times with their “If the Republicans destroyed the country, we must find some tiny thing the Democrats did, and pretend this is equally vile to prove we’re not ‘the liberal media’ and that we’re ‘fair and balanced’.”

    On to the article itself: It’s cool that American women won the birth-control coverage war. Birth control has been freeing women from unwanted pregnancy, as well as reducing the symptoms of certain reproductive disorders, for almost 6 decades, and that’s something to celebrate. So the next battle for Blamers should be two-fold:

    1. Push to get male birth control approved by the FDA. Many women can’t take birth control, and even among those who can, the side effects can be pretty rank. More importantly, the stereotype of pregnancy as a “women’s problem” needs to be gotten rid of once and for all. Men need to pull their weight in the pregnancy prevention department, and what better way to do that than with birth control for men?

    India’s even developed a method that’s hormone free (http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/04/ff_vasectomy/all/1), and probably one reason most Americans haven’t heard of it yet is because dudes shrink in horror whenever anyone mentions doing anything to their balls. (See also: The higher rates of tubal ligation, a risky, invasive surgery, vs. vasectomy, a fast, outpatient procedure that can now be done scalpel-free.)

    2. Push to get more gynecologists trained in alternative methods of managing pelvic pain and other gynecological ills that don’t involve hormones. Birth control is not a universal salve for all wounds. It makes many women, including migraine patients, women with lifelong depression and/or anxiety, and those with chemical sensitivities quite ill. This blamer is a migraine and anxiety patient and can take no hormones.

    The Pill is a wonderful, liberating invention, but it is not the cure for all gynecological ills for all women, nor should it be. When gynecologists learn and use alternative methods of pain management, drop the “pain is all in your mind” mantra, and start listening to their patients who are tired of explaining, for the eleventeenth time, why they can’t take hormones, we’ll have reason to feel even more victorious.

  33. Jessie

    I found the women’s section in my city’s paper.

    A huge chunk of it is on how women can remain patriarchy-compliant and the top story is on the potential toxins in beauty products. Instead of noting that such products are actually not necessary, the article outlines how to look “pretty without poisoning yourself.”

    Then there’s an article on high heels and the damage they do to your feet, legs and hips. They can even cause knee and hip osteoarthritis and can lead to women having shorter calf muscles.

    Naturally, we’re given tips on “mitigating the damage.”

    Then I learn that in Japan, they’re lowering the size women need to be in order to be considered “obese,” and then I learn how one can get her figure back after childbirth.

    One of the few articles not badgering women on how to look pleasing to men (despite the fact that it may poison you and fuck up your joints) notes that one in four women ends up assaulted by her partner, and one in five will endure being raped.

    Fuck the patriarchy.

  34. IBlameRonPaul

    (“Almost 6 decades” should be “over 6 decades.)

  35. Penny Sociology

    @Treefinger Exactly. Ughhh.

  36. Hari

    Thanks, Bushfire– Some fun reading on my list ;-)

    IBlameRonPaul–

    YES on male birth control, and yes, we need more work to get rid of the idea that pregnancy is a womyn’s problem. I’m reminded of a convo on one of my midwifery forums regarding the Gardasil vax when it first came out. I should start by saying that most midwives are not feminists in the least–with some notable exceptions thank goodness.

    Anyway–even at the beginning of the Gardasil debacle, it was seen to cause a high % of side effects while not offering to prevent much of anything. I suggested that instead of foisting it off on womyn, as usual requiring US to take the hit while men skate, we should demand development of a preventive for men.

    Oh the blank virtual stares! Oh the ‘but men don’t GET cervical cancer…what, are you stupid?’ ‘No, they don’t GET cervical cancer–they just infect us with the virus that causes it. Why shouldn’t we demand a men’s solution from the med complex?” (What, are you stupid?) Well that was just too too too outside anyone’s frame to even consider.

    Now finally, even one of the creators of the vax, from Merck which has made mucho $$ off Gardasil, has come out with a statement that a womyn is more likely to experience side-effects from that vax (including serious harm, or death), than she is to ever get cervical cancer. And further, cervical cancer is in the first place a low-occurrence cancer with a very high rate of cure. Thus rendering Gardasil unnecessary at best.

    And yeah, the tubal-ligation vs vasectomy argument…don’t even get me started on THAT, grrrr!

  37. speedbudget

    Had a wonderful and enlightening conversation with Nigel’s 12-year-old son recently about pink and blue and purple and why these colors are gendered. He was upset about the whole genderification of colors and couldn’t understand what that whole thing was about, especially since red/pink USED to be the purview of boys, while girls were given that “weak” color, blue. It was so nice to talk to him about it. I didn’t have to teach or tell him anything. I just listened and nodded sagely, then sent him an article from Science Blogs debunking some evo-psych asshole who claimed women evolved to like pink. I sh1t you not.

    It occurs to me that maybe if hetero Blamers who want to date limit themselves to only men with vasectomies this could be an interesting social experiment. I mean, most men DO quiver in fear at the thought of vasectomy, but those, in my experience, are the most Patriarchal compliant men, the ones who think their junk is an essential sign of their total manliness.

    I am glad that this legislation forcing coverage of birth control didn’t give an opt out for religious groups. Personally I feel that if your religion is so f8cking precious that you need to opt out from sh1t so as not to get the vapors, you should just pay taxes like the rest of us and quit getting special government treatment.

  38. lizor

    A Blamer is born!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CU040Hqbas&feature=share

  39. lizor

    @ damequixote

    “I know of the family that movie was based on and unfortunately that is pretty much her.”

    Well it’s a good thing Hollywood captured her inspiring story for posterity!

    Your note about young lesbians and P compliance is truly dismaying.

  40. Twisty

    “Also, HuffPo sucks. It’s like a virtual tabloid for the NPR crowd. I can’t believe anyone “reads” it.”

    Neither can I. There’s nothing to read, it’s mostly just a bunch of links to stupid TMZ videos and dumb slideshows that take too long to load on my rural-ass network.

  41. Mildred

    When I look at the Huff Po its the usual chocolateorgasmssexmaternityfashion crap, but the site is blue. What gives? Is this some UK version?

  42. KittyWrangler

    @damequixote re: Fran Lebowitz, thanks for the inspiration! I’ve been looking for portrait subjects and she has a hell of a face. Search complete.

    About pinkness: I’ve heard many feminists cite that the pink for girls, blue for boys scheme used to be reversed before the 1940s or so. Do any of you expert blamers have any idea why? I’ve been looking around on the internet and can’t find any explanation, short of Mrs. Eisenhower inspiring pink bathrooms across the nation–thanks a lot, lady– but that would seem to be after the shift.

  43. Frumious B.

    Hey @IBlameRonPaul and @Hari, condoms are FDA approved and have no side effects. I’m tired of hearing “approve male birth control.” Male birth control exists if only they would use it.

  44. Kea

    Victorian male pinkness theory: British soldiers often wore red and since this was a major manly profession, I guess little boys could emulate them with semi-red. Blue is a colour of flowers.

  45. pkle

    “Women equal sex!”
    Ah, it all makes sense now: we’ve been asking for equality all this time, but apparently haven’t been specific as to just what we’d like to be equal *to*. This has all just been a big misunderstanding!

  46. Twisty

    Ha!

  47. quixote

    @Mildred, you have to admit that news about Snooki is probably more significant that those two blots running for Republican loser. (I’d put a smiley laugh here, but I can’t risk getting banned. This place is a lifeline.)

  48. quixote

    The derivation of pink for boys. Check out medieval sources like herbals and such. (I’ve written papers on topics associated with them and spent way too much time in special collections with other academic denizens.) Red was the color of arousal. Women don’t get aroused. So their color was white. Also male was associated with heat (see arousal, above), therefore women with cold (since they’re not-men, of course) and hence also with blue. Pink being more like red than white, it was a sort of honorary red.

    Then the P decided it was going to be rational during the Enlightenment. Rationality has been associated with cool levelheadedness. Cool is associated with blueness; men, being all things good, therefore rational (talk about irrationally ignoring evidence!), became the blue ones. Women, being always the opposite, became the emotional hysterical ones. You wouldn’t want to call them aroused, of course. Or strong in any way. So not red. Pink. A minor, apologetic, diluted red. (Although some of the dayglo magenta pinks in the mall are missing the spirit of the thing a bit.)

    The really funny thing, to me, is how the culture can do 180 degree turn on the categories, but women remain on the “wrong” side regardless, and the turnaround is so complete, nobody even knows that “everybody” believed the exact opposite six hundred years ago.

  49. Milly

    About contraception. Is a little less PIV in general a workable solution? Or is it just unrealistic?
    Are women who partner with men always going to have to risk multiple pregnancies? Can we start working towards a post-patriarchal solution now?

  50. Twisty

    “Can we start working towards a post-patriarchal solution now?”

    Uterusbot!

  51. IBlameRonPaul

    Hey @IBlameRonPaul and @Hari, condoms are FDA approved and have no side effects. I’m tired of hearing “approve male birth control.” Male birth control exists if only they would use it.

    Sure, condoms are ideal in any situation where the uterus-owning partner can’t take hormones, and especially when one’s sex life is casual (STDs). However, many women express desire for a sperm-stopping method that doesn’t involve latex. Some women are allergic to latex (lambskin, etc. isn’t always available), and others just flat-out hate condoms. A sperm-stopping method of BC would also benefit lesbian couples with one cis partner and one pre op partner. This blamer, a cis woman, has been in this situation before. My point was, the technology is available, so there’s no reason the product can’t be developed and marketed to American consumers eventually. The Blaming upthread is aimed at the cultural barriers that prevent it from seeing the light of day in the US.

    Back to what’s coded female and what’s coded male – did any other Blamers hear about this one: Computer science was once considered to be “women’s work?” (Article here: http://tinyurl.com/43dwr6p.) Once geek dudes realized programming was hard and required talent and skill, they swiftly enacted anti-women barriers to entry, as well as a campaign to replace women with machines. (Horrible ad included in article for your blaming pleasure.)

  52. cellocat

    Hari, do you have a link for that statement by the Merck person who said that the “side effects” are more likely to occur than getting HPV itself?

  53. Hermionemone

    Our venerable and beloved Twisty responded with a technological answer to Milly’s plea:

    “Can we start working towards a post-patriarchal solution now?”

    Uterusbot!

    To which one must emphasize _post-patriarchal_. If this wonderful invention were to appear before the patriarchy is dismantled, consider what the unenlightened factions of the P would do with it:

    Scenario 1: dudes cloning themselves, producing hundreds of copies of the same arrogant jerk, because what more perfect specimen than themselves could exist?

    Scenario 2: dudes hyper-augmenting themselves: bigger stronger more powerful ultimate warrior super-soldiers. That should make for a peaceful post-scarcity future, right?

    Scenario 3: dudes running the machine day and night replicating endless disposable teenage concubines for their pleasure. Augment them too (now which anatomical parts will they focus on first?) Why stop at 72, when you can manufacture as many super-nubile ultra-compliant virgins as you want?

    The auto-uterus-bot will only be a tool of women’s emancipation if it is explicitly _not_ under control of patriarchally-complicit men and women. If such a machine were developed, women of conscience must obtain and retain control of it.

  54. Hermionemone

    Oops! Need /blockquote after ‘Uterusbot’. Sorry.

  55. GMM

    “The really funny thing, to me, is how the culture can do 180 degree turn on the categories, but women remain on the ‘wrong’ side regardless, and the turnaround is so complete, nobody even knows that ‘everybody’ believed the exact opposite six hundred years ago.”

    Because we’ve always been at war with Eastasia?

  56. Mildred

    Derailing for a sec… I don’t know why more women do not get IUD’s. Its like turning your cervix into a lead door for five to ten years. Even if you’re not sleeping with the enemy it’s reassuring. One procedure, no pesky pills or hormones for a great swathe of your reproductive career.

  57. Linden

    Well, the reason I don’t get an IUD is because my insurance doesn’t cover it and it costs almost $1,000 out of pocket.

  58. yttik

    IUD’s can be expensive and invasive and sometimes carry health risks. What I want to know is how come more men don’t get vasectomies? They could bank their sperm for another day if they’re concerned about reproduction and completely remove the threat of unwanted pregnancy forever.

    Since this is such a hard sell, I’m going to have to assume that they don’t want to remove the threat of unwanted pregnancy. I guess they prefer that women remain in a constant state of vulnerability.

  59. Hari

    cellocat:

    “Hari, do you have a link for that statement by the Merck person who said that the “side effects” are more likely to occur than getting HPV itself?”

    Short answer is no–but I’ll see if I can’t find it again, it came out some months back.

    Longer answer by way of clarification: Gardasil side effects are more likely to occur than *cervical cancer* is.

    Lots of people carry HPV virus–which is actually a family of more than 30 viruses; only 3-4 of them are linked to cervical cancer, and only a few HPV carriers ever get cervical cancer. HOWEVER: causes for cervical cancer remain unclear. A few HPV strains have been linked to cervical cancer, and this is not really the same thing as knowing HPV ’causes’ cerv. cancer. There’s a statistical link btwn carrying HPV and getting cervical cancer, a fairly strong one, but no direct cause is identified. Not very many HPV carriers get cancer…and not all cerv. cancer victims carry HPV.

    I’ll see if I can find that link.

  60. Hari

    Both the pill and the IUD present health risks to womyn. I’m not sure about all IUDs, but some of them do in fact contain hormones. Plus, they don’t prevent conception–they just USUALLY prevent implantation. Which is all very well, except for the fact that if conception and implantation occur, the risks become much greater, for mother and any baby that mother decides she’d like to keep.

    One of the bigger risks of carrying an IUD baby is that it will cause a 2nd trimester miscarriage (due to IUD having damaged the baby too greatly). 2nd tri. miscarriages are statistically far more dangerous to womyn than the more common 1st tri miscarriage that occurs if a fetus is not viable or mom has other underlying issues preventing successful pregnancy.

    So I don’t like the IUD any more than the hormones, for womyn’s health.

    By the way, yttik–on vasectomy: I’ve known couples where womyn got IUD, hormones or tubal, ONLY because in spite of both knowing the relative/respective risks, the dude was too scared to get cut…and the womyn, in proper masochistic/sex-class fashion, was willing to take on the risks herself. Go figure.

  61. Stella

    I don’t want an IUD because the insertion procedure freaks me the fuck out to the point that I would rather risk having to have an abortion. Avoiding getting my uterus dilated is one of the reasons I don’t want to get pregnant in the first place!

    Also, if the IUD were to slip, puncture, prove to be faulty, or otherwise fail, you might not immediately be aware of this – until you were pregnant (and likely an ectopic one, at that!).

    I don’t understand women who adamantly do not want to get pregnant who “forget” to take the Pill. It’s not that hard to remember. I also know if I missed one, so I can take secondary precautions, or avoid PIV altogether.

    I also don’t like the idea of having a contraption stuck inside my body; a contraption that requires medical intervention to remove.

    IUD’s can also change your cycle: if you’re on the Mirena, you’re still getting hormones; if you’re on the copper Paraguard, you’re hormone-free, but using a product that causes longer and heavier periods for the majority of women. No, thanks!

    Finally, as pointed out upthread, the up-front costs for an IUD are currently prohibitive for many women. The new Preventative Care Mandate will hopefully remove this barrier for us. I remain shocked that it also covers sterilization (!). What I wonder is if condoms are now a tax write-off?

    Personal anecdote: I am lucky. I have been on the Pill for 13 years with zero pregnancy scares and no negative side effects. I got clearer skin (the reason I originally went on it), much shorter and lighter periods, a regular cycle, and thirteen years of blissful, pregnancy-free sex.

    The Pill is not the answer for every sexually active hetero woman, but for many it’s still superior to the IUD.

  62. Twisty

    “Which is all very well, except for the fact that if conception and implantation occur, the risks become much greater, for mother and any baby that mother decides she’d like to keep. ”

    When discussing reproductive material on this micro-level, Savage Death Island prefers the non-Biblical “fertilization” to “conception” and “zygote” to “baby.” Conception is what God does to virgins, and babies have big blue eyes and play pattycake.

  63. Hari

    cellocat:

    Here is a link to an article that discusses Gardasil at length, including many quotes from Diane Harper, a lead researcher of Gardasil for Merck, and also serving on a WHO advisory board.

    http://www.pop.org/content/merck-researcher-admits-gardasil-guards-against-almost-nothing-985.

    Twisty–on preferred reproductive terms: duly noted.

  64. Margaret

    A Mensinga pessary, which Dr. Aletta Jacobs used to prescribe for birth control, is on exhibit at the university museum here. It looks half decent for a female condom of the early 20th century. That woman was a total wonderful badass, not just for being a first female doctor, but an activist for women’s rights. She had a LAT relation (Living Apart Together) and would not marry.

    Just thinking about the constant pain from the Copper 7 IUD that was in me for a year in the 1970′s is enough to cause nightmares…

    Any guy who’s too scared to get a vasectomy and prefers that his partner get a tubal deserves contempt. Though, it does have the unintended side effect of opening up the possibility for the woman to stray freely. I wonder if the P has noticed this.

  65. Rachel

    That article has some very interesting (if true) figures, but does an abrupt dead end into howling crazy right at the finish:

    “After all, the proponents of sexual liberation are determined not to let mere disease—or even death—stand in the way of their pleasures. They believe that there must be technological solutions to the diseases that have arisen from their relentless promotion of promiscuity. After all, the alternative is too horrible to contemplate: They might have to learn to control their appetites. And they might have to teach abstinence.”

  66. Rachel

    Ahh, explained:

    http://www.pop.org/about/faq
    “PRI is a pro-life, anti-population control organization”

    Somehow I don’t trust their opinions on women’s health issues.

  67. Hari

    Oh crap! Srsly? I did not read it thoroughly…couldn’t find the original article I’d read, googled ‘Merck on Gardasil’, and found several links. Read enough to determine the basic info was in that article that I’d earlier mentioned. Well, I hereby disassociate myself from the authors of that article, whose opinions are strictly their own.

    The figures noted, if I’m not mistaken however, are correct. I’ve read a lot of studies on Gardasil. The news is not good–and would Harper, Merck’s own rep, say what she says if those figures weren’t correct?

  68. ivyleaves

    I don’t want an IUD because the insertion procedure freaks me the fuck out to the point that I would rather risk having to have an abortion. Avoiding getting my uterus dilated is one of the reasons I don’t want to get pregnant in the first place!

    An abortion involves dialating the cervix as well.

    I don’t understand women who adamantly do not want to get pregnant who “forget” to take the Pill. It’s not that hard to remember. I also know if I missed one, so I can take secondary precautions, or avoid PIV altogether.

    I’m happy it’s not that hard for you, Stella, but it was very hard for me, and your scare quotes around “forget” are demeaning to those of us who have problems along that line. I’m pretty sure I was adamant about not being pregnant, because I got abortions to avoid same.

  69. Mildred

    I just realised that I opted to get an IUD because if I ever were to get pregnant people wouldn’t judge me behind my back if I said I was on the pill (my fault) or the condom broke (my fault).
    My brother in law impregnated his girlfriend, he found out about this a few weeks after they broke up, to which everyone said she did it on purpose, no one even saying that maybe he should have tried using condoms if he didn’t want to get her pregnant.

  70. Jezebella

    Stella, bully for you and your happiness with hormonal birth control. The IUD is a much better alternative for many others, including myself. Hormones, for me, cause depression, continuous weight gain, and loss of libido. The upfront cost of the IUD, with health insurance, was $100. It is my understanding that, without health insurance, the Pill can cost up to $100/month.

    And, as ivyleaves pointed out, while the IUD requires slight dilation of the cervix, so does an abortion.

    In conclusion: just because you’re happy with the Pill, please don’t go around telling people how awful the IUD is, especially since you haven’t even tried it. Thank you.

  71. Wandering Uterus

    The IUD has a bad reputation mostly because of the Dalkon Shield. The main problem with it was that its braided sting wicked nasty bacteria into the uterus, and such strings aren’t used with modern IUDs.

    And the P has a stake in preventing women from obtaining low-maintenance, long-term birth control. That also accounts for a percentage of the bad press – especially pertaining to IUD use in younger women.

  72. Katy

    Another woman who respects her copper IUD here. Remembering to take a pill at the same time very day for 20-30 years wasn’t difficult per se, just completely unacceptable, along with the blood clots.

  73. Linden

    I read that the Mirena IUD used to cost about $300 in the US (and still does in Canada) until its manufacturer purposely jacked the price up, figuring if women would pay about $20 out of pocket per month for the Pill, they should pay $1,000 for five years’ worth of birth control.

    I’m not sure if the new mandate will apply to my health insurance, since I get insurance through COBRA and everything I’ve read says the rule will apply to “employer provided” insurance only. As always, IBTP.

  74. Hane

    Am I alone in being bitter and angry that contraception has essentially not changed in the forty fucking years since I wrote about it in my college newspaper? We have hormones that can louse up our overall health in sundry ways (from depression to stroke-causing clots), barrier methods that are fallible and made of substances to which many of us are allergic, gizmos that work by irritating the bejeebers out of our uteruses (IUDs are expensive, and I know women whose bodies rejected them), and invasive surgery.

    Way back when, I read an article about something that amounted to reversible vasectomy: minimally invasive surgery in which tiny gold clamps were inserted to block the flow of sperm through the vasa deferentia. Another surgery could be performed to remove the clamps when the dude-unit wanted the sperm-flow to resume. Needless to say, this idea went nowhere.

    IBTP, with a burning, seething rage.

  75. yttik

    It is sad that women must remain in a constant state of self defense against pregnancy, even risking their health, simply because so many men believe they are entitled to engage in fertile PIV. I mean seriously, get a vasectomy, try other forms of sex, or use your damn hand.

    Seriously, if I cared about somebody, I would never expose them to the risks of “blood clots,” “cervical dilation,” “wicked nasty bacteria into the uterus,” or even a 200 dollar copay. I’d simply refrain from doing whatever caused all these miseries.

  76. Hane

    yttik, marry me already. Hard.

  77. Milly

    You said it yttik. PIV has some serious consequences for women. I hate having to worry about it all the time. Already had one baby due to diaphragm failure, second was planned but now I’m done. Just have to badger Nigel into a vasectomy. Easier said than done.

  78. cellocat

    Rachel, yes, I was pretty thrown by those last two paragraphs. Hari, thanks for the info. I’ll do some more research on my own.

    yttik – there’s not only the desire for fertile PIV, but also the complaint that condoms “don’t feel good”. Nothing can be allowed to get in the way of d00ds’ pleasure, after all.

  79. IBlameRonPaul

    This comment from a Jezebel article, which came up in Google when I searched for online discussions pertaining to this topic, sums it up for me:

    “I’ve had enough of women jumping through hoops to avoid reproduction. Why do those who DON’T want kids have to justify it and be talked down from abortions or sterilizations or IUDs while those who are having kids while very young/unprepared/unable to care for them are basically ignored or elevated for “doing the right thing!” Oh, that’s right, it’s because all women want babies! And if you don’t then there is something wrong with you and we’ve got to talk you out of it, right now.”

    While these days, contraceptives aren’t an issue for me personally (swore off P-in-V, and am not straight anyway), I remember the days when they were quite well, and it pisses me off exquisitely that anyone needs to go through all this trouble.

    Also, I spent the past two weekends undercover, exposing a crisis pregnancy center. I might write up a little report on what I found out. I encourage other Blamers to do the same. We need to call these fraudulent religious nuts out on their tactics of goading scared young women into compulsory pregnancy while we pay for it with our hard-earned tax dollars. I blame the George W. Bush patriarchy.

  80. Hari

    Hane: “Am I alone in being bitter and angry that contraception has essentially not changed in the forty fucking years since I wrote about it in my college newspaper?”

    No, you are not alone in this! And while the med system is now required to tell more about risks than in earlier days, womyn still don’t know all the risks–and we are also taught to pretty much disregard them. Because hey, PIV w/fertile men is just a requirement, eh? And only womyn get pregnant, so we just have to deal–unless we want to be unfuckable, the worst possible sin in P.

    yttik–no, I coudn’t care about someone, and then ask them to bear the burden of health risk. But then, we are womyn, and caring is our business as the sex/service class. If there is one thing I’ve learned the hard way, every which way of being fucked/fucked-over/mind-fucked by the P, it’s that I damn well better care about myself. Ain’t no one else actually going to.

    And I highly recommend this course of basic action–caring as fiercely about oneself, or more, than about anyone else. Such a committment can’t help but lead to serious questions about the inherent dangers of PIV, and how much one is expected to sacrifice on account of it. Which questions, asked with a clear hard look at all the facts, can lead a womyn to actions that can vastly improve (and even save) her life.

    Of course, IBTP for the fact that it’s so damn difficult as to be nigh-on impossible for womyn to regard themselves, and treat themselves, with the same level of care as we extend to others. And think it’s the most radically P-deconstructing act of all, to adopt that attitude–with necessary actions–of self-care first.

  81. Hari

    Milly–just tell Nigel “No more PIV until post-vasectomy screen shows you are sperm-free”.

    IBlameRonPaul–

    I hear you on ‘crisis pregnancy ctrs’. Here, they changed their name to Pregnancy Matters, to avoid looking so obviously like a mere enforced pregnancy ctr. So clever. Once I had a yard sale, and this anti-choice fanatic showed up, asking if I had baby stuff for her to donate to the crisis pregnancy ctr. She got started on her ‘abortion mill’ ranting, and I just said, all nice, “Hey, I’ve been wondering…is there any extended help offered to womyn and their children beyond the first few months past birth, or beyond baby clothes and strollers and such? You know–things like help with childcare so mom can go back to school or work, embracing poor single moms into your families so they won’t be isolated, stuff like that? Because, you know, once a baby is born, comes the part of raising the kid…”

    She stuttered and stammered and ended up saying “That’s a really good idea, I’m going to take that back to my church to discuss”. Sure, lady, when pigs fly, I thought–but only said “Yeah, that would be good”.

  82. lizor

    @Hane

    “Am I alone in being bitter and angry that contraception has essentially not changed in the forty fucking years since I wrote about it in my college newspaper? We have hormones that can louse up our overall health in sundry ways (from depression to stroke-causing clots), barrier methods that are fallible and made of substances to which many of us are allergic, gizmos that work by irritating the bejeebers out of our uteruses (IUDs are expensive, and I know women whose bodies rejected them), and invasive surgery.”

    I blew a lobe a few years back when there was a rash of stories about how certain types of men’s underwear made the male wearers infertile. Underwear!!! See, their nuts are so fragile and sensitive, that a bit too much warmth (in this case from tight gitch) puts the swimmers to sleep. So women go through all you have listed and all it takes is a pair of speedos to put the tadpoles out of commission?

    I am being slightly facetious – I would not have unprotected PIV with a dude in speedos, for, oh so many reasons. But my point is, if males are so easily, and non-toxically or invasively rendered infertile, why the f*&k are we carry all risk in sex? (That was a rhetorical question)

    @Hari, lovely note about caring fiercely for oneself. I’m going to carry that with me.

  83. Rachel

    Milly – If dealing with the schmuck becomes too much, I can’t say enough good things about Essure. 30 min outpatient procedure and a $20 copay for a lifetime worry-free. It was my wedding present to myself (Nigel volunteered for a vasectomy, but I wanted the peace of mind of knowing that even if I’m raped, divorce, or just somehow sit down on a live sperm, I’m safe) and despite a huge gaggle of friends, neighbors, and doctors pleading with me not to do it five years on it’s still the best decision I’ve ever made. Way better than going to law school.

  84. Hari

    Rachel–thanks for the news on Essure, which I was not previously aware of. Sounds like it could be a good longterm solution, although I’ll be keeping an eye out for evidence of longterm risk…which is what tubal ligation is most known for. Not to be too much the Debbie Downer here, just that history has a lot to teach!

  85. yttik

    I hadn’t heard of Essure, but it looks like an interesting alternative to having your tubes surgically tied. However, I do need to complain about the terminology used on their website. The inserts are allegedly “soft and flexible” and “slide gently” into your fallopian tubes via the “natural pathways of your vagina and cervix.” I realize they’re selling a product here, but I am so tired of people referring to invading a women’s internal reproductive system like it was something as casual as having your teeth cleaned! I mean seriously, it’s at least as invasive as having a root canal but you never hear people talking about the “gentle ease” of having a dental drill shoved into the “natural pathway of your mouth.”

  86. Stella

    ivyleaves: “An abortion involves dialating the cervix as well.”

    Exactly. That was my whole point.

  87. Mildred

    I wonder if “normal” women love PIV, I think about this. They seem to, there are whole reams of blogs out there praising its virtues. I feel like, if you were to say you weren’t fussed you’d be reminded all too soon of all the women who LOVE IT. I’m literally indifferent and hate the whole cultural hoopla and all the pap smears, yeast infections, STD’s, bladder infections, pregnancy scares, several forms of birth control, (and the huge associated cost from 12 years of it) all that I had to endure for something I feel like I could really only go for a couple of times a year. And yet, this thing, if I were to say this, demand this, my marriage would probably be over within the year.
    we need a #thingsican’tsaytonigel hash tag.

  88. Rachel

    yttik – Oh god yes. The most unsettling thing about the whole experience was the feeling that someone was rooting around in my actual organs. Not painful per se but an intensely alien sensation. Nothing to be taken lightly, for sure.

    And as always there is much patriarchal bullshit involved. I may have mentioned this story before on here a few years back but what the heck – The doctor who agreed to perform the procedure on me first had to ask about my husband’s feelings on the matter, and then “but what if you get divorced and marry a new man, who wants children?” I do think it was my huge grin and excited response of “Well he’d be shit out of luck then wouldn’t he!” that made the difference.

  89. Twisty

    The one thing no human is allowed to be is asexual. I did a piece on the subject a couple of years ago. The gooniest fetishes in the world are adjudged preferable to having no interest in boinking at all. It’s irrational. Explain to me why a post-menopausal woman should maintain a “healthy” sex drive. Never mind, I’ll tell you why. If she doesn’t she’ll be considered mentally ill. Because sex is what women are for.

  90. Rachel

    It should be by definition that nothing is wrong with asexual people. A mental illness has to cause significant, life-impairing distress to count as an illness by every standard of psychiatric treatment I’m aware of. But I suppose the pertinent question is, distress to whom? Clearly they’re not thinking of the patient.

  91. TriciaMilitia

    Hari:
    “yttik–no, I coudn’t care about someone, and then ask them to bear the burden of health risk. But then, we are womyn, and caring is our business as the sex/service class. If there is one thing I’ve learned the hard way, every which way of being fucked/fucked-over/mind-fucked by the P, it’s that I damn well better care about myself. Ain’t no one else actually going to.

    And I highly recommend this course of basic action–caring as fiercely about oneself, or more, than about anyone else. Such a committment can’t help but lead to serious questions about the inherent dangers of PIV, and how much one is expected to sacrifice on account of it. Which questions, asked with a clear hard look at all the facts, can lead a womyn to actions that can vastly improve (and even save) her life. ”

    HUZZAH!

    IUD: I’m a childless 25 year old. I went to 5 doctors in my insurance network (which I’m lucky to have) before ANYONE would agree to jam one in for me. (And jam they did.)
    I was quite surprised that the P’s all-holy need for me to reproduce would override my general ‘unsuitability’ due to MS and my tattooed lady status.

  92. yttik

    “The one thing no human is allowed to be is asexual”

    Yes Twisty, but what’s really weird is that we don’t even know what “asexual” really is. I mean, sex is defined from a completely male perspective and pretty much means PIV, end of story. Foreplay isn’t even called “sex,” it’s what you do to get to PIV.

    I imagine if we were ever allowed to create an unbiased definition of “sex,” it would include all sorts of things we never really thought of before, bubble baths, cold lemonade on a hot day, who knows. I’m pretty sure I once felt sexual attraction towards a giant pina colada with a salted rim.

  93. Hari

    Yeah, Twisty!

    “Explain to me why a post-menopausal woman should maintain a “healthy” sex drive. Never mind, I’ll tell you why. If she doesn’t she’ll be considered mentally ill. Because sex is what women are for.”

    I once ventured, in a group of post meno womyn discussing HRT toward restoration of sex drive: “but why do we need a greater sex drive anymore?” They thought (yes, there’s a pattern of this in my life) that I was just nuts.

    My post-meno sex drive is perfectly healthy! I’m happy with having far less urge, but hey, I’m just nuts–because I don’t identify properly as a member of the sex-class.

    And yeah, yttik–an untutored definition of sex would be much grander and more inclusive than the present cultural one.

  94. Hari

    untutored by the P, that is. Freely defined sex!

  95. KittyWrangler

    @yttik

    When you said you had a problem with the terminology on Essure’s site I thought you were going to point out how they use “your family is complete” as a euphemism for, “avoiding pregnancy.” They even use it as a technical term in the FAQ. Do we really need a euphemism for not becoming pregnant, especially on a website for permanent birth control? And what’s with the alienation of women who haven’t “completed” a family who may want the procedure?

  96. Hari

    Well, y’know–’I feel my family is complete’ is such a nice, womynly, positive thing to say… as opposed to something like “Hell, NO, I don’t want to be saddled with any (or any more) brats!”

  97. Ugsome

    I understand the term ‘my family is complete’ as comprising 0 or more children. Arguably, for parents of especially problematic offspring, that range could extend into the negative numbers.

  98. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Oh my my, oh hell yes, there must be NO disinterest in boinking. No one, health care provider or no, has been able to explain to me what a “healthy sex drive” even IS, much less why I need one.

  99. ivyleaves

    If you have eschewed men as well, and are not lesbian or bisexual, “family is complete” can be really confusing. I think the best family, though, is the one you get to choose by keeping it to friends and people you really like.

    Losing my sex drive was the best thing that ever happened to me. Not being driven into demeaning relationships and compromising on what I want to hang on to sex is the greatest! I’ve never been happier.

  100. Hane

    Re the “asexual” thing–One thing that’s always bothered me about speculation regarding the Private Lives of Unattached Women in Days of Yore: historians of all sexual orientations tend to speculate that, if a woman wasn’t married or in obvious sexual partnership with another person of either sex, then that woman had to be a) Secretly Lesbian, b) Secretly Getting It On With Some Dude, or c) Really Fucked Up, And Not In A Good Way. As in, one MUST be sexing it up with someone else in order to be a Whole Human Being.

    It pisses me off hellaciously when female historians fall into this fucked-uppedness. You’d think they’d know better.

  101. Hari

    Hane–yeah.

    Surely some of those womyn of yore actually were lesbians with no way to practice it–or at least not openly–due to a real threat to their lives if they did. Possibly some were having at it with secret male lovers. And why oh why even womyn historians fail to acknowlege yet another, fully healthy/whole category of asexual, is beyond me.

    Sexual relationships, whatever their pleasures or natures otherwise, constitute an entanglement with another’s physical and emotional identity. Unless all you do is serial one-nighters, anyway, physiological and biochemical factors help create that entanglement of persons over time, even without all the social claptrap that encourages/demands it. Which is not bad OR good, that’s a matter of opinion–it just is.

    But why can so few imagine that some simply don’t want/need that entanglement? Are actually whole within themselves, in no need of ‘completion’ by another of either sex?

    It’s so good to hear other womyn address this.

  102. Hane

    Full disclosure: While I am indeed quite content to be single, I do miss the odd bout of PIV, and wish there were something I could do to get rid of this annoying and counterproductive sex drive. Yeah, I’m a sister who doesn’t hesitate to do it for herself, but sometimes I’m not in the mood.

  103. lesbonaut

    “Asexual” as a term technically means “being able to reproduce on your own without the input of a partner.” It actually has nothing to do with “being uninterested in PIV.”

    “Asexual” also does not cover “interested in sex and still having sexual desire/feelings, but celibate because maybe not fond of PIV, and definitely not interested in all the patriarchal bullshit that comes along with relationships or casual sex encounters.”

    We perhaps need to come up with a better, more accurate term.

  104. Hari

    lesbonaut–

    Yes we need a better term than asexual. Or even ‘celibate’, because as I understand it, celibacy means total abstinence from sex in any form–even with oneself. I haven’t eschewed my sexuality altogether, just don’t share it anymore.

    Recently I had a convo with a funfem queerwomyn who assumed I was strictly het (was it the kids?) who couldn’t possibly understand queerness. This was by way of her assertion that I ‘erased’ transwomyn/queerwomyn by saying I wanted to see more womyn in the local Occupy (which I very briefly engaged with, soon withdrawing in horrified rage). How she got to that, from “the group needs more womyn” is a mystery.

    But rather than explaining that my propensity for sexual attraction included womyn, or that I’d sworn off sex with other people entirely, I just told her that LGBTQA didn’t really cover my category of ‘otherness’.

    Hmmm, maybe autosexual or selfsexual?

  105. Twisty

    Lesbonaut, I remind you that words can, and most do, have more than one meaning. What you describe is asexual reproduction. However, “asexual,” in the context of gender discourse, can and does refer to a non-orientation, or the condition of having no sexuality, characterized by a compleat lack of interest in boinking of any kind.

    “Autosexual” and “self-sexual” both refer to a state of sexuality, which in the case of the asexual, does not obtain.

  106. Hari

    Quite so, Twisty–

    It would seem then, that asexual keeps its place in the sexual orientation lexicon, and auto-or-selfsexual may be a needed addition relevant for some.

  107. ytiik

    “or the condition of having no sexuality”

    That’s why need a better word than asexual. Sex and sexuality are not the same thing. We’re people, we’re sexual beings, no matter what we’re doing. The problem is “sexual” is defined by the patriarchy and therefore full of biases.

    Tim Gunn’s sexual orientation is not asexual, he is a gay man who has made a conscious choice not to have sex.

  108. lesbonaut

    Twisty, thank you for reminding me that words can and do mean multiple things. I always wondered what those little numbers meant beside words in the dictionary. It was very confusing for my estrogen-addled ladybrain.

    The problem is, perhaps many words should mean different things than they commonly do right now, and perhaps people often use some words when they possibly should use other words instead.

  109. Twisty

    Thanks, lesbonaut, for upping the sarcasm ante. You are a model Savage Death Islander. I look forward to reading the Lesbonaut Dictionary of Words That Should Mean Different Things Than They Do Right Now when it comes out. Would be too much to ask for an advance review copy?

    yttik, but there is a word for someone who has consciously chosen to bag sex; it is “celibate.” The word for someone who ain’t got no sexuality is “asexual.” The assumption that everyone has “sexuality” is in error. It’s like saying atheism is just another kind of religion.

  110. Darragh Murphy

    Huh. Does that mean to be actually asexual one would have to be incapable of feeling sexual pleasure and/or sexual arousal of any kind? So, asexual people don’t masturbate or have sexual fantasies etc.?

    I sort of assumed that most women who indentify themselves as asexual (or men like Tim Gunn) are approximately asexual, not completely; that they are mostly uninterested in sex at all for whatever reasons, but that sexual desire and feelings sometimes rear their heads, and that for asexual people the infrequent reminders that their bodies have sexual responses are just not a very big deal and very easy to not act on.

    That asexual people literally do not have sexual responses would be a surprise to me. Not a bad surprise, just a surprise.

  111. MezzoPiana

    ‘Asexual’ (whether procreational or recreational) doesn’t mean two different things anyway. It always means ‘not sexual’ and as such describes exactly and quite tidily what is going on in both contexts.

    We wouldn’t need a different word for ‘homosexual’ if some animals could reproduce with another member of their own sex, would we? We’d just call it ‘homosexual reproduction’.

  112. ytiik

    Twisty, plants have a sexuality. toasters do not. It is not an error to assume that sexuality is a reality of everybody’s life because we are biological creatures. Sexuality is a broad term that is poorly defined under patriarchy, but it includes asexual people. Sex and sexuality are not the same thing. Even children have a form of sexuality.

    To say asexuality is the condition of having no sexuality at all is to 1. imply that people have a condition, like a disease or a defect and 2. to reinforce patriarchal notions that people who do not engage in sexual activities are not really human beings but rather cold, mechanical toasters.

  113. quixote

    (Sheesh, people. I can’t believe those of you arguing language issues with Twisty. Have you not noticed her incredible command of English? I know nothing about her, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn she’s an English prof at UT-Austin.

    For what it’s worth, from a professional biologist and amateur appreciator of English, she’s exactly right in her definitions. And, no, the definition of “asexual,” without sex, is not impossible because multicellular biological creatures produce reproductive cells. The word describes a state. You can argue about how purely it ever happens in reality, but the definition is “without sex.” It’s like the physicists’ concept of a black body. A perfect one they tell me can’t exist in reality, but it’s a useful concept anyway.)

  114. Keri

    Apparently Pink is just awesome for women but has been determined to be such a humiliating color to wear for men that it is illegal.
    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/03/09/440728/reagan-appointed-appeals-judge-suggests-sheriff-arpaios-pink-underwear-is-unconstitutional/

    “When a color of such symbolic significance is selected for jail underwear, it is difficult to believe that the choice of color was random. The County offers no penalogical reason, indeed no explanation whatsoever for its jail’s odd choice. Given the cultural context, it is a fair inference that the color is chosen to symbolize a loss of masculine identity and power, to stigmatize the male prisoners as feminine. . . .”

    Imagine spending your whole life stigmatized as feminine.

  115. qvaken

    Oh yes Keri. Just search “inmates pink” on Snopes. Pink clothing is used in that prison as humiliation.

    But don’t worry, commenter Serpico Ruano (at the article that you linked) says, “Hopefully one day Mr/ Arpaip will have to wear pink himself,” so that Sheriff Arpaio can truly get his comeuppance.

  1. Sex Educations: Gendering and Regendering Women | A Radical TransFeminist

    [...] for harassment. But it doesn’t need transsexual women setting a bad example. Let’s pass the mic to Twisty for a moment, speaking on a related subject (though not specifically regarding transsexual women): … if [...]

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