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May 27 2012

Actor who has had the balls to utter “vagina” on TV: “It’s just an inherently funny word”

The sassy ubiquity of the hilarious word “vagina” in popular culture is the subject of this foofy article in the LA Times.

Unmentionable for so long, referred to with euphemisms including “down there” and “hoo-ha,” the anatomically correct “vagina” has gone mainstream. It’s now become not just acceptable in many circles but fashionable. It’s being used as a punch line on sitcoms and in movies. It’s appeared on magazine covers. It’s become a political shorthand in an election year laden with women’s health and reproductive issues. It even has its own memoir — “Vagina: A New Biography” by Naomi Wolf — due in September.

At long last. Women are gettin’ more liberated because sitcoms now feel free to play the vadge for long-overdue laffs!

The photo is the cast of “Girls,” a presumably (I haven’t seen it) edgy “twentysomething HBO comedy” famous for having been masterminded by — hold on to your hats — a smart young lady. According to the Times, “Girls” alludes to vaginas at least once every episode. The pretty, youthful, honky cast is so empowerfulled by this vadge-banter that they pose, like all liberated women who are free to exude their personal sovereignty, with their knees demurely touching. Guarding the vagina with their lives.

As you know, if a woman’s knees aren’t stuck together, she’s a skank.

But uh-oh, are there too many vaginas on TV? Is the joke gettin’ played out? The article goes on to quote “Two and a Half Men” co-creator and noted feminist activist Lee Aronsohn as saying “We’re approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation.”

Once vaginas stop being so hi-fucking-larious, I guess they’ll have to move on to the next edgy way to objectify women. Although, having studied women’s objectification in popular culture pretty thoroughly for the past decade, it seems to me they’ll be hard pressed to come up with anything more degrading than “Pregnant in Heels,” “The Swan,” or “Bridezillas.”

Or “Bad Girls Club,” “Snapped,” “The Real Housewives of Jagoff County,” every cop drama because without fail there will be an episode wherein a woman is gagged and chained by the wrists in a gnarly basement, every newscast, every stand-up special on Comedy Central, every other show on Comedy Central, every beer/laundry detergent/diet soda/frozen dinner/Swiffer/chocolate bar/toilet paper/yogurt/et al commercial, every movie on TCM, and every movie and every show on every other channel, especially “I Love Lucy.”

All the above shit is racist and heternormative, too.

____________________
Photo from latimes.com.

233 comments

3 pings

  1. yttik

    “Vagina: A New Biography” by Naomi Wolf”

    Gack. Here’s part of the review, “In an argument that entirely reframes how we understand the vagina — and how, consequently, we understand women ….After reading Vagina, no man will be unaware of ‘what women really need’, and no woman will ever experience herself in quite the same way again.”

  2. pheeno

    From the linked article:

    “According to the playwright Ensler, the contemporary, comedic uses of “vagina” can signal a society advancing — or devolving.”

    Oooh, just guess which one it is!

    Now, I’ll admit to having an inner vulgar 12 year old who snickers at dirty jokes, but it seems that TV shows/movies have, in the past 10 years or so, become full time vulgar 12 year olds. We’re getting dumber by the second, that goes hand in hand with immaturity.

    Meanwhile, the godbags will clutch their pearls at the rising use of vagina (no mention of vulva, I noticed. Perhaps it’s too advanced) but for all the wrong reasons.

  3. Comradde PhysioProffe

    I tried to arrange my legs like the woman third-from-the-left, and it was fucken painful. I could put my knees together ok, but my feet naturally wanted to angle outward, not inward. When I tried to angle my feet inward, but keep them spread apart and with my knees together, it felt like my front calf muscle was going to separate from the shin.

    But I guess thatte’s the point: “cute” == “biomechanically untenable”.

  4. Hippolyta

    Equal treatment is not equality. It seems like one of the hardest ideas for a new feminist to get. A man stripping down for an audience is not the same as a woman doing it. In the context of the patriarchy (and there is no other context) the power differential between genders makes those two completely different actions. When vagina jokes are as common as penis jokes we are not moving towards equality, we are simply experiencing a different kind of exploitation.

  5. shopstewardess

    Sadly, I suspect that a significant proportion of the uses of the word “vagina” are erroneous.

    Are there any recorded instances of the use of “vulva” on this show?

  6. Friend of Snakes

    Shopstewardess beat me to it. I’m holding out for “vulva.” I’d be willing to bet most men couldn’t identify the location of a vulva even if given a blow-up doll and a label to mark the spot.

  7. Friend of Snakes

    You know, I don’t have anything against blond-haired white women. I used to be one myself, until the nice lady at the DMV prompted me that perhaps I’d like to change the “hair color” marker on my driver’s license to something that more accurately reflected reality the last time I popped in to renew it. But Christ on a crutch! That photograph that looks like four sisters – don’t people doing the casting for these shows stop to think for a second how this LOOKS, if nothing else?

    Yep, still glad I got rid of my teevee. In order to watch stuff, I have to actively choose to go through the process of looking up a show, seeing if I can get it for freebie, then downloading it.

  8. confirmedspinster

    They do look like four sisters. The creator of the show, when questioned about the non-diversity of the cast, claimed that the stories of people of color (or people of queerness, I guess) were not hers to tell. Yet when I’ve watched the show, every character felt about two inches deep. If she is going to create characters that are so shallow I cannot tell one from the others, she might as well paint a few of them brown or a few of them queer. I am fairly sure that the writers of Breaking Bad weren’t cancer-stricken school teachers who decided to sell meth, or that the writers of glut of vampire show we have now were never actually vampires. This is why we encourage people to do that wonderful thing called research.

    Too many writers take the “write what you know” advice to heart without following it up with the essential “if you don’t know it, learn it” advice.”

    And now I end my rant on that travesty that is “Girls.”

  9. Lady K

    Hey, hey. Not *every* special on Comedy Central – Maria Bamford made it on there a coupla times. I recommend punching, “Maria Bamford – That Schtick” into the search engine of your choice if you are not familiar with her.

  10. Nepenthe

    I suppose, confirmedspinster, that the creator could have brought some writers of color and/or queerness on board. But that’s just crazy talk. Everyone knows that no one would care about stories by women of color and/or queerness about people like themselves; they’ll just have to stick to what they know: the stories of white dudes with problems (with the occasional white lady or token PoC/queer for “diversity”).

  11. L

    Maria Bamford is super amazing and one of the funniest comedians around right now, if not the funniest.

    And I really love “Girls.” So it may not be diverse, but there are lots of shows where the main cast is not diverse. I’m not saying it’s wrong to call out the lack of diversity, but it seems like the feminist/fun-fem sphere is especially eager to jump all over this show. Dunham is really funny and has a good sensibility and the show/the characters ring true for me. It’s far from a travesty.

  12. pheeno

    “The creator of the show, when questioned about the non-diversity of the cast, claimed that the stories of people of color (or people of queerness, I guess) were not hers to tell.

    She’s right. They aren’t hers to tell. What’s needed is more diversity in writers/creators of shows to get shows so they can tell those stories.

    And honestly, speaking for myself only, I’d prefer her not telling their stories to her telling them wrong.

  13. Keira

    Nup, I’m with Pheeno on this one.

    Feminists, quite rightly, criticise media which presents women from a male perspective. The women characters tend to come out one dimensional, and often just plain wrong when dudes try to write them. Think anything Aaron Sorkin, for example.

    Surely the same goes for people of colour. No matter the writer’s knowledge of the lives of people of colour, either – it will still come from a white perspective.

    If I wrote a movie about black people, even with all my good intentions, no one would learn shit, because as a white woman, my perspective on black stories is still white.

    Also, if you want to be anti-racist, listening when a woman of colour tells you what’s what is a good place to start.

  14. slipperyslope

    I’m with Friend of Snakes. I got rid of my cable access eight years ago. There was nothing but shit on and now it seems to have gotten much worse. I love streaming programs from the internet. I am not and never have been the women that are portrayed in TV and movies. I cannot relate to that stuff. First of all, I am bisexual and unless it is some out-of-wack male fantasy, you almost never see this portrayed accurately in films or television.

    I am probably going to be raked over the coals here, but I think a small step in getting away from media objectification of women is to make mainstream movies, etc. with male homosexual themes. Unfortunately, so much of how people perceive life come through what we see on television. We spend a lot of time in front of the screen. I think a steady diet of men objectifying themselves might put us back to a more fair representation of society. I’m talking about more movies like Brokeback Mountain, not shit like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy or Will and Grace.

  15. qvaken

    When I was little my mum tried to teach me “vulva” instead of “vagina”. I thought that she was referring to the pubic area only, and I also took to calling it “bolva”. So, to be fair to the media types: if a five-year-old couldn’t get it, they don’t stand a chance.

    From the article: ‘”It’s just an inherently funny word,” said actor Jason Segel, who has uttered “vagina” in multiple romantic comedies. “The fact that it’s three syllables and it takes a while to say.”‘

    Well, this is certainly going to make trips to the doctor a lot more enjoyable.

  16. Sarah

    pheeno, we must practice telling stories about those who are not “us,” or people with no voice will never be told of.

    Who are these people with no voice? Are you perhaps referring to people who have voices but aren’t being heard? How about helping them by giving them a way to be heard, rather than speaking for them? For example, if you’re creating a TV show, and you want people represented who have experiences you don’t know anything about, then you find people who do know something about those experiences and make them part of the team. It’s hardly uncommon for a TV show to have multiple writers and consultants and other contributors of various sorts.

  17. Lovepug

    Thinking about:

    Oprah and her constant referrel to her vagina as her “va-jay-jay.”

    My friend who when instructing her toddler daughter to make sure she washed her labia, heard back from said daughter that she had indeed washed her “ladybugs.”

    Laughing at Jason Segal’s inherently funny penis.

    How much TV blows chunks anymore. I’m down to watching Fusion Grain Cooking with Chef Brad on the BYU channel. Healthy cooking ideas from a closeted gay Mormon chef are all I have until Downton Abbey fires up again.

  18. Mujerylegs

    It’s so good to hear from you, Twisty.

    But you totally phoned it in at the end there. “I Love Lucy” is deeply ingrained with homoeroticism.

    Lucy. Ethel. Chocolate factory. Tell me that’s not a lesbian fantasy.

    Ricky and Fred would look at each other with sparks in their eyes, too.

  19. vinoveritas

    ‘But I guess thatte’s the point: “cute” == “biomechanically untenable”.’ Unless she suffers from adult femoral anteversion, like I do.

  20. Sarah

    I would like to re-create that promo shot for “Girls,” using men instead. I’m sure my d00d friends would be up for it. And it would make it painfully clear how ridiculous those vagina-guarding poses are.

  21. Saurs

    Well, vagina is a funny word in that we Anglophones haven’t got all that much pure Latin vocab running ’round our brains and most of what we do have has been been permanently inflected, is merely a cognate, or as a loanword has developed an alternative, idiomatic meaning (cf lame or summat). Here, however, we’ve got the actual nominative, it’s pronounced a little wonky but follows standard Vowel Shifting nonsense, and–surprise–it tells us something important about what our culture thinks and the daft old Romans thought of vaginas*: they serve a purpose, yes they do, they’re designed to house penises. Bang go all other functions, it’s a fucking penis sheath, or a thing to hold fruit.

    *but not really, at least not the “Classical” ones. The only time I’ve ever seen vagina used, it was Caesar, I think, and he was talking about himself in the third person, as usual, putting his sword away. Also, my little dictionary tells me the root might come from the PIE vas- to denote shit that houses or covers other shit, like vestment but a lot grimmer in this case.

  22. tinfoil hattie

    We should all start sitting with our legs as wide open as is comfortable. I hate the whole “Hide the vadge! Hide the vadge!” b.s.

    I’m so glad to be here, instead of arguing on other, lesser blogs that Wil Smith “letting” his daughter cut her hair does not make him a super, enlightened, awesome, feminist dad.

    I WAS ACCUSED OF LIVING IN A FEMINIST PARADISE FOR EVEN DARING TO CLAIM SUCH A THING. “Well, maybe YOU live in a feminist paradise where fathers blah-blah-blah bloviate simper simper”

    No, in my feminist paradise, there ARE no men.

    It’s been one of THOSE days.

  23. ew_nc

    I have a question – how the fuckity-fuck is High Arka getting past moderation with such blatant mansplaining?

  24. pheeno

    “1) If we’re all descended, ultimately, from Africa, and/or from an African mitochondrial eve, how “originally African” do we have to be in order to still qualify as a “person of color” who is allowed to write about colored people? ”

    Enough that you’re a target of racism. Hows that?

    “we must practice telling stories about those who are not “us,” or people with no voice will never be told of. ”

    Or, you could try shutting the fuck up and letting them tell their own stories for fucking once. Instead of whining that you’re being excluded from the conversation you’ve dominated for fucking ever. You can’t listen if you don’t stop talking.

  25. pheeno

    “Moreover, if we’re only allowed to write about what we “are,” then the show that prompted twisty’s original post–about several boring, upper-middle-class white girls with predictable backgrounds–is what we get. ”

    This isn’t the fault of not telling other people’s stories. This is the fault of one group who monopolizes the shit out of the mic.

    We have more right to our stories than you do. Sorry boutcha.

  26. Keri

    After all the scuttlebutt I watched an episode of Girls. It was replete with bisexual undertones, acquiescing to sexual humiliation, nigel tolerance, girl on girl jealousy, and so much hipster humor my head hurt a little bit. Cant believe it wasnt written by a dood. They love all that shit.

    The main character did say vagina. Wow. Edgy. Progressive. Empowerful indeed.

    I hate that you can’t unsee stuff.

  27. KittyWrangler

    “If we’re all descended, ultimately, from Africa, and/or from an African mitochondrial eve, how “originally African” do we have to be in order to still qualify as a “person of color” who is allowed to write about colored people?”

    I tried to come up with a pithy sarcastic reply to this but it just wasn’t as funny as the original quote. I give up and just second Pheeno’s response.

    “Are women allowed to include male characters in their writing, and vice versa?”

    Mind. Blown.

    By the way, that pose with the knees together and feet pointing inward was quite comfortable for me. Maybe I’m built strangely. It actually seems like a classic toilet stance so it didn’t occur to me at first that it was supposed to be cute.

    I don’t plan to get any more outraged at this show than I would if it were about and by men or a group of men and women. The average-ly crappy creators of the show seem to be getting raked over the coals in a very special way by both d00ds and feminists (even, especially, fun-feminists) just because they’re women or writing about women (whoever came up with the phrase, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” probably wasn’t a woman). They deserve and equal shot at mediocrity and the same eye-roll I reserve for most other TV.

  28. lizor

    High Arka – A painful number of non-Inuit (“Eskimo”) people have written about Inuit and got it horribly, sickeningly wrong. Being one of the most silenced and marginalized people this has rarely been called out. Only since a few years ago when Zacharius Kunuk started telling Inuit stories on film (Atanarjuit – The Fast Runner) has the world heard Inuit voices.

    I get your point that we should have some capacity to empathize with the experience of people who are different from ourselves, but pretending that doing so is not fraught with misinformation, projection and, all too often, gross bigotry is a bit disingenuous.

    @ Keri – I saw the writer/director’s feature film. I liked the fact that her character looked like a real human female, but there was that thing of showing “reality” – like young women’s experiences of painful humiliating sex – but with no comment on it. It seems to me that the effect of this is to normalize the shit, send a message that we’d best just accept the abuse and not try to change things.

  29. lizor

    I should have said “pretending that we can accurately speak in the voices of others without what we produce being fraught with misinformation, projection…etc.”

  30. tinfoil hattie

    Shorter High Arka: Those lucky, lucky “colored people” and “mulattos.” Taking advantage of white folk for century after wearying century. How I long to be one of “their” privileged number.

    Banhammer for racism, too, please.

  31. Mujerylegs

    Wait, High Arka said what?

    I thought those were good points. The rebuttals are good too. I learn from reading the comments here and would be sad if some instructive dialogue were censored because the majority is so sure its lesson is the right one to take from the exchange.

  32. packrat

    High Arka:
    While your interest in increasing the exposure to stories of [oppressed class] is admirable, it is improper for members of [oppressor class] to compose them for this purpose.

    In matters of anti-racism, it is important for me as a white person to step back to provide space and support for non-white people to tell their stories. If I am in such a position, I will engage with non-white people to assist them in advancing their stories as _they_ wish to present them. (Though even THAT can be fraught with problems, as latent racism may influence my selection of what to advance.)

  33. tinfoil hattie

    Sorry, mujerylegs – when a commenter employs racism, I stop looking for substance. And I don’t care what valuable lessons I might be missing as a result.

  34. Mujerylegs

    That’s interesting, tinfoil hattie. I don’t pick up on racism in High Arka’s comments.

    I think the second comment especially reflects a high degree of sensitivity about the social construction of racial and other categories. White is made-up and heterogeneous. Like black. Like American Indian. Like (gasp!) female. Rejecting biological determinism is a feminist position.

  35. tinfoil hattie

    “mulatto” and “colored people,” mujerylegs.

  36. tinfoil hattie

    High Arka: Lemme guess – you are “white.”

  37. Mujerylegs

    As in, “for colored girls who have considered politics when being strong isn’t enough”?

    Race terms are weird. They change all the time, and what is au courant is never a catalog of what people actually call themselves or prefer to be called. I think using atypical terms like that is not racist, and it’s weird to attack someone for being hateful over their choice of contested terms.

    Getcher ad hominem outta my inneresting debate. Some of us don’t even know what race we are, or it changes depending on the company we keep.

  38. pheeno

    “White is made-up and heterogeneous. Like black. Like American Indian. Like (gasp!) female. Rejecting biological determinism is a feminist position.”

    No, it’s pretending to be colorblind.

    It’s nice and all that some people think that because race is made up then it can just POOF away like magic, but for the people being killed over the color of their skin, it’s very much REAL. For those silenced time and time again, it’s reality. For those who don’t get to tell their stories, because those stories are being told by a dominant group of another race, and those of the dominant race are viewed as AUTHORITIES on those stories, it’s pretty goddamn real.

    That I’m NDN is not made up. That others are POC is not made up. That I/we get treated differently because of it is not made up. That at some point in time other groups were not considered white changes NONE OF THAT. There was never a time we were not considered inferior and other because of our skin, our features and our culture. So while some may flow through the racial subject and end up on the other side means jack and shit to me. Because it changes nothing.

    Dead is dead. It really doesn’t matter if the WHY was made up, now does it?

  39. pheeno

    ht tp://coffeeandink.dreamwidth.org/435419.html

    Here are some straw men you can use almost any time someone mentions race or criticizes racial representation in a book/film/TV show/comic book:

    “Do you want to censor an artist’s vision?”
    “Please, like a movie/book/comic book is going to turn people racist or make white people want to enslave black people again?”
    “According to you, the director/writer/artist sat down and decided to oppress people of color!”
    “You want people to boycott art unless it’s politically correct.”
    “You think people shouldn’t enjoy art if it has racist elements.”
    “You think art isn’t any good if it’s racist.”
    “You think anyone who disagrees with you is a racist.”

    In most of these cases, you can rely on a few handy responses that define racism in a way that benefits you, prove that racism is better than the measures that would have to be taken against it, or otherwise misdirect your opponent’s attention.

    “Pointing out racism just makes it harder for us to achieve a colorblind society. You shouldn’t judge people based on their race.”
    “Focusing so much on race just shows that you’re racist yourself.”
    “Minorities can be racist too, you know!”
    “Even if it’s not the best representation of minority characters, it’s better than having no minority characters at all, isn’t it?”
    “You’d rather have boringly flawless and politically correct minority characters?”
    “Everyone knows it’s bad to be racist now, so why make people feel defensive and ashamed by pointing incidents out?”
    “Maybe it’s racist, but what about reverse racism?”

  40. Mujerylegs

    False equivalence, pheeno. Acknowledging complex realities (e.g., racial categories are heterogeneous) is the opposite of “pretending to be colorblind.”

    These are not the strawmen you are looking for.

  41. Mujerylegs

    Hehe. My post crossed paths with your second one, pheeno.

    But those, clearly, are the strawmen you were looking for.

  42. DameQuixote

    How many times can they re-invent the misogyny? Everytime there’s a shift in hairstyles and clothing styles BOOM there’s a new sitcom/dramarama/realityshow/movie telling us all about being women through the eyes of men. All that says is, “This is how we want you to be now”. It’s much like positioning in bad sex. I put you where I want, I don’t care if you like it or not.

    Progress by using another word when the real object of the word is hated is just renaming. Has anyone else noticed men are allowed even more laziness than ever? Whenever I go somewhere even remotely formal, (or watch the lard-assed Baptists fleeing their churches for the all-you-can-eats on Sunday), I see men in t-shirts with tribal designs and sloppy jeans/shorts. The women with them are dressed to the 9′s performing femininity so hard it’s painful to watch. The last average Joe I saw in a suit was also in a box.*

    You can hear the furry ones now, “Me slob, You Vadge”. And typical how even women saying it are denying their own sexuality and bodies. Still no mention of the womens parts that really get a woman off. Still the whole complex area is referred to by the one part the guy uses.

    I’m so over it. Ready the Savage Death Island margarita machine, I’m buying the one way ticket.

    *(not like a suit is even remotely the hell of heels, hose, skirt, makeup, hair, underwire bra etc. but it’s still more than a T-shirt)

  43. tinfoil hattie

    Well, hell, mujerylegs! Why don’t we white folk just resurrect n***er, them? Or In***? They’re just kinda quaint, not “hateful.”

    I would hazard that not many mixed-race folks embrace the term “mulatto.” But according to you, if the speaker doesn’t MEAN to be racist, then all is well, eh?

    Besides, why am I making a big fuss? I am the problem, right? Not people actually saying racist things.

  44. tinfoil hattie

    How the hell do you stand it, pheeno? Time after time after time.

  45. Lady K

    Ugh, Twisty, you should have known better talking about one of these Super Phun Phemale Shows and turned the Moderate-o-Tron up to 11. Yours goes up to 11, right? I mean, how could you have been expected to hear the chuckling, “Well, sweetie, we’re all descended from the same mitochondrial eve, that’s spelled m-i-t-o…” from the outskirts of the wilderness on the back of a horse, or up to your ankles in manure, or whatever other fun adventures you’re having out there in the non-digital world? It was foolish, really.

    As a sidenote, nothing makes me wince more than someone who clearly has the “List of Logical Fallacies” wikipedia page open while they’re responding to arguments, and makes sure to refer to every one they perceive as being utilized (a perception that is typically incorrect by some degree) by name. Congratulations ahead of time on pointing out that this is an Ad Hominem attack, though – I’m sure you were a shining member of your high school debate team.

  46. Phledge

    Tinfoil hattie’s right on track. “Colorblindness” a) doesn’t really exist, because, duh, we can see you; b) doesn’t change the outcomes of our racist society; and c) minimizes the very real differences POC have in their stories and identities as a result of not being white. These can be celebrated without us honkies deigning to tell their tales. We can stand in solidarity by actually consuming the art that is produced by POC and urging storytellers (producers, writers, actors) to give POC a platform. In other words, we shouldn’t STFU if we can make a difference, but I’ll be damned if I interrupt a POC to tell my version of their experience.

    Also: “Mulatto?” The fuck? Roll out “darkies” next, why dontcha?

  47. Murasaki

    My niece calls her vulva an “Arnie”. No shit.

    One of my proudest moments was when my Mum was clipping my daugther (2) into her car seat and she said “Oh, Nana! Careful my vulva!”.

    Americans saying vagina – Wowzas! – pussy or beaver would be fine of course just as boobs on billboards are fine but 17year old sons need to be protected from the sight of, gasp, public breastfeeding. Once Oprah said va-jay-jay it got imported over here by noice loidees who just find vagina “so harsh sounding”. I suggest using “yoni” but apparently “front bottom” “fanny” and “down there” are just NOICER.

    You know High Arka is a bloke when he uses the word “moreover” in his mansplanation. LMFAO – and “within any given epoch”.

    Anyway the only show worth watching on tv at the moment is New Zealands Next Top Model. Everything you’d expect from the NTM franchise but with killer accents!

  48. tinfoil hattie

    “I shudder, to think of the world’s daughters growing up being taught that these terrible, divisive insults are appropriate, collegial, and funny”

    like “colored people” amd “mulatto”? Hey, never mind. Some of your best friends are mulatto, right?

    “and to think of the world’s sons”

    Yes. Yes, yes – dear god, what about the men? as our blog owner might say.

    By the way, using “cunt” as a comparison to “man” is misogynist. But you knew that, and that’s why you did it. Right, white dude?

    Twisty: Clean-up on Aisle High Arka, please.

  49. qvaken

    Whoa. “C***splain”? I’m not sure if I should say, “How fucking dare you, you arrogant piece of manshit?”, or just, “Man alert!” Or maybe I should shut my damn mouth, because significantly more advanced blamers are way ahead of me, putting you to shame.

    High Arka, POCs don’t have as much of a chance to tell their stories as do white people. This doesn’t mean that the best solution is for white people to appropriate POC’s experiences, and to tell them in white people’s words, on white people’s terms. Duh. It means that we should put more funding into programs that give POCs real opportunities – not just in the arts, but in all industries. It means that white people – the ones with the money and the authority – should be instigating, organising, contributing to, and working with these sorts of organisations and programs. It also means that white people should be prepared to give up a little in order for POCs to have certain opportunities, like to be able to enter into various occupations – or conversations! As a matter of fact, I should be shutting my damn mouth again, because white people shouldn’t be saying the most words in conversations like these.

    Also, the fluidity and arbitrariness of “white” vs. “black” or “non-white” is not an indicator that skin colour doesn’t at all make a difference in how people are perceived. It’s seriously problematic that levels of allegiance seem to have been defined throughout history by white people designating skin colour to other groups of people. That makes way for some serious racism.

    Anyway. What I’m really trying to say is: Shut up.

  50. Friend of Snakes

    Yeah, I tend to have a devil’s advocate element to my nature. And I also feel some folks here have a tendency to immediately pile on when faced with views at variance with their own. So I was willing to give High Arka the benefit of the doubt.

    And then we discover High Arka considers the opposite of “man” is “cunt.”

    “So I cried”??? No, so I laughed. You gotta laugh, right?

  51. apnea

    High Arka is a profundly troubled individual writing the same two or three posts about the burden of the oppressor class on anarchist blogs, libertarian blogs, feminist blogs, and probably a good number of other minority view blogs I haven’t been perusing. The whole thing is the opposite of productive and healthy.

  52. Copperfield

    High Arka,
    Mansplaining isn’t just a term used for anything that comes out of a man’s mouth. Mansplaining is also not a slur against people or a group, but against offensive and patronising behaviour that, incidentally, can be produced by a member of any sex. It just so happens that by holding the perceived position of default human being, men (especially white men) are more likely to engage in this behaviour due to constant social reinforcement that their views are the default views and their experiences are the default experiences. You should be very proud if your sons grow up to be mansplain-free agents, it is certainly possible.

  53. Mujerylegs

    I’m really disappointed in the commenters attacking High Arka.

    Since it hurts my feelings that you started attacking me when I started chiming in with my own contributions to the dialogue, I’ma go work on shit that will make a difference in the world beyond the echo chamber of bloggular comments sections. I hope to not waste my time here anymore, but I really like Twisty’s writing so I’ll probably just stop reading the comment sections.

    BTW, I love that Wiki page and I don’t have a high school diploma, Lady K. Like most NDNs (what a stupid ingroupy abbreviation), I couldn’t afford the right shoes to join choir, much less the bus fare for debate trips. But I think it’s really intellectually rotten to make people prove that what they say has worth by demanding some piece of their personal history and soul. Like how you all made High Arka do a reveal of her situation to validate what she had to say. That’s fucked up, y’all. It’s unladylike in the feminist sense of the word.

  54. tinfoil hattie

    Thank you so much for defining who I am and what my background is, and asking that I be shut up by the authorities.

    Say! I was just “helping” you tell your story, using terms that I think fit you best! And using my words, because what the heck. Yours don’t matter!

    “cunt” – I am laughing my ass off at your pretended offense at being called a white dude. Wow, what an insult. But “cunt”? Heh. Just another word.

    You are a piece of work.

    @Friend of Snakes – And I also feel some folks here have a tendency to immediately pile on when faced with views at variance with their own.

    I always “pile on” bigotry. It is a big “view” that is “at variance” with my own, all right. I don’t wait for “cunt” to be uttered. I also don’t feel any obligation to be patient with mansplaining jerks.

  55. tinfoil hattie

    mujerylegs: “Cunt.” Really. Did you miss that? “Cunt” is the opposite of “man.” Poor, poor High Arka. Let’s not hurt his feelings.

    Your feelings, on the other hand: I am very, VERY sorry if I hurt them. I am sorry if my annoyance at High Arka spilled over onto you.

    th

  56. ew_nc

    “tinfoil, give but a moment of consideration to my experiences, and imagine that I’m a bisexual Hispanic woman with two sons who appear white (to people outside American Hispanic culture), but have none of the economic or social advantages that would typically mean”

    Yeah, because you typed these words, I totally believe you, High Arka. Because dog knows a man would never invent a similar persona in order to insert himself into a feminist community. I expected you to say that you were a POC who is trangendered and disabled, so making it slightly less obvious was a nice touch. But completely unconvincing.

  57. pheeno

    “–as a guest speaker on why minority communities could actually help address some of the tangible issues their membership was concerned with”

    Oh please, do tell what tangible concerns those poor poor avowed racists were concerned with! I’m certain I could help them and ease their wittle minds. Though I’m rather sure they wouldn’t like my suggestions.

  58. Lovepug

    Damn. To think my first comment got stuck in moderation where I made an amusing comment about Oprah’s use of the word va-jay-jay. Now that ship has sailed.

    It’s funny that the aforementioned bandwidth hog doesn’t see that it matters not whether he’s white, brown, black or “mulatto.” Point missed entirely. What’s important here is that the language he speaks is Dude. The official language of this space is Blame.

  59. Lovepug

    Say, my comment posted! Neat.

    And furthermore!

    It’s funny how someone who does not really participate in feminist discourse doesn’t get that patriarchal point of view tends to produce a clearly identifiable type of discourse (aka Dudespeak, Mansplaining, etc). There are telltale hallmarks that advanced Blamers can spot immediately. tinfoil, pheeno and ew_nc sniffed it out pretty quick all Shutzhund 3 style. You don’t get called out because you’re male. You get called out because you thumb your nose at the character and language of the discouse here by speaking Dude. Your self-identified race or gender matters not at all.

    And then when a Blamer points out that “Dude, you’re speaking Dude,” they get all in a huff and revert to traditional patriarchal feminist shaming. And what they further don’t get is that you don’t have to be male to do this. Plenty of female commenters have spewed their share of Dudespeak. I say Dude stuff myself sometimes. I’m not that advanced. Which is why I like this space because I think it ups my feminist game to participate. The rest of my time I’m marinating in patriarchy.

  60. pheeno

    Oh I fully believe HA is a woman. Just an asshole woman who likes to decide she knows best for all other women and allows this shit on her blog-

    “I suggest that there is no such thing as a healthy mother who does not want to nurse her child. We can accept that it a lack of libido is a disorder, and not generally a choice. We don’t understand why someone would want to be in a relationship such as a marriage and not want to ever have sex, unless there is a disorder at work. Similarly, there is a serious problem with a mother who is in a relationship with her infant and does not want to nurse it. This is even more damaging than the marriage example as the infant is utterly dependent on the said mother and can’t just divorce her and get a new mother. ”

    FFS.

  61. seyrah

    Thanks for quoting me without attribution or linkage, but yes, you amazingly picked out a part of a very long post which, out of context, is sure to rile up feathers. You should work for Fox News.

  62. tinfoil hattie

    Not to mention: High Arka, read the freaking FAQ.

  63. I'm Male, Moderate Me

    i’ve got no desire to see this comment posted, but just for fair warning, high arka is a dude posing as a woman. he rides around the internet starting fights, creating grudges out of nothing, generally redirecting all conversation to the topic of his persona, and ultimately concluding that everyone needs to hear about his theories on race (retrograde and bigoted, naturally). the moment you ban the dude is the moment meaningful conversation will resume.

  64. Keira

    High Arka, if you do a little research, you’ll find there was in fact a lot of criticism of Brokeback Mountain by queer people (bi and gay and whatever). Some people loved it, of course, but the idea that it was just a fabulous, queer love story is a (mostly) straight idea.

    The film was criticised for being a tragic story where the characters were “punished” for their queerness by death and unhappy lives. Sound familiar? Oh, that’s right, because that’s the same criticism waged at mainstream tv and movies for the way they treat women – if the female character has anything going for her, she’ll be raped, mugged, beaten, etc. No positive stories or happy endings for you ladiez/queers/people of colour! (unless you get married).

  65. Friend of Snakes

    Lovepug said: “Say, my comment [about "vayayjay"] posted! Neat.”

    Where? I couldn’t find it, in this thread anyway.

    I’m not all down on using other than anatomically correct language for everything. Face it, there are certain social situations where one might not want to reference labia minora, but vajayjay fits the bill just fine. Talk about a word that DOES sound funny, that’s one. It’s when we always feel constrained to use alternate words as euphemisms – that points to something seriously wrong.

    It’s not the same thing, but I’m usually reluctant to partake in the use of ***, as in c**t or n****r. It’s all about intent, anyway. Use the damn word! As someone said, it’s like do you raise your hand and say, “I’ve got to go #2?”

  66. Friend of Snakes

    I guess we won’t have High Arka to kick around much longer. Too bad. I was hoping to discover why HA uses “this one” when referring to herself instead of “I.” Precious.

    This drama is………..drama. [It doesn't count as ellipsis when you use the "wrong" number of periods, does it?]

  67. pheeno

    “ust an asshole woman who likes to decide she knows best for all other women and allows this shit on her blog-”

    Oh look. I said allows shit like this on her blog.

    Why that must mean I KNEW it wasn’t YOU or something!

    Omigawd the dumn injun can read!!

  68. pheeno

    Oh and HA, feel free to speak for yourself. You don’t get to speak for me. You don’t get to tell MY story, and I don’t give a rats ass how brown you might or might not be. It’s not yours to tell. Now go cry in your e-pillow about how that silences you and what about the poor white people and all their guilt??? (like I care about white guilt of all things)

    Then you can go be a helpful minority to more avowed racists , since they evidently have tangible concerns about POC. Be sure to tell them on my behalf, they SHOULD be afraid.

    Oh and hey, let’s not forget- according to your blog you can validate their feelings that slavery wasn’t so bad for all the slaves, some of them even got to spank white kids and that TOTES makes up for being a slave! Weee!

  69. josquin

    Mujerylegs,

    I, too, mostly keep away from comments on this blog. I used to enjoy the comment section and felt like the commenters were fellow-blamers with whom I could explore ideas and find solidarity. It felt like a haven. But now it it feels very “in-crowd” and unsafe – a mine-field. Take one false step and you are screwed!
    That said,there are certain commenters that i enjoy a lot (hi Catherine Martel and company!) and look forward to reading their remarks. And of course Twisty’s writing is ne plus ultra, as they say, and i will always read her posts with gratitude.

  70. MariaH

    Speaking of vaginas, the absolute authority on this topic is Catherine Blackledge who wrote “The story of V“.

    Go check out the Sheila-na-gigs … talk about the power of the vulva. However, the dudely, mansplainely interpretation of this phenomenon in Wikipedia reflects the absolute patriarchal fear of female lust.

    (Sorry, folks … enklish ain’t my mother tonkue)

  71. Tigs

    (Pheeno, thanks–as always–for doing the heavy lifting on this one, I just read these comments, you too hattie)

    High Arka, you are being an ass. At first generally, and now to Pheeno, a long-time member of this community. Pheeno has never said that “a better future is impossible.” You have no standing to tell her what to do. I believe her position (and mine, and pheeno, I apologize if I get this wrong) is that people who are oppressors tend to be sh*tty at speaking for the oppressed, and that in fact, when privileged people do so, it actually tends to reproduce oppression rather than speaking effectively from a certain standpoint. The ethical thing for a privileged person to do is to eschew that privilege in favor of more equitable socio/political/economic relations.

    I am a white lady academic, but not all of us are. Technically, by your logic my white lady academic-ness shouldn’t disqualify me from speaking to/for/about anyone. However, I know damn well that when I universalize my insights that I am doing some shady, privileged bullsh*t.

    One thing I am interested in, is when/how shall we hold people accountable. Lena Dunham has created a show that is racist, heteronormative, and classist. Most shows on tv are racist, heteronormative and classist. But somehow, Dunham has gotten way more shade thrown at her than most other creators/writers. How should I as a radical feminist think about that? I think that she’s gotten more heavily critiqued because she is a young woman, but she’s also failing in some pretty big ways. Do we cut her slack because she’s just failing in the same way everyone else is? How do we hold the oppressive actions accountable, while also recognizing the discrimination?

  72. pheeno

    I read closely enough to feel my stomach turn, thanks.

    I read closely enough to read how slavery should be compared INDIVIDUALLY because some slaves had it better than poor white folks. Nothing, and pay attention here because I DO mean absolutely not one goddamn thing under the fucking sun makes slavery better than not being a slave. Nothing. Zero. Zip. Period. Even the poorest of the under privileged white person would not want to have been enslaved. Even if it meant a fucking meal. Slaves DIED trying to get freedom. Yes, even ones who got to beat the bejesus out of their white slave owners children. You think for one second they wouldn’t have traded that “privilege” in order to own their own lives? To stay with their children? Their families? You know how they GOT to be the favorite privileged slave? Have any idea what humiliation and degradation they went through for it? Or their parents or grandparents? You call that privilege?

    You’re only griping about having to step back and allow people to tell their own stories because you spend a great deal of time telling other people’s stories. You just don’t want YOUR privilege removed. My god, what a horrible awful oppressive thing it must be.

    “It can feel really good, and really righteous, when you get to be in the forefront of a new hatred.”

    Spare me. Old hatred here. About 500 years worth. Not a god damn thing new about it. It’s so old half the time people fucking forget until they’re reminded on Thanksgiving.

    “rather than proclaiming how I’m too stupid to get it.”

    I don’t know you well enough to say if you’re stupid or not. I suspect you don’t “get it” because it might mean you’re wrong. Can’t have that now can we? Might mean you STFU about other people’s stories and let them tell them for themselves.

    Might step on “art’s” poor little tippy toes.

  73. pheeno

    As for “transcending”, you’re not even close. You think you are. In fact, you probably think you have already. That you’re above such things because your simply wondermous clever little mind is oh so revolutionary and enlightened.

    It’s not possible for my eyes to roll any further at that thought.

    First whiff of bullshit? Starts when someone calls themselves or their ideas revolutionary.

  74. alamo

    “Arguing that humans cannot understand a sub-group to which they do not belong is an argument in favor of misunderstanding. It says, essentially, “These divisions we have constructed are such powerful things that we may never transcend them.” That’s a terrible message. It is what feminism, originally, strove against, before it was bought out.”

    Absolutely. Only a sociopath lacks the ability to empathize. The best artists can write in a meaningful way about people outside of their own narrowly defined group. Marge Piercy wrote the Latina character in “Woman on the Edge of Time” so well that I thought the author herself was Latina. I read an interview with Piercy where she said pretty much what High Arka said: She doesn’t have to be a Latina to write well about Latinas. She just has to be a good writer.

    Now compare that with the flat, cartoonish way that Junot Diaz writes about Latinos.

  75. pheeno

    “(Pheeno, thanks–as always–for doing the heavy lifting on this one, I just read these comments, you too hattie)”

    If I had a penny for every pompous, full of themselves navel gazing blowhard that went on about how the underlings just didn’t get it because their little minds aren’t OPEN to FRESH NEW REVOLUTIONARY waaaays of thinking and how it’s just because we HATES the persons BRAINZ my precioussss (as if they’re ever worthy of that much emotion…think highly of themselves, these navel gazers do) we wouldn’t be having this conversation because I’d be riding my flying unicorn around on the back of my gajillion dollar yacht while the pool boy threw thousand dollar bills at me.

    Humanists. What the fuck is it with these people? We transcend race! We don’t label with peasant like mentality! We poo poo it, because it’s a human construct and OMG the IRISH!! It’s not possible my awesome revolutionary mind insulted you, you’re just not where I’m at yet, to know better!

    You just don’t understaaaaaaand what I’m saying, you don’t seeeeeee the long term or the big picture!

  76. pheeno

    “The best artists can write in a meaningful way about people outside of their own narrowly defined group.”

    Why would they need to if the people were writing their own stories about their own damned lives?

    Having empathy for people outside one’s group has zero to do with them having fewer opportunities to write about their own. Mistakes and all.

  77. alamo

    “Why would they need to if the people were writing their own stories about their own damned lives?”

    There are Blacks and Latinos writing about their own lives. But your question is why do artists “need” to write about people outside their race, ethnicity or gender? Ask a writer. Ask Marge Piercy. Ask Margaret Atwood. From my perspective as a reader, my answer is because if you only write about yourself and people exactly like you, your culture is filled with crappy, self-absorbed memoirs.

  78. Hattie

    You are assuming that Lena Dunham does not know what she is doing and has no sense of humor. GEEZ.

  79. Linda

    “All the pent-up frustrations of your life can be turned into anger that you can release at anyone you feel is counterrevolutionary, or just not revolutionary enough. I’ve eaten that up IRL, at stormfront, townhall, and now here”

    You were involved with stormfront? Only stormfront I know is the white supremacist group.

  80. qvaken

    High Arka: “…exchanging different kinds of information…”

    Now you’re talking. Let’s exchange different kinds of information with one another. Like issues of race in societies where white people are the dominant race, told from the perspective of those of a non-white race, and from the perspective of those who aren’t pro-white. Because we already know what the white, pro-white perspective is, because it’s splashed all over the electronic and print media.

  81. Barbara P

    The biggest indicator of a troll is someone who leaves way the fuck too many comments. The second biggest indicator is their bloviation on the fact that their “divergent viewpoint” is being stifled, or that “divergent viewpoints” in general are being stifled. The irony of these two characteristics together ALWAYS escapes them!

    My experience? The most enlightening and nuanced discussions occur when the trolls are kept at bay. The unmoderated “old internet” was much more “silencing”.

  82. alamo

    “Now, people are surprised, and even offended, when they run into someone they disagree with.”

    Yep, that’s cognitive dissonance. We often reject ideas that are not consonant with our worldview, regardless of the quality of those ideas. If the belief in identity politics if integral to your identity, you will shut down anyone who pokes holes in that belief.

    As for me (as I explained in a comment stuck in moderation) I think that the belief that no one can write well about someone dissimilar to themselves–and conversely, that the best writers write only about themselves–is a form of exoticizing people of color. And it leads to all kinds of bullshit like “Sex and the City must be feminist because it was written by a woman and has female characters.” Judge a work of art by the quality of the art, not the identity of the artist.

  83. Copperfield

    There seems to be a bit of weird conflation going on about whether it’s important to understand others’ experiences (uh, duh?), whether you can write about others’ experiences and also whether you should. Surely the last is more interesting and that was the main point pheeno and co. were trying to make way back when.

    It’s really quite irrelevant whether you can write a kickass story about others’ experience of oppression. It’s a great self-education exercise, but why is it then in your remit to tell the story? Surely the problem is the underrepresentation in the media of those who are, well, underrepresented. It is ridiculous to suggest that admitting that is ‘exoticization’.

  84. alamo

    “It is ridiculous to suggest that admitting that is ‘exoticization’.”

    Here’s what I mean by exoticizing: It’s treating poc as if only pearls of wisdom about our culture come out of our mouths. As if we are not also capable of being bad writers, of being egotistical or dishonest. As if we are not capable of misrepresenting our experience, or exaggerating it to sell to a white audience who is primed to believe certain narratives about our experience more than others (hence, the glut of writers like Junot Diaz who exoticize themselves).

  85. Copperfield

    Sure, you’re totally right, but I don’t think anyone refuted the possibility of a poc or a feminist being a crappy writer. Your example of Sex in the City does indicate a problem of what you define as ‘exoticization’, but this is exoticization of women by assuming that any woman speaks for feminists. I would however claim that it would be tricky to write a fantastic piece of TV/Film about women’s oppression unless it were written by a feminist. Of that exoticization I am guilty.

  86. alamo

    “It’s time for some of you to move Southwest. This SB 1070/a> is your friend. You need to see my card to know if I’m allowed to talk?”

    The problem, HA, is that you don’t fit these commenters’ stereotype of what a Latina is supposed to sound like. Perhaps they’ve been reading too many crappy Latina memoirs.

  87. alamo

    “I would however claim that it would be tricky to write a fantastic piece of TV/Film about women’s oppression unless it were written by a feminist. Of that exoticization I am guilty.”

    No, that’s not exoticizing, because feminism is a set of beliefs and values, not an identity. And actually I do agree that the best female fiction writers are usually feminist, because being a feminist writer means you are more likely to tell the truth about women.

    But being a woman or a poc is not a set of beliefs and values. You can’t use the term “woman” to substitute for “feminist” or even “someone who is capable of writing truthfully about the lives of women.” And you can’t use the term “Latino” to substitute for “someone who is capable of writing truthfully about the lives of Latinos.” But that’s what identify politics does. It defines who we are and what we are capable of by our ethnic identity.

  88. alamo

    “When we got around to chatting about our latest writing projects, she asked me, without mincing words, why my novel wasn’t an autobiographically inspired story of a young Iranian-American woman. ‘That’s so big right now. You could get published—like that!’ she said with a snap of her fingers.”

    http://www.pw.org/content/imperative_pressure_be_exotic

  89. Copperfield

    But then I don’t think that anyone above has been exoticizing in the way you claim. In fact the whole response to Twisty’s article was showing how much we don’t exoticize ‘female writers’ because they often don’t capture important aspects of female experience or oppression. While technically there’s something to be said for white twentysomethings’ experience of oppression (which I suspect Girls attempts to demonstrate in a wishy-washy way), where are all the other programs which attempt to touch on other people’s experiences? I think whenever commenters were asking a voice for minority writers, they weren’t reifying every member as having authority to speak for the whole. It was more a point that someone outside of that community would be less likely to do a particular topic justice.

  90. tinfoil hattie

    We poo poo it, because it’s a human construct and OMG the IRISH!!

    Okay, this made me laugh heartily.

  91. pheeno

    “Perhaps, pheeno, because those people are no longer there. ”

    Those who *are* still here don’t get the opportunity. Because some people never stfu.

    How many published POC writers exist compared to non Poc?

    How many TV shows about POC or have POC characters are actually written by POC?

    Movies?

    There’s a significant gap in numbers here, and it’s NOT because non POC aren’t being allowed to write about POC or write POC characters or tell POC stories.

    It’s not because there’s a lack of POC willingly and able to tell those stories.

    It’s because non POC dominate the shit out of everything.

    And instead of talking about THAT (the actual problem) we’re stuck discussing poor poor non POC being told to stfu and how unfair that is.

    A discussion about discrimination against POC artists and writers has to revolve around the fee fee’s of non POC writers and artists and what they want write about.

    It’s no different than trying to discuss the discrimination against female writers and having to stop that conversation to discuss the poor menz and what they want to write about.

    This? This is a What About The White People. Plain and simple.

    Interesting little FYI- Many NA Tribes are considered to have to wholly exterminated because write writers told that particular story and everyone believed it.

  92. Kristine

    Listen, ever since HA came onto this blog, it’s turned into an anti-racism 101 flame war. The blamers here have had to explain to him/her/whatever the hell HA is that:

    1. yes, racism exists
    2. no, pretending you can’t see it won’t make it go away
    3. yes, not having enough representations of people of color in media is racist
    4. yes, white people telling the stories of people of color without any understanding of what it means to
    be a person of color is racist
    5. no, pointing this out to white people and demanding better is not racist
    6. no, demanding that POC be able to tell their own damn stories is not racist or patronizing
    7. yes, the words cunt, nigger, and mulatto are racist
    8. no, just because you know a POC/woman who uses those terms does not make it okay
    for you to use them
    9. no, just because the ku klux klan is more polite than we are does not make them more enlightened
    than us

    And on, and on, and on, and on. This place is for advanced blamers only. Because of his/hers/whatever’s ignorance, HA has successfully managed to derail what could have been an enlightening discussion about femininity in media into a fucked up mess that’s all about HA. This has got to stop. Someone please send HA packing to a 101 site where HA can can argue his/her/whatever’s adorable beginner’s head off about whether or not the word slut can be turned into a powerful feminist war-cry. Please.

  93. pheeno

    Some of you need to work on figuring out the difference between disagreeing with someone and having been insulted/offended by someone.

  94. KittyWrangler

    @Mujerylegs

    “I thought those were good points. The rebuttals are good too. I learn from reading the comments here and would be sad if some instructive dialogue were censored because the majority is so sure its lesson is the right one to take from the exchange.”

    Well since people are reading this for thoughtful points and rebuttals, I guess my initial response to High Arka– basically pointing and laughing– was a little immature. I’ll take another stab at it:

    Yes, race in the biological sense seems to be a social construct (aside from stuff like inherited risks for certain diseases) and that is a point well worth making. I was frustrated, however, that it was made when Pheeno, a POC, voiced her objection to POC being excluded from the media (i.e. “Girls”), and not, say, at a neutral time or when “Girls” chose to exclude POC in the first place (“hey that’s not right; race is a construct, so what gives with using all white people?”).

    Along the same lines, yes, I agree that sensitive words can be open to interpretation based on context and yes, I agree that ad hominem attacks and “circular firing squads” are unhelpful in building community, specifically name calling. It’s just fishy that name-calling is wrong when High Arka is called “male,” a “mansplainer,*” or whatever else (I didn’t catch where High Arka’s identity was being re-defined as High Arka asserted when implying in a confusing way that he or she may or may not be a bisexual Hispanic woman), but suddenly name-calling is an exercise in interpretive intent when “cunt” and “mulatto” are used. Or, for example, the moniker, “Girls,” doesn’t inspire High Arka’s wrath but being mistaken for male does.

    And if inclusion and differing points of view are so important, why did the exclusionary tactics of “Girls” not raise High Arka’s concern? Why were those concerns only raised when frustration was voiced that POC are not being able to tell their own stories in mainstream media such as “Girls?”

    The pattern I’m trying to point out is that this series of interesting ideas is only brought out to defend “name-calling” against dominant classes, appropriation of oppressed peoples’ stories by dominant groups, and “inclusion” at the expense of POC whose ideas on identity differ and who want to express those ideas. In a neutral discussion those ideas would be pretty different but the way they are being used, right now in this discussion and frequently in other similar discussions advances oppressive agendas.

    Anyhow, here’s a great example of a dominant group telling the stories of an oppressed group, versus an oppressed group telling their own stories, and how the outcome is radically different: http://tigerbeatdown.com/2012/04/09/autism-speaks-but-you-dont-have-to-listen/

    * “mansplain” has been claimed by countless dudes in countless comment threads as an “ad hominem attack” or sexist slur. It’s not. The outrage is never that women are patronizingly explained down to so often that we instantly know what “mansplain” means, the outrage is always that we came up with a word for it so we could call it out to stop it. It doesn’t matter how many times one explains that any sex can do it or that it names the behavior rather than the speaker. On that note, “I shudder, to think of the world’s daughters growing up being taught that these terrible, divisive insults are appropriate, collegial, and funny, and to think of the world’s sons growing up being on the receiving end of these things,” was frustrating to read because the blatant problem of girls growing up being mansplained to is ignored and “divisive insults” only raise ire when applied to men and boys.

  95. Lidon

    “How the hell do you stand it, pheeno? Time after time after time.”

    No. Shit.

    “I, too, mostly keep away from comments on this blog. I used to enjoy the comment section and felt like the commenters were fellow-blamers with whom I could explore ideas and find solidarity. It felt like a haven. But now it it feels very “in-crowd” and unsafe – a mine-field. Take one false step and you are screwed!”

    Funny, this is what men/whites say as a way of getting feminists/POC to STFU: “Don’t yell at me! Don’t attack! I know you’re gonna get mad about this!!” I hate to break it to ya, but the “in-crowd” here is still the MINORITY.

    Simmer down guys! Your uppity-ness is OFFENDING people. And back to point A again.

  96. Lidon

    And as far as that show goes, once again, I’m SO glad I don’t have a TV.

  97. Lidon

    Okay, this is the last comment I’ll leave for now but seriously High Arka, what the hell? Calling other women cunts on a feminist blog?!?! You might as well take a shit in public.

  98. pheeno

    ““It’s time for some of you to move Southwest. ”

    Ya mean like West Texas? Is that Southwest enough for you?

    I know, right? Indians in the Southwest. Who knew??

  99. KittyWrangler

    Crap. That should read,

    “[...] this series of interesting ideas is only brought out to condemn “name-calling” against dominant classes, defend appropriation of oppressed peoples’ stories by dominant groups, and promote “inclusion” at the expense of POC whose ideas [...].”

  100. tinfoil hattie

    Thank you, Kitty Wrangler. I was actually thinking about this while NOT online, which is very unusual for me! And you have articulated it quite nicely. Much umbrage taken at the term “man” and “dude” but not at “mulatto” or “cunt.” Hmmm. Interesting.

    In a vacuum, it is very easy to describe race and gender and sexuality as “social constructs.” In a vacuum, when real women are not being hurt every day by these social constructs, we could drink tea and crook our pinkies and talk about it oh-so-civilly. But when pheeno’s daily experience of a centuries-long oppression is brushed off as trying to be “in the forefront of a new hatred” – as though that were some badge of honor! – it bears remembering that none of this is just abstract social discussion.

    As for transcending: Well, I am of Irish descent. And yes! I have “gotten over” the oppression, starvation, and general heinosity my ancestors suffered when they came to “America.” Know why I’m over it? BECAUSE I’M WHITE, and there’s no more oppression of Irish people in the U.S. It’s easy to “get over” something that is TRULY OVER.

  101. ivyleaves

    Thank you KittyWrangler and tinfoil hattie, for calling out the disingenuous debate tactics of an insincere commenter. Thank you pheeno, once again, for keeping it real here.

  102. alamo

    “And if inclusion and differing points of view are so important, why did the exclusionary tactics of “Girls” not raise High Arka’s concern? ”

    It did raise her concern. Go back and read her initial comment. She was arguing against the exclusionary notion that white people can’t write about non-white people She was arguing against Pheeno’s claim that it was a good thing that the white writers of this Girl show didn’t write about people of color.

    “Well since people are reading this for thoughtful points and rebuttals, I guess my initial response to High Arka– basically pointing and laughing– was a little immature.”

    Unfortunately that does seem to be the tone of the comments here: “OMG you think about something differently than I do? You’re racist, sexist, and must be a white man!”

  103. pheeno

    “She was arguing against the exclusionary notion that white people can’t write about non-white people ”

    I didn’t say can’t. I said shouldn’t.

    Not like they listen though. And not as if they haven’t been for a very,very long time. God forbid some new white wisdom doesn’t get written down. Whole fucking world will end won’t it.

  104. Cyberwulf

    “She was arguing against the exclusionary notion that white people can’t write about non-white people”

    Let’s try this. Men write about women all the time. Where’s that got us?

    Sure, not every female writer is going to be a good writer, especially when they grow up absorbing the message that men = complex, individual, well-rounded characters and women = Pick a Trope, but wouldn’t it be nice if the dudes would back off and give us a chance?

    I would venture that members of every other minority feel the same way.

  105. Owly

    I personally enjoy teaching people about female anatomy and birth control. Women think it’s something to be ashamed of and dudes think it’s a magical mystery.

  106. Kristine

    Owly, I’ve met some funfem women who think it’s a magical mystery. Is this something you do on a regular basis? If it is, I want to hear about your favorite reactions.

    However, it’s probably a little overoptimistic to assume that teaching people about female anatomy was really the goal of this show. It’s probably just a slightly more novel attempt to be “edgy” and “push the envelope.” Granted, it’s a well-meaning attempt, it’s not like the writers were downright hateful or anything. It’s just another classic case of funfems missing the point.

  107. alamo

    “Not like they listen though. And not as if they haven’t been for a very,very long time.”

    Well, the writers of the Girls show sure was listening. She got the message loud and clear: whites write about whites.

  108. Linda

    HA, I’m not sure why you would bother challenging radical feminist ideology on a radical feminist blog. In a radical feminist community you will find that there are radical feminist perspectives.

  109. yttik

    “OMG you think about something differently than I do? You’re racist, sexist, and must be a white man!”

    Ironically, when we attack other women, we act exactly like patriarchal white men want us to act. There’s nothing radical about telling a woman she’s thinking all wrong and oppressing everybody. In fact, it’s just more of the same old boring patriarchal crap.

  110. tinfoil hattie

    The problem, HA, is that you don’t fit these commenters’ stereotype of what a Latina is supposed to sound like. Perhaps they’ve been reading too many crappy Latina memoirs.

    The problem for me is that HA sounded like a white dude. I don’t know what a Latina is “supposed to sound like,” but I do know what white dudes sound like. All too well.

  111. tinfoil hattie

    So, yttik: No matter what a woman says, let it go, let we sound like a dude?

  112. alamo

    “HA, I’m not sure why you would bother challenging radical feminist ideology on a radical feminist blog. In a radical feminist community you will find that there are radical feminist perspectives.”

    So the idea that white women should only write about white women, Black women about Black women, Latinas about Latinas–that’s part of radical feminist ideology?

  113. Cyberwulf

    alamo, did you even read my comment?

    yttik, what is with this idea that anything a woman says must never, ever be challenged, no matter how disgusting and bigoted it is? Oh by the by, for someone who decries “silencing tactics” you sure do love to accuse women of acting like evil patriarchs to get them to shut their mouths.

  114. Kristine

    Within a matter of hours, High Arka has managed to turn this from a radical feminist blog into a blog all about High Arka! It doesn’t matter whether you’re defending her or fighting her, what matters is that it’s all about her! High Arka this, High Arka that! Can’t you see that she’s a total narcissist demanding constant attention? Can’t you see that she’s got us wrapped around her finger in a constant flame war of her design? I don’t care what your stance on all this shit is, stop feeding the troll, people!

  115. alamo

    “did you even read my comment?”

    I did read it. It sounds reasonable. Of course, women and poc artists should be allowed to tell their stories. And of course, women, poc and others who lack access to power have less ability to tell their stories.

    But what are “their” stories? Are they stories about people of their own race or gender? Stories about people from other planets? My point is, we don’t have a right to tell women that they can only write about women characters. Or Latina writers that they must write about the Latina experience. And we shouldn’t tell white women writers that they should only write about white women either. And yes, that was the original statement that was made: that white women shouldn’t write about poc. It was a comment made in response to this interesting post by confirmedspinster:

    “The creator of the show, when questioned about the non-diversity of the cast, claimed that the stories of people of color (or people of queerness, I guess) were not hers to tell . . . I am fairly sure that the writers of Breaking Bad weren’t cancer-stricken school teachers who decided to sell meth, or that the writers of glut of vampire show we have now were never actually vampires. This is why we encourage people to do that wonderful thing called research. Too many writers take the “write what you know” advice to heart without following it up with the essential “if you don’t know it, learn it” advice.”

    If you are open to hearing more from this perspective, read this, about the pressure of women of color writers to write autobiographically and to prove through their writing that they “lived more dysfunctionally, more tragically, more multiculturally, more exotically than anyone else.”
    http://www.pw.org/content/imperative_pressure_be_exotic

  116. alamo

    “Within a matter of hours, High Arka has managed to turn this from a radical feminist blog into a blog all about High Arka! ”

    From my perspective it looked it you all were just tearing into her, nonstop, namecalling, laughing, trying to humilate her. Mujerylegs was the only person trying to defend HA. I got sick of seeing you all beat up on HA, and since I agreed with some of what she said I wanted to stick up for her.

  117. qvaken

    There are a lot of “reverse racism” claims flying about on this thread. (“Why shouldn’t white people be able to write about POC’s experiences? Why shouldn’t oppressors be able to present oppressed people’s experiences on their behalf? That’s totally unfair!”) These are ridiculous, of course, because the context is that white people – or any oppressor class – DO appropriate the images, experiences and stories of oppressed peoples. White people are overrepresented in the arts, and so they DO have the opportunity to write about POC’s experiences. And they DO go ahead and make art about POCs, and present them in certain ways in novels, magazines, advertising, TV shows, movies, music, educational textbooks, and so on and so on… This is currently the state of the world, and a few feminist blog commenters arguing that POCs should have a greater representation in the arts, and that POCs should have every opportunity to write about their own experiences on their own terms, and that white people should back off and stop appropriating POC’s experiences and let them tell their own stories – this isn’t going to pose any oppressive threat to the people who are currently privileged by the status quo. To suggest that it is aggressive or “silencing” is to be both disingenuous and oppressive. And you know that!

  118. alamo

    “A few feminist blog commenters arguing that POCs should have a greater representation in the arts, and that POCs should have every opportunity to write about their own experiences on their own terms, and that white people should back off and stop appropriating POC’s experiences and let them tell their own stories – this isn’t going to pose any oppressive threat to the people who are currently privileged by the status quo.”

    Great. Because nobody said that talking about POC representation in the arts on a blog is posing an oppressive threat to the status quo. Straw man.

    And no one said you were being “aggressive or silencing” to the status quo. I said you were being aggressive to one woman in particular, to HA. Look back and read the way commenters responded to her. It’s like watching a bunch of bullies in the schoolyard gang up on the new kid. Do you not know how to talk to people who have different perspectives without being cruel? Do you not realize that actual human beings with feelings are writing these posts? Have some compassion. Or don’t I”m done with this thread.

  119. Kitty Von Kittykins

    @yyik

    Word.

  120. yttik

    “So, yttik: No matter what a woman says, let it go, let we sound like a dude?”

    Yep, because every moment you spend tearing down another woman makes the patriarchy stronger. They love nothing more then pitting women against each other until reality itself becomes so distorted we actually convince ourselves that women are the real oppressors, the root of all evil, and the enemy.

    When women finally learn how to show each other the same compassion and tolerance we show everything else on the planet, the patriarchy is going to fall. You can’t oppress half the human race, the majority in fact, unless you’ve got a well ingrained system of separate, divide, and control in place.

  121. pheeno

    “Well, the writers of the Girls show sure was listening. She got the message loud and clear: whites write about whites.”

    Good. They’ve been writing about Indians for 500 years now. I think they’ve said enough and it’s our turn now. But suggest they relinquish the floor and suddenly that’s “exclusive”.

    No. What IS exclusive is white people writing about Indians for 500 years and not letting us say a goddamn thing about it, lest we be seen as bitter white hating Indians. They’ve even written some of us into extinction, even though WE’RE STILL HERE. Try THAT for exclusion.

    Think an Indian child feels a tad bit fucking excluded when she reads a history book telling her that her Tribe no longer exists?

    Some some white people might feel excluded now. B-O-O H-O-O

  122. pheeno

    “Letting a bunch of the remaining indigenous peoples write books and publish movies does NOT equate to bringing back the millions of murdered dead that your ancestors left in their wake.”

    Doesn’t equate to excluding white people either. Not by a long damn shot and frankly, I’m sick of having to consider white people in every goddamn thing. They’re dominant in this country, I gotta kiss their ass now to just to make them feel ok about me speaking about MY stories?

    Not gonna happen. And they can suck it the hell up, just like I’ve had to and my culture has had to.

  123. pheeno

    “Because nobody said that talking about POC representation in the arts on a blog is posing an oppressive threat to the status quo. Straw man.”

    Just what do you think ” it’s excluding teh white peoplez!!!” means exactly?

    Only PoC are exclusionary when they want to talk. Only POC are divisive when they talk about race.

    Makes me sick.

  124. pheeno

    “Until Europeans got here, no one could “offer” land”

    Wrong. Many Tribes had land ownership and property ownership.

    Of course, that’s not well known because they weren’t exactly allowed to tell their own stories.

  125. KittyWrangler

    @yttik

    “Yep, because every moment you spend tearing down another woman makes the patriarchy stronger.”

    True. But at the same time, if one or more POC on this thread perceive something HA says as racist or oppressive and I agree, and if I choose to ignore it and not “tear down” HA, am I not also giving a big old “f**k you” to those POC I agree with? Would that not also be tearing down, say, Pheeno, to leave her flappin’ in the breeze, implicitly sending the message that it’s fine with me if she has to deal with a racist comment thread?

  126. KittyWrangler

    I mean, I don’t know what Pheeno thinks about what I’m writing, I shouldn’t have picked her out like that; I’m just saying that even though I get that divisiveness is harmful to solidarity (obviously), it seems like not engaging in “dividing” or really just different points of view often translates as ignoring things that seem racist or expecting POC or other groups to pick up the slack for everyone else, which is just as divisive, and this situation strikes me as one of those.

    I could have been more polite; but what HA wrote was outrageous and my reaction certainly wasn’t based on feeling like a comfortable in-group-er. I meant what I said about being truly frustrated to see HA defending oppressive behavior.

  127. tinfoil hattie

    High Arka, I am sorry the term “Latina/o” is offensive. I will be mindful.

    And I don’t worry too much about oppressing either white people, of which I am one, or men, at whose hands I have suffered countless abuse and injury. We do live in a patriarchy, which is why we can’t all just be “people.” Exorting us to rise above it is good in theory, but has no use in our current reality.

    @Alamo, from my perspective HA came in here with guns blazing, using racist and misogynist insults and explaining how wrong we all our about reality. I invite YOU to go back and re-read HA’s words. Because I am not ok with them. Nor am I “laughing” at HA, because there’s really not a damn thing about any of this tha I find remotely funny. And standing up against bigotry and misogyny is NOT bullying, for crying out loud.

    Also, a according to HA last week, children are a “scourge” and women should stop “breeding.” That’s pretty hateful language right there. There is precedent for my attitude about HA’s pronouncements.

  128. tinfoil hattie

    that s/be “how wrong we all are about our reality.”

  129. qvaken

    I took the liberty to re-read.

    A huge part of the issue is that HA said some racist and misogynist things, was called out for it, and chose to respond to that by providing long, drawn-out, unwanted explanations as to why what they’d said was okay, rather than considering that perhaps their speech was called out as being offensive and oppressive because it was offensive and oppressive. HA didn’t even get annoyed and walk away and take some time to think about it, read over what they’d said and how people reacted, and come up with a thoughtful response – perhaps, “Now I realise that the language that I’ve used has been hurtful to others, and I won’t do it again,” or, “The way that I’ve spoken about this topic has always been okay in my community, but I didn’t think about the fact that I’d be perceived differently here,” or a rebuttal, if they come back and decide that the call-out was truly unfair. HA got called out, and quickly shot back with a number of knee-jerk reactions that explained why what they did was okay, that provided a weak personal identity and background to claim immunity from being called out for hurtful speech, that upped the ante on their use of racist and misogynist speech, and that accused the caller-outers of aggressiveness, hatred, closed-mindedness, and croneyism.

  130. qvaken

    For the record, I haven’t met any of the blamers in person. I don’t know who has or hasn’t. But this isn’t exactly a space for getting to be best buds with one another and conspiring to shoot down all people with dissenting views. What it is, is an online radical feminist blog where individuals learn about radical feminism, discuss radical feminism, relate radical feminism to their own experiences or to real world experiences, and get the inspiration to research radical feminist ideas in their own time.

    It’s time to knock it off with the accusations. If somebody calls you out on something, then it’s because they’ve perceived what you’ve said in their own way, and given their honest reaction; and it’s because they don’t want you to do it [in that same way] again. If somebody disagrees with you, then it’s because they have a different perspective on things.

    Also, I’m bothered by the fact that Copperfield, KittyWrangler et al. had to provide lengthy explanations about the term “mansplaining”, as well as the difference between whites criticising POCs and POCs criticising whites. I’m not against 101isms altogether, but it’s really a problem when blamers have to go back to this to remind others not to make the same old hurtful errors and accusations – and especially when those people ignore these explanations, and continue anyway, and actually get worse. (HA: “Thanks for the explanations, though. I get that calling any “bad speech” “man speech” isn’t bad. Because, like, there’s a dictionary. In that case, don’t be offended by “cunt” either. Didn’t you KNOW that “cunt” just means a troublesome, disagreeable woman? It doesn’t mean ALL women. Let’s take a page from that book. And then when someone not on the bandwagon points out that “Cunt, you’re speaking Cunt,” they get all in a huff and revert to traditional sexist name-calling.”")

    Not okay.

  131. qvaken

    That was very long and used more hypothetical examples than clear arguments, but I did catch this: “Her juxtaposition of this society’s acceptable bigotries alongside its unacceptable bigotries…” and I can only assume that you’re referring to the “man” or “dude”/”c**t” dichotomy that you created. (Yes, I censor certain words. I don’t like them so I won’t say or write them.) “Mansplaining” and the reasons why whites aren’t hurt by race-specific treatment have both been explained fully. Do we really need to launch into an explanation as to why it’s hurtful to women to state that the opposite of “man” or “dude” is “c**t”? I mean, perhaps we should start with an explanation as to why “c**t” is (or at least, can be) a hurtful term? Or will you just concede that it’s hurtful and stop doing it, and stop valorising it?

  132. qvaken

    High Arka, it’s not up to you to dictate the conversation topics that people will pursue, nor is it up to you to provide selections of responses that they may give. People in this forum will freely interpret the article and the comments, and will freely choose their own words and their own responses.

    And High Arka, the opposite of “man” is not “c**t”. One is a descriptive term about a person’s sex and age, and the other is a curse word used to deride women’s sex organs.

  133. Friend of Snakes

    Stop the Madness!

  134. FiddlinBill

    The best show on Teevee right now, re showing real women being themselves, not stereotypes, is the Women’s Softball World Series on ESPN. In this “show,” all sorts of women are depicted by their actual selves, doing terrific and difficult things. They are not “made up.” They do not wear weird clothes designed to enhance their “beauty” in men’s eyes. Check it out while it’s on. Lelanai Ricketts, pitcher extrodinaire for Oklahoma U, struck out 16 (!!!) last night. This is in a seven-inning game. Her opponent last night was the U. Cal Bears, just ranked number One in the whole world of college women’s softball right now. She will pitch again in Sunday’s game (OU’s next), because top women softball pitchers pitch every game!

  135. tinfoil hattie

    I just read that Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the deaths of protestors in last year’s uprising. I feel kinda surprised by that, though I haven’t teased out exactly why.

  136. josquin

    I truly hope that commenters such as Alamo, yttik, and High Arka aren’t run out of this town. Seems like mujerylegs has already left the building. (And I well understand that in posting this, I risk being chased out of this town myself.) I think their comments contribute to and expand the discourse here. I hope there is room for back and forth discussion which includes these point of view, alongside the views of dissenting commenters. I may agree or not agree, but it helps me understand these complex ideas when reasonable differing points of view are put forth without fear of attack. And with “reasonable different points of view”
    I ‘m not advocating for blanket acceptance of hateful or stupid trolls.(I absolutely don’t consider any of the above-named commenters to be of that category.). Of course it’s Twisty’s call, but I’m just expressing my opinion as a longtime reader of this site.

  137. quixote

    Let’s see.

    1) “This conversation is about me.”

    2) “This is what I want to talk about.”

    3) “This is what you may talk about.”

    Yup. Conforms to all the highest standards of argument as practiced in many academic departments and conferences around the entire planet. It also shows interest in hearing other points of view.

    (Don’t mind me. I took a seat near the back so as to be near the door and am sneaking out while the room is dark and the expert is pointing to item 7-sub-c on his powerpoint. Meet you at the coffee pot smuggled out from Savage Death Island.)

  138. tinfoil hattie

    TV is a deadly poison. Many of us don’t watch much TV here on Savage Death Island. But a lot of the rest of the world watches, myself included.

    Particularly disturbing is the HIStory Channel, which doesn’t even pretend that women exist except as helpmeets or window-dressing. Every blessed show is about white dudes and the things they do. Much of TV is like that, I know. But HIStory is just awful. They’re blatant both in their assumption that what other-than-white-dudes do is singularly uninteresting, and in their insistence on continuing to “create” history that furthers the viewpoint that white dudes do EVERYTHING while the rest of us just sit around on our asses waiting for handouts.

  139. stacey

    Holy crap, peeps. What a fucking mess.

    josquin speaks, “

    I truly hope that commenters such as Alamo, yttik, and High Arka aren’t run out of this town. Seems like mujerylegs has already left the building. (And I well understand that in posting this, I risk being chased out of this town myself.) I think their comments contribute to and expand the discourse here. I hope there is room for back and forth discussion which includes these point of view, alongside the views of dissenting commenters.

    Their comments don’t expand the discourse, they retread old discourse over and over again. How many times have we had super-threads involving race, class, and the oppressor/oppressed dynamic? Oh, and I’m probably guilty of it too, because I forgot to mention heteronormativity and cisgenderedness. But hey, look! I backed the fuck up and re-read what I wrote and considered the inclusivity of my comments. High Arka didn’t even consider that he was wrong, and refuses to admit it now. Others saw a pile-on, but also didn’t stop to consider that he was wrong. (And I say “he”, because he’s totes a MAN, man.)

    All I see are these same names coming up again, arguing that my issues or my colour don’t, or shouldn’t count. And big thank you to pheeno, because from my upper-middle-class cushiness, it’s sometimes easy for me to forget that they are my issues. Any time any one of you intimate that race/class etc is lower on the list than gender, I pretty much discount everything you say.

    Should any writer/artist use or appropriate stories/visuals from a culture not their own? Sure, whatevs. But part of the revolution must strive for all voices being heard, equally. And if you’re part of an oppressor group, you’d better be REALLY, REALLY certain you’re doing it with respect and consideration that yours might not be the best voice possible for that narrative.

  140. josquin

    Stacey – Your sentence “their comments don’t expand the discourse” would have been accurate if it read “they don’t expand MY idea of discourse.” As it is written, it is downright patriarchal in its insistence that your opinion is in fact a universal truth.
    (Note that I stated my original sentence as my opinion, not as universal fact: “I think their comments…” )
    You are also insisting on your opinion as universal truth with the comment that some people are “refusing to admit” that High Arka is wrong. What a high-handed and patronizing remark! You might want to consider that some people might not believe that High Arka is wrong, and if even they disagree with High Arka’s statements , they might not believe that a “yessuh boss” to High Arka’s detractors is the way to go. I advise that you consider the fact that a differing opinion is not by default an incorrect opinion. It’s a gray foggy territory out there. Pile-ups simply do not shine light on complex issues.

  141. Saurs

    Just to re-iterate a comment left on a previous post where she made a bit of a kerfuffle by trying to bait the resident commentariat into speaking ill of children: High Arka is a known anti-feminist troll who ad homs and ad fems any interlocutor who disagrees with her, usually by insinuating that they have psychosexual problems or are “misandrist,” and who engages in long-winded, pedantic, bad-faith sophistry on other blogs (mostly run by male anarchists), where she is known to try (and usually fail) to bully radfems and their allies into silence. Cf any comprehensive search of her comments on The Crow’s Eye, WhoIsIOZ, anarchurious.

  142. Owly

    Kristine, it’s something I like to do at parties! Dudes are full of questions, because frankly, they’ve never been told and never bothered to find out. Half of the young women I talk to don’t even know what a vulva is. I found a Swedish brochure detailing female and male sexual anatomy that was really useful, but I can’t seem to find it.

    Fun fems love to talk about their anatomy like the very fact the have it is empowering, it’s so obnoxious. Apparently it’s a goddess given empowerful magical thing that lives in my pants. And I definitely didn’t make the mistake of thinking that saying “vagina” in that stupid show was meant to educate.

  143. Kristine

    Sorry, Owly. I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth. You must go to better parties than I do. Most of the people I’ve hung out with consider it uncouth to discuss sex and all related things.

  144. Friend of Snakes

    Speaking of vaginas, and we were, weren’t we?

    “Being a woman means having a vagina. But it doesn’t mean we want to have control of it.”

    Most commenters here have probably already seen this parody political video, but just in case someone hasn’t, check it out.

    Republicans, Get in my Vagina!
    http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/6t29

  145. KittyWrangler

    @ FriendOfSnakes Ha, I loved that video.

    @Kristine and @Owly
    I’d love to be at y’all’s parties! You may laugh but I just recently found out about the entire inner structure of the clitoris. Holy crap! It completely changed my understanding of female sexual arousal. Why doesn’t anyone know about this stuff? (on second thought, don’t answer that)

  146. Linda

    I said: “HA, I’m not sure why you would bother challenging radical feminist ideology on a radical feminist blog. In a radical feminist community you will find that there are radical feminist perspectives.”

    Alamo said: “So the idea that white women should only write about white women, Black women about Black women, Latinas about Latinas–that’s part of radical feminist ideology?”

    The reason I said that is because my overall impression of HA’s commentary is that HA is arguing from a position which does not recognise structural oppression or that white dudes have the monopoly over knowledge, information and ideas that support the structures. It was a serious question. Why the snark?

  147. tinfoil hattie

    Apparently it’s a goddess given empowerful magical thing that lives in my pants

    (snort!) Then why doesn’t it do my taxes? That’s some magic for ya.

    KittyWrangler, I recently found out about the deep & winding inner clitoris, also. Of course we never learned about it before. It’s bad enough that the only human body part that exists solely for pleasurable purposes belongs to girls/women. Dog forbid we know about our own bodies.

  148. qvaken

    Linda: I’d just let it go. I got it too, complete with logical fallacy accusation and all.

    tinfoil: Do you feel surprised about the Mubarak verdict because you expected that he wouldn’t face punishment, or because you expected him to be sentenced to death instead? And it’s like every TV show that features women and women’s issues, POCs and their issues, etc., is “special”, a diversion from regular viewing. And then, because we’re receiving “special” inclusion, then we should feel relieved and concede that everything is equal now.

    Did you find yourself feeling excited every time that you saw a well-known woman in history being discussed? Like on TV, or in your high school or university textbooks? I did. I also get excited every time that I see a woman who has achieved great success in industry, politics, science, and so on. Even if they’re an asshole, I still feel delighted to see a powerful woman.

  149. yttik

    I think one problem with “Girls” and with POC, is that nobody is actually allowed to write their own story, to define themselves. “Girls” is not even a good representation of white girls, it’s an imagined stereotype of what young wealthy white women are supposed to be like. The author is not really writing “what she knows,” she’s writing what she believes is the expected behavior of white girls under patriarchy. Those aren’t real girls, those are fictional characters, and very few women ever manage to achieve that level of shallowness, stupidity, and conformity. Those who do have only managed to temporarily act out the part.

    So, POC have not been allowed to tell their own stories, but neither have women. Real women, real girls, are rarely presented on TV or in film, even when the script is written by a woman.

  150. Owly

    No worries Kristine. And Kitty Wrangler, I wish you could come!

    These things are pretty much all on me, I’m the one who steers the conversation in that direction. I’m also very up front about mental illness (I’m bipolar) and other topics with strict social stigmas. It’s amazing how much people will open up when they realize they’re in a safe place and have an understanding audience. All of a sudden I hear about personal experiences or those of loved ones. It’s like people have been dying to talk about it all along. Alcohol helps, I suppose.

  151. yttik

    “So if you’re a male who can more effectively please your partner, you increase the chances of reproduction.”

    Hmm, in that case, it’s a wonder we haven’t gone extinct yet.

  152. qvaken

    yttik: I look back on my sexual history, and I realise now how bad it all really was. For my part, it was all a complete act – the act that I was taught to give. For men’s part, it’s all about taking, taking, taking, and never giving. It’s at the point where I realise that heterosexual sex, as an act, truly just isn’t worth it. It’s always proclaimed to be about pleasure, and about personal and political freedom, but that’s bullshit; every minute facet of heterosexual sex is about dominating women.

    (I know that the advanced blamers realised this long ago. I’m just at the point where the penny’s dropped, and I’m aghast to see almost every other person that I know blissfully gripping their pennies and never letting them hit the floor.)

  153. tinfoil hattie

    @qvaken, I think you’re clarifying my feeling – I guess I thought he wouldn’t be punished. And, what about the men who wrought the actual violence? Or is Mubarak “it,” as far as “justice” goes?

    And YES, I always felt excited when a woman was featured in ANY lesson in school. What a novelty, eh? As a geezer feminist, though, I now feel angry that all we get are crumbs.

    @yttik: Women can’t tell our own story. We don’t even know what our own story is. because the only context we have for it is within (say it with me, everybody!): PATRIARCHY!

  154. Friend of Snakes

    From some random site:

    Anonymous said…

    Is there a browser plugin that will play Yakety Sax every time you scroll down and hit a High Arka comment?

    http://whoisioz.blogspot.com/2012/03/sick-as-dog.html?showComment=1331209933889#c2001564230401421234

  155. Friend of Snakes

    I’m getting creeped out.

  156. qvaken

    tinfoil hattie: Interestingly, some years ago I was disgusted that the US soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison were prosecuted, but that Bush, Rumsfeld, Sanchez et al. got off without punishment. Surely, ordering your subordinates to commit crimes is a crime worse than the acts of those following orders? Then again, now there’s the flipside – and no, the underlings committing the acts shouldn’t get off just because they were following orders.

    Regarding women in movies, textbooks etc.: I’m reaching that point where I realise how sad it actually is that I got excited over seeing or hearing about famous or influential women. It reveals that the reality is that women are underrepresented in history.

    tinfoil and yttik: A huge problem is that these stories are being told through mediums that cost money, and that exist to make money, and that do that by both living by, and perpetuating, the rules of the P. Every person and group of people used and commodified by the popular media is going to be presented in a dishonest and warped fashion.

  157. Linda

    “A huge problem is that these stories are being told through mediums that cost money, and that exist to make money…”

    And we know who has all the money. “Girls” might have been written by a woman but I’m pretty sure that ultimately, it only got made because of dudemoney.

  158. Nolabelfits

    Friend of Snakes, I feel it too.

  159. tinfoil hattie

    Me three, SDI-ites. Me three.

  160. pheeno

    “So, POC have not been allowed to tell their own stories, but neither have women. Real women, real girls, are rarely presented on TV or in film, even when the script is written by a woman.”

    Yup. Suggesting men step back so women can tell their own stories gets the same reaction from tools of the P as suggesting white folks step back so POC can tell their own stories.

    The result? Real women and real POC get stuck in an never ending stereotype.

  161. alamo

    “Suggesting men step back so women can tell their own stories gets the same reaction from tools of the P as suggesting white folks step back so POC can tell their own stories.”

    You really don’t get it do you? Okay, let me try this one more time.

    1. POC & women should tell their own stories. POC & women should tell whatever stories they want, whether those stories are about people similar or dissimilar from themselves.
    2. If white women “stepping back” means white women “refraining from writing about people different from themselves hemselves” and if poc “telling their own stories” means “writing about people exactly like themselves” then congratulations, mission accomplished! White women (like the woman who wrote “Girls”) are doing just that. And poc writers are pressured into writing only about poc just like themselves.

  162. stacey

    alamo, no. It’s not about [me] writing about people exactly like myself [brown bisexual Canadian upper-middle-class woman]. It’s about letting non-mainstream voices be heard with equal weight and value as the predominant mainstram, regardless of what they want to say.

  163. susanw

    Me four. The troll vibe is making my skin crawl.
    Popular story-tellig very rarely speaks to the real experiences of women because that would upset men. The instance that springs to mind is Julianna Moore’s bathroom scene in “the Hours”. She communicates the absolute horror of knowing she will have to perform sex she doesn’t want. Of course the subtext is that she’s a lesbian, but as a het woman, I know that awful feeling of steeling myself for the inevitable. Flawed as that scene was by the “Oh, well, she’s gay and her husband doesn’t know, so he’s off the hook” weasle, it did make a tentaive run at the strongest piller of patriarchy: women should have sex with the men who own them, and we don’t mind, really, because it’s natural for women to passively accept the male sexual agenda. Move on. Nothing to see here.
    Oh, and if “Girls” wanted to speak truth to power (it doesn’t), it wouldn’t be called “Girls”.

  164. susanw

    Me four. The troll vibe is making my skin crawl.
    Popular story-telling very rarely speaks to the real experiences of women because that would upset men. The instance that springs to mind is Julianna Moore’s bathroom scene in “The Hours”. She communicates the absolute horror of knowing she will have to perform sex she doesn’t want. Of course the subtext is that she’s a lesbian, but as a het woman, I know that awful feeling of steeling myself for the inevitable. Flawed as that scene was by the “Oh, well, she’s gay and her husband doesn’t know, so he’s off the hook” weasle, it did make a tentaive run at the strongest piller of patriarchy: women should have sex with the men who own them, and we don’t mind, really, because it’s natural for women to passively accept the male sexual agenda. Move on. Nothing to see here.
    Oh, and if “Girls” wanted to speak truth to power (it doesn’t), it wouldn’t be called “Girls”.

  165. alamo

    “It’s about letting non-mainstream voices be heard with equal weight and value as the predominant mainstram, regardless of what they want to say.”

    So when Marge Piercy writes about Latinas, somehow she is not “letting” Latinas write about themselves?

    The people “let” poc & women write are not other writers but publishers.

  166. susanw

    Sorry about then double post. I fouled up the process trying to fix my bad typing.

    If a TV show is hell-bent on using the “vagina”, how about, ” My vagina is really pissed off. It exists for impregnation and childbirth, but men keep using it for their sexual pleasure. It’s my clitoris that lusts for non-reproductive sexual pleasure, not my vagina.”

  167. pheeno

    “2. If white women “stepping back” means white women “refraining from writing about people different from themselves hemselves” and if poc “telling their own stories” means “writing about people exactly like themselves” then congratulations, mission accomplished! White women (like the woman who wrote “Girls”) are doing just that. And poc writers are pressured into writing only about poc just like themselves.”

    That’s soooo because POC want to be heard firsthand instead of third hand right? No. This happens because for years and years and years, white writers were the only writers deemed to be qualified to write about EVERYONE. Just like male is the default sex authority, white comes in top as default racial authority. Upon hearing that POC can tell their own stories thankyouverymuch, whites pushed back and pigeon-holed POC. THAT is why poc writers are pressured into only writing about POC. And whites are NOT pressured by anyone they think matters. Oh sure, POC groups complain that whites dominate the damned industry, but that’s just reverse racism and victim mentality. Nothing to concern themselves about.

    It’s all the result of racism. And the perpetrators sure as hell aren’t people like myself or any other POC sick of hearing their lives told through white lips.

  168. Friend of Snakes

    Combining one of our (formerly) most exciting thread topics, Transgenderism with the TV topic, and then with the Vagina Word, toss in a little “Are They Writing About What They Know?”, plus a bit of “If She’s Not X, Should An Actor Play X”? discussion – we might want to consider Hit & Miss, a series which recently debuted on Sky Atlantic TV. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/may/18/chloe-sevigny-new-sky-drama?newsfeed=true

    Chloë Sevigny plays a transgender contract killer (just can’t bring myself to say hit woman) complete with totally realistic prosthetic ding-dong (don’t want to get shit canned in the bad words filter, thanks) of which (it being non-American teevee) they give us more than a passing glance. I will add that so far the full frontal nudity seems in total service to advancing the plot and the issues the character is grappling with.

    I downloaded the first two episodes at 2:00 this morning intending to save them for later viewing, and ended up at 4:00am having watched both. After it was over, I realized I couldn’t tell whether Sevigny had acquitted herself well with a British accent. I couldn’t remember whether she even had one. I love the location shots. The action takes place partly in some gritty area of a gritty-looking city and partly in a beautiful and desolate rural area. I’ve not a clue where they might be.

    The transgender angle is supposed to be the hook. I suppose. Yep, that’s what attracted my attention at first. I suspect I’ll hang around for the totality of the experience. I’m looking forward to more. Has anyone else seen this yet? I think I heard it may be coming here to the States sooner or later. I’ll keep downloading it via the freebie torrents. I wouldn’t be surprised if the idiots on this side of the Atlantic pixilate out the nudity.

  169. yttik

    “THAT is why poc writers are pressured into only writing about POC”

    I think it’s worse than that, women and POC are forced to write about themselves in patriarchally compliant ways that will appeal to a mostly white male audience.

    I really don’t like the idea of “write what you know” because if you subscribe to that, nobody ever comes out of their bubble, like “Girls” for instance. That show may be patriarchal crap, but it could have been better if the author had challenged herself to go out of her comfort zone. “Write what you know, ” but if that’s all you know, you should be ashamed of yourself. Why doesn’t she know about anything other then well off patriarchally compliant white girls? It’s a big world out there.

    Of course, if she hadn’t written a story about young sexy white girls who say “vagina” a lot, she wouldn’t have a TV show.

  170. pheeno

    “I think it’s worse than that, women and POC are forced to write about themselves in patriarchally compliant ways that will appeal to a mostly white male audience. ”

    Yup.

  171. pheeno

    Discrimination is not = institutionalized racism.

    Anyone can be discriminated against. Only POC in this country can be victims of racism.

  172. pheeno

    Racism= Prejudice +Power.

    POC in the US can’t be racist because they do not have insitutional, systemic power.

    Economic – white males hold the majority of money in this country. (and many others)

    Social/Cultural- white people dominate the majority of media (as owners and subjects in both TV, movies, news and books)

    Governmental- white people hold the majority in all branches of the government, including law enforcement.

    Racism isn’t about an individual or even individuals hating someone because of their skin color. That’s a 3rd grade level definition.

    Prejudice is not a synonym of racism.

  173. pheeno

    Wellman, David T. Portraits of White Racism. Second Edition. Cited in: “Definitions of Racism”. Center for the Study of White American Culture, Inc. 2001. 23 Dec 2004.

    Racism extends considerably beyond prejudiced beliefs. The essential feature of racism is not hostility or misperception, but rather the defense of a system from which advantage is derived on the basis of race. The manner in which the defense is articulated – either with hostility or subtlety – is not nearly as important as the fact that it insures the continuation of a privileged relationship. Thus it is necessary to broaden the definition of racism beyond prejudice to include sentiments that in their consequence, if not in their intent, support the racial status quo.

  174. Leah

    Actually, a lot of the term vagina is NOT used in an anatomically correct sense.

    In many cases, they use that term to refer to the VULVA.

  175. Mildred

    I don’t get this argument about race.
    Here’s a show that is about white 20 something girls written by a white female 20 something writer, there’s nothing else like this on television, this alone should be enough to tick the minority box, end of story!

  176. Mildred

    Could we just block Arka already? I spent like 40 minutes reading this comments thread and this dude has not said once HEY ACTUALLY I’M A LADY, which is what a lady would do, he’s just dodged the issue and last I heard this is a dude-free environment, even if he is a bisexual latina single mother he’s patronizing, wordy and boring like a dude and last I checked this was IBTP not the HuffPo or the guardian comments section. GET RID.

  177. qvaken

    Mildred: If I agreed with you any harder on your second comment, I’d knock you over. Though I’d add a fair few more reasons into the mix.

  178. Friend of Snakes

    Practice what we preach, yo.

    Email Twisty.Faster at G mail or send a tweet @IBlame

  179. qvaken

    Done.

    And to respond to the big, giant “Fuck you” that you’ve shoved in our faces throughout this entire thread: Right back atcha, High Arka.

  180. qvaken

    Swish! Once again, fuck you too.

  181. Keri

    Here is a twenty something female doing something I found quite hilarious should you need comic relief: http://jezebel.com/5914417/no-matter-how-unhinged-you-act-dudes-on-the-internet-will-still-try-to-bang-you

    Also, Arka means sun god. This guy thinks very highly of himself just in his name alone let alone the fact he couldn’t be any more of a troll. Let us retreat to the safety of Savage Death Island where he is not allowed. I believe I shall have a margarita and an unreasonable amount of queso and celebrate that I don’t have to deal with him.

  182. Krumpet

    I’ve been reading this site for ages–since close to the very beginning–and I’ve commented infrequently. This time, I’m commenting under a different handle, with no link to my website because I’m seriously getting the manipulative abuser vibe from High Arka.

    High Arka, I’m not saying you ARE a manipulative abuser, mind you, but the uncanny resemblance is something you might be concerned about if you have no interest in presenting as such. Your choice! Oh, wait, let me be more helpful for you–your choice is actually:

    1) continue to present a manipulative abuser vibe
    2) stop

    Living where I do, the Caribbean, I can confirm that the use of the word “mulatto” is strongly tied to hierarchical systems of privilege (and racism!), be they Spanish or French. A lot like the use of the term ‘colored people’ is associated with the legacy of privilege within the US South/previous slave-owning regions. One who gets offended at the term Latina/Latino would be careful about not using ‘mulatto’, I’d think, since it stems from European classification systems meant to denote the amount of an individual’s genetic indigenous heritage. BUT HEY. Maybe not!

    Even here, where Spain-adoration is so high that racist terms like ‘Indio’ (means exactly what you think) are used for people who merely come from countries such as Ecuador, ‘Argentine’ is nearly synonymous with ‘European’, and people engage in the absurd practice of we’re-not-actually-from-X-country-we’re-Spanish-because-of-Great-Grandma/pa, the word “mulatto” is NOT USED because it is too obviously gauche and racist.

    Folks who use “mulatto” as a synonym for “mixed race” should try substituting “quadroon” and see how that turns out. Honestly, the difference between the two is so slight that it can only truly be measured using the good ol’ ‘one drop rule’, which as I’m sure everyone here knows, isn’t really good, though it is old.

  183. stacey

    @ alamo, who says: “The people [who] “let” poc & women write are not other writers but publishers.”

    Obvs. Which is why old, established publishing houses, among others, need to seriously re-think themselves.

    I repeat: artists shouldn’t not employ other voices, but they should do it with a whole lot of research behind them and the ability to understand that they might not be doing it right. So that when someone calls them on it, they don’t go all fragile-flower and complain about people attacking their art; they should stop to consider that maybe their version of that voice isn’t correct. (When artists insist that their appropriated voice is better, or more valuable than, the voice of the ones appropriated because all art is beautiful and free, then they’re being silencing assholes.)

    Aside: I did not know who Marge Piercy is/was, as I am not a great reader of spec fiction. She’s obviously a feminist favourite and well-loved writer, and I assume has a high degree of skill. Her (apparent) excellent use of Latina voice, however, does not necessarily mean that it is as important as, or more valuable than, an actual Latina voice writing the same fiction.

  184. tinfoil hattie

    blamers: Violet Socks has a pertinent post at her place. reclusive leftist dot com.

  185. Doctress Ju'ulia

    Wow, a male troll claiming to be a woman has hijacked this entire thread. Tragic.

    I could tell by the sheer length of his posts alone. BlahblahBLAAAAH. Ignored!

    Vulva. Vulva. I’m gonna say it lots today.

    Wow, yes: the vulva-guarding in the pic. Yikes.

  186. TotallyDorkin

    So yesterday I went to a baby shower that was, overall, rather nice. One gift in particular was this book:

    http://www.perma-bound.com/ViewDetail/4749491-story-of-bluebonnet-board-book

    Apparently some white dude thought it would be fun to write about Native Americans, and came up with this. i read through it, and the story is basically: There’s a famine, the Tribe shamans goes up the mountain and the Great Spirits (the author was VERY proud of the pluralization there for some reason) tells them some cryptic command about sacrificing what is most dear to them. The little girl in the story is all “It must be my doll, my one and only possession” and then burns the doll and ends the drought and brings forth blue flowers.

    It struck me as simply another tale of how women should sacrifice all their possessions for the good of others with a twist of racism. At no point did it talk about genocide.

    Anyone have any input?

  187. tinfoil hattie

    Ugh, Totally Dorkin: Not to mention, good ol’ fetishization of Those Amazing American Indians, and plenty of religious crapola thrown in. Radfem fail on every level.

    Would have been a way more compelling story if reset in some wealthy, colonizing US neighborhood, with some white dude offering to sacrifice his penis.

    (Who says we dont have a sense of humor? ‘Cause THAT was funny.)

  188. boltingmadonna

    I venture in here with some trepidation, having not commented here before except maybe once a long time ago. I love reading here, though, and have favorite blamers whose pithy comments make my heart leap up. I attended WisCon recently–the feminist science fiction convention–and heard a number of panels on issues of race, class, and gender, and about inclusivity and diversity in science-fictional writing, often presumed to be an armed enclave of white men.

    One of the spokeswomen in this field, Nisi Shawl, has written an excellent book about viewpoints in writing, published by Acqueduct Press: Writing the Other: A Practical Approach, by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward. It’s based on workshops Nisi and Cynthia taught, and contains useful exercises and other thought-provoking material.

  189. pheeno

    It’s a real Comanche legend.

  190. Fede

    Obvious troll is obvious.

    The loathsome bigotry here isn’t even cleverly hidden. You’re proud of it; you’re congratulating each other on it. It’s about time you started groupwriting some kind of Frau Kampf.

    You do know, do you not, troll-face, that Hitler’s book wasn’t called ‘Herr Kampf’?

    If you were not so desperately sad, that would actually be a highly entertaining mistake you made there. And after thus calling us loathsome bigots, here you still are, going

    My experience is different than yours, but that doesn’t need to frighten or upset you. Let’s talk!

    Who knew a total riot could be so boring? Hint: I did, and we all did here. We’ve heard it all before, knobby.

  191. Fede

    About that Comanche legend, it puts me in mind of the bible story where Abraham is told to sacrifice what is most dear to him; his most prized ‘possession’, in true biblical spirit, is of course his son Isaac.

    So we have 1) misogyny: a father necessarily most prize a son over any daughters. 2) We have the gnarly idea that the son is his to sacrifice – children being the possession of their parents – or at least of their fathers (ownership of kids, plus a side order of misogyny again). 3) We may observe that the sacrifice is demanded of him just to prove that he is unconditionally obedient to the Lawd. Even if Isaac is spared because Abraham does indeed prove his willingness to sacrifice him just so Mr. Lawd can have his ego stroked, that is some offensive shit right there.

    Even though I am not terribly fond of stories about the necessity of sacrificing that which is dearest, I gotta say, at least the Comanche story had 1) a little girl saving the day (less misogyny), 2) the possession not being another person, but in fact a thing (no slave-owner mentality), and 3) an actual point to the sacrifice (less with the unconditional servility, more with the bargaining)

  192. Lidon

    Yay! Thank you Twisty!

    “So if you’re a male who can more effectively please your partner, you increase the chances of reproduction.”

    Hmm, in that case, it’s a wonder we haven’t gone extinct yet.

    HAHAHA! Yup yup.

  193. TwisssB

    Getting back to the vagina theme for a moment, note what the ACLU is doing to give PETA a little competition at the game of violating women in the name of Doing Good Works:
    https://www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights-womens-rights/prison-strip-search-sexually-abusive .

    Is the blonde woman used in the video to piously disclaim any intention to engage in racism?

  194. Friend of Snakes

    Poof!

  195. Twisty

    Hi gang! Just passing through on my way to the wood shed. I’ll be back soon.

  196. yttik

    The Story of Bluebonnet brings up another issue POC and women face, regardless of your intentions, everything is perceived through patriarchal eyes. People here are putting biblical interpretations on the story, relating it to how women are expected to sacrifice everything for others, etc.We can’t help but put it in a patriarchal context, but it’s really a female empowerment story. She Who Walks Alone is this powerless orphan clinging to a doll who transforms herself into a leader and gains a name for herself, a community.

  197. qvaken

    HA is gone and Twisty is back. I think I can deal with that.

    Also, do you have any tips for dealing with trolls in the future?

  198. Twisty

    Troll? What troll?

  199. qvaken

    The one that- Oh. Noted.

  200. TotallyDorkin

    @Pheeno

    I know it’s a real Comanche legend but I don’t know how it comes across being interpreted and recorded by this white guy. Any thoughts?

  201. pheeno

    As far as interpretation, he basically just retold the story in a simple manner for kids. It gets marketed as being about Texas Bluebonnets a little heavier than it should, IMO instead of focusing on the meaning of the story but that’s probably the result of Texans being how we are about anything to do with Texas.

    “We can’t help but put it in a patriarchal context, but it’s really a female empowerment story. She Who Walks Alone is this powerless orphan clinging to a doll who transforms herself into a leader and gains a name for herself, a community.”

    Yes. She’s reborn through this and becomes One-Who-Dearly-Loves-Her-People. And she’s given the bluebonnets to- replace isn’t the right word, but- replace the doll she sacrificed. So she’s given something precious in return. Life and immortality via the flowers that everyone can see and will see forever.

  202. TotallyDorkin

    Thanks Pheeno.

  203. tinfoil hattie

    Regarding trolls: Try ignoring, as soon as it becomes apparent someone is a troll. It’s sometimes hard to determine, and often hard for the fighter in me to not engage. But I’m learning!

    pheeno: Thanks for the update on the legend. I initially felt about it much the way I feel about “The Giving Tree,” a barf-acious book if there ever was one!

  204. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Best way to dispel trolls: Ignore ‘em. Like unto ignoring a bee up your tukis, I know, but it can be done. When the comment count mounts up as quickly as this one did, it’s best to take a powder until the Return of the Spinster Aunt, lest ye be vexed.

  205. pheeno

    One thing to keep in mind about Indian stories-

    In general (it varies but not by much from Tribe to Tribe) a warrior is charged with the protection and welfare of his/her people. That doesn’t mean just warfare or physical fighting. It encompasses things such as making sure everyone has enough to eat. Everyone has access to shelter. Everyone has access to support. So when a story like this is told, the heroine is viewed as a warrior for her people, and not a sacrificial, passive savior. It’s not meekness, it’s courage. A woman (or in the Comanche story, little girl) is not being all P approved meek and sacrificing. She’s being a strong warrior for her people. Nurturing people is not considered a weakness, it’s considered hard and brave.

    She didn’t humbly offer her doll to the flames. She proudly offered her doll to the flames. HERE! Take THIS, it’s my most precious possession! Not here, will you please accept this lowly doll (even though I love it) and pretty please show us mercy.

    She was brave. She was strong. She stood up and fought for her people as a warrior, not as some humble servant of god.

  206. TotallyDorkin

    The more I hear from you on this Pheeno, the more I’m convinced that I’m not really into this book. When I read it, I didn’t get any of the messages you’re explaining above that really transform the story into a legend and a parable about community and what is valued and who has strength. I might print out your comments and slip them in the book so they’re there if it ever gets read to the child for which it was intended.

  207. TwissB

    Hippolyta: Your very important comment bears repeating:

    Hippolyta
    May 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm (UTC – 6)

    Equal treatment is not equality. It seems like one of the hardest ideas for a new feminist to get. A man stripping down for an audience is not the same as a woman doing it. In the context of the patriarchy (and there is no other context) the power differential between genders makes those two completely different actions. When vagina jokes are as common as penis jokes we are not moving towards equality, we are simply experiencing a different kind of exploitation.

  208. redpeachmoon

    “”Here is a twenty something female doing something I found quite hilarious should you need comic relief: http://jezebel.com/5914417/no-matter-how-unhinged-you-act-dudes-on-the-internet-will-still-try-to-bang-you“”

    “the answer to the How Far Can You Take It Before All Men are Summarily Unable to Achieve Erections? Basically, you have to be an actual bath salted out cannibal eating some guy’s face under a bridge in Florida. Boners are hard to kill.”

    Thanks for the laugh Keri!

  209. qvaken

    Thanks tinfoil and Antoinette. I tried ignoring him and engaging with other blamers instead, but in that time it got so much worse. I’ll just back right off in future.

    I read the Bluebonnet story, and it struck me as being about community. This little girl who had lost everything was leading her group by example, because she gave up on her individual wants to benefit the community. Not that the message of the story was that only women and girls should do this – everyone should, but she had the bravery to do it first. I read it that way because these types of stories and messages are not common in individualist societies like those in the Western world, but in community-based societies it’s important to learn them.

  210. Jen

    I’m late to this party, so I read the whole thing without HA’s comments. Very strange experience.

    On a related topic, did anyone else find Twisty’s comments in this thread to be particularly sexy?

  211. Keri

    Over in the new age section of the patriarchy, they not only say vagina all the damn time, they’ve really kicked it up a vaginal notch with shitloads of articles like this: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/05/your-ugly-vagina-is-normal-gorgeous-adult/

    I subscribed to that journal a while back because I teach yoga and wanted to drink coffee and look at cool handstand videos or read about helping people with hip or knee pain. I’m gonna have to quit though because the misogyny is rampant and thinly veiled in New Age bs and I get in too many fights instead of reading in peace.

  212. KittyWrangler

    @Keri
    I went and read the article. What exactly was it that bothered you about it? Or was it just that they were filling their mag with vagina articles?

  213. Keri

    Yes, many vagina articles. The latest was written by a man, I just didn’t link that one too. And then there are a whole bunch of others on “Devine feminine and sacred masculine” bs and ones where you can read
    all about your magnificent yoni. That’s your vagina in Sanskrit! New agers, ugh. They love to drone on about the poor widdle mens and do vagina art too. Empowerful!

  214. Lidon

    @ Keri: Don’t get me started on all that. Not to mention all of that “goddess art” with women in skimpy clothes and flowing hair. So threatening and powerful! Yuck. Same old shit with an extra dose of dishonesty to top it off.

  215. Jen

    I also read the article Keri mentioned. For me, the most annoying part was the “we asked real men what they think” section. I am so tired of writers of “women’s” publications interviewing men to ask what they think (about hair length or bathing suit style or, now, labia size and shape). Besides the fact that asking is completely unnecessary because men’s preferences and opinions are no secret to women everywhere (Surprise! They prefer the “triangles and strings” bikini!), just the act of asking men undermines the article’s purpose, which is, I guess, to help women to feel good about (read: not despise and mutilate) our bodies. Instead the message becomes: Some random men say different labia minora are okay, and that means they are okay! I sure hope they don’t change their minds, or I’ll be sawing away at my labia minora in no time.

  216. qvaken

    “Say, Real Man, what do you think about vulvas?”
    “What’s ‘vulvas’?”
    “Vaginas.”
    “OH. They’re ugly and smelly. I like them better when they’re shaven, white-pink-coloured, and have small or no flappy bits. But I’ll tolerate them in any case because sex.”
    “My God! Never-before-heard information about women from men! I appreciate you so hard right now!”
    “You mean women never hear this? I’m glad that I tell it to my girlfriend in front of our other female friends all the time, then. They’re so fortunate. Go, quick, and tell the world’s women! Post haste!”
    “God bless you, son. God bless you.”

  217. Jen

    Let’s ask some Real Women what they think about scrota!

    A. Too dangly and flappy?
    B. Too wrinkly and crusty?
    C. Too hairy and smelly?
    D. All of the above?

    Men, try PouchPluck5000, ScrotalDouche, and Dudal Rejuvenation!

    (Note: Dudal Rejuvenation costs between $5000-10,000, but your balls will look SO PRETTY.)

  218. tinfoil hattie

    qvaken and Jen, I am laughing so hard right now!

    Also, I thought “yoni” included the whole vulva, vagina, inner clitoral network, etc.

  219. susanw

    Jen, “The last chicken in the shop” flashed through my mind, and memories of Sylvia Plath. Thank you!

  220. veganrampage

    “Girls” should be titled “Women” or at least “Young Women” It’s pornographic. The characters are consumed by thoughts of men. Men, men, men.
    The main “girl” has a creepy and abusive boyfriend. He shits all over her and she runs after him and that’s A-OK. He literally pissed on her the last episode as a joke and though she freaked she stayed with him.We, the audience are supposed to like him now though. He’s sensitive, see? He’s an artiste. She is “taming “him. She CHANGED him. Bull fucking shit.
    None of it is ironic, or portrayed as the terrible stupid mistakes many women make in their twenties. There are no non-straight characters and as has been written everyone is lily white. How can they have no friends of color in NYC? Impossible.
    Oh yeah, it’s not funny either. At least they have some money problems. That’s the only non-negative I can think of.
    Hurray for HBO. Another winner.

  221. veganrampage

    Hi TwissB

    I followed that link. Thanks for the porno ACLU! I covered the screen with my fingers. There was no petition or any action to take , just the porno. Very informative. I notice how they picked a P compliant young blonde and not an old over the hill witch such as I. Wonder how many doods jerked off to that vid.
    Great going civil rights peeps who care so much about the women. We know for sure now.

    Anyway thanks. I never did trust those fucks anyway; they are cool with Citizen’s United.

    Thanks. Enjoy your comments always.

  222. quixote

    As TwissB says, Hippolyta’s comment is a huge point: “Equal treatment is not equality.”

    Voltaire put it pithily when he said, “The Law in its magnificent impartiality forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges.”

    I wonder if that would make it any clearer to funfems? Or whether they’d just say, “I’m not talking about sleeping under bridges. I’m talking about sleeping under men.”

  223. TwissB

    Just catching up.

    Thanks @veganrampage.

    @ quixote – I love the fact that Hippolyta’s “Equal treatment is not equality” observation reminded you of the wonderful comment on equality as the Law sees it. It sure sounds like Voltaire, but you will probably want to know that it was in fact said by Anatole France as follows:

    “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” (Anatole France from The Red Lily, 1894)

    I have used that quote in urging ERA advocates to have the nerve and common sense to tell male opponents that equality will look different when it is measured to an inclusive standard of human equality instead of being confined to a standard of equality between men..

  224. TwissB

    Still catching up.

    @qvacken and jen June 6. The Real Men and Real Woman interviews – priceless.

  225. quixote

    (Anatole France? Interesting. I’m always learning something on this blog. I know practically nothing about him, so Wikipedia, here I come. I’ve spent my whole life being sure that was Voltaire’s brilliance.)

  226. bludot

    Back to vaginas: You are apparently not allowed to say the word in the Michigan legislature:

    http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120614/POLITICS02/206140467#ixzz1xnuECyxP

    “What she said was offensive,” said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”

  227. qvaken

    So she used the word ‘vagina’ and referenced an anti-date rape campaign. Yeah, sounds like totally inappropriate conversation for when one is in the company of women.

  228. phio gistic

    “I’ve got a WHAT!?!”

  229. qvaken

    *Looks down in horror at one’s own pubic region*

  230. speedbudget

    Just imagine if someone mentioned “vulva” in the legislature.

    Actually they probably wouldn’t have known what she was talking about. Carry on.

  231. pheeno

    He thinks she implied he’s a rapist.

    And that’s offensive.

    Actual rape, not so offensive. (unless it’s really real rape, natch)

    But being accused of it is the WORST.

    Just like how being called a racist (even when no one is saying that but some people are too stupid to grok this) is totally worse than actual racism.

  232. qvaken

    pheeno: How dare you! I’m nothing of the sort!

    The real lesson here is that rape-capable men, and white people, need to stop being so sensitive and irrational.

  233. Fede

    No, but pheeno, you just don’t undeerstand our paiiiiin. Privilege is a burden, don’t you know. I totally envy people with a whole lot more disadvantages than me, because they don’t get met with all that resentment!

    (Ow. That actually hurt to write.)

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