Sep 07 2012

Blamer speaks for absentee aunt

My riveting post on “Roseanne” and “Rizzoli & Isles” will have to wait; on the subject of abortion “rights” in the US, here (from the comments on a recent post) is veteran blamer TwissB articulating pretty much what I would say if I had 20 minutes to slap together a paragraph:

You have to wonder what good it is to bother supporting women for political posts when they can’t summon the courage and common sense to knock out insulting language like this in the 2012 Democratic Platform under the heading “Protecting a Woman’s Right to Choose”:

“Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way.”

Well shucks, if her family, doctor, and clergy get to make a woman’s decision for her, why not drag in politicians, governments, and any stray passerby and his dog to have their say as well? What kind of a personal decision is that??

And why the judgmental and gratuitously emotional ‘intensely’? Her decision and state of mind are her own business.

All these inserts and modifiers should remind women that their famous ‘right to choose’ is a cruel illusion and a blurring of the meaning of the word ‘right.’ Rights are inherent to the person, but women’s rights mean nothing in a country where men can continue to withhold constitutional recognition of them.

I don’t see a dime’s worth of difference between parties in men’s determination to control women as breed stock.

Me neither. I hereby assert my “God-given” right to declare the Dem’s platform to be the capital of Crapville.


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  1. Carmen


  2. Nimravid

    Using Viagra is an intensely personal decision between a man, his family, his doctor, and his clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way.

  3. Nimravid

    Or, “using a condom is an intensely personal decision between a man, his family, his doctor, and his clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way.”

  4. SaraLyn

    The most frustrating part of the pro-choice stance for me is that even those who are supposedly pro-choice speak of abortion as if it is some horrible thing that women aggonize over and have difficulty doing. Sure some women have trouble with it, many others do not. No one bothers to say that how she feels about it (rather “intensely” or not) is not the issue. Sometimes you really are just preventing a potential future burden from your life, nothing more.

  5. hayduke

    Well of course the Dem platform is the capital of Crapville. Because the GOP’s is the capital of Shitville. Damn near anything is better, and we know it and they know it and worst of all they know we know it. They don’t have to be anything more than the lesser of two evils.

  6. shopstewardess

    Total fail by the Democrats all round. There is the most extraordinary youtube clip of Democrat party corruption here –


    The Chair tries three times to get the party to vote for two God-baggery amendments to the party platform, three times fails, and then declares them passed in any case.

    Amendment 1 “We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of the God-given potential.”

    Amendment 2 “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations, It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

  7. yttik

    It was a complete train wreck. Somewhere between the giant pink dancing vulvas and Biden calling his wife kitten, I threw in the towel.

  8. thebewilderness

    I’m still gonna vote for the douchebags instead of the godbags, because of that dimes worth if difference.

  9. Tigs

    oh, thebewilderness, you put it exactly right.

  10. Laurie

    Insulting and demeaning language, yes. But my daughter and the other women in the independent Feminist Women’s Health Center clinic complex here in California are supporting Obama despite all that Dem. bullshit because they know that their clinics would not survive a Romney/Ryan administration.

    That would make a whole lot more than a dime’s worth of difference to the millions of poor and otherwise marginalized women who can’t afford to hop over the border to Mexico to get an abortion or pay full price for their contraceptives, the way many better-heeled women are already doing.

    The Dems are weak protection against this onslaught, and I don’t trust them. But these women in the front lines of the abortion wars are overwhelmingly convinced that they’re the only option we have to prevent the GOP from destroying abortion and contraception access at a statewide level and eventually Roe v. Wade, along with a lot of other important things: domestic violence, equal pay, Medicaid funding, etc. etc. etc.

    Pat Maginnis and other radical abortion rights pioneers worked to eradicate ALL abortion laws so that getting an abortion would be just like getting any other medical procedure, and were disappointed that all they ended up with was Roe v. Wade, but they supported it anyway because they knew that as flawed as it is—and as insulting as it is that ANY laws parsing abortion rights exist at all—Roe would make a huge difference in women’s lives. As it did and still does today.

    A Romney/Ryan administration will make a huge difference in women’s lives too—in the other direction. My older sister almost died from her coat hanger abortion as a teenager in 1963. I’m voting and campaigning for Obama, despite his and the Democrats’ many flaws, because he’s the best chance we have to return to those days, if only because a Romney/Ryan administration will certainly defund and legislate independent feminist/women’s clinics until they’re endangered or shut down.

  11. Laurie

    ACH! Dropped the most important word: [Obama’s] the best chance we have to NOT return to those days.

  12. yttik

    “[Obama’s] the best chance we have to NOT return to those days…”

    Kind of interesting though, the law of unintended consequences. Back when Reagan was Pres, we had two (two!) women’s health clinics and a domestic violence/sexual assault center right down town. Today they’ve all shut down and it’s 150 mile trip to get an abortion.

    I know it sounds strange, but when R’s are in charge there is energy, resistance, a backlash. When D’s are in charge, it’s like nobody needs to be a feminist anymore because the D’s will provide. Yeah, well they’ve provided us with a majority of the population now identifying as pro-life and 32 state passing restrictions on abortion.

  13. dandelion

    And to make sure we all understood just how big bad and scary the Republicans are, the Democrats gave $2 million to Todd Akin.

  14. tinfoil hattie

    Abortion restrictions have mushroomed in the last four years. Havimg a Dem president has not only NOT improved things for women,mit had complicitly made them worse.

    Voting Green for the first time ever. At least their platform MENTIONS women!

  15. Twisty

    The Chair tries three times to get the party to vote for two God-baggery amendments to the party platform, three times fails, and then declares them passed in any case.

    Amendment 1 “We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of the God-given potential.”

    Amendment 2 “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations, It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

    I guess, since you felt the need to explain it, that my joke in the last line of the post wasn’t exactly A-material. Not living up to my godgivenpotential yet again, dang it.

    On the upside, my sidekick Stingray says she choked up when O officially stuck up for marriage equality. It was the first time ever that gay rights ever seriously made it into a flippin presidential campaign platform. I sort of wish somebody with some influence would come to their senses and declare marriage in general to be a menace, but whaddya do.

  16. shopstewardess

    Dear Twisty

    Apologies for missing your joke. I was, and remain, utterly gobsmacked at the blatant corruption of the US political process on display. Fuck the USA and all who collaborate with her corrupt politics, and fuck the USA constitution and the USA Supreme Court for not providing the means to prevent that corruption.

    This is the “democracy” that the USA tried to bring to Iraq and Afghanistan, killing hundreds of thousands of people in the process?


  17. Gayle

    “You have to wonder what good it is to bother supporting women for political posts. . .”

    Did women write the platform?

    We have two Political Parties, both of which were created by rich men for rich men and both of which continue to be dominated and controlled by rich men.

    The very few women who manage to break into this system have already assimilated the “proper” philosophies to a greater or lesser extent, some because they are true believers, others because they know they have to in order to survive in the same way the tiny number of women who make it into boardrooms know not to rock the boat.

    There was a idea put forth a few years ago called the 30% solution that said token women don’t make any difference in any corporate or political culture but once the percentage of women in powerful positions changes to 30% or more, women get heard and their ideas get support. There is a book of the same name which gives examples and publishes studies backing the theory.

    Lets don’t blame the few women in power or believe the lie that women in either party are exactly the same as the men because the few women representatives we have can’t make major feminist changes. Lets try supporting more women for office first and see where it leads.

  18. quixote

    This response got started by Laurie’s comment, but isn’t specifically to her. It’s more of a general Aaargh.

    I’m with yttik on this one. Point is, it’s one thing to vote for a party which is far from ideal but does something for you. That’s no longer the situation. It’s a protection money situation. Give us your vote or get beaten up. It’s an abuse situation. Where ya gonna go? You’ll get beaten up worse anywhere else. Staying in those situations isn’t a “lesser evil.” It’s actually participating in your own destruction. I think it’s super-important not to do that, even if it is a lost cause (for now at least).

    That said, principles being all well and good, but I, personally, am a bit insulated. Neither side threatens my life just now. If it did, it’s easy to see choosing whatever it takes to try to avoid disaster for one more day.

    But that does also keep the disaster rolling.

    There are zero good choices. I blame the Patriarchy. Unto the nth degree.

  19. TwissB

    @shopstewardess: ” F–k the USA and all who collaborate with her corrupt politics…” As one of the women who got NOA to stop using women’s names to designate hurricanes (we urged using a combination of numbers and letters but Neil Frank of the National Hurricane Center objected on the grounds that women’s names were needed to get people [read “men” ] emotionally roused to take preparatory actions so men decided to alternate men’s and women’s names), I’d call attention to the use of female reference to hold women responsible for the errors, wrecks, and disasters men cause: e.g. “Germany had to be punished for her wartime atrocities.” (world history textbook), yacht racing rules that refer to the skipper as “he”and the yacht that “fouls” as “she”., or simply to embarrass as in “They turned the boat over to scrub the barnacles off her bottom ” (children’s book).

    Moreover, while it is o.k. to blame women for the mine explosion (“The b–tch blew up!” ) it is equally gratifying to go all romantic when something men control works right (“Look at her go! Ain’t she a beaut!”). So I reflexively bristle when natural disasters or huge, male directed entities like nations over which women have no effective control get personified as women. I suppose that some dudes still treasure their hoard of post-hurricane Katrina t-shirts with pornographic slogans describing what Katrina did to them.

    Pause for deep breath.

    @Gayle: “Lets don’t blame the few women in power …” That’s not what my remarks were intended to suggest. Quite the opposite. Politicians can only back initiatives for big changes when they are assured of substantial and visible support from the public for those changes. As in the current big push for gay (i.e. men’s) rights. My point is that feminist organizations have gotten too enamoured for too long with electoral politics and have wasted money and energies trying to get more women elected without doing the feminist groundwork of fostering dialogue among women at the grassroots level, about what equality means where you are, to create the essential political support that allows women politicians to act. The personal really is political but women also need to be able to look at their own situation against a background of past political and social history including their constitutional non-status that cuts the ground out from under non-discrimination laws, and the social and economic pressures on women to conform to men’s self-serving rules. Lacking this kind of grounding, sporadic demonstrations and reactive actions like clinic defense run in circles but do not push forward. Obviously there is nothing wrong with involvement in politicaL campaigns, but it should not be confused with empowering women politicians whose main job is to stay in office by not making waves. Once in office, they don’t hesitate to blunt feminist initiatives to avoid endangering their job. Example: congress members who supported ERA with the proviso that it would not touch abortion, military status, sexual orientation, etc.

    I apologize for length and repetition of past remarks, but as some poet said, “I gotta use words when I talk to you.”

  20. speedbudget

    I know it sounds strange, but when R’s are in charge there is energy, resistance, a backlash. When D’s are in charge, it’s like nobody needs to be a feminist anymore because the D’s will provide. Yeah, well they’ve provided us with a majority of the population now identifying as pro-life and 32 state passing restrictions on abortion.

    I think this is correct, but don’t forget that when Ds are in charge, the Rs go absolutely apeshit in response. That is what has been going on in the last four years, and why we have had a record number of laws across the country effectively ending abortion rights for millions of women. And it hasn’t been done while women have been sitting silently because some Ds are in charge. It has been done IN SPITE of strong, active protest, simply because fuck you assholes for voting Democrat.

  21. shopstewardess

    TwissB: you are of course quite right.

    I blame the patriarchy.

  22. yttik

    Something else to keep in mind, Dem’s can’t ever let choice become cemented in law. If they did, they’d have no way to manipulate and control voters.

    Call me bitter, cynical, burned out, but the Dem party has a lot more to gain from the loss of reproductive freedom then the R’s do. A whole lot of R politicians themselves really don’t give a shit about choice, Romney for example. He was pro-choice until it became politically expedient for him to comply with his party’s platform. Romney doesn’t give a shit about choice, but Dems pouring money into Akins campaign, Dems letting Stupak write healthcare law, they “care” a whole lot about women, about keeping women in constant fear, that is. If they didn’t they wouldn’t invest so much time into it.

  23. Melinda

    What’s this about Dems pouring money into Akin’s campaign? Why??

  24. quixote

    Melinda, Claire McGaskill (aack. What’s her name?) the ostensible “D” polls barely above vegetable in Missouri. So the Dems wanted to be sure she was running against a rotten rutabaga, so they helped his campaign.

  25. thebewilderness

    It is quite common in open primaries for one party to organize voters to choose the person of the other party who will be easiest to defeat. It is a mainstay of Alaska politics. Gaming the system till it breaks.

  26. Ashley

    I’m FULLY *sorry for the caps* aware of the crap I’ll get for this…

    but in this day and age, even in America where things are a lot better for us than in many other countries, women still have to choose words wisely. I read that statement as being strategically chosen by the contingent of American Democracy that is female, to appeal to the widest range of voters. I do not think most Democratic women think that way- but, there are still a lot of old school American men on the fence, even Democrats. The statement to me sounds like a party line crafted to draw the most support for a fundamental right.

    I think it deserves more credit. Sometimes you have to let them think you’re agonized, or that they gave you a right that’s already yours, or trick em into it. The statement is smarter than it seems, but I also respect and fully agree with the interpretation and with the sentiment that ideally, the statement would read

    “Did you just open your mouth about my body? Shut up and speak again when you can create human life.”

  27. Kristine

    As long as we are venting about shitty politics, the very idea that one party supports abortion rights and the other doesn’t is depressing. As long as women’s rights are on the line, those of us who know what’s at stake have no choice but to vote for the party that claims to support us, even if we disagree with everything else they (democrats) stand for (which I don’t, but my point still stands.)

    Sure, technically we are “choosing” a party, but it’s not a free choice, in the same way that choosing between job and children or between prostitution and poverty is not a free choice. It just doesn’t feel like freedom to me.

  28. Keri

    Speaking of women’s rights, am I the last one to read “Half the Sky”? Because holy fucking way to bring the shit home:

    “The global statistics on the abuse of girls are numbing. It appears that more girls have been killed in the last 50 years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century. More girls are killed in this routine “gendercide” in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century.”


  29. tinfoil hattie

    To vote Democratic because the Dems claim to support women is to vote for an anuser whom you lnow is lying, but about wh ypu keep hoping: “Maybe THIS time, he isn’t lying, and he really meams it.”

    @TwissB, you are brilliantly eloquent. Thank you.

  30. tinfoil hattie

    Ha-ha! “anuser”! Of course I meant “abuser,” but in some cases, what’s the diff?

  31. yttik

    I think it’s a bit like having to suck up to an abusive boyfriend because he says he’s going to pay for your abortion.

    Twisty is always saying, “dump him!” But nobody will dump him because for so long all they’ve heard is how the other guy is worse and how they can’t survive on their own.

  32. Jen

    If the Dem’s platform is the capital of Crapville, then Crapville must one of those states where the capital is not the wealthiest city (like Pennsylvania, for example). Obviously, then, the GOP platform is the megalopolis of Crapville, and its sprawl threatens to destroy the whole crappy state if it grows on unfettered.

  33. ew_nc

    Would it be a violation of protocol if I asked for support on a feminist matter in a post that’s not an open thread?

  34. TwissB

    @Kristine: “Sure, technically we are “choosing” a party, but it’s not a free choice, in the same way that choosing between job and children or between prostitution and poverty is not a free choice. It just doesn’t feel like freedom to me”

    Excellent comparisons, lacking, however, the painfully constrained alternatives – voting for a minority party or (gulp) not voting at all. In my dreams, all those women whose votes Democrats count on for a win would signal their presence by voting for a candidate for any other position on the ballot and just not vote for president. That is the only way I can imagine to get the point across for the long term that women will not settle for “smart statements” that signal a continued party strategy that throws women under the bus. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Republican women voters being forced to take up the slack?

  35. Guest Blamer

    Would Blamers kindly lend their support to the No More Page 3 campaign? They want the UK tabloid The Sun to stop running pictures of topless women on page 3. If you want an anti-patriarchy mood lifter, visit their petition and read some of the entries. I was amazed by how many of the 1500+ signers’ statements were radical-feminist, as in “Stop objectifying us now!” and not, “Keep it in the men’s mags where it belongs”. (There were a few of the latter, but not so many). The link to the petition is at the end of the HuffPost story below.

    You can read more about it here.

    Some UK feminists who’ve been around much longer than I have tell me how they campaigned against Page 3 when it began in the 1970s. I hope we can get rid of it for good this time.

  36. Nolabelfits

    @Guest Blamer-Are they still putting teenage girls on page three? I lived in England back in 1980 and The Sun would picture a 15 year old girl along with the headline “In three days she’ll be 16!” Three days later she would be topless on page three. It was absolutely disgusting and took a psychic toll on me, back then. The public lust for teen girls was really prevalent. Of course, I was treated like a crazy women for objecting. Or told “Well thats The Sun for you, if you don’t like it don’t buy it.”

  37. ptittle

    off-topic…I’ve got a baby blamer (a blamer-in-progress?) over at my site commenting on the “Walking through the Park at Night” post, and I’d love to recommend some books to her, but can’t think of anything but Jessica Valenti and that might already be too old – she says she’s “a particularly young teenage girl” — if any of you want to go over and help out, much obliged!!

  38. madspinster

    As a non American, I just have to say that this was only to be expected. They gotta haul in those godbaggers’ votes. The rest of the world will be pleased when the Repubblies are voted out of existence.

  39. Kristine

    @TwissB, I really wish that there were a minority party I could vote for that would actually be successful. If I had the money, the know-how, and the luck I would create a Feminist Party, dedicated solely to improving the lives of women in the USA and the world over. But it wouldn’t get enough votes to even make it to the primaries, because Dear God How Dare You Ignore the Men.

    @ptittle, I would definitely recommend Jessica Valenti, she is still current enough for young generations. I also recommend “The War Against Women” by Marilyn French. Published in the ’90’s, but also current enough to make sense. It doesn’t really matter how old the books are, as long as the central conflicts and ideas are still in play.

  40. Kristine

    @ptittle- One more thing, send your budding feminist to the website feministfrequency.com. The woman of that blog is very good at finding and deconstructing anti-woman propaganda in mainstream media in an accessible way for beginners, and her videos are fun.

  41. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    The two weevils have been making me weary for a long time now. Also, the crumbs are leaving me terribly unfulfilled. From my experience, the only “intense” emotion following termination of an unwanted pregnancy is profound relief.

  42. simone

    Laurie is spot-on. The Dems are bad, but the Republicans are far, far worse in their policies affecting women. In most cases in the U.S., voting for a minority party or simply cursing both mainstream parties and sitting elections out are luxuries only those who don’t have to worry about the effects of policies pursued by elected officials can enjoy.

    In the meantime, those of us who care need to work on completely overhauling how elections are financed in this country. Changing to a 100%, publicly financed system with a total cap on spending would go far towards changing the types of candidates who’d have a hope in hell of being elected.

  43. KittyWrangler

    @ptittle – I read the thread, “[…] a broadsword would be awesome.” She sounds like kind of a geek (not an insult). She may enjoy geekfeminism.org
    Also when I was a very young teenager I didn’t need to read current things, just whatever was good.

  44. ptittle

    thanks Kristine and Kittywrangler – my ambiguity – i meant ‘old’ as in for 20 year olds, not 13 year olds. i’ll mention both sites though, thanks

  45. Ciccina

    That language is straight out of the pro-choice message book; the result of years and years of message testing through polls and focus groups. It is simple the most popular configuration of the choice message. If you say “abortion should be up to a woman” you get a decent percentage of people agreeing; the more authority figures you lard on (woman + family, + physician, + clergy, + local Kiwanis, etc….) the percentage of people agreeing increases.

    Candidates and electeds are trained to talk this way, so its no surprise it would also show up in the platform. Our politics, of course, are 100% about perception and 0% about substance and principle; the language that wins the public opinion popularity contest is automatically considered to be the best possible language to use (regardless of its implications).

  46. Dilly

    You have no idea how much I’m looking forward to the Roseanne post.

  47. KittyWrangler

    @ptittle – Oh, I how could I forget? Rookie Magazine is an online magazine for very young teenagers which is fun and glamorous yet sneakily feminist, headed up by Sadie who used to write for TigerBeatDown. It’s obviously not radical feminism but I’d be cool with my 13-year-old reading it.


  48. TwissB

    As a coda to the discussion on this thread about degrees of radical feminism and the experiences that inform our decisions about where and how to do feminist work, try this thought-provoking essay by Carolyn Gage if you have not already seen it:


  49. tinfoil hattie

    ew_nc, if you’d like, you may email me: tinfoilhattie @ gmail.

  50. KittyWrangler

    @TwissB Thanks for the link, that Carolyn Gage essay was fantastic.

  51. lucida

    @TwissB – seconded. Great article; challenging thoughts. I’ve always had a tendency towards the “Dworkin/MalcolmX/Magneto/NameYourRadical was Right” perspective. Although it was before my time, it reminds me of stuff I read about the 80’s porn wars, with some thinking Dworkin/MacKinnon were too fast/too soon and that it was an irresponsible use of attention/resources. That said, I’m reminded of the recent either/or framing some funfems had regarding the recent French minister for women’s affairs – something like doing anti-prostitution work takes away from work related to the burqa issue? I think it’s important to recognize when there is a real scarcity vs. an artificial one being employed to shut down debate or curtail effort. I think we are lucky now – and owe it to Gage, Anthony, et al., that although the radical/pragmatic tension will always remain – we can choose what part of the Patriarchy to start hacking away at and feel some progress. That said, we should never stop asking ourselves questions about expediency or optimization… anyway, great article, thanks for posting.

  52. TwissB

    @Lucida – Most insightful, including the last sentence. Men’s use of pornography as a primary weapon to subordinate women has a million forms but all have the same message – that women are sex, nothing more. Or as Andrea Dworkin puts it: “She wants it, they all do.” Like prostitution, female genital mutilation, and regulation of pregnancy and abortion, pornography is primary sex discrimination that invasively targets women’s reproductive organs. This ingenious focus on the one physical means of distinguishing men from women assures that men will not be accidental casualties in men’s institutionalized attacks on women. (See #64 at above web site) (On how closely tied pornography is to abortion, see #417 on the same web site).

  53. Barbara P

    Another lesson from that article about Gage is that it’s not useful to idolize people (or demonizing for that matter). Sure, there are some very lovely people in the word (Twisty Faster!)
    But when someone loveable says something that disappoints, it’s too harsh to rescind every bit of love for them. We should especially not do this to women, because women are rarely allowed complexity, or a “pass” when their genius is mitigated by scandal. (The scandal I’m thinking of is “Cuntalina-gate”, by the way.)

    So many people play in to that “total love”/”total hate” dynamic, but I see it especially in progressive groups, including on this blog. I have some ideas why this might be, but they’re not fully formed yet, so I’ll refrain from elaborating.

    Here’s a selection of people I feel ambivalent about:

    Sarah Palin. She’s done a lot of things that broke a lot of ground. I’m tempted to say “she’s SO dumb”, but then I pull back because I don’t want to call another woman dumb. And she’s not really that dumb, any more than male “out there” politicians like Jesse Ventura or Ralph Nader.

    Naomi Wolf – Not sure what the hell happened through the course of her life, but “The Beauty Myth” was my feminist awakening, so she has to get a big pass from me.

    Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They are so funny, but occasionally they completely piss me off. I watch them but I don’t immerse myself in fandom over them.

    The Dalai Lama – he seems so wonderful, so kind, like a god on earth. Nah, he’s just a human being like the rest of us. When reading the thread on here about Buddhism, I realized that yeah, I had been thinking way to highly of him. But there’s no real sense in doing a 180 in my regard for him. People just don’t fall into one of two categories like that.

    Martin Luther Kind Jr – Seems like an incredible person. Who cheated on his wife and seemed to sleep around with lots of women.

    Chesley Sullenberger – (That guy who heroically landed that airplane.) He seems super-swell, in almost every way. But chances are good he holds some idea or participates in some action that would totally piss me off.

    Mother Theresa – She was so wonderful and nice and insightful. And had all kinds of terrible ideas and beliefs.

    My Mom – She gave me the foundation for embracing feminism. She’s an example to not be afraid to speak up and say what you really think, and she instilled in me the belief that women are equal and should have power. She calls herself a feminist. But so often her feminism falls very short of my ideal. (e.g. Sex is all “hush, hush” and “shame”, it’s important to be a Christian, it’s the wife’s job to cook and manage all the household details, being fat is awful, fitting in to middle class standards of dress/behavior is important) I consider my Nigel to be more of a feminist.

    My Nigel – Often he’s a true ally and a genuinely good person. But of course he’s not 100% on my side in everything. He can be short-sighted and wielding of privilege just like most men I know. I must deal with this fact. In many ways I am also a good person who has privilege over others, and if I forgive myself, I have to forgive others too.

    Anyway, I admire Carolyn Gage and I admire Susan B. Anthony, and I’ll bet that if we all sat down now and talked, they’d both find me impossibly radical. (Note: By today’s Savage Death Island standards, I’m pretty tame.) They were both doing their best as imperfect people in a crappy world. Humanized heroes still deserve honor.

  54. ew_nc

    Great food for thought, Barbara P. Thank you.

  55. Katherine

    What I love about that article is the recognition that there needs to be both out-there-thinkers and the brass-tacks-pragmatists. I often find myself, mushily, in the middle, trying to mediate between the two, both internally and externally.

    Of course they disagree with each other’s position and/or tactics, but I really dislike the spewing hatred I sometimes see.

  56. birthingwaylaid

    As a result of the talking about Roseanne, I downloaded the first season and have been watching one episode per evening with my kids.

    It’s certainly not perfection, but it’s pretty danged good. It’s the first show in a long while that I haven’t had to constantly add blaming commentary to in order to educate my kids re: sexism.

  57. veganrampage

    Trust in the dog more than the doctor if needs be, but trust yourself above all.

  58. phio gistic

    I need to put this somewhere [trigger warning, rape, enraging responses to rape]

    Time magazine has an article up entitled “Military Misbehavin'” which is about (of course) rape in the US military. This time, it’s a general whose rapes are being characterized as a joke, mere “misbehavin” and all the sympathy goes to HIM for “pissing somebody off,” as that’s apparently the only reason military men actually get charged with anything when they rape people..


    “The Army charged a general who has served five combat tours with a lengthy roster of sexual-assault and other charges last week. Why do such high-flying senior officers sometimes crash and burn like this?

    Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair remains innocent until proven guilty on charges including forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, inappropriate relationships and a trifecta of trouble involving misuse of a government credit card and possessing booze and porn while deployed (“It sounds like he pissed somebody off,” a retired Army colonel notes of the long list of alleged crimes, for which he faces court martial).”


  59. quixote

    Let’s see. The only reason the Army tool can see for a case is that Big Cheese pissed somebody off. So there’s nothing unusual enough about the crimes themselves to warrant investigation. Really? (Don’t answer that. I don’t want to know, and I already know.)

  60. Redpeachmoon

    Twisty! I miss you. Where IS your jaundiced eye? One month tomorrow.
    A Blamer

  61. Guest Blamer

    I was tweeted this little gem by someone who usually is on the side of feminism.

    Get a load of #3: Criticizing pornography is slut-shaming! The poor, beleagured porn industry is wilting under the onslaught of all 5 of the world’s radical feminists pointing jaundiced fingers at it and saying, “Hey. you’re exploiting human beings by raping them in front of a camera!”

    It’s like they think they’re people or something. Of all the nerve.

  62. Friend of Snakes

    Hey, Guest, thanks for that link to Sex Tips & Info For Women! What a treat to see one of the those essential articles right up there in your grill when you first surf in:

    Anal Sex Fears: These are things that really keep us from having butt sex.

    Here’s the thing, though. What I’d love to see just once filling the frame in the accompanying photo – rather than the shapely, seen-from-the-rear female ass in the skimpy panties with one hand clutching the right butt cheek – is a hairy male ass-in-distress being protectively clutched by its owner’s two hairy paws while slightly to one side waits an obviously female hand holding a honkin’ humongous dildo. Yeah, I’m looking forward to reading up on those fears.

  63. Lidon

    Friend of Snakes, thanks for the laugh, I needed that!

  64. Guest Blamer

    I needed that too, after reading that. Usually I don’t bother with these idiot sites, but my friends read them. I keep trying to explain why commercial “feminist” sites have a conflict of interest when it comes to actual feminism, and they keep insisting that I’m some kind of conspiracy theorist.

    Am I the only person who gets that if a site’s advertisers are flogging beauty and fashion stuff, sex toys and porn, that the articles on that site sure as hell aren’t going to push anything other than the idea that female compliance with their assigned role as the sex class is nothing but happy fun times? I can’t be, but sometimes I feel like it.

    All they have to do, apparently, is roll this patriarchal shit in a sugary coating of retro-cool hipster rebellion and people will line up around the block for it.

    Human status for women would be such a corporate profit-killer.

  65. goblinbee

    I keep wondering if Twisty has moved on to twitter and tumblr and such. Are blogs going the way of the dino?

  66. TwissB

    Friends working on their fun-fem conformity might find it interesting to watch Gail Dines’s lively illustrated lecture on:
    “From the Personal Is Political to the Personal is Personal: Neo-Liberalism and the Defanging of Feminism.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDcTt0emXhE

    . “Dines argues that much of what passes for feminism today is focused on the pseudo-empowerment offered to women who conform to the narrow standards of femininity set by the porn culture. She calls for a feminism that is unapologetically fierce in its commitment to radical social change.”

    It would be hard to imagine as good a writer and analyst as Twisty shrinking herself down to the blurt confines of Twitter and tumblr (whatever that is).

    Good blaming as shown by this blog has a vigorous range from a pithy sentence or two to a mini-essay like Barbara P’s above that takes as much space as it needs.

  67. Shelby

    Thanks TwissB. A great lecture.

  68. allhellsloose

    Thanks TwissB. I was at the conference and saw Gail Dines give the speech. It was electrifying. Dines has a brain the size of the universe.

  69. lizor

    Thanks so much for the link TwissB. Dines is an inspiration.

  70. Lovepug

    Guest Blamer: word that. I believe the expression you’re looking for is, “Don’t spit on a cupcake and call it frosting.”

    Too often, femininity compliance gets confused with empowerment. It would be nice if instead women would just start owning that they’re practicing compliance as a means of survival and doing so doesn’t necessarily not make you a feminist.

    I comply all the time. Not because I want to, but because I fear for my own survival and well being. Wearing makeup and dressing in conformity outfits is how I will get ahead in my job for instance. It just is. I don’t like it. It sucks. But that’s the cold reallity. I’m not going to sugarcoat it likes it’s my choice. Yeah, it’s a choice. But if I lived on Savage Death Island, I’d make the choice to go to work in sweats. So, it’s a strategic choice based on the parameters on how to make it in a patriarchy, but it’s not a personal choice.

    Perhaps all this “if you get a boob job, that’s okay – it’s your CHOICE” fun-feminist crap comes from a misconception about how radical feminists view such things. Perhaps they incorrectly believe that feminists consider women who do those things to be traitors to feminism, just as feminism gets misquoted as being man-hating instead of patriarchy-hating. Faux feminist websites exploit that misconception to create some bullshit sanctuary for women who self identify as feminsts but still practice conformity. The idea being that if you hang out with rad fems and practice conformity, the rad fems will eat you alive. Come to our website where your pornulated behaviors will be magically transformed into empowerful choices instead of calling them what they really are – patriarchy survival strategies.

    Again, don’t spit on a cupcake and call it frosting.

  71. Noshoes

    Twisty, come back! I need you and your obstreperal lobe to guide me through the horrors of election season and other disasters. Plus I just started menopause. Thanks.

  72. Guest Blamer

    This, so this.

    I used to think that they were simply mistaken about what feminism is, but I am beginning to wonder. They show a lot of hostility towards radfems and their knee-jerk reaction to having their practices questioned is “You’re slut-shaming me!”

    Whenever some dude sneeringly refers to the Humorless Hairy Sex-Hating Strawfeminist trope, they pipe up eagerly to reassure him that they’re not like Those Feminists. “I like being pretty! I like men! I like sex!” They also like to brag about all the sex tricks they know, and bandy “vagina” and “slut” around in an oh-so-ironic way.

    We’re supposed to have patience with them, aren’t we? Mine is running awfully low though. They are making my life worse, here and now. Every time I hear their stupid shit, I feel the patriarchal noose tighten around my own neck.

    Sure, they’ll grow up and get old and hopefully realize they’ve been had, but there’ll always be a new generation of suckers ripe for exploitation.

  73. Guest Blamer

    Whoops. I don’t know what happened to the blockquote. It was supposed to be:

    “Come to our website where your pornulated behaviors will be magically transformed into empowerful choices instead of calling them what they really are – patriarchy survival strategies.”

  74. iiii

    Any Australian Blamers who want to talk about Gillard shredding Abbott? I loved it (especially that crack at the end about him checking his watch), but I’m USian, and missing pretty much all the context.


  75. allhellsloose


    It’s the comments below the line that gives you a better context to Gillard’s excellent speech.

  76. KittyWrangler

    “Patriarchy survival strategies” is totally accurate but I think it is falling on mostly deaf fun-fem ears because 1. we live in a Patriarchal society, obviously, but also 2. the phrase and attitude implies that the strategies aren’t or shouldn’t be enjoyable, while ignoring that enjoying those survival strategies is itself possibly the most important patriarchy survival strategy.

    By enjoying survival strategies, I mean that girls and women are taught from birth that makeup/shopping/looks/boys/gossip/busywork IS fun, and that fun IS those things. Movies and playtime for girls are about princesses. TV and movies for tweens are about shopping and boys, and so on. Sure, there are some girls who simply don’t like that stuff ever, but plenty of girls who do learn to find fun in that stuff. Even as adults shopping and makeovers and girliness is marketed as leisure fun to women even in their 60s and 70s. We all know this but what I’m getting at is that by the time we’re teenagers you’re going to have a tough time convincing those women that performing femininity is in any way not fun. Convincing them, or empowering them to convince themselves, is doable, but the phrase and implications of “patriarchal survival strategy,” as an outreach or advertisement for radical feminism, true as they are, are not up to the task.

    The way I see the gradual process of ceasing to perform femininity is similar to a cleansing diet: it is difficult for a while because you’re giving up enjoyable things (a fun illusion shared and supported by most people around you), but in the end you feel profoundly healthier.

    Young women and “fun feminists” are faced with an onslaught of advertising for the Patriarchal “junk food,” and the unpleasantness of giving that up, versus a negligibly tiny message from radfems about life without performing femininity being a painful struggle, but healthier. I realize radical feminism doesn’t exist to coax middle-of-the-roaders to our side, but if fun feminism has become such an important issue to radfems, we could really stand to be pushing a stronger message of the positive effects of life without performing femininity.

    I’d love to see more of that message in the mainstream arts: tv and movies like Roseanne, such as it is, manage to portray a fun character while spending next to no time on “fun” stuff like makeup, clothes, boyzzz, babeezzz, blow jobs, batting lashes, etc etc.

    And I could be better about being honest about how tough it was go give up certain femininity practices and the rewards of doing it, and spreading that message, rather than giving the impression that RadFems are an unrelatable group of people who are never ever affected by the P’s “fun” brainwashing.

    I’m not proposing that there’s anything wrong with current RadFem messages– they worked on us, right?–but I am proposing broadening the approach.

  77. Linda

    Iiiii, it was pretty fucking breathtaking was it not? Abbott is openly hateful towards women even by conservative standards. But the election of the first female prime minister has made public misogyny pretty safe around here these last couple of years. Then Abbott had a dig at her about the speaker of the house, Peter Slipper, who is in trouble over sexist text messages, and had the absolute fucking gall to accuse her of promoting misogyny herself, after all the shit that he’s been getting away with for years, and she decided enough is enough. That speech marked a turning point. Brilliant the way Gillard rattled off actual concrete examples of his participation in the miso-fest. That’s what made it so powerful. That’s a very very brief summary of events.

  78. Keri

    In the absence of Twisty, I offer you this new product to enjoy: Bic pens for her!

    Ellen’s take:


    A review from amazon:
    “Finally! For years I’ve had to rely on pencils, or at worst, a twig and some drops of my feminine blood to write down recipes (the only thing a lady should be writing ever). I had despaired of ever being able to write down said recipes in a permanent manner, though my men-folk assured me that I “shouldn’t worry yer pretty little head”. But, AT LAST! Bic, the great liberator, has released a womanly pen that my gentle baby hands can use without fear of unlady-like callouses and bruises. Thank you, Bic!”

  79. KittyWrangler


    Ha, the “Bic for Her”! I love those 60+ pages of Amazon oozing with female snark. This was my favorite:

    “I bought this pen (in error evidently) to write my reports of each day’s tree felling activities in my job as a lumberjack. It is no good. It slips from between my calloused, gnarly fingers like a gossamer thread gently descending to earth between two giant redwood trunks.”

  80. TwissB

    Gluttons for punishment who watched/listened to the VP candidate debate may recall the icky interlude when Mr. Ryan took us with him to invade his pregnant wife’s privacy by offering a heartwarming anecdote about viewing the first (!) ultrasound of their six-week old offspring in utero. “As big as a bean,” he smarmed, “so we still call our [14 year old ] daughter “Bean.” Someone who should be a contributor to this blog immediately tweeted “We call our daughter “Six Week Old Fetus.”

  81. Lovepug

    Binders full of women.

    Unless of course one prefers to keep them in a Mead Trapper Keeper.

  82. Keri

    I’ll bet Anne Romney covered the binders in glitter and pink fur so that Mittens would know what they for.

  83. TwissB

    “Keep everything under wraps with this classic Trapper Keeper Binder. Durability with a softer side has never been more in style.”

    Yep.Sounds about right.

  84. Lovepug

    Okay Laydeez, if you manage to find your way out of the binder, remember if you get pregnant due to rape, it’s all part of God’s plan according to Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock.

    But I’m wondering if God’s paying attention to whether or not it was a legitimate rape. Hmm.

    The more these fundies talk about God the more it seems that God’s just a real asshole.

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