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Feb 03 2014

Spleenvent Sunday (a day late): Anti-Pantyites Unite!

My New Year Resolution was “blog, ya twit!” Consequently, I’m making a smallish bit of an effort to get up offa that thang and resume scribbling, with increased frequency, the odd trenchant remark and/or pithy observation on Our Busy Sexist Society. For example, many blamers appear to share my aversion to the word “panties.” This is important work that I do!

Of course, I’m already a failure in the daily blogging department. I forgot to write a post yesterday and I don’t have time to write one today. I guess we might as well have a Spleenvent. By which I mean “open thread.”

Go ahead. Blurt it.

I’ll start:

Fuck Woody Allen. I have never understood, ever in my entire life, why everybody is so fucking in love with Woody fucking Allen. Oh yes, I used to pretend to love him back in my pre-Savage Death Island funfeminist poseur days. I’ve seen most of his movies up to the 90′s, and I’m here to tell you: the dude is a pig of the first water. I wish I could un-see them.

So I was pissed off and saddened — but not, alas, surprised — when I read his daughter Dylan Farrow’s open letter outing him as an abuser and calling out the complicit silence of his fawning Hollywood collaborators. Like blamer Josquin said in yesterday’s comments, I totally believe her.

45 comments

  1. Ashley

    Yeah, I cried reading that. That situation is ridiculous. She has so much courage to keep going and not hate everyone. She was naming actors and actresses she grew up around and fully stating “did you forget me? why aren’t you helping me?” The sense of betrayal usually breaks people when nothing else will. It’s one thing to go through something like that- it’s horrible, changes you for life. But to not be believed or heard or worse, helped at all.

    I’ve never understood why people are fans of him either. Some self obsessed man ranting about his neuroses and anxiety, constantly, whose films are an endless mental masturbation by New York yuppies, or a parade of softcore dude fantasies… I was never that interested in what he thought and then when I got old enough to figure out which way was up and realized he was a pedophile, that was just the capper. It’s the same stuff, different day as Roman Polanski. Same exact thing.

    Powerful men can do whatever they want to women and get away with it. It’s not necessarily that people don’t want to believe. Like Mary Daly said, and I really think this is her best line “Men know.” they know. they do. they just don’t care. And the reality is, many women don’t, either. they may portray it is as disbelief, or doubt, or naivete, but I don’t really think it is. Most people do not really care. Anyone who pays to see a Woody Allen movie is making him more powerful and making it easier for him to molest more children. He is probably still doing it.

    It took ovaries to write that letter, though. That was cool.

  2. ChariD

    Kristof’s preface was full of crap. One line: “…he deserves the presumption of innocence.” BULLSHIT. That presumption presumes that Dylan is lying. Rape culture at its finest.

  3. Morag

    The last Woody Allen movie I paid to see was Midnight in Paris. I won’t be paying for another. Because of Dylan’s letter. It’s taken me a long to to realize that applying a feminist critique to his films and his writings, while at the same time getting some enjoyment out of his work, really isn’t good enough. That, in fact, it’s a betrayal of his victims. I’m sure Dylan Farrow isn’t the only one. There’s Soon-Yi, too. And Mia Farrow certainly paid a heavy price for having once loved him. How many other girls and women have paid and are paying right now?

    Ashley: about Daly’s “men know”–yeah, this one has given me a lot of trouble. Sometimes I accept it as a truth, but it’s so nightmarish, that I then backtrack and ask, “do they really, fully, consciously know?” and then back again to “yes, they do.” Sigh.

    The smart ones, at least, they DO know. The artists, ostensibly sensitive to the “human condition,” they have to know. Having once watched his movies closely, it’s there. Woody knows. There’s that scene in the taxi-cab in Husbands and Wives, with the Juliette Lewis character. She’s young and impressionable, she admires him, she’s intimidated by him, and yet she knows he’s a piece of shit. He knows that she knows he’s a piece of shit, so he verbally attacks and abuses her. Woody Allen wrote that stuff. There’s Crimes and Misdemeanors, in which a man murdering his mistress is a morally ambiguous act, because, by killing a vulnerable “crazy” woman, he’s able to protect his good family and salvage his good reputation. And then there are other, even more obvious examples of his blatant, sexualized misogyny on film.

    Dylan’s letter should really help to open eyes. Rapists are ordinary men and also extraordinary men, dull or smart, boring or dazzling. Sometimes rapists make movies and win awards for them. But the process of discrediting Dylan and Mia began 20 years ago, and has begun anew. Even rich, white, famous women have close to zero credibility when it comes to reporting sexual violence.

  4. Ashley

    I think what I mean by “men know,” or by quoting it, is that they know what’s going on. I don’t think, however, that most people really know that it’s wrong. Just think back to before we had our feminist awakenings. It’s like a spiritual awakening, right? The same person before having a feminist awakening, could watch porn and get turned on. But after, it just makes you sick and want to cry, right? So, they know, but.. once you really have real love in your heart, which I think is what feminism really is- it’s the most loving thing there is- the most compassionate- you “know” in a different way. I just meant, I think many people probably know that Woody Allen did that, and just kinda think, what are you gonna do.. and I think too, that yes- to some extent sexism is that nightmareish. It’s like that guy that they arrested in New York a few years ago (trigger alert!) for planning to cook his wife in the oven, and sell women and stuff- there are a lot of purely evil men who don’t care. I think Woody Allen definitely doesn’t care. It’s hard to say what percentage of men “know,” and also know, but I think it’s higher than most women would think, or believe. Sorry to be a bummer. I used to err on the side of giving people the benefit of the doubt, now I try to remind myself that my loving nature makes me somewhat incapable of grasping the extent of the evil of patriarchy.. and lends itself to naivete.

  5. Ashley

    p.s. Twisty you know Paula Poundstone is on probation for the same thing, right? I didn’t, I just read that here on the good ole interwebs. I’m not criticizing I just wondered if you knew-

  6. Twisty

    Here’s a pretty disturbing Allen quote from a post at ThinkProgress, excerpted from a 70′s profile in People magazine:

    “I’m open-minded about sex. I’m not above reproach; if anything, I’m below reproach. I mean, if I was caught in a love nest with 15 12-year-old girls tomorrow, people would think, yeah, I always knew that about him,” Allen tells Jim Jerome, the reporter. “Nothing I could come up with would surprise anyone. I admit to it all.”

    He knows, all right. Yeesh.

  7. Twisty

    Paula Poundstone! Noooo!

  8. H

    I’m with you on the anti-panty brigade. I am not sure if panty hose is worse though.

  9. Lidon

    Never saw a Woody Allen film. And at this point, it looks like I never will! Also, not unlike the word “panties”, I hate the word p*ssy. Hate it, hate it, HATE IT.

  10. gingerest

    The lewd conduct charge was dropped because the accuser (one of her foster kids, otherwise unidentified) recanted – Poundstone was on probation through 2006 for felony child endangerment for DUI with the kids. She lost the two foster kids but the three she’d adopted ended up back with her. So I don’t know what to make of it.

  11. Morag

    Ashley–I don’t know, either, what percentage of men know-know, about each other, or themselves, or both. I agree, though, that it’s much higher than we’d care to believe. But you’re not being a bummer at all; the Mary Daly quote is just right for this discussion. “Men know.” It’s complete and perfect–and shiver-inducing–in just two words.

    Twisty–that quotation! Jesus. Since Dylan’s word isn’t enough, how about Allen’s own words which support hers? I mean, usually his early-career jokes were about barely-legal 16-, 17- and 18-year-old girls. In this one, he throws caution completely to the wind. He’s below reproach. Ha ha, child rape, so funny. What more does anyone need to know? Men don’t just know–they TELL us who they are.

  12. quixote

    They’re underpants, damn it. Underpants, underpants, underpants. For both genders. All genders. They’re also not “shorts” unless you could put “Bermuda” in front of the word and it would still make sense. Panties are, obviously, diminutive pants with frills at the ankles.

    As for Allen. Barf. I remember him mainly from the high and far off times when his shtick was bespectacled nebbish. Then he hit the news for marrying his daughter and I thought, “Whoa!” Now this. Even worse and grosser, but not surprising after that.

    If I’ve seen any of his movies, they were Not Memorable, being all about the inability of the nebbish to fight his way out of a paper bag. But I did remember one: Mighty Aphrodite. No doubt the usual sexist drivel — I’ve forgotten all that — but the part I remember is the way Mira Sorvino played the main role. The woman is trapped in the steel bars of the P and she just waltzes through them like they’re not there. Not saying that’s realistic or anything, but she was fun to watch.

  13. thebewilderness

    They do. They tell us who they are, they tell one another who they are, they make jokes about who they are, every day, over and over, and it is way past time we believed them. Of course they know.

    The thing that struck me first and foremost about what happened when she told was how familiar her story is. That is usually what happens to most of us when we tell, if we are believed. The adults act like it is terribly serious and important and take us to doctors and psychiatrists and the police and the end of the matter is when the prosecutor decides not to go forward with charges “for the sake of the child”. Victim blaming at its worst, right there. The doctor determines if there were any “real” damage done, yanno is she still a virgin omg omg!!!. The psychiatrist tries to treat what is wrong with us, which appears to be that we created enormous upheaval in all the adults lives just because we didn’t want to be molested, frightened, and abused, any more.

    You bet I believe her. She is telling my story from forty years before hers, and many many other seven year old girls stories.

  14. thebewilderness

    Also, too, and besides, underdrawers! Today, tomorrow, and forever.

  15. Morag

    thebewilderness– I’m so sorry that Dylan’s story is your story, too. Your comment about all the experts, the doctors, police and lawyers, made me feel queasy. How much can a child endure, only to have the whole thing dropped because it’s too difficult to prove? What a great system men have created, one which serves them better than it serves the most vulnerable. Presumption of innocence for the abusers, and presumption of guilt (including mental instability, or wild imagination) for the accusers.

    And the idea that a molestation that doesn’t leave physical damage or trace is “inconclusive” says so much about how men view female bodies, the ways in which they can be properly used and misused. Besides, pedophiles, when they defend themselves as caring and loving, TELL us how careful they are. Christ. There it is again: they know, and they tell us.

  16. Keri

    Thinking about Woody Allen and panties is gonna make me spew my margarita (well, really my 2 buck Chuck). Way too close to home for many of us and entirely too reminiscent of why I can’t hear the words, “Do you have ants in your pants” without cringing severely and being rendered mute. Fuckin dudes.

    Well Twisty, during your hiatus I had about 552 things to put in an open IBTP thread but now, I am just pleased about your resolution. That should get the old lobe to fire up again.

  17. Linda

    Men who prey on children usually create life style arrangements whereby they have easy access to children. Allen cultivated a relationship with a woman who had lots of children and then set about organising their living arrangements so that he had a separate house from her but the children had access to both houses. It should be obvious to the world what he is all about.

  18. Twisty

    Although I dimly remember something about Poundstone and court-ordered rehab, I don’t think I ever knew why. I just figured it was a DUI, the usual celebrity entitlement stuff. The idea that she abused a 12-year-old girl doesn’t jive at all with my impressions of her. It’s very disappointing.

    I mean, I had to give up Downton Abbey, and now Paula Poundstone is a child molester? It’s too much! Now I’m going through the 27 stages of grief. Currently I’m rationalizing. For example:

    Unlike Allen, who has never been brought to justice, at least Poundstone was held accountable, and she at least copped to some of the charges, and has apparently made some fairly well publicized efforts to change her –

    Ack. Why? WHY?

  19. au naturel

    Woody Allen has never been my thing, although I’m not surprised he is a despicable person.

    But for my spleen vent, I found this on Dooce…

    http://www.newstatesman.com/laurie-penny/2014/01/why-patriarchy-fears-scissors-women-short-hair-political-statement

  20. Anon for This, Please

    Sticking by a child who reports abuse is really an eye-opener. When my younger offspring reported abuse by a relative one year older, the entire world exploded. There was lots of apologism offered for the perpetrator – no curiosity about WHY an 11-year-old had been predating our kid for years, musta seen something on the internet, no biggie. Plus, our kid’s mother is hysterical and always has to create drama, ya know? Our kid’s sporadic plunges into suicidal talk (at afes 8 and 9) were probalbly just because our kid is WEIRD, ya know?

    And just because the perpetrator’s parent 1) made an inappropriate and creepy comment about our other kid’s genitals when that kid was two; 2) got INTO THE SHOWER with the younger kid “and showed (kid) how to pee in the shower”; and 3) had been accused by a good friend’s kid, years before, of inappropriate touching (that was a ‘bald-faced lie,’ of course) doesn’t mean there is a PROBLEM here! Move along!

    Haven’t had any contact with anyone involved for three years. Lots of therapy for all of us, a major depression for me, tons of crying and railing and screaming and pounding – and loss of a whole family with whom I had been very close, previously.

    I’d do it all again, too. I don’t care how awful it was. I have to say, too, that I got an awful lot of my courage from this blog. It sounds funny, I know – but it’s true. A longtime reader and commenter, I learned so much and grew so much and got so strong from Twisty, and from the other commenters here. I wouldn’t have been so brave without this place. Seriously.

    Thank you all.

  21. tinfoil hattie

    au naturel, I read that via another blog – one wherein commenters chastised the person who linke to it, for marginalizing long-haired women. Sigh. EVERYBODY loses in patriarchy!

  22. Twisty

    @ Anon for This: That is some seriously fucked-up shit, I can’t even imagine. I am so gratified that you found the blog useful.

    @ thebewilderness: Goddammit.

  23. tnfoil hattie

    thebewilderness: Seconding. I’m so sorry. I believe Ms. Farrow, amd I believe you, too.

  24. someofparts

    Yeah, me too Twisty. I’ve been a fan lo these many years, but that letter shattered it. Did we also notice that the girl is a damn good writer?

  25. guthrie

    Erm, I understand that the strange patterned boxes that are by each post when you don’t have an avatar photo uploaded are generally the same for each poster, probably by means of cookies on your computer.

  26. tinfoil hattie

    Excellent article on XO Jane. Men know. They sure as shit know.

    http://www.xojane dot com/issues/what-is-it-about-powerful-men-and-very-young-girls

  27. KMTBERRY

    One of the problems about justice in the Patriarchy is that, usually, men identify with other men, rather then women. Men look at a situation like Woody Allen/abuser, and think, “I don’t abuse children. How would I feel if I were accused of it?” rather than “How would I feel if I were a 7 year old girl being abused by a parent?” or even “How would I feel if I found out my co-parent was abusing my child?”

    Because, the Woody Allen thing could not BE more obvious…if there was ever a person who had left a thousand “smoking guns” as to his pedophilia, it is Woody Allen!!! For Christ’s sake, he MARRIED his barely-legal stepdaughter! He has been featuring very young women sexual obsessions in practically every film !!! Very young women who are involved with 50+ year old men!! He has talked about it in interviews! THe list goes on and on. All you have to see is his pervy focus on his leading ladies who are barely out of childhood, it’s disturbing even if you know nothing else about him.

    Yet most of the men I know are all like, “But it COULD be a vengeful ex”. Well yeah….but if ever there was a case where there is a preponderance of evidence that he IS a child molester, this is it.

  28. Twisty

    Well blamed, KMTBERRY.

  29. Janeen

    From the short hair article linked above by au naturel: “… I’m precisely the sort of mouthy, ambitious, slutty feminist banshee who haunts their nightmares…”

    I am stealing that as a personal descriptor henceforth.

  30. Bushfire

    You did say open thread. Here’s my spleenvent: a high school girl told me today that she had to read a book in English class with a large amount of sexual violence in it. She was obviously disturbed . It reminded me of the rape scenes I was subjected to while a student. I never forgot those scenes. I think it’s time to make a policy never to watch or read anything ever again that contains rape as entertainment. The only reason it’s there is because dudes think it’s cool.

    I, Bushfire, vow to keep a zero tolerance policy on any literature, art, or film containing rape from now on.

  31. mybodyisacage

    Dylan is courageous, and I wish I could use a cheese-grater on Woody’s woody. I felt the same way years ago as a teenager when I learned what he did to his stepdaughter Soon Yi. I had a very disturbing conversation with a relative tonight who thought that most pedophiles went after boys because of all of the goings-on with the Catholic Church. I told him NO, just like every other brutal crime, the main victims are females, in this case girls who are preyed upon by heterosexual men (even relatives) who especially enjoy that extra zing of sadism. From what I’ve heard, I really believe that most men believe that all girls are fair game. The only difference is what age they begin to view them as porkable blow up dolls. The saddest thing of all is what I remember being taught as a girl–that I should be “flattered” if a man finds me “pretty”, that someday I’d be “old and ugly” and wouldn’t be able to “enjoy” the “results” of my “charms” (‘Enjoy’? yeah, right). The entire culture teaches teenage girls that to be a Sexee Young Layday is the highest–no, the only–aspiration that we could hold until their “expiration date” while at the same time spewing crap like “no one will buy the cow if she gives the milk away for free.” Yes, I heard all of this and worse, and from other girls too, when of teen-age. The P ensures that girls are not only preyed upon by disgusting Woodies, but also ensures that they are so alienated from their own desires that they can only view their sexuality through the lens of adult men. Therefore, their desires become the first derivative of some sadistic salivating rapist pud’s desire. She doesn’t want him (who would, but that’s another story), she wants him because he wants her. This is because teenage girls are directly taught and indirectly shown since puberty (and most likely before–I remember being enraged by Smurfette at the age of six) that their only purpose on this Earth is to create boners in adult men (as well as their “he hits you because he likes you” male schoolmates, of course). Every aspect of the media, the nuclear family, and her peers also communicate how disgusting her own sexual desires/”private parts” are to the extent that it becomes incredibly difficult for most teenage girls to possibly see beyond the horizon of “their” sexuality as it as conceptualized by the patriarchy: as only the projection of adult male fantasy. If a teenage girl does realize this is messed up, she is ostracized at school and pilloried by her schoolmates of both genders (been there too). If she reports the abuse she’s suffered and tells someone, they will most likely not believe her and/or calls her a slut/blame HER even though she has had “be cute and sexy, you’re nothing else, and guys, particularly ‘older guys’ are great and will make your miserable life worth living!” drummed in her head from the dominant culture. (I’ve been there, as I’m sure many blamers have). Yes, indeed, teenage girls are among the most despised. And sadly enough, their horrible situation within the patriarchy makes them despise each other as well, compounding this problem further. Finally, while I know that looks should never be something that one judges, I cannot help but notice the ultimate double standard in terms of Woody Allen and his supposed “brilliance”: A woman who vaguely resembled Woody Allen would not be even be allowed to enter the sacred world of the entertainment industry, much less be given a chance to release even one film.

  32. mybodyisacage

    I meant, “we could hold until our expiration date” or alternately “they could hold until their expiration date.” I’m not a teenage girl anymore, but I think the misery of that era is still so imprinted upon me that past/present got mixed up. Also, sorry for the huge paragraph. The fury over that pedophile piece of nebbish crap made me spew it.

  33. tinfoil hattie

    mybodyisacage, that is an AMAZING piece of blaming. Lays out everything so clearly. SO validating. Thank you!

  34. speedbudget

    I saw part of one Woody Allen movie and was utterly perplexed at what all the fuss was about.

    Kind of like that one time I saw a Stanley Kubrick film, and was completely unimpressed.

    Which reminds me of that James Joyce novel that really is just a bunch of words thrown together, which ALSO reminds me of the time I had the eminent misfortune of reading that Philip Roth novel, which, while it made no sense at all from a narrative standpoint, also was all about his penis.

    It’s almost like as long as you’re a guy, your shit don’t stink or something.

  35. emilybites

    mybodyisacage, thank you for that excellent blaming. Girls are groomed by all men and then exploited by a few lucky predators who have access. Woody Allen makes me sick (marrying your children’s teenage sister, CHRIST – let alone the abuse of his own daughter) . And his films are BORING.

    ‘Panties’ is a revolting word. ‘Knickers’ is fine because everyone can wear them, otherwise they are your pants or your underwear. Our universal agreement on the rancidness of the word ‘panties’ is very telling! No one likes their unmentionables condescended to.

  36. Val

    I’ve been forwarding my mother all relevant documents re: Dylan/Mia/Woody, even though that may make me guilty of elder abuse**

    divorcedmoms.com/articles/in-defense-of-mia-farrow-its-time-to-turn-down-the-background-noise

    **Mom has confided in me for years that she was the victim of similar abuse by her stepfather, quantifying it by downplaying the damage: “He only used his FINGERS”!?!?!? Ye gads, am I doing enough by merely being present & listening, or should I be urging my 82-yr old mother to seek psychological help?!?

  37. Val

    Sorry let me fix that link (if I’m clever enough):

    http://www.divorcedmoms.com/articles/in-defense-of-mia-farrow-its-time-to-turn-down-the-background-noise

    Covers all the relevant points, I think.

  38. Cyberwulf

    Did you see where he’s written an op-ed piece in the New York Times? Basically it’s “oh poor Dylan her evil bitch of a mother brainwashed her into saying that stuff”.

    Vanity Fair have an article laying out the actual facts and also linking to the court documents from the custody hearing here: http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2014/02/woody-allen-sex-abuse-10-facts

    You should read the court documents. Even if – big if – he never abused Dylan, Mr. Allen was a shitty, neglectful father who showered Dylan with attention while ignoring his other kids, started a relationship with his wife’s adoptive daughter (this is the mildest way I can put it, giving Allen the benefit of every doubt) with no regard for the upheaval it would cause within the family, and then trashed Farrow up and down while struggling to come up with even one coherent reason why he should have custody of the kids. And of course he’s being Father of the Year to Dylan now, trashing her mother in a national newspaper. Fuck Woody Allen and all his horrible works.

  39. ew_nc

    How did I miss mybodyisacage’s A+ blaming for so many days? Thank you for putting my thoughts into words. I’m a crone in her 50′s now, and it saddens me to know that I’ll never know what my own sexuality was like, because I only expressed it in a patriarchy-compliant manner. Now it’s too late. I have some hope for the much younger blamers among us.

  40. blue

    Hate the term “panties.” Infantilizing, sexualizing, upchuck-izing.

    After Dylan Farrow’s letter, I read the long Vanity Fair article from 1992, “Mia’s Story.” It’s online, and IMO pretty much proves Dylan is telling the truth. Well worth the lengthy read — http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/archive/1992/11/farrow199211

    Of note:

    –Allen was in therapy for inappropriate behavior toward Dylan prior to the Soon-Yi affair

    –Soon-Yi suffered head trauma at a young age (by her birth mom smashing her head between a door and its frame) and had learning disabilities…as a young child she hated men and would hiss at them…later at school in the States she was known to be very straitlaced

    –Allen was verbally abusive to Farrow

    –insiders claim Allen “made another approach in the family”

  41. Twisty

    “No one likes their unmentionables condescended to.”

    This one’s going in the Blamer Hall of Quips.

  42. josquin

    So gratifying to read this blamin’. A thing that is clearly still alive and well in the 21st century is to dump shame/blame on victims of pedophilia. Children for godsake. Or just delicately turn away from the victim as from a bad smell. I have somewhat “come out” in recent days about my own experience, and have been drop-jawed to get that response from people who purportedly care about me. It’s like I confessed to a disgusting little habit of my own creation. So I’ve sort of shut up about it again. Makes me sad.
    Thank you Twisty and fellow blamers for getting it. And don’t condescend to my unmentionables! :-)

  43. Morag

    “It’s like I confessed to a disgusting little habit of my own creation. So I’ve sort of shut up about it again. Makes me sad.”

    So sorry, josquin. Who can blame you for shutting up about it? A lot of people are calling Dylan brave, and sure, this is true, because the climate is hostile to truth-tellers (just look at how many are discrediting her, either directly, or via her mother, Mia).

    That does not mean, however, that victims/surviors who don’t tell, or who stop telling, are not brave. When coming out about child sexual abuse is framed as a moral obligation to other survivors, or when disclosure is framed as a test of character and courage, that’s just more violence.

  44. Nolabelfits

    Since we are still on an open thread here I would like to bring up a quote by the late Shirley Temple who claimed she had sat on over 200 famous laps and found J.Edgar Hoover’s “the most comfortable.” I am in the over 50 set and this brought back hideous memories of being around three or four years old and being asked by various random strangers to sit in their laps just because they happened to be in our living room and were guests. I don’t recall any of my brothers being forced to suffer this indignity. Makes me wonder whose lap was “the least comfortable” for Shirley. Creepy.

  45. Amyra

    Twisty, I wish you would write a bit more on the Dylan Farrow case. Yours would be the only opinion piece in the world I’d bother to read with rapt attention.

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