Mar 20 2013

TMI: spinster aunt surprised by spinster aunt’s obesity

As I revealed in the comments to yesterday’s post on Big Gulps, Sarah Palin, and metabolic disease, I recently had my personal auntly body fat measured. They dunked me like a donut in a sort of clinical baptismal vat, whereupon it was revealed that the spinster aunt is comprised of 37% fat.

This, it will not surprise you to hear, blew my entire lobe (the extra fat globules made the explosion particularly glisteny). Based on my being generally underweight, of bird-like aspect and of lanky build, the assumption had always been that I am skinny. But no. I am obese. Clinically and for real obese. Some of the fat is subcutaneous, the la-di-da no-big-whoop kind of fat. But apparently a goodly slab of it can be found festering in the dank hidden recesses of my abdomen, in the shape of the far more sinister visceral fat.

Sidebar: yesterday, when I suggested that better education might help liberate the American populace from toxic diets — a remark that was perceived by some as classist — I was writing from the perspective of recent fat ignorance. Before I got dunked and subsequently gave reluctant audience to a reading of the Riot Act, I of course knew that sugar is bad and fiber is good, but I was a little shaky on the science. The fact is that although I am privileged, white, suburban, and overeducated, as well as a world-renowned expert aunt who can afford monthly road trips to Whole Foods, I had never before given a moment’s thought to visceral fat, much less its unique (as opposed to sub-q fat) characteristics or its specific role in the jolly Parade of Fatal Human Diseases. I do concede that because of the aforementioned socioeconomic factors, I am in a better position than many to address my hidden globs. But it has nevertheless occurred to me that I am probably not alone when it comes to lack of visceral fat awareness. No, education alone can’t, as blamer Saurs pointed out, make you not poor or give you a fat-free liver. But it’s got to be better than no education. You can’t fight what you don’t know.

Anyway, it turns out that, whereas subcutaneous fat — muffin tops, saddle bags, bingo arms, et al — is actually beneficial, goodly slabs of visceral fat are, in a word, not. Particularly for cancer patients, among whose ranks I am, reluctantly, counted.

To help me achieve a fully-realized panic attack over this latest healthbomb, my ever-obliging oncologist gave me this book Fat Chance by, oh what the hell’s his name, Lessig? Ludwig? Whatever, I keep calling him Dr Zaftig. He’s a practicing childhood obesity specialist who uses No. 1 Science Information to explain in terms that even a spinster aunt can understand the relationship between sugar, processed food, and metabolic disease.

Before you go all Savage Death on my ass, let me say that this Dr Zaftig is no fat shamer. He might even be construed as an advocate, asserting that obesity is not, as is popularly imagined, a function of character flaws or lack of willpower, but rather the inevitable outcome of heredity combined with the flaws in the so-called American diet. Zaftig doesn’t suggest anything new or earth-shattering. His advice consists of the usual “less sugar, more fiber, and have a little olive oil on your salad.” But he does advance a theory explaining how an aunt can be underweight and obese at the same time, which I found pretty enlightening. I won’t bore you with the soporific details about insulin, lipogenesis, the fucking Maillard reaction, and correlations with cancer and dementia and whatnot. Suffice it to say that I have beaten a hasty retreat back to Kale Nation.

Don’t construe this post as an ad for the book, by the way. In the first place, I haven’t applied to it the jaundiced eye of feminist analysis; I’ve only read it from the perspective of a skinny obese aunt who wouldn’t know a lipid if it poked her in the eye with a sharp stick. In the second place, Zaftig is a dude, he’s a privileged member of the Establishment, he’s got a NYTimes bestseller, and of course he’s been on NPR, so what are the odds that that his argument doesn’t contain hidden agendas and dominant-culture affirmations galore? He certainly does take a pretty paternalistic tone when writing about his feckless soda-swilling patients. And his attempts at humor could be used to make corn syrup. But I will say that at least he’s not as condescending as, say, the NIH. Their website says

“Our bodies have a complex system to help keep our weight at a healthy level. In some people, this system does not work normally.”

Whereas Zaftig refreshingly declines to label obese persons as “abnormal.” He avers instead that the cause of obesity rests, not with an individual’s supposedly “abnormal system,” but with the normal body’s completely reasonable response to the wackaloon processed, refined, and artificial foods that in recent decades we Americans have been conditioned, and in many cases coerced, to accept. This conditioning, he maintains, is the direct result of profit-driven efforts of the mighty Fast Food Industrial Complex.

A propos of which efforts, have you seen any reviews of that Pink Slime dude’s book Salt Sugar Fat? I haven’t read it, but it’s supposedly an expose about how the processed food industry specifically designs toxic convenience foods to be both addictive and cheap, then poisons the citiizenry all the way to the bank. Quoth the NY Times, the author

“visits with neuroscientists whose M.R.I.’s of test subjects demonstrate how the brain’s so-called pleasure centers light up when the subjects are dosed with solutions of sugar or fat. He then describes how consultants and food scientists calibrate products — ‘optimize’ them, in industry-speak — to maximize cravings.”

And did you get a load of Stephen Colbert mocking the so-called “bliss point” by using a giant taco shell as a chip to scoop up a dip made entirely of Tostitos?

You get my drift.

Anyway. Using the Zaftig argument, it is hypothesized that my high fat content is a result of my having reverted, over the past year or so, from a fancy privileged vegan life to a “convenience” diet of refined flour products, potato chips, “liquid sanctimony” smoothies, Fresca, Thundercloud Subs, too much wine, cookies, and Amy’s frozen entrees (mostly the kind with cheese sauce and potatoes). The hypothesis is on its way to being confirmed; I have lost an estimated 2 percentage points worth of fat in as many weeks, merely by adjusting this program to reflect a more lentil-heavy foodlosophy.

Which is my usual long-winded way of saying: I grasp that, though it still poses mondo health risks, skinny obesity is, at least in terms of women’s oppression and membership in the sex class, orders of magnitude less stigmatizing than fat obesity, and I’m sorry I fatshamed. And concerntrolled.

Mar 19 2013

Eat more kale.

Gulp on, Palin. Nothing says "Freedom!" like the right to cook your liver in its own fat.

Gulp on, Palin. Nothing says “Freedom!” like the right to cook your liver in its own fat.

No spinster aunt would presume (except in her dreams) to tell anyone over the age of nine what to eat. We aunts can but lead by example, sanctimoniously choking down our raw-kale-on-Mestemacher-fitness-bread sandwiches, perhaps while casually describing the process by which ad-lib fructose turns the viscera into diseased slabs of fat.

However, one can’t help thinking that if the populace were to enjoy — say, through improved, non-corporate-sponsored education — a more thorough understanding of the human metabolic process, the hi-larious spectacle of historical footnote/reactionary buffoon Sarah Palin chugging a defiant gallon of soda at CPAP yesterday would have had all the comic overtones of a slow suicide. The caption might as well read “I support the right of the beverage industry to profit from poisoning you, me, and the millions of poor and underserved who have no access to decent food!”

Bloomberg’s giant soda ban was a dumb idea, but if the discourse it provoked hips a few more people to the link between fast food, poverty, megacorporate profits, and metabolic disorders like diabetes, I say, you go, girl. When waved as a banner to rally the troops, however, the Big Gulp has all the inspirational ideological zing (and even fewer of the health benefits) of “Leggo my Eggo.”

_________________
Sarah Palin photo: MSNBC.

Mar 18 2013

Spinster aunt curls lip at afterschoolspecialization of Steubenville

CNN's Poppy Harlow is sorely bummed over the demise of the tearful Steubenville rapists' "promising futures" at Sunday's sentencing.

CNN’s Poppy Harlow is sorely bummed over the demise of the tearful Steubenville rapists’ “promising futures” at Sunday’s sentencing.

Oy, the Steubenville coverage! One barfs.

Sadly, a seasoned and cynical patriarchy blamer more or less expects, at a time like this, to be continuously squinting a jaundiced eye at the discourse. I doubt there’s a woman among us who couldn’t have written the whole thing in her sleep with one lobe tied behind her back. Since yesterday’s sentencing of the Steubenville rapists, we’ve seen some truly breathtaking examples of virulent misogyny and male supremacist wagon-circling, in the shape of

• An endless loop of footage of the rapists collapsing in court. Their self-absorbed weeping is repeatedly mistranslated by a nation in denial as “I now grasp the enormity of my crimes and I’m just as sorry as can be.” In fact, as anyone who has ever been 16 knows, the rapists are simply bummed by the unexpectedly harsh consequences of having been caught.

• The notion that sports figures are entitled to a free pass. Satirized (somewhat triggeringly) here by the Onion.

• The torrent of violent online victim-blaming, rape-denying, and generalized misogynist hate speech. Typing strings of obscenities about rape victims never gets old!

• The requisite airing of the List of Shit Women Do To Confuse Dudes Into Raping Them. They’re drunk. They leave the house. They’re girls. These conditions still pass for consent in a rape culture.

• Most nauseating of all is the heartwarming Hollywood rewrite of the ending: the poor, chastened rapist boys bask in the hopeful golden rays of hope that hopefully they have “learned an important lesson” and will go on to “lead productive lives.” Thus is their cruel and vicious rape recast as an After School Special.

But the news isn’t all bad. The Internet Feminist Backlash to the infuriating afterschoolspecialization by CNN and others has been swift and sure. The buttload of excellent feminist analysis has been a pleasure to read. Check out this great piece — destined to become an Internet classic — by Freethought blogger and “professional fun-ruiner” Miri, who writes:

I don’t want to hear anything more about the “ruined futures” of Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond. The verdict did not ruin their futures. They ruined their futures, when they made the decision to rape someone.

[... a bunch of trenchant remarks well worth reading ...]

I want to hear more about what makes you a rapist and less about what makes you a victim, more about structures and less about individuals, more about justice and less about revenge.

A tiny window of opportunity has opened. The spotlight on rape culture is starting to get in through the chinks in the mainstream. For example, a petition to persuade CNN to issue a public apology for their infuriating “Tears for Rapists” coverage has over 27,000 signatures at Change.org.

Color me desperately idealistic, but at this moment it might actually be possible to enbiggen the discourse just a smidge. We must try like mad to adjust the common perception of rape, as well as outdated ideas of “consent,” to something a little more in line with women’s reality. Specifically: that stopping rape requires men to stop raping, not women to stop drinking, walking, dancing, smiling, wearing an outfit, or attempting to simply exist, like men do, as sovereign entities.

So tweet your asses off, blamers! And if nothing else, sign that fucking petition!

__________________
Hat tip to Chris Clarke.

CNN still from YouTube.

Mar 17 2013

Spleenvent Sunday: media, mermaids, and auntly inefficacy in pre-revolutionary America

Several hair-raising events transpired at Dreadful Acres/Spinster HQ this weekend. Hear my tale.

Breyer horse dollThe nieces Finn and Ro-Tel, ages 7 and 9, were here for a sleepover. Like all little girls, they are horse crazy. It is not enough that they have unlimited access to actual horses while they are here. In the bunkhouse they like to amuse themselves with toy horses as well. Ever the doting aunt, I maintain a supply of these future objets de landfill in a special cabinet.*

I’d bought a new addition to the plastic herd since the nieces’ last visit: an eventer set with Breyer horse, saddle, bridle, and rider doll complete. The doll was dressed, inexplicably, in a track suit. I’d selected it specifically because of the weird track suit, actually. It’s baggy and sort of sex-neutral, sending, I hoped in my ceaseless naivete, the message that this girl cares more about keeping her eyes on the prize than looking like a dudefantasy. But when we extracted the doll from the excessive packaging — a gaudy box showcasing the tracksuited doll and her mount against a breathtaking rolling green backdrop untouched by global warming — my lobe began to pulsate. Under its unisex duds, the doll was a proper mutant. That’s right, I’m talkin’ straight up Barbie syndrome. Gazongas like missiles, wasp waist, toothpick legs about 17 times as long as they ought to be, microscopic noselet, insipid smile with Porn2K-compliant parted lips. The face, with its giant dead mascara eyes, recalls the toddler beauty queen prosti-tot, while the bullet-boobs are pure Penthouse, and the blank expression is vaguely suggestive of both compliance and hardening cheese dip.**.

I grasp that Barbie syndrome isn’t breaking news, but that’s no reason to ignore that it’s still standard practice in 2013, and that it’s still flippin’ icky.

Once apprised of my mistake, I naturally wanted to remove the doll from the niecely midst, but this was a no-go; they’d formed an instantaneous and unbreakable bond.

Feeling remorseful over my unintentional reinforcement of the patriarchal pro-femininity mores, I almost considered not making them eat cauliflower for dinner. In the end, though, they not only ate the cauliflower (tossed with olive oil and roasted at 375F for 21 minutes) but proclaimed for the first time in their lives that they “loved” it. With this triumph I was feeling pretty cocky about my auntly abilities.

Until TV hour.

The show they had see was “H2O: Just Add Water” on the TeenNick channel. It is, apparently, the best show ever. This Disney-esque series, to my gape-mouthed horror, is about a trio of teen mermaids. Hot teen mermaids, which I suppose goes without saying (they resemble inflatable sex dolls in that YouTube still, no?). They’re garden-variety gorgeous, white, blonde 16-year-old besties living on dry land until someone throws them in a pool or they fall into the ocean or a drop of rain splats on them. That’s all it takes for everything below the waist to morph into a dolphin tail. Whereupon the girls acquire some sort of magic water-balloon-throwing superpowers, as well as become marvelously proficient at swimming underwater with their arms straight out in front of them, their glittering dolphin tails peenistically pumping them onward toward new romantic teen adventures.

That mermaid tail detail, incidentally, has always irked me bigtime (in addition to the general tiresomeness of fetishistic mermaidian folklore, of course). Mermaids are supposed to be half fish, right? So I’ll allow the fish-scales. But their tail fins are without exception depicted as horizontally oriented, like cetaceans, not vertically oriented like fishes. So my question is: what the fuck? Read a fuckin’ book on marine biology, why don’t ya, all you mermaid illustratin’ dickheads.

By the way, according to Wikipedia: “The US National Ocean Service stated in 2012 that no evidence of mermaids has ever been found.” Thanks, National Ocean Service! We were all wondering.

Anyway, this episode of “H2O: Just Add Water” was a relentless femininity-stereotype fandango. The three hot teen mermaid protagonists are foiled by a less hot, chubby, unpleasant mermaid antagonist. This mean mermaid is unpleasant because she believes one of the hot mermaids has stolen her cute blonde boyfriend, for whom she pines. To settle the score of the stolen boyfriend, there ensues a magic water balloon superpower fight, and Mean Girl emerges victorious. But her triumph is short-lived. Cute Boy and Mean Girl do a scene where she thinks they’re getting back together, but Cute Boy says no, he loves Hot Mermaid now. Thus is the natural order restored: clingy deluded Mean Girl gets dissed; adorable blonde boy gets a girlfriend more suited to his cuteness level; and the three hot teen mermaids do a sexy underwater teen bikini sperm-swim.

So, to recap:

• Skinny blonde girls are awesome.
• Chubby girl is bad.
• Girls physically fight over a boy.
• Cute boy schools bad chubby girl in the error of her ways (she will probably die alone).
• Bikini-clad mermaids with taxonomically confusing tails are aspirational figures.

The nieces were transfixed. I couldn’t even begin to determine how to put together a feminist critique that they would comprehend. I just babbled some crap about how femininity is a construct designed to perpetuate the low status of women in society, and also, mermaids are bad role models. Not surprisingly, they were all, “Huh? Whatever. Can we have ice cream?”

I mean, I couldn’t even get them through 24 measly hours without subjecting them to all manner of malignant misogynist brainwashing. The spinster aunt trucker hat is off to all you mothers who have to deal with this shit day in day out. Jesus in a jetpack!

So what’s on your spleen?

____________________
* No one has ever accused me of failing to lavish upon my young relatives material goods in the shape of cheap crap from China. I’m not proud of it, but it is — as I have heard my fellow idiot jacknuts assert when seeking to absolve themselves of personal responsibility by suggesting that Fate Unremitting has once again smote their Free Will with a blood-caked sword — what it is.

**

The whores
curve slightly, like plastic spoons
being worked in a hardening cheese dip.

– From “All-Nite Donuts” by Albert Goldbarth

Mar 14 2013

Rape prevention gun debate: as usual, it’s not about women, it’s about preserving the status quo

Begging your pardon, but this morning it is necessary to link to Fox News.

It is not often that my delicately balanced obstreperal lobe will tolerate more than a few milligrams of Fox’s unsophisticated, hostile, and overwrought discharges. In fact, in order to regain cable news harmony within my lobe, today I will require a few minutes with the only TV peenpundit who makes me smile instead of puke, Reverend Al. Why do I put myself through this? Because the aforelinked video concerns a topic over which the village crones of Savage Death Island have been known to brood at no small length. I allude to the apparently batshit-ludicrous idea that the best way to prevent violence against women is for men to not do violence against women.

Let me rephrase that with an excerpt from the Ancient Scrolls, in case I was too long-winded just now: Wanna stop rape? Don’t rape!

Details in a moment. First I’ll describe the video.

It contains an exchange between Democratic thinker-lady Zerlina Maxwell, some antifeminist Stepford wife with severe Stockholm syndrome, and heat-packin’ gasbag Sean Hannity. You don’t watch Fox News (duh), so no doubt you’re unfamiliar with Sean Hannity. If you picture a pinkish little penis with a pinkish little penis-face who shouts at everybody but listens to no one, that’s the guy. Little pink Hannity is always worked up. In today’s video (from a broadcast last week) he’s worked up about a Colorado gun bill that would ban conceal-carry on college campuses.

Here’s the backstory. HB 1226, the Colorado bill in question, is in committee. The senate hears from an emotional college rape survivor who argues that if she’d had a gun, she could have prevented her attack. State Senator Evie Hudak (D) claps a hand to her throat and sighs melodramatically to convey compassion, thanks the student in a sympathetic maternal tone for sharing her “unsettling” story, and breaks right into the old “statistics are not on your side” argument (a valid argument, but not the subject of today’s post).

You see what’s happening here? This young rape survivor, as well as the issue of campus rape, and by extension the whole of violence against women in general, are being kicked into the tired old political football role. Violence against women becomes a hapless pawn in the apparently more politically interesting but vastly less morally exigent issue of gun control. On exhibit is an actual rape victim who argues the NRA position: that she wouldn’t be a victim at all if she’d been allowed to carry a gun. Young, female, brave-yet-vulnerable, her voice wavering, she is a poignant figure. Contradicting this tragic young woman is a pro-gun-control state senator, who, let’s face it, is gonna look like an insensitive bully no matter how pseudo-maternal her manner or what the gun violence statistics say. The grilling of rape victims for political purposes is just plain distasteful. Even a spinster aunt who grasps Sen. Evie Hudak’s point must think to herself, “crikey, what an asshole.”

So when Hannity plays the clip of Hudak handing it to the college student, he announces that Hudak’s gun statistics have been “debunked” (although by whom, and to what degree they should be adjusted, he does not say), and informs the panel that he is “angered.” He wants women to be able to protect themselves. With guns. According to Hannity and the 2nd Amendment extremist cowboys who are suddenly so deeply concerned about women’s welfare, women need guns to protect themselves from rapists, therefore gun-control legislation is pro-rape. Guns supposedly even things out between weak, vulnerable females and strong, virile rapists. Who, Hannity wants to know, could possibly argue with that?

Why, his panelist Zerlina Maxwell, that’s who.

Maxwell and the Spinster Aunt Coalition are two hearts that beat as one on this subject. She argues (and I paraphrase) that this conceal-carry argument is a red herring. By putting the onus on women to solve the problem of rape, she says, it fails to address the actual cause of rape. Which is men. Training men not to rape women, avers Maxwell, is the answer.

Remember the ancient scrolls: Wanna stop rape? Don’t rape!

This simple, elegant solution is so antithetical to the human world order that it is commonly judged to be loony. Hannity, like all misogynists, doesn’t even seem to hear Maxwell. An African-American woman is talking, so all he hears is “blahblahblah, some bizarre shit about women not being responsible for rape, blahblahblah.” Teach men not to rape women? Ridiculous! Impossible! Inconsistent with the Judeo-Christian view of the cosmos wherein men are good and women are debased humans who corrupt them to evil! Evil exists, Hannity says, plain and simple; it’s out of men’s hands! The implicit corollary of his thesis is that, because men clearly can’t do jack shit about it, it must fall upon women to deflect evil. Thus does Hannity, aided by his antifeminist Stepford minion, shout Maxwell down.

It is apparently lost on Hannity that, in shouting down Maxwell, herself a rape victim with relevant opinions, he’s doing precisely what Senator Hudak did (though she managed to do it without shouting) to the college student, which so offended his noble woman-protecting instincts.

It turns out that this feigned interest in “protecting women” isn’t really about gun control at all. It’s about protecting the dudely prerogative at all costs. The dudely prerogative hinges on a narrative that goes a little something like this: evil rapists are masked villains who are clearly identifiable by greasy hair, beady eyes, and their universal habit of lurking in shadows (or they’re black dudes). They are not the regular college fellows you meet at parties who believe that, by a) having a beer with them and b) not brandishing a flamethrower, you a) consent to surrender your personal sovereignty and b) agree with DudeNation’s premise that you are a toilet. Such college dudes are merely following — forcibly, as is their right — the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women. For there it is written that abuse is consistent with the basic function of women.

So if it’s rape you want to prevent, screw the gun laws; it’s the Global Accords that need changing. The low status of women in the dominant culture prevents men from not raping them. Train men not to rape? Hell yeah. Better yet, as Tara Murtha opines at RH Reality Check, teach them what rape is, because apparently they don’t even know that much. Even better still, explain to them that women are human beings, not toilets, give them a pop quiz on it which if they fail will cause them to forfeit their nuts, just to make sure they comprehend, and go from there. Gun laws aren’t gonna do jack shit.

Needless to say, Maxwell was flamed like a tiki kebab for daring to suggest that men should be socialized to view women as human beings.

Oh, and before you go all gun-control on my ass: that’s not the topic of the post! The topic of the post is how, by using rape as focus in the gun control debate, the public discourse ain’t doin women no favors.


__________________
This article was inspired by the aforelinked essay “Why Zerlina Maxwell Is Almost Right About Teaching Men Not to Rape” by Tara Murtha.

Mar 10 2013

Spleenvent Monday

We were members of the Buddy Holly Glasses tribe.

We were members of the Buddy Holly Glasses tribe.

Omigod, the week I’ve had. You know the week I mean. Sick horses, sick horse-girls, daylight savings time, 80-year-old mom gets a new computer, yadda yadda. So I almost forgot about Spleenvent. I know! I suck! But please enlarge, with all speed, on whatever theme weighs upon your spleen, even though it’s Monday.

Here’s my spleenvent: I found this picture under my desk this morning. It’s me and my girlfriend Lori Blue, the night our all-girl punk band played at the St Louis Music Awards in, I think, 1998. Lori wore her famous naugahyde Nehru suit. I remember my silver-sparkle Les Paul wouldn’t stay in tune no matter what I did so I sucked even worse than usual.

Lori was an awesome drummer and all-around good egg. Drugs and booze and a gun killed her about a year after this photo was taken. I still think, maybe every day: if only I’d been able to get her out here to the country in time. To the fucking simple life, you know? Where the air isn’t heavy with closing-time desperation, and leaning against a fence with a cup of coffee in the morning, listening to horses chewing hay, would have been a pretty good reason not to kill herself.

I know, I know. But fuck, you know?

Morning-after edit to late-nite wine-drinking post: During fits of maudlin regret and bathetic nostalgia, I always forget to remember that old Lori was as dirt-averse a girl as ever whacked a snare. She wouldn’t have lasted five minutes out here in Manure Pile, Texas. Also, she never drank coffee.

Mar 05 2013

Sexopreneur pimps out hotties to losers

A person can either be generous and proactive, or attractive and submissive; any other combination would throw the whole system of human oppression into chaos.

A person can either be generous and proactive, or attractive and submissive; any other combination would throw the whole system of human oppression into chaos.

A spinster aunt can take a patriarchy-blaming hiatus, but misogyny never sleeps. While I was off on sabbatical, this deeply sad “dating auction” site popped up. That’s right, I said “dating auction.” Whats-your-price- dot com (I can’t bring myself to link to it; take out the dashes if you wish to see it for yourself) is where “generous people” bid on “dates” with “attractive people they normally wouldn’t meet.”

In other words, repulsive loser pervdudes buy the attention of financially strapped women who ordinarily wouldn’t touch them with a 10-foot pole. How it works is, the “generous person” browses the site, selects a woman, and makes an offer. The woman can (and should, for the lovamike) demand more. An agreement is reached, and Brandon Wade, the website’s CEO sexopreneur, takes a cut off the top. Says Brandon Wade (that’s gotta be his pornstar name, right?), dating is about “economics, supply and demand.” He claims that gajillions of people sign up for accounts just to see what their “dating value” is.

If this business model succeeds — and why shouldn’t it, as there is no shortage of either desperate women or pornsick dudes who flatter themselves that they are “generous” — it’s because women’s confinement to the sex class ensures their commodification. That a woman should be apprised of her “dating value” seamlessly integrates with a woman-hating Hot or Not culture. If she doesn’t find out on an auction site, she need only walk down the street. DudeNation isn’t shy about its ratings system.

“Gone are the days for settling for whatever was in a bar,” continues Brandon Wade. His auction site “guarantees results.” Apparently “results” means “an actual woman will actually degrade herself by renting out her society to you, no matter how repellent you are, without you having to win her over by closing time.”

Here are some of cyberpimp Brandon Wade’s bizarre date suggestions for the “generous person”:

If you need to go to the mall to pick out a new tie anyway, invite her along and maybe get a hot pretzel while you are there.

Put on funny accents. Go around town asking for directions to places that don’t exist.

Go bowling, but remember to order pizza.

Perhaps you remember old Brandon Wade from the runaway bestseller The Definitive Guide to Sugar Daddy and Mutually Beneficial Arrangements. That’s where he argues that “sugar babies” don’t have to be “young bimbo-victims.” Kept women can, he asserts, be “women of substance.” Women of substance love tagging along to the mall on tie-shopping trips, fingers crossed that sugar daddy will buy’em a pretzel.

You will be unsurprised to learn that on its home page, wypdotcom has a big photo of a pair of hottt chixxx, their lips parted as per the global porn regs, embracing. The tops of their heads are cut off, naturally, but that’s not the important part of a woman. They don’t need brains when they have a “generous person” to remember to order the pizza.

Thanks to blamer Maria, who says this website caused her to “lose her lobe.”

Mar 03 2013

Spinster aunt launches SpleenVent Sundays!

Gatorful-o-pooGiven that I Blame the Patriarchy is adopting the ponderous 7-day post cycle, with the likeliest post day to be Thursday or Friday, I thought it might be fun to institute a Sunday Open Thread tradition to fill in the gap. I am dimly aware that there’s a reason this probably won’t work, but I’ve been on blog vacation for so long I can’t remember what that reason is. So until I figure it out: anti-venting, anti-anecdote, and anti-hijacking rules suspended! All other rules apply!

Okay, I’ll start. Over the last few days I’ve picked up on a theme running through the comments. It can be summed up with “I’ve been dealing with some nasty anti-feminists lately and ______________.” So what is your most recent nasty anti-feminist experience? Let’er rip.

Also, unrelated specifically to antifeminist encounters, have you checked out Bushfire’s blog? I loved this post on demolishing the public school system and her revolutionary ideas for the Idyllic Speculative-Fictional Shulamithian Utopia Education (my characterization, not hers) that might replace it. I would get certified in Horse Shit Studies and spread my skill throughout the world, for My New Manure Management Technique is Unstoppable.

Mar 02 2013

Well met, olde blaming friendes

Horse legsMy fusty old lobe has been warmed by the welcoming response of the blaming community to my coming-out-of-retirement announcement. It’s great to be back. I think all I needed was a little breather. I’m feeling pretty goddam blamerly again. A new aunt.

So let me hip you to the new situation.

To facilitate my agrarian conceits (see Dreadful Acres), I have hired a new assistant, Dusty. Dusty is an awesome 18-year-old horse-crazy horsegirl who loves horses, and she’ll be taking over my farm chores twice a week. Theoretically this will free up two whole afternoons for me, so I can biff off to town for lunch and/or write a blog post, like every week.

I say “theoretically” because Dusty, though excellent in all other respects, has come down with the flu, and can’t come to work this week at all. She so informed me by phone this morning at 7:15, using the thin, frail flu-voice that I invented when I was a teenager for the purpose of conveying to an employer a sense of the devastating extent of my infirmity. It’s gratifying that the flu-voice is still seeing some action.

Anyway, although I occasionally might be able to swing it more often, I can pretty much promise at least one post a week, once young Dusty is restored to her former vigor. Not as frequent as when I was in my blogging prime, to be sure, but like I always say, you get what you pay for at I Blame the Patriarchy.

And now it’s back to the salt mines for me. Those horse feet aren’t going to pick themselves.

Mar 01 2013

Miss Popularity

Sexy lipstick blog or feminist politics? You decide.

Sexy lipstick blog or feminist politics? You decide.

As part of IBTP’s ongoing (as of yesterday) casting-of-the-aspersions at the vagina ghettos with cutesy chick-identifying titles in which mainstream publications bury women’s opinion, let us turn today to the Washington Post’sShe the People” blog. See how the word “she” is cleverly underlined in lipstick? This tells potential women readers that a tawdry smear of carcinogenic cosmetic is suitable as a symbolic representation of their other-y identity, while simultaneously warning potential dude readers to avoid this boring chick content at all costs.

By the way, let me clarify that I in no way cast the aforementioned aspersions at the bloggojournalists themselves. They’re (mostly) doing some fine writing. It isn’t their fault that their views are widely considered “special interest,” a designation that legitimizes their segregation behind a lipstick smear.

It is through a narrowed eye that I perceive a persistent journalistic obligation to categorize women’s issues separately from regular old human rights issues. This is dumb. Why is rape, for instance, a woman’s issue? It’s men who are doin’ all the raping. Look, rape isn’t a “women’s issue.” Rape is a global humanitarian crisis. So how come it is always relegated to the status of a niche cause (or, as I point out below, used as the basis for oh-so-hilarious fratboy tweets)? Because deep down in the collective consciousness, rape is still considered to be consistent with the essence of women, and as we have seen, in a patriarchy women are not fully human.

Heck, I’ve digressed again. I beg your pardon. I seem to be a little rusty. Moving on.

Teen beauty queen porn. What WaPo reader can resist its sweet charms?

Teen beauty queen porn. What WaPo reader can resist its sweet charms?

So where was I? Oh yeah. So, one of the posts from the She the People blog heads today’s “Most Popular” list in the WaPo politics section. Has the subject of this popular post anything to do with, perhaps, VAWA passing the House? Or, perchance, was Aly Neel’s excoriation of the rampant rape jokes in the Twitter frat house getting a lot of clicks?

Sadly, no. The most popular post is summarized thusly:

“Teenage beauty queen surrenders crown after release of porn video”.

The public humiliation of a beauty queen: was there ever a more cherished subject in all of journalistic history? In the above-referenced piece, “Dear Melissa King, I wish you the best,” She the People blogger Bonnie Goldstein mercifully plays down the prurience. Which is not to say that she doesn’t have a little fun at the expense of Ms. King, the 18-year-old Miss Delaware Teen USA whose pageant career was cut short by the inevitable emergence of a sex tape. After mocking King’s official Miss Teen biography (it is painfully mockable, sadly), intimating that she is a bimbo, and characterizing teen pornulation as one of life’s little “character-building challenges,” Goldstein opines magnanimously that, despite her public shaming, King “can still have a satisfying and productive life.”

As the 1968 Miss America Sheep-Crowning Incident referenced in yesterday’s post suggests, it’s pretty easy for enlightened feminists to cop a condescending tude toward pageant girls. What might be less hilarious, but more useful, would be copping the tude toward the all-pervasive misogynist cultural forces that permit and encourage the ritual humiliation of girls, both pageant- and non-, to begin with. On the spectrum of women’s oppression, beauty pageantry and its fetishization of feminine perfection is only a click or two removed from pornulation and prostitution.

If, as Goldstein says, Melissa King made the video because she “thought it would be fun” and she “needed the money” for college, two things are pretty fucked up. The first fucked up thing is that a teenage girl could ever equate fun with sexploitation; only in a pornsick society that rewards self-denigrating appeasement behavior could such an idea be entertained by a young kid. The second fucked up thing is that self-denigrating appeasement behavior pays so much better than get-your-hands-off-me-you-perv-I-am-a-human-being behavior.

One thing Goldstein gets exactly right is her observation, based on watching television (yay TV! You go, Bonnie Goldstein!), that self-denigrating appeasement behavior seems to be the norm these days.

“I’ve seen enough episodes of “Girls” to understand that uninhibited sexual experimentation is not so uncommon in schoolgirls today, and tolerating humiliation is a healthy sign of an independent spirit.”

It’s funny ’cause it’s true. I don’t mean that tolerating humiliation is a healthy sign of anything. But it’s true that all media, everywhere, at all times, send the message that it is.

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