Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Talk Dogma To Me, Baby

Sheila Jeffreys has apparently been back on the public radar for a while now, but I'd only just become aware of her...resurg'd...visibility. anyhoo, I was reminded of this little detail of her bio from a Guardian article:

Dworkin, as it happens, lived with a man, whom in 1998 she married.

Not Jeffreys. She became a lesbian in 1973 because she felt it contradictory to give "her most precious energies to a man" when she was thoroughly committed to a women's revolution. Six years later, she went further and wrote, with others, a pamphlet entitled Love Your Enemy? The Debate Between Heterosexual Feminism And Political Lesbianism. In it, feminists who sleep with men are described as collaborating with the enemy. It caused a huge ruction in the women's movement, and is still cited as an example of early separatists "going way too far".

"We do think," it said, "that all feminists can and should be lesbians. Our definition of a political lesbian is a woman-identified woman who does not fuck men. It does not mean compulsory sexual activity with women.

Lest you wonder why I'm unearthing this bit of quaint nostalgia, I just now came across a post on someone's blog wherein she was struggling with whether to follow this very path, more or less, apparently, presumably influenced by the writings of Ms. Jeffreys, to whom several posts and a good chunk of the recommended reading list are dedicated. Debating whether to leave her male partner, even though he's "one of the good ones," anyway; I didn't notice the "L" word in that post, at least. definitely 'twas all about "giving energies" to the wimminfolk, as opposed to a Man.

what. the hell. ever.

Obviously, I can't speak for what's really going on in any other woman's mind or soul or naughty bits. Maybe there's more here than meets the eye. Maybe, indeed, Jeffreys really does and always did lurve the wimminfolk, and just needed the sociopolitical framework in order to make the "lifestyle" transition more comfortable for herself. I don't actually know enough about either woman to speculate.

what I do know, from experience, is that while eros is a tricky, complicated, and mutable little beast, one does not, can not, will desire where there was none, simply because one's adopted ideology dictates that one must do so in order to be more pure. One can choose to act or not to act on--or even suppress--desire that was already there, to be sure. (It is awfully decent of the pamphlet writers to allow as to how the "woman-identified woman" doesn't have to have sex with women, even though she appparently cannot "fuck men." Presumably pegging is Right Out, too, I suppose).

Yeah. I'm looking at this with a mixture of annoyance, amusement, exasperation, and a skeeved-out feeling. How is this significantly different from the ex-gay movement?

For that matter: it's certainly no skin off my ass if someone chooses to be celibate, for any reason; but I for one would have zero interest in dating someone who was ID'ing as a "lesbian," not because she had any genuine erotic interest in women, but because she wanted to be Most Radical Feminist Of Them All. frankly, I would find that...objectifying. Yep, I said it. Seriously, is it any better to be viewed as some kind of ideological Symbol than as a sex object? At least with the latter, you have a better chance of knowing what the transaction is. and frankly, I for one would be more likely to derive some enjoyment out of the whole deal. I'd far rather fuck a genuinely "bi-curious" woman as a one-night stand than enter into a relationship with someone whose gonads weren't really in it.

I suppose one might be upfront about one's lack of desire as well; but, who would knowingly go for that, seriously? "I don't like you in That Way; but let's just ignore that minor detail, and I'll keep trying to get over my inherent distate for my own pussy, much less anyone else's."

No; instead, it'd probably look something like this:

"Single Feminist Wymyn seeking same for passionate mutual diatribing against the Patriarchy, tireless devotion to consciousness raising, endless processing, Smashing the Oppressive Hegemony in all its forms, and handholding to the tune of dolphin wheezes. No butch-femme. No BDSM. No bisexuals. No transsexuals. No porn-users. No high heel or make-up wearers. No lookists. No male-identified wimmin. No penetration. No meat-eaters. No apoliticals. No Meen People. Must be open-minded and have a great sense of humor!"

...Of course, it is in no way patriarchy-influenced to suggest that women's sex drives are low or unimportant enough that they may as well not exist. and that lesbians, in particular, do not have or need The Sex. and of course it's all about The Penis, even in absentia. Especially in absentia.

oh I don't know. I'm tired of these people. John Stoltenberg can suck my tampon, and Sheila Jeffreys can sit on my face; and I fantasize Catherine McKinnon, Camille Paglia and Phyllis Schaffly fighting to the death in a vat of creamed corn.

and with that, I'm off to purchase a new flogger, so that I may vent this aggravation in a healthier manner.


gandhi rules said...

There is nothing more empty than following something despite yourself. What a hollow attempt at righting wrongs by adding more personal wrongs to the universe. It's sad to me.

jean said...

"The party line says No!, feminists can't wear fishnets..."

Or purchase floggers.

I honestly thought I was tired of this stuff, until this reminded me of the politico-lesbians, and there is just something about it...I could articulate everything you did here, and there is still something about it that pisses me off in my soul, and I can't really explain it.

I can hear about 'woman identifying' all day long, and I will still not bite...it makes me blind and wordless with fury, I swear.

belledame222 said...

I can tell you exactly why it pisses me off: it's because, once again, it's a bunch of smug ignorant fuckheads trying to tell me my sexuality is bad, doesn't exist, or isn't important. I have enough of that shit from professional homophobes, not to mention all my own leftover internalized crap from way way back; I have NO patience for it from people doing it *in the name of something I care about* (i.e. feminism). And getting in bed with the actual homophobes in the process, which makes them not only hateful in their own right but useful idiots to the very people we're supposed to be fighting. Allies, right? Sisterhood is powerful, right? Fuck right off.

belledame222 said...

that, and: I smell bullshit. "woman-identified" doesn't necessarily mean you actually, you know, LIKE women. in fact, some of the most appalling misogynistic spew I've seen of late has come from the mouths (or fingers) of self-declared radical feminists. the fact that it seems to be coming mainly from a couple of the more unstable ones whilst apparently decompensating doesn't make it irrelevant, istm; if anything, it suggests to me that the exaggerated WOMEN FIRST!!! business is what the psych folks call "undoing." overcompensating, if you will.

I just really wish people would work their personal shit out in some way that doesn't affect (even obliquely) public policy. have you been reading B | L's stuff on the Dworkin Commemorative hoo-ha? some shit never changes.

jean said...

My eyes have been glazing over a bit over the past couple weeks, I think as a defense against overloading my poor head, but the Dworking Commemoration raised my eyebrow, and...ugh. Whoever made the point ---you or Anthony?---about Carrie Nation was smack on.

It makes sense, though, sure...as you say, one way or another, it does come down to the Dick. I have no idea what that has to do with woman-identifying. I'm real suspicious of that term as a code for something that nobody has ever explained in a way that seemed meaningful in this context.

And you know...having calmed down just a teensy bit, I know why this pisses me off, besides what you've already said. It's a very handy way to further marginalize people that are problematic to the ideology. Thanks a lot sisters, indeed.

belledame222 said...

o yeah, well, the TG-bashing is/was a case in point. yeah, terrific: it's a group of people EVEN MORE MARGINALIZED THAN YOU ARE who's holding up the revolution (!) certainly not kicking at them mostly because they're easier to reach. nooo. that's so, so...hierarchical. so PATRIARCHAL. we'd never do *that.* clearly, you don't understand the THEORY.

yeah, I think I understand well enough at this point, thanks.

belledame222 said...

more generously, perhaps, i suppose: one could read it as people for whom all this is rather new and marvellous. you mean it ISN'T all about pleasing mah man?? huh. well...huh. oh, wow, head rush...

which is fine, you know; except for, 1) the hatefulness when it congeals into dogma and 2) laughably, that several of these folks refer to their brand of feminism as "advanced," never even mind "radical." it is amazing how well advertising works, I am noticing. i'm starting to think this one's right up there with "fair and balanced." how many times have I read something like this in recent weeks:

"I don't understand this stuff so well myself; I'm still learning. but clearly *you* don't understand because you're even more of a beginner than I am. certainly not because there might be any inherent problem in the theory. I defer to the (self-proclaimed) Advanced Feminist; and you should, too. but in a thoroughly egalitarian way, of course."

it feels like nothing so much as earnest little Jeebus freaks trying to convert me when they've barely even cracked open the Bible (but have been very Inspired by a Teacher, of late).

Sage said...

As always, hit the nail on the head, AND made me laugh out loud. I know I often feel an outsider in blogosphere because I'm with a guy. I feel like I have to defend it or explain it sometimes to make it clear this particular man isn't oppressing me specifically. But then the argument goes, that of course he is, I'm just too sucked in to it all to notice.

Ah well, my ignorance is giving me a blissful home-life. I'll just carry on then.

jean said...

earnest little Jeebus freaks trying to convert me

Honestly, I've been more than a little tempted to take a chapter out of the Bible, change 'Jesus' to 'Andrea' and 'Christ' to 'Dworkin,' 'Peter' to 'Levy', etc. Any suggestions for Judas and Mary Magdalene?

jean said...

'Satan', of course, will be 'Penis.'

belledame222 said...

I think Susie Bright is both Judas *and* Mary Magdalene. or maybe, someone like Stoltenberg or some other "reformed" male feminist is Magadelne. Bright (or someone else in the sex pos camp) is definitely Judas.

Bitch | Lab said...

I was going to ask, "who are the homophobes" but then I realized that you meant radfems. eh.

I didn't get to read it thoroughly, but the blurb came across my reader, I think it was from IBTP. something about Oprah doing a show on 'whores'.

And it was the way 'whores' was flung about as if she had nothing but contempt for 'whores.' I was a bit taken aback and couldn't bring myself to read further.

I really haate reading feminism, no matter how well-written, that denigrates women on such a consistent basis -- women, of cousre, who are male-identified enemies. yes. I know all the reasons why this happens. but it makes me suck in my breath in shock to read such bitter contempt for people who've chosen to do something with their lives or people who've made the choice because they had few choices.

it just erases the lives of people who are my friends, people who I lived with, people who took care of my kid and whose kids I took care of. People who held birthday parties for the kids or Naughty Negilgee parties with the gals. big Ol' down home rib fests on sultry, southern summer Sundays.

they were whores.

They were people. But you wouldn't know it from the excerpt I read.

belledame222 said...
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belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
belledame222 said...

I've had my fill of Twisty's brand of feminism.

yah; what I was saying was, I experience no real difference between (being on the receiving end of) homophobic sentiment and kinkphobic (for example) sentiment. "ewww. GROSS." and/or "I'm going to completely mispresent who you are and what you do, and any attempt you make to define your own experience is going to be met with snark and dismissal and more expressions of disgust." and/or "you must be sick." and/or "that is bad and also wrong, or at least inferior to the Better Way; and while I don't hate you, the sinner/patriarchy upholder, I thoroughly hate the sin/patriarchy." most of all, "I get to define you, and what is right for you, as it is what is right for All. Your experience, your voice, your desires--don't matter."

I experienced all of those sentiments on Twisty's site, and some of it from Twisty herself. and yeah, it left me angry and hurt. You know what: we all have our triggers. Mine involves having my reality dismissed, particularly my erotic identity, by someone who claims to know better and have all the answers. I know that one of old. And yes, you know what: that too was abuse.

Sly Civilian said...

"ideological Symbol"

complete intellectual and theoretical purity is the phallus of academia. and there are waay too many folks out there wearing theirs around, or finding one to suck on not because they enjoy it, but because they think they should. The moment your personal liberation feels like an obligation to prove something, chances are you made a wrong turn some where.

antiprincess said...

creamed corn?

dude, I am not okay with food scenes. that's a hard limit for me.

well, maybe vanilla pudding. but that's IT. Seriously. ;)

I have been following with interest the DworCon transcripts and the chatter surrounding them. I am searching for the one statement I can yank out of context and wave around going "haHA! see! it's true! you do think that kinky women can't be feminists! Now you can't deny it!" because every time I try to point out that (by their logic) being kinky trumps all of a woman's otherwise good and radical work and negates her feminism, I am met with a chorus of "We never said THAT! We never said you couldn't be a feminist! blah blah blah!"

or maybe I'm just that much of a masochist that I have to read every bloviating syllable.

Jean said...

@bd: Ha! I thought about SB as Judas in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. Roseanne will do that to you.

@sly civilian: Perfect.

@BL: The 'whore' thing...okay, I'm not the only one that took that as bullshit. By the way nobody reacted to it in comments, I thought I'd missed some sort of subtlety.

belledame222 said...

Well, considering that terms like "sexbot" and so on were already being tossed about like dwarves, it doesn't surprise me much.

as far as I'm concerned, use any damn language you please; but then don't go painting yourself as some kind of ideological purist. or if you do, well, I'm gonna mock you.

my favorite example of this is ginmar, bless her batty little soul. "Calling a woman 'hysterical' is sexist, bitch! And you're that professional virgin who embalmed her vagina, so your opinion doesn't rate. Cunt."

Lis Riba said...

Tangential sequitur, but I'm terribly amused by Twisty today.

She's trying to make a point about objectification in comic books and concludes:

"Comic book heroes, see, are not iconoclasts. They are a repository for every male dream of omnipotence.
"Which seems an excellent opportunity to reiterate that within a paradigm of male supremacy, equality between the sexes is impossible, and that the glittering promise of some future attainment of same is a lie.
"I ask you. Who would win in a knife fight, Superman or Wonder Woman?"

Must be disappointing to her theories that the majority of comments favor Wonder Woman over Supes...

Anthony Kennerson said...

Ahhhh..good old Shelia Jeffreys...defender of weak "moral feminism"; avenger of the powerless and voiceless (mostly because she doesn't allow them a voice for themselves); champion of womyn's equality (as long as they are equally repressed).

I saw her most recent act at the Dworkin panel in London this week, and I can see that time hasn't graced her very well....the only exception is that she's now expanded her fundamentalist crusade against all lust-sodden male-identified women to include real bio-men as well.

And what a sad, sad state that their brand of "lesbianism" must be: I mean, the essence of being a lesbian in the first place is to engage in sex with another woman (of course, doing such does NOT make you a lesbian, but it is kinda part of the planm 'ya think??)....and if Jeffrey's narrow list of acceptable enforcable list of "patriarchial" sexual faux pas says anything, there must be some really angry women out there..which probaby explains why they are so pissed off all the time.

Anyways...they all can eat used tampons for all I care; I know that I'm still a feminist supporter who wouldn't rape or hurt anyone. (Why in the hell would I hurt someone that gives me such pleasure??) I'd rather identify with REAL women, not a political chimera, thank you very much.


belledame222 said...

okay, we are now officially Taking Ourselves Too Seriously.

well, my main mama Hothead Paisan doesn't much care for Wonder Woman either; but then, she *is* kind of a hothead...

>a male body may be idealized, but it is impossible to objectify it, at least not to the appalling extent that a female body may be objectified.

oh, bolshy bollocky bollocks. hasn't this woman ever seen Tom of Finland? hell, *any* gay male porn? any gay *men*??

maybe the comic book thing is apt after all. maybe this is Bizarro World, and *that's* why I honestly have no idea what she's talking about when it comes to this sec-shul-AL-it-y shit.

belledame222 said...

Anthony slip't whilst I was posting, responding to Lis there

belledame222 said...

Oh, dear:

>Well, duh. I write this because people are morons. Liberal jagoffs like to pretend that equality is an attainable goal, which is their little way of making the actual revolution that would have to occur in order to liberate women smell bad.

Besides the general "people are a terrible disappointment" sentiment, what does this mean, exactly? Equality isn't an attainable goal, so the acutal revolution's goal would be...? And the actual revolution would consist of?...And our liberation would look like...?

And remind me why we have to smell bad? mebbe it's freedom from having to please men's olfactory bulbs as well as their gaze.

*shrug*. I don't think I speak that crazy moon language.

belledame222 said...

...well, but (more) seriously, folks, actually, that right there goes a ways toward confirming a sneaking suspicion/theory that I've had:

the desire to make the world a Better Place for The People is often belied by such peoples' overall contempt for actual...people.

and, hello. We're getting rid of all hierarchy and all domination. But equality "isn't an attainable goal;" and "people are morons." Is it just me, or is something way off, here?

I mean: if people are morons, that would tend to imply that they need someone who knows better to run things for them, yeah-yeah?

and if there isn't such a someone, or we're tacitly accepting that our egalitarian, non-dominator-model ideals pretty much require that there *isn't* a Big Mama *or* a Big Daddy...then, well, essentially we're shit out of luck, aren't we. Nothing's ever gonna change, ever; and basically we're all just sitting around playing an hour of recorded music before closing time. Shit, I'd be bitter too. Hell, I'm already bitter. But not quite in that way, I don't think.

anyway, while God knows I am working on my own leftover issues about being the smart nerd who got pounded on, I do think that 1) the more generous I'm able to be about human nature, the better off I am (or vice versa I suppose); and 2) I'm never going to support any "progressive" movement or theorist that doesn't demonstrate a genuine liking for and interest in people for their own sakes. If you don't have that, I don't care how outraged you get over "injustice;" you do not have the democratic (small-d) impulse, and any actual activism stemming from that mindset is going to reflect that.

antiprincess said...

I thought she might have meant that the liberal jagoffs were making the revolution smell bad. I thought. I mean that's my best guess.

belledame222 said...

ah, that *would* make more sense. yes. perhaps if we introduced some flower-scented rinse for the ideological naughty bits, we wouldn't have this problem?

well, probably wouldn't help. jacking off is ICKY. if it weren't for the patriarchy, no one would need to be doing it. well, not nearly so much, anyway.

belledame222 said...

>the essence of being a lesbian in the first place is to engage in sex with another woman

For me, not even the act of sex; (assuming there is an essence, but wellnevermind the essentialist thing for now...): for me, it's about desire.

Which is exactly what's missing from so many of these debates and diatribes. The only passions approved of are the ones that come from the neck up...or the anger firing up the belly. Or maybe grief, perhaps; but only at "legitimate" grievances.

Where's the eros? Where is the erotic? Where is the desire? What do you *want?* What *do* you *want?* What do *you* want? I keep coming back to that again and again; it's so important, so hard for so many of us to claim.

(btw, not a rhetorical question, there: I open the floor here. interpret that any way you like).

You know, (I sense a segue into a new post coming)...you know, for all the talk about "objectification," what's forgotten is that the counterpart to being an object is being a *subject.* *The subjective.* As in, *your perspective.* Your interior life: it's yours, no one else's. *yours.* not Big Brother's, not Big Sister's, not anyone else's. Your voice is yours. Your desire is *yours.* no one can name it and claim it but you. god, it's so fucking important!

Sage said...

I'll wait a day or so to see if you actually start a "What do you want" post. I'm game to list my desires!

EL said...

For years, I have been trying to tell people that some of us don't want our same-sex relationships de-sexualized into political choices. I still think lesbianism should be sexy and I think that I want to be DESIRED by whomever is having sex with me. To me (and I have said this a few times and been absolutely raked over the coals) I feel like having sex with (or in some cases, not having sex with but lightly caressing and going to marches with) another woman is being (oh that dirty word) appropriated in these situations. I find it blatantly heterosexist, actually.

In other words, I loved your post.

belledame222 said...

Thank you.

Well, definitely it feels heterocentric, as so much of all of this, which is what I've been finding so *weird* when it comes up among radical lesbian separatists. I guess with some people it might be part of the coming-out process. I just...ehh. and especially when it devolves into wacky convoluted anti-TG sentiment as per above: excuse me? you're refusing to acknowledge the agency of people who want to transition because you *don't* believe in reified sex roles and gender policing? "Oh." mkay.

belledame222 said...

...I mean, I guess if you're *both* political lesbians, then, well, have at it; who'm I to say? Hey, we've all got our turn-ons; maybe mutual going to marches and chanting is what gets you hot, one way or t'other. Or maybe, both women are more or less asxeual but love each other and want to be with each other; again, follow your bliss, you know?

I just think it's disingenuous and strange to stuff down your true desires, whatever they might be, and try to conjure up "appropriate" ones, in order to fit the party line. If that's what's happening (as opposed to finding a sociopolitical framework to justify the desires you already had, more or less). Where did people get the idea that you can or should *will* what or who turns you on? Like I said, it reminds me of nothing so much as the ex-gay movement. Except here there's no religious context, so what do you do if you keep waking up in the middle of the night with powerful yearnings to find a silver-haired Daddy type and get spanked? (or whatnot). Pray to Saint Dworkin? Push-ups? Chant?

Jean said...

First, I suck becuase this somehow got into the flashdance thread.

I'm never going to support any "progressive" movement or theorist that doesn't demonstrate a genuine liking for and interest in people for their own sakes

And with that I'm going to go find myself a cave. Because more and more all I see lately, among feminists and others, is that the more 'progressive and 'radical' a person tends to be, the more contempt they have for actual people, and what actual people think and feel and how actual people live. Depends on whose bone is being picked, I s'pose. Yeah, I'm bitter. And how.

belledame222 said...

Well...yeah. irony. "people...who hate people...are the suckiest people...in the worrrrllllld"

(fuck you ALL).

yeh, I get that too. mostly tho', I just try to keep on talkin' to people who appear to be capable of talking *to,* not just talking *at.* actually I do believe most people can and do do this at least *some* of the time, and hence are reachable. crowded anonymous Internets boards (as opposed to, in person) kind of tends to heighten the likelihood that you'll be misunderstood and/or treated as a sounding board, not a person, ime.

People whom I've concluded are basically gonna be "blah blah blah GINGER" no matter what anyone says, they go into the human pinata file for me, mentally. in other words; act like a 'bot? treat other people like ideological Objects? right back atcha (only, hopefully, funnier, 'cause I usually can be...)

probably not ideal, and I think my candidacy for any sort of sainthood is officially nil. but it helps me ventilate, and arguably keeps me from arbitrarily spreading the wrath to those who haven't merited it.

Winter said...

The notion of "political lesbianism" makes me so angry that I can hardly speak, let alone write about it. As a lesbian (i.e a woman who gets turned on by other women), I find this notion so deeply insulting ... it's just such an insult to appropriate our deeply felt desires and identities like this, to claim them for political purposes, and then erase the actuality of lesbian history, lesbian culture, lesbian experience and lesbian erotics because none of that messiness will fit the picture of "political lesbianism," which is what exactly?? A group of heterosexual feminists calling themselves lesbians? Oh, it's good to know that they won't have to engage in the business of actually having sex with women!

It's also beyond insulting to heterosexual women. What a lovely hierarchy! "Political lesbians" who exist in some kind of weird space above pretty much everybody else!

It. makes. me. sick.

You've articulated a lot of the reasons why.

I really hope that young woman stays with her good man and doesn't go down this road to madness!

belledame222 said...

Assuming that's what she really wants, yeah. As has been said: don't know her; there could be a lot more going on here than meets the eye. but I would hope at least that anyone would get to the point of understanding and articulating (if only to herself) *all* the reasons for leaving the "good" man (maybe he's actually abusive, not that "good" at all; maybe he's a lovely guy but she's never actually been attracted to him; maybe she really needs for personal reasons to live on her own for a while; some women never have done). I'm gonna give the benefit of the doubt, especially seeing as how I'm not planning to go back to that site anytime soon, and suppose that she is/had/will be. She's an adult, after all, same as the rest of us. Do what thou wilt and all.

But, assuming a hypothetical woman read the Jeffreys thing and *that* was her main motivation for becoming a "political lesbian"...that, and the desire to please a newly-found group of "sisters," from whom the hypothetical woman has perhaps received a level of support and validation and warmth that she never has done before...yeah, that would be way too close to cult-like behavior for my comfort.

I mean, I had been assuming such a hypothetical situation was vanishingly rare even back in the day--god knows there's far more pressure in this world toward compulsory heterosexuality, outside these odd little niches--but, on the whole, it is looking to me like this brand of "feminism" seems to be staging a comeback of sorts. It is hard to tell objectively whether that *is* the case or whether it just seems that way because that happens to fall within my interests. I'm sure I could find all sorts of wacked-out shit still going strong, did I care to look. I mean, there's Mr. Anti-Illuminati down below, there...

But the possibility that this sort of black-and-white, puritanical (yes) thinking can once again find commonalities with the religious right, and from there push and legislate (to me) harmful policies ...yah, that pushes my alarm bells enough to keep talking about this stuff, even putting aside my own personal hot buttons getting pressed.

Winter said...

Well I hope it works out for the best for her whatever happens.

I don't know if political lesbianism is really making a comeback. I'm involved with a feminist group in the UK and I don't believe this sort of thinking would hold any real weight with them, although they might be curious to discuss it. Perhaps I'll raise it at a meeting ... see what they say.

I've hardly read any Sheila Jeffreys - stopped as soon as I read the phrase "political lesbian" in an article. For all I know she has good things to say as well. I should make more effort to read beyond the personal offence really.

I'm sure feminists like Jeffreys don't mean to be offensive, but nor do they seem to have any understanding as to why this kind of rhetoric is offensive and, arguably, homophpbioc.

belledame222 said...

...What I've been seeing more of, in the radfemblogosphere, is stuff along the lines of,

"Yes, I still wear makeup and shave my legs and (fill in the blank). I'm working on it. I didn't say I'm perfect either. Some day I hope to not feel the need for doing any of that. When I'm a better feminist."

it's like...brain explodes. never even mind the specifics of it (makeup, yadda); the basic assumptions here are just. so. fucked. and so ironic. but it makes perfect sense. here we are, trying to get away from the idea of "compulsory" femininity. trying to be free. trying to not be ruled by the dictate that it is more important to please Other People than oneself, as is drilled into so many of us as part of feminine training. but what happens? "other people" becomes Men. "the patriarchy" becomes reified into...Men. or people who act in ways that are deemed "patriarchal." anybody ELSE, well, *they* can set the rules for what's proper and what's not, and we should all do our best to please them. Meet the new Boss. Same as the old Boss. Except we're not going to acknowledge that that's what's happening, of course. no! then we'd lose everything we worked for!...

lather, rinse, repeat.

Jean said...

Oh, see...ha! That leg shaving/make up nonsense... it's...it's like...argh! I want to buy all of them a copy of The Rebel Sell, which was unfortunately written by men, so it's all a conspiracy to make them shave their legs anyway. My ears are smoking. Well, I'm a half-assed girl-lover since I don't card for political affiliation. Might as well be a gender-traitor, too. Because damn, I look good in these shoes.

Trin said...


And would like to propose gaymarriage.

For purely sex-positive feminist reasons, o'course.

Anonymous said...

I am no lesbian, political or otherwise, but I can certainly see the attraction of political lesbianism.

Like many of my friends I am single and in my thirties. The reason I'm single is because while the women of my generation were brought up to be equal the men still live in the old patterns.

Everytime I meet a guy I feel like I have to compromise and adapt to the gender stereotypes that all men still embrace so hard. And, honestly, compromising on who I am just to have sex and that sort of companionship just isn't worth it.

So this leaves me and my female friends, most of whom are in the same position, contemplating political lesbianism. Companionship and having a family with shared values is a tempting thing. Unfortunately, but not surprising, the one time we seriously tried kissing - the spark just wasn't there.

Tammy B said...


Dogma. Thank you.

When asking a question at certain rad fem blogs, you are sometimes told that just don't "get it." Ask for explanation, and you are given personal beliefs that are suppoed to be fact.

Just like a right wing Christian would do....

Ideologies at either side of the spectrum become ALIKE in so many ways. Radical becomes conservative in their approach. And conservative pro life right wing Christians? What's MORE radical than marching around with a picture of an aborted fetus?

Base a movement on faith and belief. Don't try empirical research. Apply personal beliefs to social theory--yeah, okay that works. NOT.

I think Dworkin was a mentally ill and unstable. But Susie Bright said it well: "she gave women persmission to look at porn and have a say in it." Then Dworkin turned her back on those who disagreed with her about porn and her feminist ideals. How exclusionary. She called for Susie Bright's assassination in one of her heated speeches..

That's progrees how? How is that not "hate"?

belledame222 said...

anon--I hear what you're saying. also think it's a bit of the "grass is greener on t'other side" thing there, though. the idea that it's "easier" to be a lesbian, that is (which I've heard fairly often from straight friends).

On the other hand, I don't see any reason why you couldn't set up a platonic household with your beloved female friend(s), a "romantic friendship," even, and get your sexual needs met with the occasional boy booty call, if that's what would make you happy.

belledame222 said...

heh, I noticed someone from something called "The Nice Guy Forum" has linked to this post. message and comments are closed to the public, but I can guess, I expect, based on the front page.

doodz, lissen up: this ain't about you. this is a very small axe being ground within a very small subset of a very small subset of a certain subculture. whatever theory about North American Women (all 184,509, 760 of 'em, especially the one with the goiter) you think I'm confirming or denying here--you're probably rather severely mistaken. just a hunch.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled program of wondering why the hell it's so hard to find a nice, sweet, girl with perfect measurements who'll keep her mouth shut except for when giving the perfect hummer and will make you a chocolate chicken pot PAH on demand. Wonder on, lads.

(*burp* excuse me)

Dan L-K said...

My wife once said, in response to some particularly puritan example of Twisty-style politics, "It sounds to me like one more person telling me what I can't be."

Thanks for being such a voice of reasonableness in this political sphere, and a corrective to the notion that one set of Thou Shalt Nots is best replaced by another.

belledame222 said...

My only real Thou Shalt Not is: Thou Shalt Not be an irredeemable fuckwit, else suffer my wrath. othwerwise, have at it, kids.

(definition of "fuckwit:" I Know It When I See It)

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