Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Culled from the ashpile: my feminist examination of part of what's -behind- all this talk about The Eternal Subject, okay

I want to get back to the Angela West shortly, but first, a word from...well, somewhere, mine. In sum:

It's not about the act, sexual or otherwise. It's about the fact that in this (patriarchal, sexist, what you will) culture, by and large, WOMEN AREN'T TAUGHT THAT IT'S OKAY TO SAY "NO."

or generally to speak up for their very own selves, without endless justifications or demurrals or the context of it being for the sake of Someone(s) Else.

and yes, that goes for matters sexual; yes, that goes for relationships with Men (sexual and otherwise). But, it doesn't stop there.

And it ultimately isn't about the damn men, either. They and their own toxic training are worth at least one separate examination, and no, before you even start sputtering, they are not off the hook for rape, abuse, nothing of the sort. It's just not what I'm talking about right now.

No; this, THIS, is about women. How we, or at any rate many of us (no, it ain't a monolith any more than it was before; culture, class, race, family-of-origin and so forth all factor too, yes, and obviously this is not going to speak to everyone in the world with XX chromosomes and/or girlie naughty bits; this is rather specifically directed) are generally not taught that it is okay to just come out and say what we want. Not what we don't want; not what we do want. And especially particularly not to someone we want to stay in (any sort of) a relationship with.

Because relationships, we (tend to) learn, are the key to our existence.

And, we or many of us also learn: it is very very very very bad to have conflict with someone we care about.

Because, if we get into a conflict, the other person's feelings might be hurt. (S)he might withdraw love from us. (S)he might get ANGRY. (S)he might even abandon us altogether, and then we would die.

And if the other person is the sort of person who interprets your speaking up for yourself ("No, I would prefer not to") as some kind of threat and hellYES an inevitable prelude to terrific conflict (usually with you on the losing end), then, well, what are you gonna do to survive? Three guesses.

Now. One very common scenario in which this happens is, (or so I am given to understand): woman enters romantic relationship with dude. Dude has many expectations of what woman is supposed to look like and how she is to perform in bed, and so on and so forth. Friends, family, and media back him up in this; or so you are given to understand, and that is enough. You have a dim or maybe even acute sense that you are not happy, but you don't....quite...have the words for it. And/or: you DO have the words ("I'm so unhappy"), but you're terrified to speak them out loud. Partly because, as part and parcel of yer sexist training, you have been given to understand that this romantic relationship is the be-all end-all solution to all your problems, it's what you've dreamed of your whole life and you'd be mad to give it up, really. And, yes, you have feelings for the dude himself, of course. Many complicated ones. It is an attachment. But, ALSO, what's happening here is, you are reluctant to leave because you have the sense that you won't just lose him if you do; you'll be abandoned by EVERYONE. Friends, family...the world.

Because, at best, they'll disapprove. And disapproval means shunning; and shunning means abandonment; and abandoment, again, means: death. This can be true mainly on the deep psychological symbolic level; and it can be true quite literally and concretely as well, depending on your other circumstances.

So this right here for many is of course where feminism, and, one could argue (cringe) particularly a certain kind of feminism (the sort that mainly focuses on equality in the workplace might not do for this, it's true), comes galloping in on a white horse, Athena-like helmet dazzling in the sun. And it is in many ways truly noble, truly a savior: It provides the words needed to articulate those incoherent but deep feelings. It provides a structure in a world that seems terrifying and incomprehensible. For many, it provides or leads to a system of social support as well. After all, theory is great, but at the end of the day what you really also need is just someone saying, "hey, you know what: you're NOT crazy, it's NOT you; I'm on your side, and you're gonna be just fine."

Particularly for those who have never experienced this before--not from "friends," not from family-of-origin, not from the much-hyped romantic relationship, not from anyone--that last bit is more precious than rubies. Worth pretty much anything, really.

And at long last, it looks like, you've found your People and a framework that makes sense, and it's all working out rather splendidly.

Cue swelling music and stroll (or arm-in-arm march) into the sunset, right?

Well, not so fast.

I mean, yes, for some people, sure, and that's swell; same as it's swell when Mr. Right really is Mr. Right; hey, someone has to live happily ever after sometimes, right? Otherwise the ideal wouldn't have any staying power. And good on the lucky ones who find happiness, however it comes about.

But so now let's consider a slightly different scenario.

Let's say there's no more pressure to perform repellent sexual acts, diet perpetually, wear painful shoes, smile pretty and get dinner on the table and put on heavy pancake to cover that shiner. There are pretty much no men in your life at all, at this point. You belong to a close-knit and passionate wimmin's collective of some sort; these days it pretty much is your life. The other women have saved your ass on a number of occasions: practically, financially, emotionally; and you, theirs. All your friends and lovers are here. Your work, at least the work your heart is in, if not actually the work you're paid for (maybe even that, too, if you're lucky) is part of this as well. In short, your life now has newfound meaning, structure, and...dare we say it?...love.

It is true that on a fairly regular basis, you find yourself dropping whatever plans you had for your one half-evening off all week--something really decadent, like putting your feet up and listening to the radio, say--whenever a sister-friend, or a friend of a friend of a sister-friend, needs a helping hand to move halfway across the city, or design flyers for the protest tomorrow, or repaint the collective space, or stay in the unheated colllective space all day waiting for the electrician to show up, or filling in at the last minute for the usual liaison to the fundraising caucus taskforce, or planning the pre-planning meeting to organize the Unpack Your Privilege Meeting...and, well, you're kind of tired. But what the hell: it's all in a good cause. And you like to give back to the community that you've gotten so much from.

Somewhere along the line you begin to realize, with a feather-touch of ...some feeling...that Janie McRighteous has become something of a leader of your little group, in a largely unspoken way (y'all still don't really talk about such things very well, endless "processing" sessions notwithstanding). You all LOVE Janie. Janie always knows what to do and what to say, and she does it with such passion and style. Hell, Janie was the one who hipped you to the fact that you were being oppressed by the patriarchy, specifically in the form of your asshole ex-boyfriend, in the first place. Gave you those books to read. Set a shining example with her own life. She's just so, so, so...sure.

And so it comes to pass, somehow, that although you don't really think of it this way (most of the time), truth of the matter is, when Janie says "frog," you all jump.

Like half the members in the collective at one point or another, your best friend has started dating Janie. Lately, you can't help but notice she hasn't seemed her usual ebullient self. Rather subdued, in fact.

One day, over herbal tea and tofuburgers, it finally comes out. Janie has an unfortunate tendency to take out her frustrations on her nearest and dearest, behind closed doors. Oh, only verbally. Well, she does punch the wall and throw things sometimes. Mostly when she hasn't gotten in her martial arts practice for the week. Mainly your friend feels like she just can't do anything right, somehow. It's not the occasional abrupt fits of screaming rage or the constant arguing that get to her so much, she says, mainly it's just that she feels so inadequate, next to Janie. It's true, she says hastily, Janie is brilliant; she knows so much theory, she's done so much work; she herself is only a beginner, she knows all this. And mostly really it's been grand, the relationship; everyone knows Janie is like this. You know. Passionate. Combative. She doesn't really mean anything by it. But...

You open your mouth, but there is a long pause before you can think of anything to say. Instead you just squeeze her hand, awkwardly. This is, well, this is...troubling. You promise to talk later.

And somehow you never quite get around to it.

Who are you to get between two such wonderful sister-friends, after all? Infighting just makes your stomach hurt, and, well, if your friend was really having a bad time, she'd say so.

Sometime after this, Janie and best friend have broken up. And now you notice that your friend has, however subtly, somehow become a pariah. It's just a certain chill in the air. Oh, and there are mutterings of best friend's disturbingly anti-woman sexual preferences. Spanking. Bondage. It's not clear how people know this, but somehow everyone does. Soon after this starts, best friend leaves the group without much fanfare.

Before you have a chance to process this for yourself, you've now been swept into the latest grand drama: the most outspoken woman of color in the group has taken offense at something one of the other more contentious white feminists has said, and, with much more fanfare, has been threatening to leave, taking most or all of the few other WOC with her. The fighting has been vicious but strangely muffled; there is an odd sense of walking on eggshells; no one wants to be accused of being a racist, and yet somehow it's happening anyway. Your stomach is in knots. Why can't we all just get along? What happened here, anyway?

And, miserable as you now are, how can you just leave a relationship that's meant so much? that you've put so much into? And what will happen if you leave this toxic-yet-nurturing community? You'll be abandoned to the elements once again, and you might die.

If the constant drama and processing and unofficial bureacracy/power-jockeying and drudgery don't kill you first, that is.

Point?

If your feminism begins and ends with Sisterhood Is Powerful! Stop (men) abusing women! Down with pornstitution and (physical, sexual) violence! Down with the State! Down with the Heteronormative Racist Bourgeois Monolith! SMASH the Patriarchy! ...When this kind of shit starts to happen? Unless you find some other tools to address this? You're gonna be up shit creek, sans paddle. This practice is where the theory peters out.

And this, I submit, is a bigass chunk of what's been happening online. And elsewhere. Oh, I've seen it. Not exactly like this here (mostly the difference was BDSM was never that big a deal in my offline circles). But, you know. I'll be talking more about earlier examples when I do get back to the West book, among other things.

My other point is just this:

In-depth intellectual analysis is swell. But at the end of the day, when it comes to protecting yourself? Speaking up for yourself? You don't need it. And it's like trying to iron your clothes with a toaster: wrong tool. All you need here is this knowledge: You don't deserve to be treated like crap. Ever. And: You do deserve to find happiness as best you can, same as everyone else in the goddam world; or what's political activism for?

Antiprincess (The Sexbot Manifesto:
Let your "no" mean "Fuck No!" and your "yes" mean "Hell Yeah!") and Renegade Evolution have some thoughts on this as well.

And if all the endless picking and examining and critiquing is getting you down? If yeah you can see the point but it just seems so hard sometimes? More and more so? And you're feeling tired, and depressed, and drained? Seriously. Let it alone. Go put on some music. Dance. Get some touch from someone you love.

It's okay.

And if you need more Stuart Smalley to really reassure yourself it's okay, you're okay, and gosh darn it, people like you? Get it. However and wherever you can. Get therapy if you can afford it.

Meanwhile, try this: stand in front of your mirror and look yourself in the eye.
Straighten your shoulders and speak from the diaphragm, and practice these magic words and phrases: (and yes, this is for the menfolk who feel they need it as well):

"No."

"I'm busy."

"I want that one!"

"I don't like it!"

"YES, god, YES!"

"I like you. Want to hang out sometime?"

"I want some attention."

[In response to a compliment] "Thank you!"

[In response to an insult] "Thanks for sharing! Now, fuck off."

"I said 'no.' Now, fuck off."

Repeat until you feel convinced, each and every one.

Now go out your door and take your show on the road. Take care of yourself; try to remember that each and every individual you may encounter out there is also one of God's creatures, however much of an asshole sie may seem like, and is ultimately just trying to do the same thing: take care of hirself. Realize that you can accept this reality and still not have to take any crap from anyone. Recognize that companionship, sympathy, even love can be found, in abundance, if you're looking for them. Be prepared to encounter them in unexpected packages, sometimes. Remember that one can smile, and smile, and be a villain, as well. Realize that you're gonna self-contradict, and fuck up, inevitably, and repeatedly. Accept it and move on. That's how we learn.

And if and when you do feel like going back to the examine-everything mode, you might consider starting with this: how, on the whole, has this whole process been working out for you? Is this helping? Was this trip strictly necessary?

Just a suggestion.

And that, theory and practice, in a nutshell, is the core of my feminism. Make of it what you will.

44 comments:

KH said...

You realize, I presume, that this could have been written 30 years ago, more or less WAS written, or experienced, 30 years ago, w/ Eternal Return ever since.

And substitute revolutionary socialism for feminism & you've got entire libraries of The God That Failed. It's as old as the sequoias, the French Rev, the Nika Riots.

Spill The Beans said...

Great post.

Love in my family was extremely performance-based. There was a lot of striving to be good enough to be loved. Subsequently, I married not one, but two guys who were very much like that. Finally, at age 39, I got strong enough inside myself to say no. And no, and no and no.

Even so, I still struggle with the difficulty of saying no in my present relationship, as if I'm not adequate to be able to do so. Sadly, I don't think I'm alone. I don't blame the patriarchy (my dad was a lot more affirming to me than my mom was). I just think that our society is very performance-driven. And it would be even if the matriarchy were running things.

belledame222 said...

KH: well yes.

I figure it's sort of like the karma wheel, you know. or the hamster wheel, whichever: goes around and around; sooner or later, as part of an infinitely long and cosmic process, each individual figures out a way to finally get off.

or else just goes around for another spin and bitches because no one has changed the litter in over a thousand incarnations.

A White Bear said...

This narrative makes a lot of sense to me, perhaps because I watched so many friends, those who were particularly in need of caring feminist role models, fall into the hands of Janie McRighteouses who started by supporting and cheering, then increasingly interrupted, corrected, spoke over, silenced, dominated, and even physically and sexually abused those very same young women who'd come to them looking for a way out of the physical, sexual, emotional, and social abuse they'd been dealt by the patriarchy.

This exact story has happened in the lives of at least four close friends, always right after they decided to date women. Why is it that the most convincing feminist role models must be the "sexiest" because (because!) they are the most dominant, unrelenting, unforgiving, absolutist, competitive, and finger-pointing people around? If we're going to reject masculinism (which I think would not be a bad thing), why not also reject masculinist methods of argument and cults of personality? Seems like it leads to exactly the same kind of formation of communities of "good women" who are weak, submissive, and sycophantic (hello, Rude Professor of yore) and "bad women" who refuse to get in line for their self-flagellation.

KH said...

You’d think what you say would come more easily, as immanent critique, in a professedly egalitarian movement, but servile habits reproduce themselves - sorcerer’s apprentice - in the ostensibly least promising places, leaving nothing but one more round of the circulation of elites.

There’s also the question of where things went wrong. Was all the fine talk just incidental music for what really never amounted to anything but a transference of dependency from one allegedly charismatic figure to another? Is there some sort of self-selection of, inter alia, Type II dependent personalities into the movement? I assume the emphasis on (vaguely dubious, in my book) ‘theory’ privileges a certain kind of personality, & am struck by how often one sees comments by vaguely abashed young women who always begin by saying how much smarter the big girls are, how much more ‘theory’ they know. The fact that nobody ever tells them that nobody around here is any smarter than the average accountant sorta suggests to me that some kind of con game being is being played. Beyond that, is there something in the ideology that encourages the disguised reproduction of hierarchy? Does the evacuation of the private sphere, uncircumscribed, inherently end in some kind of half-Maoist eternal criticism/self-criticism party?

Not all movements are equally prone to repeatedly lead bright(ish) young(ish) women to write things like you’ve just written. The only feminism you’re responsible for is your own, but I wonder whether things could be different.

belledame222 said...

heh, WB, I was just thinking about your Rude Professor. yeah, classic, right? Womens' Studies, too, wasn't she?

belledame222 said...

I'm brightish? boo hoo!

youngish, well yes. boo hoo.

belledame222 said...

anyhoo, the concept I keep coming back to is "pathological narcissism," and related topics. it transcends ideology and can be found anywhere; otoh, there are some ideologies/institutions which probably are more likely to support it than others

belledame222 said...

and yeah, WB, I had one friend in particular who seemed unerringly drawn to dating the most unstable, abusive women in the collective. two in a row at least. the former was a big ol' drama queen (armchair diagnosis: borderline) of the sort we've seen throwing their weight around; the latter was an outright sociopath, I do believe. sort of reminded me of the character in "Talented Mr. Ripley" (physically, too: later sie would go on to transition to male, which I've no doubt a lot of Certain People would pounce on with avaricious relief; too bad it doesn't explain the other one, or the fact that the abuse all occured while she was still "she"): charming as fuck, about half an inch deep, constantly calculating, always (I realized later) just a little bit -off- somehow, and...hoo boy, when you scratched that surface, I learned.

i got to eyewitness much of hir casual cruelty toward said friend right in front of me. after the fallout i learned that the really lovely bits were of course saved for behind closed doors:

"You're so pathetic. I could stick a knife into you and you'd just stand there and cry."

yeah.

spotted elephant said...

Very Wonderful Post. My skin crawls when I hear women talk about how great things would be if women were in charge of everything. The worst abuse I've ever suffered came from women.

Pathological narcissism is endemic to psychology Ph.D.s. Abusive fuckers.

belledame222 said...

Uh-oh.

KH said...

Yup, malignant narcissism. (And somehow blogs are like X-Ray Specs for narcissism, it seems so much more vivid than in 3D.)

Tangent: if you haven't read Harry Frankfurt's 'On Bullshit', do. Came out last year as a little book, was in like every bookstore in the world for a while, originally in Raritan ('86), also in his The Importance of What We Care About ('88).

'-ish' means very where I come from, if you want.

Buttercup said...

...I feel as if I'm coming late to the table, so apologies if this has already been said. I liked your post, and have seen some of what you describe, but at the same time it does not resonate with my life. I have erred on the side of speaking up for what I want, drawing a very hard line in my relationships (with men), and demanding much (to the point where EVERYONE has said for years that my expectations are "too high" - I hate when they say that).

I disagree with your characterization of feminism ending with "sisterhood is powerful," perhaps because my feminism is forged of many different feminist theories, and most importantly, from my own personal experiences. Postmodern feminism was a theory that made a lot of sense to me, mainly because it focused on power and deconstruction - tools of analysis that can be applied to all social contexts, even sisterhood-is-powerful communities.

My feminism goes far beyond women are oppressed and men suck for oppressing us. It looks at who has the power and how they keep it, and how we can spread it out among the masses, women and men a like. It also incorporates a view that men should be chivalrous to women; why? becuase I like being treated like I'm special as a woman. And yes, I also demand that my man, brothers, fathers, and colleagues treat me and respect me like an equal.

How did this debate/discussion start? I'm missing a key piece I think, but I'm interested.

belledame222 said...

O, where did it all begin. Uh, let's see.

"In the beginning, the earth was created, and it was very hot. Then the dinosaurs came! Then they all died, and..."

No, sorry. At least in this incarnation, it's been on and through some of the major not-necessarily-radical feminist/leftie blogs (Pandagon, Alas, A Blog, Feministe, Feministing, Punkass Blog, to name a few), and the biggest radical feminist blog(s) (I Blame The Patriarchy is the most "mainstream;" there's also been interchange between places like "The Margins" and "Genderberg" and some of the aforementioned libfem/nondenominational blogs. There is also a network of smaller radical feminist blogs, at least three or four dozen or so that I can think of off the top of my head; and all of these have regular posters that may or may not have virtual homes of their own. Shit has been flying back and forth, most notably wrt the "Sex Wars" (v. 12.6 or so at least by now I expect really), but also some other stuff, including but not limited to acrimony with the bigger women-of-color blogs and -their- regulars (blac(k)ademic, among others). also simmering but still hardly having broken-the-surface stuff wrt class, parenting (well not here anyway so much; it's certainly out there), "beauty," and fuck-all knows what else.

That's the short answer, I'm afraid.

The long answer...eh. Sorry to come off as dismissive; but if you poke about in the archives and follow some links, it might start to become clearer.

anyway, no, to answer both: it certainly doesn't -have- to be like this; and no, this is not meant as some kind of wholesale denunication of feminism. At all.

it just seems like it -is- like this way too often for my tastes, anyway. Among feminists, on the left. And I know I'm not the only one feeling this way. and burnout happens.

belledame222 said...

anyway, my feminism likewise is kind of an eclectic mix. I like eclectic mixes. And there's plenty of us out there, no doubt, and plenty to mix.

the only thing is that uh, how to put this: eclectic/diverse folks/coalitions tend to be less cohesive, by definition, then those who walk more or less in ideological lockstep.

which tends to make the latter seem more ubiquitous and powerful than they really are, sometimes.

which phenomenon is certainly not limited to feminism(s) or even leftiesm(s); it's just what I've happened to be embroiled in lately, whatever that says about me.

FoolishOwl said...

I hope this isn't out of place, but I'm reminded strongly of Jo Freeman's essay, The Tyranny of Structurelessness.

belledame222 said...

oh thanks, i'd been meaning to (re? can't recall if i did)read that one.

belledame222 said...

--oh, FO, the link is fudged, just reloads this page.

I can find it, I'm sure, just sayin'.

antiprincess said...

this really rang true for me.

Dan L-K said...

Oh, BD, I [heart] you with a [heart] that is mighty. Thank you for this.

antiprincess said...

Does the evacuation of the private sphere, uncircumscribed, inherently end in some kind of half-Maoist eternal criticism/self-criticism party?

some days I feel like the entire radfemblogosphere is one big ol' Struggle Meeting.

of course, maybe I just said that to try to convince you that I'm a big ol' smartyboots.

fastlad said...

But I thought we were an autonomous collective?

Seriously gorgeous post, you could have sung it in fact.

petitpoussin said...

BD: Word. And I think that scenario you describe comes from a kind of reactionary witchhunt (blame the mens! blame the patriarchy!) that becomes more comfortable than, say, examining the structures (and neuroses, see above comments of a white bear and others) of patriarchy that are so goddamn easy to reproduce.

I like the structure of this post very much, think it could be helpful to work out/articulate the core of MY feminism. Can I use it as a meme (and give you full credit, bien sur)?

belledame222 said...

Absotively! And welcome.

Blackamazon said...

FOrget I think I know I love you. I just worte about my own dvelopment into activism and how mcuh stemmed forom my life

Daisy said...

Hi, I'm a first-time commenter here. Just wanted to say, awesome post.

belledame222 said...

Thank you! Welcome!

Renegade Evolution said...

BD:

Damn woman, you give good post.

Amber said...

Latest example of "Oh, honey... it's for your own good..." (from Pandagon)

Random Bird is a woman. Her rationalizations are inarguably hurting her. Therefore Random Bird’s coping mechanisms are hurting a woman. This is an ongoing hurt–as long as she continues to think this way, she will continue to allow herself to be abused, and continue thinking that she deserves that abuse. The criticisms being leveled at her—insofar as they are directed at her personally—are meant to break her cycle of abuse and rationalization. She is being “hurt” as a patient is “hurt” during surgery.

The criticisms also serve a larger purpose, which is to attack her rationalization techniques on a larger stage, in order to show how ultimately self-destructive they are, and hopefully allow others to escape or avoid the same mental trap Random Bird is in.


It kind of makes me feel sick to read that.

Btw, I told them they all sound like assholes. I was only telling them for their own good, of course. You know, to break the cycle of rationalization.

Renegade Evolution said...

Amber-

okay, yep, made me ill too...wtf? love the armchair social diagnosis, and its play on society as a whole...

and it sounds like someone needed an "asshole" alert...

belledame222 said...

I just said my farewell and fuck you's. again. for the last time. and now it's off the blogroll as well. So long, Amanda; to be honest, I never really had much interest in your writing anyway.

belledame222 said...

and um HELLO for the BILLIONTH TIME she said this HAPPENED A LONG TIME AGO, this woman?

who by the way seems more well-adjusted than that whole sorry dysfunctional lot put together?

jeeeeeZUS.

and i love the constant virtuous sniping as well at KH. I mean, I'm SURE this has NOTHING TO DO with wanting to distance one's sex-positive but not THAT kind of sex-positive self from THOSE PEOPLE.

"not ladylike" my sweet suffering sphincter, oh my GOD, you so do NOT want to start the armchair diagnosis game with me around; I am -so much better at it than you are,- and believe me i have been SORELY tempted. i mean i have been a MODEL of restraint, you have -no idea.-

best just let it go.

breathe...in...out...

Amber said...

I literally - yes, literally! - LOLed when I read this accusation leveled at me from some random person at Pandagon:

Um, yeah. I know you’re perfect and all, because in so many words you’ve said so a million times, but does it ever occur to you that EVERYTHING you’re constantly accusing others of in that charmingly self aware and and so non bullying non assholish way, you also tend to do yourself, constantly? Like, oh I don’t know, attack other women and try to determine who is and isn’t in the kewl kids club of righteousness? Yeah, didn’t think so.

First of all she is ignoring the Cardinal Twisty Rule of not starting comments with "um." But since this isn't IBTP I guess it's okay.

And anyway. Seriously?? That comment is so freaking ridiculous and sooooo from left field that I can't even pretend to be offended. I can't decide whether or not I want to blog it. I might yet!

Amber said...

OH wait. It looks like that insult was leveled at YOU Belledame. I need to go re-read now... I must've read wrong the first time.

But either way it is just as ridiculous!!

belledame222 said...

Dude. I say I'm perfect? I imply that I'm perfect? Wowee.

And, well, yah, I have my moral code and friends. You have yours. Point?

well, if that's the best they can do.

Interesting, I once got "you think you're so smart," and maybe the "perfect" thing, also, by, um, someone, having an, um, moment.

I wonder if this is the same someone.

Not enough to go look, though. tired.

belledame222 said...

Stylistically, it sounds like someone. okay. it doesn't start with a "g" by any chance?

belledame222 said...

In so many words, I've said I'm perfect! A million times!

Boy, I kind of wish that were true; wouldn't that be a great affirmation exercise? Damn, if I -had- done, maybe I wouldn't feel the need to participate in this kind of miserable crap in the first place.

you know, maybe i could graduate to something healthier, like slamming my fingers in car doors.

Amber said...

It's someone called Jenna.

prosphoros said...

Even though it feels like only encouraging the false binary of 'us/them', I still can't help but note that this exactly the kind of thoughtful, reflective kind of post lacking on the o(O)ther side.

belledame222 said...

Hey, p, thanks. but you know, there are kind, thoughtful people on the "other side," who think this shit is awful and have said so, if by "other side" you mean radical feminists. Which is actually not what I think this one is about. At all.

It's just stupid.

belledame222 said...

>Random Bird is a woman. Her rationalizations are inarguably hurting her. Therefore Random Bird’s coping mechanisms are hurting a woman. This is an ongoing hurt–as long as she continues to think this way, she will continue to allow herself to be abused, and continue thinking that she deserves that abuse. The criticisms being leveled at her—insofar as they are directed at her personally—are meant to break her cycle of abuse and rationalization. She is being “hurt” as a patient is “hurt” during surgery.

The criticisms also serve a larger purpose, which is to attack her rationalization techniques on a larger stage, in order to show how ultimately self-destructive they are, and hopefully allow others to escape or avoid the same mental trap Random Bird is in. >

...you know, I'm rereading this again, and, amazingly: even more jaw-dropping than the first time I saw it.

first thought: HAHAHAHAHAHA! ...oh, my God. you're really serious, aren't you?

second thought: (silent boggling)

third thought: ewewewewewEW

fourth thought: ...and another thing: next time someone complains about "strawfeminists," I'm gonna have to say or at least think: dude, why on earth would anyone need to make up a "strawfeminist" when people like this are doing such a dazzling job of self-burlesque all on their very own?

fifth thought: fuck, this is really depressing.

sixth thought: okay, so: where is this coming from?

seventh thought: Seriously, is it just me? Has it ("it") always ("always") been like this? Or is this actually even weirder than the usual aggravating intrablog flamewar bullshit? And is this, like, getting to be a pattern? Or is it just me?

eighth thought: and if it -is- a new (for the femblogosphere, at least) and specific pattern, can we maybe track the fucker back to the root, as long as we're, you know, looking for root causes, examining, like that, so we can put a stop to this shit? Because I for one do -not- welcome my little neo-Red Guard Overlords, thank you very much.

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