Saturday, September 16, 2006

And so call this my little axe-a-grinding

(quelle surprise),

but, back on the Ann Whatsis/Jessica of Feministing for a mo',

MAY i just say that when you have some of the bigger “real” feminist bloggers saying shit like “sexbot” and when you wear those heels and that skirt you’re making us all look bad, well, is this really all -that- different? No. It’s one step beyond, is all, and i’ve no doubt that a lot of the same people who were all nodnod wrt the Random Bird thing or Rachel Kramer Bussel thing or the "bad actual prostitutes for giving -real- sex-positive feminists (like us) a bad name! bad!" or the “pencil skirts, sexbot” crap that’s been going on for what seems like for damnever, here will be rallying to the support of Jessica, and rightly so;

(ON EDIT: wrote that before even checking, but: ha! and lo! 'twere e'en so!!)

but is it -really- because this situation is SO unfamiliar to us in the supposed “feminist blogosphere?”

or is it because Jessica is One Of Us and Ann is not only a Real Journalist (you know, kind of like Rachel Kramer Bussel, only a lot more so) but so -clearly- a vile reactionary misogynist braindead asshole that, well, it’s a bit uncomfortable-making to realize just how close *we’ve* been coming to this, point of fact?

and, well, we aren't ALL of us so very invested in blowjobs and we don't all wear "slutwear" and we certainly aren't most of us (shudder) (in a totally non-whorephobic/misogynistic, only-concerned-about-theabuse-and-exploitation-sort-of-way) prostitutes;

but, well, shit, we've all or many of us got tits, don't we? or at least know someone who does? and plus goddam, well, she...reminds us of us, more, does Jessica. Up the Establishment!

And you know what: you don't even have to answer that.

All we're (this is the Royal We here, please note) asking here is that you, oh what is the word, uhm, uhm, uhhhhhhhh


why, yes!

...your shit.

'Cause that is what this has been, what this ALL is, you do know that, right? Shit?

(EDIT THE SECOND: Vanessa at Plucky Punk has been thinking along similar lines)

EDIT THE THIRD: So, okay, Majikthise (among many others, thank God) has been fisking this briskly and, well, it, gobsmack.

I just want to single this bit out for consideration:

Jessica Feministing:
Wow, Ann. You certainly like talking about my breasts. You know, if you feature t-shirts for women, they tend of have breasts in them. And as for my "pose," I moved to the side because I figured that people would be more interested in seeing Clinton than me standing directly in front of him.

As for attacking the content of my site, that's just kind of low. I posted about this on feministing because I was trying to make a point about the insanity that is feminists attacking each other. This is just kind of sad.
2:50 PM, September 15, 2006

Ann Althouse:
Jessica: Why don't you attempt a substantive defense of your own blog instead of saying things here are "low" and "sad"? I'm really disgusted with women fawning over Clinton and playing up to him. Why not read the posts I've linked to here, like this one, and get to some serious reflection about feminism? You come across as a lightweight seeking attention on the web for pretty much nothing. You load up your blog with breasts, and then you're offended why someone points it out. That's low and sad if you want to just dribble out three letter words.

You do not impress me at all. I don't see how you have a damn thing to do with feminism. You seem like a self-promoter appropriating and debasing a word that's important.

Or better yet, why don't you try blogging without those crappy silhouettes and tight T-shirts? And start taking what Clinton did seriously. Then I might begin to have some respect for you. But I expect you'll just come back with another wow, Ann, you're really low and sad to talk about my breasts comment. And that will be totally lame, let me say in advance. It's obvious that you're bending over backwards -- figuratively and literally -- to keep the attention on your breasts. How about some actual intellectual substance instead?


And that right there, friends and neighbors, is a classic example of Bullying 101. Study it closely. Note the heavy use of projection, the "we've just suddenly changed the rules without even acknowledging it," the general strange sense of coming untethered.

But most of all, this is really rather extraordinary, in a banal sort of way:

You've got a lot of explaining to do. I can see why you prefer to go on the offensive and attack me. But all you're attacking me for is something I pointed out about you. Why don't you defend yourself?

Let's zoom in on that even further, shall we?

"Why don't you defend yourself?"

What a question, eh?





Nasty little perv that i am, it occurs to me, not for the first time, to wonder just what is going on with women like this; for I have encountered them, albeit perhaps not -quite- so egregiously assholish. You know: deeply conservative, very hot and bothered about the shameful, shameful way young women dress these days. Deep cleavage, no bra, everything hanging out, you can see the outline of the panties, jiggling everywhere, I didn't know which way to look; that sort of thing. Sure, to a certain extent this is a cultural/generational thing, or can be. But they do go on, sometimes, some women, is the thing, and the tone can sometimes turn rather...odd. Unpleasant, certainly. But...odd.

and of course people tend to immediately leap to, well, as here: jealous much? Vicariously embarassed because you're desperately trying to avoid being cast as the "bimbo" your own sweet climbing self, tag someone else gets to be it?

And all of that, sure; but, I gotta say it: yer average wingnut man who goes on and on about another man's attire and wanton attention to one of his more fetchingly seductive body parts, well, people are pretty goddam quick to call "oh, good morning! I smell deeply closeted repressed sex-u-AL-ity! mmMMMmm, internalized homophobia and thwarted lust..."

...even if said wingnut -doesn't- manage to throw in a homophobic slur (although it also occurs to me that given our particular mores, that scenario is pretty unlikely, isn't it? somehow managing to talk about another man's looks or fetching attire without at least insinuating that he's gay. could happen though, i guess).

But here, well, not so much. Women are "allowed" to say such things in ways that men are not. Focus on another woman's body in great detail, for good or for ill. Usually for ill, natch.

But even so. If no one else will, I'm gonna say it, just because I am that sort of person:

What else about this woman's breasts is vexating you so, Ann?


Bitch | Lab said...

To be fair, I think the big difference is that Amanda, Rmildred and others don't have a problem with what women wear and do per se. They are objecting to any attempt to discuss it without acknowledging that, yes, the advertisement on the blog is sexist and would indeed fit rightin with analyses of advertising as objectifying in so far as it focuses the gaze right to a woman's breasts.

I get the sense, and I said this over on the Anorexia is patriarchal post, that it's all an objection over attitude and they way it's discussed.

Any attempt to say, "It's just me. I like wearing high heels," is wrong because it is a claim that you escape socialization. That somehow what you like isn't influenced by patriarchy -- that even what you think feels good against your body is right down to the very core of how we experience sensations is shaped by patriarchy.

As long as you acknowledge that, then go about your business. Because this is the US of A damn it and no one here will every tell you how to live your life. We just want to reserve the right to point out that you failed the Feminst Discourse test.

heh. Talk about it's patriarchal manifestations. Talk about how its part of the system of oppression. Just don't ever talk about it in any way that doesn't fit that mold.

e.g., this is subordination feminism where people have power or they don't, where people's identities are like baby block beads that snap together. there is no room for the jostling up against one another of different systems of power, a jossling that creates contradiction and fissures and gaps in the system through which cracks of liberatory excess may escape for just a moment.

this is suborination feminist theory that completely rejects the notiong of power that snakes through social life, like the capillaries of the body, where no one or group can aboslutely hold power, but were power is something that shifts between people and groups, where power isn't just something that presses down on you and forces and coerces you, but where power as something creative, generative, and productive and with which people can act with a purposeful agency, however cognizant of its limitation, in ways that actually *change* the fucking world.

boy, did that rant just slip outta me. hmmm.

belledame222 said...

You know what, though? Fuck fair. Fair is as fair does. And that isn't what they are doing, in fact, as I see it; they are hairsplitting. And often enough, they're the ones bringing up the subject in the damn first place. Esp. the third unmentioned here. Over and over and fucking over. And whatever the intention, the results look pertty fucking similar, and there's been NO acknowledgement of that whatsoever, speaking of wanting acknowledgment. No mercy.

belledame222 said...

'sides, that's pretty much more or less Ann Whosis is CLAIMING as well; she's not quiiiiiiite coming right out and saying "change your top, you look like a whore." She is doing the same fudge-n-hedge about wellllll, just, you know, CONTEXT, isn't it IRONIC, should a feminist really be talking to BC in the first place, whatever it was...

yeah, as I see it, it's all backpedalling and rationalization and hairsplitting; it's just she's not as good at it, Ann, and she's more conservative and more Establishment and more hateful. And oh yeah: dumber.

Daisy said...

Okay, pardon my ignorance -- I always feel like I'm missing something when you all talk about this, and so I'm going to try to get clear...

So the basic idea (with which you apparrently disagree, to some extent?) held by some Feminist Bloggers (namely Twisty from I Blame The Patriarchy?), is that all personal choices exist in social and political contexts, so when a woman chooses to, on the minor end, wear high-heals, or, on the other end, stay home with her kids, that choice a) is dictated or at least influenced by the patriarchy (which is undeniably true) and b) has an impact on women and society and feminism (a sort of inversion of the original meaning of "the personal is political"?). Have I got that right? And, if so, you disagree with this because of part "b," in which women are blamed and/or attacked, because you think it's unproductive and/or unfeminist and/or insensitive?

belledame222 said...

More or less. With the addendum that: it doesn't mean what they think it means, imho.

iow: sure, it's quite true, "choices" don't exist in a vacuum. THAT part, of itself, it's a good idea to look at it. Sure.

The part that has me quirking an eyebrow and sometimes a lip is that some- "choices," and the women who make them, get relentlessly "examined" and deconstructed to the point of hyperfocus and even shredding;

whereas others seem to be, well, curiously exempt.

That's the short version, I guess. There's more to it, but I'm not quite lucid enough at the mo' to put it in a more condensed than i have been putting it (which is on the whole probably pretty uncondensed).

Bottom line: what these people keep saying about, well, is it "us?" some of us? "sex positive?" certain kinds of feminists? whoever it is, whatever it is, that I've been identifying with,

is that we (they, name it) don't want to think about our lives, our choices, what It All Means, Dear.

and what -I'm- saying is from my perspective? That is completely backasswards. From where I'm sitting: the problem isn't that they examine -too much- (although yes, you're right, I have been critical of the WAY they go about it, that, too, yes); it's that -they don't go nearly far enough.-

belledame222 said...

...and that this actually does go way behind the Eternal subject of S-E-X-X.

although i do have this...problem with especially "radical" feminists who talk as though the worst sins of the "patriarchy," sexuality-wise, is all this porn, porn, PORN we're saturated with; the sexbot thing, yah;

and it's like: girlfriend. first of all, technically, a lot of that would be "sexist," not "patriarchal," per se. Trading your daughter into enforced prostitution or a marriage for a flock of geese is probably "patriarchal," as is the old Chinese (for example) concubine system; as is putting your infant daughter out on the hillside to die; as is naming your son Junior, II, III and passing on the bulk of your property to him while basically treating you daughter like an afterthought. Shouting "hey, baby! Nice ass!" at some woman on the street, I would say, simply, sexist. Also harassment, and seriously annoying. (at best). Going to a sex worker or wanking to porn may or may not even be that (this is where I probably most part ways for some people); to me, context matters.

More important, though: this "patriarchy" of which you speak, you might want to at some point consider that BEFORE this apparent glut of pole dancing classes and 'Net porn and sexsexsex APPARENTLY everywhere, BEFORE these last, what, few decades (you could draw the line at the more of less "official" Sexual REvolution in the 60's; or you could do it anywhere from the flapper period on up to the 'Net revolution, I would say), BEFORE all that..."patriarchy," okay, is primarily defined, sexually at least, by NO SEX SEX BAD SEX DIRTY BAD BAD BAD NO STOP RED LIGHT DO NOT PASS GO DO NOT MASTURBATE DO NOT HAVE SODOMY DO NOT SUFFER WHORES DO NOT EVEN DISCUSS SUCH THINGS IN THE LIGHT OF DAY DO NOT BARE BODY PARTS WICKED FILTHY DIRTY BAD BAD BAD.

to greater or lesser degrees at different times, and obviously with some exceptions and loopholes and so forth, no system is ever perfect, this has been true for at least oh the last several THOUSAND years, at least certainly in the areas where the Bible (yeah, that) has been influential. also that other arid desert patriarchal religion.

and elsewhere too; but imo it does play out a bit differently, and i don't feel i really am on nearly as steady ground when talking about Elsewhere as I am this "our" Judeo-Christian form of patriarchy; and even more specifically the ways in which it manifests in this our ("our") 21st century U.S. culture, and really even more specifically particular areas of -that.-

which i'll get to in a second, which is the bigger part of my and others' problem here.

but somehow, people seem to be, as I'm seeing it? kind of almost -forgetting- this, these last few millenia's worth of, yeah, sex-negativity. To put it mildly.

or at least acting as though somehow the porn and the prostitution and so forth were, what? more urgent? somehoe by dint of their very existence cancelling out all that came before, when the reality in fact is that the very things about these institutions that feminists most object to is probably precisely BECAUSE of those millenia's worth of sex-repression and institutionalized misogyny (which go together like chocolate and peanut butter, p.s.)

or, rather, well, they SAY they know this, or some people will, but doesn't end up -looking- like it.

In my observation.

So that's one thing.

And then besides all that, this or these feminisms, however you want to qualify them; or rather even more specifically (or more so?) certain people wielding it as a sword-label,

well, as Bitch Lab and others, a number of women of color for example, have been saying for a while (as do and did other critics in the "offline" world; all of this blog stuff is sort of like the Reduced Shakespeare Version of the Feminist Wars that have been playing out for dog's years in "real life," I sometimes think), the Theory falls far short of being all-encompassing. Which is a particular problem when it -claims- to be so.

And to a lesser (or not...) extent, it's a problem when even people who -don't- claim to be "radicals" but are still, well, whatever it is, progressive? liberal feminist? generic feminists? generic leftists? are merrily slicing and dicing away while conveniently ignoring some rather gaping large blind spots.

For example: as BL keeps going back to: there is virtually no addressing of any sort of socioeconomic context at all. For some of these people. When it does get addressed, it's well, superficial, riddled with defensiveness and posturing, and, well, confused at best.

Ditto race.

Ditto such things as urban/rural, regionalism, class (as distinct from "money/economics," which ALSO doesn't seem to get talked about much), and so forth

Ditto anything outside a relentlessly "Western" much less (often) U.S.-centric framework, even if the news stories from Elsewhere are sometimes covered in an ain't-that-awful sort of way.

And we haven't even -touched- on what to me is a very big deal: Religion. or, well, when people do, it tends to be in rather predictable ways. in my observation.

And little to no grounding in oh I don't know going to the library, cracking open a book? every so often; little to no apparent curiousity about even the people outside their hidebound little circles and their opposite numbers on the right side of the fence right here in BlogLand; little to no real introspection; little to no apparent activism, even. (Again: this is NOT everyone in the feminist blogosphere; this is, well, Certain People, yes. Other people I do take much more seriously). Just endless trips up and down the strange inverted ladder of hierarchical oppressions, guilts, hurts, vindications; and a rather small area of that ladder at that. and, again, funfunfun dogfights with The Other Team.

So again, bottom line: not enough.

Which in itself is, well, rather annoying, especially when one finds oneself repeatedly brushed aside or even slammed for trying to maybe change the focus a bit every so often.

More so when said people are patting themselves on the back for their radicalness, their daringness, their enlightenedness.

But I could ignore and have (well, relatively speaking) ignored most of this of itself;

but then couple it with, as you say: attacking and/or blaming invidual women (and some men, too, sure), usually in not only staggeringly boneheaded if not downright nasty ways but also in what -to me- is pretty clearly a case of Not Picking On Your Own Size;

and it all boils down to, godDAM but some people are starting to get on my tits wicked fierce.

belledame222 said...

er, that would be "way beyond."

belledame222 said...

oh and yes, how could I have forgotten:

for "GO WOMEN, and WE SUPPORT THE GAYS (and sometimes even are so)" this is...

some people are, yup, pretty fucking heterocentric.

Which of course is always my own particular axe to grind, and certainly is in no way limited to these here little circles;

it's just, you know, there are rich multilayers of irony in FEMINISTS, sometimes even RADICAL LESBIAN FEMINISTS (but more often plain ol' straight, it must be said) lecturing me about the Evil That Men Do, sexually that is;

which is apparently ALL that is, or is at any rate worth talking about.

it: gets boring.

and i gotta say that that irony is sometimes too rich even for my blood.

Sly Civilian said...


I did not need another reason to hate this whole mess. I really didn't.

But i think you've got a point. There are some structural B|L points out.

But damn if it doesn't *feel* the same.

belledame222 said...

Call me crude, or something: more and more these days, I'm inclined to look at results before considering what was -meant.- Even assuming i believe what one -says- is meant is what's actually meant.

In this case: sure, it's important to consider where they're coming from, belief-wise, in all this.

and once again I wax musical, to the tune of my recent favorite song:

"And I've looked at it from your side,
and I've looked at it from mine;
And I know you had a hard time when you were only nine;
But that was long ago-o, and now there's just no denyin'
You're an asshole..."

soopermouse said...

very good point on the US centrism of the so caled feminist movement and why it isn't working.
This does remind me of the time when a group of otehrwise well intentioned radical feminists decided to create a Net Organization against Rape, and although not all of the group members were American, they decided to put "National " in the name.

I was speechless.

As fr as how different my sexuality and view on it from the American POV, etc... I a working on defining this.

belledame222 said...

U.S. centric, middle-and-up-class -centric, white-centric, het-centric...

soopermouse said...

yes, which is kind of explaining why I am not a black sheep in some circles. Then again, I am technically Latina, Eastern European immigrant, bottom middle class bisexual metalhead, so what the fuck do I know?

soopermouse said...

sorry, that was "why I am a black sheep"

belledame222 said...

How technically Latina?

I'd meant to ask: do you have a specifically autobiographic post(s) in your archives? I've seen references here and there, obviously, but only in passing, as it were.

soopermouse said...

well, I am Romanian. We're not necessarily considered latino, mainly because the term is not very used in Europe to begin with. We are of latin heritage, speak a latin based language and are medium to dark skinned and dark haired. If I lived in the USA, no one would doubt my affiliation to Latinos, but over here I am just " exotic" and "not white enough".

To make the story short, I am 31, I am Romanian. I come from an abusive family, my father was a beater and an alcoholic. I had to put up with abuse since I was born for the fault of not being born male. After my father died when I was 12, my mother was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and I cared for her since I was 12 until i turned 18 and she kicked me out. I have finished the officers's school in teh Romanian Army, I spent 18 months in the UN forces in the ex Yugoslavia. I have an MSc in Computer SCiences hich is not recognised in England so I am taking my University all over again. I am divorced for 2 years and a half, only been married for 18 months. I left Romania in 2000, I lived 2 years in Germany and 4 in England. I have no fiorst degree relative left, I am a part time cat owner, I have a partner who lives about 100 miles away and whom I see over weekends ( which fits our lifestyle just fine). I have been girl paired, boy paired and TS paired, I am a metalhead, metal journalist and radio DJ, and I hate people.

belledame222 said...

Thanks for that.

which reminds me: my intro thread is still open.

yeah, it occurred to me after posting that that Romania is "Latin" in the European sense (ah, nomenclature), but still wanted to clarify.

what kind of cat?

soopermouse said...

the Orange one is my part time cat. Part time because while it belongs to my bneighbour, I feed him, pet him and talk to him. When it's cold, he's free to sleep in my flat oif he so desires.

belledame222 said...

aw! creamsicle cat. cute!

my guy's a tux. and has claws about four feet long by now on account of he HAAATTESS having them trimmed, and, well, i haven't the heart or guts to try, really.

soopermouse said...

Shandy hunts bugs and I have seen him taking squirrels on at times. He is about 17 years old, and somewhat more orangey in the summer.

Many apologies for my spelling. At 5:30 AM, I function on an empty tank

mir said...

thank you for this post. agree, agree.

as a woman with a serious feminist-blog addiction so often i get sucked into the comments vortex of the busier blogs, reading and reading and i find myself feeling queasier and weirder and i can't put a finger on it except for vague thoughts like "hey! what about the" and "this a pile-on, a circle jerk, and it feels wrong but i'm not nearly eloquent enough or at all well-read enough in feminist arcana to formulate a rebuttal but goddamnit this is just wrong, it's like high school only smarter, the air is way rarified but it feels like crap" and then my brain barfs and i click away disgruntled, tell you what.

i'm glad you're here to articulate it. break it down, rockstar.

soopermouse said...

belledamme, do you have something liek an instant messenger?

belledame222 said...

I keep meaning to, but not at the moment. will keep people posted if/when I do.

belledame222 said...

thanks, mir, and welcome!

soopermouse said...

it's an amazingly useful tool :)

soopermouse said...

and I leave you with some eye candy for the night :)

Alon Levy said...

Think of it this way: Ann Althouse has just made Jessica, who pretty much does everything you'd like feminists to do, the center of the feminist blogosphere. When her book gets published, she'll naturally get an even more central position. And you can look at Feministing and see that she has never attacked someone's personal life choices, that she and her cobloggers deliberately ignored the sex wars and blogged about real issues instead, and that she has repeatedly talked about race, class, whatever as feminist issues.

belledame222 said...

Oh, no doubt. It still doesn't make her any less of a hateful fuck for trying (and apparently succeeding at least to some degree) to make Jessica feel small.

and by extension, any other woman who now can fear they broke some obscure rule of something or other, it SOUNDS like "feminism" but it FEELS really familiar somehow...

belledame222 said...

but yeah: I really do need to spend more time there. I think I stopped after a particularly awful blow-up wrt race, i believe involving She Who Shall Not Be Named. there were an awful lot of trolls. i hear from the grapevine that they've tightened security a lot in the interim, tho.

Alon Levy said...

Well, the trolls were on Nubian's side, mostly. The main people on mine were regulars - Ms. Jane, EG, Eschew Obfuscation, noname, XYZ - though the last three were generally considered non-feminists at best and regular trolls at worst (think Phantom on Majikthise).

Two months later, I still comment there, EO and XYZ seem to have disappeared, and EG and noname occasionally comment. Ms. Jane, who took it really personally, exploded over race a while later and ended up publicly castigated, after which I guess she just didn't want to post anymore.

That said, nobody fights there anymore over whether black feminism predates white feminism.

belledame222 said...

Oh, that thread. I actually think I'm thinking of an even earlier one, the original "gender trumps race" one, perhaps? or one right on the heels of it? anyway She Who Shall Not was in't. doesn't matter, anyway.

belledame222 said...

...oh god. is Phantom still haunting Majikthise? now i remember why i stopped posting there.

amazing how very annoying a -single- asshole can be; but then I guess you only need one black hole to suck in pretty much everything around it.

Amber said...

I did notice that a lot of the trolls in that whole race blow-up thread seemed to be on nubian's "side." (Not that she necessarily endorsed them or anything but... they were arguing in her favor, for better or worse.) But I'm afraid I'll open a whole can of worms if I go any further with that.

Anyway... Jessica is teh awesome. If anyone deserves to be the "center of the feminist blogosphere," it's definitely her.

belledame222 said...

I don't want to open that can of worms either, but ftr: didn't consider those posters trolls. It's true that they weren't Feministing regulars and were entering on an angry note, which tends to make people defensive even with the racist business (which i am with nubian and others in that: it is there); but that doesn't equal "troll," of itself, in my book. They were there for a specific reason; they weren't fucking around for the sake of it.

I think the term "trolling" is probably overapplied, just in general; I mean, I guess you could call even a random angry drive-by a "troll," but it doesn't mean that that was the author's intent, nor that sie isn't capable of or willing to talk like a reasonable person, once addressed as such.

"Trolling" to me is very specific: deliberately fucking around for one's own amusement; trying to make the puppets dance and/or PAY ATTENTION TO MEEEEEEE!!

belledame222 said...

...although I admit it is hard to really tell sometimes, on account of these people are so very unconscious in so many ways. Was Butterfly Cauldron's guy a troll? I'd certainly say so; and yet he also meant it, I think, or thought he did.

it's just this underlying vibe of nastiness, utter lack of empathy...something.

Ann Whosis is a troll in my book; so (often) is Twisty.

Trolling, okay; action, not identity. I expect few if any of these people actually live under a bridge in real life. Although at least in some cases, I am starting to think it might actually do them some good if they did.

wretched little smug myopic entitlement monsters...

Daisy said...

Hey, thanks for answering my questions. Your perspective makes a lot of sense -- I've definitely frequently taken note of the fact that discussions have a tendency to apply only to upper-middle class straight white women in urban or suburban US communities, and the doubly-annoying fact that they tend to claim not to.

I'm still working out where I stand on all this, but thanks for having a different view-point (and talking about it). It's necessary. Good job.

Bitch | Lab said...

Basically, you're saying that Teh Sex and anxiety of it is an issue deep in everyone's psychi, a pyshic structure inevitably created in a sex neg Judeo Christian culture. Failure to examine those anxieties means that they end up playing out in these wars. Where left over stuff is projected on to some random 'other' and attacked -- all the more easy when said someone is not in the circle of respected and accepted feminist bloggers. The become the punishing Superego, trying to smash out the unresolved stuff, and instead of hating and fearing themselves, where said stuff is, they hate and fear those who don't conform.
the only glitch -- and i don't think it has to be a glitch -- is the question as to why the mommy wars are so heated. perhaps not among this group of bloggers, but certainly among others.

in the end, it all seems to boil down to a kind of representational politics where, it's not so much about whether what you do advances the feminist movement or not -- for that is an empirical question or one that we could at least turn to empirical findings to partically answer. rather, it's all about how it "looks" -- appearances.

this plays out in lefty circles a lot. a kind of whining about what the more radical wankers do among those who are closer to being progressives and believe in electoral poltics.

"Oh, god. I have to deal with Michael Moore. I'm finally getting my father-in-law to start understanding left politics, getting rid of some of his hang ups and then Moore comes along. God damn."

Substitute in there Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill -- lefties ppl feel embarassed by. (Dennis whatshisface the pres. candidate was another one. though not so hostile.)

belledame222 said...

Yup, pretty much. And Mommy Wars and everything fits fine; I'm totally not saying that this is THE unexplored edifice/baggage/whatever, (then I probably really would be into Freud territory) just a big ol' important one. But there are others, clearly.

and yah; I mean, Superego's a useful term/construct, but it's not one I really use.

I just look at it as with anything else in the shadow, personal -and- collective: it's not inherently good or bad, or it could be both. And there are good survival reasons for leaving some stuff in storage; everything has its time and its place, I think. But if you leave too much in there for too long without facing it, it's gonna emerge regardless, just...stronger, and torqued, from festering in there so long.

belledame222 said...

like, well, Mommy wars, well, I don't really follow them enough to say;

but istm that in addition to the sexual repression crap, there are other aspects of yeah i think it's fair to call it patriarchy, although i'm not sure this part ever completely goes away, anyway, there are other things that also don't really get covered too well in traditional feminism. Conflict -between- women, for one thing. Rivalry (that's not over the goddam man, I mean, just to finally get that out of the way). The sister thing, and also the mother-daughter thing; I imagine -all- of that comes up, especially among women who aer or will be new mothers themselves. in addition to the other stuff that's more obvious, I mean: class shit, generational expectation shit, cultural shit, personal shit, sexism 101 shit, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Alon Levy said...

Oh, that thread. I actually think I'm thinking of an even earlier one, the original "gender trumps race" one, perhaps? or one right on the heels of it? anyway She Who Shall Not was in't. doesn't matter, anyway.

Ah, that business... no, nobody on Feministing does that anymore. Even R. Mildred, hardly a libfem, went on record a few days ago bashing the whole "my oppression's more important than yours" business.

Alon Levy said...

"Trolling" to me is very specific: deliberately fucking around for one's own amusement; trying to make the puppets dance and/or PAY ATTENTION TO MEEEEEEE!!

But that's not what most people mean by "trolling." I don't think Phantom is on Majikthise for his own amusement. If I remember correctly, he started commenting on some issues he agreed with Lindsay on, and then stayed and commented on threads where he disagreed with Lindsay.

Not that I don't like this definition, but most people tend to define it more broadly (including, for example, Piny, who insisted I was concern-trolling Bitch | Lab even though I wasn't).

belledame222 said...

>I don't think Phantom is on Majikthise for his own amusement.

See, well, like I said: grey area.

But i also think that people who stick around hotbeds of their supposed opposite ideological number, week after week, month after month, I mean; and seem to enjoy nothing better or other at the place than getting into flamewars with their enemies...yeah, i would call that at least some species of trolling. also, he's a fatuous little fuck.

soopermouse said...

"Basically, you're saying that Teh Sex and anxiety of it is an issue deep in everyone's psychi, a pyshic structure inevitably created in a sex neg Judeo Christian culture"

Ok people, I have had it. I would liek to say something.

There is more than one fucking Judeo Christian culture. It is not all generalized to The White and/or Western world.

The USA brand of Judeo Christian culture has a strong adlayer of Puritanism and that is where the hatred for teh sex comes. Do not have Teh Sex unless you are married and you hate it.

The Eurocatholic brand of Judeo Christianism says " have teh sex but make sure you have lots of babies".

The british protestant type of Judeo Christian society says " there is no such thing as sex, just get drunk and things will happen and then babies come".

MY eastern ruropean brand of judeo christianism says " have sex get pregnant get married have babies

belledame222 said...

You're absolutely right, of course, and truthfully I hate the very phrase "Judeo-Christian" itself (i think i posted about that a while back). but, yeah. "neo-Calvinism," with a few other influences, is probably much closer to the mark here.

all the same, I also think there are certain common denominators to all those variants (and a few more besides), and that those are the ones that tend to make the Eternal Subject Wars blow up, at root, really. the Madonna/Whore split, for instance, is huge and, while probably not -totally- universal, well...whores and virgins, yah, that's been around for a loooong while.

and i think, you know, that like it or not, intend to or not, over and over again we end up sort of putting each other in those roles, even loosely, as it were.

"Sexbot!" "Prude!"

...see what I'm saying?

But definitely, even here within the U.S. I see cultural differences. recently it occurred to me (i am slow; kh was the one to mention this in passing) that in fact as far as I can tell at least, the Big feminist Bloggers who are most pissing me off are, if not WASPs, WASP-derived.

at any rate, there's a lot to their attitude that I realize is just subtly alien enough to me that it might have something to do with this as well (more obvious shit like, hello, queer dyke, don't really give that much of a fuck about how submissive it is to blow a man, for some reason). Culture and also religion, yep. OR, well: I'm Ashkenazim Jewish, and on both sides of the family we've been agnostic-to-atheist for a good three generations. (in fact i'm going in sort of the opposite direction from i think some of those other bloggers in this respect; they're in "rebel against oppressive religion" mode, which, believe me, i totally get; but for me i feel like i'm coming to it with a more or less blank slate, apart from like i say this Calvinist zeitgeist I'm still steeped in, and thus have been interested in exploring)

...but anyway, back to sex: yah, not that even Orthodox Jews don't have their severe repressiveness, deeply ingrained sexism, all the rest; but yes it does play out somewhat differently. and for us, well, my folks are pretty square, personally, for children-of-the-sixties, but you know: I certainly never got, for instance, the kind of mad shit about masturbation that a lot of other people seem to get, even now. Concerns about sexuality, which were not particularly emphasized, were always more "social convention" and "fear of actual physical disease," if anything; there's no "sin."

And I do see, you know, a number of radical feminists in particular who are coming out of actual Christian fundamentalism; and, you know, I think there's a "tell," for a number.

and then again, there's TF, who may or may not have the religious deal, (I'm fairly certain not fundamentalist background at least; could be wrong but i doubt), but whose cultural baggage wrt social mores, I think, is way different from mine.

I also wanted to say something about the notions of shame and guilt, because i think that -also- makes a difference; we have guilt--oy, do we--but it plays out in different ways as well. This whole scapegoating thing reminds me of nothing so much as "Confess your sins!" and, more relevant to say Protestantism, Calvinism especially, "purify! Purify!!"

see, we're not about "purify." We're more about, ime, in theory at least:

"You fucked up. Go make amends."

In practice of course this can easily spill over into YOU are a fuck-up, BAD YOU, but at least it is I would say coming from a different place. It really is more socially oriented, I'd say, as opposed to "extricate the Bad Thing that is within you, so that you may ascend higher."

belledame222 said...

also, sooner or later i really do mean to get back to that Angela West book; she is a UK-based feminist theologian, I believe either Catholic or Episcopalian (if Catholic i am fairly certain not terribly orthodox. i need to reread her intro).

but the bit i was gonna write about next was how even within Anglo-American feminism (i.e. "mainstream," yah, so it's gone, pretty much), there are big honking differences in oh let's say how a black woman is gonna experience sexual oppression, historically at the very least, from a white woman. one more way the madonna/whore thing plays out, of course; in this instance it was roughly, white mid-to-upper class women get to play "lady in the house," and more or less the sexless virgin role (at least since the Industrial Revolution or so); guess who gets to play the whore? (roughly). The earthly, the bodily, the animal, all the things the pure white ladies were supposed to be ascending away from, helping their poor beastly men in the process.

belledame222 said...

...oh. one other source of possible confusion: "sex negative" as we've been using it really doesn't mean "hates all sex." It means, "fundamentally repressive in SOME ways wrt sex; using sex in a heavily socializing, shaming sort of way, one way or the other."


I think that's a biiiig source of confusion in these Wars, actually. It truly doesn't mean "sexless dried-up prude."

but for instance say you're, you know, Orthodox Jewish; so, sure, you're likelier than oh I don't know someone being raised to be a priest to really enjoy sex within certain rigidly defined limitations (married of course, certain rules specifically kept by the Orthodox still, yadda); and likely it's gonna be different from upper-class Anglo WASP with a Victorian hangover attitudes toward doing the deed.

(all allowing, of course, for many other factors, including family-of-origin quirks, personal experiences, epochal and generational context, yadda)

...but at the same time: step OUTSIDE those limitations--i.e. have sex with someone of the same gender, and well DOWN COMES THE HAMMER.

so that is "homophobic," yes; we also call that "sex-negative."

because in that sense the term ("sex-neg") would also apply to, say, a culture that thinks all (married) hetero intercourse is great, any time, any place, any position; foreplay, sure; a little lingerie, nothin; wrong with it; but the premarital thing: uh-uh; and maybe, certain specific acts (anal sex, maybe even the dreaded blowjob): NO.

...and so on.

Point being: already we see that there is this common denominator that even though there are many small-to-medium variations, there are these far more universal hard limits, or at least taboos.

which is what sex-pos really aims to look at: the whole enchilada.

soopermouse said...

ok, speaking of the Jewish part of Judeo Christian, I managed to get a quote out of a friend of mine who is a messianic Jew.

Now you'll have to pardon the broken English (Sasha might be hot, smart and talented but he doesn't quite have the English pinned down yet) , but I think you can get the point:

"In Paul's letters basically that advice which contain make the important part of a life of the Christian. Among numerous Christian faiths pass greater and centuries-old disputes on that as it is necessary to understand and accept this advice in a modern life.. I look at them as on advice, instead of as the strict order of implicit submission "

I have always said it, as far as Catholicism goes, Paul is dogma and the Gospels are facultative.

belledame222 said...

well, like I've been saying: I -like- the dude in the sandals; it's the later fanfic writers i'm not so hot on...

soopermouse said...