Saturday, September 02, 2006

So, in the calm light of day,

I am going back among the last few posts and comment threads, to reassess if I've been, you know, just a teeny bit over the top.

And so I'm looking at this nugget culled from the Pandagon shitstorm, and, well, by golly, it's...even more amazingly amazing than the first time I read it, which is just, well, amazing.

In the proud spirit to which we seem to have recently become accustomed, I'm just gonna spotlight it here, without further context, and take it apart. Without the name of the criticized person, though, on account of that's been a -bit- overdone already, or of the poster, because frankly i can't make myself go back in there for it. So, without further ado, here 'tis:


>XXX is a woman. Her rationalizations are inarguably hurting her. Therefore XXX’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 XXX is in. >


Oh, right, okay, a -little- context, for those of you just tuning in: XXX is an actual person who's been posting in a small, personal, journal-like blog, about her sex life and her thoughts on feminism--the really relevant part here is her sex life, as it turns out--whom some swell person on one of the Big Feminist blogs decided to bring to the attention of one of the Big Feminist Bloggers. It then went to several others, and by this stage, after having been sliced 'n' diced eight thousand ways from Christmas, along with its actual author, who is alive and well and reading all this and doing her best to be a sport about it all. Particularly, how she handles her sex life. Apparently very very badly. Anyway, by this stage, it's reached the attention of the most popular feminist blogger, who has thousands of hits per day; this here is I think the second or third thread on this subject, that is, pretty much this one woman who had the audacity to "not get it"-- you can see an excerpt of her hopelessly self-deluded, self-harming, anti-feminist writing (after the fact) here (it's the second italicized excerpt, after the "fuck you all.")

So, but anyway, enough about XXX--and I do mean, ENOUGH about XXX. My thoughts after reading the above-quoted nugget, which was perhaps the most egregious example of this sort of thing, but far from the only such type of exhortation/rationalization/whatever this is:

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.

**on edit** And I'll just add this: you know, I did do kind of a dramatic hit -n- run in that particular Pandagon thread, and, it's uh, possible I may have missed something in my rush to just express my exasperation at what had been a long long long buildup of, well, stuff at least somewhat like this. I -think.- And also, you know, I am a sensitive little flower at heart and seriously couldn't and can't bear to really look at all that any more closely than I did. Which perhaps may have resulted in some unfairness. So could someone with a stronger stomach and/or better sense of humor than I who was in there just tell me: did I miss the part right after where everyone went, "my God, that's completely over-the-top! how ludicrous this all suddenly appears! so sorry for all this group mania or whatever it is, XXX! c'mon, let's go get a beer" or even just plain, "okay, critique is one thing, but my God, that's completely over-the-top! Are you high?" or, "HAHAHAHA, APRIL FOOL!!"

...because, if so, allow me to Emily Litella "Never Mind" in advance.

If not, though, and y'all are still reading this, and -still- haven't said anything remotely along these lines and aren't even seeing what the problem here is even now...well, see my previous few posts for my feelings on the subject, because they stand as is.



So, yeah, some of y'all are already having suspicions as to my own suspicions as to what the root cause -might- be, or one of them, and seeing as how I'm just the subtlest fucker on the planet, y'all are right, I cry uncle.

Well, let's just say both that y'all are right in your guessing, and also that I am willing to be persuaded that it is something else entirely.

Just that, primarily? whatever it is? I want it to -stop.-

Not because I want to shut down oh-so-valuable-, you know, -discussion.-

Not because I want to knock head Heather out of her place so that I can grab the red scrunchie for myself.

Although I freely cop to being as competitive and bossy and sure-of-my-own-certitude about the pettier shit as anyone else.

Because I genuinely think that kind of thing is nasty bullshit, and destructive, and oh my GOD I am so motherfucking tired of hearing about y'all's BLOWJOBS, and I don't just mean the literal ones either.

But mostly: how did the phrase go again? Oh, yeah.

"You're hurting women."

Fuck that, actually.

"You're hurting people."

Maybe not this one so much; she seemed pretty resilient and so forth. But other people aren't, and no, it isn't okay. It isn't just an amusing game. Or if it is, howazbout make up your frigging minds whether it's a harmlessly amusing game or serious talk about Very Important Shit in preparation for the Revolution, because I honestly don't think it can be both at once, even assuming I believe it's either one alone, which I don't know as I do, really.

As in, actual people, right now.

You may now commence the shrieks and howling about the beam in my own eye and how clearly it's just my own endless grudge about the Eternal Motherfucking Subject and who do I think I'm kidding and my every fucking flaw.

but I'm sick of this shit, and no, I'm not gonna just shut up about what's bothering me any more than you are.

So either let's figure out a way to really talk about this, or you know, just deal with it.


Okay. I'll throw out a hint as to the direction I think this could go in without turning it into yet more "bad [Someone!] Bad [Someone!] I Blame [Someone]!"

...which I have been doing myself here, I recognize the irony, YES already.

It's like this.

There -is- such a thing as "safe space."

But it is not determined by who, demographically, is in it, or even what the subject matter is.

There are rules for how to create such spaces. Virtually and otherwise.

I don't count myself as an expert on how to manifest such spaces; that's a fuckload of responsibility, frankly, and I'm not sure I'm up for it. I've been in them. I can give a rough outline as to how I think they work. I could -talk- about that. I think it takes more than just a list of guidelines to really pull it off as I've seen/experienced in the best of them: I think it (probably) takes lots and lots of experience. Which I do not have.

But I do see the need for it, yeah, even online.

IF we're going to take on such sensitive, volatile, emotionally loaded shit as sexuality, and desire, and abuse. Personal histories thereof, feelings thereof, even yeah ideas about how the world works sociopolitically as derived from thereof, -as long as we're talking about thereof at all-.

-Personal- shit, that is, of the people actually speaking here. Personal SENSITIVE shit, like abuse, really maybe not even s-e-x-x per se, although inevitably in feminist discussions at least it always seems to come back to abuse, and (I think) ther are good reasons for this. But so, yeah: "This is what happened to me." "This is my experience." There are ways of doing this that are relatively "safe," and ways that are potentially incredibly damaging. So far, here in Blog O'Sphere, I've only been seeing the latter. Well, particularly in the Big Taffick-y Conferences.

I'm not even gonna get into going out and finding some not particularly consensual person and dragging all her personal baggage out in front of the entire world to poke and maul and drool over. Yet. I'll get there in a minute, but that is getting into a whole other territory, and is a very big part of what has got my frilly girlie panties in a wad right now.

Now: there is also a way in which to talk about S-E-X-X (and/or even abuse), and the sociopolitical Meanings and causes and so on thereof, which does not get all up in everyone's personal tender bits, just like anything else. So, yeah, there -is- such a thing as political debate, even passionate, heated political debate. There are also rules for this. Generally they tend to fall more under what's been termed, fairly or not, "pale and male" thinking. Formal logic, academic theory, peer-reviewed scientific studies, statistics, governmental policy, yadda. You all know that drill.

And within such debates there are also rules for what's been called "civil" behavior. You know: avoid ad hominem; for many people, avoid strong nasty "flaming" language, (i.e. "my God, you're dumber than a truck full of chickens going to town, that's the stupidest fucking argument I've ever heard"). Personally--strictly personally--that's actually not my concern here. I don't really give a crap about "nice," myself, or "polite." Sure, call your opponent an ignorant pissant whose mother was a hamster and whose father smelt of elderberries, as far as I'm concerned. One can argue about how terribly useful this is to actually shedding light on the purported subject--honestly, probably not very--but, again, strictly personally, mileage varies on this, I realize, some people are really bothered by any sort of direct insult or cursing, and that's certainly their prerogative if they're hosting the discussion--this doesn't bother me. Hell, it can even be kind of fun, in a sparring-sort of way. Yeah, people might get hurt, but it's more or less understood what makes it a fair fight, no hitting below the belt. All part of the game; and in -that- instance, it really is pretty much a game. As long as we're just keeping it pretty much to the intellectual, public-sphere level.

But when you -combine- all that with the sensitive, volatile, personal, group-therapy-esque discussion which already is not really being handled very well, well, that's kind of a recipe for fucking disaster.

And, I realize that there are in fact other really volatile subjects that make up quite a bit of what's being talked about in this our leftie blogosphere: racism. Classism. All kinds of isms. Religion. And yeah: I'm not, to be perfectly honest, sure how useful it would ultimately be to try to police every such discussion to make sure nothing personal gets talked about, even assuming such a thing were feasible; then you get into the awkward territory of "speaking for," of intellectualization and over-abstraction of perfectly real and important shit, and so forth. And yes, yes, yes: the Personal Is Political. Sure.

All I'm struggling to articulate here is: there are, I think, somewhere in here, rules. Boundaries. Distinctions for what -type- of discussion this is going to be, and then respective rules/guidelines for those. Or, at least, I think there should be.

And personally I tend to think this goes double or triple for anything that involves personal abuse, and particularly sexual abuse.

Not sex per se, either; sure, there are yet other rules for the kind of discussion that goes, "Say, I really like reverse cowgirl style." "Oh, I don't like that at all; here's why." That shit's just fine, too, provided everyone knows that that's the level of discussion going on here. That's not what I'm talking about. Actually, to be perfectly honest, and here is where my own personal bias starts creeping in: if anything, I think the loosely-defined leftie blogosphere could use a healthy dose -more- of that. Bitch PhD. set a really good example of how to do this, I think, sometime back. Yeah, believe it or not: I think -part- of all this obsessiveness over blowjobs is that for way too many people? yeah, even worldly-type with-it enlightened leftie-type people, even in this our Porn-O-Riffic Decadent S-E-X-X-Y modern woild ? Talking about OMG S-E-X-X without embarassment is still a really big fucking deal. Not for everyone, clearly; but, way more than one would tend to think. So yeah, that's a whole -'nother- issue.

But not really my biggest concern right now, believe it or not.

Now. I'm still not even sure if this all sort of muddling alone accounts for the atmosphere which leads to shit being said like the example quoted at the beginning of this post; to the practice of hauling an off-guard non-combatant into the limelight and mercilessly grilled and dissected for the delectation of the vasty crowd. Honestly? I don't know -what- that shit is. Like I asked: where the hell is this coming from??

And you know, we could talk and have talked, not very successfully I think, about how and whether any particular given theory/ideology is more prone than others to lead to the creation of this sort of atmosphere. I have my own thoughts on this; but I am more than willing to leave that for a separate, hopefully careful, discussion.

All I know is this: the results. REALLY frigging skeevy.

Here's why:

When you start getting into "we know better than you what's 'hurtful' or not. We know what's good for you. We can tell you how to improve yourself, purge yourself of all the impurities" territory?

There are names for that sort of transaction. Atmosphere. Behavior. Whatever.

"Cultlike" is the first one that leaps to my mind.

Maybe it's just me thinking this; honestly, I hope not.

"Abuse of power," at best.

Oh yes: did I mention that -everyone- has power? And that we're -all- capable of abusing it? Well, we do, and we are. It may not be huge mountain-moving fate-of-nation-changing power; it may "only" be the power to make Mary Sue feel ashamed and chastised, and you, satisfied at having Shown Her The True Way.

-But that is enough all by itself.-

Why: see above re: "you're hurting women/people."

Even one is too damn many.

And -that,- in a nutshell, is what's really bothering me right now.

And the subject matter literally could have been anything: hairstyles, yoga practice...religious belief. Maybe even, as KH suggested somewhere back in the comments, arithmetic.

But sex works especially well for this sort of thing; because, frankly, it is an area where people feel very, very vulnerable.

But, but: it's not about the sex, really. It's not about the sex. IT'S NOT ABOUT THE SEX.

It's about power.

And abuse.

Which, by the way? Abuse? Is not limited to the sphere of sexuality or even physicality. Not. At. All.

And it's not just the "patriarchy" who's doing it.

Okay, I really am done here. Fire at will.


mandos said...

Root cause, eh? I have a guess as to what you think the root cause is, but I won't say...

Sage said...

I never understand why some people think they can know the motivations or real-life implications of a stranger's actions. Belledame, I'm glad you're there to defend and explain. I typically keep on walking to maintain a personal illusion that we're all in this together. It helps me stay in the game.

Bitch | Lab said...

I don't know. Chris Clarke named me henchwoman for Gonzalez or some shit when I hadn't even participated on the thread. And anything I'd said elsewhere were attempts to

1. get people to understand that not all of us believe the "personal is political" means what they say it means. They don't have to agree, but I do expect they respect that there are legit differences and stop naming all of us enemies of feminism for holding a view that most certainly is legit and well-established.

2. Say that I don't interpret Derrida the same way Amanda did and that I'd given the blogger a benefit of the doubt as to her meaning given the context: a fiction writer speaking to known friends who know her irony, self-referential jokes, and may know when she's fictionalizing and when she's not, when she's a smart alec and when not, etc.

3. Then try to broker some kind of approach to understanding the history of the term and practice of consciousness raising as a kind of a shared project that takes the heat off all the obsessive focusing on our belly buttons and reminds Us that other feminsits have already forged the way and have some answers, answer that will help ask our answers more questions, too.

But this was declared trolling -- and attempt to derail discussion. Thus, I'm some how in object support of Gonzalez or some horse hockey.

belledame222 said...

Well, let's just say both that y'all are right in your guessing, and also that I am willing to be persuaded that it is something else entirely.

Just that, primarily? whatever it is? I want it to -stop.-

Not because I want to shut down oh-so-valuable-, you know, -discussion.-

Not because I want to knock head Heather out of her place so that I can grab the red scrunchie for myself.

Although I freely cop to being as competitive and bossy and sure-of-my-own-certitude about the pettier shit as anyone else.

Because I genuinely think that kind of thing is nasty bullshit, and destructive, and oh my GOD I am so motherfucking tired of hearing about y'all's BLOWJOBS, and I don't just mean the literal ones either.

But mostly: how did the phrase go again? Oh, yeah.

"You're hurting women."

Fuck that, actually.

"You're hurting people."

Maybe not this one so much; she seemed pretty resilient and so forth. But other people aren't, and no, it isn't okay. It isn't just an amusing game. Or if it is, howazbout make up your frigging minds whether it's a harmlessly amusing game or serious talk about Very Important Shit in preparation for the Revolution, because I honestly don't think it can be both at once, even assuming I believe it's either one alone, which I don't know as I do, really.

As in, actual people, right now.

You may now commence the shrieks and howling about the beam in my own eye and my every fucking flaw.

but I'm sick of this shit, and no, I'm not gonna just shut up about what's bothering me any more than you are.

So either let's figure out a way to really talk about this, or you know, just deal with it.

Rootietoot said...

I think...people think too much. I am trying to figure out who actually has time to figure all this out.Between work, families, school, fixing dinner and doing laundry...who has this kind of time? Seriously...

belledame222 said...

Well, yeah, there is that. But that can be said about pertty much anything "frivolous," really, and thus goes for any damn time spent on the Internets at all.

Anyway I just updated to further elaborate what's really bothering me. I just can't be any clearer than that. And yeah, I'm tired of it, too, and have more important shit to do that I'm letting go on the back burner. Which I realize is a problem. Believe it or not.

But I just figure: okay, besides my own squirrely little obsessiveness, there maybe is a reason why people keep getting all wound up like this, and here's my theory by me as to why.

-sigh.- Did I mention about my being just a -tad- obsessive?


Bitch | Lab said...

i don't think there's a problem with thinking. I really dislike it when ppl try to tell me how to live my life by putting what I do down and insinuating I don't work as hard or have as many obligations as they do.

i happen to read and write quickly. i happen to have seen all this shit before. makes it easier.

belledame - one think that i found interesting was, when i just read KH, I realized that they were making the same arguments as the Nazi doctors.

We must perform this surgery and cut this out for the larger organism's own good. (Lifton, my mentor said, was and remains a critique of the notion of organic holism in identity based movement ideologies such as Nazism.)

This was my mentor's obsession, too. The dangers of the organicist holism put forth particularly by utopians -- socialist, agrarian, technological. He was especially interested in technological utopians.

and, since he was a survivor of Nazism (as was another mentor, older, who'd actually been one of the few in White Rose), he took this shit seriously.

that's why I'm always dispirited by attacks on theory. for both of these men,my mentors, these ideas mattered and had real consequences. Focusing on Hitler as the problem distracts people from the other problem: Hitler can die; nazism and other form of utopian holsitic theory can live on.

(If FO is reading -- of course, you should still assume a materialist analysis on this one. :)

Rootietoot said...

I guess we all have our own personal obsessions. Your's are fascinating to my housewife self. Someone has to think about this stuff, I reckon.

Bitch | Lab said...

i just read the addendum, BD.

Someone in the thread tried to make a distinction be/ political bloggers and emmo bloggers. While I think this was nasty in its assumptions, I do think that it's important to take that kind of context into account.

A woman I read, Angela (, was talking about how people often see blogs as semi-private.

it's this new space opened up by the technology that allows people to be public with thoughts that, in the past, they would have only been able to share f2f.

I mean, even Bec (Random bird) friend, Cherry Wench, noted this at her blog. She described her *shock* at the celebrity where her two blogospheres collided. She was talking about the LiveJournal World, which people can often experience as very closed off from the rest of the blogsopher because liveJournal is so much more referential.

It was a little jarring to see the two worlds collide.

I think that we have an obligation to simply check someone's blog out before we go attacking ideas.

Try to find out how prepared they might be for the onslaught of attention from two very popular feminist blogs.

I mean, just paying attention to the fact that she was in the midst of a huge life changing event. If you dig more into her blog, it's pretty big stuff that's she's doing right now.

belledame222 said...

>I really dislike it when ppl try to tell me how to live my life by putting what I do down and insinuating I don't work as hard or have as many obligations as they do.>

Yeah. Me, too. Although...well. Yeah, for me, personally, this is actually--personal share time!--kind of part of what's fuelling all this.

'cause you know, when I say, "I'd like [us] to move forward?" I am really doing a bit of "I Am The Cosmos" here me own self. because, you know, well, that just encompasses a fuck of a lot of things, for me, that loaded little idea, "moving forward," which I'm not gonna get into right here and now, but um. Yeah, at some point, it'd probably be a really good idea for me to just, like, get up and turn off the fucking computer. You know: shower, finish unpacking, eat, sleep. Wait for the newly-started ADD meds to start kicking in, hope they fucking do something. Because, as just reminded by my lovely, helpful parents, I "haven't been making much progress these past six years." Well, you know, except for the actual big arduous process of overcoming depression and making friends and learning to live on my own without thinking I'm totally inadequate and fundamentally changing big parts of my core belief system and how I interact with the world and maybe a spiritual journey as well, because I -really want off the turnip truck-,

but oh, yeah, at some point, I really do need to, you know, "get on with it." Because, I really do need to start earning more money at some point! Did I know? I mean, fuck, that honestly never even occurred to me! I'm just not putting all my "oomph" into it that I possibly can, because I'm, what is it now? Lazy? Spoiled? Not fulfilling my potential? Spending all my fucking energy and gifts, fuck YEAH i believe I have them, on pointless fucking internet battles instead of I don't know making a CAREER out of them? Why, no! That never even fucking occured to me! But, thank you, Mom, I will do my best, now, to "just get over it." That just fucking helps so much! So much more than all this pointless therapy and psych-speak and so on; well, no, -of course- "we" understand how important it is, yes, we've said a million times how much we can see you've changed. Except for when "we" utterly lose "our" shit and turn into fucking Mrs. Hyde and all that brilliant academic intellectual rational enlightened knowledge is suddenly swept away under a trip straight down the fucking rabbit hole of raging insanity, which, oh yes. We are so very, very fucking sorry about.

But yes: it is high time I got over this, too, isn't it. There's so much to be fucking thankful for. Isn't there.

And--why! Is this an insight moment? An owning my shit moment? One of those why YES! i do believe it IS!

"We're only saying this because we're concerned."

well! I feel better!

>I mean, just paying attention to the fact that she was in the midst of a huge life changing event. If you dig more into her blog, it's pretty big stuff that's she's doing right now.>

well, yeah, wouldn't you think? I mean, um hello, speaking of "objectification." It's actually kind of hilarious, really; I kind of love it, in a way; all these people rending garments and gnashing teeth about what she should or shouldn't do wrt what even is it now? some guy that it turns out she's actually not even seeing anymore anyway, and in fact is quite literally sailing off into the ocean. perhaps under a setting sun, to swelling music. I like to think so, anyway.

belledame222 said...

and, oh yes.

i feel like a total heel complaining at all, what with my relative socioeconomic privilege and all. because, i really do see--i mean, I *see* things, isn't that just a totally unambiguous gift--how fucked up and unfair this whole shit system is. even the parts that are supposedly benefitting me. Strike the supposedly: are.

not least extending to, like, half my friends and the people who live around me.

and, you know, while I would never dream of saying that I "understand" how it is to, like, be terrified of falling through the cracks and never getting back up, no safety net, sticky sweetly poisonous strings and all, at all--because I surely do not at any sort of visceral level--what I can *see,* what I can *feel,* is: goddam, this sucks.

"It isn't fair."

This has, you know, sort of been my problem all along?

But, you know, I am kidding myself; because I am (all together now):


even if it's not remotely fucking clear what it is I'm supposed to be giving, if the angry screaming woman could ever articulate it properly it might help --attention? Compassion? Physical help with whatever it is?--and never really seems to be enough anyway,

and oh yeah: did I mention that I am something of an emotional sponge? "psychic battery," some of my more esoterically-inclined friends call it, I think?

you know what I love? Besides the experience of "What? God, that's so intellectual and over my head, I don't think I speak your crazy moon language; you just think you're smarter than us, don't you?" (yes, I get it, too, I am large, I contain multitudes)

I really love, "all these boiling tensions and fucked-uppedness things going on! Fighting! Misery! Dwama! and here I burst into tears or explosive rage, and "damn. What's -her- problem?"

I am laughing as I type this, because it occurs to me is that possibly one of the great gift of the Internets is that I think just about EVERYONE has gone through that last bit at some point or another.

so, you know, still crazy-making; but, at least, you know, for once, you're in good company...

belledame222 said...

and since this is a Feminist Blog and all, I feel compelled to make the following announcement as well:

"If I don't get my fucking period pretty soon, I am going in after it with a Roto-Rooter."

Hey, let's all have a thrash about whether it's feminist to talk about menstroooation out loud, or un-feminist to explain away one's behavior and/or erratic mood swings with "sorry, I'm on the rag"! I don't think we've had one of those in recent memory! C'mon! It'll be fun!

belledame222 said...

per LJ: yeah, I have noticed it does seem to be a different culture; even more incestuous/community-oriented (depending on your perspective and/or how cynical you are feeling at the moment) than Blog O'Sphere, if that's even possible.

one good thing about it, though: the ability to create friends-locked posts.

I am thinking that if and when I finally switch to another host, or my own, I would like to have that feature.

or, I -suppose- I could just start updating my LJ--hey, there's a wacky notion, never even really occured to me; then again, there are limits even to -my- online obsession, I can only obsess in so many places at once...

belledame222 said...

--and, lo! even as 'twere spoken, it were so! no Roto-Rooter necessary! Abracadabra!

Don't you just love the amount of information? Hey! Anyone wanna hear about my adventures in flogging or hot wax?

belledame222 said...

and thank you, BL: Lifton is exactly where I was going with this. yep. dude's got a lot of good points, I b'leeve.

Bitch | Lab said...

and yet, BD, fuck your parents. i mean, yeah, do what you have to but damn doesn't it suck. you and amber and all these other people are important to me and reading you -- fuck!

we have to give up THAT kind of connections -- all the things I learn every day because of you guys and others?

we have to give up to be upstanding productive citizens who don't think so much!


Where is the fucking revolution where we hunt in the morning fish at noon and dof philosophy most of the rest o' the day. HUH? HUH HUH HUH?

when is amber and everyone really goign to get paid to blogger fuckers!


Rootietoot said...

y'all make me tired.
I think I'll go rub the Patriarchal feet.

KH said...

I’ve been trying to remember where I last heard that ‘I slit you open for your own good even though you didn’t ask me to’ concept, so, yes, somebody else did notice. This little spectacle is bad enough for me, & these people aren’t even remotely my reference group, so I really feel it for you, who’s more attuned to it. All I can say is that I trust my judgment here, & my judgment says you’re right. How much of an aha! moment this is for you isn’t my business, but, if it’s any consolation, it could have been way worse. What’s bothering you isn’t that your fundamental moral & political intuitions have been falsified. It’s just that some people who’re dressed in drag as like minds turn out not to be. You’re still who you thought you were.

‘… she seemed pretty resilient & so forth. But other people aren’t …’

There’s a concept, ‘moral luck.’ (Google Bernard Williams.) If I shoot a gun into a crowd & everybody manages to duck, I’m not a murderer. But only by luck. How much should my culpability for the act depend on luck? Some people say a lot, others say not so much. I say, first, it’s a bad thing, &, second, your luck’s gonna run out, paisan. If Random Bird had slit her wrists? (Stranger things have happened.) I know, it just says something about her, not anybody else. Right? How dead does somebody have to be before the whole enterprise begins to look dubious?

‘ … I’m struggling to articulate … : there are … rules.’

What’s to struggle? Don’t murder. Don’t rape. Don’t treat people like shit. Easy. Everybody raised in a not-profoundly-dysfunctional environment knows the rules. (If you’ve forgotten, it’s in books & shit.) Some people just find capital-R Reasons to ignore them. Reasons that usually, totally adventitiously, serve their venal cock-a-doodle-do interests.

I’ve noticed: the rules that govern this jump-the-bitch-&-string-her-up game are actually the same rules we’ve been playing along with all along. I complain when somebody blandly, no-effort-to-hide-it lies about what I said 2 minutes before, but wait a minute … that’s what they’ve always been doing. Even vis-a-vis authentically evil common enemies. Bush, Limbaugh. Even then, it’s all guilding the lily. The real thing isn’t bad enough, it’s got to be some inane parody. Which, to me, isn’t radical (I’m protective of the word). A radical takes her enemies seriously, does them the courtesy of addressing their real arguments, not some childish caricature. A radical has a personal stake in getting it right, elsewise why bother. Which means: this isn’t radical politics, it’s shadow puppetry, radicalism as niche self-marketing. Which is why it’s so easy, come some future 9/11, to change shoe styles. To answer yesterday's question.

A lot of these people come from intellectually backward, philistine, middle class backgrounds. Radicalism is a form of symbolic upward mobility, an insecure, ruthless way of distinguishing themselves from the communities from which they spring. From their parents, their great-grandparents, the kind of the people who burned out mine, & tried to keep yours out of the country. To put is crudely & way-too sweepingly. If they lived in Brooklyn, Vice mag. would be their bible. This has something to do with the cargo-cult attitude to ideas, ‘theory.’ I’m not Ms. Class Analysis, but there’s a petty bourgeois stink to it. Middling IQ, less than the scientific & technical intelligentsia, learned professions, but by God they’ve been to college. Sorry, I know, catty, but true. I spend a fair amount of my time around people who don’t spell too good, & they don’t know from book learnin’, but they know bullshit when they see it, & this so-called radicalism is bullshit. That may be my point: straight from my lumpen heart to you. The combination of crudball character, middling intelligence, ambition & pretense isn’t radicalism. It’s reaction.

The name for it isn’t only ‘cult,’ although it's that. Also: paternalism. Also, to repeat, transparent BS to paper over the gaping void between radical values & shitty mean-girl power-trips.

And rationality, facts, etc. isn’t pale-male. Don’t give it over.

Bitch | Lab said...

I was poking around about my mentor the other day, to see who'd been writing about him online at blogs, if at all.

I discovered something I never knew. His uncle was featured on "This is your life" because he'd saved over 400 ppl from death at the hands of the Nazis. My mentorhappened to be in the show, that's why I found his name online. heh. This would his explain his utter fascination, later in life, with documentary film and then, later, television when we were televising (and editing) the political forums in the citizenship project he directed.

But yeah, I remember when he was totally fired up about Lifton -- which is why I've read Lifton. I read KH before I came over here and I was all fired up about noticing the organicist metaphors being used about having to slice the bad parts out throuh surgery in order to save the whole.

O! O! Can't wait to see if Belledame saw this too. o! O! Lifton!


Sage said...

Personally I know all about hot wax, but I could probably learn a thing or two about flogging.

Belledame, I'm glad you were laughing as you wrote all that because I was getting teary-eyed reading it. (until I got to the roto-rooter, then I laughed out loud - and I loved the "Heathers" scrunchie reference)

Pretentious people are frustrating to deal with over and over and over again. While I, for one, appreciate your efforts to enlighten a few people as necessary, you can always take a break and hang out with the funny bloggers for a while. They're pretty offensive too, but at least they know it.

And progress is highly overrated. Hitler made a lot of progress, and don't we all wish he had just stayed home and got stoned instead? I try to make just enough to live, then enjoy the time I've got. There's nothing we really need to do in this lifetime, except to keep on breathing.

belledame222 said...

>And rationality, facts, etc. isn’t pale-male. Don’t give it over.

Oh, I totally agree. was referring to someone Else's use of the term, a bit sarcastically. It's just, you know, I also agree that it's not the -only- possible approach, set of tools, what you will; and that it's good to have as many tools as possible, and know what's best to use when.

KH said...


Yes, it’s you + Alberto Gonzales are sitting a a tree, K. I. S. S. I. N. G. Also, Delphyne & I are (am?) a 2-headed crone.

belledame222 said...

>you can always take a break and hang out with the funny bloggers for a while. They're pretty offensive too, but at least they know it.>

That's the best idea I've heard all day, thanks. hell, I've been neglecting some really good bloggers that don't give a crap about this shit, and they probably are a lot saner than I am, at least right now.

and for that matter, what I've really also liked about the Internets is how many real! live! in the flesh! awesome people I've gotten to meet, and continue to keep meeting.

i mean, not to say that I don't believe the rest of y'all aren't more than just my imaginary digital friends, too; just, you know, one of the features-not-bugs that keeps me plugging away.

i'd say, i should probably go outside and play, better still, but we seem to have gotten the ass-end of youse guys' hurricane, BL; it's wicked gross out.

anyway, i also have to do laundry at some point; and for some reason the super has duct-taped over all the trash chutes so that you have to lug the stuff downstairs and find a place to deposit it outside, so i really hope it, like my mood, clears up pretty soon.

belledame222 said...

>From their parents, their great-grandparents, the kind of the people who burned out mine, & tried to keep yours out of the country. To put is crudely & way-too sweepingly. If they lived in Brooklyn, Vice mag. would be their bible. >

ohhhhhhh yes. THANK you for that.

Yeah, you know something: what with all the other more vibrant 'isms" and so on I haven't really mentioned it or even have been (overtly) thinking about it, but come to think of it...

yeah, there are certain cultural (among other) factors from my own background here that are probably making a difference as well. Yep. Mmhm.

Bitch | Lab said...

KH -- what WAS the gonzalez ref about? (That's how I do it RootieToot -- I haven't been paying any attention at to da snooz!)

Anyone understand it?

Bitch | Lab said...

sage wrote: "Hitler made a lot of progress, and don't we all wish he had just stayed home and got stoned instead? "

heh. this is hilarious!!

belledame222 said...

>What’s bothering you isn’t that your fundamental moral & political intuitions have been falsified. It’s just that some people who’re dressed in drag as like minds turn out not to be. You’re still who you thought you were.>

And thank you for this as well; that really nails it.

Well; except for: I actually have known this for at least some months now; it's just, for some reason, I keep having this strange belief that if I just -explain- it all properly They will Understand.

belledame222 said...

so, totally mundane (food! mm, food! tension breaker! but also i really want to know) question:

How long would you say it was okay to keep chicken in the fridge, as opposed to the freezer, before it stopped being a good idea to eat it?

belledame222 said...

I figure KH was referring to the whole Big Sister erm Brother Is Watching You vibe, wrt Gonzalez, no?

and the mental image of you and delphyne as a two-headed crone (oh, my god, now i am thinking about the damn Hensel twins again, just when I'd gotten that purged from my brain, CURSE YOU), and i'll be back as soon as i've installed a system to make up for the fact that i've just gouged my eyeballs out, thanks.

belledame222 said...

sage: I have just recently started to try out my hand with my pretty little suede pink and black flogger. Really a warm-up flogger, but damn, it's so -cute.-

belledame222 said...

>The real thing isn’t bad enough, it’s got to be some inane parody.


KH said...

4 days, 5 tops. Chicken's pretty fragile. Okay, so you've lost your eyes. At least you don't have to listen to Delphyne snoring like a beast 3 fucking inches from your head every night. And the endless eating: she's gained us 100 lbs. in the last month, & I eat nothing. And there are other complaints of a personal nature that I won't go into.

B|L: I really have no idea what the Gonzales thing was, but I followed the guy's link back to his website; on his About Me page he says that he's a pretty special kinda dude. Independently invented the calculus while still at his mother's teat, etc. So he must know whad he's talking about, you bum.

belledame222 said...

Oh! okay; totally different Gonzales, dunno about any of that. and in fact: -is- that actually the current A.G's name? is A.G. even the right name for...goddamit. i am going utterly senile. oh well. "but I'm good company."

yeah, I decided not to add food poisoning to the mix and dumped it. I had scrambled eggs.

which reminds me:

so, the chicken and the egg are lying in bed, each smoking a cigarette (yes, chickens do have lips. also eggs). The one says to the other:

"Well, that answers -that- question."

Thank you, you've been a beautiful audience, I'm here all week. Try the veal.

cicely said...

Hi belledame - hope you got your laundary (washing - we call it on this side of the world) done...

I wanted to say - and will say - that I love the fact that you're here - I read you and B/L and Antiprincess (can't comment at AP's because my computer problem won't let me set up an account) all the time, and what I love about you all, among other things, is your great compassion and empathy. I know you really, really care. This matters to me.
And, no, you're not alone about those things that you think you may be going over the top about, or where you wonder -'what else is going on here?' I sure do too. I've thought 'is it me?' when I think I'm seeing 'groupthink', I've thought 'Red Guard' type thoughts and I've been on the end of this stuff too. Also, the 'it's for your own good, and the good of all women in the world' stuff.

I had someone with particular political views pull this stuff on me in recentish times in real life too - though via email. (We no longer see each other.) She wanted me to change what I did for a living, do something more 'for the cause', when what I do is what I know, and I do not have a great range of options as a 52 year old woman with very few skills and not much education. I am a self-employed salesperson, selling my own product and have been for 14 years now. Had a lot of shit jobs before then. What I have now is autonomy, no shitty workplace politics, no working for ass-holes, I get out of bed when I want to etc. I don't have a lot else, but I really do value that autonomy. I think of it as a kind of wealth.
Anyway,it was precarious at the time, the force wasn't with me, I was fragile about other things, and she took the opportunity to strongly suggest that what I do is worse than useless, almost immoral even. (Sales perse) She later admitted she'd been 'hard' on me, but regarded it as an 'intervention' and the best time to do those is when people have hit rock bottom. Ta.

With regard to this conversation I always thought that this exchange with a woman I didn't yet know well wouldn't have gone down that way face to face. It occurred via email and blew up into an arguement and hurt feelings that I just don't think would have happened in person. I was new to the net then, and still am relative to a lot of people (2 years), and I have been ever wary and careful about peoples feelings on the net ever since that introduction. She was an experienced net user, and I later felt perhaps somewhat de-sensitised by it. I'm sure there must be people writing thesis and stuff about the cyberworld and human behaviour in it.

antiprincess said...

cecily - I'll check that out.

belledame222 said...

thank you, cecily. means a lot.

>here’s a petty bourgeois stink to it. Middling IQ, less than the scientific & technical intelligentsia, learned professions, but by God they’ve been to college.>

And this is actually another thing:

There -is- a class thing going on wrt the radical feminists (a number of them, anyway) and the more mainstream bloggers (and TF is definitely included there). Not across the board; obviously some of the radical feminists, I do believe (I could be wrong) particularly the ones who've been giving you the most grief lately, KH, are petty bougie.

But as a matter of fact, the majority of the three or four dozen smaller radical feminist bloggers that I'm most familiar with are -not- middle-class; many are -not- college-educated; and while most are white, (I am here not referring to the radical WOC bloggers, obviously, who mainly exist in a separate virtual sphere), a few aren't.

But they're many of them (just flashing through a few people I've been talking to): dealing with multiple marginalities one way or another (including, but not limited to, serious abuse/trauma histories.

at any rate I have seen a fuck of a lot more talk about poverty--not middle-class stuff, just trying to keep through falling through the cracks stuff--among -these- radical feminists.

and of course, also much such talk from people who emphatically -aren't- radical feminists, because there is alienation for some other reason (WOC, a lot of queer and especially kinky folk, for instance).

but you know, I think there are some very good reasons why a lot of women identify as strongly with Andrea Dworkin in particular as they do. and maybe it's not just sexual abuse per se at that.

and why say some other people maybe favor Catherine MacKinnon rather more.

(and I now find myself speculating idly about Sheila Jeffreys' background. I don't know much other than that she's currently in academia, British, and profoundly annoying).

and this is really what I was getting at when I said there were more or less two core audiences for TF.

I don't know if this is just a coincidence for my earlier revelation that in fact I have mentally actually done a 180, pretty much, on where I was viz a viz TF versus many of her more "irrational" regulars.

Or, well, that is: the people who still worship her every move are pretty well nigh impossible, yeah. I do think she's kind of lost some other people in the interim, even if they still read her. I could be off on this. I know of at least one or two people who've been turned off completely because she seems, well, anti-woman, yeah; fatuous, reactionary, something.

point being: I used to be one of the people saying, well, Twisty's all right, even if she -sounds- a little extreme, but goddam, those fanatic regulars of hers! those "radical feminists!"

well, it turns out, you follow some of those regulars back home and maybe click on some of -their- links, and actually?

while I find a number to be crazy-mean and/or totally rigid? and just gonna probably be impossible for me to talk to? Others, I in a way respect a hell of a lot more than TF. A few of them there's no "in a way:" these are good peoples, thoughtful, sane, not rigid at all. They're the ones on my blogroll.

But even the ones I roll my eyes at in exasperation, a number of them at -least- I see that they genuinely care, that they have genuine investment in this, not just the Movement but the actual people. Their friends. Their community. The women, yes. Sometimes a really narrow circle, and the ones deemed to be outside it get treated, well, really fucking shabbily (and this is why the pornstitution crap is so painful for some people, I think, like say antip--because it's the one thing that I think she feels is really keeping her from that genuine warmth and nurturing--I won't speak for her, though, that's been my thought)...but at -least-, you know, if you care for -someone.-

That's big in my book.

And also? It's not a fucking game to them any more than it is to the radical WOC.

belledame222 said...

(or, well, maybe not a majority, not middle class. all I know is that it sure seems like a much higher percentage than, well, some other, bigger (or not) places. and that the subject matter talked about is often different as well, as is the tone).

belledame222 said...

Even like, say, Heart, as many problems as I have with her--and I have many--I will say this for her: it's not a damn game for her either.

And if there's one thing I'm feeling really, really intolerant of right now, it's fucking game playing.

Sure, as sage was saying, in certain cases, we should maybe actually be thankful if it does turn out to be only a game after all; as she says, we'd really have been a lot better off had Hitler had less, you know, drive and ambition.

On the other hand: if one feels that way about a given theory (i.e. that goddam, if we took this shit seriously we'd really be up shit creek) but continues to read and sing the praises and take seriously someone who's espousing said theory, on account of she's so amusing and writes pretty and is On Our Side, and well, no one (with half a brain) -really- thinks she means all that crazy extreme shit, not -really-...well, what does -that- say about one, really?

So, yeah, like I said: 180.

belledame222 said...

but like say, I think antip is more up on this than I am, but I don't know if y'all were aware that kind of going on a parallel track of the Major Sex Wars, within the radfemblogosphere, that is, which is pretty united by having a firm line in the sand wrt pornstitution, there have been some smaller factional you're-in-you're-out battles raging; mostly that I'm aware of, the Beauty Wars, and something or other to do with whether or not say, Paris Hilton is to be adopted as a sister in solidarity (she is a Woman, afer all), or repudiated as just another damn overclass (not the word used, but pretty clear) celebrity 'bot (sexbot, moneybot, whatever).

on that one in particular I suspect there may be class shit happening, although i really haven't been following closely enough to say; I'm just guessing based on what I've skimmed (very briefly) at Genderberg, and more just Monday morning quarterbacking at a couple of radfem blogs I do read semi-regularly. sort of like, in a couple of cases, (this may sound familiar), Don't you people have anything better to think about than this trifling shit? vs. process! agonize! navel-gaze! we all make compromises! but what about the Women you're Hurting by (whatever it is. wearing sports corsets now, is it? is that an argument now, too, that wearing it Hurts Your Sisters? well anyway). And then you have poor kaka mak, (I love her so--come back, kaka!), gamely following along but going, "But, but, hold on, just listen a second, I -like- pretty colors and dressing up...sure, okay, sacrifices and self-examination, but look, nature likes pretty colors and dressing up, look! ruby-throated hummingbird..."

belledame222 said...

anyway, BL, I guess this was the other part, really not fully clear in my mind till now, but this has been a process, of what problems I did have with attempting to explain the difference between radical feminism and all other feminisms viz a viz theory.

At least, in the context of the high-heat places we were talking about it, you know.

Because I think that what you did was really important--actually, you know, Read The Fucking Manual, not many people are too keen on doing this these days, much less people who aren't already proponents of the actual theory they're learning about.

At the same time, though, there's a way in which I kind of felt it was besides the point, in the context of the heat and drama.

mainly in that the radical feminists already feel/felt under attack;

and I think what they've been hearing, from me as much as anyone else, is I Blame The Radical Feminists.

and I know you were talking theory, not people; but I also think that, hey, you know, volatile already, the Internets, misunderstandings, blah blah; and also when you say radical feminism is DIFFERENT from all other feminisms;

well, that may well be true. In theory.

But the thing of it is, as I've been observing? not everyone who calls themselves "radical feminists" online do necessarily agree with the idea, for instance, that the root of all oppression is male over female, as committed through sexual domination.

Yes, true, that idea is very much alive and well and at least implict strongly running through most everything being said and done;


1) there is room for nuance and personal interpretation even among people who've read the manual
2) a lot of people who call themselves radfems actually haven't really read the manual for themselves (maybe they really should, but, you know, we all do what we can)
3) in point of fact, as I am seeing it, while some people are strongly against "pornstitution" at least partly because they have read and bought the theory lock, stock and barrel (Woman Are The Sex Class, yadda), a lot of others really don't, but are still viscerally opposed to "pornstitution" because in their minds and guts and experience, it is inextricably linked with violence and horror and rape.

4) and most important: I get what you're saying about wanting to stick to blaming the theory, as opposed to individuals. definitely I see why it's really a good idea for me, personally, (my own stuff), to be more mindful about sliding into scapegoating and Blaming of my very very own: I tend to go overboard.

and fuck yes, it's important to Read The Bloody Manual, people. and not just your own, either. so you're right-on about that, and I really appreciate how much you've raised the bar for me in that regard. I really have learned a lot (yeah, that phrase); not -from- you; but because your approach has really encouraged me to be a lot more intellectually rigorous than I otherwise might have been about this shit.

I also, however, on the whole, personally? tend to lean more toward antip's theory of blame, if blame is to be done at all. i've said my piece about why i think this as a general rule.

But also, in this particular case, I kind of don't want to come off as I Blame The Radical Feminists. Anymore. I realize I already do, perhaps irrevocably.

mostly because, in my experience, some radical feminists are not only just as capable of reasoned, shadees of grey thought, listening, changing their mind, as any other sane and thoughtful and intelligent person, but truly excellent human beings.

and quite a number of people who are supposedly "on my side," one way or another are, in my humble opinion, plenty damn rigid and dogmatic themselves; and oftimes utter shitstains to boot.

and even if I agree with them about 95% of the time, if I can't talk to them about the other 5% without everything just falling apart (I am thinking specifically of Nancy whosis on your blog, among others), I'm not much interested in talking to them.

and if I think that they're fairly right on in theory but their actions and behavior reveal them to be utter untrustworthy duplicitous shitstains who'd sell their own grandmother to save their ego, I don't want to claim them as "on my side," either.

not in an online context, anyway.

like I said: if something is actually HAPPENING, Reg, like, ever, then yeah, realpolitik is real; sign me up for the march.

but I am done trying to pretend some people are more worth talking to, much less claiming solidarity with at all costs, than other people just because they superficially look and talk and sound just like me and Those People don't.

and I am so completely aware that that is -not- what you are about BL; that is the -other- thing I've really been influenced in you by. your blog readership is really eclectic and funky and smart and interesting and whatever the adjective is for "integrity," and there's a reason for that. A good one. I am proud to say that I think mine is, too.

It's just my thing here; like yours is not wanting to Pin The Tail On The Bad Guy.

belledame222 said...

Hi! I can't sleep at all. I mean, well, for whatever reason--I suspect largely chemical, I know this shit is really interesting and all but I HOPE that's not all that's keeping me awake--yeah. Insomnia. Feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed (god knows how or why).

So as long as I'm up: yet more thinkage.

BL, I think something just clicked for me wrt CR vs/ group therapy:

Yes, i see: there's a difference. There are these, let's say, structures, that -look- kind of similar, maybe even have a lot of overlap in technique and results, but on the whole have different goals. One is -primarily- about activating change in the greater world, via self-realization viz: how world shit affects you personally. The other is -primarily- about understanding one's personal past and inner workings and learning how to get past personal blockages. Even there, you know, some approaches really focus on, say, understanding family-of-origin stuff; others are specifically really deep, concentrating on unearthing and/or healing trauma; others are more outward or at least results-oriented (my goal is to find a more satisfying career and make more friends and maybe figure out why my love life keeps going south). And on the whole, just generally, you know, feel better. Doesn't have to be politically oriented at all, that; and in fact usually isn't.

Am I right so far?

Okay. So if there was any misunderstanding as to this: I have no beef with either thing, you understand. I think they both could serve purposes. Do. I suspect you and I share similar views about just how effective CR, defined as such, is in actually effecting change on the grand, sweeping, revolutionary scale that it makes claims for (or not?); at minimum, not all by itself. But, as you say: we've all got our political approaches. As long as you respect mine, I'll respect yours. Sure.

And though it's not really been a way I've gone, sure, I can see how oh say a group of women who were basically pretty..solid on a personal level, you know, not wildly dysfunctional family of origin, some sort of support system, satisfying career/relationships-- well, maybe not that necessarily so much, considering the history of CR, but okay, you know what I mean: it COULD be, you know. Point being: functional, not really -primarily- concerned with healing deep personal anguish per se;

just, like, for example, thinking now of my mom, not that long ago, who pretty much missed the feminist boat at the time, even though it was her era--she was of the opinion that it was for rich girls, is my understanding; or activism in general was, you know, a thing of the leisure class, playing around with the idea of the working class, which she resented--

--anyway, so not so long ago, her making the observation to me,

"I never really thought about it much before, but..." basically, that the Rolling Stones, whose songs she liked musically, were, actually, come to think of it, lyrically often, well, sexist. Offensive, really.

She didn't really go much of anywhere with that; but sure, I could see how for someone who'd never given this sort of thing much thought, or at least (maybe this is more CR proper) weren't able to articulate what felt like a nagging discomfort, would find a group to talk about this stuff, really valuable. I mean, you add up the Stones and the diet ads and the uncomfortable shoes and oh yeah, I do stangely seem to keep getting passed up for that promotion, and, say, yeah, I really -don't- like it when men I don't even know call me "honey," and you know you're right, actually, it isn't flattering or even just a mild annoyance and an inevitable fact of life that I get my ass pinched on the subway not infrequently, actually; it's, well, REALLY ENRAGING.

-That-, I get. Bigtime.

And I even get how this would translate into concrete action, as opposed to just, you know, just keep "examining," maybe share the gospel: okay, the lad's mags are -really- offensive, hate speech even, we're all sick of it, let's do something about it! At least hide that shit, for fuck's sake, we're all sick of having to look at it every time we go to the damn store, and you know, yeah, really not too keen on the idea that my boyfriend reads that shit day after day and comes home with the idea that it's okay to talk to me like (insert sexist and nasty, dehumanizing albeit supposedly "jokey" language). Or that I'm supposed to look like the Page Three (? I'm thinking of Page Six, but that's something else) girl. Just really tired of it. Make it better, or replace it with something better, or just make it go away. Something."

So yeah, I totally get that. I might or might not agree about the goals and/or effectiveness of any particular action, and I don't either think that this sort of thing all by itself is gonna revolutionize, like, the whole entire world; but sure: makes sense to me. I have no problem with this per se. If that's what we're really doing.

What I know better is group therapy, -not- particularly politicized per se in fact; but still having the potential to affect outward change, I'd submit, at least as much so as CR anyway, you know, in an indirect way.

But yes, different goals; and my own passion, you know, is my firm belief that -therapy- qua therapy is -really useful.- Maybe not for, you know, everyone; and for damn sure it's not the all-purpose Tool either; but, generally, you know, good stuff. Nice -complement,- ideally, to political consciousness raising, formally known-as or otherwise (and vice-versa, if you like--again, just my ideal, by me, but, sure, neither one is for everyone, much less both, anyway) ...and especially, maybe, complement to activism, just my own idea, 'cause, sideline? Activist groups tend to have big snarly issues all of their own, and can be seriously fucked up, both individually and as an organization, and that tends to kind of get in the way of, you know, actual goals being accomplished. Just notin'. Past experience.

And maybe you're right in saying that (I think?) that the group therapy approach is -never- --well, what?

Really effective as a political tool, per se? because that, I'd probably agree with.

Should or could be used on a big ol' feminist/political board? For any reason?

Well, maybe there is where we might disagree somewhat. Again, no, this ain't gonna fix everything, either way. Of itself. But I think it might be at least worth a shot. (even putting aside whether anyone's gonna even try to step up to the plate here, much less how well it might be implemented. but anyway, for now) Here's why:

All I was trying to say wrt this was--well, two things.

One, that,

three! three things! No one expects the Spanish Inq--


-One-, that first of all, I do think that people come to politics and to the Internets without a really terrifically clear goal of exactly -what- they want; they just know that they have this...*feeling.* Something's gotta shift. Inside or outside or both. -Something.- A little help here, please!

...and, as it unfolds, turns out besides having different actual beliefs and so on, different people maybe want different things from what they call--well, maybe even just politics, but especially, from -feminism-;

because, feminism, as we know, encompasses a good many things, from -very- personal to -very- global.

So it transpires that sure, many people who say they want "debate" (which in my book is neither CR -nor- group therapy; that's something else) really just plain want debate; enough with the touchy-feely and/or nattering crap about high heels and so forth, let's have some statistics and talk about ideas. For others, well, the CR approach works really well. Probably there are other overall approaches, whatever you want to call it, other -needs,- that we haven't covered here.

Point being:

That in addition to that, some people--not all, by any means, but some--do come to politics and particularly to feminism, and PARTICULARLY particularly--maybe--as I am observing it here on the Intrawebs--to -radical- feminism--with some maybe deeper needs as well.

Old wounds. -Deep- wounds. Abuse. Trauma. Often, especially for those who come to feminism, especially especially (maybe?) those who come to radical feminism--not all, I am trying to be really careful about inadvertently suggesting that, like, "oh, people only are attracted to that theory because they had fucked-up childhoods." -Really.- Just, you know: observation: correlation.

Which is perhaps not unrelated to the fact that radical feminism, as you note, centers its theory around patriarchal power-via male-dominating sexuality. That, you know, maybe resonates with some people, for whatever reason(s), more deeply than others.


Which, of itself, is to me suggestive that if you have a group of this demographic, chances are good that, maybe more so than in your average group of bears randomly selected, (which may well find sexuality fraught enough already, seeing as how, you know, sex-negative society, it's already fraught for all of us--that would be the sociopolitical right there)--but, in -this- case, chances are quite good, the subject of sex is almost inevitably and quickly going to quickly turn extra-heavy and fraught and start going into talk of abuse and anger and "enough of that shit, we've had way too much of that shit already, what we need to learn how to say NO! NO!!! and have it RESPECTED!! (by any means necessary? sometimes, perhaps)"

Let's come back to that.

2) But so, you know, different, barely articulated (often) needs, different inchoate ideas.

And on the Internets in particular, people, I think, -really- don't give it much thought, often, when it comes to: well, what kind of a discussion is this? I mean, geez, how processy and dull (if even that occurs to anyone): look, it's just the Internets. We're just, you know, -talking.- Hell, it took a lot just to get -that- far. Set up a space, host the party, here come the people, here we are talking. Took guts and initiative. What more do you want already?

So, but, okay: let's put aside the whole "debate" business, since we know how that drill works pretty well on your typical political boards; or anyway, how it's supposed to. Yeah, all kinds of inadvertent (lame, endlessly circular, no resolution or even breakthrough ever in sight) quasi-group therapy always seems to happen anyway, somehow, between the lines, in the thrashes and sidelines and personal flamewars. But, you know: ideally.

So let's say right now we're doing either CR or group therapy or some undefined mixture of both, either way, personal-is-political time; we are opening up our personal shit and sharing. Is the bottom line.

And my point being, simply, whatever your purported goal is, whatever the subject matter, and whatever you're calling it, there is a (more) responsible way of doing this; and there are less responsible, muddy-boundaried, incompetent ways of doing this; and then there are really incredibly irresponsible (at least), destructive ways of doing this.

I've been trying to talk about how I think the "incompetent, muddied" thing comes about, and how -maybe- I think we could start thinking about fixing it.

-Besides- that, my problem -now- is, and I think, we were on the same page about this--whatever it is, whatever you're calling it, when you start getting heavy into the blame and shame and particularly SCAPEGOAT thing? When you start talking about not only "we're just trying to get you (plural or singular) to think about this stuff more critically, like I did" or even "we're just trying to show you the proper way to think about this shit, and maybe what to do, although we're not exactly FORCING you or anything," but -now-, "We're only doing this -to- you for your -own good- YOU, SINGLE PERSON, ARE FUCKED UP, ALL 1000 OF US AGREE, NOW HOLD STILL FOR THE SCALPEL, THIS WILL ONLY 'HURT' FOR A MINUTE" Can I get a witness that at least, you know, this bit? Is, however you're justifying it? Utterly and completely fucked up?

Thank you.

Okay, so now,

3) Well, as KH noted, once you're at the HOLD STILL FOR THE SCALPEL, IGNORANT SLUT (WE'RE DOING THIS FOR -YOUR-SAKE! BECAUSE YOU ARE UNWORTHY, AND BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU!) stage, then, you know, you could be talking about arithmetic for all it mattered and it'd -still- be incredibly damaging.

But so let's say we're back in that kind of annoying messy grey area, you know, where people probably -mean- well and maybe aren't even necessarily -all-, you know, completely full of righteous zeal and control freakage; just, you know: what is it that we're doing here again? Are we on the same page? Are we even in the same library?-- oh, who cares, damn the torpedos and full speed ahead, so: let's raise those consciousnessesess!

...then, well. I still think that this can be, you know, damaging, depending on just how far into "BAD PERSON! NO BISCUIT!" we're actually getting. But the degree of damage, at least, -now-, here, depends at least partly, I posit, on the volatility of the subject matter.

Which is not objectively determined either, no; but, I think it might be fair to suggest, that the world being how it is, and particularly, as I've also suggested, certain, say, demographics? with certain experiences and/or beliefs? tending to be what they are...anything having to do with S-E-X-X in this context, is automatically gonna be way more charged from the git-go.

Fair enough?

And, you know: I suppose it is -possible- to have a CR session about matters S-E-X-Xual and not have it go into the deep dark scary places.

Hell, maybe it really isn't doing, for anyone. Maybe this is all my, you know, stuff.

And I do think if nothing else, that let's say the people who emerged from the BJ wars relatively unscathed and going, "Huh, well, dunno about the method, or if I agree with such and so, but, hm, yeah, it's useful to start thinking about this stuff, you know, you're right, there IS just something about the symbolism of giving head, even if I do -like- it..."

well, my speculation is that those are the people for whom this sort of approach does work, yes; and that the -reason- it does is that, as is perhaps more likely to be true with, say, high heels, for more people (not everyone, no; we've all got our triggers, no doubt)--is that these are the women who didn't really have all that much to unpack, personally at least wrt sex, or at least hummers, to begin with. You know: no big whoop. It's just sex.

For them.

Which is, one could argue perhaps, as it should be;

then again, if that were true, that would kind of tend to contradict I think the author of the exercise's whole thesis (whatever it actually was) and point.

Which, I had one of those, a point, here.


Well, yes: that, simply, my suspicion? Is that, in addition to the betrayed trust a lot of people felt at what a number of us already agreed was kind of dirty pool wrt the rules of the game ("play with me, just for a laugh. No, wait, actually, I had a point after all: shame shame shame, you're icky and self-deluded; or well it's really CR, "you"-directed CR; maybe i was actually giving you a warning when I said 'it will give me a bang;' the laugh's all at you,'")--BESIDES that, and ALSO besides, you know, sex is just incredibly fucking fascinating forever and ever and ever...

my suspicion is that in fact the volatile combination of certain peoples' beliefs about and/or experiences with sexuality, thrown willy-nilly into a room with people who did -not- necessarily share those assumptions -or- experiences and who didn't even understand what the rules of the game were supposed to be, whether intentionally misled or just confused...

...yeah. All the elements I've been talking about up till now. Different assumptions about the goal of the discussion. Different assumptions about the intentions of the trusted sister-friend (perhaps). -Very- different -experiences- of (hetero, at least)sexuality, ranging from "good times! Whee!" to "heavy, traumatic, dark, relentlessly centered on male abuses thereof" sex. -Wildly- different assumptions about What It All Means, Dear, sociopolitically speaking. -Wildly- differing expectations of what to expect in a Feminist discussion, as noted previously--you know, do men make it unsafe? Are we caring and sharing, or consciousness raising, or what? -How can you not care about women!?- (and wildly different assumptions about what -that- means). Add lots of finger-pointing and "fun" shaming -and- "seriously intended CR-type" shaming, and the usual personal hooha of Internets boards. Shake well. Stand well back...


(reverberate reverberate reverberate ad infinitum)

Surprise, surprise, no?

And so, in conclusion (pant),


Like I said. At minimum? A call, however cynical I am about whether and how it will be heeded, for more responsible hosting from let's say some people.


Now do you have a bit more sense of why I keep saying:

Okay. Guys? As one possible alternative? Assuming anyone wants to, you know, really have more serious discussions about sex that aren't either just "yay! I like -this!-" (which I'd be happy to see more of in leftieville all by itself alone, don't get me wrong, and a repeated thanks to Bitch PhD for doing that at all), but, you know, a talk about maybe potentially more loaded shit? from a -personal- perspective? as in, caring and sharing and opening up and so on in a -feminist- space? In -addition,- I am saying, to the places where we debate and call for action (where is this, again? oh well, anyway) and talk about sociological meanings and even consciousness raise? Just, you know, in a -separate space,- and...

Therapy? Therapy-like? "Safe space?" Warm 'n' fuzzy? Share from the I? Non-judgmental? Non-confrontational? Listening and amplification? Anyone? Bueller?...

v said...

On menstruation - i feel fucking shit the week before my period emotionally and fucking shit during my period physically. i really really resent being told that it doesnt hurt and/or make me clumsier and/or make me depressed and weepy, because it's insulting, like i am either making it all up or imagining it. yeh yeh women can do all sorts of things when they have their periods but that doesnt mean we're not allowed to be angry/sad/in pain/talk about it when we have them. i don't think it's anti feminist to admit to pain in periods anymore than it's anti feminist to admit to pain in childbirth.

and that was totally off topic i know and apologise.

on everything else you've said here, there's little i don't agree with tbh. it goes without saying (but i'll say it anyway ;)) that i think it's unnecessary and unfair to attack delphyne, who as much as you might disagree with her, i don't think her dedication to women or to feminism could honestly be questioned - maybe it's not your feminism but that's neither here nor there really - she's sound and supportive and about as woman centred as a woman could be.

other than that, thank you for this post and your musings in the comments. lots to be thought about here, and many good points.

and just to add that i didn't read any radfem manual i'm afraid. i don't think there is one all knowing 'manual' though. i have read several other books and articles by radical feminists and about radical feminism and i can't say i always agree but i don't think i'm supposed to. and even if i'd read nothing - i am a radical feminist and the list of books i've read (or haven't) doesn't change that. i'm quite proud of it really because it's the first time i've found a political position that i feel so much in my gut, that it makes things make sense to me, it helps me explain my own history and my own perceptions.

anyway, i've rattled on a bit.

thank you again for this post.

Bitch | Lab said...

As I said at amanda's, if people are talking about consciousness raising -- enlightenment -- then it might be great for all of us to form some kind of group where we decided to tackle, together, what CR was to our foremothers.

What were the debates then? We can interview Jo Freeman, Carol Hanisch, my mentor, whoever else and ask them.

They are, like, still fucking alive an' all! LOL

How did they impelement it? What were the problems when they did?

There are entrie fucking papers, books, and conferences about the issue. Consciousness raising was incorporated in the annals of the work of critical social theorists.

people have done the work.

but my suggestion fell felt. it's a suggeston that has demanded action from us. it asks for us to do one small political thing and no one wants to do it.

you know why?

because they don't want answers to the question how to do this in a way that won't hurt people.

Bitch | Lab said...

if a feminist doesn't think that gender is the historically and theoretically first form of oppression, then she's not a radical feminist.

it's like saying you're a marxist but don't believe in class struggle.

i think it's great that people do whatever they want to do with regard to why they come to feminism. go with jeebus. they should probably stay away from my blog and i will stay away from their's.

if they don't like what i'm saying, then they need to argue with it.

what has happened instead?

--invasion of my personal life
--request that i quit my job as a feminist (HO!)
--called a supporter of kiddie porn
--called whatever crap rm called me
--called a troll

you can see why i'm thinking that i'm not very sympathetic. i'll stay on my theory gig and they can peer into each other's navels and wonder if they should wear high heels and lipstick and imagine that if they do/don't that it'll change things.

i think you can safely say this: i've seen a lot of things change in my lifetime. what the major feminist blogs are advocating right now, even in a milder and nice form, isn't what brought about any of those changes.

Bitch | Lab said...

years ago, my psychology mentor laughed at me when she handed me an intro text book and said, "read and do the questions."

I came back two weeks later and said, "all done." she quizzed me a bit.

Oh, she said, I figured that would take the whole semester. Here, read these books.

I should look at my transcripts to find the name of the book, but it was a seminal study on various forms of group therapy.

It was this huge fat book that looked at just about every common therapy out there and asked which worked best.

Answer? All worked about the same. heh. Even one that involved no actual professonal in the room and ws run with tape recorded messages or something.


i'm not saying it's not useful. just sharing a story, one that my social psychologist friend, Miles Jackson, says largely remains true. various therapies have the same success rates: talking cure is as good as pills as good a congnitive therapy as good as behavioral as good as bongo drum counseling as good as sherpa lingo in the snow.

Bitch | Lab said...

belledame :although we're not exactly FORCING you or anything,"::

as i said from the start, when I asked about what Rmildred meant when she said no one had to buy it -- the thread that brought everyone down on BL bitching at me/us?

as I said, this is a lie.

although everyone says that there is no power in feminism to do anything -- you're free to ignore their claims.

we keep hearing tha tover and over right?

you don't have to buy our argument. that's what they say.

but it's a lie.

go read random bird right now where she laughs at people who think she's been raped.

once that gets around, if they even care anymore, that ought to cause a huge firestorm.

petitpoussin said...

I am late to this post, but have to say, thanks for addressing 'safe space'. If it means that I have an 'emo' blog because I think that safe space is necessary, so be it. Frankly, I've got my blogs where I can read/comment and know I won't get shit on for not touting the Party Line (and you are so one of them), so that helps put some of those nastier blog threads (aka Night of the Giant Egos) in perspective.

Alon Levy said...

i think you can safely say this: i've seen a lot of things change in my lifetime. what the major feminist blogs are advocating right now, even in a milder and nice form, isn't what brought about any of those changes.

Which major feminist blogs? Feministing endorses a combination of direct and indirect action; Majikthise does pretty good outreach; Echidne has stuff that could be the blueprint for killing the wage gap by 2030. I like to think of these bloggers as NOW with the passion of MLK's civil rights movement.

Bitch | Lab said...

good point alon. good point.


BD -- i had a question.

you talk a lot about abuse in that last section.

and what I hear is that, wrt the Pandgon blow out, you accept that Random Bird was abused.

She doesn't think she was -- not by C., the guy she happily blew and fucked these past few days in Key West.

One of the problems here is that no matter what kind of therapy anyone goes through, it's not going to change the basic situation:

nearly every single person in this blow out believes she was abused.

she doesn't. she is laughing right now that any of us call it rape.

it makes you go hmmmm when you think about BB's claim that 'women should be the ones to say whether they'd been raped.'

I was going to type that 'raped or not'

But, there is no choice, not in the debate as it was presented. Everyone believes she was raped.

KH said...

B|L, There are 2 things. First, yes, of course, it was just assumed that she was raped, or abused, on the basis of a not-entirely clear blog post or 3. As if she were some long-dead 14th-century writer & couldn’t just be asked, or left to speak for herself. So people can overinterpret, maybe they’re too ready to impose a certain reading on ambiguous material. But 2nd, accepting the 1st assumption, arguendo, how do you treat a victim of rape or abuse? That, to me, is the greater puzzle, that having concluded she was abused, so many people should have thought it plausible to pillory her for what she said about it.

belledame222 said...


I understand that you're her friend, and I actually do see that she takes a firm line about not blaming WOMEN for their harassment (another friend on this "side" so noted on her blog, Amber R, btw) I know we've been snarky here, but I'm not sure I/we meant to say (perhaps I did in so many words) that I don't think she's sincere, committed to women, feminism etc. On the contrary: I think she's extremely committed to her beliefs. Which, I respect, and in some instances, as we see, do agree with; it's just, well, among other things, I think here, agreement per se is actually kind of not the point; for me, it's an impression that on the places we -don't- agree, (particularly, you know, wrt The Eternal Subject), there's just no wiggle room at all, for her, maybe? would be a way of putting it? Which in some ways I think is admirable; on the other hand it makes it difficult, at best, to really connect. It's actually, again, not really so much about The Eternal Subject for me here, although, well, yes, I have my beliefs and so forth, and they matter, but...well.

It's mostly just, you know: she's really been (imo, and i think in theirs) kind of godawful, or at minimum unnecessarily unfeeling/un..-receptive? among other things... to several of my friends. not in a flamey dramatic way, usually: but, I know that feelings were quite hurt, and/or rankled, let's say. and I was sort of getting the impression, both from my own interactions with her and my impressions of those conflicts, that in this case, I don't really see change happening on that front any time soon. I could always be wrong. But for right now, one of the friends who felt personally rankled, at least, was venting, and I was playing along, yes, because I had my own feelings on the subject. also showing solidarity with friend, who's been rather extraordinary on my blog at least, in a number of ways.

I expect people who know her (esp. in person) and like her and tend to agree with her on a number of those subjects might well have looked at those same discussions/thrashes and come to the opposite conclusion from me. perhaps not gonna change each others' minds, I rather think in this case, at least right now; but I take on board that yes she's a real and complex human being, as are we all, and will at least try to be more mindful of that basic fact in future interactions and speaking-of.

and then too I'm well aware that many on t'other side (however defined; a number of people, let's say) find me pretty damn hard to take as well. Which, you know, I think in some cases may, again, not be something that can be shifted. It's okay.

Genuinely sorry to have been mean about your friend; it's just, well, I think, at the end of the day we're maybe not -all- of us going to just get along. which is also okay.

and that you may have friends (I don't know this, just guessing, statistically, as it were) who even as we speak are pretty much flaming me to a crisp; and that even if you were to defend me to them, you might well not really change their mind. And that's okay, too.

anyway, I like you a lot. and kaka, and spotted e, and some other folks that I don't know as well seem perfectly nice, really, on the whole. and I expect you probably really don't or wouldn't like a number of my friends; and that's, well, okay too, uh, too.

per "manual;" yeah, that was me being a bit flip, not in a meaning-to-be-insulting way, though. BL and I talk a lot a lot (you may have noticed :P), and sometimes I use sort of shorthand or irreverent-ish language that I expect she'll "get" that I wouldn't necessarily with other people.

Mostly I was referring to what BL had termed the Big Red Book, an anthology of radical feminist writings that she had really, really not liked but at least had taken the time to read, which I was kind of giving her props for doing, as very few people who weren't actually, you know, radical feminists seemed to be bothering. iow, that she had actually taken the time to go look up the history and various theories and so on, which, regardless of her ultimate assessment of the contents of that book, (and one could argue, I do think, about to what degree it is true that that anthology is truly representative of self-called radical -feminists- walking around). So I think ultimately she sees it, and I saw it, as in fact a way of paying respect: taking the ideas floating around here and there seriously enough to at least try to make sure she really knew what she was talking about when she critiqued, well, the theor(ies). I know that for BL in particular at least, this -is- her way of paying respect, knowing how much she values ideas, writing, books, theory.

and obviously that book wasn't the only thing I meant by that, well, shorthand; I was actually talking about, eventually, books in general.

what I meant by "the manual" was, it's kind of a small joke, by me, in that in tech support, (BL is in the computers biz, I figured she probably go tthe reference), it's a sort of, um, I'm not sure what the word is right now...anyway, that the tech support folks who get tired of people calling up kind of asking the same beyond basic questions over and over and over again, ("my set's not on" "Did you plug it in?" "..oh." later, calls back: "It's still not on." "See that button on the remote marked 'on?'" "What's a remote? Why is this thing so stupid, anyway? I want my money back") have this reputation for snarling (or at least wanting to),

"Step one: Read the fucking manual."

Which for me was an affectionate way of acknowledging BL's impatience in general with people who "don't read the fucking manual;" (my joke, not her phrase; I was being flip and clever, like I said): i.e., who keep saying/asking the same damn ignorant things over and over again (i.e. "so why would anyone care what a woman who thinks all intercourse equals rape thinks anyway?") without bothering to, like, go to the library and look it up. Because she cares about these things rather deeply, the need for, say, look up your sources; know what you're talking about, when it comes to such stuff.

Which, in the case of the Big Red Book, actually as I recall it would have meant primarily her impatient with the -critics- of radical feminism, who couldn't be bothered to Read The Fucking Manual.

iow, the same problem a lot of fed-up radical feminists have.

It just happened that when BL did read The (or A, anyway) Fucking Manual, in this case, she ended up by deciding she really didn't agree at all. which, well, is another matter, I'm sure, for some.

but for BL, and for me, too, despite my own let's say irreverance in many ways, it truly is a sign of respect to go to the library and start reading about "their" theories and so on, not just "ours."

So, it really truly wasn't meant as a slam at radical feminism at all, here; and I actually really solidly get -why- you're attracted to it, per your explanation. That understanding has actually been, believe it or not, a big part of well, a...I'm not actually sure what to call it, these past few days. Consciousness raising, perhaps? Well, actually, it's been a lot more than that, it...well, I won't get into it here; just, you know, a lot of rather profound transformation going on. some (not a small amount) related to all this online stuff, in ways that actually hadn't occured to me before; others, I think it's actually the result of a lot of different kinds of personal work (intellectual, emotional, even spiritual) I've been doing over the past few years. I'm still processing it, actually; or, well, I was. I decided to get back into "normal" headspace, I guess. not sure I'd be able to write about it real coherently online even if I were inclined to do so; it's not the sort of thing one often does.

but just, you know, kind of as a side note (or not, perhaps): actually kind of profoundly shaken up, or was just a few hours ago. (I'm kind of back to earth now, I think, for the first time properly in a few days). -not- in a bad way, just...whoa. I mean, it...well, yeah, that's all, actually. Very Keanu Reeves, I know, but it kind of was, I think. I'm still sort of incredulous in a way, but...well, anyway. "whoa."

and totally no need to apologize for talking about menstruation in here!

yup, no question: it is, for better or for worse, and -often- worse, a truly altered state, besides just the hurty pain and the bloating, I've found.

and so I've been in even more of an altered state than usual for a couple of other reasons (lack of sleep, for one), but...yeah, really don't think that was all that was going on here. It...well, yeah, actually, not really a blog thing, that, but. "Wow." That is all.

and as with a few other things, as sometimes happens, the menstrual uh alteredness and other effects kind of took on a different let's say tone? from the usual "bleh, make it stop" to, weirdly enough, a kind of tool. the altered state and such, I mean. hard to explain at all, really.

Good night. Sleep well. Thank you again for your support; it means a lot.

belledame222 said...

...oh, left that mid-post before going out, came back and hit "enter" before seeing BL answered for herself...

belledame222 said...

yeah, I have to say that the "emo" snark, esp. directed at blogs that OMG talk about FEEEEELLLIIINNNGSS, really irks. For a number of reasons, as you can guess. ("What? feelings? Real Men Don't Have Feelings! All we need is the debate podium and the spittoon! And Politics is a Manly Place (except we don't exactly say -that- per se); especially when it's -also- all about Feminist Consciousness Raising (and done, again, incredibly irresponsibly even assuming everyone -did- know that was the drill), all at the -very same time!- We are all making perfect sense! Now hold still for the blow on the head so that you, too, may properly Understand! Wheeee!"

belledame222 said...

>you talk a lot about abuse in that last section.

and what I hear is that, wrt the Pandgon blow out, you accept that Random Bird was abused.>

?!?! uh, NO.

like, emphatically, n-

oh. Well, no, I certainly don't agree that she was SEXUALLY abused per her (did we mention not especially aimed at public delectation? anyway) anecdote; if she says she wasn't, well, unless or until she says otherwise, I, you know, BELIEVE THE WOMAN.

which, weirdly enough, I think just maybe extends -beyond- "believe her when she says it -is- rape" (which is hell important also, yes); like this, it just, well, it maketh not the sense!

and also, what I DO see as abusive is the way they were TALKING about her.

which fucking hell yes does matter. Too.

I really wasn't talking about sexual abuse per se wrt this case; by the time I read as much of THIS frigging shitstorm as I could stand, well, as KH said: it could've been about arithmetic for all it mattered. "Surgery?" "For her own good?" What, long, short, and sideways, FINALLY, is WRONG with you (people)?? GYAHHHH.

belledame222 said...

i kind of feel like i maybe over-explained wrt the abuse business, and maybe just made it more confusing in the process.

Capsule version. IN GENERAL. When you are going to talk about big heavy potentially -very- loaded shit? Which, yes sex bloody often is, but ESPECIALLY if it's gonna be in the context where a lot of people either 1) have traumatic experiences with sex or 2) see a heavy uh significance placed on sex wrt male power and abuse in general, viz: theory? But ESPECIALLY ESPECIALLY ESPECIALLY when you are gonna use some sort of "personal is political" model (i.e. Share Time), as opposed to a more formal and thus at least less touchy approach (an actual "debate," which, as I've said, -that- mess was in no way, shape or form)?

1) Host the discussion responsibly, or maybe better not to pry open that can of worms at all

2) See #1

I talked about possible ways of "how" elsewhere

3) as I say, by the time you're getting to the level of prying in THAT shitstorm, doesn't even matter what the subject matter is; something is WAY OFF

3a) that said, there is a certain grim ghastly irony at the fact that this was about The Eternal Subject, given, well, everything, about the context. And yeah, could've potentially been extra-specially horrible, had random bird happened to have been a different sort of person with a different sort of story.

belledame222 said...

actually, you know, what, come to think of it, there's actually an even shorter capsule version than this, (though I do, as I say, see some call for discussions of "loaded" sexual matters, depending on what the goal is, to be done in a particular way)

Host More Responsibly, Some People.

which obviously includes, you know, both your own stuff and attention to what the participants are actually doing.

belledame222 said...

I gotta say, you know, finally: even putting aside the whole potentially sticky (yes, in the final analysis to me it comes down to, "what is the actual woman's experience;" but I do understand that at the same time there is also a way of talking about this that recognizes it can be a rather grey area sometimes, and that people do change their minds, murky stuff, etc) issue of "when is it rape," the whole damn "intervention" notion, especially wrt for fuckssake total strangers on the Internets, is such a CROCK.

I mean, okay, let's take that surgery analogy. Well, yes, it's quite true: sometimes, emergencies happen, -sometimes- (relatively rarely in the grand scheme of things? nonetheless), it may happen that an apparently conscious and sane person actually is bleeding to death from his severed arm-stump but, for whatever reason, keeps insisting politely that he's just fine, thanks, no need for the hospital really ("It's only a flesh wound!") I, um, guess. I don't know how OFTEN that happens, but whatever;

the POINT being, whichever asstain that was, that even if it WAS clearly an emergency, hello? YOU ARE NOT A TRAINED SURGEON. You are not even someone who has any actual acquaintance with the case at all. You are, in short, just some assclown running around with a rusty hacksaw and a mallet by way of anaesthetic, who's probably not even in the right room. In fact, this isn't a hospital at all, did you notice; this is the Argument Clinic, just down the street from St. Loony Up The Cream Bun With Jam. oh, yeah, and the "patient" actually left the place hours ago. but do keep earnestly trying to saw away at whatever it is! your foot, is it? At least in that instance no one -else- gets hurt. But, as they say, sometimes, "it's the thought (or lack thereof) that counts."

(And since I'm already three for three with the Monty Python: anyone else, after the initial sputtering and...sputtering, have a flash of the Gumby surgeons?

"Doctor!! DOCTOR!!! DOC-TORRRRRR!!!"


"Oh! My...brain...hurts."


(slap, slap, slap on the head).

"It. will. have. to. come. Out!"

"Out?!? Out of. me. 'ead?"

"Yes! On-leee...Bits of it!"


belledame222 said...

--oh, v, I realized which post you must be referring to; not here, I think. Well, yeah, I cry uncle, I don't think there's any other way to read that. I...had. well. Yeah. Okay.

I'll just say this: I really had no doubt that she has a strong commitment to the women she cares about, to Class Woman, and to her feminist ideals;

i was, perhaps, expressing a bit of weariness at the way I perceived her treatment of the particular woman she was arguing with (kh), as well as her treatment as I have observed it of several other woman friends who did not agree with her. In at least one case, someone who as I experience her has never merited the kind of, let's say, high-handedness, as I experienced it, served to her by D. As it would, okay, to my own very subjective experience of, well, her online persona. Not her commitment, more, ummm, a snark about let's say style. tone? well.

and like i say i've no doubt she and/or others have their own very subjective opinion of mine.

belledame222 said...

...anyway, bottom line, v: however I've come off (no doubt with reason), whatever my actual feelings, and I do Own My Own Snark, truth is I've actually never had any doubt that delphyne has commitment and inegrity wrt her own feminist beliefs. Actually, wrt delphyne, I'd say maybe even more so than some other people.

>but my suggestion fell felt. it's a suggeston that has demanded action from us. it asks for us to do one small political thing and no one wants to do it.

you know why?

because they don't want answers to the question how to do this in a way that won't hurt people. >

I was gonna snark, and also because,

"Something is -happening, Reg!- ACTUALLY, HAPPENING! All you have to do is get up, walk out that door and stop the Romans from nailing Brian up!"

-crickets crickets crickets-


[Snicker, 'what's her problem...']

( i am Python girl tonight it seems)

...and so then I read alon and I was like, oh. yeah. not even, so much, like, life outside the Internets; actual, um, other blogs. That I like, and haven't been to in a while, and cause why? Uhm...

also, don't know how much activism they do (also have been shamefully neglecting), but I dig Shakespeare's Sister quite a bit as well.

Bitch | Lab said...

V and BD

I dont' think there's a radfem bible or manual. and yeah, I did laugh at BD. you can be sure when she puts thinks in Word Case, then she's having fun.

here's the thing about theory, though. All of us are born learning theory. The things we take for granted as USers? At one time, it was a theory. Locke. Adam Smith. The Scottish Enlightenment. Rousseau. Kant. JS Mill.

These ideas influenced literature and art and culture. They were popularized into political tracts and sermons.

IT is what we breathe when we emerge from the womb.

I'm not annoyed that people don't appreciate theory. Most people don't appreciate it. it's part of our culture to dislike theory and abstract thinking. it was an idea -- hostility to theory and intellectuals -- that was actively propagated by the ruling class as a way to stave off demands from workers who wanted educations. (Long story that)

I do think, though, that listening to the theories advanced by rad fems (if you're not one) is important.

A lot of questions get asked of rad fems in these debates and I think they are, for lack of appropriate word, silly questions.

Example: sometimes people will try to score a debate point by saying, "Well, if you really don't like patriarchy, then why would you entrust patriarchy to get rid of its primary method of controlling women. Why use the state to end pornography?"

It seems to me that if people did RTFM, they wouldn't try to ask these cheap questions. They would read the answers that radfems have ALREADY provided. Then, the argument would be at a different level and on a different issues.

It wouldn't resolve anything. It would just avoid irritating radfems. (Or whoever you're debating with.)

I could think of a zillion ways this gets played out.

The primary way it's played out right now, in this debate, is not understanding that it's perfectly acceptable on a radfem theory to blame women. You, V, might not think so. But the book, Radically Speaking belies this claim. And that's fine. You happen to want to go about it differently. fine fine fine.

maybeyou're on the path to being a different feminist. dunno. lots of people have started out one way and went in a diff. direction.

But radically speaking and several feminist theorists have eloquently laid out their reasons for thinking that any woman who does not recognize that she's part of "class woman" is, thus, an enemy.

Women who should know better -- feminists -- are actually worse than women who are, say, republicans.

Maybe you don't agree with this. But it's in the book. And, on my view, if there are other radfems advancing this notion, then if you disagree with it, y0ou should consult them and argue with them.

E.g., if I found a sexpos feminist or a socialist feminist advancing ideas that were clearly unpalatable to me, I'd argue with them *in terms of* the degree to which their claims comported with the goals of socialist feminism. just as a for instance.

Maybe this is easier b/c, being a marxist, we are already aware of the flavors of marxism. Dunno

Bitch | Lab said...

i think, unfortuantely, what happened here is that what's been advanced is a One Right Way to talk about abuse/rape, etc.

It's like there is a black and white to abuse/rape. I'm not so sure there is.

but we'll never talk honestly about that now.

and no, i'm not talking about the degree to which the woman enabled rape. I'm more talking about how we define it, how it's used rhetorically,e tc.

E.g, I have a delightful story that would really muddy up the waters. Really make people have to think about who's a rapist and how we construct the word, use the word for political ends. (I use deligtful with sarcasm)

You think I'm going to discuss it now? So I can be shredded.

And that's how it comes to be that we have groupthink. yes.

KH said...

Hi. Th’other day, I was thinking of a social type, not so much imagining radfem expresses some single class position. It’s like anything else. Not even really that true believers always are socially more marginal than smooth operators. But as a tendency, yes, I’m guessing: the more marginal, less advantaged, are, on average, more deeply & authentically emotionally committed, if it’s the right expression. As incorrigible, maybe, but in a different way. E.g. Delphyne, for whom: (i) I also have real respect & sneaking affection (w/ associated appropriate guilt for several no-doubt-fully-provoked things I’ve said), I’m quite sure she takes things completely seriously. Of all the commenters on these threads, I’d TRUST her to just do the right thing, or the supererogatory one, for a woman in trouble. And to me that's the most important thing. I wouldn’t have spent time arguing w/ her if I didn’t trust her basic decency; it’s just fucking depressing that there’s such an irreducible gulf: she really thinks I’m in the tank for killers, care more about fictional characters than 1000s dead women. Which I’m foolish enough not to want people to think about me. [Q: honest, am I really so not-mindful of the impression I leave?] Anyway, as I say, (ii) I’m sure the kind of thing I’m talking about, status-conscious ambition, jockeying for social distinction, etc, is completely, admirably alien to her. Also, Biting Beaver , etc, etc. Many others.

But they don’t really set the tone, or to the extent they do, their authentic preoccupations are appropriated for other people’s shtick. Interesting that both TF & Marcotte are in Austin, both are of a common college-town type. (I lived in there 10 yrs. Every fall a new load of kids from hick towns, like it’s the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The fast ones, the ones attuned to social distinctions, assimilate to big city manners, dress, ways of talking very quickly, but w/ the usual tells.) At a higher level, the leadership obviously more sophisticated. E.g. Dworkin-MacKinnon (odd couple): Dworkin’s background was $ modest but literate & intellectually self-confident, her adult marginality was a matter of choice & crazy; MacKinnon = 7 sisters. Neither played the kind of games that pass from feminism on some of these blogs. (As Alon Levy rightly notes, none of this applies to all or the better fem sites.) It may be that the internet creates more social space for on-the-make mediating ideological entrepreneurs, some of iffy talent & character, between the national leadership & the followers. True across the board, but the dynamics are more at odds w/ aims of a manifestly egalitarian movement. Used to be that the characteristic deformations of utopian politics were uniquely the left’s problem, not so much any more. Left politics generally privileges phoney-baloney theory, leans more on feats of demystificatory prestidigitation, criticism of false consciousness, which sustains a particular style of lil’ professor know-it-all-ism.

KH said...


I’m also not exactly in the mood to be shredded again at the moment, but we should keep our feets on the ground. There’re certainly big feminist spaces where it’s hard to think seriously about much of anything, still less something as innaresting, not to say urgent, as how rape is defined – questions that’re being discussed in all manner of other places – but there’re also other feminist spaces – this one, & you run one – where people can (try to) think in peace. (Not to say the people in the next apartment won’t be making papier-mâché effigies of you for ritual purposes, but still …) The recent unpleasantness is discombobulating, but it’s still a free country, & if you want to think about rape (& like I say, it’s a very interesting question), nobody can stop you.

A paper I’d recommended elsewhere ends w/ a redefinition of rape:

Scott O Anderson, “Towards a Better Theory of Coercion & a Use for It” (2003), at

And I just read:

Sarah Conly, “Seduction, Rape, & Coercion,” Ethics 115 (Oct 2004): 96-121.

Bitch | Lab said...


Heh. I talked with some of my mentors this weekend and they were taken aback by the notion of feminism as enlightenment.

True, they aren't radfems, and Robin Morgan has very eloquently explained why radfem is THE theory of englightenment.

But, we're talkin women who did, figuratively speaking, spill blood for the moment. Some of them suffered in ignomy at lesser institutions, blackballed by the triumverate (harvard-princeton-yale). Others lived and breathed it in activist politics -- reproductive rights, peace movement, union stuggles, etc.

To a one? They are scratching their heads at the whole thing. The wars over whether you can wearhigh heels? The wars over tiny purses? Over sex workers? Blow jobs?

They are just scratching their heads. It's not that they disagree with the basic premise -- we live in patriarchy -- it's that they cant' wrap their head around the politics of the personal attack.

Even the idea that we must sit around contempolating our participation in patriarchy. makes utterly no sense. there's nothing to contemplate!

What is making no sense to them is the language of "unfeminist".

(And no, you don't come off that way. I just saw it was the typical tactic of trying to make the other person look really bad at any turn.)

v said...

hey everyone, i wanted to say thank you for listening to me and for responding. sorry that i misunderstood the radfem source/guide book thing - i knew the book BL meant from posts on her blog about it, but didnt get the rest, and thanks for explaining. i have to say the radfems that i consider my closest allies are not into woman blaming at all, maybe they get frustrated with 'your side' but they don't see you as the enemy! of course i may have missed that memo.. - (i joke btw)

wrt delphyne - i dont actually know what you're all talking about and the argument between her and kh. i just get so bloody tired of argumentative comments threads and tbh sometimes the insults flying round make me feel ill, so i avoid. i was just referring to this thread, somewhere near the top, i just thought you were a bit mean tbh. and i wanted to say so because it's one thing to lose your temper and have a go in an argument which is understandable when people are on the defensive, but although yes i have seen exasperation at some of "you" from some of "us" (god it seems so ridiculous when you have to write it) honestly that sort of stuff doesnt go down very well, and actually i think if i saw one of "us" say something like that delphyne would probably be first in the queue to call it out.

so anyway i'm sorry for misunderstanding parts of your posts and thanks for taking the time to explain where i'd done that.

belledame222 said...

No prob, v. Yeah, and I freely cop that I am a meen snarky bastard. To a certain degree, you know, as far as I'm concerned, trading verbal slings and insults isn't of itself necessarily such an awful thing; as I wrote somewhere else, that can be a game, too; and yet, there are still rules even there. But not everyone does like to play rough, I recognize.

The other part of which, it's not part of my personal creed to never slam a woman simply by dint of we share the same chromosomes and naughty bits (probably), or even to necessarily have terribly different standards wrt who says what when (there are some instances where I do think context of "who's saying this" matters, but not as many as I think is true for some people). I was under the impression that, well, some people were more likely to espouse something closer to the belief that it -was- at least a bit more "us/them" in the gender divide than others; and I do sometimes poke at people for what I think (correctly or not) as inconsistency.

Mostly, you know, I tend to rally to the defense of the people I respect and care about, and/or particularly when I think they're right, or at least have been making sound, fair, reasoned arguments, and yet have been under what seems like relentless attack and what seems almost like people sticking their fingers in their ears and going LALALALALA can't hear what you're actually saying, I just hate what you represent.

which is kind of what was happening in the kh/delphyne (she was not the only one) brouhaha, imo, but anyway. It's okay, you know: I mean, I don't really need to convince you of my rightness here, I don't think, much less rehash a thrash you hadn't even been part of. I get that you're loyal to your friends and what you think is right, too.

Per "radical": I guess I'm at the point where I agree with BL in that I think she did track down and pin down the ideological root that leads to such stuff as, for example, the whole "gender trumps race" thrash.

And the reason why for some people (not all, some people just really think porn/prostitution hurts women/people), porn and prostitution and related stuff take such a, let's say, URGENT pride of place in the priority queue: it goes something like, I think, roughly:

physical rape=male power and hence domination, not just on a personal but on a global scale. At the dawn of the Patriarchy, men acquire/grab power through rape, physically; which later extends to more symbolic but still deadly forms of "rape," That is, it is the key, or at minimum one of the main keys, (someone like Daly might put more or as much emphasis on the religion angle than say Dworkin), to the very root of Patriarchy. Hence, attack the root: attack the rape, and so goes the System. Sure, other stuff matters, too, but: this is REALLY important.

And then so you add to that the belief that, roughly, "Porn is the Theory, Rape is the Practice" (not sure who coined that actual slogan, I just know it exists), and then the conflation of "porn" to "pornstitution" (I still don't know who coined that one either)--and of course you can add to that socioeconomic arguments against prostitution, which I think people who are closer to the socialist end of the radical spectrum are as likely to do (also), then, sure: it makes sense. If you accept those premises.

Which is not to say that you now must accept the premises; but at least you know where people are coming from, theoretically, when they relentlessly go after porn, porn, porn, with a sense of terrific urgency; which last, the urgency at least, tends to be inexplicable or at least maybe a bit overdone to a lot of people who don't share those beliefs, even if they don't especially care for porn and are aware that streetwalkers and trafficked women and so on are terribly abused and it sucks and something should really be done about that.

So in that sense, I think BL did a service. Or was trying to. I think BL isn't often heard out real well, and I am not just talking about the radical feminists here, either.

but, then, at the same time, I also agree that as Violet Socks once said, "nomenclature's a bitch." What's in a name? There's always an individual behind the label; the label is just helpful to identify to the self and others what is -likely- to be inside, but it's not at all a guarantee.

and people have their own interpretations even if they have doctrine and the doctrine's pretty well spelled out.

f'r instance, I know people who like to think of themselves as radical feminists, certainly are "radical" or at least passionately committed to the cause as they see it; and yet, the fact that they, say for example, practice BDSM puts them immediately beyond the pale for a lot of self-ID'd radical feminists. As it happens, the kinksters may well agree that there is a Patriarchy, women Wuz Robbed, rape is probably a big part of it, yes; and may or may not even approve of porn and/or prostitution for various reasons (as I've said, the whole "does porn/prostitution hurt women?" can actually be answered in a number of different ways even if you do have the same information, because first you have to ask the question, well, what do you mean by "hurt?" Which women? The women directly involved in it, who may be exploited and/or coerced? Or are you talking about the indirect effects of the imagery? Or both? --for example); and yet the BDSM folks are as firmly convinced that what they see as consensual "play," a form of erotic theatre, say, as their opponents are that -any- expression of sex contaminated by power and what they see as patriarchal trappings is just adding to the problem.

and too, BL was also talking at one point about this early split (she'll have to help me out here with details, again) between different schools of women who'd called themselves radical feminists; and, before that, the roots of radical feminism when it, in turn, split off from...socialism? among other things. But that at a certain point there was the borrowing of Marx's "class" theory and transposing/transforming it for a feminist perspective. So now, Women are the Sex Class, Men are the Overclass.

but BL was talking about, who was it? Alice Echols? still haven't read her--who was writing about some of the early internal wars and splits; whatever it was, end result is that these days, Dworkin, Daly, MacKinnon, and some others are pretty firmly established as being linked with "radical feminism" as most people understand it.

belledame222 said...

the other thing I am now wondering: hey, BL. would you say that many or most of the authors in the Big Red Book were American? does it matter?

'cause, you know, v is from t'other side of the pond, as are I am noticing a fair number, don't know how high a percentage, of the online radical feminists;

and, I dunno how much diff it makes really--people read Dworkin and so forth over there, too; but I do know that the let's say zeitgeist? vibe? is a bit different Over There. at any rate I know that it may be a bit harder for people who aren't living in George Bush's America to get why I (for instance) feel quite so much more concerned about religious fundamentalism than I do, say, porn.

also, I note that relative to here at least, socialist feminism is alive and well Over There; or, well, it's not dead yet ("I feel 'appy! I could go for a walk..."). dunno how much theoretical and practical connection there is between, say, you and your sister-friends, v, and say someone like winter or stroppyblog; but I thought it was worth mentioning.

belledame222 said...

>but we'll never talk honestly about that now.

meh. Who's "we?" And never say die. I don't feel remotely inclined to go over to Pandagon (or wherever) and attempt to explain anymore; but, you know, the beauty part is, I don't think we -have- to.

Ravenmn said...

BD, I really appreciate these posts because they articulate some of my own feelings about these debhates.

To me, these dicussions have roots in various understandings of power and empowerment that directly contradict each other and are very hard to sort out. I'm using odd headers here because I don't want to show favoritism to either argument:

1-not-1. Feminism is about affirming a woman's decisions and valuing her choices.

Because in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, women's choices were patronized and/or ignored. CR is one of the tools we used to teach ourselves that what we thought mattered. Many of us were trained so well to ignore ourselves that we actually had no clue to our own preferences.


1-not-1. Feminism is about destroying the patriarchy.

Which means we have to question everything we do, even those things we prefer. We must study the patriarchal tools and become the anti-patriarchy. Our preferences are totally suspect and need to be examined not as regards our own true feelings but in terms of what's good for Womyn.

For many feminists today, then, affirming their own choices means making decisions about blowjobs and high heels and sexual choices is empowering and the definition of feminism. To demand that I conform to the feminist rules of dress and sexual choice is an attempt to disempower me.

For many feminists today, attacking the decisions of other women for not fully understanding their ties to patriarchal control is empowering and the definition of feminism. I have the right to define what feminism is and when you are not feminist. My saying you are not a feminist is not wrong because, as a feminist living under patriarchy, I don't have the power to either change you or exclude you from feminism. Telling me I can't define your actions as unfeminist is an attempt to disempower me.


As for delphyne, unfortunately that was the only post I've read by her and she doesn't link back to a blog. I thought it was absurd for her to claim to know what KH was saying when KH was right there saying something else entirely. How would any person with half a brain believe that kind of argument?

It comes up on the internet a lot: somebody claims to know what someone else means without even talking to that person. That's what the entire thread seemed to be doing to Random Bird.

I don't know if you ever read the Women of Color Blog by Brownfemipower, but she did a series in which she argued with Poorboy directly and then posted the results on her board. I admired that a lot even though it didn't turn out happily for either of them.

belledame222 said...

on a more sobering note: I do think that the Internets have special qualities that may well allow for more crazy shit than you'd even find offline. sadly, though, while the individual feminist theorists/activists you mention may well not have engaged in any of this kind of crazy crap (then again, there are stories...but, well, anyway), I feel fairly confident that it was exactly this sort of crazy crap that made the original Sex Wars (among others) such fun, fun, Fun! maybe not this bad everywhere, but you know: this kind of shit sticks and its stink spreads quickly.

especially if--and this is where BL is right in pointing back to theory, theory--there is something in the Theory that is maybe more likely to encourage a black and white worldview than, say, some other theories.

because, it is true that any ideology, and I do mean any, can be taken and twisted and turned by a dubious yet charismatic individual for hir own purposes; and too of course the actual ideology evolves; again, it's not like, or well it SHOULDN'T be and usually isn't, the theorist speaks, the label is created and thus it is, yea, unchanging and eternally so,

but at the same time, I do believe that there are some ideologies/texts/whatever that are perhaps more likely to attract, let's say, certain personalities than others.

and that when some of those personalities start to arise as as sort of leader, using the ideology as a draw--even assuming that this wasn't already true of the author of the ideology hirself--if and when the whole endeavor begins to feel a bit, well, strange,

and there are purgings from above, and self-purgings or exiles from within, people who may have been attracted to some of the original ideas and people or whatnot but by now are just too alienated by the constant witchhunts, stonings, Two-Minute Hate sessions, subtle shunning for expressing even the slightest difference of opinion, an increasingly general sycophantic tone toward an increasingly self-evident Leader--

and so it starts to become a self-perpetuating cycle, you know; the more the more reasonable people hive off, the more the more hardcore close ranks. And the more sorts of people start flocking (and staying) who ARE attracted to this sort of extremely sure, Let Me Tell You What To Do vibe going on. And eventually, what you're likely to get is...

well. we'll see.

belledame222 said...

delphyne is on Live Journal more than blog O'sphere, I believe; and I think does have one of her own, somewhere.

belledame222 said...

oh! hi, welcome, ravenm! glad to see you here, and glad you're appreciating this.

and yeah, I did catch some of the bfp/poorboy stuff; actually mostly the tail end of of over at With My Nappy Headed Ass. it was kind of depressing. points for trying, though. i can see why they did try--whatever else, he's not stupid--but...yeah, maybe a bridge too far.

Bitch | Lab said...

Big Red Book :) (All I think when I type that is Clifford, the Big Red Dog)

I think what was great about the book was that they really strove hard to be sure it wasn't US-centric. In fact, I thought a lot about V and Emma/Emmy (what happened to their blog?) as I was reading it.

it was US/Brit/Austrailian mainly a small faction from third world countries.

Frankly, I saw VS's nomenclature's a bitch comment as a dodge.

I recognize that theories and ideas change. It is PRECISELY why i picked up the Big Red Book. Because I couldn't believe the one who shall not be named was articulating a theory -- as was Eternal Dear One! -- that had been fairly carefully and systematically criticized on all sides.

I didn't find what I was hoping to find. and yes, I will get it back from the library and do a serious critique of it.

belledame222 said...

>their authentic preoccupations are appropriated for other people’s shtick.


Or, well, to a degree. I realize that TF and Amanda had their own personal roads to this particular Damascus out of personal experience; it's just, you know, I am just a tad cynical of "revolutionaries" who seem more concerned with mercilesly picking apart the things and maybe even people that revolt them than with actual Revolt.

and/or, have a vibe of contempt toward people in general and, disturbingly, toward the very people who make up their core base; because they see them as, finally! someone eloquent and powerful enough to speak the Truth--*their* truth--and thus lead the way or at least help show the way toward finally, actually bringing the whole sorry edifice crashing down, so that a better world may, at long last, come about.

well, O.K. I'll just, you know, be waiting over here for that to happen. (files nails)

and then meanwhile the other people in the audience, the "powerful" ones (what is power anyway? how does one acquire it? maybe it's time to reopen that very fundamental question as well), think it's all just a terribly amusing game to various degrees; maybe think there's "something to it," at that, under it all; but revolution? Well, uhm, what would that entail exactly? oh, haha, I thought you were serious for a second there (whew). anyone for tennis?

You know, TF, I have noted her making these cryptic allusions here n there to her "longing" for revolution, how "equality" is not an attainable (or acceptable?) goal; but how she doesn't talk about what a revolution would necessitate 'cause no one wants to hear it.

And I am now thinking: well, shit, I do! Hey, spell it out. Enough with the hinting. I'm curious. Seriously.

belledame222 said...

>Frankly, I saw VS's nomenclature's a bitch comment as a dodge.

Well, you could see it that way, I guess. I just, you know, want to honor that some women who call themselves radical feminists, well, if they say they're radical feminists then by God they are, in my book. you may or may not see VS herself as substantially different from the radical feminists in the Big Red Book, ideologically speaking; I am just saying that I am willing to accept that others may be. Hell, are. And, you know, things can also change again; it's a constant process, and online is part of that.

Bitch | Lab said...

i am not so sanguine about jumping into it KH. I really do have very serious reasons why my ID needs to be kept under the lid.

What what's her face proved for me is that I cannot interact with anyone who has any power in the blogosphere in an honest way: say what I really think. Challenging their authority -- and there have been many outtings that we just don't hear about over petty ass crap -- threatens my ability to stay out of a homeless shelter. I don't exagerrate.

belledame222 said...

anyway, as you say, KH, yes, it is a strange marriage wrt MacKinnon and Dworkin.

anyway whatever else about Dworkin--she was, as Susie Bright and others have noted, a deeply complex person with many admirable qualities, both personally and politically--I am -fairly- certain that she has never, would never have, espoused anything along the lines of TF's "Matrix" theory; that last to me suggests a certain, well, nihilism is the best I can think of it.

and BL, I remember what you said wrt certain structures being so airtight that yeah, it does tend to lead to that sort of conclusion (i.e. there is No Way Out, not really), and I can see that;

at the same time, you know, again: there are also such things as well, personal, well, twist, and nuance, and...putting your money where your mouth is, among other things.

TF more than pretty much anyone online I've seen, strikes me as profoundly pessimistic, nihilistic, even, under all the lighthearted playfulness and serious outrage about Bad Stuff. Heart--who, again, whatever else about her, is not playing games--anyway not -this- sort of game, I won't say there aren't also ego things going on, but, takes it seriously, strives to create real concrete change, writes of inspiration and hope as well as outrage and despair. I do think that sort of thing is significant, actually; for one thing, it leads to the question,

"*Why* do you want not just a stop to the things you see as hurtful, but *radical,* overturn the whole damn thing change? *Why* do you "long for revolution?"

Because my suspicion is that an honest answer from TF, assuming you'd receive one, would be rather, well, radically different from that of a number of other self-ID'd radical feminists.

or, maybe it's just my cattiness coming out again when I say that based on my observations of not just her ideas but her -behavior,- the persona, the whole package, including but not limited to the whole BJ wars instigation, the answer I'm channeling would be,

"I'm bored. Entertain me." best.

No, I snark, I snark. Actually i do think there's something more serious under that. I'm just not convinced it means what a lot of people thinks it means.

belledame222 said...

I understand that, BL.

but, you know, well, a couple of things:

what I meant was, we're talking -right here;- that COUNTS, dammit;

and, you're not alone; there are others who can and do take what you say on board, and can speak, and are not as in an immediately vulnerable position.

Bitch | Lab said...

oh no. I see her as exactly what she said, an early Radfem.

I thought it was a dodge to avoid that whole discussion. Maybe she is unfamiliar with it. Don't know. But VS is not someone I'm inclined to appreciate for reasons I've already stated. I do not appreciate any feminist who attacks others for the way they make a living, nor do I appreciate attacks on third wave feminists.

I gave it a couple more shots, staying subbed to her feed. When I saw blatant attacks on working class people i hit the D key with a vengeance.

Bitch | Lab said...

"no way out"

no. i don't mean they don't thik there's any way out. I mean that their particular undestanding of how power operates can really only lead to certain conclusions about political practice.

I won't go into the details, but I ddnt pull the analysis out of my ass. It was, in fact, what I was going to do my dissertation -- it's how I got to go to grad school, the basic theme of the work I planned to do as outlined in my application.

But, awwwwwww, the department decided to have a revolution between my application and the next year when I went to school

They toppled the almost dead white guys and replaced 'em with the gender/race/klass krew.

bye bye dissertation on theory hello empirical research or die motherfuckers.

Bitch | Lab said...

BD -- crap. I just got done reviewing some only radfem readings.

seriously. it's like TF just channels the stuff. Snorted it in and the exhales it in TF form.

it's quite amazing stuff. Matrix thing -- nope. This is totally radfem theory circa 1978ish. Just didn't use the word Matrix.

Seriously. I sat there reading all these excertps from rad fems and just thought, oh, I could so totally pull that quote and then one from TF. One after the other. The only place where she departs is where they start getting all wonky with the cultural feminism.

When I read those sections, I can picture TF tearing her eyeballs out in frustration.

belledame222 said...

yeah, I get it, BL. 'scool. wasn't really so much about VS herself as, you know, in a general way, I agree with the sentiment: nomenclature can be tricksy.

and i expect it is frustrating enough for the women who hear "this is what radical feminism is; you do/believe xyz; therefore, all your protestations and contributions to the contrary, you Are Not A Radical Feminist" (much less a feminist, -period-) from the ones w/in, policing the boundaries; I just figure they maybe don't need me to add to that mishegos by my declaring that no, actually, such and so IS radical feminism.

I mean to say: I agree with everything you were doing, BL, and the going back to the original or earlier texts for sourcing (so, okay, I'll take your word: pre-Matrix Matrix, then, maybe it -does- have precedent).

It's just, I don't want anyone* to feel like I'm defining her -or- her beloved theory, insisting (or maybe not, but saying stuff that might lead to that impression) that they believe what they don't think they believe or that they aren't what they think they are; because there's way too much of that going on already.

*I recognize that I made an exception to this myself recently, but, you know, this was not someone I gave a good goddam about keeping as an ally or even respect as a member of the "honorable opposition," as you may have gleaned.

belledame222 said...

how do mean, "getting all wonky with the cultural feminism?" you mean in some way other than the nattering about sports corsets and so forth? 'cause I saw that as cultural feminism; but maybe that's just her own spin on pop culture viz the basic radfem stuff. Or are you talking like actual separatism, moon/goddess stuff, the ancient Matriarchy (any possible existence of which I do not believe I have seen TF ever allude to), and so on?

belledame222 said...

per other theorists: as I have said, I think mostly, I Blame Sheila Jeffreys.

I am really gonna have to make my own trip to the library pretty soon, tho.

Bitch | Lab said...

It's just, I don't want anyone* to feel like I'm defining her -or- her beloved theory, insisting (or maybe not, but saying stuff that might lead to that impression) that they believe what they don't think they believe or that they aren't what they think they are; because there's way too much of that going on already.


difference? they're pulling it out of their ass. I'm writing out of a tradition of feminist thought upon which women's studies textbooks are based.

there's a big difference there.

difference? i'm asking for people to respect one another. they're asking for us to have ONE feminism.

difference? i don't attack their person? they are attacking people and their personal life.

seriously. over and out on this horse shit. if this is how radfems feel, they can fuck themselves sideways.

belledame222 said...

speaking of which, you know, one angle we really haven't talked about much is the influence of feminist thealogy. well, I was starting to with the Angela West. but also there's plenty to talk about wrt, you know, Elaine Pagels, Daly, Merlin Stone, Riane Eisler. the importance of God the Father to the Patriarchy (this by the way is something I myself take a lot more seriously than penis-power per se wrt the creation of the SYSTEM(S)), and particularly, so if not God the Father, then what? It is one other really key cornerstone to I think radical feminism(s); and I do think VS is right in saying that there are a number of subdenominations even within the general...I can't think of the word...of radical feminism even as it exists today (and even as would be accepted by all but the most diehard sectarians).

like for instance, BL, if you look on my sidebar, you will note a link to a site called "Medusa Coils;" this is very much a radical feminist site by any definition, I'd say, and may very well share all the same beliefs as someone more firmly committed to Dworkin as main influence wrt rape, porn, BDSM, prostitution (they may also not; so far I don't mostly see that they've talked about it. based on what i've seen so far, i'd be surprised if they didn't, but i could be wrong). Certainly they share the same basic belief in the Monolith, the System, the primacy of male domination w/in priorities of systems of oppression, the "women wuz Robbed" scenario. It's just that they have another emphasis on what's most important.

you can call it cultural feminism if you want, if that's what you mean by it; but as far as I know no one these days is using that term.

and, you know, pretty clear that any radical feminist a la Dworkin/Jeffreys would also have a problem with God the Father, and see it as one of the other key components to the establishment of the Big P (I expect Twisty's emphasis on "godbags" is not insignificant, although she's hardly alone among her more liberal peers in feeling this way); it's just that one doesn't -have- to believe in the Matriarchy or the Goddess; one might simply say, more in line with the socialist/Marxist forbears, just get rid of the whole damn Deity crap.

belledame222 said...

okay, BL, and I'm totally with you wrt a lot of the people we've been talking to, believe me, I get it, it's been humungously frustrating; it's just, again, which "they" are we really talking about?

You know, I have taken it on board when you said repeatedly that you're not comfortable with my going after the individual;

but in a way, you know, I feel like I'm now saying the same thing to you.

and i feel like it actually matters more wrt a very large group of women, not all of whom we;ve actually fought with or even talked to, than it does with one rather ubiquitous individual, if anything.

so yeah: realpolitik; but also empathy.

because tbh I hear that my whole armchair psych analysis stuff pushes your buttons something wicked, and that you've said you'd prefer to talk about the theory rather than the person(ality);

but, you know, once you're in "fuck 'em all" territory, I'm not terribly sure it makes all that much difference what your reasoning is in reaching that conclusion is.

i mean, i guess what i'm saying is that i'm having a little bit of a disconnect wrt your empathy on the one hand and "fuck 'em" on the other.

because, you know, while i get that what I was doing was invasive and therefore that may be the defining difference, at the same time, wrt being "fair:" i think that you know some people do actually read the manual, do take it seriously, do -not- attack their opponents personally even if the damn Red Book says it's okay; and are worthy opponents or even allies.

anyway for me i'm more interested in the many than the one, even if the One superficially seems to be better read and smarter and so forth.

belledame222 said...

and then, too, you know, I think in a way it might be easier to Blame Radical Feminism for this sort of hunting and pecking and calling out;

and like I say, I do believe I can see precedent within certain peoples' ideology;

but, I also think you know, it's a little too seductively easy to kind of lump all the people who are doing this into the "radical feminist" category;

because that miiiiiiiiight mean if you're -not- a radical feminist, then you're at least somewhat less likely to pull this kind of bullshit.

and, like, you know, when you say stuff like you think Amanda is a radical feminist but just doesn't know it, (as opposed to I don't know some other ways of saying it, like, damn, she sounds just like so and so, how is this different from what so and so is saying? Why, it isn't really), it sort of feels like that's maybe the suggestion. Not saying you mean to be saying this, just, it's something I'm picking up. maybe because I've leaned in that direction myself. ("Oh, so and so is a socialist/liberal feminist. Whew.")

It'd be nice if it were that simple.

But, alas.

Don't think so.

The problem, in short, is not, to me, the ideology or, okay, if you will, even the personality.

The problem here is the BEHAVIOR.

As KH says, you know, morals are a fine thing as well, really.

belledame222 said...

>I won't go into the details, but I ddnt pull the analysis out of my ass. It was, in fact, what I was going to do my dissertation -- it's how I got to go to grad school, the basic theme of the work I planned to do as outlined in my application.

But, awwwwwww, the department decided to have a revolution between my application and the next year when I went to school

They toppled the almost dead white guys and replaced 'em with the gender/race/klass krew.

bye bye dissertation on theory hello empirical research or die motherfuckers.>

oh, okay, that gives me a little clearer sense of where you're coming from on this. Well, like I said: I seriously get the frustration.

I just want to make sure I'm not objectifying people any more than I have to; which also, I gotta say, can include mentally shoehorning them into a sort of monolith based on ideology.

belledame222 said...

I mean, okay, it's to me sort of like when people Blame Religion, or even narrow it more specifically (Christianity, Islam, or certain sectors thereof), for what they deem superstitious ignorance, the Madness of Crowds, lack of reason, blind adherence to dogma, etc.

There's a lot of that about on the loosely defined left.

It's really tempting.

And there's plenty of evidence to back up that claim: look at all the damage done in the name of these monolithic institutions! Look at how many people have suffered awful abuse in the name of religion (and if you ask me this is not insignificant. not. at. all). Look at how the suggestion that this behavior is O.K. is -right there in the text(s).- There is no such thing, some people seem to be sure, as a truly enlightened, progressive, rational person, much less believes pretty much everything they do wrt various Issues, who is also religious qua religious. Or if so, well, okay, but certainly not within -these denominations:- you can see how abusive that interpretation is! And to one degree or another they've often got a good case. Yeah: let's take fundamentalism. Sure, there are key differences between fundamentalism(s) and all the other, more "moderate" or broader denominations.

If you are a reasonable person, you can't be one of Them, not really. If you are one of Them, you cannot be a reasonable person.

And yet, and yet.

They are mistaken when they think that this is a good way to write large swaths of the population off. Or even necessarily to judge the proverbial book by its cover.

Those people, the religious progressives, exist. Rather a lot of them, in fact.

A religious so-called conservative may be surprisingly sympatico with quite a lot that you have to say, did the two of you ever sit down and break bread. Or, you might even surprise yourself.

And sometimes, not often, but it happens: people who go under the name of even the most alien(ating) doctrines can be just extraordinary.

There was a guy on the Well, before my time alas, he died, but his writings are left all over the place, in effigy as it were; and people still can't speak highly enough of him. His homepage is still up; it includes quotes from Genet, among other things. He was known as one of the most genuinely spiritual and compassionate and well-read and, yes! -open- people that many in that place had ever known; he was considered a light. By all these cynical leftie and libertarian atheists and secular humanists.

And he did indeed ID as not only a Christian evangelical but, apparently, a fundamentalist. And could quote Scripture and other writings with the best of them in support of his beliefs.

People: complex.

To me that always matters even more than reading the manual, important as reading the manual genuinely is.

Ravenmn said...

The problem here is the BEHAVIOR.

Yes indeed.

This is where I agree with KH's posts over at Pandagon. We can all decide to act "unladylike" as Amanda phrased it. The question is whether our unladylike behavior is effective. Which gets back to tactical issues that I've discussed with Bitch Lab in the past.

There are many tactical reasons for behaving rudely in political discussions. First and foremost, when dealing with someone who is rude, being rude is an effective response. It's what makes Stephen Colbert successful.

But on this particular issue, the tactics chosen by TF and Amanda undermined their goals. RB wasn't being rude. She wasn't trying to convert other women to her viewpoint. She was expressing her own thoughts about her own experiences.

Both TF and Amanada disagreed. But instead of seeing and agreeing with their viewpoints, I and others were astounded by their rudeness to a blogger with little or no power. At that point, the political viewpoint is lost. Their tactics did not work.

You wrote:

"he was considered a light."

And that light is more effective, regardless of the point of view, then the "correct" but incredibly ineffective efforts of those who went after Random Bird.

BD, I have a kneejerk rejection of pscyhoanalytic analysis of people I disagree with, so I'd probably side with BL in the discussions you mention, although I haven't read them.

But on the issue of behavior, we are entirely in agreement. Behavior matters. Which is why, like you, I respect Heart and listen well to her point of view.

Keep on blogging, belledame. I appreciate it!

Bitch | Lab said...


I guess the writing that I have done about radfems hasn't actually gotten through. All i can say is, it's a serious misrepresentation of what I've said. When you've written on the topic many times and said the exact opposite of what has been attributed to you, then it's time to stop trying to explain yourself and move on.

It's unfortunate they feel this way, but I'm not going to take it to seriously since, any serious look at what i've written will reveal that the project is precisely about taking their individual work seriously by aactually using it to illustrate how radfems being changed. when AK has been confused about who is a rad fem and who isn't , i've repeatedly said because they are changing theory, that's there's a developing fork in it theoretical development.

Since I was just invited by a rad fem to represent the sexpos side in a debate to be aired some time this fall, all I can do is laugh at the failure to actually read what i've written.

and yes, including your take on what i've said about psychological theory, etc. it's not an accurate reflection of what i've said.

she wrote to say that it was great becaus she actually agreed with much of what I'd said in an argument with anthony.

belledame222 said...

guess the writing that I have done about radfems hasn't actually gotten through. All i can say is, it's a serious misrepresentation of what I've said. When you've written on the topic many times and said the exact opposite of what has been attributed to you, then it's time to stop trying to explain yourself and move on.


Hasn't gotten through to whom? To me? BL, you're not the only one who feels frustrated and misunderstood here.

Sure, okay, move on. But you know, I really think the disconnect is not happening because I am not reading you well enough or taking your concerns seriously enough. I get that you feel strongly about this, and it is true that you get misconstrued and misread quite a bit, in fact. I'd be angry and fed up, too. Hell, I am.

But please. At least do me the respect of assuming that I am at least as capable of paying careful attention to what someone says, seeing where they are coming from, and, adter careful consideration, respectfully disagreeing with her conclusions.

belledame222 said...

or rather, you know, specifically: my problem is really a lot simpler and more specific here than you seem to be making it out to be; and I feel like every time I try to explain -why- I am having a problem, it only makes it worse.

That's great. I'm excited that you were invited to this debate.

belledame222 said...

I mean, BL, I don't know; but if you can actually read everything I've been saying and come to the conclusion that I'm saying -I agree that RB was raped,- I don't know that it's entirely fair to be putting this frustration on me for maybe not getting your every nuance wrt this, either, you know?

maybe we both need to slow down a bit and read again, here.

belledame222 said...

Let me just give you the capsule version, O.K.:

"When you say 'fuck radical feminists,' I don't much care for it, because I don't want to alienate the people who IN MY EXPERIENCE are, at least by their lights, radical feminists, and are not in fact demonizing me or mine, unable to hear what I'm saying, or even buying every aspect of the theory that they're 'supposed' to be buying. And I really don't want to be associated with it, any more than you want to be associated with my repeated slams at TF."

Fair enough? That's really all I'm saying here.

If you want to argue that you aren't alienating radical feminists because you make a careful distinction between whatnot and so on, a nd besides you, too, are making connections (I am truly excited about this debate), well, go ahead. All I know is that I don't think it's totally unreasonable that -some- radical feminists might read that and think, "oh, she's /they're just writing us off." And I may not want them to do that, because I think they're still worth talking to.


Bitch | Lab said...


the radfems in question should actually talk to me about it. i can point them to where i've written about how the goal is to show how, in the blogosphere, radfems are actually working on something that is transforming radfem.

if they don't want to hear that and i've said it repeatedly, including many times that i've said that radfems have been their own best critics, there isn't anything i can do to change that.

sometimes, people feel a certain way and there's nothing i can do to change it. this strikes me as that kind of situation since, as I just said, other radfems don't feel this way.

and again, re: psych theory: you're really not listening to a thing i'm saying. seriously.

if i'm an albatross on your neck and embarassing you with other fems, there's really not much to say. i'll honor your wishes and stay away from your blogs with my discussions.

belledame222 said...

oh, Jesus. BL, what is really going on here? I am not the enemy here, okay.

belledame222 said...

can I just say something? I mean, I truly don't want to drive you away, BL, and frankly I'm pretty pissed that you're pulling that "take my marbles and go home" business after everything we've virtually been through together and after everything I've said in support of you. And what I've said right here is imo really not all that super-confrontational or that huge a deal or request. Hell, you don't even have to change anything. I just wanted you to know where I'm at. Same as you did for me wrt TF.

so I am wondering whether this might be, you know, some sort of competition thing or something.

like, I don't know, if you feel exra-angry because not only have you been repeatedly and seemingly willfully misunderstood all over the Intranets again and again and again, but now -maybe- it looks like -some- people are hearing me more than they were hearing you. For saying some of the same stuff, even.

Which, whether that is actually the case or not--and I am not at all sure that it is--or whether my gues is entirely off and this is about something else entirely, maybe okay you do just feel I keep misinterpreting you again and again and again, just like everyone else--this right here? Is not fair. To me. Frankly.

And I'd really like it if before you respond with yet more anger and threats to leave, you could take a deep breath or six, really consider what I am saying here, and wait a bit before hitting the "enter" button.

I think I deserve at least that much.

Thank you.

belledame222 said...

I mean, I know things are unfair, BL. There is much unfairness here. Yes there is. Unfair to you. And I can see why you'd be incredibly angry on any number of levels.

But I honestly don't think I am the cause of that unfairness.

And if you have feelings toward me because of this, well, unfairness, I understand. Maybe feelings that, if expressed, would make me deeply uncomfortable. That is what it is. I know.

But it just really hurts that you seem to be saying that you're now discounting what I thought, what you'd often said, was a genuine friendship.

belledame222 said...

and by the way, I hope it's okay to share this, v, but you know, she, v, has told me that you, BL, are one of the two major feminist bloggers she reads regularly.

That says something. About you. Not me.

Bitch | Lab said...


no, not angry at all. it's just like you said when I was a little irritated to wake up to find twisty slagging some more. you said you'd respect my desire not to turn every thread into a slagging on TF thread. Same thing, I'll respect your wishes and not turn this into a place for me to discuss radfem theory.

I do think that it's inappropriate for you to represent this mysterious group of radfems who're upset with me. that's something they need to deal with by talking to me. I'm not sure why it wasn't just posed as: this is what I want and I'd like you to leave the threorizing and representing of radfems out of the equation. I'd like you to allow them to represent their own views when you participate on my blog.

My project is and always has been soemthing different:

1. my hope is to write a nifty guide to feminist theory that shows how the work of fem. theorizing is being done in the blogosophere. this would be illustrated by the way self ID'd radfems respond to debates.

e.g., Heart is a prime example of someone who's working on the race issue. When I turned to the Red Book, i was looking for that. I didn't find it. So I said in one post in comments that the cool thing is that the writing is mostly being done on the blogs.

But Heart would also be an example of cultural essentialism.

TF, OTOH, would be a prime example of a rejection of cultural essentialism.

the goal was to show how the analysis in th blogworld has become more sophisticated -- re Heart (as compared to, say, the one who shall not be named. Heart still holds out a gender is primary, but she shows how the other problems spring from that AND how you can attack racism and must attack racism and other structural oppressions to do the work of radfem.

I've actually already written about this.

2. To do a better job of illuminationg theory as an explanation for women's oppression by actually look at how real live debates play out with real live women, not as they play out in journal articles.

I am not sure what you're talking about with competition. My goal isn't to win over radfems. I just want to do what I love. If I have 10 readers this is awesome by me. Everybody hates theory. That's normal. I keep writing about it because I love it and it makes me happy to do it. If it makes 10 people happy I do it, that is cool too.

As I wrote in an email earlier today, I think your idea for brining radfems together with sexpos is a great idea. And it would be far superior to what's going on now be/c yours is an example of building community.

one of the fundamental aspects of radfem -- something I also wrote about quite a while ago -- is how important speaking from the voices and experiences of women is. This is your project, I think, and it's important. They are very interested in representing the pain and anger of women's experience. I can't think of a better way to deal with that than what you propose.

It's your forte. it's what you want to do with your life and where you think femnism needs help.

It's not mine. There's no reason it has to be. I spoke of a division of labor earlier. I can see how it's an albatross to have to deal with intrusions that don't honor the place you want to take this blog -- reconciliation? of course I do not want to muddy up the water by talking in my language.

it's not taking my marbles and going home, it's respecting what you want to do: build bridges with a feminism you've largely identified with.

belledame222 said...

BL, it's not a "mysterious group." It is a small handful of people who self-ID as radical feminists, who for whatever reason still seem to want to be radical feminists, and yet I think are kind of swell people, on account of I've been talking to them personally. And I figure if they're out there, there might be more. And in some cases, the cases where I think a person at least has a heart and empathy, you know, like you, and pretty much everyone posting on this blog, I really would rather be liked than right. Me. That's it. That's all.

And you really don't need to explain the rest of all that to me anymore than I do to you. Not right now, anyway. And I -do- speak your crazy moon language a -little- bit, at least I'm TRYING to learn, 'cause I think it's interesting, so, you know, that's a bit irritating as well, but whatever.

Now: couldja PLEASE stop being such a jerk? Please? Because, frankly, you are; and, well, maybe you're not angry, obviously I can't tell you how you feel, but it sure keeps READING like you are to me. Or, well, something. Whatever it is, it's kind of upsetting me; I feel like I keep on trying to reach out and you keep lashing out or at least brushing me off.

Look, just email me, okay? When you're ready.

belledame222 said...

And I do not want to build bridges with a feminism I've identified with, in point of fact; I want to build bridges with PEOPLE.

belledame222 said...

I mean, I don't want to alienate say rootietoot either; as such, I am beginning to think a bit more carefully before I start making sweeping pronouncements about I don't know Christian conservatives or people who vote Republican or Southern housewives. even if I have studied those groups/ideologies/whatever carefully and know whereof I speak and it's pissing me off that other people don't. That does not mean I now identify with Christian conservative Republican southern housewives.

Yeah? No? aggghhhh. i don't know.

"I'm just a soul whose intentions are good,
o Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood..."

belledame222 said...

and again: misunderstanding! something! I am NOT saying "don't discuss radfem theory here." I think it's REALLY VALUABLE. ALL i am saying is that when you say "fuck radical feminists sideways," well I don't know, but MAYBE someone who's a radical feminist, v for instance, MIGHT TAKE IT PERSONALLY AND I DON'T WANT HER TO.

and that I have said similar things often enough that people may well think that's what I think as well.

and again, it's totally your call. Please stay around. Say what you want to say. I am just TRYING TO SAY HOW I FEEL.


belledame222 said...

and you know what, too, maybe it really is none of my business. Hey, you feel how you feel. I don't want to shut you down. V's a smart cookie; she can discern things for herself; maybe she's reading along at your frustration and still thinks you're interesting and maybe have a point. Hey, she did with me. She was the one who reached out to me via email, after all, even when I was still slagging her friends left and right. So, you know, people make their own decisions.

It was just, I don't know, how you say, empathy? My own way of saying I don't actually give a fuck about the stats and so forth or even ideology compared to keeping bonds with people I think are decent? Am I speaking Earthspeak here?


oh well, I'll get over it.

belledame222 said...

...okay. I am sorry I called you a jerk.

Because now I'm probably being one.

It's just, you know, I'm feeling a teeny bit FRUSTRATED here. At not being understood? Perhaps you relate to the feeling?

Anyway. Maybe let's, you know, get back to theory.

Cause theory is interesting and important. Yes, I think so, too. Yes.

v said...

i think you both have points, and also that i disagree with you about some other points, and that actually whats most important to me right now is that all this us, you, them, business just fucking stops already. because there is more important stuff going on for us, personally, politically, out there, in here.

sometimes you make me wince bd. but sometimes i make myself wince. and sometimes you make me punch the desk in agreement, and other times, as dumb as it might seem, you make me want to give you a hug and tell you it will be better, just like sometimes i want people to do that for me.

i just wish all this aggro would just fucking stop and we could all see each other as women instead of 'the other side'.

belledame222 said...

"What she said."

was my point.

my ONLY point.

except for i actually was trying to extend it even farther than us, the Peoples' Front of Judea and the Judean Peoples' Front.

bunch of other battles and even countries and worlds out there, too.

they all have decent people in 'em.

who may in fact, surprisingly, "get it."

BL? You still there? You okay?

Bitch | Lab said...

<< BL, it's not a "mysterious group." It is a small handful of people who self-ID as radical feminists, who for whatever reason still seem to want to be radical feminists, and yet I think are kind of swell people, on account of I've been talking to them personally. And I figure if they're out there, there might be more. And in some cases, the cases where I think a person at least has a heart and empathy, you know, like you, and pretty much everyone posting on this blog, I really would rather be liked than right. Me. That's it. That's all. <<


There are two things going on.

1. For some reason, you feel that when I talk about rad fem theory, that I'm talking about it in ways that hurt radfems.

-- I don't know who is upset.

* are radfems upset and telling you they are?

* or, are you assuming they are or might be?

* both?

As I already said, you need simply to speak for yourself and what you want.

If you want me to stop talking about theory, great. I will. But I'm not going to talk about it because a group of people might be hurt because you think they might.

Theory isn't about _them_. Theory is about ideas. People need to understand the difference.

The most bizarre thing about this, on my view, is that the people who actually do get slagged on are marxists and socialist. I ws just at Happy Feminist reading a bunch of people slagging on Marxism and HF's own text kind of encouraged this kind of activity.

This isn't something I need to take personally. Thinking Girl didn't in her response. It's not about me. it's about erroneous claims about Marxism.

if a rad fem feels my claims are erroneous, she needs to address them as ideas.

The great thing about criticizing theory is that you can modify your theory in light of criticism. That's the fucking point.

But when people are criticized as individuals for having bad characters or inferior morals or whatever, when they are made out to be immoral and monstrous, people are hurt and people can't recover from that.

That's what amanda did. instead of criticizing Random Bird's interpretation of Derrida, she criticized Random bird's failure as a human being to see how she'd been raped.

Other than that, no, i reallly have no idea what you're trying to say.

I hear you say that you think talking about, say, The Big Red Book somehow hurts people because they don't see themselves in the Big Red Book.

Well, the people that don't see themselves in the Big Red Book may want to engage the book themselves. Maybe I've gotten the big red book wrong.

Tekanji and I, for instance, differ in our understandings of Ariel Levy's book. This is not our failure as human beings, but different interpretations. She's shown me how it was valuable from her perspective as a young bi woman, something i didn't see. I hope I've shown her how, as a white working class woman and (YAY! BA!) a womanist, I found the book a big problem because it lacks any class or race analysis.


yes, I type all that with the keen recogniztion that the people who do get hurt for their theory are my intellectual ancestors: the communists who've been strung up and hung or thrown in the first concentration camps.

belledame222 said...

Okay. I will own my shit. I'm upset, but i have had this sense, perhaps completely erroneously, that you were upset. At me. Among other things. Something about the won't post on my blogs anymore business, kind of got to me, I guess.

and, I feel misunderstood, but I will say it one last time:

I do not have a problem with your talking about radfem theory. Not here. Not anywhere. In fact, I LIKE it when you talk theory.

I may have had some disagreements with you about...i don't even know. Honestly, it's just mainly a big old blur by now.

My main point being: I do not personally want to come off as I Blame The Radical Feminists.

so perhaps you are saying you don't either, what are we even arguing about.

It's about theory.


For me it's just about maintaining relationships.

Including with YOU.

All right now?

belledame222 said...

but I mean: it'd be kind of silly for me to tell you you were wrong about Big Red when I haven't actually read -that- book for myself.

Other stuff, yes. And I thought you did a great job of fisking the individual essays, and i had a pretty good sense of a number of them by the time you were done, and i took, i thought, your main points about the...well, common ground, ideologically speaking, as represented there.

And one of these days i'm going to get to the library and read it my damn self, along with a few other things.

Which, would never have occurred to me to do, had you not done it first.

belledame222 said...

yeah, I could see how the Levy would appeal more based on generation and, well, maybe Levy -is- bi after all.

That's funny, huh. We'd been speculating, hadn't we, as though it were either one or the other. Well, I was.

well, my main problem with that book is that she didn't...i would have liked a more personal perspective, let's say, especially since she did this otherwise kind of strange jump from mainstream het stuff to the East Village dyke scene. Context? Oh. Right. Okay.

well, and other problems, yes: I thought it was glib.

I did think she had some interesting points, though.

cicely said...

When I was on the michfest boards last year, where I went by invitation from someone I told I had 'some problems' with radical feminists and lesbian-feminists (she said ' oh, really? they're not all RF's and LF's, c'mon, get your feet wet') I ran into a problem that this conversation is revealing about, for me. RF and particularly LF both impacted on my life in personal, real life ways. (Of course in positive ways, as for all of us, but I'm speaking of negative ones here.) I have found it difficult to seperate theory from live impact at times, though I think I can accurately claim that I have always remained civil in the way I relate, because I'm relating to actual people, even though it is anonymously and on the net. This is not me saying how everyone should relate, but I certainly prefer to engage with people who are respectful, even when they disagree with me, and I try to do the same. Even so, I had all the familiar accusations hurled at me. I have a personal vendetta, I'm not a real feminist, I'm a right wing collaborater (?) etc, from women who know me not, or how much I have read, written (more 'letters to the editor' and small articles from a personal perspective than theory) and done as a feminist since the mid-seventies. In my own small way, I believe I have had a good influence on a good number of people as I went about my working class, lesbian and feminist way.

B/L and bd, I value both of you very much, along with quite a few others in the feminist blogosphere, and I value this conversation as well. As painful as it may have been, it was not for nought. I'm sure that others will feel the same. This is not simple stuff.

I actually managed to have a long and I would say 'warm' exchange with one RF although we disagreed about just about everything we discussed. We understood that we had broadly the same goals, but had come to different conclusions from the same information (via books etc), and different life experience. I thought I *was* a radical feminist for a while many moons ago, and some other feminists might even regard me as one even now. It's been very confusing - this 'what kind of feminist am I?' question, and I'm still trying to work out how or whether it matters, especially as lots of conversation on the net involves people learning about feminism from scratch. And ultimately, it is about life.

In net conversation with the woman I mention above I finally posted the conclusion that I am a Diamond stone femme lesbian, queer cultural essentialist (because I believe homosexuality *is* hard-wired for many - maybe most - of us), part liberal, part cultural and part radical feminist (though she wouldn't allow me the 'radical' from her perspective) - and then asked her "What did you have for lunch?"

But we had to *have* the conversation to get to there.


Renegade Evolution said...


You rule. I think I read a section of that thread then just stepped away for my own sanity...

Amber said...

Ye gods! TRYING to catch up on this long thread that I missed completely!

And, I saw my name. Skimming! Out of context!

and yet, BD, fuck your parents. i mean, yeah, do what you have to but damn doesn't it suck. you and amber and all these other people are important to me and reading you -- fuck!

we have to give up THAT kind of connections -- all the things I learn every day because of you guys and others?

we have to give up to be upstanding productive citizens who don't think so much!


I assume you were talking about how things like our dumb-ass day jobs get in the way of actually thinking?


And is it for real ironic or just Alanis ironic that I'm writing this from work, and feeling guilty about how unproductive I have been today, and trying to will myself to start working any minute now...


belledame222 said...

oh yes! that bit! the GUILT. about not being PRODUCTIVE.

y'know what? Taking a dump in some ways is "productive" too, but, I'm not sure you know that this is, how you say, the pinnacle of human achievement.

well, i s'pose it COULD be.

whatever, you know, and yeah;

actually at this point it's really even less the -having- the dumb day job than -having to go out of my way to attain and keep- the dumb day job when i do not WANT this particular (most that i can think of past or speculative) day job, the day job pays shite, and, oh yeah, that memorable experience in that one temp gig some time ago, AssClod of the Year.

you know. I don't ask for much. Maybe that's the problem, actually, come to think of it. But: I don't ask for much. If I can't earn money doing what I actually give a crap about, at least not before i spend years and years and oh yeah a fuckload more money (which is doable, but one way or the other i feel will come at a price), at -least- just something stupid and mindless and -decently,- i don't say brilliantly even, paying, and most of all where I AM NOT BEING MICROMANAGED AND/OR BULLIED BY FUCKING ASSHOLES.

you see the problem here.

kind of narrows it down, don't it?

shrug. there's a Starbucks just opened up the road (Our Neighborhood Has Arrived, it's offical). pay'll be crap, boatloads of fun to be competing with people like half my age, but, hey, on the plus side: you don't get more mindless than that, and supposedly they have decent health insurance. also skipping the subway ride: kind of would not mind.

make the whole Slacker thing official, i'm the right generation and all.

and am seriously considering certain aspects of pornstitution to make up the rest.

i could think of worse. i mean apart from the it being illegal part.

oh i don't know.

newspapers. magazines. reporting or writing gigs, even freelance. i keep meaning to do this. i mean i keep MEANING to do this.

there is no fucking temp work. not really. not enough. and half it is kind of, say, this isn't bad, decent folks, soothing air conditioned hum, repetitive, simple, oddly focusing task, free lunch; and then the other half is like, well, yeah, that. Assholes and misery alive, alive-O!

honest to fuck 90% of the world's work would be just fine if it weren't for the assholery.

i have a graduate degree in motherfucking playwriting.

you know, i keep checking the want ads under both "p" and "d" for "dramatist," but strangely enough.

oh well, enough bitching. my head's kind of done in, it'll be a few more days before i seriously start getting my shit together.

belledame222 said...

per parentals: and, you know, it's not they're you know, monsters or even that they were telling me anything i didn't already know (hence the irritation, that bit, or part of it); it's just, they kind of drive me, you know, insane?

i am sure no one in the world relates to this

Amber said...

I have been trying to get into "pornstitution" (the legal parts, anyway). And despite having friends "on the inside," it has so far been very difficult. Which is funny, bc that's not what you hear from, well, most everybody.

But again... I plan to write about alllll of this at length, eventually. Although, I don't know when that will be, since I don't want to get dooced from The Day Job (which actually pays pretty well for once, and despite how I feel about it otherwise, I have to pay my rent).

belledame222 said...

yeah, the particular sub-field i'm thinking of is less (I -think-) dependent on looking like Britney Spears than on say skills; if not, i won't bother.

hell, chances are pretty good i won't bother anyway. too risky, and let's face it, i don't -mind- working with men, but it's not exactly a calling. i don't think. anyway i bet the burnout factor is high.

i was looking at a particular phone sex line, but you know, i spend way too much time in the apartment already, and somehow i kind of don't want the uh energy? in my own place, if you know what i mean.

it was bad enough when i was teaching online.

then again i figure if it's ALL that difficult then fuckit, i should go straight for the writing gigs. hey if i'm gonna keep getting turned down for a while, may as well be for something i really give a crap about.

well, whatever it is that stops me, clearly it ain't writer's block...

belledame222 said...

friend was recently telling me about a new friend of his, brilliant professor in his late 30's, go-go boy on the weekends. just for the hell of it, i expect.

Amber said...

I mean how hard should it be to get somewhere to buy nekkid photos of me? For fuck's sake. I think one of these days I'm just going to get disgusted with it once and for all and start my own porn site, like I used to talk about doing a couple years ago but never got off my ass (as it were).

Is this the thread that will never die?

belledame222 said...

One of many, yes, it would seem. The Thread That Would Not Die. (scream!)

Yeah, amber, I am thinking the whole "just get off (one's, my) ass and do it already" is something of a theme, of late. For me anyway.

Have you been talking to other folks who do indie DIY sites? Do you know Cyberdyke, by any chance? Zille is kind of teh awesome, i think. (check the links on the sense & Sensuality page). hey, you've got the website building skills, so that's one hurdle, if that's what you want to do.