Sunday, October 15, 2006

Riffing this post at Bitch Lab, which in turn is responding to a post at Feministe, and is part of a bigger, ongoing (eternal?) discussion all over the place: not just the Sex Wars, now, but the Beauty Wars. also passing reference to Tekanji's excellent take on the bogosity of the term "choice feminism."

Anyway, what I said there was, this discussion is beginning to

...[crystallize] for me just why “choice feminism” is so deeply annoying, especially coming out of the mouths of the likes of TF: it's actually being used as a way to bash “sex-positive,” (which here turns out to be women who overindulge in the sins of the patriarchy-defined flesh) again, among other things.

and then what happens is, some people find themselves defending themselves against this straw-image of themselves, and in doing so, will, perhaps inevitably, allude to, yes, all right, I wear high heels, I -like- heels, what’s your damn problem?!

…because there’s the class thing, yes; but all entangled with it is the neo-puritan quasi-radfem crap, hairshirt feminism, you know. people like g-m-r throwing “classism” at people like Vanessa whilst leaving TF the Revolutionary Restaurant Critic untouched doesn’t help, of course.

…but of course in the minds of the people who’ve been just, finally, fed up with the whole damn thing, hello, more burning issues on my own personal agenda here? just end up mentally lumping -anyone- who ever talks about this stuff in -any- context. shut UP about your damn heels. shut UP about -choice.- SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP…

which in some -other- peoples’ minds can (maybe) make it look like, o okay, these people are attacking me because they agree with TF and g-m-r. (for example).

the real problem here is the disingenuousness of the people who’ve been framing it this way in the first place.

I mean, in addition to the class-unconsciousness, yes. Which is a big ol' problem all by itself. No doubt.

But it’d be a lot simpler to address this part (look, some of us don’t -have- $100 for flats -or- heels) without the complicating factor of, here’s a handful of people who have no problem hurling around terms like “classism” and accusations of frivolousness and yadda yadda as it suits -their- needs, i.e., actually it’s about their -own- notion of “patriarchy,” and has jackshit to do with class in the -real- sense.

but so what happens -now- is, they’ve just reinforced the idea that "feminism" must needs be either hairshirt (androgynous?) grimness or “fun."

And further, "fun feminism" always is 1) femme, in the mainstream, het sense 2) trite, shallow (as femmes are often stereotyped as being anyway, of course), 3) heavily, unthinkingly consumer-materialist, and 4) -has to cost a lot of money.-

One or the other. Tastes great! Less filling!

iow, reinforced the very media stereotypes we're supposedly all so exasperated with in the damn first place.

(“false dilemma” is another of those logical fallacies that doesn’t get used nearly enough; everyone always knows “strawman” and nothing else, seems like, sometimes...)

…and ironically enough even that kind of selective “hairshirt” feminism is actually classist itself, or can be. In the sense that you’ve talked about, BL: how “raunch culture”-baiting often=”slut-bashing,” and, of course sexbot–>slut–>”slattern”–> low-class, trashy. (I also talked about this connection in more detail here).

But we see this more clearly once we start getting into Linda Hirschman, Ann Althouse, even Daily Mail territory. These are hardly one's stereotype of hairy-legged man-hating anti-fun feminists, after all; hell, in the latter two, most people wouldn't even make the connection of them being "feminist" at all. And yet, again: there's a reason why TF was quoting that reactionary anti-Spice Girls article approvingly: this isn't "radical" at all, turns out. And it's a very particular sort of feminism, at best, if indeed it's feminism at all, when it comes to this shit, because it actually ends up reinforcing a very ancient set of shibboleths indeed, albeit perhaps inadvertently.

Anyway, tying it all back together: this is of course what “looking professional” (and to a lesser extent, looking “presentable” on the street in a mainstream sort of way) is all about. Keeping up appearances. These days, what this means for women is: look “feminine,” maybe sexually attractive (to men, mainstream)…but at the same time, not too SEXUAL. Which also means “white” (or as close as you can approximate); “upper class” (or as close as you can approximate), and so on, and so on. Things like “bad hair” and “fat” as well as too-short skirts, too much makeup signal not just "helpless, easily accessible" but also “wild, out of control, corporeal. "Of the body." which is the “low-class;” which is the animalistic; which is the "bimbo;" which is the “slut.” ("sexbot"="bimbo 2.0" as far as I'm concerned). And all of which gets even more weighted for people who don't "naturally" match the "upper" physical ideal: skin too dark, features too non-Euro, hair too kinky, breasts too big, too much flesh in general...

So then you get people like TF uncritically bashing just -one- aspect of this “look,” the most overt expression of the “low,” I guess (i.e. "sexbot"); and first of all, while claiming to be against “choice” feminism (as in, you may think you have one, but you don’t really, muhahaha, the Patriarchy uber alles!), first of all, for all practical purposes this actually doesn’t really blame the System, but rather ends up putting the onus squarely back on the women who sport this “look.”

More to the point here: everything else goes completely unchallenged. Hell, when’s the last time TF even talked about what looking too “butch” does for a woman trying to get ahead? because that, too, is tagged “low-class,” albeit in a different way. manual labor, now: again, it comes back to the body. and of course: DYKE.

but I mean: the only white women I ever see working behind a fast-food counter, here in NY at least, are extremely butch-looking women. Coincidence? shrug.

and then, too: when’s the last time TF, or Sheila Jeffreys,--or hello, Linda Hirschman, she's the author of the "choice feminist" business in the first place, turns out--had anything critical to say about the pressure to wear a navy suit and pearls? and what that signifies?

Serious question, not just rhetorical; not having read the full body of any of 'em I can't swear they never have; just, not to my recollection, I don't see this being addressed much among...certain factions. Blowjobs, "breeding" and bimbos: these are apparently the only boxes which women (all women, all 3,645,900,701 of us, especially the one with the ingrown toenail) are pressured to fit into. The way out is...what? The opposite of all that? pure and simple y punto? Or endless self-(and other)-"criticism" sessions that ultimately go nowhere? Yeah: how's that one working out, again?


Alex said...

I promise this won't be intelligent.

But, so, okay, wait:

Women can't be uberfemmey. That's a no-no in the eyes of the matriarchy. I mean, obviously, it's just you, following the MENZ's desires. No right-thinking woman likes heels, skirts, makeup, long hair, hair gel, or spending more than two minutes in front of a mirror or ten minutes in the shower.

But if you're butch, well, as you said - low class. But also, in some way, trying to be like TEH MENZ. (cf. transpeople.) Exalting them, trying to "pass". Upholding norms that only-men-can-be-strong.

So, then what? Androgyny, maybe? (That's one that I was always good at.) But still there's the issue of too much identification with men: you're not proud of being a woman. You hate your body and how it is "naturally" (I got that one a lot). You-don't-want-to-be-a-woman. (also probably cf. transpeople.) (To be fair, sometimes I didn't want to be a woman, or percieved as such. And sometimes I did! And sometimes I just wanted to confuse people. Funny how that works.)

So - there is no way to win. The only opposite of these ideas is - well, as far as I can tell - shave ourselves totally bald, eyebrows and back hair too, no jewelery, no clothing, no shoes, zip. Only our genitals, hanging free and happy in the wind!

Until winter, anyway. Which, up here, is, oh, mid-September until early May or so. (Or I just get cold easily.)

Maybe we'll be allowed blankets. But only white ones.

cicely said...

True story. Back in the very early 70's when I started work, the reason I ended up in factories was because I was very uncomfortable in dresses and in those days in NZ women weren't allowed to wear trousers in shops or offices. I got away with it for about a year in one insurance office - through sheer refusal to comply, despite it being brought up with me almost every single day. Finally, a new boss gave me the ultimatum and that was that. I know this story is hardly unique to me. It's pretty common among lesbians. This was in my pre-feminist days too. I had a way I liked to dress that didn't make me feel invisible, or as if I was in drag. It had nothing to do with politics at all. Just another way political lesbianism appropriated my personal identity, if you like. I naturally liked - and still like - to dress the androgynous way that became the only approved way. What a lucky break! Others were not so lucky.

On the plus side I think it's important to remember that feminism did expand the possibilities for ways women could present ourselves, before it ran away with itself.

belledame222 said...

o sure. no slagging on feminism qua feminism from here whatsoever.

i like Molly Ivins' take:

(something like)

"The only consistent position [on fashion, etc.] was that on the whole, June Cleaver would have been happier had she not insisted on vacuuming in high heels. This, I still believe."

soopermouse said...

Not to mention the hypocrisy in which looking femme is wrong but having a passel of children isn't.

Especially when said passel has been had when mommy dearest was already a "radfem".

Rootietoot said...

ok I'm confused. So there are as many different forms of feminism as there are feminists? And we're all supposed to love each other unless we're somehow offended by the choices of someone else? like, ok I see your point unless you wear heels and pearls and then you're just wrong?
Where would I fall in this, being an Uber-Breeder Housewife W/Minivan? Or do I have to go play with the Religious Right? (bleh, I don't like their toys)

See, what it looks like to me, in my limited experience, is that Feminist movement is developing demoninations, and each one is More Better than any of the others. Just like the Baptists think they have the end word on Salvation, so (insert descriptive here)Feminists believe they are the final word.

I am bemused.

antiprincess said...

is anyone besides me eternally grateful to the clothing gods if only their shit's clean, not full of holes, and doesn't look like it's been stored in a Pringle's can?

Any day that I can get to the office in a pair of shoes through which I don't feel the pavement on the soles of my feet is a good day.

antiprincess said...

I've had tons of jobs over my 25 years of working life.

Some have required uniforms supplied by the job, all of which were pretty across-the-board androgynous and, in their attempt to be inoffensive to everyone, were actually dog-ugly in every aspect.

Some jobs had sort of a dress code which varied in its strictness according to nothing more consistent than the whim of the boss.

Some jobs required jeans.

Probably the worst thing ever written on any employee evaluation I ever received was "has wild hair", "has weird hair", words to similar effect. I got dismissed from a temp job because I wouldn't cooperate when the lady supervisor came by my desk and said "you know what we'd just love? we'd just love it if you'd do something fabulous to your hair!"

Strangely, the job I loved the most was the costumed interpreter gig at the 1840 House in Baltimore. My work clothes consisted of a cotton ankle-length dress, two petticoats, old-fashioned shoes and a dumb little cap thing. I was all the rage for 1839, but quite comfortable nonetheless. Nothing pinched or strangled or itched, I was as warm as I needed to be and still able to move around, chop wood, light the stove, cook, run up and down stairs, do everything I needed to do with no trouble.

(Apparently the tight-lacing of corsets was not an issue pertinent to the time, place and social class that the museum was about.)

Rootietoot said...

Antiprincess, I am grateful beyond reason that my work uniform never requires pantyhose. As for looking like pringles cans were involved...well, that's what microfiber's for.

hedonistic said...

hah - when G M R attempted to have a class "discussion" on her blog ("let's really really talk about this") I mentioned how even being able to blog about these matters was a privilege (and I don't care if you're poor/unemployed and typing from your local library, it is, it is, it IS SO! because most people in the world don't have the resources to do this at ALL). She went all PSD on my ass and wouldn't show my comments afterwards.

Typical! So how were we "really really gonna talk about this" again? I'm convinced nothing gets people's hackles up so much as discussions about class. It seems no one wants to take a hard look at Where We Stand and how it colors our perceptions. I find this ESPECIALLY true of people who already consider themselves oppressed. Perhaps they fear that the idea that others might be even MORE oppressed than they are somehow invalidates their claim to victim status? Very irrational, very weird.

belledame222 said...

Not to deny that people in general get hinky about class, but honestly, i would not go but g-m-r's reaction as any kind of baseline for anything except, well, her. 'cuz in her case you know i think what got her hinky was disagreement with her, period...

sailorman said...

Well in a temporary delurk, I hope you write more on these class issues, merely (and selfishly) because I'd like to read what you write.

So there. ;)

Back to lurking again.

p.s. do people seriously claim that access to online and blogger isn't class related?

hedonistic said...

Well, the blogger in question actually thinks the fact that her computer is three years old and she worked for all she has means she's NOT privileged.

People really are that blind. Black and white thinking: There is an oppressor group (Them) and an oppressed group (Us). Impossible to be both.

I know that every time I shop at Walmart (under duress! duress I tell you!) that I'm a privileged person benefitting from someone else's oppression. This is a no brainer to me. I just don't git how people don't git this. It's a continuum, not an either/or!

As for the anti-femme blogwars, let's call them what they are: The petty indulgences of privileged people. That doesn't make them INVALID, mind you, they provide food for thought, etc. But when people try to validate their feminist street cred by "winning" these arguments . . . gah. I don't even know where to begin. Even to fight it is self-indulgent, really. It's just Teh Internets, it's just blogging, it's just a comments thread. People need to get over themselves.

belledame222 said...

To be fair, I have seen people get incandescent with rage when they've just finished blogging about their very real financial difficulties, often on a level not conceived of by the person who blithely swoops in and "oh, but you've got the luxury to write it on a computer!" Yah, maybe relative to huddling in a shelter in Rwanda even the luxury of checking in from a public library is a "privilege" (sometimes people who are homeless do this; certainly people who've had limited electricity, limited mobility, having to choose between buying soap and toilet paper, stretching the food budget past the stretching point...), but somehow i don't think someone who's just finished talking about all this really wants to hear about it from a person who's mostly complaining because they had to take out another mortgage and can't afford to eat out as often as sie used to.

none of which is to suggest that g-m-r probably wasn't being her usual charming self, of course, or that i'd be likely to have much sympathy for her position, whatever it is, after all the screaming and banning and VAGINA EMBALMING PROFESSIONAL VIRGIN and whatnot...

belledame222 said...

What always interests me is how "feminine" traditionally gets conflated with "luxurious, frivolous," even "decadent." Licentious hoors and degenerate homosexuals indulging their every whim whilst the good honest working -man- goes wanting. Hell, the whole country was founded on that: Puritans resisting the -effete- decadence of the court. Idle hands, devil's playground. Softness is a vice. You see that playing out right up till today, in many many ways. Including these here feminist wars (today, I gave up shaving! tomorrow, I will give up my need to buy non-recycled toilet paper!) -and- a lot of mainstream expressions of pr0n, i would say ("she's a little hardbody," "hardcore," the worship of muscles and bones and unflagging dicks and endless pounding and and tits that -look- a certain way but who cares how they -feel-), among other things.

and if I had a dollar for every time some happy asshole compared the U.S. to dying Rome on accounta their and now our decadent (sexual, duh) perversions, I'd have just a lot of dollars. Of course, said happy asshole is often someone who's only too happy to indulge in -his- chosen vices. Bill Bennett sitting for hours in front of the slot machine: whirrr. Gee Dubya, that little ascetic fuck, runs eight kazillion miles per day, gives up desserts, wears clothes that look like...well, maybe that's just him, really...but anyway boy he sure does like his trappings of POWER. THAT costs money, fuckloads' worth, but we don't talk about -that.- Nonono.

"He worked hard. It's -hard work.- Hard. Work. -He deserves it.- And you don't, you luxuriant decadent pile of scary sensuality."

hedonistic said...

Of course, being THE Hedonistic Pleasureseeker, I am unabashedly decadent. Actually, this is why none of these blogwars have upset me too much: I just figure the Feminist PO-lice can take my blow jobs, het sex, lipstick, jasmine-scented hair oil, burgandy velvet bustier, stilletto heels, MachIII razor, WHATEVER, out of my cold little dead fingers. These things bring me pleasure, and far be it for me to give up my pleasure for the sake of politics!

I know my class privilege allows me to have these choices AND to expend calories and brain cells defending these choices online. That's why I try not to take myself so damn SERIOUSLY.

Rootietoot said...

there is nothing like enduring poverty to make you appreciate privilege.

belledame222 said...

the ironic part is, a lot of the same people who primarily police the sex-shul stuff and also cry "classist! classist!:: well, whatever else about blowjobs and so forth, they're one of the few pleasures one can reliably depend on -without- going out and buying something, or relying on the "labor" of anything but you and your partner(s).

belledame222 said...

(PSD? i suck at acronyms)

prosphoros said...

Jinkies, how I get sick of the hairshirts ruining "androgyny". In my mind, it's glamtacular, gorgeous, lush, and oh so hot, not the sexless, shapeless, affectless blandness. I want my signifieds with multiple signification, not less, damn it!

hedonistic said...

I meant PTSD, sorry, typo - - post traumatic stress syndrome, don't know what the D at the end is for.

hedonistic said...

rootietoot: I know, in the past I've been so poor that I actually lived a while on a friend's stale Halloween candy while waiting for my first paycheck (slinging hash). Now that I'm flush, I'm indulging in everything I can!

belledame222 said...

yah, "androgyne" could mean anything from k.d. lang to Frank N Furter, really.

what some people really aim for, i think, is -sexless.-

per PTSD: well maybe that's it. not that i want to get into deep discussion of She Who Must Not Be Named, but: just in general, I think, well, one, i'm cringey at using it that casually. I have respect for what she's done and what she's gone through (or anyone else with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I'm not at all sure however that that really explains the underlying personality of someone who can -never ever ever be wrong EVER-; my suspicion is that that's somewhat older.

eh, no matter really. i say it's "assholes" and i say the hell with 'em.

Bitch | Lab said...

i can't remember who it was, but someone pointed out that g m r's discussion of some irritating neighbors was def. class coded. then i caught someone i otherwise thought i appreciated describing g m r's neighbors as white trash. whatever. but, too true: when i read posts from g m r on her, neighbors, sho'nuf.

i personally think it's Teh Bogosity to sit around gazing at your navel and feeling all guilty about class privilege. Seriously: spare me. It does squat for the actual problem and sometimes ppl think that, gosh, I've examined. Done. Next up.

I've been calling it Dobosh Torte Feminism -- coz I have a little Hungarian in me. :)

cicely said...

yah, "androgyne" could mean anything from k.d. lang to Frank N Furter, really.

what some people really aim for, i think, is -sexless.-

Not me! I wear my hair mid-length to long, shirts, pants, jackets, sports shoes or boots and no make-up, although until I was about 25 I used to regularly apply dark red lipstick then wipe it off leaving my lips just a little more red than natural. (I always thought this was probably a practice peculiar to me.) In the parlance I think I'm what is referred to as a 'butchy femme.' I feel good when I feel good and like to think I look appealing enough as I am to someone who's interested in me, and, well, I've had enough evidence to satisfy me of at least that much over the years. Other women's styles - well - they're other women's styles. What's it got to do with me? I agree with the June Cleaver thingy, BD.

Funny thing though - I'm mostly attracted to women who dress a bit like me, or more overtly butch. The first time I ever saw a woman in a suit - well - too much information.....None of it has anything to do with politics though.

It'd be nice to see more of the style I like on tv and in movies but, I have to say. I'm left largely un-moved by the images of women I see there.

mad hatter said...

'choice feminism.' I have no fuckin idea what this term means. Wikipedia has no reference to it (and we all know how trustworthy wikipedia is). Someone want to enlighten me?

soopermouse said...

well, it's good to see someone else decided to touch the class in feminism issue.

If you have been keeping up with my blog lately, I have sadly come to the conclusion that radfem of the net kind has become too much of a white western middle class women's movement for me to feel comfortable in.

belledame222 said...

Butchy femme=teh Yummy.

femmey boys & bois, ditto.

and speaking of,



that'll cure anyone's residual ick factor after too much "spotted dick," fer sher.

belledame222 said...

ironically (or not), Dorothy Allison and Gayle Rubin are both very much about class -and- about a (lesbian) femme identity.

I've said it before, I'll say it again:

the Sex Wars (to which this is related if not synonymous, i guess, the Beauty Wars) crap of course was fiercest and arguably originated among -lesbians.-

Watching straight, even partnered-with-men women appropriate the language of "overthrow the gendered differences such as butch and femme, and oh yes, this that and the other sexual thing is verboten or at least must be rigorously examined" is, well, really fascinating to me.

i mean as much as the political lesbians get under my skin, at least i suppose they're you know consistent, in their puritanical little way.

i just keep thinking, with a number of people: lemon drop. you are FUCKING MEN. hell, in some cases, MARRIED TO ONE. which is totally fine, don't get me wrong, but kindly do not then come fapping to -me- about how "patriarchal" my sex, gender expression, yadda is, or I shall be forced to taunt you a second time.

belledame222 said...

--welcome, mad hatter!

belledame222 said...

>Especially when said passel has been had when mommy dearest was already a "radfem".

I did not know that. How'd that one work, again? if we're talking about the same person; I thought she was still doing the uber-right-wing/religious survivalist thing with the abusive husband, then? anyway obviously she hadn't moved into "political lesbian" phase, unless she was doin' it by turkey baster, which somehow i doubt.

well, as i've also said: you know, there is a point at which the extreme right and the extreme left kind of bend around and meet. and the extreme right, you know, -also- is often very much into this notion of a separate "womens' culture," this...mysticism around women qua women (yesyes, they're not essentialist, that bunch of radfems, i know. i know). The body, blood, tears, placenta, yadda. only difference is instead of making it about separatist communities and the moon and the tides and so forth, it becomes about reinforcing a very very very "patriarchal" worldview indeed. Stand by your man; just, he's got his life and you've got yours. There's nothing new about this.

and by the way, don't know if you noticed, but the person known as NYMOM is also hanging around that neck of the woods these days. what a strange bird that one is! she, too, has a good dozen or so kids; unlike H, she's extremely clear about how this IS part and parcel of her feminism; she IS i'd say an essentialist. and keeps ranting about the evils of the "gender feminists," another term which i have no idea what this means. she is of course also nuttier and denser than last year's fruitcake, but of course that kind of goes with the territory.

i mean seriously: that bunch who are/were most up in arms about the Amp thing? a couple of exceptions, people i see as at least kind of reasonable in other respects, people who do try to engage at least, but for the most part: holeeee shit. i think that much frootbattery in one space would tend to collapse in on itself and make a kind of virtual black hole, you know.

there is btw some character named gayle who is apparently convinced that "my work here is done," now that they've left in a huff. i still have no idea who the fuck this person is, but apparently she's very VERY irate with me; she's done this in several places now. anyone hear of this person? not that it matters, just sort of curious. i expect she's just representin', at that. still.

belledame222 said...

btw, is Samantha a political lesbian? as long as i'm asking about these people.

...yeah, you know, between Margins, genderberg, IBTP and the apparently pretty moribund but still existent Feminista! boards (Heart came sweeping in all wrath and righteous at something or other Nikki Craft did there, too, p.s.; it was Teh Funny), some people really had one fuck of a lot of nerve DEMANDING that Amp carve out a separate space for them on -his- boards. ban these people. don't call yourself a "feminist," you MAN you. and now screaming about how "betrayed" they feel. seriously, piss OFF.

btw, BL: you know, I'm currently reading "The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism," ed. Dorchen Leidholdt and Janice G. Raymond. dunno if this was one of the ones you reviewed; certainly familiar names and some familiar pieces. the second intro is by Kitty MacK, and it is the piece which Anthony was citing a while ago, you know,

"The Black movement has Uncle Toms and Oreo cookies. The labor movement has scabs. The women's movement has FACT (Feminist Anti-Censorship Task Force)."

anyway, BL, the piece by Sonia Johnson ("Taking Our Eyes off the Guys") is exactly in line with what we've been talking about, the whole Hegelian thing (among others):

"There are many reasons for our being in the only position, historically speaking, to change things. One of these is the basic paradox of tyrannym that the oppressors are always less free than the oppressed. Another is that as women, we are truly outside men's system. Virgina Woold said that, you know. She said in "Three Guineas" that women are the Society of the Outsiders, that that's where we have our power..."

...because if there's one place i want to look to for a moedl of successful Resistance, it's Virginia Bloody Woolf. mhm.

and "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a hymn to freedom. Yes! Let's all go insane and live inside our wallpaper! That's learn 'em!


mir said...

Two things drive me batshit about this stupid business.

Firstly, to judge is to own. To say "Woman, your hair/heels/nails/clothing choice is bad/wrong/tickytacky/dumb" means "By seeing you and deeming you in the wrong, you belong to me. Your choices must srping from MY worldview". Because really, if the Judgy Hairshirt McJudgerson didn't feel a sense of proprietary ownership of that woman, those women, me, you, all women everywhere at any time 24/7, they'd not give two craps, you know? Now who do I know that feels that sense of complete ownership over each and every choice women make? Who manages to deem this behavior, that behavior, every blasted move a woman makes as wrong wrong wrong? Talk about stepping in sexism and walking it around a party.

And secondly this gnashing of teeth about the sheer *stupidity*, the breathtaking *ignorance* of Them Femmes is so self-absorbed, so mean and small it makes me hoot. Hoot hoot. The idea being that those who don't do as I do are but dumb little lambies bleating along behind the patriarchal feed wagon and if they only *knew*, if they had just an iota of my own personally brilliant and thorough self-examination skills they would BE EXACTLY LIKE ME. Poor stupid sexbots.

That the bloggy voices of feminism somehow keep managing to convey the idea that most of the women on the planet are ignorant turds is just too, too rich.

Fuck it, I'll get my feminism from a source that doesn't consistently disparage women, thanks.

belledame222 said...


funnily enough, that's kind of related to what's been going on with the continuing saga of BurqaPhotoshopDrama: you know, i mean, the veil! the VEIL! those poor poor women. those evil Men from Over There, who have nothing at all to do with us, no. stop speaking for those poor oppressed voiceless women! or even quoting their own words! let US speak for them, i mean, we care, more. or some damn thing.

yah, power works in more complicated ways than a lot of people would like to think.

soopermouse said...

nymom? aka Pony??

belledame222 said...

wait. say wha? they are not the same person. are they?

pony's way the fuck up in Canada somewhere, and (that i know of?) has no kids.

or am i being too literal about this?

she is absolutely vile, obviously

Mandos said...

I don't believe that Samantha (as in Sam Berg) is a political lesbian. However, she focuses on the material aspects of pornography production as her primary motivation, or so has been my impression.

NYMOM is not Pony as far as I can tell. My experience of NYMOM emerges from Trish Wilson's boards wherein she supports Trish Wilson's work against MRAs but not Trish's motivations. In a nutshell, not only does she oppose MRAs, she actually believes that there should be custody presumptions in favour of women due to the importance o the mother-child bond. She blames wealthy urban career feminists for the existence of custody-seizing MRAs because she believes that feminists furninshed the argument that men and women can be equal parents---not so, in her mind. That's what she means by "gender feminism", which is also a Christina Hoff Summersism (although I don't think NYMOM is a CHS supporter).

She does believe that there are cases where children should go to the father instead, like when the mother chooses to pursue a more demanding career. She also believes that there are, in fact, men's jobs---like in the Marines---and believes that some childless feminists basically traded women's custody and financial support for a chimerical hope of equality in men's jobs. Selfishly spoiling the water, so to speak. You can imagine that she fought with g m r on this particular issue.

belledame222 said...


well, "gayle" just accused me of "trolling" for the third time, now. i do hope she does it once more for luck, i'm feeling rather full of free-floating malevolence today.

cicely said...

I thought she was still doing the uber-right-wing/religious survivalist thing with the abusive husband, then?

I read her somewhere recently saying she came out as a lesbian four years ago.

Re Samantha - How do you know who's a political lesbian in the sense we're meaning and who's not, unless they tell you? It used to be possible too (maybe still is?) to be a pre-feminist lesbian (in or out of the closet) and later buy into the whole lesbian-feminist separatist politic - a la Sarah Hoagland, Sheila Jeffreys and the like - as well. Maybe Righteous Path has been more appealing than Dirty Secret for some, eh?

I think 'gender feminist' is a phrase coined by Christina Hoff Sommers in her book 'Who Stole Feminism?'. It's her name for any feminist who believes in patriarchy at all - as I understand it. If you're ever going to quote from her book - make sure you preface the quote with a qualifier about where you disagree or how little you agree with her overall views (if that's the case). Especially if you don't live in the US. She has a very high profile there as a conservative male apologist. I had my feminist credentials revoked by women who didn't know me for failing to do this last year.

Mandos said...

Sam has a boyfriend, at the very least. Or so I remember.

hedonistic said...

Sometimes I wonder how the feminist cyberentities live their own imperfect lives. I mean, on Teh Internets we can be as pristine as we wanna be, non?

soopermouse said...

Nymom and Pony have the same IP address ( I have this little script thingie on my blog that allows me to see the full IP addres of all commenters. I am mean like that.

Remember that Pony has this nice habit of pretending to be whoever she needs to be in order to claim knowledge on any subject.

belledame222 said...


that is very interesting. how fucking bizarre?!

speaking of trolls. ffs.

belledame222 said...

and yeah, i guess what i was really asking wrt Sam was whether she indulged in the Menz at all.

none of my business; and yet, you know what, considering how much these people are -so- invested in sniffing everyone else's panties, i kind of think at least that much, it's not too much to wonder aloud about.

belledame222 said...

so d'you think Pony's anyone else as well?

you know, how ironic, this (these?) are the same damn people who keep accusing everyone -else- and their mother of "trolling," having sockpuppets, not being who we/they say, etc.

all i know is that the Pony character is DEEPLY crazy-mean, and the fact that even the people who i -do- know to be real (Heart, some of the others) don't repudiate her for her vileness speaks volumes all by itself.

antiprincess said...

I'm Everypony.

belledame222 said...

so I'm lookin' at NYMOM's site right now ("Women as Mothers"). so far we learn: everything about gay parenthood/adoption is some sort of red herring, again to put men back in charge, somehow.

not that i doubt that there are many many crazy people in this world, -or- what you're saying about the IP's, either, soopermouse.

just: hm. objectively: there is a certain stylistic similarity, at that.

then again, that's true for a lot of people.

they both also share a certain degree of, um, insanity? over supposed male control over everything; then too that is also a number of people.

still it's true that for sheer dementedness it's hard to beat Pony's "anal sex is a recent plot of the patriarchy to put women back in their place."

and that NYMOM is one of the few who comes close to that level of batshitaciousness, albeit i thought in slightly different ways...

belledame222 said...

anyway i did always think it was a tad curious that Pony the former prostitute (and i'm still not saying she wasn't one) never, ever was asked to perform a blowjob; and to this day has never done such an act (not that it stops her from having strong opinions on the subject).

belledame222 said...

as long as we're gossiping: hasn't Heart been holding court in the radical femsphere for more than four years, though? i thought people've mentioned her being influential on the Ms. boards a good ways back.

belledame222 said...

...actually, scratch that last question, i misread, sorry cicely.

and sorry, wrt NYMOM, it's not actually "gender feminists," it's "gender-neutralized feminists."

Curiouser and curiouser. well, i guess every political movement has its lunatic fringe, left, too, yes, but..

zomg: word verification:


little light said...

I'm not going to be a fan of anything with Janice Raymond's stamp of approval on it, as it is, you know? That book sounds obnoxious.

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

Oh, it's great stuff, though. Sheila Jeffreys basically dismissing Havelock Ellis because, well. You -know what -he- was into, right? (quotes a poem he wrote about his female S.O. pissing; i.e. he liked to watch. and also a suggestion that WOMEN don't piss that way; i.e. he was -really- a HO-Mo-SEX-Shul. as i'm reading it).

with the insinuation being, WELL. that is so BEYOND THE PALE, which i guess invalidates his work. there was more, of course, but that she put that there at all;

cuz i'm sitting here thinking, and your point is...?

seriously: okay, he liked golden showers. vicariously, as it were. So the fuck what? What does that have to do with the price of beans in Peru? He was a big ol' prevert, -is- that what you're saying? And? k-rist, it's not like she dug up evidence of him raping puppies; and in any case, hi, there's some seriously wack shit in yer pal Andrea Dworkin's writing as well, but well we don't talk about -that,- no.

i guess James Joyce can be tossed aside as well; he was a far bigger prevert than that; but then he too had the dreaded Chromosome, so.

anyhoo it's useful to read this crap, at least in small doses (nods to BL for taking on Big Red first); just about every talking point that's been batted around in the femblogosphere, and yes that goes beyond radfemville as well, now, thanks to folks like Amanda and everyone else who's glommed onto bits and pieces here and run with it, is in this l'il tome, pretty much.

o yah: Leidholdt and Raymond, you know, are the co-directors of this organization:

from whence i do believe a lot of folks -also- get many many talking points about prostitution in general.

they're quite influential; it -looks- like they may even be responsible for crafting the Swedish model;certainly they're very much for it, and often speak about its need, to power.

piny said...

as long as we're gossiping: hasn't Heart been holding court in the radical femsphere for more than four years, though? i thought people've mentioned her being influential on the Ms. boards a good ways back.

I'd rather not gossip, especially since I'm almost as much in the dark as you, but: she didn't come out immediately after leaving her husband. I don't see her as hypocritical in terms of any of this, just as someone who has lived two very different lives. AFAIK she doesn't defend her previous life as feminist or antipatriarchal, although she has spoken (and with some justification, other arguments aside for a sec) of some of the feminist implications of, say, running a magazine for women.

Anyway. I just went off on my blog about how none of that is very pertinent, so I'll go ahead and say that here. I don't think she was still with the bastard post rad-fem renaissance, though, and thought I should say so.

belledame222 said...

Fair enough. I was caught somewhere in between my own free-floating hostility and just plain ol' curiousity about the timeline; that didn't come off well. You're quite right, of course.

back on the Pony/NYMOM tip for a sec: i note that NYMOM also has been making the insinuations about Amp re: pictures of kids on his website. this thread (yeh, i finally saw it. goddam but g-m-r is never gonna let that thing with BL go, is she?)

actually they even talk to each other there.

i mean, i HOPE those are the only two who've been suggesting that there is -any- connection between Amp's decision to sell his blog (whatever one thinks of it, and who he sold it to) and the fact that he posts pictures of the kids in his life on the blog, ffs.

just beyond fucked up, that. and VS is letting that stand? o whatever, maybe she just thinks there's no point even getting into it. but goddam.

and fuck yes i have schadenfreude; and no, it is not frigging "men" vs. "feminists," and frankly...

o well i won't get into it, i couldn't possibly without engaging She Who Must Not.

but i mean, *really.*

I prefer to engage with people who aren't complete and utter assholes, bottom line. i won't say i don't care about ideology at all; but it does take a backseat to basic "don't be a total asshole, rule #1." that would tend to rule out pretty much all the MRA's i've encountered, true, but also rules out a number of these particular feminists, including She Who Shall Not.

--dude. you went off about -this- discussion? well, i'll go over before i leap to conclusions...

piny said...

No, I went off about a discussion between you and Ann Bartow over at Stone Court.

belledame222 said...

I just saw it. hoo boy. speaking of worms. o well, whaddya gonna do. i own my own words, yes.

and just to add to 'em: what a creepy little crawfishing 'stain AB is. -that- was her response? ew ew ew.

and frankly: this is a -law professor?- she's just -got- to know better than that.

Alon Levy said...

In a nutshell, not only does she oppose MRAs, she actually believes that there should be custody presumptions in favour of women due to the importance o the mother-child bond.

On Trish's blog, she actually came out in support of joint custody on ostensibly practical grounds. When I first started posting, one of the other regulars - I don't remember who - characterized her to me as "conservative."

and sorry, wrt NYMOM, it's not actually "gender feminists," it's "gender-neutralized feminists."

I think she's trying to position herself as the reasonable moderate between gender-neutral feminists and men's rightists. The problem is, her rhetoric makes her come off as a kook to both groups. Largely, it's that you need an incredible amount of political savviness to pull the reasonable moderate thing off, and the only person on the radfem blogosphere who I think has that is Ampersand, who doesn't give a damn about this sort of things.

Professor Zero said...

Nice post, or series of posts - what fascinates me about this whole debate as much (or more) as the actual issues at hand is the rhetorical strategies people are using to defend or disparage certain positions, the ways these are getting defined, the ones the definitions write out, etc.

I haven't had the patience, and maybe not the skills, to figure out the twists and turns of this debate, so it's good to read someone(s) who has done so, at least to a greater extent than I.

Rootietoot - interesting re the denominations.

Hedonistic - key point, I like fashion also, but it isn't fun if it has to be so deadly serious.

tekanji said...

("sexbot"="bimbo 2.0" as far as I'm concerned)

Wow, thanks for making that connection! I never thought of it that way, but it makes sooo much sense.

Tangentially, Levy's use of the word "bimbo" is one of the things I find distasteful about her book. I mean, if I were to be generous I could say she was using it an ironic sense, but I don't think that's the way the majority of readers would see it, and if that was her intent she fell short of the mark.

Anyway, great post :)

belledame222 said...

oh, I'd forgotten that Levy did that! well, there you are.

Amber said...

Jumping in, halfway caught up...

To be fair, I have seen people get incandescent with rage when they've just finished blogging about their very real financial difficulties, often on a level not conceived of by the person who blithely swoops in and "oh, but you've got the luxury to write it on a computer!"


That gets SO old, SO fast. You might've seen that something similar went down on my blog, recently. One of my stalkers - er, lurkers - came along and accused me of having "years of blog entries chronicling [my] poor financial decisions." Ha!! Seriously, he said that! I asked if he could please direct me to these fabled blog entries, because I don't recall them, but so far, he hasn't deigned to do so.

I just love it when people think they know more about me than I do.

belledame222 said...

oh, you're just saying that because you've been brainwashed by the patriarchy. wear pants! you'll feel better! and put on a sweater, i'm cold.