Tuesday, July 17, 2007

*sigh* and once again i am roused from my torpor most easily by something that pissed me the hell off.

and, I'm sick of that TOO; meanwhile, however, my response to some commenter over at Renegades's:

...actually, first read the OP and the links at trin's, because I think the following comment is a textbook example of exactly the thing they're talking about. Basic thesis of all three posts: trying to squish your sexuality into someone else's mold is not good for women and other living things. Particularly if you're doing it primarily because someone's trying to shame you into renouncing or at least being very, very quiet about, your sexuality; because, in some way that's yet to be satisfactorily defined, but with much passion and spittle, you have been reassured that it -hurts- other people, your sexuality, and oh by the way: it makes you disgusting and sick and selfish and and and.

Yeah, I'm a bit familiar with that one.

Even though--surprise! neither trin nor Ren has -the same- sexuality as me (nor each other). We all seem to have that experience in common. Curious.

So, onward:


Not Ok said...

Renegade Evolution:

There’s no other way for me to say this. I hate you. I don’t even know you and I hate you. I keep coming back here hoping you’ve changed some how, that something’s clicked in that Machiavellian head of yours and you’ve figured out that so much of what you stand for, defend, do, and make light of is built on the broken souls and bodies of other humans and instead, you get more and more vicious every time. No, it can’t all be blamed on you, that’s not the point. You do however propagate real harm to other humans, and not even for something that is necessary for people to survive. People don’t need porn. They don’t need strippers. These are not needs, they are destructive diversions both to those who make and consume them. You just flat out don’t care.

I know you do charity work, I know you donate money, but that’s like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. I know you're rabid about being seen as a woman who has made her own choices, crafted her own destiny so to speak, and guess what, I think you are. “Victim” is never a word I'd associate with you, even though you've been one. You’re a hard, calculating businesswoman who has parlayed good looks and personal lust into a career, a profitable career, with all the cutthroat efficiency of CEO.

But Goddess, look at what you’re selling! Look at what you’re promoting and defending and advocating! Meaningless, violent, degrading sexuality where little is out of bounds, respect means nothing, and achievement is a perfected, ideally sexual body and extreme acts are common place- bodies most women will never have, sex that most women will never want. No, it’s not all on you. But it is on your industry, the industry that you defend, even while mentioning its faults (generally in passing). YOU may have claimed your true sexuality and power in the world of raunch and the Patriarchy, it may suit you to a T and fit like a second skin, but you and every other hardcore supporter of your industry force that on other women and girls, and men too when it most certainly does not fit, does not give us power, and I hate to say this but it’s true: Hearing a pro-porn agenda and defense out of a woman most of us will never be and have no desire to be is a hundred times worse than hearing it out of a man. You help legitimize the stereotypes. You help insure that men think this sort of thing is okay and women do really want it. Your personal kinks and sexual quirks, when put on film or out there in other ways, normalize them and desensitize men to them. Your “good sex and good paying job” are many women’s ideas of torture and hell. You know that, you admit it, yet you support it anyway. Vehemently.

Fantastic that it’s worked for you, RE. In this patriarchal world you’ve managed to own your sexuality, profit from it handsomely, and probably even parlay it into real power: financial security, an impressive education, happiness, and even moderate amounts of prestige, respect and notoriety, and I have no doubt you’ve used your brains and charisma as well as your body to do it. That’s great for you, but how you manage to smile and enjoy it when you damn well know what it costs other people is beyond me. You can’t claim ignorance; you’ve had people tell you time and time again how they’ve been hurt.

You even pretend to listen, but you don’t change, and you don’t care.

You've made jokes about being a bit of a mercenary? Well, the term is accurate. You profit on death and destruction, you just don’t use a gun to do it.

And you know it.


Righteous, innit?

The bit that really stuck out for me, I mean besides the very sisterly "I hate you, woman whom I do not know:"

You help insure that men think this sort of thing is okay and women do really want it. Your personal kinks and sexual quirks, when put on film or out there in other ways, normalize them and desensitize men to them. Your “good sex and good paying job” are many women’s ideas of torture and hell.


Well, there are a couple of things there.

One, blame the Other Woman for the mens' behavior; this is, of course -totally feminist.- Because we can't can't can't expect men to change, much less understand the difference between fantasy and reality; and we have no power to say "no, I don't want to do that," of course. It's all about the Men, always; they're the only ones with any agency here (except when it comes to completely overhauling your career and personal sexuality, I guess). Don't show -that-; the Men might get ideas. Let's yell at the Bad Woman so that the Men don't get ideas. Because Men, well, they're just too powerful to talk to. And also too stupid. They're like...wild beasts, really: they watch things, they make their women do things, and all we can do is wring our hands, yell at the women, maybe act out on the street a couple of times, and continue to purge our ranks of impurities, of course. Terrific. Well, this is not news.

But then, there is this, and this is what -really- sends me into overboil:

Your personal kinks and sexual quirks, when put on film or out there in other ways, normalize them and desensitize men to them.


Yes, Christina Diana forbid she ever get the idea she might be in any way shape or form normal. Same with the other, o, two or three women in the entire world (right) who share her proclivities. I mean, I -guess- we can tolerate your existence; but better not EVER forget what a total freak you are, it's too threatening to the rest of us. No, so, she can have her filthy sexuality, she just, what is it now? Shouldn't flaunt it. Not PARADE it. Stay in...the closet. Innocent women and children and puppies (and the Bad Villains who want to harm them but otherwise would have no template for it) might get ideas. Even though it's sick and disgusting and no sane person would want to do it.

Gee, where have I heard THAT one before think think think.

Well. I suppose it's somewhat different in this case in that we're assuming that teh Menz are a different species and it's them we're worried about: getting ideas. Because of course the women whose idea of hell it is, why, goshes, they just don't have to watch it, do they? I know that's how I feel about Nora Ephron movies. Certainly, as we've just been reminded, women--excuse me, NORMAL women are far too pure to come up with this shit all on their very ownsome. Our. Wait, -am- I a woman, I mean a -real- woman? I forget, see. I forget these things, sometimes.

Because, according to just an awful lot of people, one way or another, my own desires really shouldn't exist at all, either. And really, neither should I. At minimum I should have the good grace to know my place. No one NEEDS sexual things, after all; not THAT kind of sexual thing, anyway. Your shit is of central importance, necessary and natural. My shit is frivolous at best, dangerous at worst. Got it.

And...yeah. In a way, you know, this isn't really THAT different from the fundie line, either. In content as -well- as principle. Not this particular comment, at any rate. Here it is, the bottom line, as bald as it gets:


Won't someone please think of the heterosexuals?


The NORMAL ones, that is. The straight ones. Not the kinky and poly ones, not the gender-bending ones, not the freaks who flaunt it in public or sell it on a weekend. The nice girls. And their...men. Who in this case, apparently are the root of all evil; but somehow or another, it all boils down to the same goddam thing: blame the deviant for harshing the nice straight folks' mellow.

Yes, I first and foremost mean the reactionary religious Right, and I mean the ignorant fuckhead division of the General Public; BUT, here, too, I mean this commenter, too, and any number of "feminists" I've heard taking similar lines over the past x months.

Because, that's what this is really about, isn't it? Why can't you think of all the nice normal straight partnered women out there. It's not like the argument is that men will see Ren's movies and leap out of the bushes at strangers; no, they see this and think that's how they can treat their girlfriends, right? Their wives, even. It's a rather astonishingly consistent argument across the ideological spectrum when it comes to the anti-porn movement. At least when the religious right blames the scarlet woman/homewrecker for the dissolution of all that's good and safe and pure, it's a bit more ideologically consistent.

And yeah, sometimes, you do come across lesbians, self-declared, who also spout this line, more or less. Not many, these days, but there are a few holdouts, and a few newcomers to what is frankly a very anachronistic but once pretty popular (as these things go) worldview. Sometimes they also have shit to say about how other lesbians run their sex lives. Mainly though it comes back to the Men, the Men, the Men. Why can't you help us rein in the Men. You're not cooperating! Stop focusing on your selfish objectifying sexuality, stop putting those other freaks and men and male-identified people (the pervs, the queers, the whores, the sissies, the trannies,) who have nothing to do with us as lesbians, as WOMEN, that is, because that comes first, ALWAYS (remembering always) that Some Women are More Women than Others). Help us concentrate on what's really important ! the Bad Men! and the traces of bad Manliness that we must purge ourselves of! Odd, that, I find.

So, of course, of course, it's -ridiculous- for me to be calling homo-bigotry on feminists like our commenter friend here, because real! live! lesbians! might back her up, hell, she -might- even be one herself for all we know In fact, these are the PURE, the REAL lesbians, really: it's not about desire, it's not about sex, certainly not -that- kind, it's about -womens' culture.- Or rather, heh, -loving- women, yes, without necessarily bringing all that icky, objectifying sex into . Putting women FIRST. (p.s. and some women are more women than others).

I've wasted far more energy on these anachronisms than I should already, and I have other shit to do, but what the fuck, I guess it's cathartic or some shit like that.

So, let me just make a Statement on this once and for all:

Maybe for you lesbianism (if such you are, I have no further patience with straight women spouting this crap, "feminist" or otherwise, much less forfuckssake men) is a loving gentle thing, totally utterly different from the world of men and that's what's so wonderful about it, freedom from, not freedom to, well--mazel tov, good for you. And hey, I won't even tell you how abnormal you are.

But that's NEVER been what it's about for me, and, in my experience, it's not what it's about for most queer people, frankly. (And yes, goddamit, the men count, here. I -do- have more in common with gay men -in this regard- than i do with straight women, and you can sit on a tack if you have a problem with it).

It's about DESIRE.

It's about LUST.

It's got fuckall to do with Sisterly Solidarity. I don't care what Adrienne Rich said. That was a -long time ago,- in a particular milieu. More to the point, she's not me. I'll bet she's not even you, either.

Look, call yourselves whatever you want. But the buck stops when you start trying to police my and others' seuxality, sister. Some of us are all too familiar with that.

If you're not, well--gee, that's a different experience to mine, and--in that sense, if not others? Lucky you. Seriously.

If you are, well: aren't you an asshole for turning around and doing unto others what you hated being done unto yourself.

I really can't make it any plainer.

58 comments:

Trinity said...

Belle:

you are, as usual, righteous. \m/

and hawt, when you layeth down the smack. *takes notes*

Cassandra Says said...

Have I mentioned that I love you recently?

If not, here you go. Smack! Consider that a big kiss.

And you're right. I'm starting to think that there's more going on than just the old-school "don't do that, that's wierd and icky!" response going on under the guise of politics. That wierd compulsion to purge the ranks of heretics...does it not strike anyone else that the problem may be the way that radical feminism split off from socialism, way back? Because they did that they never saw how the downfall of communism played out, and how this very pattern played a bid part in that downfall. They weren't around to learn what purges and an obsession with ideological purity do to a political movement, since they'd long since decided that socialism was just another icky male-identified thing.

Worth thinking about, that.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Every so often when I see one of those "Think of the heterosexuals!" comments I have the urge to say something like, "Look, this stuff doesn't actually threaten me."

And then I realise that as a genderqueer poly kinky submissive woman my straightness doesn't actually make me not a threat to Teh Wurld As We Know It to that kind, and mostly don't bother.

belledame222 said...

well, yeah: just as some women are more women than others, some straight folk are most definitely more straight than others. hell, "straight" != "heterosexual," really, i'm just also sick of the everpresent Gender Binary.

Cassandra: mwah to you too.

belledame222 said...

does it not strike anyone else that the problem may be the way that radical feminism split off from socialism, way back? Because they did that they never saw how the downfall of communism played out, and how this very pattern played a bid part in that downfall. They weren't around to learn what purges and an obsession with ideological purity do to a political movement, since they'd long since decided that socialism was just another icky male-identified thing.

Mmm...interesting, but i dunno. I think that sort of purification shit just comes naturally to some people. Hell, you'd -think- it'd have been a lesson that this brand of feminism failed so spectacularly the -first- time; but, no, they're martyrs, they had the One True Way, it's all those i suppose counter-revolutionaries or whatever the Patriarchal equivalent is who're getting in the way. 'twas ever thus.

belledame222 said...

...the few (other) socialist feminists that I'm aware of, mostly across the pond, i do think they seem a lot more flexible, evolved and evolving. otoh some of the "socialist, not particularly feminist" folks i see on their sites seem to have that same sort of preserved-in-amber feel to the language and the fights.

maybe it has something to do with intersections: it's harder to maintain the One True Way shit if you're already going, okay, it's this AND it's this. maybe.

alternately, maybe some people are fuckwits and that's all there is to it.

Sassywho said...

I'll have more on this in a bit, but a big, fat, sloppy, wet muWah to you Belle.

Trinity said...

"hell, "straight" != "heterosexual," really"

Yep. I was uncomfortable with "straight" long before I came out to myself or anyone else as bi.

Renegade Evolution said...

hey, some of us het girls are all about desire and lust, i don't fathom that lesbians are all that different ;)

Love ya, Belle, big time.

little light said...

Preach it, sister.

Cassandra Says said...

Belle "maybe it has something to do with intersections: it's harder to maintain the One True Way shit if you're already going, okay, it's this AND it's this. maybe."

That's my thought, basically. If you're concerned with and thinking about multiple issues it's a lot harder to do the One True Path thing, so socialist feminists are more practical pretty much by definition. I had a great one as a lecturer in Uni, actually.
I really do think that the lessons learned from the downfall of communism changed a lot of people's thinking, though, and are why you tend not to see socialist-identifid feminists babbling about ideological purity.

The thing about the "they're just fuckwits" theory is, why are so many fuckwits clustered around one ideology? Doesn't seem like a coincidence.

Kim said...

"It's about DESIRE.

It's about LUST."

Well jeepers Jiminey Christmas on a crusty crepe, I'D like to think so! (Gotta dig up my old post on this.) Otherwise, what is it? Gentle whispers?
Back rubs?
Cunnilingus performed like one just "puttin' in their time?"

The first two may have their place (for me, classified as "affection" not "sex." I suppose the two can meet somewhere, but sans dumb laughter or pet names during the act.) The last one, yuck.

Forget it, dear.
I'll fist one off myself.

Ravenmn said...

Marxist feminists were born being flexible! Seriously, I've never met one who wasn't dealing with the contradictions within our own beliefs.

Damn fine post and great comments, too! I try to take on Not OK over at Ren's but the discussion has moved on, I think.

Zenobia said...

...the few (other) socialist feminists that I'm aware of, mostly across the pond, i do think they seem a lot more flexible, evolved and evolving.

Well, I find that if I try to believe one thought system absolutely I just end up tying myself in knots, spouting a whole lot of contradictory nonsense, and it can make you end up focusing too much on tiny details like which clothes to wear and so on. I found that with veganism: you end up torturing yourself because you just ate something with gelatin in it that you didn't know about, and ignoring the reasons why you became vegan in the first place, and then there are some forms of steak that prove to be more ethical than tofutti ice cream loaf.

Besides which, I don't see feminism as a lifestyle or an identity or as a belief. I see it as a collection of ideas, and it's perfectly easy to work with the contradictions, which often end up not being quite so black and white as you might think at first. I think it's no coincidence that some forms of feminism are so close to fundamentalist Christianity, it comes from treating feminism as a religion, which of course implies a structure which is often based on a patriarchal system. So you end up going around seeing things in 3D boobyvision with big red targets over pictures of naked women, just like the big patriarchal phalli you're blaming, which makes it unsurprising that this sometimes leads to collaborating with them, as in the link between anti-porn feminism and Focus on the Family.

antiprincess said...

And then I realise that as a genderqueer poly kinky submissive woman my straightness doesn't actually make me not a threat to Teh Wurld As We Know It to that kind, and mostly don't bother.

dude, are you sure you even exist at all? ;)

Dw3t-Hthr said...

There's a reason one of the tags over at my place is 'reality'. ;)

Octogalore said...

Yeah, right on. The concept of doing-something-different-from-how-I-want-you-to-do-it = selfish is pretty hypocritical.

SallySunshine said...

Belle, you always have such a great way of cutting right through the heart of an argument. I'm sending love your way too. ~SS

Daisy said...

Good post, BD.

The comment from Not Ok freaked me out quite a bit. Hate? Gah!

I don't bother trying to dialogue with people who show open hostility, and I think saying "I hate you" absolutely qualifies!

One way to shut down discussion, I'd say.

Daisy said...

Also, IMHO, cassandra is right about the whole socialist/radfem split.

I think the whole difference is one group is talking about serial monogamy and as Trin put it in her post, "casual lovers"--and the other group (radfems, in this case) are assuming a long-term relationship or life partner.

Having had both, the sexual expectations of what you will and won't do, are very very different. No monogamy, no big deal. Monogamous lifetime partner? It means you never get it, whatever it is.

Men often feel well within their rights to continually agitate for what they want sexually in a long-term relationship, particularly if they think they are "paying more than their share." Since they make more money, they usually are. (Remember, people still argue that "marital rape" does not exist, and there is no law against it.) They argue they are being deprived, etc... and from their point of view, they are.

Casual lovers, usually there is no such pressure.

But I honestly think this is not gay vs. straight feminist (or vanilla vs. non, whatever) but committed vs. casual, for some of these discussions.

Chuckie C said...

From the socialist persepctive on binge/purge politics (We speak for EVERYONE, therefore we must exclude YOU)I have to agree with BD here.
The lesson is a hard one to learn becaue it is recurrently self-generating. At heart it consists of two premises. You have an incontrovertible and all-encompassing truth. Therefore when things go wrong and do not accord with that truth, it is because someone is doing something wrong. So they must be punished. When I was around loads of student activists back inthe 80s I saw so much of this approach to politics, I concluded that Stalinism, its prototypical form, was the spontaneous politics of the petit-bourgeois.
My skepticism about there being a lesson you could learn to preclude these politics results from my encounters with the Marxist left. The explicit content of these politics never prevents those who hold those beliefs from acting in this way. Trotskyists who advocate internal freedom of dissent and democracy in socialist organizations. Autonomist communists who reject organizations. (My fave, we reject all organizations that deny the working class its autonomy, and by the way, your yucky beliefs mean you can't belong ot ours.) And of course, anarchists too.

What promotes this kind of politics is conservative times and the isolation of 'activists' from the kind of activity where they can and must work with less 'conscious' people.

In this sense the self-destructive orientation, or dogmatism and sectarianism as we M-L faithful like to call it, are inevitable. In fact, when I first started reading these controversies in feminism I was greatly relieved. "I always thought it was us. But there as bad as we are!" But I have lost that relief. When sex becomes the focus of pseudo-political aggression, the controversy takes on a far more florid, morbid tone than your normal socialist polemical savagery. My condolences.

belledame222 said...

Daisy: it's hard for me to say. personally i'm leery of making that assumption viz men being "owed" as a general rule (as opposed to someone's specific experience, of which i've no doubt there are). also not seeing why that'd necessarily be more true in an LTR than in a one-night stand or short term relationship, if the man's got that kind of mentality: i.e. i paid such and such an amount for dinner, I was nice to you all night, I -deserve- blah blee.

chuckie: well, i think there are a number of reasons why it gets so ugly in these particular blowups, short version: well, let's just say i think some people take "the personal is political" a little too much to heart.

couple that with the volatile nature of talking about sex at all, add in that a lot of people are working through abuse and other personal minefields as well as the sociocultural minefields, plus the weird combination of the "play nicely in the sandbox" socialization a lot of women have, the liberation that comes with finally venting some anger for, i suspect, the first time, for a lot of people, and the newfound belief in butbutbut we're SISTERS, we SHOULD be comfortable with each other and not fight...and yeah, pretty much you have a recipe for a big ol' mess.

in general though i also hold firmly to my Some People Are Assholes And Assholes Have A Way Of Fucking Up Everything theory.

Daisy said...

Daisy: it's hard for me to say. personally i'm leery of making that assumption viz men being "owed" as a general rule (as opposed to someone's specific experience, of which i've no doubt there are). also not seeing why that'd necessarily be more true in an LTR than in a one-night stand or short term relationship, if the man's got that kind of mentality: i.e. i paid such and such an amount for dinner, I was nice to you all night, I -deserve- blah blee.

Oh, I agree. I am just talking about the radfems who are anti-prostitution/BDSM/porn etc. I believe most are basing a lot of their experience on HUSBANDS (LTRs) and the majority-experience of middle-class white women.

And in fairness, it can seem like such women can't "escape", since some women with a number of kids CAN'T.

But that is not the whole of women's experience, either. But perhaps the majority USA radfem experience?

Since my goal is to expand the number of radfems, I am worried we can't do that unless we expand our perspective, which I feel may be dated and exclusive. This is why I'm reading all of the pro-porn
(etc) blogs. I do not necessarily agree with them, but they are making important theoretical points about what is needed to update and expand.

KH said...

Put aside Not OK’s unsupported empirical premise, that if Ren comported herself the way Not OK requires, at least one specific woman’s life would be measurably different. Put aside the question of whether Ren is morally responsible for the behavior of any specific man she’s never met.

I actually agree that certain kinds of speech can be desensitizing. I think the sort of unhinged invective against sex workers that Not OK promulgates, repeated incessantly, is profoundly desensitizing. And once you’re headed down that road, it becomes possible to say absolutely anything about these women, to accuse them of anything, even to begin to believe it, & once you begin to believe it, the next step is to want to inflict condign punishment. (No doubt, Not OK can hate Ren for inflicting untold agony on the world, & yet not want her to suffer any pain in return, but not everyone’s so morally fastidious.) I accuse people who wave the bloody shirt of pornography in this way of creating a climate in which sex workers are fair game for any freak with a taste for harlots’ blood. Prostitute-killers have quoted the Bible since time immemorial; what’s to stop them from justifying themselves in terms of the disingenuous feminist-inflected rhetoric that religious conservatives have lately taken to appropriating? Mightn’t Not OK hirself inadvertently be strengthening the spine of some Jack who’s down on whores?

Over the top, right? But not by Not OK’s own standards.

Daisy said...

KH: I accuse people who wave the bloody shirt of pornography in this way of creating a climate in which sex workers are fair game for any freak with a taste for harlots’ blood.

Excellent point. I was writing here:

http://daisysdeadair.blogspot.com/2007/07/whore-defense.html

...about how they are trying to introduce irrelevant evidence into the Phil Spector trial, that his victim, Lana Clarkson was a call-girl back in 1999. I was like, huh??? 1999? Why?

Obviously, because then she would have deserved it, right?

God, that's so *BAD*--it just makes me sick.

KH said...

Daisy,

Exactly. Your post on the Spector business was precisely to the point.

belledame222 said...

tangentially, that is one creepy dude. brrah.

Trinity said...

"I think the whole difference is one group is talking about serial monogamy and as Trin put it in her post, "casual lovers"--and the other group (radfems, in this case) are assuming a long-term relationship or life partner.

Having had both, the sexual expectations of what you will and won't do, are very very different. No monogamy, no big deal. Monogamous lifetime partner? It means you never get it, whatever it is."

This is all true, Daisy, but I then have a serious question for the radfems in the equation: WHY are you with someone you know is focused on what you feel to be patriarchal sex?

Surely radical feminist consciousness-raising should empower you to be able to dump someone who's not good for you.

I mean, I can see how some women can get well and truly stuck: "I have kids with this man", "he abuses me and could kill me if I left," etc. But I never see radfems saying "Here's why the only LTR I could ever have is this one." I just hear "Oh I'm with this GUYYYY tryna make it WERRRRRRRRRRK and the sex is all so PATRIARCHAAAAAAAL"

and i'm like... dumping is hard to do, but we've all had to do it. why can't you? surely part of radfeminism *was* critique of compulsive heteromonogamy!

So I can't figure it out, really. Feminism allows you to *notice* you're not getting off or *notice* that you're only there for the kids, but doesn't empower you to get out of relationships that don't work for you?

What kind of bum deal is feminism then? Seriously.

Trinity said...

and honestly I have less sympathy for people who are all "because of politics I will never try PIV not even with someone I'm monog with forever and ever."

because um um what? he's supposed to never want that?

I mean, when I'm in LTRs: out come the vaginal dilators, usually. No, not because I "owe" anything to anyone, but because when I'm in an LTR, it's about both me and my partner, not just me and what works for me personally.

belledame222 said...


This is all true, Daisy, but I then have a serious question for the radfems in the equation: WHY are you with someone you know is focused on what you feel to be patriarchal sex?


I don't get it either. Or, I'd get it I guess if they really were like coming to the conclusion that they wanted out and this was part of the process; but no, with some people it's like, Men suck! Men SUCK!! icky dirty nasty! --what, course I have a male S.O., why wouldn't I?

actually for me the question is starting to be more,

what's up with the guy, and what the hell is actually going on in that relationship, anyway?

Daisy said...

This is all true, Daisy, but I then have a serious question for the radfems in the equation: WHY are you with someone you know is focused on what you feel to be patriarchal sex?

I've been married three times (yes, common floozy!) and I currently am not, but have been before.

Why? I didn't know any better.

faustopheles said...

/me looks at fallen tree
/me looks at axe
/me looks at belledamme

andi said...

I don't get the venom that NotOK and his ilk have for Renegade...I've never noticed her advocating for rape or any such thing...she just enjoys what she does and thinks she desrves the respect everyone else gets as a human being from my take on it.

Having been a "victim" of rape and molestation as a child her point of view about sex is revealing and healing.
I am Celibate now and I have no problem with her industry, even the more "violent" side of it, as long as it's consensual ( and again I have never seen Renegade advocate for actual rape.)...I wish htese do-gooders would learn to stop talking out their asses.

Cruella said...

Great blog post. Wonder what you think about the whole Larry Flynt as saviour of the Democrats thing. I am spitting feathers. As they say.

belledame222 said...

Hey, thanks, and welcome, Cruella.

Well--I'm not exactly a fan of Larry Flynt, but I think we probably don't share the same POV wrt hardcore porn, yeah, even misogynistic crap (and yeah, there's been plenty of misogynistic and racist crap from Hustler, I think "Chester the Molester" et al is vile, pre-look-at-me-I'm-so-anti-PC shite);

but, well, honestly, of all the problems I have with the Democratic party, and I have legion, accepting money from Larry Flynt isn't really up there. yeah, I do buy his take on "free speech," ugly as his own "speech" is, and since I think he's primarily in it as agin' the Religious Right as well as the war machine--well, I've said elsewhere, I'm a -lot- more concerned about the Religious Right than I am Flynt.

incidentally, I also am rather fond of spanking myself.

but, you know, there are certainly plenty of reasons to be pissed off at the D's, (i.e. their culpability viz war machine, general spinelessness and corruption), like I say. if that's your final straw, well, I'm not gonna argue with you.

never heard the expression "spit feathers," btw. "nails" was always how I heard it.

belledame222 said...

hey, andi. i think "NotOK" is actually a she, for whatever it's worth.

KH said...

It's not accurate to call Flynt a savior of the Democratic Party. The bumptiousness of his occasional political interventions shouldn’t be confused for evidence that he’s had any significant effect. In fact, Flynt’s contributions to the Democrats’ fortunes have never been anything but marginal, much less than those of a large number of other, more discreet actors.

andi said...

I have no use for Larry Flynn. I have little respect for anyone who would make light of Child abuse in any form ( His Chester the Molester cartoons do just that) HOWEVER. As vile as his idea of free speech is I do agree that he has the right to it. As long as he leaves real children out of it.
His models are well paid, and well take care and they are not forced anymore than I am to go to work each day.

Flynn is hardly the saviour of the Democratic party...he's not the saviour of anything. He's barely noticeable to most folks. He's merely rich, flamboyant wanna be who is too full of himself for his own good and I don't think the republicans need him to discredit them...they do that all by themselves

Trinity said...

I feel like a bit of an alien here, Cruella, as all those examples of things that are supposed to bother me about Hustler don't, with the one exception of the voyeurism thing IF it's not staged. The rest -- I don't even see why I'm supposed to be offended. I've got fetishes of my own and, well, it's nice when things are clearly labeled and I can easliy ind things that would appeal to me and skip things that don't.

belledame222 said...

and yeah, kh and andi have a point. he's making a gesture. an individual withdrawing from the D's because of it would be a gesture. i'm not sure how much either resonates in the greater scheme of things; i'd just say, do what thou wilt.

sorry, i used to be a lot more vehement about the "look how much WORSE the R's are!" and i haven't changed my mind, actually, in many respects, yes yes Supreme Court, yes scary theocrats, i can't believe i've gotten this blase;

just, 2004 HURT me, man.

and well i'm kind of sick to death of all of them to be perfectly honest. god, do they -ever- stop campaigning? it's not for over a YEAR, people. christ.

Trinity said...

Daisy:

"Why? I didn't know any better. "

Okay, but the point of my original comment is... if radical feminist examining and the whole bit helps you see through all that, wouldn't you, by the time you're over at Twisty's bemoaning how patriarchal heterosex is, know better?

THAT was my question.

belledame222 said...

...yeah, i guess, you know, i feel very much like the people who heard the "cry wolf" too many times, both wrt the endless drum-banging on TERROR TERROR TERROR--yeah, no shit, assholes, i was here when it happened, it was pretty fucking scary--and, yep, how we're all going to hell if the R's win again. Well, yes we are; we're soaking in it, point of fact; and yet, -so far,- knock wood, I'm still here, goddamit, and i'm really sick of having my buttons pushed by cynical opportunists and Chicken Littles (like the reality isn't enough, let's all speculate till we make ourselves sick how much WORSE it's GOING to be, quick, get out the torches and pitchforks and checkbooks, AGAIN) who can't seem to do their actual fucking job.

speaking of which: Hillary Clinton just left me a recorded phone message. I feel so Honored.

she really does not have a beautiful speaking voice, i must say.

belledame222 said...

yeah, as i just said over at Ren's, I think that political CR is great for, well, what it says: *raising* consciousness. if it never occurred to that there were names for these feelings you were having, that other people felt that way too, that maybe things could be different, and you want tehm to be. THAT is valuable.

but, if you find yourself contorting to fit the ideology--ANY ideology, new or old--then it's the ideology that should get looked at critically first.

honestly, I think "There is nothing wrong with you" is about the most radical starting point there is.

belledame222 said...

...actually, you know, nekkid and fluid filled pictures aside, i think the closest thing to an ideological descendant of Hustler is probably, like, South Park. probably similar worldview and politics, i would say. actually if anything the South Park people were a lot more jingoistic early on in the war thing, which is one reason i went off them.

but, you know, in either case: basically we're talking about little eight year old boys being naughty, at the root of it, i would say. they think they're like overgrown Huck Finns or something, forever cocking a snoot (i so love that phrase) at all the prissy old biddies of the world, wringing their hands, anxious to get them out of the mud, put a clean shirt on, wash their mouth out with soap.
and: still with a basic sense of decency, but also really rather astonishingly self-centered and casually cruel, as eight year olds are.

and they still talk about sex in as graphic and disgusting terms as they can because they find it hilarious to make people shocked, SHOCKEd; and, really, they still find the whole thing kind of...gross, under it all, I rather suspect. but compellingly so. you know. like eating worms.

it bores, eventually, the whole thing.

KH said...

With respect to the Democratic Party, we’re back to the question of realpolitik & supporting the lesser of two evils. I always think of the beginning of Bela Lugosi’s Atomic Supermen speech in Bride of the Monster:

“Home? I have no home. Hunted! Despised! Living like an animal! The jungle is my home.”

Please watch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cE1fzfOogo&mode=related&search=

But the Republicans are so much worse.

belledame222 said...

lesser, schmesser, i'm votin' for Cthlulhu, i tell you.

yeah yeah i know, look, i never said i won't vote for whoever-it-is. i'm just so beyond the whole, get out the vote! help us phone bank! oh btw send us MONEY. no. i need a proper career, and frankly i blame y'all in part for the fact that the landscape is what it is, and that i cast my eye longingly toward Canada and Europe; go hold a gorram bake sale or something, for fuck's sake. and for the love of fuck STOP CALLING ME, ESPECIALLY WITH GODDAM RECORDED MESSAGES.

Trinity said...

"but, you know, in either case: basically we're talking about little eight year old boys being naughty, at the root of it, i would say. they think they're like overgrown Huck Finns or something, forever cocking a snoot (i so love that phrase) at all the prissy old biddies of the world"

YES. I can't figure out why that is so HORRIBLE. Hustler is, near as I can tell it, a bunch of bratty boys running about snickering.

The Feminist Terror Alert Has Been Raised To Orange. There Are Offensive People Everywhere.

*rolls over n' goes back to bed*

Daisy said...

Okay, but the point of my original comment is... if radical feminist examining and the whole bit helps you see through all that, wouldn't you, by the time you're over at Twisty's bemoaning how patriarchal heterosex is, know better?

Read the marriage thread at Twisty's, wherever it is.

Some women stay married even though they can't stand the person, possibly because they aren't being honest with themselves about that. I was shocked by that thread, and how many FEMINIST women are unhappy in marriages; obviously that is why they hate the sex. My mama was married 4 times, I've been married 3 times, and obviously, if stuff wasn't happening, we were out of there.

I think 1) some women are conditioned to stay married no matter what, and/or 2) women are afraid of being poor, losing insurance, etc. I can understand that, but if intelligent, educated women who have choices decide to stay married for purely financial reasons, it is really no different at that point that "prostituting" oneself, or staying in a shitty job, so why come down on the prostitutes then? I see no difference.

I cynically waited until I saved enough for a divorce, but I am pretty conscious of what I was doing. I don't see it as fundamentally any different than sex work or renting oneself out as a model. (I had stopped having sex with one husband, but stayed married to keep up appearances with his family, for instance, which is why I say "model"--this was briefly a profitable "act" for us both.)

If we live in a patriarchy, which I believe we do, then women choose which acts are most personally, financially and emotionally profitable for us. I tend to "judge" acts by how self-determining the woman in question is, in her choices. That's why ONE ACT (i.e. sex work, intercourse, whatever) could be oppressive in one context but not in another. I don't think Renegade Evolution is oppressed, for example, which is why I enjoy reading her blog. Another woman in her same occupation who has misgivings or dislikes THE SAME WORK, or who was coerced by a man, etc would upset me, and I would disapprove. So, it isn't the act, it is (quoting Marx here) the value assigned to the act. The goal of feminism (for me) is to make women more self-aware and self-determining.

Our task is to discuss and analyze these various choices and make sure our acts are authentically our own, not what we've had forced on us, or what we have only chosen by default or out of coercion and fear.

Blah blah blah! Sorry to go on. But my feminist politics aren't real common or typical these days, so I feel like I need to explain them fully. :)

Dw3t-Hthr said...

If we live in a patriarchy, which I believe we do, then women choose which acts are most personally, financially and emotionally profitable for us.

I expect this is true of people, regardless of sex, whether or not they live in a patriarchy.

Daisy said...

If we live in a patriarchy, which I believe we do, then women choose which acts are most personally, financially and emotionally profitable for us.

I expect this is true of people, regardless of sex, whether or not they live in a patriarchy.

Borrowing from DeBeauvoir and existentialism here, and the difference between subject/object, acting/reacting:

In a patriarchy, we are (psychologically) objects reacting. Men are subjects acting. Our task is to evolve into subjects acting on our own, not simply reacting to what men have chosen/circumscribed for us.

That is the context in which I made that remark.

belledame222 said...

mm. I think though that that's one of those dichotomies that falls apart outside of theory. Yes, that's the template; but is that really how it plays out, even now? We're all subjects to the degree that we are conscious and to the degree that we are limned by external circumstances, including, but not limited to, the particular sociocultural milieu we are in. And we're all objects insofar as someone else objectifies us.

but that's not just women; that's EVERYBODY.

You can call that the "patriarchy" if you like. Personally I find that that broadens the term to the point where it's almost meaningless; it then becomes a stand-in for "everything that's keeping us from being Absolutely Free."

and I like du Beauvior too, but I'm not at all sure that that's the frame she'd use for that very existential problem.

To me, "patriarchy" has a much more specific meaning: "rule of the fathers." It's our so-called 'Judeo-Christian" heritage*; it's a particular socioeconomic set-up in which property is passed down through the paternal line; it's God the Father; and yes, there are a number of gender-role divisions and sexual mores that are part of that heritage. The taboo on female "promiscuity," and the penalties thereof; the taboo against male "effeminacy;" the taboo against homosexuality or at least anything that disrupts the structural set-up; the taboo on "other Gods," on multiplicity (monotheism to me is a big part of it), on female priests, on women in non-domestic power in general; the focus on male competition; and so on. These are all things we still experience the legacy of to one degree or another; they are also, to one degree or another, coming apart at the seams.
Advanced capitalism and technology, Enlightenment principles, while all arguably deriving from "patriarchy" themselves, have proved to be largely irreconciliable with these principles deriving from 2000 year old desert/agragrian traditions. All the same, old habits die hard, which is why I still very much see a need for feminism.

That said, the fact that we're not really much closer to Utopia to me is not proof that Patriarchy is all-powerful and all-encompassing, but that there are -other- factors here, and that need to be looked at in their own right, -not- just as strands of Patriarchy; otherwise you find yourself out of the practical realm and into a sort of mystical worldview.

(*yes, there are other patriarchies, but i stick with the one i'm most familiar with, because i'd be talking out of my ass otherwise)

Daisy said...

I agree that there are problems with the words and terms... I fear turning into bell hooks with her white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy... which is just so cumbersome but of course, very accurate, and she is always careful in her theoretical words...

mm. I think though that that's one of those dichotomies that falls apart outside of theory. Yes, that's the template; but is that really how it plays out, even now? We're all subjects to the degree that we are conscious and to the degree that we are limned by external circumstances, including, but not limited to, the particular sociocultural milieu we are in. And we're all objects insofar as someone else objectifies us.

but that's not just women; that's EVERYBODY.

You can call that the "patriarchy" if you like. Personally I find that that broadens the term to the point where it's almost meaningless; it then becomes a stand-in for "everything that's keeping us from being Absolutely Free."


Even oppressed men are socialized to think they are free and choose their fates, even when they are literally imprisoned. (Sartre, not deBeauvoir, said that) Even women with privilege think of themselves as decorative objects instead of subjects/free agents.

At the risk of looking REALLY old (I am having issues over turning 50 soon, so bear with me over that!) I always go back to that wonderful philosophic work, EASY RIDER:

Dennis Hopper: What's wrong with freedom, man? Isn't that what it's all about?

Jack Nicholson: Of course it is, but you'd better never tell someone that they ain't free, or they'll get awful busy maiming and killing to prove to you that they are.


Sums up the aforementioned white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy very well, I think.

KH said...

patriarchy = rule of the fathers
andrarchy = rule of men

BD, you're saying people use the former when they mean the latter?

belledame222 said...

That's one thing. but mostly, i think some people use it to mean like, I don't know, Evil Empire; or, Satan.

Daisy said...

On the left, we used to say The Current Regime--which fit all situations perfectly, and is far shorter than bell hooks' long term!

I like that fine. :)

Trinity said...

"Some women stay married even though they can't stand the person, possibly because they aren't being honest with themselves about that. I was shocked by that thread, and how many FEMINIST women are unhappy in marriages; obviously that is why they hate the sex."

Sure, but y'know, if that's the root of the problem, I'm not so sure you need radical feminism to help with anything. If radical feminism gives you the bravery to better your life, well great. If it only gives you fancier words for "shit my marriage sucks" -- 'kay, but hiding why the sex sucks under analysis isn't gonna do you much good, really.

Amber said...

Also, this:

Your “good sex and good paying job” are many women's ideas of torture and hell.

Putting aside the ridiculous hyperbole for a second, this is really a case of, "No shit, Sherlock." Guess what - as Ren has said in no uncertain terms, supposed 'normal' (whatever that is) sex would be her idea of torture and hell.

Once again, she's not Every Woman. And neither is our lovely commenter.

Oh and god forbid any woman have good sex and a good paying job!! Heavens, no, we can't have THAT!

God, all this shit is just so fucking STUPID.

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