Tuesday, August 29, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, not so fast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And somehow you never quite get around to it.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

My other point is just this:

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

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

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

It's okay.

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

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


"I'm busy."

"I want that one!"

"I don't like it!"

"YES, god, YES!"

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

"I want some attention."

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

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

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

Repeat until you feel convinced, each and every one.

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

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

Just a suggestion.

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

"Deadly Innocence"

...or, "Feminism and the Mythology of Sin." Is the title of a book by Angela West that I am probably going to keep coming back to; I'm already a bit more than halfway through and strongly tempted to just quote the whole damn thing verbatim here, it's so bang-on-the-nose wrt what's been happening here online: the "Wars."

as it happens, she's not a sex-positive feminist or a radical feminist. thus far she hasn't really had much to say about porn or prostitution or anything remotely sexual at all, although it looks like she touches on the subject of sex for a bit later in; her main theme is violence. She is a UK-based Christian feminist whose frame of reference is primarily based on 1) feminist Christian and post-Christian thealogy and 2) an experience at a womens' anti-nuke/peace camp in Greenham in the early 80's.

This is her primary thesis, although there are many valuable sub-theses embedded in here as well (not least of which an illuminating discussion on race and class, which I'll get to later on, I think):

Sometime in the mid 1970s in Britain, women were declared innocent. All charges against them were to be dropped. Women were not guilty and never had been.

But what exactly was the charge? Perhaps a little background to the case is necessary--the case of the feminists v. the patriarchs. The feminists took it as their task to reverse the verdict of patriarchal religion and society which for so long had held women responsible for most of the ills of our mortal state. They exposed this verdict as a miscarriage of justice, and, speaking from the dock, as it were, they endeavored to overturn this verdict and reverse it. They took the finger that was pointing accusingly at women and pointed it back at the accusers. It is men, they declared, and not women, who are responsible for all the mortal ills of our society. They have had the power (including the share of power they stole from women) and they have abused it; right through history they have abused it for their own ends and for the sake of maintaining the exclusion and exploitation of women. It is they who stand condemned--women are innocent.

Feminist theology was at the forefront of this exposé of patriarchal religion, and as it began to make its appearance on the scene in Britain, its American pioneers, Rosemary Ruethers, Mary Daly et al, revealed to us how men had made God in their own image; how they had tried to lay upon women the burden of guilt for human weakness and evil that they could not cope with in themselves. Woman had been framed in the person of Eve--that creature made from Adam's rib...On her was now foisted the full responsibility of the human race...The model of Mary's submissive purity and the image of Eve's wayward sinfulness are both, as the feminist theologians explained to us, a patriarchal trap which women in future must strive to avoid...

Those of us who received the message did so wide-eyed at the nature of the revelation...In those days, the meaning of liberation seemed very clear to us. The task was to expose this ancient cover-up, to name the injustice that was being done to us...Fired by this feminist faith, we began to spread the good news that henceforth women could go in peace, and be free from the crippling guilt caused by dualist male theology which limited our autonomy and held us in check for centuries...

As I write about it, I remember once again the excitement of it all; the atmosphere of the small non-hierarchical groups, who aspired to raise women's consciousness, to create an embodied theology based on women's spiritual qualities, and fashion a politics where women were no longer powerless but exercised their free choise to promote peace, life, non-violence, and respect for the earth.

So what happened to this lovely dream? How come that when I hear the familiar rhetoric...these days I no longer experience the stimulating wind of the spirit, but rather the stifling air of the ghetto? When the text extols the woman/nature connection, I drop it in favor of a good novel. When the speaker stressed special female fitness for bringing about peace on earth, I stifle a yawn. When I'm told about how women eschew male power games and hierarchies, and naturally prefer mutually empowering relationships, a glazed look appears in my eyes. There seems to be some signs here of a serious loss of faith.

...Such attitudes would shock and sadden many of us who were active in the feminist politics of the seventies and eighties, and those who have come up in that tradition. Yet it seems that if we want to "keep faith" with those days, if we think that there is something worth passing on, we will need to be concerned with my question: what exactly was the nature of the faith we shared in those days? Could there be some connection between my loss of faith and the lack of faith among many young women? Or are we prepared to put it down to the cynicism of middle age and the ignorance and prejudice of youth? Or can we, with the wisdom of hindsight, now see what is worth preserving among the things which we held dear in those days and what we can afford to let pass away with those times? Since feminism, like all traditions worthy of the name, is a self-questioning tradition, it is surely appropriate that we undertake this examination. If we cannot interrogate our own faith, whether buoyant or failing, what hope do we have of communicating it to women who do not share it?

...My experience of the events at Greenham led me to doubt that women can be held to be "innocent" of history. Yet the presumption of female innocence was implict [emphasis mine] in much feminist theology of the time. It was this same theology that directed me to personal experience as an essential resource for feminist theological exploration. And ironically it was this personal experience that now in turn enabled me to formulate the question:...in what sense are we "innocent" of all that happened before we were born? Are we not born into a community of language through which we inherit the sins of the mothers--and yes, of the fathers too? I began to suspect that in the very act of affirming our innocence we appropriate the structure of our particular community of language--of Western post-Enlightenment culture--and thus also our inheritance in its characteristic structures of violence and repression...

I became aware that feminist theology's pursuit of liberation from guilt through the maintenance of a claim to innocence is part of a very ancient pattern--but one that nevertheless has a multitude of specific modern manifestations. Basically it is a pattern that can be found in both pre-Christian and Christian forms, as well as non-Christian and post-Christian versions. What marks them all is the hunger for purity or innocence, and its inevitable outcome in the election of the scapegoat. [emphasis mine]. This is the one or ones who are charged with the role of carrying away everything that spoils the picture that we have re-drawn of ourselves. And so the inevitable cycle of violence is once more set on its course...

"You're making us all look bad."

Since it's made Renegade Evolution "livid," I did go ahead and read the latest blaming of the patriarchy after all (you can find the link via the above link). not gonna bother addressing it in detail, just, this bit:

Perhaps not, but, well, it’s just that certain of your so-called choices are making the whole group look bad. Men appear to have gotten the impression that women are not, you know, quite as entitled as men are. So they’ve institutionalized ‘beauty,’ dieting, cosmetic surgery, sexual harassment, wife-beating, and rape, to name but a few of the thousand unnatural shocks female flesh is heir to. We’re blaming the patriarchy, not you, but really, mightn’t it be time to step up?

caught my slightly bloodshot eye.

you know, besides the seriously annoying conflation of "institutionalized 'beauty'" with rape and wife-beating, and, once again, the utter refusal to put any of this in -any- sort of serious economic framework (will there still be fine restaurants after the Revolution, do we think? corporations? luxury goods and services? media or business or money transactions of -any- sort? oh, wait, the Revolution's never actually happening, so it's entirely academic, thank God)

1) What do you mean "us," white First World genteel Prod middle-to-upper-class cisgendered spinster girl?

and yes, I actually could technically be "us" for quite a lot of that; and I'm still not with you, because

2) The whole "you must curb your stereotype-pandering appearance and/or lifestyle/subcultural choices for the sake of the Movement" business is, simply put, crap. It was crap when the polite suited and tied white middle-class homosexuals were pulling it on the "flaunting" drag queens and butch dykes (who were the ones getting their heads busted and their asses in the jails); it's crap when well-heeled, well-assimilated ethnic minorities use it on their "ghetto" or "country" or "FOB" or "lazy" brethren and sistren; it was crap when the socialists of Orwell's day were bitching out their fellow travellers for "bourgeois" practices like keeping a rose garden; and it's crap here, too.

and oh, yes: while of course this phenomenon has nothing to do with what's going on here, it is also crap when not-especially-politicized or even reactionary "good girls" use it on their "slutty" or "bimbo" or "trashy" sisters. Rivals. Whichever. Six of one.

Let's just put it on the table, shall we? The problem here is not that you're "too radical." You're not, in fact, radical at all. For that matter, the problem isn't that you're not radical enough, either; although y'know, I know this is a wacky notion, but there might just be aspects of the culture and your own inner workings that you've yet to explore or even consider. The problem isn't even that you have been Meanie McMeanerton (yes, yes, it's all for our own good, no doubt). The problem here, in short, is that you are utterly full of it.

Look, you know what: blame away to your tiny little heart's content. I won't try to convince you that my "choices" are "empowering." I won't in fact try to convince you of anything at all, since your positions are apparently frozen in amber, and, frankly, at this point I'm mostly just sort of bored and repelled by the whole thing.

At the same time, you're not gonna convince me that the retro-feminist version of "Go Fug Yourself" is in service to revolution, or any sort of useful progress, or indeed anything at all other than your own rather obscure but nonetheless utterly wanky, power-tripperiffic way of getting off.

And speaking of getting off, it is way past time I get off this particular ride and stay off, because the refrain is already seared into my unhappy brain and I know, i KNOW that it will never, ever change:

It's a world of blowjobs
And fetish heels
It's a world of spooge
And of "sexbot" squeals
There's so much there to fear
That it's time that we hear
It's a small-but-Patriarchal world after all

It's a small (Patriarchal) world after all
It's a small (Patriarchal) world after all
It's a small (Patriarchal) world after all
It's a small, small, world

There is just one the'ry
And just one Way
And the Revolution
Might just happen one day
But until that day comes
There is naught to be done
It's a small-but-Patriarchal world after all!

It's a small (Patriarchal) world after all
It's a small (Patriarchal) world after all
It's a small (Patriarchal) world after all
It's a small, small, world.

It's a small (Patriarchal) world after all
It's a small (Patriarchal) world after all
It's a small (Patriarchal) world after all
It's a small, small, world...

(repeat ad infinitum, ad nauseum, hic, hack, hork)

Keyword search update

Today's selection:

lion attitude stance eye violence characteristics or behavior alpha male

gay boy depantsed and made to masturbate

fetch me my axe

fetch me my axe blog

wacky wordie school papers

men rejection street harassment

making a cardboard axe

my ex is mad with me does this means she really loves me

feminist not funny

Monday, August 28, 2006

"let the soft animal of your body love what it loves"

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

-Mary Oliver.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Sound advice

This comes from an exchange in the comments section in the blog by the excellent Toasted Suzy, but has I feel universal application; hence, the repost.

Write to learn, not to "Put the Smack down" on people. Write to communicate, not to win.

...And, above all, don't be an asshole. If you really want people to listen to what you have to say, know what you are talking about, say it clearly, so that your intended audience can understand, and say it in a way that makes people want to listen to you.

If it's the choir you're preaching at, then you can go ahead and keep saying the same pre-packaged phrases over and over again. If you want to change the way people think, you'll have to establish common ground. Addressing them as your intellectual inferiors is not the way to do this--especially if they are clearly not intellectually inferior to you.

Try a problem solution approach to argumentaion, rather than choosing a side. It is less combative and, more importantly, it is less likely to lead you into making absolute statements.

...The people you are talking to--all of them--have real feelings and those feelings DO matter. Sometimes it is those feelings alone that will determine the course of the conversation.


And just for final roundness, ladies and germs, the key point here, once again:

And, above all, don't be an asshole.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The height of cuteness

...is being wished "happy birthday" (well, "ba ba," and "hay-looo!") by your one-and-three-quarter-year-old twin cousins over the phone.

still dying of laughter

"The Ant Bully:" Sinister tool of the UN New Age Nazi Communist cabal

The things you learn.

Keep in mind, the goal is a New World Order with some sobering similarities to Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. As flocks of cattle must be fed and nurtured to produce maximum milk or beef, so human resources must be fed and superficially gratified in order to meet the goals of maximum productivity and control. Reaching that goal would require these mind-changing tactics:

● Create emotional experiences -- real or imagined. Entertainment that stirs strong feelings and clashes with Biblical truth help create cognitive dissonance -- a form of moral confusion that undermines home-taught beliefs and values. It fuels social change, not with factual information, but with tempting suggestions and promising illusions.

Lucas' adventures in the world of ants begins with a terrifying journey down through the curving corridors of the ant habitat. Finally, he reaches a cavernous hall, where he must stand trial before the revered Queen of the Colony. Speaking in the kind voice of Meryl Streep, the Queen decrees a respite from execution. She wants to see if a human can be trained to think like an ant. If Lucas would convert to their values and conform to colony standards, he would live. If not, the ants would feast on his soft flesh.

In line with today's global management systems, Lucas is assigned a personal mentor: Zoc's girlfriend Hora (voice of Julia Roberts). She would train the tiny boy in group thinking and make him a worthy team player.

● Mock traditional authorities. Early in the movie, Lucas' parents head for a short vacation in Hawaii, leaving their troubled son and arrogant daughter with Mommo, their wacky grandmother. Her old-fashioned ways, false teeth, and strange fantasies make her an object of ridicule, not respect. The subtle message: Don't go to her for counsel. She's stuck in yesterday!

● Normalize crude jokes and bathroom humor. These desensitize the masses to Biblical morality and the old sense of decency. Even secular reviewers were offended: "'The Ant Bully' is rated PG for scenes of animated violence... crude humor about bodily functions, drug content,"[7] wrote Jeff Vice.

● Introduce an exciting spiritual alternative to Christianity. In preparing his magical potion, the ant wizard Zoc -- like his human counterparts -- calls on the elements of contemporary witchcraft: earth, wind, water and fire. Not only did his belief system involve spells and dark magic, he also acknowledged a mystical Mother, an enticing feminist counterfeit of our Lord.

Zoc isn't the only one who believes in a mystical goddess. At the first sign of collective danger, another communal leader shouted a quick prayer, "Mother help us!" She "will return one day," he explained.

Like Hogwarts wizards, Eastern gurus and Jedi warriors, Lukas must learn to focus his mind and alter his consciousness in order to develop skills such as climbing vertical walls and carrying huge loads. But -- as the movie suggests -- nothing is impossible for those who have learned the New Age skills of mental concentration, creative visualization and mental telepathy...

Oh, this is good

Via Feministe: yer one-stop shop for sweet, demure, Asian ladies.

I think we should send this guy over to 'em.

Friday, August 18, 2006

More feminist quotage

Continuing. Just because.


Women ought to have representatives, instead of being arbitrarily governed without any direct share allowed them in the deliberations of government.
-Mary Wollstonecraft

I recognize no rights but human rights -- I know nothing of men's rights and women's rights; for in Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female. It is my solemn conviction that, until this principal of equality is recognized and embodied in practice, the church can do nothing effectual for the permanent reformation of the world.
-Angelina Grimke

"One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman."
--Simone de Beauvoir

"However much de Beauvoir is quoted for her opening sentence to book 2 of The Second Sex: “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman,” her work is in contradiction with itself on exactly this issue. On one hand she believes – and shows – how the conditions of women are socially determined. When women are squeezed, torn, and suffering, it is not because of menstruation and menopause, but because of the ways that society deals with womanhood. This is her official and conscious position.

...On the other hand there is her whole attitude to and description of the female body. Its capacity for pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation is never seen as a positive potential, as a source of pleasure or pride, but only and always as a curse, a drag, and a burden.

...In my reading, de Beauvoir is insincere at this point. In her entire analysis, the female body remains a handicap which can only be overcome by minimizing it...

Regarding this model of female emancipation, socialism and liberalism by and large agree, as do large parts of the women’s movement that the notion that the female body is a handicap as persistent and pervasive as the idea of woman as the other. This idea is based of course on the assumption that the model body is male. But what if it isn’t?..."

--Signe Arnfred, "Simone de Beauvoir in Africa"

"Feminism has been fighting for generations against the notion that biology equals destiny. Do we really believe it? Or are we still clinging to a mythos that insists there’s some numinous ontological essence called “man-ness” or “woman-ness”? Transfolk, increasingly numerous, loud and proud, are calling our bluff...

There is no monopoly on oppression. In a culture that continues to put the pole of the masculine biological male on top and everything else below it, this means that biological women and transpeople share a common cause. A sex change, no matter its direction, never reprieves anyone from that particular struggle. This is the very reason so many transfolk become so political. Like women, transfolk have little to lose and a great deal to gain by challenging the status quo.

Positing such challenges is our feminist birthright. Growing up, feminism’s biggest gift to me was the message that people could be and do anything they wanted because it was human potential, not sex, that mattered. There were no qualifiers attached: anything."

--Hanne Blank

"Third World feminism is about feeding people in all their hungers."
--Cherrie Moraga

"In this country, lesbianism is a poverty-as is being brown, as is being a woman, as is being just plain poor. The danger lies in ranking the oppressions. The danger lies in failing to acknowledge the specificity of the oppression. The danger lies in attempting to deal with oppression purely from a theoretical base. Without an emotional, heartfelt grappling with the source of our own oppression, without naming the enemy within ourselves and outside of us, no authentic, non-hierarchical connection among oppressed groups can take place."
--Cherrie Moraga

"Along with Kate Millet in Sexual Politics, Andrea Dworkin used her considerable intellectual powers to analyze pornography, which was something that no one had done before. No one. The men who made porn didn’t. Porn was like a low culture joke before the feminist revolution kicked its ass. It was beneath discussion. Not so anymore!

Here’s the irony... every single woman who pioneered the sexual revolution, every erotic-feminist-bad-girl-and-proud-of-it-stiletto-shitkicker, was once a fan of Andrea Dworkin. Until 1984, we all were. She was the one who got us looking at porn with a critical eye, she made you feel like you could just stomp into the adult bookstore and seize everything for inspection and a bonfire.

The funny thing that happened on the way to the X-Rated Sex Palace was that some of us came to different conclusions than Ms. Dworkin. We saw the sexism of the porn business... but we also saw some intriguing possibilities and amazing maverick spirit. We said, “What if we made something that reflected our politics and values, but was just as sexually bold?”

--Susie Bright

"Whores...are the dykes of the nineties, the lavender menace whom it's still considered okay to ostracize."
-- Jill Nagle, Whores and Other Feminists

"Who are prostitutes? In law they are defined by behavior, most notably the act of soliciting money for sex.. Any woman suspected of such behavior is likely to acquire the social status of "prostitute."

That status makes her vulnerable to legal controls and punishments and brands her the prototype "whore." Prostitution for women is considered not merely a temporal activity (as it is for men who are clients and often for men who are sex workers), but rather a heavily stigmatized social status which in most societies remains fixed regardless of change in behavior. Often women who themselves view sex work as temporary and part-time work are forced by legal and social labelling to remain prostitutes and to bear the prostitutes status in all aspects of their lives."

--Gail Pheterson

"[P]arallels can be drawn between today's anti-pornography movement and the 19th century Temperance movement. . . By pinpointing Demon Rum as the central issue, could avoid the real (and dangerous) ones like in marriage and women's lack of economic autonomy…"
--Joanna Russ

"I think that most radical feminists and socialist feminists would agree with my capsule characterization of feminism as far as it goes. The trouble with radical feminism, from a socialist feminist point of view, is that it doesn't go any farther. It remains transfixed with the universality of male supremacy-things have never really changed; all social systems are patriarchies; imperialism, militarism, and capitalism are all simply expressions of innate male aggressiveness. And so on.

The problem with this, from a socialist feminist point of view, is not only that it leaves out men (and the possibility of reconciliation with them on a truly human and egalitarian basis) but that it leaves out an awful lot about women. For example, to discount a socialist country such as China as a "patriarchy" -as I have heard radical feminists do--is to ignore the real struggles and achievements of millions of women. Socialist feminists, while agreeing that there is something timeless and universal about women's oppression, have insisted that it takes different forms in different settings, and that the differences are of vital importance. There is a difference between a society in which sexism is expressed in the form of female infanticide and a society in which sexism takes the form of unequal representation on the Central Committee. And the difference is worth dying for."

--Barbara Ehrenreich

"So, don't give me your tenets and your laws. Don't give me your lukewarm gods. What I want is an accounting with all three cultures-white, Mexican, Indian. I want the freedom to carve and chisel my own face, to staunch the bleeding with ashes, to fashion my own gods out of my entrails. And if going home is denied me then I will have to stand and claim my space, making a new culture-una cultura mestiza-with my own lumber, my own bricks and mortar and my own feminist architecture."
--Gloria Anzaldua

"There is nothing about being female that naturally binds women. There is not even such a state as 'being' female, itself a highly complex category constructed in contested sexual scientific discourses and other social practices"
--Donna Haraway

“I am against normativities and for sexual freedom. I always hated this saying that feminism is the theory and lesbianism must be the practice."


“Perhaps a new sort of feminist politics is now desirable to contest the very reifications of gender and identity."

--Judith Butler

"We can talk a lot about mother-daughter transgression and generational resentment for a good couple a million decades, but I came to feminism as a lover. Feminism for me was a love affair. I came to feminism as an escaped Baptist. Feminism for me was a religious conversion experience. I came to feminism as a hurt, desperate, denied child, and I would’ve killed for the feminist mama who would take me in her arms and make it all make sense. And I’ve been running after her ass ever since.

I do not necessarily believe that someone can make it all make sense. I am, in fact, in love with the feminist ideal of “get used to being uncomfortable, you’ll learn something.” That is what I need, want, ache for, and I believe absolutely in the future of feminism.

I do not construct feminism as an ethical or moralistic system. When I talk about justice, I am talking about institutions that have ground me and my kind, right down to rock so far back that they owe me. They owe me as a working-class girl. They owe me as a queer girl. They owe me as a raped child. They owe me as a writer who had to raise money and who couldn’t write for years because she had to raise money. Yet, I also know that that voice saying “They owe me” is the most dangerous bone in my body. It is a part of me that I have to resist. It is a bone I cannot stand on, feel or shape. Instead, I owe you, my feminist sisters."
--Dorothy Allison

What's been bugging me about the "you don't -really- choose" business in the eternal feminist thrashes

...here specifically referring to clothing choices and other personal adornments, although it applies at least as well to sex acts, I expect.

Pretty much everyone talks as though the only thing that matters is how it looks. Not how it feels, emotionally or--especially--in a tactile sense. And forget about taste or smell.

Which is common enough for many of us in this our modern woild. We tend to favor sight over the other senses, by far. Thing about doing this too much is, it tends to be rather distancing; the other senses (hearing is debatable I suppose) are far more intimate.

And it also suggests that many of us are out of touch with our own bodies.

Which, if it's the case, hellya sure you're gonna be influenced heavily if not completely by "society" in your "choices," one way or t'other. How's it look? Well, how's it look to whom? Other people are gonna see me, right?

At minimum, if you say, well, I love the way the blue of this brings out my eyes; or even, it reminds me of the ocean and makes me feel calm; someone can still go, well, someone else told you how great you look in blue (or whatever).

But if you can say to yourself, you know, I love the way the breeze feels on my newly-shaven bare legs/chest/head; or, I actually like the pressure of my push-up bra/corset/tight jeans, it makes me feel secure somehow; or, I am wearing this kerchief because it keeps the hair out of my face, and I really dislike the sensation of hair tendrils blowing in my face; or, ...well, that makes it a bit more difficult for someone else to come in and tell you what your experience is.

Or does it?

What does it mean to "like" or "want" something, anyway?

Lolita revisited

...just briefly. but i was inspired to pick the thing up again after a recent discussion at Feministe; it'd been a while.

about a fifth of the way through it, a few thoughts in no particular order:

-uncomfortably, I remember identifying with Humbert in that the tortured "these attractions are Wrong, and I can't do anything about them; meanwhile I'll go through the motions with the people I'm supposed to be with" reminded me of, well, the whole coming-to-terms-with-being-gay process.

What I'd managed to block out, I think--perhaps because I wasn't much older than Lolita when I first read this, and thus wasn't as inclined to see her as a little girl as I am now--was the creeptastic molestation angle of the whole thing. The flowery prose was another distraction, of course; a second look reveals his skewed double vision of the whole thing--and how much he's fooling himself, reading between the lines, with convincing himself that she doesn't notice a thing (when he's groping her); that it's all perfectly harmless and delightful; that she really is something other than just another tween-aged kid. It is disturbing as all hell.

-If you look at it from the perspective of Lolita being the protagonist, you realize that it's this dark and awful fairy tale, in a way. You know: the mother, filtered through the double lens of Humbert and Lolita's reactions, is the wicked witch (and what teenage girl doesn't see her mom that way at least to some degree?); the hnadsome prince is living in her house; she longs for mom to die and the prince to carry her off...and this is literally what happens. And, of course, it's a fucking nightmare.

-as I said over there:

I guess what I do like about the book, and one reason why I can see why it’s propelled from “huh, interesting” to “okay, this has lasting value” is the kind of skewed-yet-somehow-accurate impression of America from a jaded European perspective. If you look at Humbert and Lolita as symbolic of their respective places at the time, it makes a certain kind of sense: then it becomes not just about some pervert, but about the longing of the weary and decadent (and war-torn) for something new and fresh and “innocent,” even as the “innocence” is simultaneously viewed as appallingly puerile.

I'm still not totally clear on why this is considered as universal/timeless/Canon a classic as it is, though. I mean, well-written and interesting, but...I dunno. guess I'd better finish it. For damnsure it isn't a "love story," as is commonly trumpeted.

Feminism defined

A bit misleading, since I'm not gonna attempt my own. But I thought it might be interesting at this juncture to introduce some others' thoughts on the subject.


"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat."
-Rebecca West, British writer, speaking in 1913

Feminism is a belief that although women and men are inherently of equal worth, most societies privilege men as a group. As a result, social movements are necessary to achieve political equality between women and men, with the understanding that gender always intersects with other social hierarchies.
--Estelle Freedman

"A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men."
- Gloria Steinem, founder of Ms. Magazine, leader of the Women's Movement.

Feminism has as its goal to give every woman "the opportunity of becoming the best that her natural faculties make her capable of."
--Millicent Garrett Fawcett, 1878

A feminist is a woman who does not allow anyone to think in her place.
-Michelle Le Doeuff

"Along with many contemporary feminists, I reject the reductionist concept of Patriarchy... not because it is too radical and confronting...but because it is not radical enough and does not confront its own silencing or marginalized women who do not always suffer primarily from or personally prioritize gender oppression.
-Val Plumwood, "Does Ecofeminism Need the Master Subject?"

"...Thus, when feminism was the preserve of a tiny band of the committed few, who suffered gladly the contempt of the world, the intense solidarity of sisterhood was relatively easy to maintain. But as the movement broadened its appeal and drew in not only the daughters of the men of 1789, but some of the daughters of the servants of the men of 1789 and even the daughters of the slaves, sharp differences of opinion and allegiance began to make themselves felt. Could it be that the feminist 'revolution' shared a family likeness with its grandparent, the bourgeois revolution?

...All these reflections led me to some disturbing questions. For if feminism could no longer be seen to be the obvious and reasonable interpretaion of womens' experience...then what is it founded on? It began to seem that the term 'faith' to describe these convictions was a more appropriate metaphor than we had realized. For whatever its undoubted foundation in an experiential reality of female life, it was becoming clear there must be something else at work in the process that results in some women becoming feminists while others do not."

--Angela West, "Deadly Innocence: Feminism and the Mythology of Sin"

Living life as an African American woman is a necessary prerequisite for producing black feminist thought, because within black women’s communities thought is validated and produced with reference to a particular set of historical, material, and epistemological conditions.
--Patricia Hill Collins

One of the greatest gifts of Black feminism to ourselves has been to make it a little easier simply to be Black and female.
--Barbara Smith

Womanist is to Feminist as purple is to lavender
--Alice Walker

"Feminism is a struggle to end sexist oppression. Therefore, it is necessarily a struggle to eradicate the ideology of domination that permeates
Western culture on various levels."
- bell hooks, "Ain't I a Woman: Black Women & Feminism"

"A feminist is a person who answers "yes" to the question, "Are women human?" Feminism is not about whether women are better than, worse than or identical with men. And it's certainly not about trading personal liberty--abortion, divorce, sexual self-expression--for social protection...It's about justice, fairness, and access to the broad range of human experience. It's about women consulting their own well-being and being judged as individuals rather than as members of a class
with one personality, one social function, one road to happiness. It's about women having intrinsic value as persons rather than contingent value as a means to an end for others... "
--Katha Pollitt.

"Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings"
-Cheris Kramerae, author of A Feminist Dictionary, 1996.

Feminism directly confronts the idea that one person or set of people [has] the right to impose definitions of reality on others. ~Liz Stanley and Sue Wise

"It's important to remember that feminism is no longer a group of organizations or leaders. It's the expectations that parents have for their daughters, and their sons, too. It's the way we talk about and treat one another. It's who makes the money and who makes the compromises and who makes the dinner. It's a state of mind. It's the way we live now.”

--Anna Quindlen

To tell a woman everything she may not do is to tell her what she can do. ~Spanish Proverb

Women are not inherently passive or peaceful. We're not inherently anything but human. ~Robin Morgan

Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths. ~Lois Wyse

The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it. ~Roseanne Barr

"Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word." ~Elizabeth Bibesco

"Women do not have to sacrifice personhood if they are mothers. They do not have to sacrifice motherhood in order to be persons. Liberation was meant to expand women's opportunities, not to limit them."
--Elaine Heffner

My fullest concentration of energy is available to me only when I integrate all the parts of who I am, openly, allowing power from particular sources of my living to flow back and forth freely through all my different selves, without the restriction of externally imposed definition."
--Audre Lorde

"There is one area in which I think Paglia and I would agree that politically correct feminism has produced a noticeable inequity. Nowadays, when a woman behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, "Poor dear, it's probably PMS."' Whereas, if a man behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, "What an asshole." Let me leap to correct this unfairness by saying of Paglia, Sheesh, what an asshole." --Molly Ivins

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A retraction, for now at least, then

for those who may have seen the post that came and went these last five minutes.

apparently I may have spoken too soon re: friend's blog disappearing; must have been aun unfortunately timed glitch on my end.

the general sentiment stands, however, seeing as how I wouldn't have assumed any such thing had said friend not already been unhappy/frightened/tired enough to be seriously talking about pulling the plug in the first place.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In fact, I am feeling SO BUTCH that

...I totally agree with this article about so-called "John Wayne Fever."

Communication is for people too stupid or inefficient to say everything on their mind with a single raised eyebrow or cock of the head. And really, what else is there to say except I’m horny, I’m pissed, or I’m tired? Everything else is foo-foo whipped cream topping on the ribeye of life. And ribeye tastes like shit with whipped cream.

Thank god for surround sound and beer. Whenever anyone starts blabbing on and on about wanting a trial separation for blabbity-blah or wanting you to do some kind of yada-yada chore crap, you can always turn up the game volume.

...Being infected with the John Wayne Syndrome is like being infected with mana from heaven. You see through all the bullshit and live life like it was s’posed to be lived:
-listening to nobody and nothing, not even your body
-saying even less than that
-being the boss of everything around you, especially your body
-rejecting any and all sissification like four-eyes in white coats poking at you for money

So down with the dude and my main man Marion. Erm, John. Wayne, that is.

Well, fuck a pig, I always thought I was

...a lady, that is.

You Are 16% Lady
You're pretty crass, and even a bit crude on occasion.
Manners don't matter to you, but they sure matter to those around you.

I simply can't understand it. I AM a lady, I AM. Behold my little lacy mittens, my parasol. I like to do lady's things, like press flowers, and stroke kittens in rivers and...shit.



In which the author both shamelessly calls attention to herself and attempts to turn some peoples' frowns upside down

A mention of some dude's attempt to prove the existence of God through math reminded me of this piece, in which I narrate the tale of being in the World's Best Theatrical Production, Ever; because it included--yes! the proof of God's existence through a math problem. Also missed light cues, phones ringing off hooks, disembowelled little girls and exploding tits.

Hey, I'm probably about at the point where I can start showing reruns, right?

"Nobody Knows I'm a Thespian."

I live to self-promote. And serve.

Suggestions for song titles and/or covers for the Band Forming: right here

"Judith Halberstam's Pet Weimeramer" in the HIZZLE.

(alternate name: "Jesus Christ In A Prom Dress." mebbe that'll be our warm-up act)

so far, we have

"I Like My Bois To Be Girls"

cover of "I Wanna Be Your Dog," natch.

i am also fond of this little ballad:

...but what could one do to improve upon it as is, really

some classics should not be messed with

"It's only because I Care So Much."

...specifically, right now, about Class Woman, or Sisterhood, or whatever the fuck it's supposed to be. Yeah. Okay.

It is fascinating to me just how much nastiness toward actual women goes on under the name of Loving Wimmin.

And when I say "nastiness," I don't mean "flaming;" I mean, "disingenuousness, attempted discrediting, dismissing as irrelevant, smearing, attempts to make go 'poof' off the face of the planet." Including use of race and class and sexual orientation and other forms of "respectability" privilege as weapons. And all or often done with a sweet smile plastered on the face; or a single tear of sympathy and solidarity sliding down the cheek; or a bellow of wounded righteousness. On behalf of Women, that is. Just, apparently not, you know, -this particular- actual woman standing in front of you.

Oh, and when I say "fascinating?" I mean, "disgusting."

Just so we're clear.

You know, I may be a manly fraudulent treacherous patriarchy-enabler; but at least I never claimed I Put Women First.

Silly me, I thought the point was that women were people.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

"I'm sure I never used to be so sensitive. I think it is due to this nervous condition."

"I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus -- but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad.

So I will let it alone and talk about the house..."

This, from the NY Times, via Sly Civilian

...women literally dissolving into the woodwork.

"...Then I peeled off all the paper I could reach standing on the floor. It sticks horribly and the pattern just enjoys it! All those strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growths just shriek with derision!

I am getting angry enough to do something desperate. To jump out of the window would be admirable exercise, but the bars are too strong even to try.

Besides I wouldn't do it. Of course not. I know well enough that a step like that is improper and might be misconstrued.

I don't like to look out of the windows even -- there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast.

I wonder if they all come out of that wall-paper as I did?..."

--The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A bit more on this "abuse" business

An interesting list of "Lies Abusers Tell."

Some of them are very familiar and easily recognizable as abuse:

I wouldn't hit you if you weren't so bad.

Don't talk about your experience with my drinking/drug use/abuse because it will embarrass me. Don't tell anyone about this. It's our little secret. I'll kill you if you tell.

I bought you X, but you owe me because you didn't earn it.

You'd be a lot nicer if you weren't such a bitch.

Nice girls don't dress that way/have sex/yell/go anywhere alone.

You're a slut.

You're bad. You're worthless. You're ugly.

Your mother/sister won't give me this, and I/men need it.

You know you like it; what are you trying to get from me by resisting?

Your asking not to be touched isn't a good reason for me not to touch you.

...and some, well. Hmm. Hmm.

You ought to be ashamed of yourself!!

You made me mad. You provoked me. You made me do it.

I can't believe how selfish you are.

Never hurt anyone's feelings. If you do, you're bad.

That's not what you meant. I know what you really meant.

You shouldn't feel that way. You shouldn't think that way.

I'm not going to talk to you until you apologize.

I only have your best interests at heart.

That's just the way your [abuser] is. You shouldn't let them bother you.

You just need to try harder. You just need to stop letting your feelings get hurt.

You never... You always...

I'm only doing this for your own good.

Wordie McWord Word

From Bitch | Lab, comments section (worth reading the original post and the whole string if you have the time)

...But y’all get my point. The notion that women go into sex work because it’s the last option they have — at least in the US — is such total bullshit from my perspective.

And, frankly, I really do think it offends people to learn that someone could have moved in with their parents, or borrowed money, or taken work as a temp, or bartered their labor — but instead choose to make a buck doling out blow jobs or some such. Because, from where I sit, the preferred choice would have been sex work. Someone asked me once: what stopped me?

The danger of arrest, duh!

and what really chaps my ass is that it is so much easier to freak out about sex work than it is to say, “Well, goshes, it really sucks about the economic circumstances women sometimes face. Why don’t we do something about that.”

You want to get rid of sex work and you think it’s because people can’t find other employemnt?

then why the FUCK isn’t anyone talking about strategies that might include rebuilding the social welfare system? Why the fuck isn’t anyone talking about creating employment services *just* for women who need help finding halfway decent work and do it, not so they can fuck these people over, but to help them figure out to negotiate the job market.

Or just giving a fuck about an economy that CANNOT employ everyone — by definition.

But on and on and on and fucking on til my ass is so chapped I need a super size tube of Boudreaux’s Buttpaste, people will ramble about the horror that is sex work.

It just boggles my mind somedays.

There are real fucking things people can do to immediate aid the lives of the women people are so concerned with — and nothing. Not one whisper is every made in terms of practical fucking solutions.

is it a total lack of imagination or what?

Can This Marriage Be Saved?

Finally managed to coalesce some thoughts wrt the school of feminism that says, basically, this or that sexact or mode of adornment is wrong because it *hurts women,* in some general, collective sort of way.

Well, a couple of things.

Ultimately, you know, I think basic communication is a really good thing and would be a great part of feminism as well.

Because, see, one of the other tenets of feminine training, I gotta say this, is the expectation that if someone -really- loves us, they'll know what we think without us having to, like, tell them. And vice-versa.

and no, sadly, lesbians are not exempt from this, p.s.

There was a woman somewhere on one of the major feminist blogs who had a line related to this, something about, how did it go: well, okay, say -some- woman -really does- like deep-throating (anal sex, something, whatever it was the implication was she didn't really get how -anyone- could actually enjoy it); but then she breaks up with the man and now the next woman he dates (i.e. me) he'll expect her to perform the same actions; and then what, huh?

And I am sitting here thinking: okay. This is a -hypothetical scenario.- So presumably this is a guy you'd -want- to be dating, not a rapist, not some creep; it's your imagination, you can imagine this however you want. And in all your -feminist- imaginings, of -all- the scenarios that come to your head, you can't or aren't conceiving of oh I don't know something that goes like:

"Honey? I know your last girlfriend really liked anal sex, but I don't."

"Oh, okay! Thanks for telling me. Well, let's not do that, then."


And, see, the other thing is, if you -are- talking that bluntly and clearly about what you do and don't want and yer partner still isn't respecting it; well, you know, -that- is a bigass problem;

but maybe, you know, in that case, the problem isn't -actually- about sex, but something more fundamental?

Just putting it out there.

And on that note:

One of the tenets of abuse, or at minimum manipulation,in any form (of which male-to-female abuse is certainly one big component), is this transation:

"If you REALLY loved me, you'd ____."

Which could include such things as: anal sex, wearing those godawful heels, deep-throating, whatever it is that you find degrading and awful and he's just not hearing. Or even stuff that doesn't seem to directly affect him -at all- but would make him "happy;" i.e. you stop seeing that loudmouth friend of yours. Stop reading those books. Quit your job.

Well, I get that. Bigtime.

It's creepy. And wrong.

But here's the thing.

Those let's say relational patterns? They don't just disappear and go away because we've gotten out of that particular abusive relationship. We can, in fact, do unto others what's been done to us. And no, in fact, the fact that whatever-it-is you're supposed to have done is now completely off the menu doesn't mean you still can't be abusive or at least manipulative/controlling wrt something -else.-

So this is how I read that whole list of: wearing lipstick, shaving, this or that behind closed doors, what you -think- about, being "not feminist," how we really ought to at least think long and hard about these choices and -consider- maybe giving them up (not that we're forcing you or pressuring you or anything):

"If you REALLY LOVED women (including me), you'd do this for me."

You know what, though?



And if that means the end of the relationship, despite everything else we've had, well, too bad, but: so be it.

This is freakin' brill: "Alpha Males"

From the archives of Feministe (yes, I'm forever behind the times, deal with it), what I've been trying to articulate for years wrt the earnest-dweeb attempts to convince themselves and others that really, acting like an unsocialized misogynist jerk is both MANLY and is SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN TO BE EFFECTIVE.

...So, what’s a reverse-anthropomorphizing guy to do? Acknowledging that the bonobos might just have something there — after all, they are our closest relatives — doesn’t ever seem to be an option, because that might mean that the Nice Guy™ theory of How To Get Chicks might be all blown to hell.

Well, I suppose that if the Nice Guys™ are determined to do the Alpha Male thing, to study up on how to be a dominant male, they might consider plunking themselves down in front of the National Geographic Channel and taking in an episode of The Dog Whisperer now and then. They may find that their conception of the aggressive, dominant, jerky Alpha Male isn’t what’s going to get them anywhere

The comments are pretty on-target, too:

-I don’t think evolutionary psychology is particularly applicable to modern human interaction, but I think the Alpha Male illusion comes about because many assholes have confidence, and this is attractive -even if being an asshole isn’t- so it appears to certain shy people that it is the attitude as a package that is a success, rather than the confidence alone- so if a shy person emulates the package as a whole, then they are inadvertently being a jerk, when what they really need to do is just be confident in themselves.


-I’d also like to point out that in many species with dominance hierarchies, an alpha male only gets to be that way for about 2-3 years of his life.

Oh, and in some species, females actively avoid mating with the dominant males. Because they’re assholes.


My experience, as a former “nice guy” who used to believe in all that shit before I actually grew up a bit, is that women *don’t* go looking for assholes. The “nice guy” myth that women prefer assholes comes from the fact that when you’re incredibly jealous, and you don’t understand *why* women have absolutely no romantic interest in you, you focus on the negative aspects of the relationships of your female friends/acquiantances.

...Of course, the most interesting case that I’ve personally seen is a self-proclaimed nice guy who decided he was deeply in love with a lesbian, and proceeding to spend all of his time complaining about how she was only attracted to assholes - if she’d just be interested in a “nice” partner, she’d stop being a lesbian and hook up with him. Totally self-centered to the point of obsession, and with this absolute objectification of the target of his affections: her sexual orientation wasn’t real to him: it was all about *him*, and what *she* should be doing in order to make *him* happy, because he was a *nice guy*.


As a minor mention - not only is the theory ludicrous, but at least with dogs they seem to get the behavior of Alphas entirely wrong. The nasty, snarling, jerky dogs are Beta wannabes. The natural alpha is usually a very laid-back dog. He’s best, and he knows it, and there’s no need to show off about it. The sweetest dog I ever had was also the most dominant. He never needed to get into a fight, he just ran the show through sheer force of personality.

So their theory blows in more ways than your average tornado.


I don’t understand why people (especially men) look to the animal kingdom for love advice. Every animal species mates differently. In the end, why does it fucking matter what baboons or chimps or bonobos do? Make your own damn decisions about your love life instead of using your local zoo as a crutch.


Dear Oliver Stone: Please to be fucking off.

No, I don't know anything more about the movie other than what I've seen at the previews. You know what though: it's enough. No, really: I mean, it's enough. I don't care what his theory is or how heartwarming the damn thing is. It's been less than five years since I saw the frigging thing -right here.- I'm really not in the mood to see Kevin bloody Bacon yenta-ing it up on the silver screen, thanks.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

As I was saying.

Max Blumenthal on "The Menage a Trois From Hell." via fastlad.

Brog, the former chief-of-staff to Arlen Specter, is now the first full-time lobbyist for the Christian Zionism movement. He claims that CUFI's lobbying efforts, including organizing 3500 evangelical activists to visit congressional offices as Israel and Hezbollah exchanged their first salvoes of missiles, are having an impact. "There is an ongoing debate in Washington over how long to let Israel continue the campaign against Hezbollah--how long will we let Israel fight its war on terror as we fight our own war on terror?" Brog told me. "And I think the arrival in Washington at that juncture of thousands of Christians who came for one issue and one issue only, to support Israel, sent a very important message to the Administration and the Congress, and I think helped persuade people that they should allow Israel some more time."

But CUFI has more on its agenda than simply "supporting Israel." Its founder and president, Pastor John Hagee, is determined to see America and Israel adopt his Armageddon-based worldview as their foreign policy. Consider what Hagee wrote this year in Charisma magazine: ""The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty. Israel and America must confront Iran's nuclear ability and willingness to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons. For Israel to wait is to risk committing national suicide."

Hagee's desire to doom the now-dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace process is equally disturbing. As I detailed in the Nation, in his book, The Beginning of the End, Hagee celebrated the murder of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy and glorified his assassin, Yigal Amir. More recently, Hagee's allies, like nationally syndicated evangelical radio host Janet Parshall, became ecstatic at the outbreak of violence in Lebanon and Israel. "These are the times we've been waiting for," Parshall told her audience on July 21. "This is straight out of a Sunday school lesson."

Time and again, Christian Zionists have delighted in events that most Israelis considered grave tragedies. And yet, Israel continually expends more energy cultivating their support than it does on earning much-needed international goodwill. Case in point: after calling Ariel Sharon's descent into a comatose state God's punishment for the "dividing the land," Pat Robertson was granted a personal meeting yesterday with Sharon's successor, Ehud Olmert. Afterwards, Robertson told his 700 Club viewership that the Lebanese people were "sheltering a terrorist group" and urged them to pray for an Israeli military victory...


As a Jewish American, lucky me, apparently I am spared the worst vitriol the religious right/neocons/Old Guard has in its collective stomach. Even Ann Coulter, I think, is purportedly on our side. Moslems and immigrants--oh, recent immigrants, you know, from those darker countries, certainly not my grandparents or yours, this lot is different--they're fair game; and, um, well, gay folk, well, if you lot just weren't so demanding. But anti-semitism--at least, overtly expressed--is RIGHT OUT.

How'd this come about?

Well, duh, the Holocaust; no one wants to see that again. At least, not with the same cast of characters.

And even before that, one could argue, the Jews were by and large among the "good immigrants;" at least there are plenty of less assimilated/more recently arrived/exotic folks to now take their/our place, same (sort of) as happened with the Irish and the Eye-talians.

And, oh, yeah...Israel.

And, well, the Jews, well, they and Christians should be like chocolate and peanut butter, right? I mean: same book (one of them at least); same God; come from the same general region. Same values. Not like those barbaric Moslems, who are certainly not People Of The Book, (hell, they may not be people at all), or monotheists worshipping a desert God; and clearly share nothing at all with the Judeo-Christians.

Well, well.

Here's my deal, before we go any further:

I've never been to Israel. Have no family there. Speak no Hebrew.

And I do not practice Judaism. (and therefore will never get to Carnegie Hall). Only went to synagogue for one year as a sprog. We've been "secular" on both sides of the family for at least three generations.

Which means, by the standards of both a number of more conservative Jews and, curiously enough, of much of the not-at-all-anti-semitic Religious Right, I am a "bad Jew."

Oh. Did you not know that there were two kinds of Jews? Well, there are.

You see, before the creation of Israel, much less the current conflagration involving the U.S. and the War On Terror, the Jews were commonly associated with...well, pretty much the Jewishness I know (and love): Yiddish-speaking immigrants, godless socialists, bleeding-heart, artsy-fartsy, effete intellectual liberals.

(Not to mention good at making money; and, oh, yes, plotting to Take Over The World, Pinky).

And those Jews, see, are still on the shitlist, more or less; it's just we don't call them Jews anymore. We say...o, I don't know, the Cultural Elite. Godless Hollywood. in a pinch, the gays will do nicely as a fill-in; after all, there's a lot in common there (artsy-fartsy, effete, bent on destroying Western Civ and/or taking over the world, Pinky).

At the same time, however: well, see...it goes something like this. We need Israel, for practical and more obscure reasons (more on the latter in a moment). Jews tend to support Israel; therefore, Jews R R Friends. also, we can unite in our emnity of the new Evil Empire (the Moslems); whereas before there was maybe a little too much association of the Jews with the former Evil Empire (Communism).

And, too: well, we all like the Old Testament. It's all full of xenophobia and fiery retribution and laying low of enemies and shit.

Funnily enough, I tend to favor the sandalled guy in the sequel, you know, the one who suggested that maybe we might all try to love our enemies and passionately sided with the underdog; then got nailed up for it (and is apparently associated with the nailing far more than the actual message for a lot of people; such is life).

Finally: everyone loves the whole Chosen People riff. Especially the U.S. right now; we can so relate. Hey, you're special! We're special, too!

So, hey presto: the religious right comes a-wooing, bringing the not-especially religious right in its wake. Nice Jewses. Good Jewses. Hey, we share morals, am I right or am I right? Ethics. Family Values. Love of country. A fondness for bagels. Everyone likes bagels. And God the Father. And Jesu-well, okay, we'll just agree to ignore that one for the time being. And Being Number One. And War. We agree on the need for this, right? ...oh, wait, you don't? well, back on the riffraff Commie-lesbo-witch-America-hating pile with you.

Well, spank my ass and call me Memorex: I'm a bad feminist, a bad lesbian, a bad Jew, and hell knows I'm a bad American.

It's just this little thing, see, where I don't care for bullying the underdog.

Which is, p.s. also part of my Jewish heritage, and as far as I'm concerned the best part.

As for the Religious Right being on "our" side: not buying it. And fewer and fewer people are these days. And for good reason: a temporary exemption from a catalog of bigotries is no basis for a lasting friendship. Particularly when, as it turns out, the exemption has nothing to do with anything but expedience after all.

More on this here:

Why the silence until now? Part of it has to do with Israel. Christian Zionism, inspired by end-times beliefs that make the return of Jews to Israel a precondition for the second coming, has made American evangelicals the world's staunchest backers of Israeli hawks. (Their Jewish allies usually choose to ignore the fact that the Christian Zionist's apocalyptic scenario ends with unsaved Jews being slaughtered and condemned to hell.) But while evangelicals support Israel for their own eschatological reasons, there have been threats, implicit and explicit, that such support might weaken if Jews oppose their domestic agenda too aggressively. Indeed, in response to Foxman's speech, Tom Minnery, vice president of government and public policy at Focus on the Family, told the Forward, "If you keep bullying your friends, pretty soon you won't have any.'"

...Jews in America aren't endangered, but the power of the religious right has clearly reached a point where a great many feel exceedingly nervous. The fear is not of pogroms or outright discrimination; rather, it's of the disappearance of the secular civic culture that allowed Jews to feel like full citizens of America rather than a tolerated minority.

Throughout the last decade, the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish groups had reached a kind of accommodation with the religious right that was based in part on Christian leaders toning down their more theocratic rhetoric. In 1995, Ralph Reed, then the executive director of the Christian Coalition, addressed the ADL and apologetically acknowledged that much of his movement's language alarmed Jews. "This is true not only of the blatant wrongs of a few -- those who claimed that 'God does not hear the prayers of Jews,' those who said that this is a 'Christian nation,' suggesting that others may not be welcome, and those who say that the only prayers uttered in public school should be Christian prayers. It is also true because of the thoughtless lapses of many -- the use of religious-military metaphors, a false and patronizing philo-Semitism, and the belief that being pro-Israel somehow answers for all other insensitivity to Jewish concerns."

Such sensitivity has virtually vanished from today's religious right, replaced with a triumphalist religious nationalism...

"Some of my best friends are handy justifications for my political crusade!"

This here is a message to all of the political conservatives who think Semites are just fine and dandy, as long as they follow the Old Testament; think Israel can do no wrong, ever; share all their little hidebound prejudices; and are just as rabid about all those Moslem/Ay-rab savages as they are. Oh, and particularly to those who seem to think that they have license to stick the word "kikes" in the mouths of others* and pretend that it's not in fact their own rampant anti-Semitism foaming to the surface:

Gey kakn afn yam.

But then, I suspect, I'm not one of the "good" ones. never have been. probably never will be. oh well.

*From the above-linked:

...well, first there was her original piece o'crap, charmingly entitled:

"Amanda Marcotte 'fucking kikes are just RUINING my election party plans. Not like I hate kikes, really ...'"

which interpretation of this piece:

she apparently gets from the voices transmitted through her fillings.

Then our exchange, which ends in:

... Save for the fact we are, again, looking at yet another person who finds all killing morally equivalent ... which is a moral abomination and only goes to delivering up Israel to annihilation.
This is what I found so particularly infuriating about Amanda's article. It was all about how awful Israel is and not one mention of Hezbollah. It is functionally bigotted.

If you are more than just ethnicly Jewish, you'll recognize

He who is merciful to the cruel, will ultimately be cruel to the merciful.
Posted by: Darleen at August 4, 2006 06:36 AM

Am I reading this correctly? Are you suggesting that you are in a position to tell me what does and doesn't make me Jewish enough? -Who- are you again?

Lady, "just" ethnically Jewish is plenty; it certainly more than justifies my aggravation at your completely gratuitous use of "kikes." Don't try to change the subject. And don't even frigging think of suggesting that my legitimacy as a Jew -or- a moral being is dependent on whether or not I follow Scripture. You are well out of order.
Posted by: belledame222

Is there an anarchist in the house?

I am realizing that I know very little about anarchism, let alone the various sub-strains.

It'll just go on a pile of all the other things I need to (huh, huh) bone up on, and my pile of books which I mean to get to at some point but don't because all appearances to the contrary in fact apart from certain contexts I have the attention span of a tweaker gnat...but, um, anyway, what was I...

oh, yeah.

anarchists. anyone consider themselves one? what's that mean for you? what would you read?

Friday, August 11, 2006

The final word?

And despite it all, I gotta say that she's, um, got a point.

(twists foot, looks at sky, hums)

From Nine Pearls

Actually, I might want to comment on the Girls Gone Wild guy, but I’m so deeply and sincerely disgusted with all notions of more bitching about porn lovin’ vs. porn hatin’, that the thought of even bothering to bother with a round of “wow… it’s a darned shame that porn doesn’t exist in a utopia that only exists in certain radical minds” makes me wanna curl up and go into a permanent coma after dissolving my computer with a vat of acid.

Can I tell you how fucking tired I am of the Sex Positive vs Rad Fem arguments?

I’m so tired that I stopped reading a lot of your blogs, despite the fact that I loved you before you all got so stuck on shit. And, that works on both sides of the debate, ‘cause y’all…. I don’t fucking care anymore.

I’m so tired of it that Suzy Bright can go ahead and suck off Larry Flint on Bill O’Reilly’s show, while wearing heels and a pink boa and a corset made out of Jenna Jamison’s waxed and woven pubic hair, and call the whole exercise an empowering feminist act, and I’ll just let her have it, because I don’t fucking care anymore.

I’m sooooo tired of it that a coven of radical feminists could bring Andrea Dworkin back from the dead using magic Prude Dust, and Dworkin could rent a sky-writing machine and stain the heavens with ‘All Hetero Sex is Rape’ on Super Bowl Sunday, over the game, while cheerleaders sewed up thier vulvas and donned burkas of Implied Sexual Shame at having Ever Stirred a Penis, and I’ll shrug and walk away, because I don’t fucking care anymore.

So there.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

So, lady, gotten enough converts for a toaster yet?

Seriously, I know I've ranted about the "political lesbian" bullshit before, and even that much was probably more energy than it deserved, but honestly, this woman is doing my head in.

You're right that the sexuality is malleable argument has been used by the religious right against lesbians and gays, and that is not what I intend. But I don't know that misuse of a theory necessarily makes the theory wrong, you know? I think many women have been trained to see certain people/behaviors/qualities as sexy or attractive, and I think we can re-train ourselves if we want to. I do not support re-training others against their will. I do not plan to enforce a Lesbian Retraining Effort. I've talked with a number of women, however, who are unhappy with their relationships with men and WISH they could be Lesbians, but feel they can't. The good news is that they CAN.

...Likewise, I think that women can begin to see the affections they share with other women as more central, and if they want, they can allow those affections to include sexual actions. I'm definitely NOT suggesting that a renegade band of Lesbian conversionists kidnap unsuspecting straight women and subject them to bizarre aversion therapy treatments.


As I said over there:

by the way: you know, these days the ex-gay folks don't tend to use aversion therapy or force people (adults, anyway) to their cause so much. They tend to rely instead on "we don't want to change anyone who doesn't want to change. We just want to help people who are unhappy with being gay. Spread the good news!"

You wanna know -why- they take that kinder, gentler tack these days?

It's not because they've suddenly become more tolerant or less hateful/ignorant/controlling.

It's because these days, their position is discredited and unpopular enough that -they can't get away with it otherwise.-

I leave you to consider all the implications of that, gentle readers.


And let's not even get into such gems as:

My apologies - I should have said "transgender/transsexual politics" or "transgender/transsexual choices" or "transgender/transsexual movements" I am not anti-people, but I am opposed to some choices people make.


Gee, now, where have I heard sentiments like that one before? -thinkthinkthink-

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

We'rrre All Living In Amerika

Amerika ist Wunderbarrrr.

Be sure to play it all the way to the very end.

thanks to fastlad for the link.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

In sum:

This gentle little ballad/video expresses my sentiments rather nicely.

Thanks to Cheryl of No Ordinary Princess for the link.


Ancient book of psalms found in Irish bog.

The approximately 20-page book has been dated to the years 800-1000. Trinity College manuscripts expert Bernard Meehan said it was the first discovery of an Irish early medieval document in two centuries.

"This is really a miracle find," said Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum of Ireland, which has the book stored in refrigeration and facing years of painstaking analysis before being put on public display.

"There's two sets of odds that make this discovery really way out. First of all, it's unlikely that something this fragile could survive buried in a bog at all, and then for it to be unearthed and spotted before it was destroyed is incalculably more amazing."

...Crucially, he said, the bog owner covered up the book with damp soil. Had it been left exposed overnight, he said, "it could have dried out and just vanished, blown away."

The book was found open to a page describing, in Latin script, Psalm 83, in which God hears complaints of other nations' attempts to wipe out the name of Israel.

Well. That ought to have the Rapture believers in raptures. A portent!

As portents go I can't say that's one I'm loving too much.

So now that I've calmed down a bit: okay, let's talk about the GGW thing.

Besides the yeah DUH guy's a rapist, throw the goddam book at him aspect, I mean. What does it all mean, dear?

you know, I mentally link it with repulso-boy's "I fucked a fat girl on purpose" excrement (as was circulating yesterday).

and the Duke case.

people who wring their hands about the dirty shocking wrongness of it all--I mean the faux-SEXXXY/pornstitution/what have you part of it-- are missing the goddam point.

two, actually, two goddam points.

one is that these little shits are entitlement monsters; expressing their rage at whatever emotional need wasn't filled by all that material "privilege" on the targets they figured, correctly, they were most likely to get away with abusing.

the other is, as people have said here 'n' there, my god, this is all so fucking sad. all this pent-up energy over a few exposed breasts? all these half-shamed thrills and titillation? in a healthy world, these tapes wouldn't sell because no one would CARE; my god, half-blitzed women coyly flashing their boobies and ineptly making out, ooohhh. ahhhh. Seriously, how lame. How timid. How juvenile. How dull. Who gives a crap?

Well, a lot of people give enough of a crap to buy this shit, apparently. Which tends to suggest that for whatever reason, this sad, tame little display of "wildness" is a thrilling taboo for a lot of people. Still.

Might I suggest that millenia's worth of (patriarchal) repression miiiiiiiiight just have something to do with this state of affairs?

It's so warped, see, that

1) they're satisfied with these sad little crumbs and

2) the part that really turns them on is the "forbidden" aspect.

And this is partly because of institutionalized sexism, yes (let's put it all on women! Women R Dirty! We R Clean!) but -also- because of internalized sex-negativity. (they go together like chocolate and peanut butter, albeit far less appetizing). all that shame-loading takes its toll. bad boys! bad for lusting! bad!! Dirty dirty! Don't touch that! Don't look at that! Don't even THINK that!

(we were speaking yesterday about how of course women and sexual minorities get this shit multiplied doubleplusungood; but that doesn't mean the hetboyz are exempt).

So actually, the "thrill" is because, paradoxically, it's...safer that way. To at least keep the -reminder- that you know you're not supposed to be enjoying this, not -really.- Bad boy is also good boy. Have your stale Twinkie and eat it too. Furtively. In the dark. Then say a few Hail Mary's or what have you, get yourself cleaned up, and, momentarily buoyed by the tiny orgasm afterglow and a few cups of watery coffee, go on to your completely unoppressive job. or whatever it is you do, which is no doubt filled with joy and sunshine and happiness.

At the same time, of course, bad boys bad boys are indulged in countless other ways, heartily encouraged to -not- take responsibility for their own shit, (this is the reward for sticking with all the miserable macho training). Feelings? Including "inappropriate" lustiness and shame thereof, and vulnerability and fear of their own sexuality and other scary shit like that?Hell, we don't have 'em. *belch* Dump that crap on the women. That's what they're there for.

So of course they get their thrill from the idea that the "girls" really don't want this, or wouldn't want to do this otherwise; this way it's *just daring enough.* The idea that the women might actually LIKE being sexxy for their own sake, well, that's a bridge too damn far. That wasn't in the script.

Because, and this is the point; if -the women- aren't acting like it's really shameful, (this was the purported complaint, after all, in the article), then what are the men supposed to do with all that shame? Why, why, they might actually have to...own that it's theirs.


That would be painful.

And the reward for all that stultifying macho bullshit was -not having to feel that pain.- Otherwise what was the point of, well, pretty much everything?

So, as we see here, what tends to happen is, they push the woman back to a place of visible shame and degradation and misery; -so they don't have to go there themselves.-

and, oh yeah, the women. Well, the women. They're mostly drunk and underage and it's really grody that people find this shit amusing.

But as for the women themselves? Well, no doubt with this story surfacing, there are others like it where it came from.

That still doesn't exclude the possibility that ZOMG yes, Virginia, some "straight" women might actually -like- making out with each other, either because the kiss itself or the exhibitionism of doing it in front of a guy or a camera buzzes their naughty bits.

And, y'know -what?- Even if they did? That is totally their right. And it -still- doesn't justify or excuse or even really -explain- rape. At all.

They are and were entitled to say "yes" -and- say "no," and have both honored. Without being abused in any way. Same as the rest of us.

Which is kind of feminism 101, wouldn't you say?