Monday, April 30, 2007

Oh, terrific.

Cassandra Says:

Once again, America ignores the rest of the world…
Did you know that war may be on the horizon between Estonia and Russia? I didn’t for a few days, until a friend on LJ who actually lives in Estonia told me. As soon as she told me I started looking at the US media, and…nothing.
Then I checked The Guardian, and it was right there front and center. That’ll teach me to rely on the US media.
So, in case anyone else missed it, check out the following links from The Guardian. Short summary…the Estonian government took down a monument commemorating the Russian soldiers who drove the Nazis out of Estonia (they didn’t destroy it completely, they moved it to a new location). Estonia’s Russian population is pissed off. Ethnic Estonians considered the monument to be a national insult “celebrating” the fact that they were “liberated” from the Nazis only to be colonized by Russia – from their perspective they simply swapped one set of oppressors for another. The Russian government is throwing a tantrum and demanding that Estonia be “punished”. Given Russia’s previous behavior in the Baltic, this is more than a little ominous. According to my friend what’s actually happening on the ground is much worse than the media is making it out to be, and this confrontation has been brewing for a long time...

Guardian links over at CS's, i actually can't make myself go over and read them right now. Pooty-Poot scares the shite out of me, as does this entire fucked-up era.

New term of the day: "conspiracism"

as defined here.

It is very effective to mobilize mass support against a scapegoated enemy by claiming that the enemy is part of a vast insidious conspiracy against the common good. The conspiracist worldview sees secret plots by tiny cabals of evildoers as the major motor powering important historical events; makes irrational leaps of logic in analyzing factual evidence in order to "prove" connections, blames social conflicts on demonized scapegoats, and constructs a closed metaphysical worldview that is highly resistant to criticism.1

When conspiracist scapegoating occurs, the results can devastate a society, disrupting rational political discourse and creating targets who are harassed and even murdered. Dismissing the conspiracism often found in right-wing populism as irrational extremism, lunatic hysteria, or marginalized radicalism does little to challenge these movements, fails to deal with concrete conflicts and underlying institutional issues, invites government repression, and sacrifices the early targets of the scapegoaters on the altar of denial. An effective response requires a more complex analysis.

The Dynamics of Conspiracism

The dynamic of conspiracist scapegoating is remarkably predictable. Persons who claim special knowledge of a plot warn their fellow citizens about a treacherous subversive conspiracy to attack the common good. What's more, the conspiracists announce, the plans are nearing completion, so that swift and decisive action is needed to foil the sinister plot. In different historical periods, the names of the scapegoated villains change, but the essentials of this conspiracist worldview remain the same.

(jump to another page)

...Conspiracism can be used to critique the current regime or an excuse to defend the current regime against critics. David Brion Davis noted that "crusades against subversion have never been the monopoly of a single social class or ideology, but have been readily appropriated by highly diverse groups." When the government and its allies use conspiracism to justify political repression of dissidents, it is called "countersubversion." Frank Donner perceived an institutionalized culture of countersubversion in the United States "marked by a distinct pathology: conspiracy theory, moralism, nativism, and suppressiveness." The article Repression & Ideology explains how conspiracism works when it is part of a campaign against dissidents.

Conspiracism as part of an anti-regime populist movement works in a different fashion. Populist conspiracism sees secret plots by tiny cabals of evildoers as the major motor powering important historical events. Conspiracism tries to figure out how power is exercised in society, but ends up oversimplifying the complexites of modern society by blaming societal problems on manipulation by a handful of evil individuals. This is not an analysis that accurately evaluates the systems, structures and institutions of modern society. As such, conspiracism is neither investigative reporting, which seeks to expose actual conspiracies through careful research; nor is it power structure research, which seeks to accurately analyze the distribution of power and privilege in a society. Sadly, some sincere people who seek social and economic justice are attracted to conspiracism. Overwhelmingly, however, conspiracism in the U.S. is the central historic narrative of right-wing populism.

The conspiracist blames societal or individual problems on what turns out to be a demonized scapegoat. Conspiracism is a narrative form of scapegoating that portrays an enemy as part of a vast insidious plot against the common good. Conspiracism assigns tiny cabals of evildoers a superhuman power to control events, frames social conflict as part of a transcendent struggle between Good and Evil, and makes leaps of logic, such as guilt by association, in analyzing evidence. Conspiracists often employ common fallacies of logic in analyzing factual evidence to assert connections, causality, and intent that are frequently unlikely or nonexistent. As a distinct narrative form of scapegoating, conspiracism uses demonization to justify constructing the scapegoats as wholly evil while reconstructing the scapegoater as a hero.

...In Western culture, conspiracist scapegoating is rooted in apocalyptic fears and millennial expectations. Sometimes conspiracism is secularized and adopted by portions of the political left. It is interesting to note that on both the left and the right (as well as the center) there are critics of the apocalyptic style and flawed methodology of conspiracism....

This page on logical fallacies could come in handy. (I'm still reading around the whole site).

Sequence does not imply causation. If Joan is elected to the board of directors of a bank on May 1, and Raul gets a loan on July 26, further evidence is needed to prove a direct or causal connection. Sequence can be a piece of a puzzle, but other causal links need to be further investigated.

Congruence in one or more elements does not establish congruence in all elements. Gloria Steinem and Jeane J. Kirkpatrick are both intelligent, assertive women accomplished in political activism and persuasive rhetoric. To assume they therefore also agree politically would be ludicrous. If milk is white and powdered chalk is white, would you drink a glass of powdered chalk?

Association does not imply agreement, hence the phrase "guilt by association" has a pejorative meaning. Association proves association; it suggests further questions are appropriate, and demonstrates the parameters of networks, coalitions, and personal moral distinctions, nothing more. Tracking association can lead to further investigation that produces useful evidence, but a database is not an analysis and a spiderweb chart is not an argument. The connections may be meaningful, random, or related to an activity unrelated to the one being probed.

Participation in an activity, or presence at an event, does not imply control.

Similarity in activity does not imply joint activity and joint activity does not imply congruent motivation. When a person serves in an official advisory role or acts in a position of responsibility within a group, however, the burden of proof shifts to favor a presumption that such a person is not a mere member or associate, but probably embraces a considerable portion of the sentiments expressed by the group. Still, even members of boards of directors will distance themselves from a particular stance adopted by a group they oversee, and therefore it is not legitimate to assume automatically that they personally hold a view expressed by the group or other board members. It is legitimate to assert that they need to distance themselves publicly from a particular organizational position if they wish to disassociate themselves from it.

Anecdotes alone are not conclusive evidence. Anecdotes are used to illustrate a thesis, not to prove it....

"and here, again, the appeal to the sodomist, with the play upon the buttocks"

A 1965 classic. It feels oddly...familiar, somehow, I can't put my finger on it.

(actually, Ren, is this the one you had a while ago? I can't remember)

"A floodtide of filth is engulfing our country in the form of newsstand obscenity...We know that once a person iss perverted, it is practically impossible for that person to adjust to normal regard, to sssex."

That there was from "Perversion for Profit," funded by the entirely unperverted and non-profiteering Charles Keating. You can see the scandalous second half here, if you've an interest in such things. (Pervert).

good ol' George Putnam. He's still around, you know.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Maybe it's the weather turning warmer or something

...maybe i just want to get the hell awayyyy. or maybe I'm watching Battlestar Galactica and the description of the living arrangements keep bringing it to mind.

but for whatever reason, i am finding myself fascinated by the idea of this:

Living in Antarctica


HARPER: Snow! Ice! Mountains of ice! Where am I? I...I feel better, I do, I...feel better. There are ice crystals in my lungs, wonderful and sharp. And the snow smells like cold, crushed peaches. And there's something...some current of blood in the wind, how strange, it has that iron taste.

MR LIES: Ozone.

HARPER: Ozone! Wow! Where am I?

MR LIES: The Kingdom of Ice, the bottommost part of the world.

HARPER: Antarctica. This is Antarctica!

MR LIES: Cold shelter for the shattered. No sorrow here, tears freeze.

HARPER: Antarctica, Antarctica, oh boy oh boy, LOOK at this, I...Wow, I must've really snapped the tether, huh?

MR LIES: Apparently...

HARPER: That's great. I want to stay here forever. Set up camp. Build things. Build a city, an enormous city made up of frontier forts, dark wood and green roofs and high gates made of pointed logs and bonfires burning on every street corner. I should build by a river. Where are the forests?

MR LIES: No timber here. Too cold. Ice, no trees.

HARPER: Oh details! I'm sick of details! I'll plant them and grow them. I'll live off caribou fat. I'll melt it over the bonfires and drink it from long, curved goat-horn cups. It'll be great. I want to make a new world here. So long as I never have to go home again.

MR LIES: As long as it lasts. Ice has a way of melting...

--Tony Kushner, Angels in America: Millenium Approaches

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Disability Carnival #13 is up Ballastexistenz. Lots of good stuff; mosey over and check it out.

(did i really just say "mosey?" i did, didn't i. ergh)

Take Back the Blog

So. Here we are.

You know. I'd meant to use this occasion to talk more about the general harassment and menacing that happens to women and other members of traditionally oppressed groups--hell, it can happen to anyone, as far as that goes; but, more often, to people who are already vulnerable, one way or another. To people (often, but not always, women) that other people (often, but not always, men) want to, well, let's take a look at what the National Center for Victims of Crime says:

Top three reasons victims felt they were being stalked:

stalker wanted to control victim,

stalker wanted to keep victim in relationship,

and stalker wanted to scare victim.

Hold that thought.

So, yeah, there have been a lot of creepy-as-shit happenings around the greater 'sphere. A lot of good people feeling, quite justifiably, unsafe, not just emotionally but "in real life," as it were. We've talked about some of them here. Kathy Sierra. Devious Diva. Jill Filipovic. On and on.

And, I was going to have some sort of general meditation on this...phenomenon: what do you reasonably do to protect yourself without feeling muzzled, what is and isn't fair play in flamewars, at what point does "just the Internets" spill over into "the real world" (hint: once someone's physically injured or even loses a job or relationship due to online "outing" or other such interference, it's "real;" the problem is stopping it BEFORE it gets to that point.)

As it happens, however, it appears that I am personally, if tangentially, implicated in something that thematically is not entirely unrelated to this l'il Day of Recognition of Creepy Internets Stalking And Threats And So On.

How exciting!

Or, not.

Those in the peanut gallery, I do apologize for what looks like a return to the "internecine feminist wars." It's partly that. But it's partly more than that; and it's the "more than that" that's roused me from my Warner Brothers and Monty Python nap and is getting me to wade in, once afuckinggain, as well as connect it to this here Take Back the Blog! business. Hopefully for the last time for...a while, anyway.

Let's start here.

...want me to keep digging?

Because the only way a sociopath will let go and leave the target alone is if the target makes it NOT worth their while. So, whilst you refuse to stop slagging off radfems, I will continue to dig.

RenegadeEvolution // Apr 25th 2007 at 10:31 pm ( edit)


What, because outing me, stalking me, providing my information for public view is such the right thing to do? Really, is it? My legal address, families home number, all that, is that next? Think that is not threatening, perhaps a little endangering? Way out of bounds? Something I would never do and have actually blogged against? Wow, actual threats and intimidation. I'm impressed.

Apr 25th 2007 at 10:38 pm
What, because outing me, stalking me, providing my information for public view is such the right thing to do?

It is all information that you, or those around you have posted in blogland. I said nothing about your family information. I do not post information that is not publicly available, and in this case, I am using (well, rather collating) the information you have posted about yourself. Being a narcissist really does have disadvantages you know.

So what will actually MAKE you STOP slagging off radfems?

Shall I show them the photo, the one without the black eye strips?


Okay. A little background. Renegade has herself been called out recently for saying some nasty shit. A summary and her (one of her) responses to this can be found here.

For the record: I can totally understand why people would find that language disturbing, even "silencing." I'll be blunt: it made me uncomfortable, the rage levels, and yes, I've said plenty of nasty, angry shit my own sweet self. What can I tell you. Nonetheless, a general rant, without singling out anyone or naming names, culminating with "Fall under a truck and die choking on your own blood" is not, in fact, a -threat.- That is a -curse.- A nasty one. But a curse. It is not, "I am going to hunt you down, -puffball-, and push you under a truck, p.s. I know where you live, here's the address and a photo of your house." But then Renegade can speak for herself there, and has done. Several times now.

Not to get -totally- confusing, but I guess there's some other shit swirling about as well, something to do with "leaked" messages from a private inner forum of a particular feminist board. My current thoughts/feelings about this are summed up in this comment here. Cassandra has some sensible things to say about it as well.

But all of this is, I think, really a sideline, and not actually at the heart of whatever's driving this.

Because, we've been here before, haven't we, Stormcloud? Last time, you tried to strongarm antiprincess into taking down her entire blog. Then, as now, your purpose seems to have been to get people not so much to keep the commons "safe" or even be nicer or fairer to each other, but to "stop slagging off radfems." Then, as now, you seemed bent on tracking all your woes to one individual (of many) who has the reputation of saying meen/"unfair" things about your chosen ideology, and/or (!) the behavior of some of you who do or say rather crappy things in the name of said ideology, and/or good old fashioned flaming and sniping.

Then, as now, I pointed out that what you are demanding is neither reasonable nor makes any goddam sense.

Unless, of course, we put it in the context of:

...wanted to control...

The main difference now is, you've upped the ante. You've added wanted to scare.

So what will actually MAKE you STOP slagging off radfems?

Shall I show them the photo, the one without the black eye strips?

Note that -wanted to- is here considered sufficient for the definition of "stalking," whether you've actually succeeded in scaring the target or not.

Which brings us to the other part, the more relevant, I believe, of the background.
Renegade is a sex worker--stripper, porn actress, model. As anyone purportedly working on the behalf of women and especially women who have been in the sex industry ought to know, there are particular vulnerabilities that such women are subject to in this our Patriarchal world, and no, in fact, they do not only come from the evil industry itself.

They come from the attitudes of a world which, by and large, thinks that "whores" are disposable, and deserve whatever they get.

Lose your "day" job, lose your family, lose your friends. Open yourself up to even more harassment than your average female bear.

That's sort of the point, though, right?

So what will actually MAKE you STOP slagging off radfems?

Now, I'm not clear on which "them" are supposed to be shown Ren's photo without the black eye strips. But given the overall context of that little exchange (it goes on), it's pretty clear that the implication is -someone Ren wouldn't want to know who she is.-

Stormcloud, you say here:

It is all information that you, or those around you have posted in blogland. I said nothing about your family information. I do not post information that is not publicly available, and in this case, I am using (well, rather collating) the information you have posted about yourself.

And you know, that ought to be at least somewhat reassuring; but, from where I sit, it's not.

1) You -said- nothing about her family information, you -do not post- information that is not publically available; that still doesn't say anything about what you -will- order to make sure we none of us (oh, I'm getting there) "slag off radfems.

2) I'm leery of the phrase "publicly available." That COULD mean "only things RE has posted online in 'public' forums;" it could also mean "full name, phone number and address; after all they ARE in the phone book." And, too, she's been pretty clear that some shit she's taken down specifically for self-protection purposes; you are deliberately ignoring this. Not just things she's -said- about radfems or anything else of that sort (we'll get to that): -personal shit.- Name, name of loved ones, photos. Not Cool.

2a) so then what exactly do you mean by "want me to keep digging?"

3) and here's the $64,000 one: trying to personally blackmail someone at ALL, however ineptly, because you want her to STOP SAYING MEAN THINGS ABOUT A POLITICAL IDEOLOGY, is, well? Deeply fucked up.

And! And. It gets better. And here's what's dragged me into the fray, finally, Dear Readers:


I won't personally say word one to or about another radical feminist blogger unless asked for my opinion or invited to comment in her space. If linked or quoted, I do think I have the right to give my side or defend myself. Large feminist/women's issues, I do think I have a right to comment or write about them or critique/analyze them, but I will avoid bashing. Books and noted authors/speakers, I think I should be able to do the same, but I will avoid bashing them.

Perfect, except for the loophole that you will allow the posse to continue.

...Whilst it seems unfair that RE has been 'singled out', it is because she is a ringleader, one of them at least, but has also been one of the most prolific in posting radbashing, plus stirring it up. The others of the posse do know full well what is going on, and should have the good sense to follow suit.

Let's just get one thing very, very clear. I am not ALLOWED by anyone to say or do anything. I own my own words, no one else's; and I answer to no one. Not Renegade, not antiprincess, not Princess Sparkle Pony, not the Pussycat Dolls Porn Posse, not the Zionist International Conspiracy, and least of all to some sorry little wet sparrowfart shaking tremulous tinfoil-covered fists and mouthing wild accusations and vague imprecations from the other side of the Atlantic.*

*Guide for the Perplexed: the above was not, in fact, a threat. That was a flame. A fine and time-honored Internet tradition, and yet another arena in which you are not so much morally superior as simply inept, Insect Girl.

Oh, yeah, and that second post? Which captured your publically posted words for all Internet eternity? Well, I realize that you don't -like- that. See, thing is, though: capturing someone's words and saying, "hey! you said something stupid as shit here!" or "ooh, you say you never said such and so, but here you are, saying such and so!" is not, in fact, on a par with posting sensitive shit like other peoples' nekkid and un-black-barred photos (or home addresses, or names of partners, and so on, and so on).

The latter is a potential endangerment to one's material well-being. The former is--an embarassment.

And that's what this is really all about, isn't it?

Stop slagging off (my chosen peer group/ideology)

Stop making us LOOK bad. Stop -embarassing- us.

Which, as a P.R. technique, well, savor the brilliance, there.

But apart from that--whatever deal was agreed on by you and Renegade is between the two of you. No more, no less.

Here is the deal, -my- deal, Stormcloud, the ONLY deal.

I hereby promise to not go try to look up and post for all to see -your- (or anyone's) personal information, (hey, I figure we both keep pseudonyms for a reason, right Stormy?) make -your- everyday, offline life miserable, or interfere with such in any way.

That would be true with or without your -ultimatums.- Without your -treaties- or whatever it is this week. Those are my ethics. That's it. That's all.

And: this is more etiquette than ethics, but I also will not attempt to post at anyone's blog where I have been explicitly requested--by the owner--not to post.

And: in general, I -try- to back up my arguments and other such shit; that is certainly something we could all be more stringent about, though, myself no doubt included.

And, as it happens, believe it or not, I have been trying to extricate myself from this godforsaken "'Radfem' versus Everyone Else but especially the Wasp/Sparkle Pony/Fuckbot Brigade" merrygoround for quite a while. And it is, has been, in fact, my intention to do my utmost to studiously ignore the lot of you from here on out, and in fact have been rather unsubtly suggesting to my pals that they do the same (and vice versa). This has been true for a while now, actually. Mostly because, it's really fucking boring. You're boring. Dear Jesus on a cracker, I'm boring myself for fuck's sweet sake.

So, apart from instances where this shit really does spill over into potentially affecting actual lives--to wit, say, lawmaking, or, y'know, -stalking-, I am gonna -continue- to do my utmost to talk about anything and everything BUT this shite. Try to persuade my friends to do likewise, because I would just enjoy our interactions so much better (and if I can't, well, that is their prerogative, because I am Not The Boss Of Them, nor they of me). Not, let us be -very- clear, because I give a fart in a high wind what you think or are plotting in your feverish little brain. Because I HAVE A LIFE GODDAMIT.

Having said that.

I do not promise to abstain from talking about any subject I please, linking to any public post or quoting the words thereof (same as everyone on the goddam Internets, Stormy) in order to further my own argument, say garden-variety meen things aka "flames" about any particular ideology, group or individual, or look at you cross-eyed. Especially not on account of your -threats.-

If you do not care for this policy, you may proceed to the complaints department, where you may fill out a form in triplicate, cram it in your gob, chew it vigorously to a fine pulp, spread it all over your body and wallow in it 'til you're fungal.

For that matter--you can do anything you please. We are all free agents, after all, even within our limited circles. And, should you decide to go ahead and do...whatever it is you're vaguely threatening to do...well, that's your decision.

Your choice, that is. No one is MAKING you do any such thing.

So, yeah, you could do that.

And if you do, you will be held responsible for it. And, one way or another, in whatever way those of us who were affected decide is ethical, there will be consequences.

Furthermore, as a matter of fact, here's what you've accomplished:

From here on out, in the event that Renegade or any of her "posse" (otherwise known as "friends") is "outed" online or off, and subsequently harassed--guess where we're ALL going to be looking first, Stormcloud?

Even if you didn't do it.

Unfair, isn't it?

Now, I understand that you see yourself as having taken one for the team, as it were, so perhaps this doesn't bother you so much.

Whilst I am the most nastiest unreasonablest bitch on the planetS I am trying to get all of you to see the end goal. Yeah my name is fucking mud. So what. I'll live.

Ends justify the means, eh? Okay.

Now, personally, I don't actually see you as representative of "radfems." I think you are basically speaking and acting for, well? yourself.

But let's say more people besides you share this belief that what you did was not only for the sake of, but for the -good of-, radical feminism. Ists. Whatever.

Here is what you just did, effectively:

"In the name of keeping all women safe, theoretically, I have just threatened to compromise another woman's safety. And, in the name of salvaging radical feminism's good name, I have...just threatened to compromise another woman's safety. In, um, the name of radical feminism. ...VIVA!"

Nice going, loser.

Comments are closed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007, screw it.

i've decided: if i'm going to get caught up in other peoples' grand operatic dramas, complete with looney tunes, at least i ought to be entertained by it.

so, with that, i return, gratefully, to the Old Masters:

You have to admit, there is a certain universal poignance to it... leave it to the professionals.

"Oh, I've had enough of this."

"No, you haven't."

"Oh, shut up."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

i'm ready for my sandwich, Mr. deMille

meh. hungry, yet...not. that is: i know i need to eat, yet none of the currently available options appeal. i did fast food burgers way too many times this last while. yesterday, for dinner (there are even fewer options in my neighborhood than in certain dreary parts of Manhattan), i had roast chicken from a Peruvian fast food joint. it used to be one of the few edible-ish places around; as with so many places around my spot, it seems to have gotten worse. anyway: it was gross.

i don't feel like cooking, either, so there too. and i'm out of groceries and can't be bothered...

going to Subway shortly i guess. cheese sandwich, with onion and a drop of oil. nothing else. water to drink. breath mint to follow. with this Spartan repast, a library book of Elizabeth David's writings propped up, in much the same way that one (oh noes) "uses" prawn (mmm. prawns. actually, ick, i don't like shrimp either) to get one through a rather run of the mill "relief" session.


i know you are all simply riveted by this.

i'll have more substantial nourishment for me and y'all...eventually.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

delurk, delurk...

even if you're not a lurker. here, i'll keep it nice 'n' easy: one word description of how you feel right now. just one.

me: "spacey."

Friday, April 20, 2007

Erase Racism Carnival is up

at Double Consciousness. I have a post in it, and there's lots of other good stuff there. go check it out.

More fucking harassment/outing bullshit by sexists/racists

Now Devious Diva of This is Not My Country is getting it. Which really sucks, not just because she's awesome and no one deserves this anyway, but also because she writes about shit that not many do, from a perspective not many do, and which in fact is precisely -why- she's being attacked (her support for European Roma and biracial heritage, among other things). Spread the word, spread the love.

DD's tagline really sums it up:

"The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing."

So c'mon, good people. Step up.

On a related note: April 28 is "Take Back the Blog" day, to be hosted by Crablaw.

As announced, this page will host the April 28, 2007 Take Back the Blog! Blogswarm in support of the rights of women to participate fully in all aspects of our society, including specifically online in the world of blogging but indeed everywhere and at all times, day and night, without fear of harassment, intimidation, sexual harassment, online stalking and slander, predation or violence of any sort. This page will be modified without notice during the next several weeks to accommodate the incoming structure and content for this Blogswarm...

h/t Jack

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Carnival of Feminists, #36, part 3

go back to part one

go back to part two

The rest of the entries are kind of a grab-bag; I've divided them into more or less short categories, in no particular order:


Geeky Mom
explains Why I Work

Before I was married, I never questioned whether I would work or not. I knew a couple of women from both high school and college whose goal was to marry, have kids and stay at home, but for most of the women I knew, the question of whether to stay home or work didn't arise until after kids came along. For me, the question didn't arise until pretty recently. When our first kid came along, I was our only income, so there was no question about whether I would work or not. I had to. I had a pretty heated argument with someone who suggested I was shortchanging our son by returning to work. I remember nearly shouting, "Well, who's going to pay for our food and shelter if I don't work!" I was pretty steamed. In hindsight, it wasn't that I felt my adversary was right, but that I resented the dilemma in the first place...

ericacbarnett, who is Sick of Your Insane Demands, takes a critical look at a recent WaPo editorial by Carrie Lukas, noting that 77 Cents Is No Bargain:

...If US employers had to provide flexible working arrangements, pay for maternity leave, and keep women's jobs open while they're out taking care of their babies, women like Lukas wouldn't have to "opt" to make less money....These are structural flaws in our economic system, not choices--women "choose" "fulfillment" because the alternative--putting the kid in day care and going back to work immediately after childbirth or risk losing your job--is so unappealing.

...And personally, I would consider plenty of the jobs women disproportionately take pretty dirty, dangerous, and depressing: Jobs like day care worker, nurse, cafeteria cook, maid, home health care worker...

On a related note, Girl With Pen, aka Deborah Siegel, implores, Please, Leslie Bennetts, Tell Me I'm Wrong:

...I excitedly started reading [Bennetts'] book, The Feminine Mistake -- how can anyone who has written about Betty Friedan pass up a book with such a title? But the prologue itself gives me pause. Not for the reasons expressed by the "stay at home brigade," as Bennetts calls them in her retort on HuffPost to the barrage of opening critiques she's received from SAHMs, but on behalf of my generation.

Well-intentioned and heartfelt, Bennett's writing nevertheless positions younger women as in need of cautionary tales. Some of us, no doubt, do, and Feminine Mistake is full of important information about what happens when opt-out wives get left. But many others of us clamor instead for tales of workplaces that have realized women (AND men) have families. Where are the cautionary tales aimed at corporations about how bottom lines suffer when they fail to retain their women? Or the cautionary tales aimed at young husbands about how miserable they'll be if they opt out of time at home with the kids?

Octagalore of Astarte's Circus looks back from her current vantage point of "white collar worker" to her interlude as a stripper in "Tits, Torts, and Narcissism:"

What was my demographic? Typically, guys in their 40s-50s. They couldn’t be younger because I needed CEOs, VPs or partners in profitable firms. 2 years and out, was the goal. Also, I wanted them to feel lucky. Typically, they were somewhat out of shape. They’d usually be in fields in which they were working 50-70 hour weeks. Not much time to work out...

So, NOT the kind of “menz” who I’d want to gimme some sugar IRL. Nor feeding my narcissism – they didn’t want ME. They wanted a character. It was flattering to be able to come up with the character, to some degree. But more from the standpoint of artifice – solving a problem. The kind of kicks and giggles that come from any job well done – stripping, computer programming, teaching a class, making a placement. I didn’t respect anyone who could be fooled, even by me. The resulting attention wasn’t anything to take to the ego bank, but the cash fit nicely at B of A...

Renegade Evolution levels with us even further about "the biz:" "Okay, so, you want some truth, do you?"

Being involved in sex work, any variety really, most certainly affects you socially. Personally, this is where I’ve noticed the negative most often, most severely, and yeah, most painfully.

...People who hardly know you will ask flat out if you have been raped or molested, as well as asking how old you were when you lost your virginity, what your sexual orientation is, if you’re a drop out, on drugs, or if you have a significant other and how they “let” you do that…

You will also note that once in this business, people you assumed to be friends and such are suddenly embarrassed by your very presence and you become something else they gossip about and speculate on when you are not around.

And guess what? These are all things I tell women who are pondering getting into this business.

La Guerrillere broadcasts Dispatches from Planet Femina: Take This Job and Shove It:

You know that part of the fairy tale, where the heroine is tempted by the lure of fairy gold or great magical powers, not realizing the price that such riches exact? Like in "Goblin Market," when Laura eats the goblin fruit despite Lizzie's warnings. I think that sums up my time spent in the bizzaro-world of high class spas.

Parenting (i.e. Work, continued)

Rootietoot and Northern Girl have a new blog and manifesto, Omega Women Untie! From the opening call to arms:

Alpha Moms and Other Overachievers, you can have your SUV’s and androgenously named children and Blackberries. You can blow your Talbot’s wardrobe out your tight little Pilates ass. Take your charts and schedules and personal chefs and Go….A….Way.

We, the Omega Women, will rejoice in our crock pot meals, our stained and wrinkled clothing, and our joyful and spontaneous approach to life. We reject that Alpha philosophy of Junior High that says you have to be perfect to be worthy, and will debrief our husbands whenever we want.

You in?

At Bastante Already!, Kim raises and streams her consciousness about work, and parenting, and growing up, and by the way, Please Put Your Pants On:

I've earned a few stripes by now; I'm wisening into a crusty old sage.
I've tripped around edges, got wrapped in electric fence.
I'd like to say it made me stronger, but I'm not yet convinced it won't kill me.

It has made me stronger, hasn't it?
But it's compromised my tolerance.
Makes me want to yell at the world to grow the fuck up already.
Get of your ass already and I don't give a RAT'S ASS about your fucking "Me Time!"

You know what I got though?
As cliched as it sounds?
I finally have a love for my child that is so strong I miss her when I'm away from her for mere hours.
I have, for real and for true, a deepening relationship with an almost eight-year old girl who I think will trust me when she needs someone to trust.
I got this crazy, happy little funny little sometimes FUSSY little thing at home with me every Could Be Much LonliER Night....

kactus, aka Super Babymama asks, rhetorically, What's in a Name?

Lemme ask my brother, who for some reasons, almost 11 years after she was born, still cannot/will not pronounce my baby's name right.

...Of course, he doesn't mispronounce his other nieces' and nephews' names. Not Luke, not Dan, not Elizabeth, not Katherine. Just the little non-white one's name.

But you know, it's such bad manners to point out somebody's unconscious or passive aggressive racism. I'm supposed to shut my mouth every time he mangles my girl's name, cuz if I call him a racist fuck I'm just being a bitch, which is the worst thing a woman can be...

Mandy at How About Now? isn't sure this whole parenting deal is for her at all:

I strongly suspect I’m not really fit to be a parent – I’d rather make great art than a great person (I think). I also don’t believe in an ideal childhood, and I actually hope I can settle for average in that field instead of frustrating myself by reaching for the unattainable. Everyone I know is, to some extent, fucked up by their parents. Not that they were beaten with coat hangers or burned with curling irons or molested in the kitchen while the rest of the family sat down to Sunday dinner, but that no matter how much love we receive, it’s never the amount we desire...

Thelma T of Saying Yes has some wise words on The Gift of Frustration:

One thing I am trying to teach my children, instill in my children, is that it is okay to be frustrated. It is okay to not know what you want to do, to not like how what you are doing is going, to not be entertained 100% of the time. My imagination is one of my best friends and I am not sure it would be what it is if I hadn’t had time to fill, myself to entertain, things to figure out.

...I have seen over and over again, parents who are cruise directors with activities lined up one after the other for the moment the child shows the least bit of boredom. I’m not talking about just having ideas at hand, but rather having the whole kit ready only to be followed by another and another. I have had children over at my house who wait for the next activity, who sit there with blank faces wondering what it is they are to do now. I want to yell, “GO PLAY! GO INVENT SOMETHING!!!” but apparently they don’t know how! They’ve never had the time to realize they can save themselves from their own boredom, their own frustration...

Body Image and Appearance

Scorpiogrrl rants about leg shaving:

...If I am to shave again, it will bloody well be on MY terms, and FUCK whatever anyone else thinks about the hairy state of my legs.

He went on: "But don't you prefer the feel of freshly shaved legs".
I replied: "Actually I like the feel when they're hairy."
(It's true, I do. I like stroking them. I was, in fact, admiring the hair for quite a while yesterday.)

...So, Paul - and other males who may think to ask women who don't shave if they prefer the feeling of shaved legs and whatnot - Don't YOU prefer to feel your legs after they've just shaved?
No - you don't shave your legs?
But, it feels so nice to have shaved legs!
Why don't you shave YOUR legs?

mammamayhem of girl-mom threw out her "skinny pants"

I can love myself and I can love my body and being a curvy beautiful woman says “fuck you!” to the society telling me I have to be different than I am. I feel like I let go of so much when I bagged up those jeans, and took them straight out to the dumpster. I’m going to buy myself some new pants, and new swimwear. Summer is coming if this snow ever stops, and for the first time in my life I feel ready for the beach.

Nikki P. of Expressions of Herstory is also feeling good about letting go: Nappy Tale

So I'm loving my natural hair more and more everyday. Yeah, I said it I'm loving my hair. Did I love it when I first cut it? In honesty, NO! I didn't know how to manage my natural hair because I had been managing straight and relaxed hair most of my life. I was frustrated and thinking maybe I had lost my mind. I was even a bit self-conscious about my new look. Do they think I look like a boy? Why are people asking about my sexual orientation? They didn't ask me questions when I had straight long hair. Do the brothas think I'm too much too handle?...

Ms. Heathen at Behold, I Ensmarten You! has hair on her mind, too:

I hate explaining to the stylist exactly what I want done and then hearing one of three things:
"What does your boyfriend think of cutting it this short?"
"If we leave it long here it will look much more feminine."
or "I'm not sure that will compliment the shape of your face."

Sigh. It's not my boyfriend's hair, why do they ask that? Nobody has ever asked him if he has my permission to get a buzz cut, but somehow everyone thinks he owns my hair. Whiskey tango foxtrot?

...If I were concerned about how feminine I looked, I would have spent hours trying to rescue the hair instead of minutes with a pair of scissors. Femininity warred with comfort and comfort won.

Meanwhile, over at Screw Bronze!, Elizabeth has a different perspective on femininity and comfort: "I seek kink fashion skirts, someone to tongue so I feel "normal" plus a bottle of Valium"

...I have been pushed out of normal, passed some sort of veil of “fitting in” and it is more than just the wheelchair. More than so much pain every day I take different pills because the ones that work give toxic tremors after 4 days. Then there is passing out in the chair and hitting my head, bleeding or trying to walk two nights ago three feet unassisted and falling and screwing up my leg and foot. Or yesterday, getting my hair dyed, having five people to shampoo my hair, two for rinsing the color, two to hold up my head and shoulder weight, one to keep the oxygen mask pressed to my face. That, for me, that’s normal...

So maybe I am wondering if I haven’t been wasting my years if I could have been transforming lives by showing a bit more cleavage or whether these days making out and sticking my tongue in someone’s mouth because they make me feel “normal” for 10 or 15 minutes is such a bad thing after all? Or maybe if I buy a pleated skirt and some high heel kink mary janes, I can at least pretend that I am taking people’s minds off of what I don’t want to think about, and yet can’t stop thinking about. Because a lot of time, it hurts when I breathe.

As I explained in one alternative store the sexy look I was going for with a tinge of fetish and tights and bows, “I want it to say ‘I’m crippled but perverted.”

Aman A. at Improvisations: Arab Women Progressive Voice wonders When the Veil is Not a Veil

Of course, I'm dying to know how "Arab and Muslim culture" is now reduced to women covering their hair. I have a nagging fear that in these terrible times the veil has become our fig leaf! I find it a bit ironic that while a Kuwaiti minister is under attack for refusing to cover her hair--a stance that was praised by some readers on this blog-- Pelosi was quickly praised for supposedly showing respect to Arab and Muslim culture by donning what looked like a veil...

Untied Omega Woman rootietoot observes that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, with an eye toward some Old Master beholders:

With the commonly accepted fine art paintings, from notable artists like Matisse, Picasso, those guys who are accepted as masters, the women are lush, large, sometimes outright fat (there, no pussyfooting today), and yet the paintings are considered beautiful. Of the photographs I’ve seen, there’s all sorts. The lean model types are more photos to sell a product (clothing, makeup), and the ones that, to me, seem like real *art*, with an eye for the total imagery and not just the product being marketed, have women in them who are imperfect. I like that. It makes me believe that I can be attractive and interesting, too.

A number of images of "Women the Media Would Ignore" follows.

And Triumphant Mulatta has a brief review of an exhibition by photographer Zanele Muholi, Positive images of black female sexualities (obligatory NSFW warning: nudity)

I am so moved by Zanele Muholi’s photographs. They are candid and tender and don’t feel exploitative like photography sometimes does to me. She has a beautiful eye for same-sex loving relationships among black women...

Religion and Spirituality

Passover pass'd over. The Purloined Letter considers the symbolism of Tapuz-The Orange:

A traditional seder plate holds bitter herbs (usually horseradish), charoset (a paste of sweet fruit and nuts), a roasted egg, a shankbone (or roasted beet for vegetarians), etc. In a traditional haggadah, we point to the foods and say things like, "Why do we eat matzah tonight?" or "Why is there charoset on the seder plate?"--then have a discussion of many different understandings, many different possibilities and ideas. The horseradish reminds us of the bitterness of slavery. The charoset is a way of expressing the sweetness of liberation.

Our seder plate, and the plates of many other progressive Jews, also holds an orange.

Why is there an orange on the seder plate?...

KG and JN of Jewish Women's Archive Blog answer as well: What's in an Orange?:

...The crucial phrase in the story was put into the mouth of a man saying, “there’s as much place for a woman on the bimah (synagogue pulpit) as there is for a orange on the seder plate.” As the 1996 Ma’yan haggadah concludes “Ever since that day, some Jews have placed an orange on their seder plates to assert symbolically that women and women's wisdom belong at the center of Jewish life and practice.” And this is the version that first began to appear in mainstream haggadahs....

Medusa Coils reviews a "Did God Have a Wife?" from a Goddess/spiritual feminist perspective:

This book establishes with strong archeological evidence that the Goddess Asherah was among the deities worshiped by Israelites, Judeans, and other peoples of the Ancient Near East (ANE). It’s a shame that William G. Dever couldn’t accomplish this without being unfriendly to today’s Goddess folk, a good number of whom came to this conclusion a while back...

Property of a Lady
's Deborah Lipp takes a personal look at the darker side of Feminism and Goddess Worship

There are two things you hear about feminism and goddess worship.

...The second thing is that goddess worship is inherently feminist, or at least inherently good for women. I thought Marina Walker demolished that theory pretty effectively by looking at Mary worship, and demonstrating that Mary is worshiped most fervently in the most patriarchal enclaves of Catholic culture. But you can also look at India, home of Shakti worship and Kali worship and Lakshmi worship; it is also a hotbed of sexism and misogyny. How anyone can look at goddess worship as it exists in the world today and assume that worshiping goddesses makes you all warm and cuddly towards real-world women is beyond me.

So that leaves me and my relationship with goddess worship. And feminism. Definitely I came into Wicca through feminism, and in my mind, they were connected. But the relationship I have with various goddesses, and my experience in Wicca as a feminist, is more complex...

Junia's Daughter had offered this entry for Blog Against Sexual Violence Day: Think Before You Preach:

Sexual violence is utterly evil. God hates it and we should too.

...It is vastly fostered by sexism, racism, and homophobia...It happens frequently in church, one of the prime places sexism, racism, and homophobia are found. This is one of the most damaging places because it fuses sexual and spiritual abuse and because the normal response is to excuse, minimize, deny, and/or blame the victim.

...Urging victims to forgive without seeking justice or helping them achieve it, or insisting that they find spiritual meaning or value in their experience--as happens constantly in pulpits, religious books, and pastoral counseling--is a further rape which grieves the Spirit of God.

...Please, before you preach on Jesus' words in the Garden of Gethsemane, or tell people to pick up their cross and follow him: think long and hard, and then think again, about how your interpretation will be received by the many silent survivors of rape, molestation, and sexual exploitation in your pews...


Seraph of Six-Winged Reflections posted a paper on the history of Courtly Love, and how its influence is still very much with us, albeit having gone through many sea changes in the process.

In Medieval times, women were given two role models, Mary and Eve. In the tradition of courtly love, women played both parts; beautiful, saintly Mary, passionately loved but inviolately chaste; and seductive Eve, giving in to temptation and desire.

...Whether or not romantic love was invented per se by Medieval poets, the work of such poets profoundly affected the meanings of the word “love.” While originally, the two types of love were sharply delineated—caritas, or charity, being Godly love, and amor, a term mainly designating carnal desire—the “religion of love” inspired by the practice of courtly love blurred the distinction...Redemption and sublimation were formerly sought through the church; now, the acts and feelings of being in love were expected to raise men to a higher plane of being.

...These ideas about the nature and function of love have had very interesting affects on life in the modern West. Christian preachers across America decry the state of the modern family, in particular the high rate of failed marriages. Such preachers often attribute the weakening of the traditional marriage structure to the immorality of our society (notable, homosexuality and pornography), but it can also be explained by a belief in a modified form of courtly love...

Thinking Girl also shares one of her papers with us, on Nationalism and Gender.

Mother country, homeland, motherland, mother tongue, land of our forefathers, brotherhood of men. These symbolisms are commonly spoken in moments of nation-building, painting a picture of “nation” as inextricably tied to personal connections of home and family. These symbolisms also inform identities in particular ways through intricately woven overlapping relational discourses of gender, race, sexuality, and nation. They are presented in the usual way of ideology – as divorced from any notion of embodiment.

However, these symbolisms are not just rhetorical devices, devoid of meaning and impact on those whose bodies match the symbols. They are part of nationalist discourses that have negative ramifications on bodies – specifically, the bodies of women...


Aulelia of Charcoal Ink tells harassers, don't touch what isn't "yours"

I tried to ignore him.

I tried again to ignore him, hoping that I wouldn’t react. After all, many girls get pushed on by men and get on with it. Why couldn’t I just leave it?

...Are we supposed to be calm and quiet and ignore them? I tried that in the first half yet again my anger was just too much. Should I have acknowledged the fact that they were men and shut my mouth? Either way, they would have found out that I wasn’t a Parisienne. This incident has opened many questions for me concerning men and women.Did he think I was arrogant for rebuffing him? I hate the fact that some men think they can prey on you and you are supposed to take it, regardless...

R tells us What An African Woman Thinks, in this case, that It's About Time:

Call me weird, but I do not mind travelling on my own...

The problem is, when you do, everyone and his family and their pet want to poke their nose into your business, at the very least to give you advice about how to improve your life—because it can’t amount to much. That so brings out the GRrr in me.

So the hotel industry in Kenya is finally getting a clue, taking the single woman traveller seriously. Well I suppose incredibly late is still better than never, right? But, of course I'm the perennial cynic. It's not the single women travellers that are drawing the attention, it's their money. Oh well. At least its something, and something is better than nothing.

The Swearing Lady hasn't weighed in on whether That Word is always terrible in the U.S. or okay in the U.K., but by her lights, at least, in the Arse End of Ireland:

You might think I'm being a bit hand-wringingly feminist about all this, that I'm taking on the moany mantle of shadenfreude so beloved by bra-burners; maybe I am. I'm not much of a feminist, though. I have no academic arguments to make to back up my sex, and most of the time I'm a terrible misogynist (and misanthropist). I'll just kick yer arse if you have a go at me.

...But the bad language! you cry. It's all very well to have the bad language coming from the blogging, manly fingers of Twenty Major, but girls should have more sense! Sense and sensibility!

But see, that's the thing. Cunt is such a very useful word.

Feminism on Feminism

Varieties of Feminist Theory is "A blog composed by the undergraduate students of Varieties of Feminist Theory (WSTU 125) at the George Washington University to expand conversations about feminist theory beyond the classroom." Topics include The Third Wave and a number of pieces on Gloria Anzaldua (There is no such thing as too much Anzaldua!)

cheshire bitten is a radical feminist, no matter what they say.

salty femme has a primer on surfing the third wave:

Here’s my secret: feminism is where it’s at for me. I really believe that. I also believe that feminism exists at the intersection of about 8 million other “isms” that we also need to pay attention to, without which a discussion of feminism would make absolutely no sense at all. I cannot discuss men, high heels, patriarchy (i.e. the BOOGIEMAN), footbinding, or lesbian identity without a) specificity and b) context...

If second-wavers are all “Damn the Man!” why and how do they express this by pitting women against one another and simultaneously assuming that somewhere deep down, all women just get each other? I don’t mind women talking about their own horrible and painful experiences with femininity – I think they should, in fact. I’ve had some of those myself. It’s the nonspecific ones that get me.

diaries of an eccentric nerd athaba hijibiji's zooeylive also considers intersections, rather deeply, in Women of Color Feminisms, Chela Sandoval, etc.

“Woman of Color” is not a term I grew up with. I mean, the term has a different connotation when you are living in a non-white nation/state/society. You just don' think about “race” in the same way when you are growing up in a country like India—I mean, what does it mean when you have a black/brown bourgeois in power? But in retrospect, I think I did grew up with a consciousness of race , especially since there was no way we could bypass the colonial history in Kolkata or in India. But the point is, I never thought of myself as a WOC until I came to this country. Similarly “Women of Color feminism” was not a term that existed in my political lingo until I was 22 or so...

...In general, I do agree with Sandoval. The WOC feminists did provide us with very different ways of thinking about race, class, and gender, very different ways of thinking about ourselves and our social locations. And at this point, we have to admit that neither the racial-identity based nationalist radical movements nor the white liberal feminist groups ever tried to analyze the social complexities in the ways US Third World feminisms or WOC feminisms did. But what is making me uncomfortable here, is Sandoval's use of the term “US-Third World feminism.” I mean, if we, the women of color living in US, begin to call ourselves “Third World women” or “Third World feminists,” then, where will the women from the material Third World go?..

Feminist Ally
jeff posts the third installment of his story, Mama's Boy: Accidentally Raised as a Feminist Man:

A big part of feminism in my life also centers around issues that are deeply entrenched in gender, but aren't only applicable to gender. My mother taught me to have little tolerance toward bullies, and she often did this by standing up to sexist men, who are at least one type of bully, in my mind...

...which inspires sassywho (I never leave without incident) to start her own series, first part here: "You can call me a feminist:"

My mother is a strong, successful, and ambitious woman who not only encouraged but nurtured my independence. She came of age a little late for the 60's feminist movement, and climbed the corporate ladder as a single mother in the 80's pseudo-equality environment no doubt struggling with the harsh realities that things weren't quite so. She used birth control, she votes, she divorced her husband, she's owned several of her own homes, and she has feminism to thank for that. She certainly lives her life with (mostly)feminist principles, and her accomplishments definitely contribute to feminism, but she is not a feminist. Why? Because she says so, in fact she almost cringes when I use the language.

My father isn't a feminist either, but even with all of his flaws I was incredibly lucky with how open minded he is...

...So why am I a feminist and my parents are not, even if we share some of the same values and principles? It's rather uncomplicated actually, it's because I say so. Now, what kind of feminist I am is much more convoluted. Feminism is a social, political and personal movement not limited to women. Change does not occur without conversations and organized actions. I hear people say that they agree with the values but don't want to consider themselves one, like it's a dirty word. Feminism is not a label, or a title, it's an identity much like a political or religious affiliation. A woman does not have to be involved with NOW, with Planned Parenthood, or march on the steps of the Washington to make an impact from a feminist platform. Just starting a conversation by stating that you are a feminist contributes to the movement by opening dialogues in your own community....

Team Rainbow has a guide for the perplexed, in How to Talk to a Feminist:

As a mighty and brilliant patriarch, comfortable in the knowledge that you have earned every bit of your life's privilege within a just and equal global meritocracy, you may occasionally come across individuals that cause you great discomfort and inconvenience. Sometimes these individuals self-identify as feminist. Other times it's up to you to label them. In any case, it's on everyone's mind: what do I say to these hysterical shrews? How can I calm them down and assist them in seeing reason? The following is a step-by-step guide that will help you help them...

And finally, if you're feeling overwhelmed at this point, once again, you can always take a refresher course at Finally, a Feminism 101 blog.


Thank you all who sent contributions, so much; thank you, everyone for bearing with me with the lateness and the...lengthiness. The next Carnival will be on May 2nd and is being hosted at Kitkat's Critique. Also be sure to check out some of the other fine carnivals whose links i will probably post sometime...tomorrow. today. Thank you and have a wonderful evening. *pitches over and passes out*

go back to part one

go back to part two

Carnival of Feminists #36, part 2

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