Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oh, right: THIS is why.

(in answer to the rhetorical question posted here, sort of)

Meanwhile, not very far away:

exhibit #2

I love Twisty, I really do. Nobody can rip apart the patriarchy like Twisty when she decides to give it a bigger rectal reaming then Goatse’s best efforts after a five-gallon enema. So I offer a humble apology for not letting her get away with upholding that which she claims to despise. Unless I am mistaken, she likes transgendered folk for the same reason that most feminists seem to like them — they prove gender is fluid. Unfortunately, feminists stop right at the edge of their brain, believing that there is no more to think through. Those kind of mental stop signs do not apply to me, though, because I’m evil. And so we arrive thusly at our next introductory paragraph.

When transgendered folks get through the final stage of transitioning and reach “the end”, all that gender fluidity goes right out the window and solidifies into the crusty crud on the bottom of my boots. They have merely succeeded in upholding the gender binary — the very same binary which has held women down for the last 10,000 years...

Yes, friends, it actually gets dumber and more offensive from there. And that's -without- the comments, which quel surprise has Lucky "tell the truth and shame the devil, human partheogenesis is a FACT and men will soon be extinct, no I do not have springs coming out my head, why do you ask?" Uncle making a cameo or six; and Satsuma, she of the clear-eyed lesbian gaze, solemnly informing us that

I believe they still have male voyeuristic minds, and they seem to fixate (or get their fix) on bringing up sex topics in these groups. The creeped out young lesbians then have to deal with the mental rapists coming right into their space, and this is of course allowed in LGBT places (read lesbian feminism not allowed, or lesbian only as some how excluding the poor transitioned MTFs).

The truth is, I rarely see MTFs being actually able to be like real woman I know. They are something else — a human being that is something beyond the life experiences of women.

All it ends up doing is giving that male porno mind access to women’s spaces.

You see? It IS all connected. Men are men and women are women; men have filthy exploitive minds and women do not; anyone who says otherwise OR is trying to cross from one to the other is either brainwashed or trying to fool you or both. Class Woman must remain pure. QED.

...Why even bother going through all this AGAIN, you ask? Other than sheer morbid fascination at the spectacle of it all, because in -some- ways, when you get to -this- level of WTF, it's like making fun of Time Cube Guy. And yet...

Well, for one thing, this whole "she likes transgendered folk" thing did sort of leap out at me, because it's not entirely unlike, well, sentiments I've been hearing all week over what you -might- think are entirely unrelated spectacles, i.e. the Racism? What Racism? ...oh, shit, right, okay, THAT racism, finally, uh, well, erm, maybe? ongoing saga, and/or Ew Icky Scary Mean Sex Worker Cooties No Um I Mean It's Just Totally Unfair, That's All, among others.

To wit:--oh well, look here, here's a perfect example, actually, right from that same thread wherein the brilliance wrt trans folk shines, in the comments:

I personally love it. I feel this is what “all feminists secretly think but are afraid to say our loud”.

...and there it is, kids. Of -course- you feel this; and you feel this because, well, it must be true; and it must be true because you feel this.

Oh, you can't possibly MEAN what you're saying. You're not really interested in -this-, are you? You're just putting it on. You're acting out of -guilt.- You're not one of THEM. You're one of US. You're just trying to be trendy, aren't you? Cool. More Radical Than Thou. Looking for "cookies" from, uhhhh, whoever's giving them out this week. Anything and everything but YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY MEAN WHAT YOU'RE ACTUALLY SAYING. And, further, you can't possibly LIKE -those people-, not -really.- They aren't actually, sorry! I mean THEY are in fact -really people-, which is a -really- radical idea and I still can't quite get my head entirely 'round it but I'm -really- trying; it helps if I maintain that THEY are just like me (only not quite as Advanced).

As opposed to, garsh, I don't know, I like -some- of "these people" as PEOPLE, and therefore, by listening to them and getting to know them, I give a fuck when they say "ouch, this hurts," even if it doesn't seem to directly affect me (at first). Because

a) actually, as it turns out, most of the time if I look a step or a half-step ahead, why yes in fact I AM quite possibly next for the chop, say hello Pastor Niemuller,

b) besides, HELLO, how on earth do you expect people to be interested in YOUR righteous cause if you never return the fucking favor? Because you're Universal and they're a sideline and they should just wait patiently for you to get your rightful piece of the pie and THEN they might get a crumb? Because you think you're the only game in town? Wrong on both counts, and it's high time you got a clue.

c) those are my FRIENDS and LOVED ones you're talking about, you fucking zits. And/or at minimum, people I respect and like and want to hear what they have to say for -themselves-. PEOPLE.

Is it really that hard to understand? Really? Really.

But BESIDES that.

Just, for those tuning in from AmandaEtcGate, you should know, if you didn't already, that in fact there have been other reasons for feminist (or at minimum, sub-denominations thereof) and/or the feminist blogosphere expatriate-hood, and other women, leaving in frustration and anger, or at least feeling profoundly alienated from what should be and/or used to be for some, y'know, The Feminist Movement; all this shit would be the reason(s). Loosely, transphobia and the so-called "sex wars," the latter including, but not limited to, the ubiquitous "pornstitution" business (i.e. you're either fer it or agin it, according to some people anyway), Kink Is Bad, femme-bashing, heteronormativity up the wazoo, and just good ol' fashioned sex panic and/or "stone the sluts." Mostly, though, well, personally? Once more, with feeling: I Blame The Assholes.

That may not be all that helpful here, though, of itself.

Because actually, there -is- another connection here, and it is this: that IN fact, an awful lot of early Anglo-American feminism IS all tangled up with the Victorian (and yeah, Christian by default, a particular branch of Protestantism to be precise) idea of woman as moralizing agent, for better or for worse, depending on your perspective. The Temperance and then Prohibition movements, for instance. And yes, early on, Abolition.

Trouble is, though, even then, and echoing right on through today, there are -reasons- why "feminism" is considered a movement for "nice white ladies." And yeah, while obviously it's more complicated than this, there are, in fact, direct parallels between "oh of course we'd have -included- you if you'd only -behaved-, you rude, scary, vulgar ingrates! We know what's best for you and everyone!" genteel racism and "hold still while we SAVE you, dammit, you rude, scary, vulgar ingrates! We know what's best for you and everyone!" in other contexts.

The common denominator in all this, and something raggedly approaching a point, thank you, Patient Readers:

There IS, in fact, power in being the Nice White Lady. Has been for quite a while. Not as -much- as in being the Good White Guy, all other things being equal, no. But, power nonetheless. The missionary, the one who's pitted against the jungle, all full of bestial sexuality and savage aggression, which are of course dark and/or male; and, incidentally, might do okay for herself along the way.

And with power, of course, comes responsibility.

Starting with: you have to -admit- you have any power here; and way too many Nice White Lady Feminists, of both radical and liberal vintages, do not.

And/or, I suppose: okay, we -may- have -some- power, but it doesn't really -count-, the buck doesn't stop with us; and garsh, we certainly don't LIKE the feeling of power or anything: we're the good guys. Um, gals. Really, we're only doing this for your own good. No, really! Trust us!

All of which effectively boils down to, basically, we're not responsible.

I've talked about some of this before. the end of all this: still circling the airport, isn't it.

But getting closer, maybe.


It's...all this is, I want to say, also, maybe the feminist iteration of a larger let's say struggle going on. You could call it Jihad vs. McWorld, I suppose. Less confusingly and more apropos: fundamentalism versus hyper-individualism in an advanced corporate context. In the feminist context, roughly, that would be:

On your more erm -radical- side, you gotcher regressive/reactionary cultfems (that's "cultural feminist"), with the increasingly insular and, dare I say, tinfoilesque purview, the romanticization of a time when Things Were Better For Wimmin And So Shall It Be Again, whether that Golden Age is some unspecified pre-hyrstorical Goddess-oriented Matriarchy, about fifteen minutes during the early 1970's, or both. And, by a complete coincidence no doubt, all too often sounds like the Garden of Eden stood on its head, with many of the original tropes that go along with it firmly intact.

Still, it -sounds- nice, with the whole back to nature, let's-purify-ourselves-and-then-the-world, deep sisterly bonds, gazing at each other with the Deep Clear Gaze Of Political Lesbian Goodness; even a, well? religious overtone to the whole thing, with or without the Goddessy bits. Until, well, you're excommunicated, and/or realize that you were never part of the Elect to begin with, for narrow is the way and strait is the gate to Wimmins' Country.

On your more -mainstream- side, you've got, well, umm, hate to say it, but what's already been dubbed as "Marcotteism," although frankly Hillaryism or even Thatcherism would work much better. This is the woman warrior, not so much the missionary; she's not really there to clutch her poor underprivileged (step)sisters to her bounteous nurturing (and certainly All Natural) bosom; she's there to kick ass and take names. She'll come home from the hunt carrying the golden fleece; and, once it's been thoroughly processed and sold for a nice profit, then everyone else who's been waiting around patiently can have a share, and it'll all work out splendidly, now hush. And, by a complete coincidence, "meet the New Boss, same as the Old Boss" is playing on the radio; it's a kickass cover by this grrreat band with a female lead singer, and she's making a mint, and why can't you be happy for her, dammit? She's being subversive! She's gonna rock the system! In the meantime, you can live vicariously through her, living her dream! What else matters?

AND, by a COMPLETE and total coincidence, it just so happens that, well, the overwhelming majority of voices on both sides of this--not all, but I think the word dominant is fair--are, um, ermmm, uh...well? White. There, pant, I said it. And--say-hey! so am I, by cracky!

So, all things considered, I can't imagine why so many WoC, (not even to mention queer women who don't really -fit-, women with disabilities, women who don't feel feminism addressed class inequalities sufficiently, women who just plain think the whole thing sucks, and say! what ABOUT the men? and so on and so on and...) are fleeing from both the word and the movement(s) like something that really, really should be fled from as fast as possible.

Which kind of smarts.

Because, I know I said feminism was just a word, and that's not even really the point anyway? I still mostly mean it;

on the other hand, well, this is just the most recently read in a long string of posts that's making me think: dude, if it's becoming THAT poisonous to THAT many people I'd -so- rather be on the side of than so many of the people waving it around like a gorram flag, that it's become a badge of automatic distrust...


eh, fuck it, just call me Myrtle.

The Great Work Continues, or some goddam thing.

and, uh...


I'm goin' to bed. Maybe it'll make more sense in the morning.

ETA: and just to sort of wrap things up in one noxious little bow, some kind of award for this one:

stormcloud said...

They hate me because I have a habit of pointing out their lies. Like "I am a woman of tint". I would say, well, yeah, if alabaster-white is classed as a 'tint'. FFS. Those highly-bronzed pictures that RenEv used to pretend were her? Complete fantasy.

There is a lot of projection going on. I could not expose anything about RenEv that hadn't been put on the internet by her very own, supposedly manicured, fingers.

Why? Why? Why? -Why- do I do this to myself?

I mean, it's not like there isn't -enough- stupid and hateful in the world that I need to go seeking out even -more- of it, right? There is absolutely no reason on Maud's green earth why I -need- to be reading fundamentalists of any sort, let alone a rare conglomeration of fundies of both the right-wing Christian type AND (a few of) the purportedly radical feminist type, all united and dovetailing in the hatred of teh Ultimate Ev0l, teh pr0n; and -beyond- that, there is -certainly- no reason to click on what I know will be a small tetchy clump of the Lyndon LaRouchites of the feminist-or-whatever-everyone'

Listen, can someone help wean me off onto a healthier habit, like, I don't know, slamming my fingers in car doors, or huffing nail polish remover?

Meanwhile, I -am- sorry, but MISERY LOVES COMPANY, DAMMIT:

exhibit #1:

I used to think men cared about women, and they would protect us if
necc. All that went right out the window, breaking me at my very core/
soul. If a man can use any woman he can use all women. There's no good
and bad uses of women. I don't want to be used in the so called good
way - as wife and fako partner, any more than I want to be used in the
bad way of p wh. It's ALL BAD!!! Using anyone is BAD!!!! There's no
good way to use someone. Yet there men are, celebrating the abuse of
women. I used to think the USA had a strong military full of strong
manly men dedicated to protecting us from external forces...

We're left feeling sooo alone in the world when we discover those who
vowed to love and honor us, have only been using us, while they also
contribute to destroying us. There's no connection between how they
treat other women, and how their fellow men treat us. They like to see
men sexualizing their OBJECTS.

...And I don't buy the BS about women do it because they like it and
they want too. If a woman likes it and wants to then she is mentally,
emotionally, and spiritually retarded, just like I was when I was also
under the influence of these man-made lies. To me it's like taking
advantage of the handicapped in our society, in soul torturous ways,
and calling that ENTERTAINMENT for MEN. That's soo messed up, in soo
many ways, it's no wonder we can't wrap our hearts and souls around
it. It's insanity, and sane people don't do it.

[another poster]
The other night there was an episode of 'Intervention' on,which I made my h watch. It was a lady who was addicted to heroin and she prostituted to get the money.

At 1st my h was angry,"I never saw a prostitute what does this have to do with me?"
I told him that that's what these womyn in p*rn movies are,they are prostituted once in the movie,and then over and over visually for sick men.

My h admitted to me that he separated these womyn in the movies from womyn in real life,because they were "sluts and they wanted to be there" :-X (I still can't believe my h said this..How can he be this man..and the one I thought I knew?)
Maybe some do think they want to be there,but if so,it's that they have been brain washed into thinking that's all their is for them.

I have seen interviews with these womyn,I have read books..I have seen these shows/documentaries,and I even knew a lady from my childhood who out of drug addiction finally resorted to prostitution,They didn't want to be there. They had no choice,or thought they had none. They had no voice and knew that that was the one thing they could always sell.

These womyn are addicts,they would do anything for their drugs. These womyn are womyn who have been abused all their life and feel as though they have nothing else to offer but their sexuality,as they've seen it's all anyone wants from them. They continue to be abused each time they do these acts.
These womyn are real ppl,they are not some mere object to be used,abused,and then used again.

I am so angry and resentful,that I am with someone who is a secret abuser of womyn,. It doesn't matter if it was visually...
That he lied,that he had everyone fooled...I could rant on this forever.

It makes me sad,angry and sick to think this is all the progress that has been made throughout human history? They went from walking hunched over,pulling us by the hair into a cave,to walking upright..only to be hunched over the computer victimizing us again,only visually.

At 1st..I was angry at God..I thought why did God let this happen to me? I am a good person,I try to live a respectable moral life.

Then a calm came over me,and I realized it wasn't Gods doing. God gave us free will so we can make the right choices,and find our way back to him. P*rn imo is truly evil,it is truly the work of "the devil" and of mans weakness for lust.

I think some of these men can save themselves,if they really see the problem as a whole. It's not just p*rn,it's not just mb. It's how womyn are seen and valued in their minds,how our role in society is placed. They have to place value on every womyn,no mater how "lowly" she might be...or they might not ever win this.

Two books I thought I might mention,if you're feeling mad as hell and don't mind getting madder:

'Against our will' -by Susan Brownmiller
'Who Cooked the Last Supper: The Women's History of the World'-by Rosalind Miles

on another thread:

I'm not coming at you with a machete nor am I trying to drive you off
the boards in any way. I am simply pointing out the error in your ways
when you encourage porn addicts to look up to someone for recovery
when that same person would tell the PA's on here they don't have a
porn addiction, and the SO's that they are insecure and porning for
men is a normal and healthy activity..

[sig quote]

..."Feminism is the radical notion that women are people"

and then, from the main pages of that same site:

Overcoming temptation is easier with an Accountability Partner.
That's why Covenant Eyes is effective. It is NOT a filter -- but it
does restore your freedom to choose.

Fully endorsed by: "Promise Keepers Men of Integrity"; Steve Hewitt,
editor and President, "Christian Computing Magazine"; by "Focus on the
Family"; and by

Benefits and Features:

* Tracks every web visit and sends an e-mailed report to the
accountability partner(s) of your choice.
* Removes the secrecy of using the Internet. Reports can be sent
every seven, 14 or 28 days.

"I'm not religious, so I was pleased to find out that using this
doesn't require religion. It is just common sense."

o noez, doesn't require religion, it's only endorsed by FOCUS ON THE
FAMILY and PROMISE KEEPERS. i can totally understand why some "radical feminists" (hi, one angry girl! you've been cited in there!) would be sympatico here! I mean, they're only using software that's a-ok with frigging FOCUS ON THE FAMILY and PROMISE KEEPERS. Absolutely! Certainly much better allies than, o I don't know, female sex workers who don't happen to agree with you about whether their job is so terrible that they need to stop and repent forthwith, but DO agree with you wrt reproductive rights, gay rights, whether or not it really -is- a woman's -only- rightful place to sit at home by her husband's side and raise kids...

you stupid, stupid fucks.

and yeah, -nice- with the eye and the whole thing, not at all
Handmaid's Tale.***

Please, do tell me another one about how the ONLY reason I could -possibly- be more concerned about rabid anti-porn/kink/etc/etc/etc "feminists" than, I don't know, Playboy, or "raunch culture," or the harm my queer pro-domme friends who make indie pr0n are causing to anxious straight womyn who can't keep their husbands at home, is because I luuuuuurrrves the porn so very, very much.

NOT because o i don't know not only does it SOUND like right wing fundamentalism a lot of the time, not only is it -possible- that right-wing fundamentalists use this shit to further their own agenda (that no-porn board has literally hundreds of thousands of postings, apparently tens of thousands of regulars if you buy their "survey" numbers, or did), but in -some- cases we are in fact talking about -the very same people.- That's a lie! That never happens! And, y'all (y'all know who you are) are SO RIGHT to be so much more willing to work/engage with these people than someone like this.

I'll skip the bit with the terribly earnest young man who's convinced he must be entirely chaste because he has a homosexual orientation -and- is a Christian, but -for some reason- just can't stop looking at Those Pictures or thinking Those Thoughts, can anyone help? or indeed the guy who's convinced he's an "addict" because he still jerks off once a week, and the very helpful woman who may or may not be a "feminist," it's a bit ambiguous from her login and other posts, who suggests imagining his dead grandmother looking on every time he starts to lapse, hey, whatever works, right?

just, by way of transition to the next Place What Makes My Brain Hurt, one last, thiswas also rather choice, I thought:

Even if they are looking at straight men having sex, they are mb to
other men having sex. And whether they are consciously aware of it or
not, it's a perversion, and their subconcious is soaking it all up no
matter what they think. I often wonder if my h is gay, even when it's
not shemales, because I can't tell what he's looking at the girls or
the guys. And often the so called girls, are really men, made up to
look like women, so often times they are wanking to men while thinking
they are women, but their soul sees them as the me they are regardless
imo. It's only a small step from there to shemales imo. It really
doesn't matter what kind of p it is though, because it is all messed
up, and they get messed up no matter what kind they are using from the
tamer type to the grosser type. Using p makes them pornosexuals, and
totally ruins their natural hetrosexuality no matter what the images.

Had enough of that? Okay! Moving on. And in fact, this has gotten SO long and unwieldy that it's now TWO posts o'rantiness, continue here.

Sometimes the movie she showed would be an old porno film, from the seventies or eighties. Women kneeling, sucking penises or guns, women tied up or chained or with dog collars around their necks, women hanging from trees, or upside-down, naked, with their legs held apart, women being raped, beaten up, killed...

Consider the alternatives, said Aunt Lydia. You see what things used to be like? That was what they thought of women, then. Her voice trembled with indignation.

Moira said later that it wasn't real, it was done with models, but it was hard to tell.

Sometimes, though, the movie would be what Aunt Lydia called an Unwoman documentary. Imagine, said Aunt Lydia, wasting their time like that, when they should have been doing something useful. Back then, the Unwomen were always wasting time. They were encouraged to do it. The government gave them money to do that very thing. Mind you, some of their ideas were sound enough, she went on, with the smug authority of one who is in a safe position to judge. We would have to condone some of their ideas, even today. Only some, mind you, she said, coyly, raising her index finger, waggling it at us. But they were Godless, and that can make all the difference, don't you agree?


Lilies used to be a movie theater, before. Students went there a lot: every spring they had a Humphrey Bogart festival, with Lauren Bacall or Katherine Hepburn, women on their own, making up their minds. They worse blouses with buttons down the front that suggested the possibilities of the word undone. These women could be undone; or not. They seemed to be able to choose. We seemed to be able to choose, then. We were a society dying, said Aunt Lydia, of too much choice.

...Women were not protected then.

I remember the rules, rules that were not spelled out but that every woman knew: Don't open your door to a stranger, even if he says he is the police. Make him slide his ID under the door. Don't stop on the road to help a motorist pretending to be in trouble...

Now we walk along the same street, in red pairs, and no man shouts obscenities at us, speaks to us, touches us. No one whistles.

There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, you had freedom to. Now you have freedom from. Don't underrate it.

--Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

Monday, April 28, 2008

"Yes, and."

This is just sort of a general rumination on what some people call "constructive discourse/action."

In improv theatre, or certain acting exercises in regular theatre, we used to have this trope called “Yes, and.”

Yes and…” is about accepting the premise that someone has made an offer. You can use that as a starting point….then either:

* Build on it — adding your ideas, perspective, etc.
* Add a twist or new angle…
* Deepen it…and engage…..with a question, hypothesis, emotion, etc.
* Or if you must ‘reject it’ - start by first acknowledging the ‘offer’ and the inherent good parts (come on….there’s something you can find!)

How it works in an improv context, for example: someone says,

“I went to the store yesterday,”

and you say, “Yes, and you bought a can of peas.”

and they say, “Yes, and there was a peculiar mark on the outside of the can,”

and you say, “Yes, and i noticed it was the same as the one I found on the inside of my wrist this morning…”

and from there you build a story.

Or, whatever, not a wonderful example; point is, it’s different to going,

“I went to the store yesterday.”

“No you didn’t, you went to the circus.”

…because that just sort of makes it grind to a halt. And you might have had the best of intentions: oh, shit, the store, that’s boring, let’s go somewhere more exciting! but in fact, it’s better to just go with whatever it is and -add.- And if it sucks at the end of it, as it often does: hey, you start something else.

Quote of the day, 4/28/08

Nick: My simple child reaction of what you did is that you are not funny. Funnier than you is even Stuart Schlossman, who is my friend, and is eleven, and puts walnuts in his mouth and makes noises. What is not funny is to call us names, and what is mostly not funny is how sad you are, and I'd feel sorry for you if it wasn't for how dull you are. And those are the worst-tasting potato chips that I've ever tasted. And that's my opinion from the blue, blue sky.

--A Thousand Clowns

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Quote of the day, 4/27/08

Otto: How do you do, Mrs Leach? I'm Harvey Manfren... jensen. I'm, uh, with the CIA.

Wendy: The CIA?

Otto: That's correct, ma'am. I was, uh, just telling your husband here, before I, uh, had to go to your beautiful bathroom, we've got a high-ranking KGB defector in a safe house near here. We're debriefing him as of now and just...checking houses in the neighbourhood.

Wendy: For what?

Otto: For KGB.

Wendy: Is there any danger?

Otto: No, no, no, no. No, uh...No. No, not now. We, uh...We just wanna keep everyone informed. So, Archie, thanks for the drink. Sorry to have troubled you.

Wendy: Keep everyone informed?

Otto: So there's no panic, ma'am.

Wendy: But isn't it a secret?

Otto: You have no idea how secret.

Wendy: Then why are you telling everyone?

Otto: ...It's a smoke screen?

Wendy: What?!

Otto: Double bluff. --Look, you obviously don't know anything about intelligence work, lady. It's an X-K-Red-27 technique.

Wendy: My father was in the Secret Service, Mr. Manfredjinsinjin, and I know perfectly well that you don't keep the general public informed when you are "debriefing KGB defectors in a safe house."

Otto: You don't?

Wendy: Not unless you're congenitally insane or irretrievably stupid, no.

Otto: Don't call me stupid.

Wendy: Why on earth not?

Otto: Oh, you English are *so* superior, aren't you? Well, would you like to know what you'd be without us, the good ol' U.S. of A. to protect you? I'll tell you. The smallest fucking province in the Russian Empire, that's what! So don't call me stupid, lady. Just thank me.

Wendy: Well, *thank* you for popping in and protecting us.

--A Fish Called Wanda


"Where are you going, my pretty maid?"
"I'm going a-milking, sir," she said.
"May I go with you, my pretty maid?"
"You're kindly welcome, sir," she said.
"What is your father, my pretty maid?"
"My father's a farmer, sir," she said.
"What is your fortune, my pretty maid?"
"My face is my fortune, sir," she said.
"Then I can't marry you, my pretty maid."
"Nobody asked you, sir," she said.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

and a wee bit of analysis, of a sort.

Just coming off the comments of one of the uberlong threads on omg you got your racism in my feminism! how on earth did that happen?! (part XXVIII), at feministe:

(Chris Clarke responding to a person/torduange)

... It’s a good point. No one’s success is purely their own. Standing on the shoulders of giants, and cetera.

Yeah, that's kind of the bottom line, here, isn't it?

And the thing is–you know, people keep saying: it’s -not- all unconnected, the stuff about “appropriation” (which for the last gorram time NO is not the same thing as “she copied off someone else’s paper word for word” or even about y’know “copyright”), the images, and yeah, the theme in the book itself and Amanda’s whole um narrative such as it is. This is what's meant by appropriation: the refusal to understand that

No one’s success is purely their own.

...and further, that some people whose shoulders are stood upon are consistently rendered the designated stood-upon, and it's all part of the game; this is what is known as "institutionalized" (not -personal-, as in "I can't stand Those People") racism, among other "isms," is all about.

and back to the case at hand, just to be clear: I’ve no idea how the process of choosing these pics came about; if Seal says it’s all on them, okay, so be it (and I still think those two need to have their asses fired for sheer incompetence at this point, that AND the “hi! let’s totally alienate everyone by swanning onto someone’s blog, snotting at them, then starting a “no really, please don’t boycott us” thread at our own place, then nuke that when it gets too hot, okay! We Value Your Opinion! -plonk-). And definitely, without the pics I wouldn’t have probably had much objection to the content itself, as I saw it–seemed relatively innocuous, certainly no overt racism along the lines of the pics (which just seemed such a -stupid- move all around–anyway).

But…as I think little light noted (can't remember which thread, sorry)…there is something, yeah, about the let’s say myth? of the noble, brave, -conquering- hero, okay? There’s a reason the “Tarzan” and “King Kong” shit appeals enduringly: it’s NOT because they’re -universal- tropes, it’s because they speak to deeply entrenched myths in this culture. We’re supposed to identify with the sun god, the lone warrior braving savage nature and demonic/animalistic sub-humans, and coming back with the prize.

And the whole point is, for most of us, in fact, while we’re -supposed- to ID with the hero, in reality most of us -can’t- LIVE like him, because garsh someone has to be the backdrop/savages/supporting cast and well you LOOK like the backdrop/savages/supporting cast…or, just, well, you don’t -fit-, anyway; but, most of all, -the hero does it by himself.- Maybe with a few sidekicks. But…the hero is a Hero. Not “part of a community.”

And…the -repeated- theme that keeps coming up over and over and fucking OVER again in -all- these flameouts in the feminist sphere, is this: that -substituting a Heroine for the Hero isn’t fucking enough if nothing else changes.-

But…for some people, see, it seems like it IS enough, if they think -they- can be the Heroine.

But that doesn’t mean everyone else has to keep playing the parts they were assigned, and for damn sure anyone asking them to do it isn’t “progressive” or “feminist” in any real sense.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Quote of the day, 4/25/08

I don’t get it. People are saying these apologies are refreshing. Refreshing?! If someone strands you in the desert for days then comes back and presents you with a glass of warm piss, that is not refreshing. That is the bare fucking minimum they could do to keep you alive. Refreshing would be some, I don’t know, ACCOUNTABILITY, for AM and the editorial masterminds at Seal Press.

--commenter Corey

and the hits just keep on coming.

Meanwhile, not very far away...

Kim has some information to share; or, rather, a friend of hers who wishes to remain anonymous does (attention, Sam Berg and supporters).

Thank you, and is it too much to ask to get an apology?????"

Depends who you ask, doesn't it...

Ummm, yeah, about those "racism" charges...

So, okay, wrt the whole Amanda Marcotte/brownfemipower left the blogosphere/appropriation/head explodes business, on top of everything else it now transpires that the book that she and Seal Press have just released has these, well, ummmm, illustrations, okay.

You can see them here.

I'll just wait here while you check them out.

-hums a bit-

Back? Right, so:

Also, I was in the local B&N today, checked out the book, and saw ‘em with my own three eyes. amazing. I particularly like the one (not pictured at DWF there) where there’s this brutelike looking dark-skinned man slouching out of his hut, glaring scarily at Our Heroine as she saunters past.

And, like, they don’t even make any -sense-. They have precisely -nothing- to do with the content, which at a glance seems relatively innocuous, even mildly entertaining, of itself. She didn’t -need- -any- illustrations. And–who thinks that shit is funny? let alone doesn’t get that some people might have a problem?…especially after the cover?…like, what, people complain about the Symbolism of an ape but will be totally fine with -actual stereotyped “natives”?- or, what, won’t notice, or…?



...and after that, one just doesn't know quite what to say, at the moment.


ETA: Seal Press has apologized.

We are taking action immediately to remove the offensive images from It's A Jungle Out There. We are currently reprinting, and we will make these changes now. We apologize for any pain or concern these images have caused.

We do not believe it is appropriate for a book about feminism, albeit a book of humor, to have any images or illustrations that are offensive to anyone.

Some have asked the valid question, "What were you thinking?"

Please know that neither the cover, nor the interior images, were meant to make any serious statement. We were hoping for a campy, retro package to complement the author's humor. That is all. We were not thinking.

Um. Yeah.

ETAA: and so has Amanda.

ETAYA: back to Seal for a moment, speaking of things one misses because one probably just doesn't even want to see it on account of it's depressing enough already, Sly Civilian pointed this bit out from their "apology:"

“This 1950s Marvel comic is not an accurate reflection of our beauty standards, our beliefs regarding one’s right to bear arms, nor our perspectives on race relations, foreign policy, or environmental policy.”

Aren't we cute. Not at all defensive or snide or dismissive there, no precious.

But o hay, they're going to "anti-racist training," so everything should be better from now on, right?

"Sorry I ran you over with my car during my last drunken bender. I know I didn't hear you the -first- 12,000 times you told me I might have a problem with alcohol? But now after the arrest and everything, I'm thinking maybe you might have a point after all. Not just the one on top of your head, either, you big party pooper! Ha ha! Just lightening the tension a little, if you will. Anyway, I'm going to rehab, so we're all square now, right?

--What do you -mean- they'll have to take away my driver's license? But I worked -really hard- for that license! I studied and took the test and everything! I just got that car! I barely dented the bumper when I hit you, it's in beautiful condition! Why o why is everyone out to get me! It ISN'T FAIR DAMMIT. And stop trying to make me feel guilty, I need a SAFE SPACE. --Oh, you're already stuck in the hospital room, and I have the entire outside? Well, I still don't FEEL safe. I can still feel you glaring at me through your window. Stop it! Stop ruining my happy day! you mean bully, you."

And yeah, considering that these are the same two geniuses referred to here and here, and then alluded to further here, here (speaking of "safe spaces" ffs, read the whole damn post, tell you what, and then come back and argue about how hard it is for the poor white women whose careers might be at stake, okay) and here, I am thinking: sure, go to the anti-racist training? but, um, also:

You're fired. For sheer, utter fucking incompetence, and no, that doesn't get fixed with a "see, this is why pictures of blonde women with white male backups kicking black spear-carrying "savages" in the face are offensive, mkay" written out dutifully 100 times, I am afraid.

If it were up to me, anyway.

Just saying.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Quote of the day, 4/23/08

What does this say?

Uh, can't you read that?

I can't read this. What is this? "Abt natural"?

No it just reads, "Please put $50 thousand into this bag. Act natural."

Does it say, "Act natural"?

I, uh, am pointing a gut at you.

That looks like "gub", it doesn't look like "gun".

No, it's "gub". That's a B.

No you see, it's an N... G-U-N.

George, would you step over here a moment please.

What does this say?

"Please put $50 thousand into this bag and... abt"

- What's "abt"? - "Act"

Does this look like "gub" or "gun"?

"Gun". You see. But what's "abt" mean?

It's "act"...A- C-T, act.

Please put $50 thousand into this bag. Act natural.

- Oh, I see, this is a hold up. - Yes.

May I see your gun?

Well, you'll have to have this note initialized by one of our vice-presidents
before I can give you any money.

I'm in a rush.

- What?! - You see I'm in a rush.

I'm sorry, but that's our policy.

-- Take the Money and Run, i.e. Woody Allen when he was actually funny

as per the latest shitstorm:

y'know, this thing.

All I have to say is, both the OP and many of the responses put me in mind of nothing so much as this:

1) omg, "boobs!" without shame!
2) omg, what a boob! shame!


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Seriously. Isn't it just a -little- embarrassing?

Or, I don't know, I'm reading both Jill's and RE's accounts of how it all went down and I'm just...I don't know...



Sam writes: “that wholesale changes were being made to the panel just five days before the event without informing me. I had agreed to do the panel with John and Amanda, and I hadn’t gotten any emails saying she couldn’t attend or that they were looking for a replacement.”

I have done many panel discussion/debates both while as a radical feminist activist and later as sex worker rights activist in which the other presenters were fluid and ultimately irrelevant. One agrees to speak on a panel discussion to represent their views and present them to an audience. They aren’t intended as personality contests. Who the other panelists are should have very little bearing on anyone that is well prepared and knows and believes in what they are representing. Even in the case of Sam being intimidated by Renegade Evolution, the conference organizers went above and beyond the call of duty as not only was security and police presence and awareness of her concerns offered but Karla Mantilla another radical feminist was offered and accepted a position on the panel in support of Sam to no objection of either Ren and I.

Sam writes: “If they had told me Amanda couldn’t make it I would have suggested that pornographers and strip club owners are very easy to find through legal channels so they could have been asked to appear on the panel.”

It is entirely out of the context of standard procedure of panel discussions for panelists to place demands o who they are debating. And why would a strip club owner come take time off work running his business to debate a feminist and a male feminist? That is an unrealistic expectation.

Sam writes: “ I would have also suggested that the number of porn-using men on campus should have been able to produce just one pornsturbator willing to defend his porn consumption.”

This is almost jaw dropping. To expect Constance to find a “pornsturbator” defies the remotest level of professionalism. This would be entirely unproductive as just the term pornsturbator is so inflammatory that it would have lead to heated confrontation. It would also make Constance guilty of setting up this “pornsturbator” to be blasted with rhetoric of this nature, which would lead to him being angry, and an audience that gets cheated out of a debate and instead exposed to some kind of tag team on some guy that watches porn. To give into a demand of that nature would make Constance a very poor organizer. While personally I don’t watch porn and don’t give a lot of thought to the concerns of men that do as my focus is on sex worker human, civil and labor rights and don’t have the bandwidth or honestly the desire to defend mens porn usage, I can’t see any inherent value in placing him in what would be an obvious sham debate which ultimately would turn into a shame based free for all argument trying to convince him of his wrong doing. Again!!!! The audience is the reason for the debate. Not the other panelists...

...Sam Writes: Constance. Constance said she was excited to have me coming and offered to let me spend Monday night at her place, where she planned on cooking dinner for a group of people post-panel”

Which she did and does for every event………….. Wow, cooking dinner for you, what a terrible thing to do, offering you a place to stay so you don’t have to pay hotel costs because she couldn’t get funding. My grandmother would be making the sign of the cross over her chest and saying Ave Marias after hearing of such treachery and skulduggery

Sam Writes: How do you think it would feel if a pro-choice feminist were invited to a predominantly pro-life campus by a predominantly pro-life group and the pro-life organizer did everything Constance did without revealing her pro-life politics to her pro-choice panelist and house guest?

How about you invite me to a panel discussion that I had to pay the flight for because you couldn’t get the funding and you were concerned about my expenses and appreciated me flying to Portland on my own dime to present on your panel, so you invite me to your house for supper with other guests, audience, panelists, and let me stay the night without charge rather than having me eat supper alone and go to a hotel I had to pay for alone? I would assume you were being kind, being a human being concerned about me, my finances, my not being alone in a far away city and that you were kind enough to care about me regardless of whether you disagreed with my politics. That is how I would feel. I would appreciate your kindness and feminism that we could agree , disagree or in between but that you treated me with kindness. That would be how I would feel. It would exemplify feminism.

Sam Writes: I agreed to do the panel with John and Amanda three weeks ago. Though it was unethical to make major lineup changes at the last minute like that without telling me and things started feeling really fishy due to the lack of notification about the event anywhere besides pro-john blogs

Pro John blog,,,, I’m done with this,,, There is a difference between arguing factual misrepresentations and rhetoric. We’ve hit the rhetoric point.

Do you realize what you have done Sam? Do you even realize what you are doing?


You know, that is one of the questions for the ages, isn't it. Me, I'm just sitting here with the popcorn. I mean, seriously: How! Do you spell! DIVA!

Oh, I had my own answer to this bit, btw:

How do you think it would feel if a pro-choice feminist were invited to a predominantly pro-life campus by a predominantly pro-life group and the pro-life organizer did everything Constance did without revealing her pro-life politics to her pro-choice panelist and house guest?

Um, well, okay, going with the analogy just for the sake of it, I -guess-:

first of all, I'd think she was kind of a brickhead for either not figuring out that it was a predominantly pro-life campus in the first place, or knowing that it was a predominantly pro-life campus and not really considering the possibility that the person inviting her might share those beliefs.

and then I'd think she was -really- delusional if she thought that under such circumstances she'd be able to control who she did and didn't debate, given that that's not exactly a standard for debate invitees -anyway-

Then, well, what Jill said. And I'd wonder why the invitation of person X as opposed to person Y suddenly means the organizer is this Bad Person who was Clearly Trying To Set Our Heroine Up, because she, what, was supposed to know by osmosis that THIS person was unacceptable?

That she should have axed person X just because Our Heroine threw a shit fit, even when person X was being perfectly civil and reasonable and had no problem debating either Our Heroine or someone else?

That the organizer -owes- Our Heroine something after all this? That offering to put Our Heroine up for the night and make her dinner is, in the context of her not booting person X, clearly a sign of her Sinister Intent? What, like, once she got her in her house, she was going to force Our Heroine to watch pr0n sorry I mean pro-life propaganda? Drug the food? Or, just, it's not -enough-, any of this; clearly Our Heroine has been grossly mistreated, and is fully justified in her Cartmanesque denouement (tm I can't remember who coined the phrase, 'twasn't I).


Honestly, -even if- that analogy made sense, even if that hypothetical were true: um, bluntly, I'd be embarrassed that someone who was supposed to be representing my side was acting like such an asshole, and I'd be thankful as hell that someone -else- took it on and acted like an adult. And I'd wonder why the hell this person was acting this way, and who elected her Spokeswoman For The Cause anyway.

oh, yeah, and when I found out that there was another pro-choice person right there at the university, but instead of trying to talk sense into Our Heroine or at least taking on the other side like an adult as he'd agreed to do in the first place, stomped off because -the playing field wasn't level enough-, I'd think, "damn, what a fucking douchebag. Are we sure these people aren't actually plants for The Other Side? How embarrassing is this?"

Now: as to the analogy itself.

a) okay, so, once again, "choice" is invoked completely unironically when it comes to reproductive functions, but is BadWrongIrrelevant when it comes to what a woman does with her body -sexually.- Got it.

b) ime, generally in fact it's the pro-life side who acts the way Sam & co. did, handwaving about how TERRIBLE the industry is, never mind nuance, we TRIED talking to THEM one time but they, like, argued back, clearly that's out of the question, they're BAD PEOPLE, ABORTION IS MURDER! PORN IS RAPE! TO THE BATTLESTATIONS, THIS IS WAR!! Nuance? Vas is das "nuance?"

c) William and Mary is now apparently, what is it now? a pro-porn university? Wow, we -are- living in a Corrupt Age, aren't we. I can't wait till the Rapture I mean the Revolution comes to blast away all this Evil. Dark days ahead, the path of the righteous etc. etc. etc.

d) send us a postcard when you get to China, will you?

ETA: and it just keeps getting better!

Good grief.

This was also sort of telling, I thought:

Other women out there will come to our blogs and listen. They hate pornstitution (or do not feel comfortable about it) so they will follow their feelings and there will be other new Rad Fems in the future -- at least it is how I became a rad fem: by listening to what I believe was a group that had strong arguments backed up by thorough research and facts and refusing to listen to the other group that merely had money, corporate media, lobbyists, lawyers, managers, marketeers, industry analysts, paid writers of “opinion” and “journalism”, publicists, etc. to defend their fallacious arguments supporting misogynistic industries. Rad fem arguments are so real and based on experience. The "other side" is so fake: it is patriarchy, it is "the state of schizophrenia" (as I would call it).


it is how I became a rad fem: by listening to what I believe was a group that had strong arguments...and refusing to listen to the other group

(because radical feminism, this person seems to think, was always primarily about hating "pornstitution.")

Not entirely unrelated, perhaps, to this:

and we will grow in numbers and get louder and louder, and stronger and more demanding until we drown out any 'what about the men' or 'but I like my porn' bullshit people throw at us. These things will happen regardless of what anybody outside of radical feminism thinks about it, these things will happen even if the patriarchy and the ridiculous patriarchy-pleasing "feminists" ignore us and belittle us, and speak about us as though we should be extinct. These things will happen, somehow, despite the world-changing presence of that MRA's wet dream the "sex-positive feminist", and despite the women-murdering men, and despite the 95% of rapists who get away with it. We are not going to shut up and go away. We are not going to be distracted into self-indulgent discussions of our 'privilege' and examining our navels. We are not going to be distracted by the stones thrown every time a woman says, "Yeah, I'm a feminist, but, like, prostitution is just a job like any other, you know?"


So. Indeed.

The Second Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy

is up at Labyrinth Walk, and it's wonderful, rich in breadth and depth. Check it out.

Quote of the day, 4/22/08

Bunch of wanna-blessed-be's. Nowadays every girl with a spice rack and a henna tattoo thinks she's Sister to the Dark Ones.

--Willow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The path of the righteous is beset on all sides

The path of the frootbat is much the same, but with the addition of banana peels.

Take this winner, for instance ("take him, please"). "Saint," I believe is his moniker. He's payin' my friend Rebecca a visit.

In many ways just your average troglodyte--he is very concerned about the "pussification of Oz," apparently. But, amid his dronings, what caught my bloodshot eye was what's beginning to sound like an awfully familiar theme, to wit, "I'm only being a noxious shithead toward you, complete stranger, because I care." Viddy:

Don’t put yourself into the prison of identity politics. Don’t surround yourself with people who do not have your good, your best interests at heart, who don’t love you. Don’t ruin your life, don’t condemn yourself to life-long misery and self-hate, egged on by a cheering squad of three self-absorbed individuals who care more about their cause du jour then you as a person.

There is much much more to life than your narrow prison cell, and there is much more life, hope, joy and love outside of that toxic web of friends of yours.

Right Christian of him, isn't it? Mighty white of him, even. And he's right, you know, because nothing says "I see you as a real person rather than as my own personal Righteous Cause" better than, f'r instance:

Screwed is an understatement for [Rebecca], if you are talking screwed up. She’s got issues. Trans issues. Needless to say, a perusal of her blog tells you she is not the cheerful one of ___'s two friends.

...[Pussification/Teh Gay Agenda/Teh Trans Agenda/Feminazis/evil leprechauns and pixies/the little dogs Trey, Blanche, Sue, they bark at me] [is] a prison which has sucked in __ and __ - both barely adults, what a tragedy - and is leading them down a path of self-destruction egged on by their idiot friends like ___. You don’t know whether you should commit them all or take them in and protect them from themselves. Or both.

See? Just like Jesus. Going after the lost sheep, as it were. Before they can pussify the entire country, which was Jesus' main concern, and rightfully so.

This is the key point, though. Quoth the Saint:

I am glad, having now read your next post, that you do agree with me on one thing: your little “community” is toxic. And who knows how toxic you are to others around you. (It is however, always ironic that the people who talk about community the most, usually don’t know what it means, and think you can manufacture it by forming an activist group and a social club.) Next time you think of “community”, ask yourself what it is you are really seeking.

Well, as to "what it is you are really seeking," duh, THAT's obvious, isn't it?

As do we all, really, deep down. Way, way, way deep down.

In lieu of that wistful fantasy, though, I'm afraid the Unwashed among us will simply have to comfort each other as best we can, toxic though our company, our -communities- may be. Someday we may indeed be worthy of the healthier attentions of Mssr. Saint, there, and indeed all the Saints out there, tirelessly plowing away on all our behalf. We can but pray, brethren and sistren. We can but pray.

Fisk Me, Baby, One More Time

So, first of all, update on this situation: the upshot is, Renegade and Jill Brenneman are going to speak at William and Mary; Sam Berg, now that her attempt to get RE uninvited has been unsuccessful, has withdrawn. In, um, protest, or something. According to her supporters, this was the professional thing to do. I am sure that she did it in a most professional manner, too, to be sure.

And one should probably just leave it at that.

But, well, just, some peoples' performance excuse me -activism- is so remarkable that I had to, well, remark on it.

Liars. They lie. They negate the lives of those suffering for the choices they make and then have the audacity to promote themselves as the ‘one true voice’ in the well of silence centred in the poverty of those they argue they represent.

And then they get booked to speak at the last minute in discussions about how what they do impacts upon the rest of us (women). And they agree! And then they start posting about “laughing like a super villain” and their “wank worthy fantasy” of debating “some anti-porn sex work types”. To me, the language used is the same language that rapists use (I’m a rape crisis counsellor, I’ve heard it a million times)

Maggie Hays // April 20, 2008 at 12:05 am

...“laughing like a super villain”? “wank worthy fantasy”? I agree that these comments were totally inappropriate. This makes me think: this kind of language is awfully similar to the sort of language a porn-using abuvive ex-boyfriend of mine was often using when talking to me.


Laurelin // April 20, 2008 at 10:16 pm

It’s interesting to note how many of the male ’sex pozzes’ use this sort of language to ‘argue’ against radical feminist arguments against pornstitution. They speak of ‘fisking’ us, accuse us of ‘wanking’ over details etc (Witchy has certainly had this aggressive language used against her recently by cowardly fuckwits).- all of it is major projection, of course. They cannot see the world in any other way, they use sexualised language to try and win their pathetic little game. It speaks volumes about them, it really does, and it only proves our point about pornification. The more the shout to drown us out, the more they tell us just who they are.

Laurelin // April 20, 2008 at 10:17 pm

I think ‘fisking’ is a sexualised word- do tell me if I’m wrong. (Don’t have a dictionary to hand)

Well--perhaps that would be the problem then; we're really not speaking the same language.

Because, I don't know, just, the professional defender of all women and fearless crusader against porn, Sam Berg, the one you're defending against the abusive pornspeakers here, yes? The professional. She never uses gratuitous sexualized language, one would certainly assume.

So, therefore, there's nothing at all inappropriate or boundary violating or creepy when she says, for instance:

‘Model’ is so 1980’s and doesn’t capture the “I’m hot, bi-sexee, and willing to fuck and suck anything for money” pornsick approval meme nearly as well as “sex worker”.


The vaunted "right" for women to be or simply act like cum-hungry bi-sexee hoes is affirmed all over these two liberal cities I have lived in the past few years.


There is no sensible feminist reason to ignore the 92% of prostitutes who do not consider it work but slavery in favor of the 8%minority, especially when doing so only affirms the rape culture that already says (often literally) men have a God-given right to wet their penises with women's holes any way they desire, any time they want it.


Amber, you can have all of Sonia's former customers now that she has been freed because her many male customers are still around and they have your blessing to continue renting women's insides to spill their fluids into like renting a port-a-potty.

or, one of my favorites:

Turn the male gaze around just once and take a long look at the men who pay to see women smiling while hanging upside down from a pole like a painted negro in a minstrel show dancing for peanuts and stripping looks entirely different.

I'm sorry your paper's allegiance to the money and faux hipsterism of strip club culture makes the truth about men's demands for women to act like disposable dick accessories a story that will never be told.

best of all:

spread'emism (spread-them-ism), n. 1. the misleading idea that women can fuck and get fucked into political, academic and social equality with men via prostitution and pornography

Contact me at spreademism(at)


So, just so we're clear: "laughing like a super villain," "cerebral wank," and "fisking"=abusive pornsick male language, clearly the mark of a Bad Person, no matter what the context.

"spread'emism," "disposable dick accessories," "hot, bi-sexee, willing to suck and fuck anything for money," "wet their penises with womens' holes," and "cum-hungry bi-sexee hoes" = perfectly reasonable language from someone who purports to loathe that sort of language and everything it represents. Certainly not at all offensive or misogynist or abusive, no matter what the context. And, good for all occasions! It's the professional way! It's the FEMINIST way.

Hokey-dokey then.

ETA: Dear Laurelin. You seem rather confused. Let me clear a bit more up for you, since we're talking:

"Silencing" is not, in fact, "making fun of people who are making utter asses of themselves without any help at all, to wit, throwing a tantrum and backing out of a planned debate at the last moment because she can't control the terms."

Silencing would be more, oh, say, threatening to post a porn performer's pictures "without the eye strips" (hi, Stormy!) or, I don't know, back to the case at hand for a moment, trying to strong-arm said conference organizers into disinviting the porn performer in question first.

You are, however, correct about this bit, to wit, that it is neither "silencing" nor "censorship":

when someone refuses to publish your comments on their blog, in their own personal space.

the same as having one’s actions critiqued by feminists. the critique itself presents no barrier to your continuing to act.

being asked to take responsibility for one’s own words.

...although, you know, I get the impression your and my ideas of what means "critique" are also not from the same page or possibly even the same library. Nonetheless. Saying ignorant-ass crap about other peoples' sexuality and lives and then refusing to engage them when they challenge your "critique," in your own space or even in o for example at a public debate? No, that's not "silencing." It is, however, disingenuous, and, frankly, kind of pathetic.

also, wrt this, per your guest poster?

"What to do when a woman who says she’s happy in prostitution says, “Take me, for example” when you know if you actually do take her as her own example by quoting her own words and deeds she will complain, “How dare you make an example of me?”

see, no; "please talk to me directly like a human being" is NOT the same thing as "please gank one of my quotes out of context and use it as your sigline," nor indeed "please raid my personal blog for bits that you find damning and indicative of my general ill character and/or unfitness to make my own decisions, statistical improbability, lack of trustworthiness, what you will, and drag it all over several of the most high profile feminist blogs, STILL without deigning to engage me like a person."

also also, "fisking" is, once again, not what lewd pronsick males fantasize about doing to hapless radical Victorian damsels feminists with an airport metal detector;

and the London Underground is not a political movement.

Please do let me know if there's anything else I can clear up for you.


Dude, seriously, though: is the moon in "Show Your Ass," or what?

Just, it's been kind of an -interesting- week or so, you know?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Quote of the day, 4/19/08

Gloucester: They do me wrong, and I will not endure it!
Who is it that complains unto the king
That I (forsooth) am stern and love them not?
By holy Paul, they love his Grace but lightly
That fill his ears with such dissentious rumors.
Because I cannot flatter and look fair,
Smile in men's faces, smooth, deceive, and cog,
Duck with French nods and apish courtesy
I must be held a rancorous enemy.
Cannot a plain man live and think no harm,
But thus his simple truth must be abused
With silken, sly, insinuating Jacks?

...I cannot tell: the world is grown so bad
That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch.
Since every Jack became a gentleman,
There's many a gentle person made a Jack.

...I would to God my heart were flint like Edward's,
Or Edward's soft and pitiful like mine:
I am too childish-foolish for this world.

--some Patriarch writing about some other Patriarchs, don't worry about it, nothing to do with you, really, you're golden.

"Passing:" some "privilege."

Over at this Alas a Blog thread, Sylvia has an excellent comment that I'm gonna repost in full, just because it's so very excellent and full context helps:

“Passing privilege” — I can’t believe anyone is going to argue that the alleged ability to “pass” makes a group’s oppression somehow “not as bad.” Even if individuals can pass, they can only do so by hiding and disguising who they are. Is homophobia a “lesser” oppression because gays and lesbians (at least the white ones) can “pass?” — if they STFU, anyway. Are we really going to start comparing oppressions? Is that what anyone in anti-oppression work should be doing?

Penka, you’re absolutely right. I mean, to bring it back to writing as an example — look at the Brontë sisters. If I raised an argument that they were successful because they did a great job passing as male writers, and therefore we should not talk about the fact they could not initially publish works as female writers, everyone here would be looking at me as if I had two heads and one was shoved high up my ass. Passing isn’t a privilege; it’s a survival skill. It is a choice to blend in with the oppressors to keep yourself as safe as possible from harm FROM those same people. It’s feeling knots as you hear people who care about you trash and belittle something that is a part of you you cannot change. And it is no cakewalk — it’s difficult to even couch it in terms of being a privilege.

I mean, think about these incidences of passing:

1) A woman diagnosed with a debilitating disease and experiences chronic pain tirelessly works a physically demanding job to reach managerial status as if she is able-bodied because she knows if she revealed that she had that disease and the treatments she receives, she would lose the job she loves.

2) A man attempting to join a primarily heterosexual fraternity gets an impromptu assignment to write homophobic slurs on a friend’s whiteboard. The group dives into writing; the fraternity heads are all watching. But he’s been dating this friend for a couple of weeks.

3) A woman who works three jobs to support her younger siblings while going to college part-time learns about a banquet at the end of the school year for graduating seniors. The banquet is mandatory for all graduates because they present their projects as the main event, and the cost is over $300 per person because of the event’s location. She only has $500 for groceries for the next two months.

In all these situations, people are forced to choose between “passing” and reaching a goal that is important to their immediate advancement or revealing something about themselves that could leave them vulnerable to attack or loss. How is this a privilege?

I tried to broaden these examples beyond race and gender because often the superficial examples of passing seem to scramble people’s brains as a “good thing.” Where is this hidden benefit of being able to pass?

and my response:

Yes, absolutely. In all of those instances, I suppose one could make the argument that having the "choice" at all is a "privilege" over those who can't--for instance, the young man who's so obviously gay that he never gets into the fraternity at all, and is the one who gets the slurs written on the whiteboard--but what a fucking choice. It doesn't change the basic problem, or who's at fault for perpetuating it.

also, for those who can and do make the choice to "pass," internalization, the "closet," if you will (which can exist on a number of axes, not just sexuality) is its own special kind of hell.

in fact, speaking of, an old joke (not that I'm laughing here, but by way of illustration, I actually think it's apt) suddenly comes to mind:

Person dies and goes to hell, and the devil tells hir that sie has a choice of several rooms wherein sie can go and suffer for all eternity.

The first room has people being boiled in oil.

The second room has people lying on beds of knives.

The third room has people standing chest-to-chin-deep in steaming shit, but they're actually talking to each other and holding cups of coffee, and don't seem to be in physical agony. The new infernal tenant tells the devil, "I'll take this one, then."

Choice made, the person goes to join the throng. Shortly thereafter, a demon comes in with a pitchfork and goes,

"Right everyone, coffee break's over, back on your heads."

That there would be "passing," basically.

Oh yes, passing privilege. The ability to lie about things that matter in order to make assholes happy.

--dw3t-hthr (see comments)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Okay, as long as we're all in "examination" mode here, or whatever this is.

First of all, bfp has some final thoughts as she shuffles off this blogly coil.

Just to answer this bit:

(I want to pause here to note three things: 1. Do you realize how fucked up it is that for some reason it is “wrong” for a woman of color to want the same advantages that white women get for doing the same work? 2. Do you realize how much it sucks big fat hairy dog cock that I have written about media justice for two fucking years and there is STILL a whole group of assholes who claim to have been regular readers and can somehow manage to say with a straight face that I want to “own” ideas and/or steal ideas from others? and 3. Do you realize how much it sucks big fat hairy dog ASSHOLE that even when I do my best to state my anger WITH THE FULL RECOGNITION that what I am saying may hurt somebody and thus ACTIVELY work to PROTECT that person while still expressing my anger–I am STILL berated for being angry, mean, judgemental, too harsh–and furthermore–I should EXPECT the attacks that I get? Do you recognize the problems with telling a woman of color that she can not even show anger at *anonymous*?)

...whoever "you" is, my own answer is "hell fucking yes, rage on." Because you know what, there's a lot of that about, point of fact. As Vanessa notes in a different and yet perhaps not totally unrelated context (in comments):

Vanessa said...

Don't you get it Ren? We're not allowed to be angry.

WOC, transpeople, PWD, sex workers, immigrants, Muslims, gay people, women, whomever is not priveliged in the subject at hand.

We're not allowed to get angry. It breaks the rules.

You know: anger is SCARY and IRRATIONAL and RUDE.

Or, well, no, specifically: -your- anger is scary and irrational and rude. -Mine- is simply a logical, even understated response to the overwhelming injustice that has been committed against Me. (Which may indeed be a collective Me--I'm Every Woman, The State, It Is Me, I Am The Cosmos, Goo Goo Ca Choob). Why can't you selfish people understand this?

No, okay, so, but meanwhile, bfp's final post has prompted a flurry of responses, many mostly expressing unhappiness, again, that she's departing and wishing her well. Some others are starting to engage what means this "feminism" thingie, riffing off of (among other bits of bfp's post):

And so I withdraw myself from this “movement”.

And I reject and rebel at the label “feminist.”

I reject and rebel at the label “feminist” because I reject and rebel against silence and erasure.

Well, it's an interesting question of itself, I suppose, if not--to me-- the most burning one here (we'll get there). Some thoughtful recent posts interrogating the label/identity business as well as its deeper ramifications: naamenblog, AJ Luxton, Octogalore, The Anxious Black Woman, Fire Fly, deanna zandt, Galling Galla, The Angry Black Woman, Sin Vergüenza, Dw3t-Hthr, Sadassa, Sudy (and also here), Lina, (and also here), Aaminah, Jessica Hoffman, and Rebecca Walker.

--oh, and look, here's something refreshingly to the point, -a- key point here anyway:

Dear white feminists, quit goddamn fucking up.

Well, yes.

But apart from that...

Well, per the label/identity thing for a sec: my take by me, for whatever it's worth:

as far as I’m concerned, it’s the work by any other name. I call myself a “feminist” same as I always did, because for me, it’s basically just a convenient word, probably not the only one, no, just the one I'm used to, for “concerned with that part of human rights which pertains to womens’ rights.” It’s also inextricable from, well, a number of things, but for me, particularly all the other movements for greater freedom in sexuality, the body politic in general, and gender roles. And that's pretty much it.

And, on the "still concerned with womens' rights, that's pretty much the point" tip, you know, I do understand why, for instance, Astraea takes issue with this column by Elizabeth "I Know I Wasn't Supposed To Lick The Entire Knot Of Toads In One Go, But I Can't Help Myself, And It's Just Part Of My Tragically Waifish Charm, Plus I Can Probably Get An Entire Fucking Epic Saga In Twenty-Three Volumes Out Of The Incident, Can You Pay Me In Advance?" Wurtzel. Wurtzel, see, thinks feminism is a failure because, for instance,

First, the first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket alienates everybody who the first woman with a real chance to be president hasn't alienated already. Then we find out that there are prostitutes who are paid $5,500 an hour, and the consolation prize for earning a Harvard law degree is that you get to stand by your husband's side when he resigns from public office in disgrace. Even worse, because Silda Wall Spitzer is accomplished and beautiful, the whole scene serves as a grim reminder that even amazing women become sexually disposable after a certain age.

Is this the world that feminism hath wrought?

...My Sunday night summer viewing, which once consisted of the slumber-party gab of "Sex and the City," is now the lad-happy cool of "Entourage." I really do love that show, but most of the women -- girls -- in it cannot even kindly be called sex objects: They are simply sockets. And this portrayal of prop whore-things is OK by everybody; it seems to go largely unnoticed and uncommented on because life is like this now.

And, I suppose, the casual feminist reader might see someone--anyone--well, any woman--reject the term "feminism" and wince and start to argue because they automatically associate such a rejection with, well, shit like this. Or, worse, you know, "ew, hairy legged manhaters," or Phyllis Schlafly, even.

But the thing of it is, is, vapid tripe like that is so far away from critique like this that it might as well be on another planet:

The thing is—I thought that those who were a part of a “feminist community” were held to the same sort of standards. That when a woman of color says that she will not be published thus the white women who are published need to spend more time than they feel comfortable talking about the needs of women of color—THEY WOULD DO IT. That they would say “It’s the least I can do” or “What else can I do” rather than JUST DO IT, JUST DO IT. Because we are all in a community together and we all are working to create something that challenges and dismantles gendered violence and inequality, right? And if it takes writing a book that does not assume all women are staying away from feminism because they are white and privileged and just don’t get it—well, ending gendered violence and inequality is worth it, right? Working together towards a common goal, right?

It just took reading Hugo’s response for me to realize that I was fucked up wrong. That feminism’s goals and my goals are completly and totally opposite of each other. That in feminism’s eyes “dismantling” gendered violence= “shifting” gendered violence.

...I support and honor the several women of color who’ve posted that the answer is not to leave, but to fight harder, with lawyers if necessary. I support and honor those women because they are fighting, they refuse to back down, they are organizing, they are sharing their strategies of not backing down with other black women and women of color alike.

But for me—a person who believes in media justice–the point was never to say I own this fucking material—but to say we must build a movement because the only way I and my community will ever have peace is if there is a movement. Those women of color who say they will not back down because they own the material—they are building a movement, just in a way that is different than I what I am doing. It may be different, but it’s not directly conflicting with what I am doing. And if they choose to call themselves feminists–well, I have a mouth and eyes that I can use to find out what they mean.

“Feminists,” on the other hand, are not movement building, they are actively destroying women and blaming those women for the destruction. They are saying the point of feminism is “equality with men” without even thinking to acknowledge that “equality with women” is just as admirable of a goal and maybe even possibly the first step to achieving the goal of equality with men. They are saying, Just do it, just do it, JUST FUCKING DO IT.

Feminism as Nike ad. *nods*

Two things about this. One, me, I'm not inclined to argue with the woman right now even if I did want to quibble about how she phrases this or that, her ideas about this or that, my own selfish need to make her come back, please come back, we can fix this. Partly because, well, first of all, like I said, I'm not so very invested in the damn word.

And then I thought: well, but of course it's never just about the word, is it? Even besides the "dear white feminists, quit goddamn fucking up" aspect.

I look at this passionate screed by bfp, goddamit apparently the last we're going to have from her, and I think: in a way, this is what they mean by "losing your religion," isn't it? Maybe part of the reason I don't feel the need to do all that soul-searching about "feminism"--and make no mistake, I've seen any number of women, white, too, go through a similar process of disillusionment these last couple of years, is because, well, I was always kind of an agnostic to begin with. I was never on fire for the Movement. I never thought this was the vehicle that would save me, would save us all. I just thought: seems like a good idea to me, "feminism." Yay women. Viva women. Viva "not being oppressed on the basis of sex or gender." The rest is commentary.

But, that's just me, and I am coming from, as they say, a rather markedly different standpoint from that of bfp or any number of women who've gotten so thoroughly soul-sick that they simply can't do anything but make a clean break. And, those Christian feminists who've struggled with both identities as well as the playing of one against the other can tell me if I'm way off on this analogy, but this whole thing makes me think of, for example, a woman who's so burned by the abuse and patronizing and exploitation she’s gone through at the hands of some uber-para-church, which was all about hustling and tithing and smarmy reactionary preachers and politicking and very little to do with the spirit of the message. and, unlike other people in a similar position who made their peace by finding another, smaller church to join, or simply going their own way while continuing to call themselves “Christian,” become so allergic to this identity, this community, this doctrine more or less, that they just can’t be associated with it at all anymore.

And the thing is, if you’re too busy wringing your hands about losing a member because it makes the numbers go down and makes the -institution-, much less the current leaders, look bad? Because it makes you lose -power-, without stopping to think about what you actually wanted to -do- with that power? Then the problem is, indeed, with you; and it’s no fucking wonder you’ve lost these people, and it’s your loss as well as the institution’s.

As for my own personal belief system:

If I believe what I believe about boundaries, about the "personal being the political" not meaning MY personal is EVERYONE'S political, I have to respect these womens' personal journey toward whatever political vehicle they ultimately see fit to carry them toward their goal. And, rather than worry about what we're all calling ourselves, ask, if and when it's appropriate,

"Going my way?"

or really, vice-versa. And if we are, well, hey, maybe we can travel together for a while. Maybe not. But at least, as bfp seems to be saying here, at minimum, let's not get IN each other's way.

And, and this is the key point: if one finds oneself repeatedly being crossed by certain people? Then perhaps they were never going in one's direction to begin with.

Because, see, I look at this post by bfp, and what leaps out at me is not the business about "feminism" but the emphasis on community. Specifically, 1) she's got her own, she doesn't NEED a little corner office in the big bland white edifice, no matter how generous it thinks it's being, 2) the overwhelming evidence that as much as certain people might give lip service to the idea, in fact, they were never about community at all. They were about self-aggrandizement, and that's pretty much it. And the only reason they care about, for instance, "feminism," (or gay rights--hi, Andrew Sullivan! hi! or what you will) is because they see whatever-it-is as getting in the way of their rightful ascendancy to the top. Gimme my piece of the pie, OUR piece, OUR pie, excuse me, and make it a big one. What else matters?

And the stickier part of this is--we live in a culture, a world that rewards this attitude. And, as I've probably made pretty clear by now, I don't actually blame the Patriarchy as the root cause of this state of affairs (although, yes, I use that lens sometimes). Primarily, I blame the Assholes.

More seriously? Probably worth a separate post or twelve, this. Yeah, it's an individualistic approach on its surface, this emphasis on o let's call it character; and the whole problem here is precisely individualism run amok. The fact that this whole thing has become about someone's relentless squawking about zomg her CAREER and not, say, as bfp was originally trying to say (via here):

I don’t give a shit about being published, I don’t give a shit about the interviews or the jobs or the fame–I DO give a shit that a Chicano is reading a white feminist talking about immigration and politely distancing himself from a gendered analysis of immigration because the author exhibits no historical or contextual awareness of women of color led feminist interventions into immigration.

I give a shit about that because not only does this erase the work that women of color are doing within racist white dominant structures, but it erases the work we are doing within our own communities. It makes it ok for men of color to dismiss the need for feminist interventions into our communities–AND it makes it ok for white women to continue beating up women of color with the idea that showing any concern for what happens to men in our communities is ridiculous, because, see, they don’t approve of feminism!

Poof! Just like that, feminists of color are made invisible even as we are the ones laying our bodies down for the foundation of the communication between men of color and white women.

I had thought at one time that feminism was about justice for women. I had thought it was about centering the needs of women, and creating action in the name of, by and for women. I had thought that feminism has its problems but it’s worth fighting for, worth sacrificing and sweating and crying and breaking down for.

It was all worth it to me, because it meant that I existed and my daughter existed and the women I love existed and we had the right to demand the violence committed against us ends.

I see now that feminism is nothing more than erasure. A conversation between white women and men. A commitment to the safety and well being of people who are never women of color.

I have more to say, too, about the bit wherein "appropriation" doesn't just mean "put some blonde hair on the same ideas that have been around for ages and make a fortune off it while the people who did most of the work go unrecognized and even scorned," but also means "subtly altering the content so that it reframes the white/straight/mainstream appropriator as central." Not now, though.

Just to wrap up, then: here's the bottom line as far as I'm concerned. It's not whether Eve Earnest calls herself "feminist" or "womanist" or "humanist" or "R2D2." (although precisely why someone decides she prefers "womanist" or "mujerista" is bloody relevant, yes).

It's about the fact that our community, such as it is, this weird phenomenon that is "online feminism," just lost one of its finest voices, and it's our loss.

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

And, rather than honor the best--meaning, not just brilliant at putting words together but with SOUL, with integrity-- when they make an all-too-rare appearance, -do- have conviction, -do- have passionate intensity...

we sit back and watch while they beat their head against a brick wall until they burn out. Silenced, yes.

And meanwhile, superficial, status-seeking, solipsistic mediocrities drone on and on, prating about hitcounters and book deals and the precise degree of Patriarchy left in their navel, thoroughly alienating anyone left who's able to tell the difference and accomplishing precisely nothing besides securing their own fifteen minutes in the limelight, because that's all they were ever really interested in to begin with.

And the whole thing just really fucking blows.

And that is my feminist analysis from the blue, blue sky.

and by the way? I'm sorry, but I'm already a "fucking mean bully" according to the lady in question, perhaps understandably; anyway, it's petty and sad and no doubt wrong to call further attention to this bit of it, but I can't resist: seriously, some kind of "your brain's not even connected to your typing fingers, is it?" award for this:

Amanda Marcotte Writes:
April 17th, 2008 at 5:50 pm

I 100% agree that feminists should not try to destroy each others’
careers. Which is why this entire dust-up was fucked up—and renaming
me “X” (I’m sure that Malcolm X would have appreciated that bit of
history erasing)—doesn’t erase the attempts to pin the word
“plagiarist” to my career in hopes that it could end it.

For the love of Moses and little plastic baubles, Mary. Step. Away. From. The Shovel.

or, no, actually, The Angry Black Woman puts it best, bless her:

angry black woman Writes:
April 17th, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Dear Amanda,

Really now. Really. You need to just stop. Everything you say on this
topic is just flat out wrong. Whining that everyone is out to get you
because you’re so popular? We left the third grade a while ago,
attempt to catch up. Sad that people are calling you a plagiarist?
Setting aside the person most affected by this whole thing actually
did NOT, the fact is that your behavior through all this has been less
than stellar and to try and whine that it’s so horrible to be called
something terrible that you’re not, well, all I can say is, hand me
the world’s tiniest violin so I can play it while you talk.

What you DID do is bad enough. Even if we lay aside that nasty P word,
there’s still appropriation, utter asshattery, and self-righteousness.
Oh, and I forgot, white women’s syndrome. Put the back of your hand to
your forehead, woman! And don’t forget to ask for smelling salts!

In the end, we’re just plain tired of your bull. You did wrong, you
refuse to admit you did wrong, you tried to explain away your wrong
and, when that wouldn’t work, you attacked other people’s wrong and
still didn’t address your own. Guess what? No one else’s wrong, minor
though it may be, cancels out YOUR wrong! get over it, get over
yourself, and hush.