(Bachelorette parties don’t fall far behind.) Thankfully, for those still masochistically drawn to tradition, there are advice columns.
Is your fiancé looking forward to his “last night of freedom”?
Last night of freedom, oh golly…get this womenz:marrying you is akin to getting thrown in the slammer. Though you, in all your well-intentioned unknowing-ness, will be forced through coercion and commercial lies to be his nodding and approving servant, call girl, chef, grocery list, laundromat, toilet bowl cleaner, hershey-highway-underwear-stain remover, financially dependent child bearer/raiser/hated mother who actually believes her husband gave up his”freedom” the night before his wedding and thus would never cheat, who couldn’t divorce even if he did cheat because the money isn’t there or the idea of being alone/poor/manless has been conditioned to be more unappealing than dealing with his daily task of making you feel inferior and oh-so-lucky to iron his shirts and massage his smelly feet/groin …. it is YOU who is taking the freedom.
It’s an important guy ritual to blow off steam pre-wedding and for him to reassure his pals that he’s still “one of the guys” even though he’s making a commitment to marriage.
What’s this steam the author talks of? Anger? Fear? Gas? An insurmountable amount of stress from having to plan the most important Patriarchal Day and Duty of your life? No, it’s the dumbest, most underhanded metaphor for jizz I’ve ever heard. Confusing to boot. Come on–the only thing men are taught to ritualistically blow is their own load. Why must we couch it in bad metaphor like “seed” or “steam.” I mean the author does make this ritual sound pretty serious–the guy is getting married so I’m sure this super necessary seance is chock full of manly men things one can only do in their wife-less days of old. Like, for example, fly-fishing:
Bachelor parties aren’t exactly what they used to be. Rather than the stereotypical evening of strippers and stogies, many men today are opting for other types of parties. Taking a weekend trip with the guys — think outdoorsy activities like white-water rafting and fly-fishing
“Listen honey you’re about to take away all my freedom, I gotta go catch a rainbow trout.” ??? Oh and bull shit on a kabob that’s what he’s doing. I guess the author bought that line too. “Outdoorsy activities.” Hmm, sounds quaint. (note: if men go out in the woods it’s “outdoorsy, if a woman does it she’s “connecting with nature” or something). Anyways! Apparently men have to reassure the pack the new lady won’t be interfering with tubing events or asking too many questions when Hubby says he and the guys are going-code term for local strip joint-“fly fishing.”
Communicate Your Limits
Be open about your feelings. This doesn’t mean nag him endlessly; it means tell him what makes you uncomfortable. Saying, “Thinking about you hiring a stripper makes me feel unhappy” is very different than saying, “You’ll hire a stripper over my dead body.”
I can think of nothing more idiotic than waiting the night before *committing to someone for the rest of your life* to have a talk about boundaries. Not only that, the kind of boundaries that might constitute cheating. Or how the luvayalife views over half the world’s population as potential sex objects. (But I bet they have a wedding song picked out. awww) Anyways–when you do have that talk women don’t “nag” ffs, be considerate. He can only communicate in grade school counselor language: “When you ________ it makes me feel ______.” Really tell him whats up! (Likely, he’ll still hire the stripper but the idea is you didn’t use the right phrasing so his behavior is really ALL YOUR FAULT).
Remember Your Own
Don’t forget — you get to do this too. If your bachelorette party is going to be a spa day, that’s one thing, but if you’re hitting the town looking fabulous with your girlfriends, that’s totally another.
Oh equality! I almost forgot women want that and NOT liberation. Phew! Okay, so I think I got it: women going out “looking fabulous” is like getting to do????what great thing exactly? I’m confused–I thought men just went fishing these days. Or climbed trees. Now all of a sudden we’re back to hints of last-night-of-my-life-to-put-money-in-an-undergarment-omgah- myfreedomtimer-is-running-out! Even assuming bachelorette parties also engage in the super awesome act of objectification, sexualization, pornification–is the message here that two assholes are better than one?
At least there’s good news:
Remember, there might be a lot of girls out there, but you are the only one who has to put up with his shit at home one he wants to marry.
Filed under: Antibodies, gender pimps, Grab a shovel, Interconnected!, WhatAboutMEEEE
In proper Cowblog fashion this post has a title from a song and there is a semi-related music video.
Yes, Polly, this one’s for you.
And a whole bunch of others who fight tooth and nail to keep destructive forces out of women’s lives. Pssstt: gender in any capacity, is destructive.
But since it is not up for debate whether or not body-expression-essential-fascism is destructive (nor is it the point of this post) we will move on now.
Polly you have been mistreated, misrepresented, silenced and now flat out ignored. It’s okay, because in the grand scheme, truth has a head and it rears from time to time. Nevertheless, it’s good to call things as they are.
Dear F Word,
If you are going to have a comment policy it might behoove you and your readership to actually follow it. To selectively follow your own policy for some and not others is pretty crappy. Not only that, it discredits and undermines the very thing you need held strong to keep your blog “safe” for feminists. Some people spend a lot of time on comments, especially where controversial topics are concerned. Comment policies are often used by people to assess where their time and energy is best spent. In the name of common decency, providing an honest representation of what you allow and don’t helps people to better allot their time and energies.
For example, if Polly Styrene’s comments will not be allowed in discussions on gender on your blog when the author is Helen G then say it. Give her that much notice.
But don’t block her comments that follow your policy and then respond with comments to her (and others) that don’t follow your own policy.
And, btw, obviously I have decided upon thorough review of the threads and comments in question, that her comments were in check with your policy and the treatment in response to her was not. (I also must concur with the rumour going around that the F Word is indeed not very diverse in it’s representation of feminist perspectives. In fact, is on the way to becoming so narrow it teeters on irrelevance. “I concur with m’learned friend” as it were). So the sticky details of these series of events are not up for debate either. Polly has given F Word and those of significant involvement ample time in private and public space to respond. You know where to find her. This thread will not serve as a passive aggressive dart practice.
Now, contrary to the title of this post, I’m not actually saying “it’s too late to apologize” because 1. It’s not my call, I’m not the person who is owed an apology and 2. Yes, someone it still owed an apology.
But if and when that will happen remains to be seen. If I am being cynical, my inkling is it won’t happen. Or it if does it will be awash in generics, vague-ities and too broad as to address the exact incident. Nevertheless, here I am, small blogger of the hated Radical Feminist variety speaking up to say: Yes, Polly is owed an apology and there is an author who needs to own her actions.
Admittedly, I say all this as someone who has no official blog policy–however, let the record show: all comments (save the violent threats) get through on my blog. Even the radfemphobic ones. Even those that make my brain dance the Logic Rigadoon.
Not allowing dissent may be annoying to some but saying you do and then not following through is a whole other crop of crappery. Get it together F Word.
…Now for an experiment…
Have your say
1. Radfemphobic comments will be blocked.
(Figure your way around that policy.)
Filed under: Antibodies, Grab a shovel, Interconnected!, PUKE, rape extinction
Amongst his many posts one can find several on sexual violence against women, anti-pornography, and rape culture. The particular incident for which he has plead guilty reads more like an act he would have taken to task than committed.
For all feminists, this story is yet another reminder of how pervasive the problem is. My heart goes out to the young woman involved and all her loved ones in this time of support. Understanding and coming to grips with the effects of sexual violation will be a difficult journey.
Kyle’s actions are repugnant, indeed hypocritical. That he has come to be somewhat of a smaller but useful blog amongst those fighting sexual violence in pornography and prostitution feels a bit of a slap in the face. I would hope people would not take this opportunity to mock and draw conclusions about other women bloggers by aligning this person with their work against sexual violence–work for which many often go poor and hungry. (but alas I am not dumb!–more comments on that in a bit)
I no more pretend that Kyle Payne’s actions speak for the volumes of other males identifying as feminists than it does for radical feminists. There are legit people who do legit work and lead legit lives with respect to ending violence against women.
However, I would like to make a statement about “male feminists” as I never have officially and I do have such opinions. I believe that there are males honestly and with good intentions doing work for women, supporting women, and engaging in feminist discussions. But the ones I feel most comfortable with do not tell me they are feminists. The name means little to nothing to them, the work means the world. Men claiming to be “feminists” actually kind of annoy me. It doesn’t mean the work they do isn’t important but it does signal to me a need to be accepted at a level for which they cannot/should not. They cannot know what it’s like to be a woman fighting her own oppression. To me, that is exactly what a feminist is.
And to that end, I would also like to comment on the males who claim to at least be allies of some sort to feminists bloggers: the many male commenter’s. Several times and places I have seen it: feminists are having a debate/argument on something they feel passionately about and men show up to mock, celebrate or indulge the differences/arguments. That this often goes without comment and more often with allegiance to the men commenter’s is unbelievably damaging in my opinion. No matter how nuanced and real the differences amongst women are they are still movement-stifling. Women have made some of their biggest and best strides when they band together. Men/Privilege showing up to laugh with other women at other women , thus celebrating the divisions, makes me ill. I don’t support it on this blog and that it goes without a peep on feminist blogs across bloglandia rather *astonishes* me.
The only reason I know about Kyle’s case is because I can be more often found reading women blogs for whom I do not always agree with than male bloggers–feminist or not. I seek different perspectives. I got male opinions on feminist issues in college and what a bore. Had I known sooner about this case I would have blogged about it sooner as I, nor any other radical feminist I can think of, would ever support these actions.
To those who have used this news (and will continue to) as a sort of bridge to *a whole bunch of other reasons why radical feminists are X*: not only are you annoyingly predictable (mischaracterizations: It’s what’s for breakfast) but you are also going to detract from the point of this case. Right now, there is a young woman having to make sense of an ugly situation. And there is a male blogger who needs to be held accountable for those who he has hurt and lied to. Continuing to show women have it in them to agree on solidarity in the face of such charges sends much better messages than using other women’s troubles as a platform for a tangential debate. I would much prefer to come together to take a stand against these actions than have it feed yet another pointless radical feminists vs. everyone else debacle.
***UPDATE*** The following information I received in e-mail from the journalist who covered Kyle’s story in the Iowa Independent:
Some individuals who have commented to the various postings on Payne have stated that he is scheduled to have an “open sentencing” on Aug. 11 at the Buena Vista County Courthouse, and that anyone who attends will have an opportunity to speak. This is not totally correct.
An “open sentencing” in the state of Iowa means that the public can attend, but not that the public can speak. While it always looks good to have people show up in support of the prosecution — and I’d personally really like to see some strong support in the courtroom — the fact is that not everyone is going to be able to speak.
For those who have a unique interest in the case… for instance, have served as advocates or can somehow speak with authority as to how horrible Payne’s actions were… get in touch with me.
If you want to share your (civil) thoughts about this incident prior to sentencing, your best bet is to write to the judge that will preside over the sentencing:
District Court Judge Don E. Courtney
Buena Vista County Courthouse
215 E Fifth St.
Storm Lake, IA 50588
As a final note, there has been some discussion about Payne being charged with child pornography. This is not a charge he faces from the state of Iowa.
– Lynda Waddington
In my laziest move to date*, I am starting two new series with the same post.
“Reassigning” will be a series on the ways we reassign different feelings upon coming to feminism, how the transition process works to redefine and change our behaviors. And when I say “we” I’m speaking theoretically, distantly (you don’t speak for my individualisticness pisaquari!–I know knob, I know). If I feel up to it I may chronicle a bit of my own journey.
The second, which I self-debated doing, is on Looks or Physical Appearance, as I have called it. Thinking I’ve sort of covered my feelings on this I still feel feminism has not addressed this problem for the widespread, self-esteem-crippling issue it is. That bothers me.
A question (or possibly just venting statement stamped with a rhetorical question mark) was posed in the “Physical Appearance” thread by Buggle–one I feel appropriately introduces both new series:
I am guilty of “not wanting to see” that physical attraction is just bullshit. I don’t want to lose that feeling of being attracted to my boyfriend- so I don’t want to really “go there.” I was noticing that this weekend, that is the inevitable conclusion, but I’m scared to go there. What will I lose out on? And what if he realizes that his attraction to me is based on bullshit?
Well, first of all, me too Buggle! Seeing physical attraction for the media-frenzied, constructed, cruel bull shit it is has some far-reaching implications. Re-worded: it changes the way we see everyone. For women, it changes a great deal of how we view ourselves. I’ll get into that with later posts but right now, for anticipation purposes, I am making this post an overview.
To go along with the Looks series you will have to accept the undeniable truth that there is no scientific proof our brains take innate pleasure in certain human physical features (sexist science studies omitted—Ultra Darwinists run along now). We construct that. This, perhaps, wouldn’t be such a problem except that we then dish out preferential treatment to those in possession of certain characteristics. And no, btw, having your own standards seemingly different from everyone else’s (puh!) does not negate your discriminatory behavior. That’s too close to Nice Guy syndrome for my tastes anyway.
(Oh, and dontchaknow, *individuals* tastes often look quite similar to media representations of “beauty”! Logic-Lobotomied-Lou sez…. “Must be true!!”)
As I have known it, those not wanting to admit to social constructs err on the side of privilege. The construct benefits them, gives them an extra boost by society whether it be acceptance, admiration, financial power, respect, pleasure (many times a combination)–all unfairly and all the while perpetuating a standard wherein other people not meeting the standard continue to be oppressed for it.
Luckily feminism is not (supposed to be!) a game of selfish indulgences in privilege. Once you find out/accept that some idea is fake it becomes devalued immediately. And then one can begin reassigning different emotional and intellectual weights to certain actions/beliefs. Thereby making us more aware which better gives us the tools for prevention which allows us to circumvent the problem (to the best of our abilities) which removes that much more power from the privilege/oppression system which means that much more harm is not being done.
My unsolicited advice then, to more specifically respond to Buggle’s quote, would be to say: there is nothing really to lose. Rather than looking at someone and saying “I don’t want to lose this physical attraction feeling” you simply do not register the physical characteristics with any emotional preference. You cannot lose what you do not believe exists.
But that is a process of education, perspective and time. (Oh and guts.) And like most aspect of feminism, dare I say, becomes a point of never looking back.
* I know: you waited over a week and all you got was a stinkin’ overview! The next couple posts are practically written, tho, promises.
I’ve technically already done this post.
Am I the only one who views appearance standards, or appearance preferences as a part of a privilege/oppression system that is, yes, cruel, and is, yes, damaging to people’s self-esteem and, yes, values people for something that is utterly useless?
Do we really need more categories for humans? Pretty, handsome, beautiful, ugly, sexy, hot, fine, stacked, etc. (don’t even go there with the “I was talking about their ‘insides'”–this post is about physical aspects only).
And let’s not even ignore how often our own personal standards do not deviate from the typical societal models which include a host of sizeisms, ageisms, colorisms (made that up, yep), classicisms, and gender constructing.
FFS, I get that many people have physical attractions and that it does not make them bad people. But are we not to the point yet where we are willing to call physical attractions a construct? And a really awful and hurtful way of assigning accolades to some? A terrible system of assigning a lesser appealing judgement to something as stupid and usually involuntary as someone’s fucking genetic externalities?
And an empty method of choosing people to associate with on any level?
Do people not see this as inane and horrific as a whole host of other isms?
I am just baffled right now.
Filed under: Antibodies, BloggingtheNO, gender pimps, Grab a shovel, Interconnected!, PUKE, rape extinction
Where has our “no” gone? (Trust this will become a huge theme for this blog henceforth)
It’s very difficult to fathom how powerful and incremental one word, one concept, can be to the sexual health and well-being of a civilization yet go so hushed and lost.
At the intersection of power, stigma, and sexual socialization there has been made an incredibly thriving market to the tune of billions of dollars and, what’s more willing worldwide participants, in the celebration-the orgasmic celebration if you will-of no “No.”
And what I am talking about is not limited to rape and sexual assault though they, of course, are some of the darkest manifestations of this. No–I am talking about the ubiquitous, ever-existential, concept of sexuality and how much of our sexuality has been formed on the erasure and undermining of “no.”
In sexual stigma p.1 there were two main points that I wanted to make clear:
1. Consent and sexual readiness has been presented to us, through marketing and media, to be a look-a set of features-embodied by women/girls. Thus creating a situation wherein, if the “look” is present, the sexual meaning is implied. When sexual meaning is implied the first layer of consideration for the women’s interest in being considered sexual by another, as well as her legal ability to even be so, is removed. A layer of “no” is gone.
2. We are being conditioned to find people sexually attractive and ready in way that is supposed to be against our will. From early ages we are presented a set of sexual norms that we are supposed to want yet what we are supposed to *not* want is most sexualized. Thus our capitulation and lack of control is sexualized. Thus we perceive our own responsibility and agency as a bit of a continuum–vulnerable to change given how desirable we find the subject. As the stigmas normalize and mainstream our ability to achieve this same arousing effect diminishes. We are now searching out new sexual ways to breach our own will.
Exactly how many ways can one say Rape Culture?
But let’s not stop there.
Stigma, sometimes called “taboo,” has an even an more problematic function. Due to the language and politics surrounding sexual norms vs. stigma, stigma has become synonymous with liberating/sexual freedom/sexual autonomy. To engage in a taboo/stigma is often seen as engaging in a more sexually free activity. It’s a pseudo-freedom dichotomy: the sexual norms are pushed in a way that is so forceful and exaggerated (by no-fun, questionable institutions no less: schools, religion, family) that by the time someone has gone through all the emotional and psychological , if not societal, shaming to finally partake in the stigma who can blame them for feeling freer?
And don’t get it twisted: we know who bears the brunt of this shaming.
However, the problem here is that we have created a very protected, hot tempered situation wherein no one can really challenge stigmas without being viewed as a censurer/personal-liberties-destroyer. To question the stigmas is to question sexual freedom by default of the norms vs. stigma system. (How free are we really if we can’t even question without being insulted?)
Moreover, the sexual stigma is not viewed (wrongfully) as originating from any sort of institution or official entity–we just say it’s there, it’s how we feel and when asked to possibly locate the origins/roots of this one is often presented with some very sexist primitive science (usually funded by The Right) or told it doesn’t matter, consenting adults, so who cares.
Funny that we, as feminists, often have no problem discussing the origins of the sexual norms adults engage in–most likely because they originate from The Right and we have no quibbles questioning them. Double standard much?
(Anticipated misreading number 1*: I am not saying I anymore agree with the current sexual norms than I disagree with the sexual stigmas–I think the whole system is bunk. My point is to express how these intersecting dynamics destroy so much of what is needed in the foundations of consent.)
The other thing is: stigma is mainstream. As in, it’s mainstream for us to have stigmas. The norms vs. stigma system is the mainstream. But when taboo is spoken about, when people who participate in stigma come forth they are regarded as sexual revolutionaries, as if they are challenging mainstream on a ground breaking level. This celebration means we continue to reward almost any deviating behavior, or make excuses for it, in such a way that removes critical analysis. As well, those who choose to participate in more sexual norms are considered boring, humdrum, or same ole same ole.
(Anticipated misreading number 2*: I do not mean deviating as all bad–I speak of any deviation from the norm, with no necessary value judgment)
What I find so immensely troubling is the defense and/or apologetic attitudes towards systems, ideas, even said “sexual revolutionaries” who defend sexual stigmas meant to control, ostracize, harm, and shame women. Such examples would be the use of terms such as slut, prude, whore, virgin in pornography or role play. Such examples would include rape and/or child rape simulation. Such examples would include sexual practices depending on uneven power distributions.
Now really: If you have to suspend the disbelief that your sexual partner is a child to get off then how invested are you in perpetuating a better consent model? And a world without child porn, pedophilia, predatory behavior etc.
If you have to suspend the disbelief that your sexual partner is a whore/good little girl (re:sexual shaming tactic) to get off then how invested are you in perpetuating a better consent model? And a world where women aren’t categorized, turned away in rape trials, prostitutes murdered without a second glance, etc.
I’ve said before and I’ll say it again and again and again: if you must suspend the disbelief that your sexual partner is not consenting to get off then please tell me how possibly invested you are in a better model of consent.
(Ironically many who are vocal about the harm of rape jokes somehow go quite silent critiquing rape based orgasms…)
If we don’t want the stigma then we don’t want the stigma, right? This two way game we are trying to pull off wherein we want women respected in the general world but must pretend otherwise in the bedroom is pretty unbelievable. What kind of disconnect are we embarking on that says harmful sexual stigmas against women are sooo awful until we decide to be sexual?
“Women are not sluts until you want to get off on the idea that one of them is!”
Nope. Sorry. Failed logic. Not my fault, I didn’t invent the game.
But to the supporters and players and apologists and creators of the game: ps–it’s. not. fucking. working.
*I anticipate several other misreadings should they decide to comment. I will number them accordingly.
This post comes from a comment I made at Heart’s regarding sex tort law where Marco Randazza, porn industry lawyer as he accepts, makes a very common case for his First Amendment Crusades (comment section).
I am so shameless that I thought the comment deserved its own post. Not because I am brilliant (the gossip mill tells me so!) but because I think I may have addressed the issue in a way which I haven’t before and I do feel it’s worth repeating.
Mr. Randazza’s comments are quoted. I have copy/pasted directly.
“I’d ask you to show me the “harm” that any of my adult entertainment clients have “inflicted” upon anyone.” &
“in the battle to protect free expression.”
I never tire of my own dismay at these attitudes.
First of all, free expression does not exist. Expression does not exist without a cost–we really need to stop using this phrase, it is harmful in and of itself. Abusive even. We remove too much of our critical sensibilities with the idea of “free” and thus violators and abusers can move covertly in and out of our lives whilst committing sizable damage we can no more account for than understand.
The question of expression’s costs, as far as “harm” is concerned, really becomes: at whose expense?
And the question of expense, afaic, is one of the most unique aspects of porn’s role in people’s lives. Because, typically, we measure the harm of a product or service on the end user–or porn user in this case. And while there *is* evidence of porn’s measurable effect on the brain (or, for those more skeptical, please visit any University Marketing Department where students study how to affect people’s buying habits with *images*), the real *harm* can be seen in the True end user: the person on whom the porn viewer uses to act out their porn viewing habits. This of course, comes full circle as the industry continues to force girls and women into pornography to satiate the porn users’ demand. This harm is absolutely *immeasurable*: violence, rape, death.
But see we don’t even have the first end user covered. How often must we hear from a porn producer “I just make the porn”? That’s certainly not the full story. We would not accept from from a pharmacist “I just fill the prescription.” No, there is well known and accounted for legal recourse one may take if their medicine negatively affects their body (especially if the effects are not mentioned as a possibility in taking the medication). Porn producers saying “I make scenes and images that affect the porn user’s sexuality” is more accurate. And yet porn comes with no warning label: “Warning–consuming these images will likely make you view your wife, girlfriend, significant other, daughter, sister, female colleagues, or any random female person in public as a sex object for you to use and abuse.”
The harm is already evident. We don’t have to go far to see how men view women’s bodies and their access to them. *What other* multi-billion dollar industry so intimately represents men’s relationship to women’s bodies as does the porn and sex industries?
At one point do we see this connection? At what point do we recognize that the acts in porn are the same as the acts women and girls are being forced/pressured/asked to do in the streets to survive, in marriages to prevent infidelity, in relationships to feel worthy?
A man coming to a woman-centered blog asking *us* to show him the harm “inflicted” (clever word to use here, as “inflicted” has implications of immediacy–as if porn’s harm is the equivalent to poking someone in the eye) reeks of more privilege than I can express.
Mr. Randazza, if you have any honest intentions to understand the expenses, the costs, the harms of pornography use on society I would urge you reconsider your not returning and hang around a while.