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.)
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.
It’s happening again. An entire generation is misinterpreting their fashions, posturings, fads, social sayings, humour and inner muse with some type of new way of doing things. It’s bad enough they are missing the bigger point, wherein minus the cosmetics and faux hawks they are the same ole shit but let’s chew on this: they are generational traditionalists/ repeats (oh no she didn’t).
Suffice to say generations desperate to find their own identity are participating in the same old cycle–doing some crap cut/paste job of culture, (mix-matching vintage and eco-whatever) while “raising the bar” and calling it ME. This some how gets conflated into being contemporary/better/more interesting and along the way the elders are supposed to feel so out of touch that they smile weakly while fading into a depressingly silent background. Well that’s the idea isn’t it. Nothing new here folks.
Not only does this feed ageism but now it seems we need to officially introduce another -ism into the mix: generational-ism. For example, my uncle is a generationalist: after his generation and all their little cultural practices/hang-ups the world went to hell in a hand basket. I am a screw up by default of my birthday.
Similarly if the idea of cutting up hookers does not suit your fancy you are likely some living fossil like a 70’s disco queen or a hippy or a survivor of the Depression.
Meet the true Creator of Cuttin’ Up Hookers apparel: Mr. Wha-what! Stefan Kane. (No that is not a caricature drawing at the top of this post showing him and his friend at the movies…). Mr. Kane is the one who derserves your attention too. Unfortunately I cannot find a way to get a hold of him, save a myspace message. But you are in luck cuzz know what? I’m a Generation-isms expert and I already know his response: he is simply mizunderstood–a victim of the hatas. He’s got a message! A point! Something to SAY.
While you ponder whatever the fuck it is he has to say you should also know that yesterday Alex the printer and distributor of Cuttin’ Up Hookers had more to say to me on e-mail than blog. I e-mailed him originally very confused as to how he could come to my blog and say he had no affiliation with the shirts when the internet crumb trail lead right to him. Aw shucks! Turns out he was mizunderstood too!
You see he was deeply troubled by this False Alex misrepresenting his reputation and wanted his image as the printer and distributer, Not Creator, set straight! And as you will read some of his points, while better articulated, were not that far from fake Alex.
Of course I let him know his attempt to salvage these shirts on the “joke” or “free speech” grounds was nonngetiable. His biggest response to that was pease-o-pease just take down those awful words mizunderstandin’ my position.
Well he was talking to the wrong blog for that. My last e-mail to him went unanswered yet strangely enough I read today he is done with Cuttin’ Up Hookers? Or maybe he is just done printing them but he will still distribute them? Or maybe now he will create them but not distribute? Or maybe he’ll just hire the high schoolers that model them? These tiny details of rather innocuous measure that are supposed to set him apart from the shirts run parallel with the Mizunderstood Generation’s tedious obsession with being this not that.
And those of us who dare challenge such margins need to accept OUR lacking in understanding.
Well this underling of the Gen Y supposed-to-wear-cutting-up-hooker-shirts says piss off!
“You just don’t get it” is a cop out. “Straight up.” It’s been used by every Mizunderstood Generation that’s ever been. And anyone who doesn’t get that needs to get with the times!
**UPDATE**: I cannot seem to find the Cuttin’ Up Hookers apparel line from District Lines. Could it be…? Oh and you should keep yourself posted on the myspace page for the guy who punches babies–seems he is standing up for his rizzights!
Yes, it was on this fine morning _____ years ago that I left the Mother Ship and began a lifelong journey of pissing people off.
Seeing as how I’m doing a fine job of that, let us address something that doesn’t exactly fulfill its own mantra: Individualism.
Individualism, I propose, works really really well when everyone lives in a cave unexposed to mass concepts like: language, norms, business, *society*.
Individualim, instead of meaning “I am my own person” should really be fleshed out as: “I am my own random-variable-accumulation of mass concepts.”
This would be why, when people challenge mass concepts, certain parts of people get called out. Happens to *everyone* because we are not the individuals we are brought up to believe we are.
Until we begin woking toward cave dwelling lifestyles all I see comig from individualism is protection of mass concepts.
I shudder to think what the world would look like had Susan B. Anthony, Audre Lorde, or Betty Friedan thought everyone was just some *individual* and believed every women they saw smiling, and nodding their heads.
Fuck off individualism.
BTW, Pisaquari= My birth chart mix of Piscean, Aquarius and Aries placements. (cool site for placement mapping: http://www.alabe.com).
Here’s to another year of blahhgular *BooYA’s*!!
Filed under: anek-doting, gender pimps, Grab a shovel, Interconnected!, WhatAboutMEEEE
According to the phobia list, my mom has “Gephyrophobia,” or, fear of bridges.
This is from, what she recalls, an eerie telepathic (or something? parasensory?) experience when her twin sister’s car was nearly thrown off a bridge during an accident. My mother claims to have those *twin feelings* where experiences are shared. When her twin sister’s car threatened to brim a high coastal bridge, instilled in my mother was the fear her life would be taken by a bridge some day.
My mother drives over very few bridges, if any, no matter the added distance or time to her trip. For over 30 years now she’s had recurring nightmares wherein she cannot make it over a steep bridge and reaches the top only to be staring down a hundred foot drop to the sea–one of those right-before-you-die’ers.
I have claustrophobia. Elevators are not my friend, or closed small rooms or crowded buses or concerts. I avoid them at all costs as well. Staircases are wonderful and businesses with enough decency to not sound a fire alarm if I use the stairwell make me a repeat customer.
When I was 4 it was darkness and under-the-bed phantoms.
I still freak out about heights.
But, you know, transpersons?
And phobia? Are you serious?
Listen I’m writing a pseudo book that I am going to post on this blog called “Radical Feminist Mis-characterizations.” I anticipate it will have endless contributions and I cannot wait to find out who, in whatever respect, I offend by laying out the mis-characterizations of radical feminists.
Are you calling *me* a MIScharacterizer pisaquari??? Have you forgotten I’m a PERSON!?”
Transphobia— it didn’t even make the phobia list and I can’t imagine why not. As much as it is thrown around you’d expect the Medical Association to have a book out on it by now–Janice Raymond on the cover or something, with doodled devil horns and a strap on.
“Transphobia,” just to give you a taste of the pseudo book’s brilliance, will cover radical feminists and all their “transphobia” for about 9 chapters. There will be account after account of radical feminists recoiling at the sight and presence of transpersons, Dworkinites melting at the touch of lipstick and lash curlers, separatists throwing bombs at “transition” surgeons.
(Forgive me! You will need boots to walk through this snark)
I, for one, am a big ole transphober. Why, just last week, an exciting suggestion was made by Deb about organizing some sort of Radical Feminist Conference. The conference, as laid out in the post, would be woman only, of the female born and raised variety. All but a few seemed down with it. I’m down with it. And since I cannot speak for all radfems let me give my account for wanting to make this trans exclusive.
I am not comfortable being my radical feminist self amongst transpersons. Reading transperson accounts online and in books does not help it either–in fact, it heightens my inability to speak freely. How can I, a gender abolitionist, feel comfortable speaking out against gender and its manifestations in the company of a transperson? How can I, a gender abolitionist, feel comfortable talking about my frustrations and hardships with the idea that what our bodies are born has anything to do with how we should express ourselves, in the company of a transperson? I think gender is woefully destructive and I put it to blame for so much of what pits us against our bodies. But what I am arguing for and about smacks against what transpersons feel is their reality and experience. In recognizing their daily trauma and very real oppression they receive I don’t have the *guts* to sit in a room and speak the truths I feel about gender with a transperson.
And why would I? What have radical feminists ever gotten by speaking their minds about gender as it applies to transitioning besides a stinking diagnosis? Add “transphobia” to the list of reasons why I am not down with trans at a radical feminist conference. (Perhaps we could come to some bull shit truce yes? Wherein you agree to label the problem accurately and we let you keep your silly name call: “genderphobia.” Because I wouldn’t dare ask anyone to part with “phobia.” How would you get through your day without vilifying radical feminists as hateful panicbots?)
I should have you know there is a P word I give to instances wherein a group of dissenting women are “diagnosed”–hysteria of some sort usually does the trick–and then told their paranoia can/must be solved by forcing the very thing/person they “fear” around them (5 homemade brownies in the next life to the person who gets it). Even if I did believe such a condition as transphobia existed amongst radfems, I certainly would not be cool with the triggering persons persistent imposing of themselves on the fearing (out of kindness, my loved ones take the stairs with me–they don’t push me onto elevators).
I cannot think of any other time in my life, besides a radical feminist conference here and there (the one proposed by Debs would be my first), where I would want to be in a trans exclusive environment. It took me years to find like-minded individuals on the internet–it would mean the world to me to meet them in person and speak openly about my ideas. Even the city I live in has a pretty thriving underground trans scene, places for trans to meet up and share their experiences and I think that’s great. But I have never heard of such a place for radfems. As it is, I would have to shell out some serious dough to make it to the place where I could be with such a like-minded group.
And I’m guessing, looking into this further, me and the radfems I run around with, are super cruel–I mean, have you considered this is also radfem only? I seriously doubt Phyllis Schlafly is invited. I wouldn’t invite my mother. Is this event also Nonradfemsphobic?
I have said elsewhere on my blog, in comments, that I agree radical feminists need to take more time to address the oppression transpersons receive and I hold to it.
But I can’t lie that it becomes hard to take that position when so much of what radfems do on this front (as with others, like the sex positive ordeal) is damage control. People spend more time being offended by radical feminists than engaged. Reasonable, productive discourse is shot at the outset.
And I don’t have a solution, as much as I wish I did. I also can’t lie that I am thoroughly irritated with the micro-management of radical feminist ideas and events as if WE are the fucking enemy!
As it stands, the Conservatives don’t like us, the Liberals resent us, the “alterntiave”communities make fun of us–trust me, we’re not getting any coverage, or making a lot of friends with all our “hateful” ideas. ( patriarchy and everything will stay intact after such a conference, much to our own disappointment and, many times, depression).
So you know, if a group of radfems (and I do mean group) want to get together and make a day of it exclusively then what the hell is the problem with it? What life shattering thing could possibly result that would have us labeled transphobic and the Grand Haters of transpersons?
Should we start slinging the same shit?
I mean..are you RadfemPHOBIC or something????
(This post has been in draft stage for a while on the computer–needing some sort of catalyst to finish it. I found Laurelin’s latest strikingly similar–my post being more a microcosm as hers. So I have linked in suggesting you go read it!)
My last semester of college, as an elective, I took a general sociology course. For two days out of one week we talked about gender and what it meant to be a “girl/woman” or “boy/guy/man” (<<notice how they get the in-betweener “guy” stage so the poor dears don’t have to be infantilized/considered weak for TOO long).
You can’t believe how progressive it was: the males assuring the females “I don’t mind splitting the house chores!” and the females, “I’m going to be a working mommy!”–the class was really on to something.
Then the teacher, brave as she was, brought up the topic of the intersexed. This sort of stopped conversations, cue: uncomfortable vibe. She asked the class if, as parents, they bore an intersexed child, how would they handle the gender.
One white male in the room who sort of always unnerved me–you could cut his privilege with a butcher knife–snidely looked around the room: his progeny would never bear such a “defect!”
Then a hand in the front row. The guy that always bragged his girlfriend was “!!so totally awesome!!” because she “let” him play video games said, thoughtfully: “I would paint one side of the room blue and the other side pink and see what side the baby crawled to.”
Teacher thinks for a minute.
Still alert portions of the class nod their heads slowly.
Kidding,kidding,kidding! I didn’t die (you wish!).
Nope and to be completely honest I didn’t say anything. The teacher just two weeks prior had made some unintelligible remarks about “extreme feminists” (ewwwww) not shaving or wearing make up. So I busied myself in the back row braiding my armpit hairs…
Because, you see, what did this awesome class teach us the first week of the semester?
We learned: “What is a social construct?”
And why did we learn this?
Because, as the course was set up, social constructs would be foundationally responsible for all that we’d learn about human behavior, sociologically speaking.
And what the hell happened, you think, during *EVERY* class discussion? Of course, someone brought up that people can’t help doing X because YandZ are genetic/inherited/have been happening since men were using clubs on their wives/the birth of baby Jesus (right around the time we got prostitution and Earth).
And no, I don’t think the teacher agreed with everything. The impression I got was that she was non-confrontational.
(Believe it or not: the moral of this story is not “college students are getting dumber and dumber.” Though I wouldn’t fight it.)
I would have been a real pisser had I been all “Actually–there is no scientific proof we come out of the wombs preferring colors due to our genitalia” or something equally offensive because these people had proof: They always liked their assigned whatever for as long as they could remember. And they still do–they *can’t help it*.
Can’t-help-it became synonymous with innate/genetic in the class and I don’t see it so much differently on the internets. What often feels like an impossible change usually manifests as our perception of our “natural selves” or the way nature has MADE us, separate of our abilities to change. But what isn’t taken into consideration is how largely those feelings can be/are connected to some very strong social constructs. And I do mean strong–as in, my increased risk for a certain kind of cancer is seen as big a biological truth as my early attachment to dolls.
I conjecture, what might be complicating this, is that normally we don’t *feel* our biology or genetics so much. Of course as we age or, as certain inherited diseases take over, this changes (and even then I would argue our experiences of those are still affected as sifted through social constructs). What we feel a majority of the time about a majority of our experiences is based in, and relying on, social constructs.
And my point isn’t that those constructs are always bad or doomed–all it means is that they are subject to change (as so many have) and are game for discussion/modification/obliteration. It also doesn’t mean I think anyone is a *bad person* or to *blame* for feeling as if they cannot change what is being discussed. I can imagine much of what happens in our formative years seems quite dormant and innocuous–the subsequent effects manifesting in ways we still have trouble measuring.
But we cannot assume that *feeling* as if we cannot help something means it is our biological truth. In fact, as I explained here, I would argue it works the opposite way.
And if we are going to argue for change or revolution, naming our *feelings* as innate will be a massive undertaking of Square One-ing. That is, an immobile approach to improvement. Our feelings are important to evidence where we stand on certain matters, how far we have to go, how far we are willing to go in a certain lifetime, etc…. But they are not evidence of our possibilities or capabilities.
That they keep getting misconstrued as such is both insulting and limiting.
(This post spirals off the last one.)
Okay, so here is the scene: you are in a porn debate-the usual characters ablaze- and someone says this:
“Yes, I agree there is misogynistic porn but not ALL of it is misogynistic. I don’t agree with the stuff that’s abusive and exploitative…”
(you gotta love the middle-grounders, usually showing up like omnipresent peace-keepers because they’ve found a way to be “nonextremists!”)
So here is what I need to know: is anyone else ever confused by this? The “there’s good stuff and then there’s bad stuff” point (?). And just try to getting out of them what actually constitutes the “bad stuff”:
“You know, that stuff that degrades women”
No, the question is” what acts, what scene, what scenarios–how do you *know* it is degrading to women?”
So the wishy-washer finally takes a stab (thinking of total-worst-thing-ever, the always-misogyinistic-porn-no-matter-how-you-slice-it):
“Like, let’s say the guy pushed the girl down and beats her to a pulp and then calls her a whore and then holds her head down while he pushes a barbed dildo inside her mouth–while kicking her…then calls her a bitch…then he shoots her…”
(ummmm…??) ::::Silence::::: ensues as radfems momentarily accept the raised bar: now there are guns–even sex pozzes are a little surprised (*note: someone somewhere, however, wants to know where they can find this remarkable wankage footage). A few wan fence-jumpers comment “yeah, so not nice!” (And for a split of a split-second we have this smokescreen of agreement–cue dream sequence: Radfems and sex pozzes dust off the old champange bottles…kumbai gets pushed on the 8 track…the smell of glory…
Because hold on one minute!
Long-time-lurker-Lucy-whose-about-to-make-her-first-comment-ever! just has to say something. You see, she’s been reading this thread, and she is a feminist too and she and her boyfriend did this very thing last night! (She’s got the bullet wound to prove it!) And you know what?
She *chooses* to do this. She wakes up every morning as a free agent with no abuse history and all these options and she *chooses* this. So now what beeetches??!
Welllllll “fuck!” Nice while it lasted, right?
Because we can’t question this person and, invariably, this porn because there is now proof someone can *choose* this type of sexual exchange. Aren’t we now diminishing this woman’s choice somehow? Is it possible for a woman contribute to, or participate in, a misogynistic act that is simultaneously chosen *and* orgasmic (bc. thats.never.happened).
And you and I both know, it doesn’t matter how awful/unhealthy/misogynistic the porn sounds/seems we are talking about–there will *always* be someone to show up with their power play and choice mantras (talking about sex like it’s a fucking magic trick: Consent–now you see it, now you don’t! TaDa!) to defend it.
The point I am getting at is: What’s choice got to do with misogyny? Seriously. As far as I’m concerned the only porn I’m even willing to discuss is the stuff people have consented to/made a choice to do–anything else is rape/molestation footage and I’d prefer it be in the hands of the authorities. Misogyny and choice are NOT trade-offs. Misogyny is essentially a prejudice and can be be blatantly fricking obvious or as covert as a timid bigot. But it does not end or begin at choice.
So because I feel misogyny is more than just choice and that the two are not mutually exclusive it means I am saying misogynistic porn has to be determined from a *message* standpoint only. We have to be willing to ask why people are doing what they are doing, what dynamic it relies on and how it got there in the first place. It does NOT mean I am saying the actors have not exercised “choice” (fly fly away red-herring) But it *does mean* that I am, even indirectly, accusing a woman of engaging in a form of hate speech and, again indirectly, calling her choice a poor one. And shouldn’t I, all feminist-and-shiz, be so utterly blown-over that this woman made a *choice* that I cease discussion?
And my answer is no.