This is one of those temptations I’m not built to resist, apparently. When blinkered stupidity bends this far over and paints that bright a red target circle on its ass, I can’t help wanting to kick it. Flame war, ahoy!
Oh look, it’s the “she asked for it” defense!
Here’s why Lauren’s post bugged the shit out of me. As we’ve discussed here before, nearly every argument that comes out of the feminist camp depends on bad-faith assumptions about their opponents’ motives.
Blogging cliche, I know, but is it really a “discussion” if there’s basically one viewpoint repeated ad nauseum to an approving choir?
Jill, for example, never tires of reminding us that what the pro-life movement is really all “about” is controlling women. Concerns about dead babies? Just a big smokescreen for misogyny and uterus-harvesting. Literally every argument Marcotte makes employs this M.O.
Some feminists maybe, but this has nothing to do with my post. It’s a way to say, “Look how they group-think. Look how they’re all alike.” Which is pretty laughable, because anyone who reads the three of us a) knows we are not alike, and b) for a guy who decries “identity politics” and acting under a banner of group identity, he’s the one stuffing us all into one box labeled “feminism.” Note that box has nothing to do with a feminist definition of feminism. It’s the amazing strawfeminist in action, folks.
Who’s really thinking individually and who’s really thinking collectively, here? I’d say what Allah objects to isn’t “identity politics” so much as it’s women choosing their own identities without consulting him first. Ayn Rand says so.
The only variable is the degree of intent they attribute to each opponent.
Oh God, he’s drunk the “intent” Kool-Aid. Well, that only makes my job easier.
The more doctrinaire or powerful a conservative is, the more conscious his misogyny is assumed to be.
Number of conservatives appearing in my post: 0, unless you count Larry the Cable Guy, and he only pretends to be a bigot.
For those less doctrinaire and powerful-well, they might not be evil per se, but at the very least they’re acting according to a false consciousness. Me, Jeff, most of the other commenters here, we only think we came to our political beliefs in good faith. If you could dig deep into our unconsciousness, you’d see we’re all just cheerleaders for the patriarchy too.
Well? Has ProW+Allah ever said anything contra patriarchal, even when it’s been begging to be said, even when “the patriarchy” has acted against the very values it claims to promote? Were they present at any post that doesn’t offend their version of identity politics? Negative. Because they either would have had to defend the indefensible, or . . . fart out begrudging agreement with a feminist. In public. And, goodness, we certainly can’t have that.
But again: “Conservatives,” Jeff, Allah, and the commenters at Protein Wisdom, have nothing to do with my post.
Thus goes the argument, and that brings us back to Lauren’s post. She and Jill and fucking Marcotte especially
Check out the ever-present hard-on for Amanda. I’d riff more on this one but I don’t want to gross her out.
I can see bringing Jill into it since we share a blog, but Amanda? Get over it, man.
are willing to impute all manner of ulterior motives to folks like me and Jeff-even, as I just explained, if we’re not conscious of those motives.
Right, that’s why Jill and I have all but rolled out the red carpet for them, allowed them to stay on and hijack thread after thread despite repeated, one-sided attacks on our characters with but a few reprisals. And that’s why Jill and I are obsessively refreshing the Protein Wisdom page to find something, anything, to pick on in order to get fresh blog material for Feministe.
So here comes this Muslim woman mouthing platitudes about how her little quasi-chastity-belt hijab “empowers” her, and what does Lauren do? Accepts it entirely at face value. Eats it up with a fucking spoon. Never mind the colossal cultural pressures this woman must feel, and must have felt all her life, to show the “appropriate” degree of modesty in public. No unconscious influences there at all.
Eating it up with a spoon would be: “And after that I realized Muizza was entirely right about everything, and furthermore I’m converting to Islam immediately and will be wearing the hijab myself from now on.”
I’d like him to demonstrate where I ate this up with a spoon or thought about it uncritically. Go on, Mr. Ex-Lawyer-Ex-Blogger-Man. Give me your best evidence.
Lauren’s post made me wonder, what exactly would a feminist taxonomy of good faith look like? I think something like this:
1. Women of color. Presumptively always act in good faith.
2. White women. Presumptively always act in good faith except in matters of race, since they are, after all, white people, and therefore are irredeemably racist. At least on an unconscious level.
3. Men of color. Presumptively always act in good faith except in matters of gender, since they are, after all, men, and therefore harbor some secret desire to control uteruses or fucking whatever.
4. White men. Presumptively never act in good faith. Presumption cannot be rebutted, except insofar as to show false consciousness rather than malicious intent.
Cue Dinesh D’Souza.
Taxonomy of Allah’s argument (white anti-terrorist dude calling himself Allah shouldn’t need to be pointed out, but I will — it’s as choice as David Duke calling himself Yahweh):
1) Lump all “feminists” together.
2) Ascribe a position to your feminist debate opponent that they haven’t maintained.
3) Accuse them of inconsistency when they don’t follow it.
4) Continue to ignore their statements to the contrary, return to penis-hatin’-ugly-horse saw.
5) Return to (1); repeat.
Which brings me to MY question: Did you read the post at all, hon?
And my other question: How do you complain about AmLaurJill, the vaginal collective’s, ostensible habit of unfairly ascribing motive (pardon me, I mean intent) to you and your conservative brethren, our ideological opponents . . . by ascribing intent to said vagcoll, without exploding your head?
And my other, other question: If the ha-ha! gotcha! question of the ProW Crew is, would a feminist defend a Christian woman choosing to garb herself modestly, well, let’s look at this from the other side: Would Jeff and Allah be down with modesty-wear if the Christian woman were explicitly arguing her decision to do so from a feminist standpoint? Or would we just see a run of posts at ProW, Allah’s mouthpiece, mangling that Andrea Dworkin quote about all sex being rape again?
(Plus an abusive aside about Amanda Marcotte. Pinch of Catharine MacKinnon. Add water. Stir.)
That about right? You can switch numbers 2 and 3 around depending upon whether the issue deals with race or gender.
What fucking bullshit.
I’m in way more sympathy with Muizza than I would have been at seventeen — there was only one path to rebellion and nonconformity in my childhood, and it wasn’t a path to modesty. Now that I am, in Derbyshire terms, years past my fuck-by date, I can see the point of it better. As for her continuing to wear hijab, given the environment at the school, I absolutely do see this as a kind of finger-in-the-eye to the racists. Anyway, it all kind of brings up another question I’d like to see Allah answer:
Do you object to the hijab because it’s oppressive, or because she poked you in your eye too?
But don’t mind me. I wouldn’t want to be guilty of making bad-faith assumptions.
Next up, War! On! Xmas! Babies for breakfast!
UPDATE: Shorter Lauren.