More about that Clinton blogger lunch

[NOTE: I was working on this post at the same time Jill was posting hers. Since there’s enough different content, I figured it was worth posting even though some of it might be repetitive.]

No, this isn’t about race this time. It’s about this kind of shit:

I wanted to elevate a discussion from the comments section of a post from Wednesday, you know the one with the photo of the Daou-wrangled bloggers posing in from of Bill Clinton? The first commenter, Goesh, picks up on my prompt — “Let’s just array these bloggers… randomly” — and wisecracks: “Who is the Intern directly in front of him with the black hair?”

That “intern” is Jessica Valenti.

Eventually, Jessica from a blog called Feministing, shows up and says: “The, um, ‘intern’ is me. It’s so nice to see women being judged by more than their looks. Oh, wait…”

Snarky but somewhat conciliatory, I say: “Well, Jessica, you do appear to be ‘posing.’ Maybe it’s just an accident.”

After Jessica challenges Althouse on this (with the obvious-to-anyone-with-half-a-functioning-brain-cell concept that people pose for photos), Althouse (remember, she’s a law professor), comes back with this stunning bit of logic:

Jessica: I’m not judging you by your looks. (Don’t flatter yourself.) I’m judging you by your apparent behavior. It’s not about the smiling, but the three-quarter pose and related posturing, the sort of thing people razz Katherine Harris about. I really don’t know why people who care about feminism don’t have any edge against Clinton for the harm he did to the cause of taking sexual harrassment seriously, and posing in front of him like that irks me, as a feminist. So don’t assume you’re the one representing feminist values here. Whatever you call your blog….

Follow that? Because Comedy Central made fun of Katherine Harris for her aggressive cheesecake campaign style, and because Althouse thinks Bill Clinton set back feminism (though that link just discusses her batshit attack on Atrios), it’s just peachy-keen for Althouse to “give [Jessica] a small dose of the kind of judgment for brains she seems to demanding” by . . . criticizing Jessica for having breasts. And then telling Jessica she’s no feminist. Apparently for . . . having . . . breasts . . . while . . . standing in front of Bill Clinton.

But she’s not judging Jessica for her looks. Oh, no.

As we’ve previously established here, Althouse isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.

Hilariously, Althouse then decides to check out Feministing and demonstrates oh-so-perfectly the generational divide in humor that Amanda and piny have pointed out:

Making this colloquy into this new blog post, I actually click over to Jessica’s blog, and what the hell? The banner displays silhouettes of women with big breasts (the kind that Thelma and Louise get pissed off at when they’re seen on truck mudflaps). She’s got an ad in the sidebar for one of her own products, which is a tank top with the same breasty silhouette, stretched over the breasts of a model. And one of the top posts is a big closeup on breasts.

Sooooo… apparently, Jessica writes one of those blogs that are all about using breasts for extra attention. Then, when she goes to meet Clinton, she wears a tight knit top that draws attention to her breasts and stands right in front of him and positions herself to make her breasts as obvious as possible?

Psst. Ann, darling — the mud flap girl is giving the finger. See? Irony? And the giant breast post you’re talking about is of someone showing off a t-shirt.

As if the crime of having breasts and associating with the likes of a former president weren’t enough, Althouse then accuses Jessica of being a Karl Rove plant.

Really.

So, Ann, do you do this to your first-year Con Law students? Assess the perkiness of their breasts and reduce their grades accordingly?

Here’s what Jessica had to say:

I found a couple of other posts like it–talking about the way I looked–and it was really upsetting on a personal (and political) level. But this thread in particular turned kind of nasty.

You know, I was psyched to be invited to this lunch and was feeling pretty honored. But then things like this remind me that no matter what I do or accomplish, because I’m a young woman all I’m good for is fodder for tacky intern jokes and comments that I don’t “represent feminist values” because of the way I posed in a picture.

What’s worse is that this comes from other women, other progressives, and other supposed feminists. How are we supposed to move forward as a movement if we’re busy bashing each other with this ridiculousness?

She’s absolutely right about the comments. I did a bit of reading on this meeting due to the race angle, and I don’t think there was one comment thread, even on progressive blogs run by feminists and pro-feminists, where Jessica’s appearance wasn’t at the very least noted. More often, the stupid intern jokes were made, as well as cracks about where Clinton’s hands were.

And for the most part, these comments went unchallenged. This is no better, or different, than letting the absence of bloggers of color at this meeting go unchallenged.

Because you know what happened? Jessica was put in her place with those comments, reminded that as far as the patriarchy is concerned she’s no more than a sexbot and that even though she got the invite to lunch with the former president due to her hard work and brains, the fact that she is young and attractive and has black hair and breasts means that her contributions to blogging and to this meeting have been reduced to being the butt of jokes comparing her to a woman famous for sucking that former president’s dick.

And now she has to spend time feeling angry and discouraged and fighting with an idiot like Ann Althouse who dares to tell her she’s no feminist just because she dares to be pretty, instead of feeling like someone will hear her when she gets her voice out.

Fuck you, Ann Althouse.


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101 Responses to More about that Clinton blogger lunch

  1. Chris Clarke says:

    You rock. But what else is new?

    Althouse is only a few years older than me, and the finger was the first thing I noticed about Feministing’s logo. Not everything is generational. Sometimes a person is just an idiot.

  2. Linnaeus says:

    I don’t know if this response will be very helpful, but part of me wants to say, “So what if Jessica Valenti dressed the way she did?” Is it some how mutually exclusive to dress in a way that you think is flattering and at the same time expect to be able to contribute to some sort of intellectual endeavor?

    Is it really that hard to hold two separate thought about someone at the same time, namely, “That person is attractive” and “That person has some interesting and valuable things to say”?

  3. Cecily says:

    Good Lord. Weirdos. I’d seen the picture, and it never crossed my mind (of course, I was noting the lack of minorities, due to the context in which I’d gotten the link.) If anything, I thought she was standing at an angle to take up less space and to make it easier for the photog to see Clinton’s head.

  4. Wren says:

    When I saw Althouse’s post, the title about “random arrangement” of the bloggers had my trying to figure out what she meant… I was like, All the women are in front, because they’re mostly shorter? Is she criticizing them for arranging themselves that way, thereby marginalizing the men in the back?”

    Shows where my brain is.

    You know, I don’t think Jessica could have picked a more appropriate outfit to wear. And her stance is, in fact, mirroring that of the woman standing in front of her. Not that that is the point. At all. If Jessica had deemed it appropriate to wear nothing but high heels and carry a bullwhip, and that was the personification of her contributions to the blogging world, then that’s her own damn call. Jessica’s blog is always informative and insightful, and that’s how she is presenting herself here, and… You know what, Althouse? Just. Shut. UP.

    What I hate most about this is that, if similar honors should come her way again, Jessica (and any female bloggers sympathetic to her) are going to have nagging echoes of this insipid criticism in their heads. As if there weren’t enough pressure, now you have to worry about whether it is proper feminist “behavior” to stand in a row so that everyone can fit in the picture.

  5. Mark says:

    Ditto!

    Fuck Ann Althouse!

    We need a support drive for Jessica and Feministing maybe?

  6. Jill says:

    Exactly, Zuzu. I’m glad you published this, despite my stealing the topic!

  7. Tally Cola says:

    I don’t know if this response will be very helpful, but part of me wants to say, “So what if Jessica Valenti dressed the way she did?” Is it some how mutually exclusive to dress in a way that you think is flattering and at the same time expect to be able to contribute to some sort of intellectual endeavor?

    I agree. The whole fiasco sort of reminded me of the “she was asking for it” rape defence, as if the way a woman dresses is really relevant to situations like that, or especially in situations like this. She was wearing clothing, and that’s really all I expect from anyone in any given public or semi-public situation.

  8. piny says:

    …And is anyone else remembering the “pie wagons” comment from Blitzkrieg Barbie? I think Jessica was supposed to have worn a burlap poncho and some really, really shiny lipgloss.

  9. Moi says:

    Hear hear! Especially the last part. I unsubscribed to Ann’s blog after reading that post.

  10. ilyka says:

    I think now’s as good a time as any to recall that Ann Althouse’s feminism consists mainly of her going all weak in the knees for Harvey Mansfield and, ooh, Christina Hoff-Sommers! SWOON. (And then denying same when called on it.) So none of this is exactly surprising.

    I am in awe of Jessica for standing up to the Althouse Avalanche o’ Stupid like that.

    So, Ann, do you do this to your first-year Con Law students? Assess the perkiness of their breasts and reduce their grades accordingly?

    Ha! I wish I could say I found that preposterous and far-fetched, but you know something?–She probably does. Especially if they’re icky-squicky feminists. How dare they have boobs when Glenn Reynolds is always implying feminists are all squat, ugly, and hairy? The nerve of some people, confounding expectations like that.

  11. delagar says:

    Can we start a fuck Ann Althouse movement? Seriously? She is just damaging the planet, that bint.

  12. geoduck2 says:

    I’m disgusted.

    Her post is vile.

    How surprising – women have breasts! What is this? 7th grade where we make fun of women’s breasts?

    And then to claim that she’s a feminist?

  13. Esme says:

    Ye gods, is this what they do when they can’t think of a single damned genuine criticism? “Well, she looks good in a sweater! She’s anti-feminist!”

    I don’t see anyone else pointing out the much more obvious thing, which is that the guy to the right of Jessica has his hands cupped over his crotch.

  14. geoduck2 says:

    Hear hear! Especially the last part. I unsubscribed to Ann’s blog after reading that post.

    I just wrote a script that blocks that blog from my computer.

  15. Tom Head says:

    Althouse actually banned me from her blog for my response to this. Which is probably a good thing, because I was only getting angrier and would have eventually said something that would not have looked good in a block quote.

    Cheers,

    TH

  16. Robyn Banks says:

    I read Jessica’s post about this earlier today, and I could hardly get through the comments over at althouse. I went as far as reading the 2nd post, devoted mostly to Jessica’s response and further denigrating her feminist credibility, and I had to leave. Tom Head was fighting the good fight over there, talking common sense (which is Tom Head’s trademark), and I would have loved to help him out, but I just didn’t think it was worth it. Those people are so steeped in negativity and misogyny their vitriol almost peeled my face off.

  17. Well said…especially the last line.

  18. Sara says:

    Well what was she supposed to do with he breasts? Tape them down?

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  20. Jessica says:

    zuzu, thanks for the post. you know, i was going to comment (and link to) the other threads where folks were talking about my appearance but decided not to. but i’m glad you brought it up–because it’s not just about about this one post, it’s about the idea that i can’t fucking stand for a photo and go to a meeting without being reminded that i am only there because of titties. please. but all of the supportive posts/comments have meant a lot to me, so thanks.

  21. raging red says:

    If anyone feels like getting any angrier at Althouse, I highly recommend reading this post of hers, which she links to in the post under discussion (in the sentence reading “Lord knows we need more comical feminists.”). Althouse completely put words in the mouth of Ann Bartow (of Feminist Law Professors) that Bartow did not say or even imply, and then Bartow shows up in comments and presents a well-reasoned refutation of Althouse’s argument. In response to that, one of Althouse’s commenters, named “tjl,” says:

    Thanks, Ann Bartow. Your two posts on this thread — clearly meant as droll self-parodies — wittily refute that “grim, censorious and humorless” thing.

    Althouse completely ignores Bartow’s response, except to respond to commenter “tjl” with that most facile of online affirmations: “LOL.”

    Let’s see . . . encouraging the stereotype that feminists are humorless? And she pretends to be a feminist? I normally don’t like to go around annointing people either “feminist” or “non-feminist,” but Althouse sure doesn’t seem sympathetic to feminism to me.

    And I know people already know this, but she is completely dishonest in the way she “debates” other bloggers. Bartow gave Althouse the courtesy of a well-reasoned response on Althouse’s own blog, but Althouse dismisses her in a completely disrespectful manner instead of responding to the substance of Bartow’s arguments. The more I read of Althouse, the more I am in disbelif that she is a law prof at U of Wisconsin, and in even more disbelief that anyone anywhere takes her seriously at all.

  22. Lauren says:

    Real Feminists cut them off. Like Amazons.

  23. sam says:

    No no, real feminists don’t have them in the first place.

  24. zuzu says:

    Real Feminists cut them off. Like Amazons.

    Just the right ones.

  25. The Ace says:

    And now she has to spend time feeling angry and discouraged and fighting with an idiot like Ann Althouse who dares to tell her she’s no feminist just because she dares to be pretty, instead of feeling like someone will hear her when she gets her voice out.

    Fuck you, Ann Althouse.

    And you wonder why nobody takes you seriously?

    A. Althouse said no such thing.

    B. Well, the “f you” demonstrates your intellectual depth.

  26. Lauren says:

    Ace, feminists don’t wear bras. Jessica is clearly not a feminist.

  27. zuzu says:

    Dammit, I used “dares” twice in that sentence.

  28. kate says:

    Oooo Ace, you hit her hard.

    You are an idiot. Go away.

    Go back to your little lair over at Althouse, Ann might have some patriarchy teat left over for you to succor.

  29. The Ace says:

    Ace, feminists don’t wear bras. Jessica is clearly not a feminist.

    Strawman.

    See previous comments.

    Oooo Ace, you hit her hard.

    You are an idiot. Go away.

    Go back to your little lair over at Althouse

    Idiocy.
    See previous comments.

  30. Lauren says:

    Strawman.

    No, strawwoman, actually.

  31. evil_fizz says:

    Ace, feminists don’t wear bras. Jessica is clearly not a feminist.

    Strawman.

    Can we get a prize for Ace over here? It’s not every day you seen this kind of oblivion.

  32. evil_fizz says:

    Strawman.

    No, strawwoman, actually.

    Can we all agree to stop whaling on the straw*feminist*?

  33. Wren says:

    Strawman.

    Wow.

    Do they not have irony over at Althouse?

    Because… we seem to have it here.

  34. zuzu says:

    That’s no strawman.

    THIS is a strawman.

  35. LauraJMixon says:

    Who would have thought that Althouse had such a boob fetish. Seriously, the woman needs to get a grip.

    -l.

  36. Ron Sullivan says:

    Chris beat me to it. The fuck it’s “generational.”

  37. Leila A. says:

    Well. I thought I was a feminist, but clearly I’m not much of one, because A) I see nothing wrong with Jessica’s pose, outfit or looks, and B) I had no idea who all these fabulous feminist bloggers are. One good thing about this tempest is that I’ve been introduced to ya’ll. Thanks to Echidne.

  38. Lizard says:

    It’s not about the smiling, but the three-quarter pose and related posturing….

    Ann Althouse wants to talk about posing?

  39. Lux Fiat says:

    And you wonder why nobody takes you seriously?

    Who is this “nobody” you speak of?

  40. Thers says:

    Althouse has played this silly card before. Oy.

    For some reason Althouse strikes me as a real “glass house” type of person.

  41. Amy says:

    “Well what was she supposed to do with he breasts? Tape them down?”

    My sister has really large breasts, especially for a tiny person, and she’s ridiculously self-conscious about it. She won’t ever wear anything that isn’t extremely baggy and 42 sizes too big because she’s literally embarassed about it. I don’t understand it, I keep saying having breasts really isn’t anything to be ashamed of, but I’m sure if she actually wore a shirt in her size Ann Althouse would be making sneering comments about implants or something. Anyone who looked at that picture and thought that Jessica was dressed inappropriately (she’s wearing a damn sweater) or noticed of all things her breasts is clearly either crazy or the leader of Saudi Arabia.

  42. geoduck2 says:

    and she’s ridiculously self-conscious about it. She won’t ever wear anything that isn’t extremely baggy and 42 sizes too big because she’s literally embarassed about it. I don’t understand it,

    Me too – I hid my chest all through high school and college. I have a small frame so they stood out if I was not very careful with what I was wearing.

    I can tell you it took many years for me to figure out (1) what clothes I could wear to effectively minimize without shrinking and (2) that it really was other people’s problems if they were annoyed that I had breasts.

    (and we should remember that voluptuous breasts, in our culture and time period, are often culturally constructed as working-class, slutty or a come-on.)

    I remember at one party (right after college) I had worn an over-sized t-shirt with a cartoon on it. (One of my friends had made the cartoon to celebrate our college graduation.) Anyways a guy at the party said snidely to me “why are you showing off your breasts – i have to examine your breasts to read that cartoon.” Or something to that effect. I was mortified. It never occurred to me that somebody would interpret my t-shirt in that manner.

    By that time- I was well aware that this guy was an asshole and he had a problem. But it was still quite a horrible experience, and embarassing for me that other people heard what this guy said. (Maybe they thought I was trying to show off my chest? I was horrified.)

    I thought Ann Althouse’s post was very cruel to Jessica.

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  44. Me - Not Jill says:

    What a tool

  45. Armagh444 says:

    So, Ann, do you do this to your first-year Con Law students? Assess the perkiness of their breasts and reduce their grades accordingly?

    You know, when I was picking a law school (many, many moons ago), my final choice came down to selecting between Wisconsin-Madison and the school I ended up attending. There have been moments since then when I’ve wondered (for a variety of reasons) if I might not have been better off having gone to Madison. (No big doubts, of course, since I love my alma mater, but there are always “what if” thoughts in life.)

    Well, Professor Althouse’s blog – and that post in particular – has done at least one positive thing for me. Any minor doubts that may have remained are now completely obliterated.

  46. emjaybee says:

    Too many posts over at Jessica’s, just wanted to say, screw Ann Althouse. I’m thinking she’s the Rove plant here. Jessica has fought more of the good fight than AA ever could.

  47. Lizard says:

    One of the many interesting ironies at Althouse’s site is that she’s pretending to be all incensed that the “feminist liberals” aren’t taking Clinton’s “sexual harassment” seriously….but at the same time, she’s said more than once that if Jessica had just been able to laugh it off in the beginning, none of this would have blown up as it has.

    Quote from AA’s second post:

    You know what? If you breastblog and someone calls you on it, just laugh….I think for all her gasping outrage, she’s thoroughly pleased to get this attention.

    Where have we heard that before? Oh, right, from every creepy guy who’s ever made a disgusting sexual joke about his coworker and then, when she had the audacity to object, said “Well, it’s not my fault that you can’t take a joke! Anyway, admit it, you kind of enjoyed it!”

  48. anon says:

    There are two things that jump out at me over this.

    First, imagine a man having made the comments that Althouse did. He’d be immediately dismissed as some kind of sexist asshole. But here’s a self-professed feminist saying the exact same thing. In other words, using the same rhetoric to slap down an uppity woman. That’s all it is.

    The second thing that occurs to me is that if Jessica had posed with, say, a group of models, I guarantee you all the comments would have been about “that fat cow”. Even if you photoshopped the exact same photo from the luncheon into the other group. (I’m thinking of a recent post I saw, can’t remember where, in which some restaurant was demanding a very skinny body type for the women applying to work there; the post has a picture of a very lovely dark haired woman who is “too fat” by this criteria.)

    Bah.

  49. Marian says:

    It sounds like someone’s angry because Jessica’s attractive. Whoever said this is so junior-high is completely right.

    And complaining about someone having visible breasts makes Ann no better than the moms in my uptight Catholic school who thought it was SHAMEFUL that 8th-grade girls were developing. “Kids today. I hope MY daughter doesn’t look like that in 8th grade!” (I wonder what happened when the daughter did develop then)?

  50. geoduck2 says:

    He’d be immediately dismissed as some kind of sexist asshole. But here’s a self-professed feminist saying the exact same thing. In other words, using the same rhetoric to slap down an uppity woman. That’s all it is.

    I agree. Let’s call this action what it is — sexual harassment.

    Althouse is using Jessica’s body to harass her in a sexual manner.

    Plain and simple.

  51. Jonquil says:

    I really adore the double bind here. My generation of feminists was dismissed for being unattractive and hairy — a stereotype that persists — and now Jessica’s being told she isn’t a feminist because she’s a babe.

    *spits*

  52. nonwhiteperson says:

    The picture just reminded me to wear bras that fit. Jessica simply knows how to wear a bra and has good posture. That’s all there is to it. Some women don’t know how to wear a bra.

  53. allswell says:

    Everyone here seems to think Ann is jealous. I read all of the posts and I don’t see where you get this.

  54. piny says:

    I really adore the double bind here. My generation of feminists was dismissed for being unattractive and hairy — a stereotype that persists — and now Jessica’s being told she isn’t a feminist because she’s a babe.

    Feminists are still being derided for being unattractive and hairy.

  55. zuzu says:

    “Hairy pie wagons,” in fact.

  56. Lizard says:

    Everyone here seems to think Ann is jealous.

    Everyone? Can you be more specific? Because I haven’t yet seen that allegation on this page.

  57. Sally says:

    “Hairy pie wagons,” in fact.

    Hairy pie wagons who don’t need bras, even! We’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t on the specific bra issue: damned if we’re small enough not to need one, damned if we’re big and don’t wear one, and apparently damned if we’re wearing “appropriate” foundation garments as well. There is no way for a woman to dress to avoid potential insult and criticism.

    Everyone here seems to think Ann is jealous.

    Nope. Try again.

  58. PhoenixRising says:

    I’ll bite.

    I think Ann is jealous, not of Jessica’s appearance but of her accomplishments, and is using the appearance issue to attack someone about whom she knows nothing other than, This person is younger and better looking than I expect a feminist thinker to be AND This person was invited to meet Bill Clinton because of her writing.

    I had that experience several times in undergrad and law school. For reasons having to do with the roles assigned to young women with so-called good looks, I was supposed to be as dumb as I appeared in the minds of the sexist beholders. As a result I was constantly furious about having my ideas co-opted by older, more serious-looking women.

    Jessica, all you did wrong was show up and look gorgeous. Sadly, we live in a society that deems someone with the means to execute that act unable to do anything else at the same time.

    However, I’m closer to Ann’s age than yours and I can say two things related to that: First, the ability to sneak past the defenses of a lot of ignorant people based on your looks will persist for maybe another 10 years, so keep hitting them hard while you have this advantage.

    But also: Please don’t attribute these attacks on you, and they are personal attacks not critiques of anything substative, to the age of the person making them. Ann is making a fool of herself, not women over 40 who happen to be feminist law profs.

  59. belledame222 says:

    And you know, I finally saw the actual picture and:

    …yeah. You know what: it would really have been so much simpler if people would just cop to their shit. “Oh! Giggle! Bill Clinton in proximity to an attractive young brunette woman! You know what that REMINDS ME OF?!? giggle giggle skronk snort hark hork”

    Yes. We kind of already know about Bill. and that intern person. We’ve heard it all once or twice. And we know that -you- know that there is nothing remarkable about that photo whatsoever, at least not to anyone who isn’t, well, kind of fucked up. Yeah: she young, she’s pretty, and she is dressed in a way that is a -bit- less conservative and more form-fitting than the other women, whom, let’s face it, are dressed -quite-conservatively. She did not show up in a sparkly Hello Kitty baby-T and hotpants; you know perfectly well that you can’t -really- call her out for being inappropriate without being revealed as the pearl-clutching, country-club-gatekeeping, deeply conservative Pillar Of Society you so obviously are. Much in the same way that you and many of the other supposed “feminists” and “liberals” who are picking and poking and drooling know perfectly well that while yes, this nation of Beavis and Buttheads STILL think Clinton/BJ/intern/boobie jokes are just the funniest, most risque things EVER, not to mention, as noted, have real problems with the idea of a woman who’s young AND sexy AND -smart-, YOU are supposed to be above all that, as a so-called feminist/liberal/person with more than 6 IQ points.

    So what do you do? Own your shit, say, yes, okay, I had a weak moment there, I felt like “meowing” and goddamit, Clinton…well, will always be Clinton to me,

    or just keep right on trying to justify your assiness and in the process making it worse and worse and worse?

    Quel shocker.

  60. belledame222 says:

    >I think Ann is jealous, not of Jessica’s appearance but of her accomplishments, and is using the appearance issue to attack someone about whom she knows nothing other than, This person is younger and better looking than I expect a feminist thinker to be AND This person was invited to meet Bill Clinton because of her writing.>

    Dingdingdingdingding.

  61. belledame222 says:

    and yeah duh, not that it EVEN merits this level of scrutiny, I feel kind of dirty even feeling the need to mention this, but: hello, she is turned to the side because she is STANDING IN FRONT OF THE EX-PRESIDENT

    and doesn’t want to block him.

    would be any not completely vile and lame person’s interpretation, I rather think.

  62. puellasolis says:

    Three-quarter pose? You mean the way you stand when you’re trying to fit a bunch of people into a picture? When you have one person behind one shoulder and another in front of the other shoulder, and don’t have much choice but to stand a little sideways?

    Um… right.

  63. belledame222 says:

    and call it my goddam axe grinding, but MAY i say that when you have some of the bigger “real” feminist bloggers saying shit like “sexbot” and when you wear those heels and that skirt you’re making us all look bad, well, is this really all -that- different? No. It’s one step beyond, is all, and i’ve no doubt that a lot of the same people who were all nodnod wrt the Random Bird thing or Rachel Kramer Bussel thing or the “pencil skirts, sexbot” crap that’s been going on for what seems like for damnever, here will be rallying to the support of Jessica, and rightly so;

    but is it -really- because this situation is SO unfamiliar to us in the supposed “feminist blogosphere?”

    or is it because Jessica is One Of Us and Ann is not only a Real Journalist (you know, kind of like Rachel Kramer Bussel, only a lot more so) but so -clearly- a vile reactionary misogynist braindead asshole that, well, it’s a bit uncomfortable-making to realize just how close *we’ve* been coming to this, point of fact?

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  65. Jody Tresidder says:

    Where have we heard that before? Oh, right, from every creepy guy who’s ever made a disgusting sexual joke about his coworker and then, when she had the audacity to object, said “Well, it’s not my fault that you can’t take a joke! Anyway, admit it, you kind of enjoyed it

    !”

    Lizard,

    That same thought is the one that roused me from lazily shocked torpor (I’ve often enjoyed Ann’s blog) to add an anti comment over there.

    “C’mon, lighten up kiddo!”.
    The shocking thing is how flattened and small one could feel by being pushed into the can’t-take-a-joke corner. They “generously” hand you the attitude you need to take to defuse the situation to save them face. And if you refuse it, it’s on your head.

    For Ann to use it against Jessica – while saying in the same breath it’s the weakness in feminism versus Clinton – is really rich.

    I probably will comment over there again because Ann is often trenchant and funny.

    But (and I believe geoduck has made the point several times) I think she’s been cruel and foolish on this one. Even some of her normally sane commenters have gone beserk.

  66. plucky punk says:

    and call it my goddam axe grinding, but MAY i say that when you have some of the bigger “real” feminist bloggers saying shit like “sexbot” and when you wear those heels and that skirt you’re making us all look bad, well, is this really all -that- different? No. It’s one step beyond, is all,

    Yes, I agree (and said as much on my own blog). It’s just further up the slippery slope is all.

  67. geoduck2 says:

    That same thought is the one that roused me from lazily shocked torpor (I’ve often enjoyed Ann’s blog) to add an anti comment over there.

    “C’mon, lighten up kiddo!”.
    The shocking thing is how flattened and small one could feel by being pushed into the can’t-take-a-joke corner. They “generously” hand you the attitude you need to take to defuse the situation to save them face. And if you refuse it, it’s on your head.

    yep. That’s how this whole sexual harassment thing plays out: “come on baby – lighten up! I was just complimenting/ teasing you. I was just having fun with you! Don’t get so angry at me. I have to comment on your breasts because they stick out so much.”

    I am appalled. Last night my husband helped me write a script so that I cannot access AA’s blog. (I am automatically re-directed to Kitten War. I suggest anyone who has the habit of ever looking at her blog do the same.)

    And, can I just say — irony–. Ann Althouse asks why a feminist would eat lunch with a “molester” and “sexual harasser” while she, herself, is in the process of sexually harassing Jessica.

    Ridiculous. Cruel. Vicious.

    Ann Althouse should take down the post and apologize to Jessica.

  68. zuzu says:

    You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of Ann’s students don’t read Feministing, or this blog, or LG&M, or Eschaton, or any of the others that have discussed this.

    I hope they have blind grading, and I hope they give her crap for this.

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  70. belledame222 says:

    You did, plucky punk: credit where it’s due, I saw it there first. great or at least similarly pissed-off minds, etc. etc.

  71. plucky punk says:

    Hey, great *and* pissed off ;)

  72. Sally says:

    I think the funniest thing about the whole affair is that many of Althouse’s commeters, and apparently Althouse herself, are convinced that “feministing” is an allusion to fisting. Seriously. And then there are others who jump in to suggest that it means “feminist sting,” and there’s no perverted sexual stuff implied at all!

    I always thought it was just feministing, which is to say feminism as a verb, which is to say a blog about doing feminist stuff. How could I have missed all the dirty?

  73. Wren says:

    Well, Althouse’s new post is probably the closest Her Royal Wackitude can come to a retraction… she admits that the subject is boring her and that it got out of hand.

    Of course, a simple “Hey, Jessica, I was meaning to laugh at Clinton, but I’m a fuckwit and could only do it by insulting you. Of course, when I realized what I’d done, I would have apologized, but my head’s too far up my own ass, so, er, sorry for ruining what should have been a positive experience” would have been too hard.

    She then follows up with a “dig” against Feministing on behalf of the revival of “real feminism” (about which she names no specifics, naturally). Would that be the feminism in which you nullify the contributions of someone based on her possession of secondary sex characteristics, there, Althouse?

  74. Carpenter says:

    What the fuck? Its obvious they arranged the people in that photo by height and Jessica was turned so as not to block out the people behind her. Is Althouse a complete moron or something? If I was going to get into it with Althouse nitpicking on that “pose” I would have brought it.

  75. binky says:

    Not very much of one. She says

    This was, every time you expressed a substantive idea, the answer was, essentially, “Stop looking at my breasts.”

    Riiiight. That’s exactly how it went.

  76. Veronica says:

    I noticed that. Freaking Dirrrrrty minds over there. Seriously, fisting? What? How Beavis and Butt-head is that?

  77. Caroline says:

    Ugh, I agree. I can’t believe the things that were said about Jessica over on Althouse. It’s as if people think a woman can’t be smart, talented, a feminist, and in any way conventionally attractive. As if her trying to look nice in a picture with an ex-President makes her some kind of conniving slut? Basically they were saying, “How dare she go around being all pretty like that!?! Oh, Lord.

  78. johanna says:

    Althouse’s obsession with Jessica’s breasts and her apparent dismay that a feminist would wear something besides, what, a freaking mumu, reminds me of the creepy fundie-Christians who make their daughters wear knee-length bathing suits and governments that cut off hands for wearing nail polish. It’s the same slut-baiting. It’s the same desire to police women’s bodies. The frightening thing is that Althouse actually thinks it’s the proper “feminist” thing to do.

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  80. Charles says:

    My first thought was that Althouse’s posts said a lot about her — her obssessions, jealousies — whatever — and nothing at all about any other topic.

  81. belledame222 says:

    >I noticed that. Freaking Dirrrrrty minds over there. Seriously, fisting? What?>

    “But doc! YOU’RE the one showing ME all the dirty pictures!!:

    …heh. I guess I should be grateful SOMEONE finally mentioned fisting; ever since the BJ Wars

    –and say-hey, guess what ELSE that has in common with Clin–

    I already said that, didn’t I

    ANYWAY. Fisting. I have been hoping and hoping that someone would do for that humble little act what they have done for the mighty blowjob: elevated it (or something) from a mere sexual act to a SYMBOL, nay, an ACT, affirming or denying, as it were, one’s sociopolitical belief, status, and degree of caring about other women.

    i mean, I TRIED, at one point; I had this post, something like, “fisting is a way of expressing one’s solidarity with the proletariat! what better way to say “up the man!” VIVA! also it’s rilly fun and if you don’t like it you’re a loser; discuss.”

    and sure, some people responded; but did it take off? did I start a war? even a squabble? pfft.

    buncha damn heterocentric self-absorbed bigots.

    and yes, that last bit: I am really only half-kidding, there, wrt Some People certainly, at least.

  82. Lizard says:

    Jody Tresidder–everything you said. And also, THANK YOU for pointing out to the sheltered folks over at Outhouse that “tempest in a C-cup” is not nearly as original and clever as they seem to think. That’s been driving me crazy all day, but I couldn’t bring myself to create a login just to tell them so (and I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist telling them a few other things as well).

  83. belledame222 says:

    naughty naughty smutty smutty! double EN-ten-drrre! nudge nudge, wink wink, say no MORE! brrrrraaaa-ZZEEEEEEEER! -giggle, snerkle, snork-

    no, none of this is in ANY WAY about our collective hopeless puerility wrt sexuality. nope. not one teeny tiny little bit.

  84. Rhiannon says:

    Geez… I don’t read Femeniste for a day or so and I missed out on so much goings on!

    But on topic: Never read Althouse and now, I never will.

  85. Jody Tresidder says:

    Jody Tresidder–everything you said. And also, THANK YOU for pointing out to the sheltered folks over at Outhouse that “tempest in a C-cup” is not nearly as original and clever as they seem to think. That’s been driving me crazy all day, but I couldn’t bring myself to create a login just to tell them so (and I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist telling them a few other things as well).

    Nope, Lizard.
    Thank you. Truly.
    I loathe brown nosing but it was your comments that flipped a switch in my brain – after far too long sitting back (and geoduck’s comments, too – she’s a rotten loss to Althouse).

    Some of the pro-Althouse brigade over there have made me want to weep/shake with anger. Behind the beguiling eloquence of some commenters (and I mean people who are regular commenters on her site under ‘normal’ conditions) there are some totally horrific assumptions about women that have come out under the free-for-all mayhem of the last however many hours that you never normally see.

    I swear for the longest time I also truly thought Ann would find the words to say she’d made a really, really poor blogging decision about Jessica. Even to the point of me thinking “god, it’s going to be hard – maybe it’ll just be a really grudging couple of ambiguous words from Ann – I wonder how she’ll spin it?”. But – no.

    Oh hell, it’s only a blog.

    But it isn’t. It has a million things to do with real life.

    Did you read her recent comment – that Clinton wiped out the feminist movement? (Can’t be bothered to check her quotes – I’ve gone over her precise words too many times today.) I expect that’s all Jessica’s fault too.

    BtW, Lizard. Thanks also for noticing my “tempest in a C-cup” snarl. You cheered me up!

  86. fishbane says:

    You know, Don’t respond. Althouse and her ilk represents a troll community. They aren’t, in fact, dumb, but they root for the psychotic types, and call it moderation. Some of them call themselves libertarian and ask for executive control over everything they say. They’re tools of an authoritarian cult.

  87. fishbane says:

    By the way, Anne has closed the tent and crawled away.

    Well, it’s time to close up the old mail bag. I think it’s safe to say what was going to get said has been said by now, with lots of repetition too. I’m tired of the vitriol, and the willingness of you purportedly feminist characters to say all sorts of sexist things has been demonstrated ad nauseam, as has your pathetic lack of humor. Efforts to make us forget about the real topic have failed, and I’m tired of pointing that out. So, that’s it for this long, long comment thread.

    i see. My lack of humor is what caused you to shut us up. Hell, happens all the time. Feminists don’t have no humor, right? And we somehow shut you down about the real issue. Which isn’t the boobie, understand, it it the boobie in proximity to the Clenis. See? That’s something worth talking about. When will you supposed feminists talk about the boobies near the Clenis? %$#@%##@%

  88. piny says:

    What sexist things did we say?

  89. Sophist says:

    I wanted to elevate a discussion from the comments section…

    Ann, you couldn’t elevate helium.

  90. belledame222 says:

    >They’re tools of an authoritarian cult.

    mhm.

    also see, “malignant narcissism, enablers of”

    yeah, those posts are, well, quite…something, aren’t they.

    “Projection junction, what’s your func-tion…”

  91. raging red says:

    What sexist things did we say?

    Oh, there were a couple of assholes in the comments who were saying shit about Althouse, like calling her a withered old cunt and stuff like that. (I honestly don’t feel like reading through those comments again to find exact quotes.) So of course Althouse pops up and wonders whether any of the so-called feminists who are defending Jessica are going to defend her by condemning those comments (a la her post “Can I get a feminist?”), when she herself said absolutely nothing to condemn the over-the-line comments about Jessica. (Of course, her entire post was over-the-line.) She let the commentary about Jessica run wild, but she expects other people to defend her?

  92. KnifeGhost says:

    I noticed that. Freaking Dirrrrrty minds over there. Seriously, fisting? What? How Beavis and Butt-head is that?

    Let’s be fair to Beavis and Butthead. Their commentary wouldn’t have gotten past “huh huh, look at her boobs.”

  93. belledame222 says:

    >(Of course, her entire post was over-the-line.) She let the commentary about Jessica run wild, but she expects other people to defend her?

    Yah, that’s pretty classic, too.

  94. Natalia says:

    This Althouse creature closed her comments section, because the truth hurts. This was her response to my comment:

    “Uhh…. no. And that’s completely incoherent. What the hell are you trying to say? Ever heard of proofreading… and, uh, like, thinking? And that reading thing too. I kinda like you know recommend it. ”

    I would have thought that a person of her education would have figured our that irony is clearly not one of her greatest assets.

  95. Katie says:

    First off, I didn’t check the Internets until yesterday evening, and I was appalled about this! I looked at the photo after seeing the post topic in Pandagon without really reading the content, because I was wanting to see if I could spot exactly what the fuck was so offensive. Of course, I couldn’t. I thought it was maybe about that blonde lady (I don’t know her name, sorry) in the front, because her dress was somewhat low-cut, if you looked really, really hard.

    Anyway, Jessica, if you’re reading this, I think you RULE, and as a woman your age with OMG BOOBIES and brown hair, I have nothing but admiration for you.

    I’m trying to figure out if she deliberately made the snarky “intern” comment in hopes of starting this exact chain of events, or if she made the comment as a sort of inside joke (because, you know, fucking intern comments 8 years after the fact are so clever) and didn’t expect to get called out on it. I’m going with the latter, actually, because I don’t think she’s that diabolical–just unoriginal and clueless. And, as others have pointed out, instead of backing down and apologizing, she escalated the situation and became completely nasty. I could have a small amount of respect for her if she had at least said, “Oops, sorry. Didn’t know.” It’s still sexist and disgusting, but at least it was a stupid joke that Jay Leno could have made.

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  98. Hugo says:

    A shameless plug for my own post on the subject, less on breasts and more on Bill.

  99. I recognize Jessica's pose says:

    partly from the advice here here and partly from this advice I got from an extremely photogenic friend:

    “A three-quarter turn is the most flattering way to stand for a full-length picture. It helps keep off the extra ten pounds the camera likes to add. Turn your body inward, plant your front foot facing the camera, shoulders relaxed, arms at your sides, and turn your face to the camera.”

    Seems like Jessica is guilty of not wanting to look like crap in a photo with An Important Person, and of knowing the right pose to prevent such an occurrence. God forbid.

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  101. CLD says:

    My mind is still reeling as to what Jessica’s clothing, stance or breast size had to do with anything. Althouse is the most juvenile adult I’ve ever had the pleasure of not meeting.

    Jessica posed exactly how one in a group photo should pose: slightly turned so as not to take up too much space and so as not to block the view of those standing behind her.

    One has to wonder though… if Clinton were not in the photo, would any of this stupid crap have been brought up by the mouth-breathers?

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