Something I never really understood…

With regards to feminism and feminists.

A huge part of feminist thought, or so I’ve been led to believe, is body acceptance for women; the thought that a woman should be encouraged to feel comfortable in her own skin and not deride, dislike, or disdain her own body and appearance. There is a great deal of encouragement for women to learn to if not love, at least like or accept their appearance, and dress in whatever manner they choose, wear their hair as they like, “go natural” (not shave, avoid make up, ect) as they choose. And you know, I think this is great. I really do. If a person is happy with and accepting of their looks, whatever they look like, I think it’s wonderful.

There is also the thought that a woman should not be judged or mocked for her appearance, and while her choices with regards to how she presents herself or what she may or may not do to modify her natural body can be questioned, she should not be judged or made fun of or disregarded because of those choices. One can ask why (or why not) a woman wears make up, or gets body waxes, or gets tattoos, works out or diets, gets piercings, dyes her hair or gets a nose job, exploration into the “whys” is…acceptable…but I’ve often seen feminists say that a woman, no matter who she is or how she looks or what beauty rituals she does, or does not, engage in, well, she should not be judged, mocked, or made fun of.

But that happens, even amid feminist circles. And rarely is the woman who does not shave, or diet, or wear make up who is mocked, it is the woman who does. Often times being thin, via nature or diet or time in a gym is thought of something horrible. The intelligence of women who wear make up or get any sort of cosmetic surgery is guestioned, and often they are made fun of. Women who enage in any sort of “Patriarchy Approved” grooming or body ritual, well, when they admit it, they appologize for it. They are appologetic or ashamed of being thin, or wearing eyeliner, or having blonde hair.

And I wonder why. If a woman is comfortable and happy not shaving, should we not be happy for her and support her? If a woman is comfortable and happy with a body she has because she works out three times a week, should we not be happy for and support her? If a woman likes her “cranberry frost” lipstick and the way it makes her look and feel, shouldn’t we just be glad she is happy with it? If a woman is happy and comfortable letting her hair go grey as she ages, shouldn’t we just say “great”?

I understand that with conventional beauty standards it is important to instill in women and girls that there is more to body comfort and beauty that what the media dictates, because truth is, women of all shapes, sizes, ages, colors, and “styles” are beautiful and that wider realm of beauty and comfort should be encouraged to flourish and grow. No woman should feel ashamed of the way they look or what they wear, but I often feel as if perhaps this has spun slightly out of control in some aspects. When a woman who is naturally blonde or naturally thin is applogizing for it, it seems to me as if something his gone wrong here. It seems like an odd sort of backlash to what was supposed to be a mode of thought that would make women more comfortable in their own skins, no matter their shape, size, mode of dress, or alterations. One can read feminist lit of all types, from books to blogs, and see this odd backlash, feminist people calling women bimbos, porno barbies, sticks; women disdaining their own natural attributes that fall within the realms of conventional beauty, things such as being tall, or thin, or curvy or blonde…

And it makes me wonder whatever happened to women, all women, being happy with their bodies?

Or is this just one of those things I find myself pondering? And if so, what did I miss?


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595 comments for “Something I never really understood…

  1. Janna
    August 23, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    This is definitely something I’ve thought about before. I’m definitely a feminist, but I like the feeling of my legs after I’ve shaved. Yeah, it’s a bit of a pain to shave but I love wearing a skirt afterwards and feeling how smooth my legs are. Does this make me less feminist?

  2. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    Janna: See, I don’t even care at this point if it makes you less of a feminist…plenty of good feminists engage in behavior which may not be, at it’s root, feminist behavior. They’re still feminists. What I don’t like, is well, the fact that you, as a leg shaver, might be made to feel ashamed of your shaved legs, because how does that, exactly, help promote a womans happiness with her own body?

  3. ocean_eyes
    August 23, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    I’m torn with this. I totally think that women should be free from ridicule of forced apology for how they choose to dress or groom. However, it makes me cringe when I see young women who obsess over make-up, clothes, shoes, and their appearance and are still unhappy with themselves. There are few people I know who wear make-up and are okay with their appearance. In my experience, it’s mostly those who choose to go without and wear comfortable clothes who are happy with themselves, while those who have the mini skirts and heavy make-up who are not happy with themselves.

  4. August 23, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    I shave, and have been known to wear makeup.

    I am *not* going to pretend that these are empowering things. Because I’ve learned from my days of not doing these things that while it’s all well and good to have feminists clap you on the back and say “good for you! you’ve really tossed over the beauty myth!” It’s another thing entirely to deal with the fact that the rest of the world treats you like a fugly freak. Shimmery Pink lipgloss may make you feel all cool and sexy, but there’s nothing inherent to wearing Shimmery Pink lipgloss that does this — it’s the fact that you are conforming to existing beauty standards that gives you that “go you” feeling so satisfaction. And while I may balk at the idea of having hairy, scratchy legs and claim to “prefer” the feeling of my legs smooth, I’m not going to pretend for a second that the reason I have this preference is because of a lifetime of conditioning to believe that hairless legs are sexier and more acceptable.

    We do a lot of things out of desperation, fear of loneliness, and need for conformity. And this isn’t necessarily bad so long as you’re not hurting yourself doing so. But we shouldn’t pretend like we’re waving the banner of feminism by getting ourselves all dolled up.

  5. Janis
    August 23, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    The thing I’ve seen in feminism, and that I am very, very bitter about BTW, is not so much the belief that patriarchy-approved grooming is a bad thing. I tend to think that yes — makeup is to the patriarchy what a IC engine is to the environment. You can be an environmentalist through adn through, but your car exhaust still shits up the atmosphere. Similarly, yeah — you’re a feminist. Tough — your lipstick isn’t. I buy my carbon offsets, but that doesn’t mean that MY car exhaust is different from anyone else’s. We’ve just got to acknowledge this and take responsibility for it.

    The thing that really pisses me off and has made me back off feminism very seriously is the prevailing belief among feminists — supported by legions of frat boys — that attractive women have it better in a patriarchy than those who are not. Take one look at the movie posters for “Captivity” and tell me that again. Watch any “erotic thriller” movie where a serial killer does nothing but stalk around murdering naked blond women and tell me that again.

    I remember one woman on her blog talking about falling into the “thin-n-pretty” slice of the population just randomly, and having the most appalling things shouted at her out of car windows. She gained weight and fell out of that slice — and they just shouted different things out of car windows. What — is “sit on my dick bitch” supposed to be a sign that the patriarchy approves of you more than “fat whale” when screamed at you out of a car window? When have men EVER “loved” anything they want to screw, or thought highly of it, or respected it, or liked it?

    But this pervasive, poisonous, evil belief lurking under the skin of feminism — that pretty women have it made because men want our pussies — has got to go. I’ve even heard it called “white privilege,” like a light-skinend black person can pass for white. And I suppose a thin woman can … pass for male?

    I have heard plenty of womanhating vicious males say that chicks got it made man cuz we want them! Goodlooking chicks got it made, maaaaaaaaan. What business has feminism agreeing with this garbage? Agreeing under the surface, no matter how disguised it may be, that feminism is for ugly women, and as long as men want women’s pussies, we’ve got some sort of upper hand? Where was that one study done that concluded that attractiveness causes a man to be perceived as more competent, and a woman as less? There’s a reason why plainer women were more respected in my old graduate science department — if you were fuckable, you were trash as far as they were concerned.

    Point me at the privilege in that situation.

    I for one would like to see “feminism and body image” expand to contain more than “why I hate my fat thighs.” This is a huge topic, vast and with most of it entirely unexplored.

    The best way to describe this isn’t “how to learn to love your body” but “how not to regard your body as your enemy.” That includes vast swathes of the body-image-related landscape of which hating one’s fat thighs is a small part.

    Think about it this way — is feminism isn’t the “proper” place for women like me to talk about the ways in which our exteriors flat-out disadvantage us, then where should this conversation happen? Among men — who believe similarly that as long as they want to poke me, I’ve got some sort of upper hand? This is a goddamned feminist topic.

  6. rachel
    August 23, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    really good point, janis. feminists are often just as, if not more, obsessed with looks as any beauty magazine. just on a different scale.

  7. batgirl
    August 23, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    I tend to think that yes — makeup is to the patriarchy what a IC engine is to the environment. You can be an environmentalist through adn through, but your car exhaust still shits up the atmosphere.

    Uh, no. Makeup can, in theory, be used for a variety of reasons. Makeup can be used to cover up acne scars because one feels self-conscious, makeup can be used to give one the appearance of a zombie on Halloween, makeup can be used on stage to enhance features, makeup can be used every day to enhance features just for the hell of it, and makeup can unfortunately be used in service of the patriarchy to instill in women a sense of inadequacy, etc.

    Car exhaust always harms the environment. Makeup does not physically effect the patriarchy in the same way that cars pollute the atmosphere. That metaphor just doesn’t work.

  8. August 23, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    I agree with Janis, that things like shaving and makeup are tools of the patriarchy, and if we use them (and I do) we should acknowledge them for what they are. If shaving your legs simply felt good objectively, men would do it too.

    But we do live in this culture, this particular patriarchy, and not only is there pressure to fit in, but there’s also the “visual norm” for lack of a better term. To my American eyes, a woman’s legs aren’t as pretty when hairy. Because our visual interface is culturally-trained.

    I like the way I look in makeup. That’s not an unladen statement. It isn’t something that sprung full-grown from my skull like Athena. But I do like it. And, acknowledging who I am and treating me with dignity and kindness, including making myself look the way I want to look, is empowering, is an expression of my strong sense of self, which came to me in part through feminism.

    I don’t think all feminists are created equal in this regard. I am happy to walk away from the feminist circles where I would be criticized for my smooth legs. There are plenty of feminists who don’t have that kind of attitude.

  9. ekf
    August 23, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    I feel like this sort of topic, while not invalid at all, is a topic that has become somewhat less important to me personally as I’ve gotten older. Women have it bad in a patriarchy, period. Arguing over which women have it worse than other women is a self-defeating set of arguments, and it’s especially perverse when feminists, in having this discussion, base evaluations of “worse” or “better” in purely patriarchal terms. So I tend to find myself rolling my eyes about these issues to some degree, because, to stretch the IC engine/environment analogy a bit further, the net of an offset carbon emission is less crucial when we’re already trying to survive our way out of a nuclear winter. When overall gender subjugation is a little less fucked in terms of employment equity, political power and sexual terrorism, maybe we can move down the list to makeup, yanno?

    To the extent that this discussion should be had, though, it’s more in the context of how important political puritanism needs to be for a person to consider themselves affiliated with a political movement. Despite being feminists, we are still socialized in a culture that hates women. From time to time, this may erupt through our conscious selves in the form of women-hating behavior (both other women as well as ourselves). The process of overtaking the role patriarchy has played in our world will take generations, not months, not years — lifetimes will pass and pendula will swing, and it is up to feminists to keep trying to push for progress, but we won’t always succeed. It’s good to call bullshit on our feminist peers, and even better to be vigilant about our own behavior, but it’s also part of being human that from time to time we will fuck up and that we will sometimes sell out. While women are a subjugated class, we can forgive ourselves and each other our occasional sops to doing what we need to do to get by in a culture that fundamentally hates us.

  10. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Janis:

    Can I just say I love that comment?

  11. Anne Onne
    August 23, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    Janna, there is no club manifesto for Feminism that means your badge gets taken away unless you conform to a set standard of what a feminist should be like. But i suspect the question was rhetorical, and you know this… ;)

    Personally, I have found many very good discussions online where feminists criticise patriarchical beauty standards and how they harm women, without resorting to blaming those who happen to fall into those standards, or even choose to do patriarchy-approved things. So I havent really come accross that kind of feminist. I’m glad. Although we say you shouldn’t call a person a bad feminist, if the term were to be used, it should apply to those who judge women on their actions in the way you described. I’d think it would be quite hard to be a decent feminist and consistently ignore the choice of the women in question in that way.

    However, when things like high heels or typically ‘feminine’ things are discussed, those who partake of them can also be more defensive about that behaviour, myself included. Personally, I find it’s because I know the theory behind the products, and how culture and context can make them tools of oppression on some level (despite the fact they may be personally liberating, empowering and fun) because of how society interprets them. I can feel a bit defensive, and certainly read criticism with more of an eagle eye than usual when I feel something I take part in may result in people like me being judged unfairly. And I’m not even that fond of most ‘feminine things’, rather being mostly practical. However, I do defend my right to choose the ‘feminine’ option (for want of a better word). I expect feminists to criticise the behaviours we are socialised to like, and admit that I and other women have not thrown off all indoctrinated behaviour. I just don’t expect my personal choices to be framed as making me less of a person or a feminist. Luckily, all the feminists I read and talk to are very good at separating the two.

    However, interestingly enough, I have found that those engaging in such practices (say wearing make-up or heels) defend themselves from allegations of being a bad feminist that I just don’t see in the conversation, sometimes. Somebody would remark something like ‘I don’t understand why anybody would wear high heels’, which I see as not being insulting, and that would result in comments about how others did not appreciate being called bad feminists. I can only speak for myself, but I think our awareness as feminsts of the harmful side of society makes us question our conduct, and when we don’t feel guilty about ourselves because of what we learn from the patriarchy, we might feel guilty because we haven’t thrown all fo it off.

    I just do what I like. I’m aware that not all of my actions are counter-culture and free of the trappings of the patriarchy. where what I like goes against the norm, I follow my heart, but I never personally believed being a feminst would require me to go against my wishes, even if my wishes sometimes coincide with the patriarchy. Yes, I know that does not mean that I am beyond the influence of the patriarchy- nobody is. I do not expect anybody to refrain from critiquing any patriarchical practice I follow (I expect feminists, myself included to critique everything, whether we personally like it or not), but I believe freedom of choice means every choice deserves respect. I don’t think most of these choices are inherently degrading, and even if it is easier to ‘cave’ in to societal pressure, or we actually end up liking some of the things we’re socialised as being supposed to like, we must still criticise those things. I don’t know if my rant was really tangential (if so, I apologise)

    I agree, though, that women can get the impression that those who happen to fall in the current narrow beauty standard must be somehow less if they wanted to be like that, or indeed that they must have wanted to be like that. I never really went out of my way to be thin and didn’t do anything to my breasts, but that doesn’t mean I never think about how people see me based on my appearance alone. If we as women try to shame other women into fitting into whatever we deem accaptable, or see them as ‘letting down the side’, we do the work of tghe oppressor for them. I think it’s probably easier for us to fall into this pattern because it is a cultural norm to bombard women with things to make them feel inadequate, so we are so used to being constantly treated like objects, it can be hard for even us feminists to completely separate ourselves from feeling inadequate in any field, because we are so used to being judged. That’s just my rather long-winded view.

  12. August 23, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    I’ve noticed this too, and it drives me crazy. I think there are a number of factors involved (so questioning why people do things is okay, sure… but what if you don’t like their answer? how do you separate ‘being happy because you’re going with the flow and not getting shit about it’ from ‘being happy because you like what you’re doing?’ where does ‘good for me’ end and ‘bad for others’ begin?), but mostly I think it has to do with doubt.

    However, it makes me cringe when I see young women who obsess over make-up, clothes, shoes, and their appearance and are still unhappy with themselves. There are few people I know who wear make-up and are okay with their appearance. In my experience, it’s mostly those who choose to go without and wear comfortable clothes who are happy with themselves, while those who have the mini skirts and heavy make-up who are not happy with themselves.

    [formatting mine]

    I’m not picking on you specifically, ocean_eyes, but these sentiment pop up over and over again. How do you know someone is “obsessing” over how they look? That is, if you see someone walking down the street dressed up, how can you tell that they obsessed over it? It could be a one-day ‘I want this to be special’ thing, or a job interview, or a date, or a ‘hey, I saw this at the store and want to see how it looks’ thing, or a dare, or a random decision without much going for it, or she could just be doing it because she likes it. I dress up for me, not for anyone else.

    And you go through the rest of it … again, with people you don’t know, how can you tell that they’re not happy with themselves? More importantly (to me), how can you tell that their choices with regard to their appearance are causally connected to their discomfort? And if, by whatever chance, you happen to be in a position to comment on it… do you think saying that they made the wrong choice is going to make them happier with themselves, or just cause them to doubt even more?

    What constitutes comfort? A well-made pair of heels feels good to me. I have a nice pair of 5 1/2 ” black stilettoes that are so comfortable I’ve worn them for a full day out at an amusement park (going on rides, wandering the hot asphalt, chasing my friends and everything) – they don’t hold me back, and they feel better on my feet than any pair of tennis shoes I’ve ever owned. (Or, for that matter, any pair of ‘sensible flats’ that wasn’t flip-flops.) That has nothing to do with how they look and everything to do with how they’re made and how their shape interacts with my body. How do you know the woman in the baggy jeans and flats is really comfortable?

    (For clarity: I’m not saying that all fancy/femme/dressy/complicated stuff is comfortable, and I do like wearing loose nondescript clothing periodically. My point is that comfort is every ounce in the skin of the wearer, not the eyes of the beholder. You can’t say ‘wearing comfortable clothes’ is better without admitting that people’s ideas of comfort differ widely, and that what is comfortable for you may be immensely awkward for me and vice versa. I like corsets; properly boned and laced, they feel great. That doesn’t mean that you have to.)

    That’s the part that really bothers me. We conflate comfort and natural expression with rebellion, at this point. And in one sense, the philosophical, broader-movement sense, that’s right. The exhaust metaphor fits there. But the micro and the macro do not nearly so neatly coincide; you can’t go from the macro ‘this stuff hurts us overall’ to ‘you are a bad person’ or ‘you must be brainwashed’ or ‘you aren’t doing your part.’ You don’t know that.

  13. ellenbrenna
    August 23, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    The reasons to accept your body and yourself in the end have little to do with how much approval you will get from men, women, feminists or non-feminists. The fact is if you accept your body and yourself you will in all likliehood take better care of yourself. Women with high levels of self confidence and acceptence eat healthier and exercise more.

    Also patriarchy approved grooming is a distraction from the rest of your life and ultimately a waste of money and time. It is disempowering in the most basic sense not because of how others respond but because it deprives women of money and time they could be using for other things (even if those other things are trifles that do not change the world like concert tickets or travel)

    I have scars on my face and most days I do not bother to cover them up, the pressure for women to obsess over minor flaws and invest in correcting them is a way to distract us from work, socializing and genuine self-care.

  14. August 23, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Uh, no. Makeup can, in theory, be used for a variety of reasons. Makeup can be used to cover up acne scars because one feels self-conscious, makeup can be used to give one the appearance of a zombie on Halloween, makeup can be used on stage to enhance features, makeup can be used every day to enhance features just for the hell of it, and makeup can unfortunately be used in service of the patriarchy to instill in women a sense of inadequacy, etc.

    Ooh, good point, Batgirl. I forgot to mention that. My thing about makeup (and hair, and painting your nails and dressing up) has always been that it has both outward aspects (what messages your appearance sends) and inward ones (why you personally chose to wear that), and that those don’t always match up.

    It’s fun to dress up. It’s neat to see what you look like with a different hair style, or with bits of color on your face. I love trying on period clothes from a variety of eras, for example… I like the way I look in my psuedo-17th century dutchess dress. It has nothing to do with other people, and everything to do with what I like.

    Of course, since most other people have eyes (and ears and other sensory stuff), I can’t wholly cut off what I’m doing from what they’re percieving, and that should be taken into account in some situations (wearing said 17th century styled dress to a Board Meeting, for example, would probably be a bad idea.). That’s true. But it strikes me as really … counterproductive … to say that one ought privilege those concerns (‘what helps the movement’) over one’s own comfort and happiness. Isn’t that what we’re fighting against?

  15. Morgan
    August 23, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    if you were happy and accepting of your body, why would you put in 3 days at the gym and diet to change it? same with shaving. same with make up,dying greys, etc.

    not that i don’t ever diet or go to the gym, but i’m well aware that i go because i’m not “there yet”. i don’t consider this my most feminist feature. of course, i still consider myself a feminist because the majority of my actions are based in the principles of feminist consciousness. but we don’t try to lose weight because we’re feminists, we try to lose weight because of residual patriarcial training. we all grew up in the patriarchy, no one wants to stand out and not reap the benefits of beauty. but this sort of modification is not making the world a better place for the oppressed.

    if we really get to the point where the pussycat dolls and what have you are feminist, and can’t be called unfeminist, i’m out.

  16. Anne Onne
    August 23, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    I really don’t see where everybody meets the feminists who see attractive women as getting an easy ride. It just runs so counter to every feminist principle I know that I’m horrified that there are people supposedly against misogyny who seem to want to victimise women.

    Ellenbrenna, snap! To be honest, though I have a few visible scars on my face (not exacly disfiguring, but definitely visible if someone is close enough to talk to me) I never tried to cover them up, though it would probably not have been possible. I guess that because I am not at all self-consious about them, nobody noticed them, and even people who have known me for years and years are surprised when I point them out. I mostly refer to them for humour. I don’t think I’d get rid of them if I could- they are a part of me that I’m so used to, though I’d understand it if somebody wanted to do so. I agree that women do have a real pressure to obses about very minor flaws, and that a lot of stress, self-consiousness and self-loathing can come from the pressure to be flawless.

  17. Sina
    August 23, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    This is a good question, I think, and one of those things that feminists need to continue talking about and working on.

    I think that there is a disconnect between what feminism purports to want (body acceptance for all women) and how it behaves (looking down on makeup, or shaving, or lipstick, or whatever crap it is this time) corresponds to the distinction between the future feminism imagines and the world we now live in. That is to say, in a feminist future, we would all appear however we wanted and it would never be more or less “patriarchal” or more or less “feminist.” But as we haven’t reached that future yet, the choices that we make are not value-neutral. So not shaving is considered more feminist than getting implants is. Why? Because one choice affirms one’s right to be different (which is a fundamental tenet of feminism, to me) and one re-affirms pre-existing notions about women and their relative value to men. One way of appearing opens up a future of new possibilities, and one doesn’t.

    However, this doesn’t mean that all women who dress according to feminine standards are bad or evil or not feminist, necessarily; in the world in which we live, we have to make compromises to survive. Want to be a lawyer who defends the rights of women and argues asylum cases for victims of FGM? Well then you might have to follow some of the patriarchal standards of appearance present in the culture of law firms.

    In the end, I would hope that we could negotiate somehow between pushing for ways of appearing that affirm women’s right to determine their own value, and ways of appearing that only affirm women’s value to men. I think we want to avoid these two extremes: “My boob job is feminist because 1) feminism is about making your own choices and 2) I chose to get a boob job” and “All women who are thin, or blond, or who wear heels, or who have straightened hair, or who wear lipstick, or who have boob jobs are not and never can be feminists because they are mere tools of the patriar-kay.” This is not easy to do, because this world is hard. But we’re working on it.

  18. Csquared
    August 23, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    What Morgan said. This is all sounding a little “but what about the pretty girlz?!”

    Also, I’ve read a lot of interesting feminist *discussion* about the meaning and value of makeup and other adornments (and how interesting it is that the gender who has to appease the patriarchy the most is still the gender that’s expected to adorn themselves), but in my readings, I have yet to see feminists *judge* and *condemn* women for wearing makeup as the post implies.

    I call strawfeminist.

  19. August 23, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Morgan:

    if you were happy and accepting of your body, why would you put in 3 days at the gym and diet to change it?

    I realise I am going to be nitpicky about this, and I want to say at the outset that I know what you mean.

    Still though, I think there should be some space between “happy, wouldn’t change it if you paid me” and “must change for the patriarchy!”.  I want that space for when I want to get stronger and have more energy, so I lift weights.  Or I’m tired of dragging ass all the time, so I change my diet.

    In these situations, I wouldn’t say I’m happy with my body, but I’m not unhappy, necessarily.  To make an exceedingly poor analogy, it’s like the difference between painting the house white to fit in with the neighbors, and fixing a leak in the house – one’s for social stuff, one’s for functional stuff.

    *goes to finish my coffee*

  20. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Morgan:

    Hell, I spend a lot of time in the gym, not because of looks as much as because I’m an athlete, and I enjoy working out. It relaxes me, it keeps me healthier, it’s great stress relief, and yeah, I do like the way my body looks because of it, but that is not my main reason for doing it…and there are a lot of folk who work out for those types of reasons rather than the endless quest to be a size two. Why should they feel guilty or appologize for it? I mean, we get one body in life, right, and if one wants to go all natural and is comfortable that way, great, but if one wants to slim down, bulk up, or do countless other things with it…cut or grow hair, get tattoos, whiten their teeth (all things that mess with nature) and they like the results and help them feel more comfortable…why is that such a BAD thing?

    And not even I think the PCD’s are “feminist”, but that’s a whole different issue. Feminist or not, is it okay to make fun of they way they look? I think not.

  21. Anne Onne
    August 23, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Morgan, you might also want to work out because it is good for your health. I know health is often intertwined with beauty in the popular consiousness, but I do believe some people might do excersise because it is healthy more than because of appearance and beauty standards. That doesn’t mean I don’t think beauty won’t play a part- it always will to some extent because of our conditioning, but it is really hard to eliminate all effects of the patriarchy on ourselves.

    Obviously those who don’t want to excersise have a right to do so, and it is not healthy to couple excessive excersise with extreme dieting to lose weight very quickly, but that does not mean that all excersise is a tool of the patriarchy in that people only do it to look hot. If I lifted weights and ended up looking like a pro wrestler, I doubt I would reap the benefits of being conventionally hot.

  22. August 23, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Well, I am harassed constantly, for 37 years now (since I turned 13) to “do something with myself”… I HAVE done something, and this is it, thanks. I am clean, well-scrubbed, not dirty or gross, but I am given the message virtually every day that I should “clean myself up”…if I did not work in an alternative business, I probably couldn’t obtain gainful employment.

    All my life, I have been fussed at to wear makeup, cut my hair (or “do something” with it), wear traditional middle-class clothing, and so on. Women my age are expected to wear make-up, and I am constantly given advice I never asked for about that. Women my age are not supposed to have long, unstyled hair. We are supposed to have manicures, pedicures, wearing capri pants, etc. No thanks. MY FUCKING CHOICE. And yet, I am interrogated about MY CHOICES. I do not criticize others unless they start in on me, and then, yes, I will catalog for them all the chemicals they are absorbing into their skin. But only if they ask. (And no, that is not the only reason I don’t use it. I learned the names of the chemicals just to upset the interrogators.)

    Until my choices are fully respected and I am LEFT ALONE by the busybodies (all women, interestingly enough), then I really don’t care about “feminist pressure” (where?) about make-up or shaving. Are you kidding? This is a joke, right? Feminists lost that battle; that ship sailed. The majority of women are all about make-up, hair-styling, dieting, botox, etc. So I am at a loss to figure out where this “feminist pressure” is supposedly coming from?

    And these are rhetorical questions, not necessarily directed to Ren, with whom I have had this discussion before! :)

  23. ginmar
    August 23, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Oh, christ, the strawfeminist again who questions whether or not women wear makeup. A more valueable topic would be why people MUST focus on one bad feminist instead of all the good ones. If indeed there are feminists out there roving around bitching at women to conform. It’s not feminists doing this; it’s conservative women. Why not take a shot at them now and then? I’ve been all over the world and I’ve nevre had a liberal feminist women bitch at me about my damned clothes: the conformists have always been threatened conservative patriarchy-obeying women.

    I wonder how much of this crap is self selection. It happens to you once, you remember it. But I can tell you this much; if I let the fact that I got mugged by a black man influence my opinion of black people ever after, you could accurately say things about my character, and that’s what I wish people would do whenever somebody invokes the Fashion Police Feminazi Squad. FFS already.

  24. ginmar
    August 23, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    That said, I know some pro-porn, sex pos, male kiss ass pseudo feminists who are all about the bitching at other feminists. I still don’t think it’s a feminist thing because simply speaking, kissing male ass and attacking other feminists is not feminists, and I’ve seen these women in action and they’re vicious. Whether they’re feminist—they sure protest enough—is not something I’d be willing to answer affirmatively. They’re feminist for themselves. That doesn’t make them feminist for others, and often they’re not.

  25. SarahMC
    August 23, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    When have we feminists ever criticized women for being naturally blonde or thin? Come on. It really sounds like you’re attacking strawfeminism.
    The point is: women wouldn’t feel so compelled to shave, wear makeup, or dye their hair in the absence of patriarchy. There are countless beauty rituals women engage in that men don’t. And it’s not because of inate sex differences. It’s because of patriarchal pressure.
    Yeah, I like the way my smooth legs feel too; but I don’t try to convince myself that “I do it for me!” I know it’s expected of me because I’m a woman, and sometimes even feminists cave to the pressure. No, feminists aren’t all ugly. You couldn’t pick most of us out in a crowd, I’m sure. Because some of us DO like makeup, and shoes, and pretty purses. But I don’t wear high heels ’cause they’re comfy. And I can admit that that’s not a feminist act. It doesn’t have to be. Not every single thing I do each day MUST be “feminist.” But like I said, I sure as hell don’t live in denial of the double-standards put upon me and other women.
    Let’s talk about breast implants. Nobody, I mean nobody, would get breast implants if she were already happy with her body. Women, no matter how much they protest, get implants in order to live up to patriarchal beauty standards. That doesn’t mean I dislike or ridicule all women who get them. Because I understand that sometimes it sucks to have less-than-desirable physical features. I’d like bigger breasts, because it would make me “more attractive” (in our society) and who doesn’t want to be more attractive? But I don’t think I’d ever get implants. What’s important is recognizing why we (as women) desire certain physical attributes and practice certain beauty rituals. If you refuse to do that, and insist that your implants just make you super deliriously happy in and of themselves, yeah – we might make fun of or pity you.

  26. SoE
    August 23, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    As DaisyDeadhead said before, it’s usually women who are scrutinizing each other all the time. Most guys I know never really get it whether women wear make-up or not until it’s colour all over the face.

    From my POV appearance is deeply unfair. It’s always only a few people who happen to fit into contemporary beauty standards. For the rest it’s money and time-consuming. I have a hard time getting up in the morning and cannot bothered to put on make-up or do my hair for hours. So when I get somewhere and have to look at perfectly styled women looking at my tired mess with this “oh, poor girl BUT you should really do something” look on their faces…. AAAAAAAHHHH.
    But no, I am not despising naturally thin women, I think it’s deeply unfair of those, who waste hours on their “beauty” only to look down on us who don’t have the time.
    Yea, that might not be what feminists should do but hey, we are all just humans and I’ve learned to just ignore them. Call me when you found a perfect person.

  27. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Sarah: Of course people face pressure and a pressure to conform to certain ideals of beauty…I don’t think I stated otherwise. I do think some women do certain things like shave “for themselves” primarily, even with the pressure. And I am not arguing the point that feminists can wear makeup and still be feminists, even if wearing makeup might not be a feminist act. What bothers me is that if we are encouraging women to be more accepted for a variety of appearances, and happy with themselves, why are the insults still out there, from what Daisy described in relation to her “clean yourself up” comments to the “fat and lazy” comments to yep, even the “bimbo/sexbot” comments. I understand it is hard to go against the long time patriarchy habit of attacking eachother based on appearance, but if we’re going to make the effort, we should make it all around, yes?

    Ginmar: Once again, not about whether a feminist does or doesn not wear make up, shave, whatever else. The question IS, why do feminists, when trying to encourage women to be happy with their bodies, attack or disregard women who do not go about having that comfort the same way they do. Now, I doubt you need a map, but why yes, there are blogs out there where women who have “conventional traits” are outright attacked for them or are made to feel lesser for them.

  28. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    Sarah: Hell, I do love my implants, natch. I do like the way I look with them, so…what? I like my tattoos and crooked nose too…all things that I did not come by naturally. So yeah, if you want to make fun, fine, have at it, but really, keep the pity. IF having those things make me happier in my own skin, what’s the big deal, really?

  29. Csquared
    August 23, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    IF having those things make me happier in my own skin, what’s the big deal, really?

    If having implants truly makes you feel happier about yourself as a human being, that is kind of a big deal because it means you’re tying your worth to your appearance. Regardless of the “I did it for me!” party line, there’s only one reason anyone gets implants: it makes life in a patriarchy easier. If a flat chest was the patriarchy-approved state of being, would you still have gotten your implants? (No.)

  30. SarahMC
    August 23, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    I didn’t say they couldn’t make you happy in your own skin. But they make you happy in your own skin because women have super-high, unrealistic standards to live up to, beauty-wise. Like I said, I wish I had bigger tits too. And?

  31. Interrobang
    August 23, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    I’m going to second SarahMC on this: Why are we attempting to convene a circular firing squad on this issue? Why aren’t we going after the genuine Tools of the Patriarchy™ out there, and/or the people who are applying the social pressure to conform, whether it be the male friend of mine who opined very matter-of-factly that the reason people stare at my legs isn’t because of the way they look shape-wise, but because I don’t shave, never mind that from further away than conversational distance, you can’t even tell; or the type of people that Daisy has to deal with, or even my damn looks-like-a-punk-but-is-a-right-winger sister, who has called me “weird” to my face because I won’t wear makeup or shave my legs et cetera.

    That’s where we’re truly losing it. We have utterly failed, I think, to make a significant amount of dent in the general public’s treatment of women — no matter what the specific “offense” is, the nail that stands too high will still be hammered down, often with a vengeance.

    Wouldn’t it be better to focus more attention on promoting further the idea that, “Hey, this is really not ok” than critiquing self-identified feminists for not being feminist enough, or not being properly feminist? We’re in the middle of the worst feminist backlash in forty years; can’t we worry about ideological purity later?

  32. Anne Onne
    August 23, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    Renegade, I don’t think Sarah’s trying to imply that you shouldn’t be happy with your choice to have implants, rather that the pressure ot have implants, or how many of us view our breasts isn’t easily separated from the patriarchichal standards.

    It may please us to do things that are patriarchically conventional for our own reasons, but that doesn’t mean that the reason why we are pleased by that has absolutely nothing to do with the conditioning we get from society. We still have to criticise that conditioning, just not demonise the people who choose the option for whatever reason.

    Still, the kind of ‘feminism’ put forward in this case is, if not blatant strawfeminism, then so unrepresentative of most feminists as a whole that those who act like that don’t really deserve the title of feminist if they judge women who happen to be conventionally attractive, or treat women who follow beauty standards as less than themselves. Because it’s freaking hard to rebel against the patriarchy. We all know this. I have a very high respect for those who rebel much more than I do, and take a lot more flak for it than I do (and indeed those who fall in more minority groups than I do for dealing with how people treat them), but that does not mean that people who follow the narrow, contradictory, no-win rules of the patriarchy have it made. We all lose.

  33. Lindsay
    August 23, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    “if you were happy and accepting of your body, why would you put in 3 days at the gym and diet to change it? same with shaving. same with make up,dying greys, etc.”

    When it comes to exercise and the gym. I completely agree with renegade evolution. I love my body and my mind, exercise is one way in which I take care of them. I love to run and strength train, afterward I’m more energetic, more creative, and more determined. It’s a demonstration to myself of what my mind and body can accomplish.

  34. Peter
    August 23, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    I want to post this in the spirit of inquiry rather than sounding like I am pontificating. As a gay man, I am just that much further removed from the day-to-day private experiences of most women.

    But back to the original set of questions – isn’t it missing the point to focus on the behavior rather than the motivation? When asking if it isn’t hypocritical to hold up a woman’s choices as the standard and then sniping at women who choose things like makeup and gym membership, isn’t the real point the why of it?

    Two essentially visually identical women (or men, but that’s outside the scope of this thread) can easily appear to be doing the same thing, but for very different reasons, can’t they. Is it really automatic that a woman who uses makeup and dresses stylishly must be doing it IN ORDER TO conform to the patriarchal standard? And even if she is, doesn’t it make a difference whether it is a conscious and freely made choice as opposed to a morbid soul-eating self-internalized set of impossible standards?

    I don’t see anything inherently hypocritical about praising one person for looking fabulous while pitying another for needing to look fabulous, or worse, looking fabulous while feeling phoney. Or for praising one person who chooses to dress or groom a certain way but who happily accepts diversity of expression from others, while attacking someone who tries to force a certain style on others, especially by attaching it to some moral imperative.

    Admittedly, someone who appears to conform to all the artificial standards will likely have a harder time establishing non-patriarchal street cred, but isn’t (or is it) that a different issue?

  35. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Interrobang:

    Exactly…why aren’t we standing up for eachother no matter how we dress, groom, look, whatever? THAT is the question. Why aren’t we saying “that’s not okay” and attacking eachother instead? That’s the question I want answered.

  36. ginmar
    August 23, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    REnegade Evoltion, I don’t believe for one minute that what you’re talking about is anything but a strawfeminist. My experience has been the opposite. I’ve had any number of pseudo feminists and conformist women try and take me to task for my clothing, but never feminists, so as far as I can see, all you’re doing is exactly what you’re complaining about.

  37. Peter
    August 23, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Interrobang,

    In all seriousness, how do you propose changing people’s perspective on such things as unshaved legs without having some people actually out their, being normal, happy, and unapologetic about actually being hairy?

    The trailblazers are going to get stared at. Didn’t your experience give you both the opportunity (and the moral authority) of talking about the issue with your friend, in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise have had? Isn’t that the opening for the discussion that will actually change the perception?

  38. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    Ginmar: Guess its a good thing I don’t, um, particularly care what you believe? You’ve had your experiences, I’ve had mine, all women have had their own, and if you’ve never been taken to task for you apperance by feminists, that’s great, but do not assume your experience is universal. I’ve seen feminist women taken to task by feminist women for discussions about everything from shaving to struggles with eating disorders, and frankly, I don’t see how me asking that we all, you know, knock it off is a bad thing.

  39. Csquared
    August 23, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Based on what you’ve written, though, I don’t really think you want that question answered in any other way than “Oh, sorry for questioning your motivations and how they’re influenced by the patriarchy.” I’m sorry, I’m not going to applaud every single choice a woman makes just because she’s a woman. If you say you’re a feminist but you’re proud of your implants, I’m going to wonder what your thought processes were. I’m not going to take away your right to get them, and I’ll even advocate for your health coverage when they need additional medical care. But I’m not going to say “Implants, yeaaaa!” when I think they’re one of the creepiest tools in the patriarchal arsenal.

  40. Karolena
    August 23, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Oh jesus christ. Enough with the “meanie feminists won’t let me wear makeup.” Find me one instance where a feminist criticized a woman for being “naturally blonde or naturally thin.”

    “Often times being thin, via nature or diet or time in a gym is thought of something horrible”??? wtf?!!! thought of by who??

  41. ellenbrenna
    August 23, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    How good something makes you feel and whether or not it actually advances your interests and all women’s interests are two distinct questions and it is only a couple of decades of backlash women’s magazine happy talk that masks the differences.

    Like it or not your breast implants feed unrealistic assumptions about what women’s bodies look like and what other women should be expected to look like. Your decision makes you happy, if you lived on a desert island alone it would be the end of it.

    Since this is supposed to be a women’s, plural, movement , individual women’s choices, because they do not occur in isolation, are subject to discussion.

    Should you be insulted? No. Should your choices be off limits for discussion? No.

  42. SarahMC
    August 23, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Obviously you do care what ginmar believes or else you wouldn’t have titled your post “Something I never really understood” and pretended you wanted feedback from actual feminists.
    You are “Ren,” right?
    Maybe you’re assuming certain women are feminists when they’re actually not? Just ’cause someone says they like “empowerful” activities doesn’t mean they have a clue about feminism.

  43. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Right then, examples of feminist women denegrading women who have conventional traits…how about the recent uproar over the photo of Amiee Mullings in Sports Illustrated? Where the woman was mocked for her pose (which is a runner like pose), her attire (which is runner like attire), and there was much talk of her appearing as yet another skinny bottle blonde with her ass in the air?

  44. sojourner
    August 23, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    “Hell, I do love my implants, natch. I do like the way I look with them, so…what?”
    “IF having those things make me happier in my own skin, what’s the big deal, really?”

    You know what that sounds like? I really *love* staying at home and making dinner for my husband. True, everybody will say I am a bad wife and my husband will nag to death if I don’t, but I still do it for myself, despite the pressure.

  45. Csquared
    August 23, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Right then, examples of feminist women denegrading women who have conventional traits…how about the recent uproar over the photo of Amiee Mullings in Sports Illustrated? Where the woman was mocked for her pose (which is a runner like pose), her attire (which is runner like attire), and there was much talk of her appearing as yet another skinny bottle blonde with her ass in the air?

    The woman herself wasn’t mocked, the magazine was mocked for displaying an athlete in such a porny way. In fact, most of the criticism began: “Aimee Mullins is a great athlete; I can’t believe they put her in such a cheesy pose.”

    You’re really reaching on this whole topic.

    (I’ll be very surprised if these comments see the light of the intertubes. This is my fourth in moderation so far, in a thread where the OP is commenting left and right.)

  46. ginmar
    August 23, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Name names, Ren. I want details. I’m so sick of this shit coming up and over and over when there’s never any proof. What the fuck, did somebody identify themselves as a feminist and then say you should stop shaving your legs? Because that’s the urban legend I and everybody else has heard. I know self-proclaimed ‘bad feminists’ who boast about how they’re bad feminists because they shave their legs and pits and wear makeup, with hoardes of slavering feminazis slavering at their doors just baying for them to toss out their razors. Enough already.

    I don’t give a shit what you do with your body or your face or your boobs. What I do give a shit about is how some women insist they’re being bashed by specifically feminists and they’re in turn bashing feminists in general for it. That’s rediculous.

  47. sojourner
    August 23, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    No, is it really that hard to understand that catering to patriarchy and reinforcing conventional notions of what a woman should look like is going to annoy a couple of feminists?

  48. TiaRachel
    August 23, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    The problem is that ‘feminism’ is made up of ‘feminists’ who are, in fact, people (both male and female) who were raised in and continue to be surrounded by a patriarchal (misogynist, antifeminist, etc.) culture. And not only do full-grown ‘Feminists’ continue to be influenced by that culture, they are in addition 3-D humans who on occasion experience denial, rationalization, and the failure to analyze every aspect of their own actions, words, and emotions to ensure that every aspect of their entire being adheres at every moment to Feminist principles.

    In other words, people sometimes over-react, occasionally in lengthy academic-journalese.

  49. August 23, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    if you were happy and accepting of your body, why would you put in 3 days at the gym and diet to change it?

    Because it makes your body feel good to exercise?
    Because getting physically stronger is something you can notice and feel proud of?

  50. Qurious
    August 23, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    I understand more the objection to things women are supposed to for the beauty ideal, but it seems like some of the elements now being discussed are applicable to, well, everybody. Men and women both have similar — or at least parallel — social expectations placed upon them for hair, hygiene, clothes, grooming, etc.

    I think a lot of it is *worse* for women — again, especially the “feminine” expectations, from makeup to “smile!” — and certainly the whole system of expectations has been established by a patriarchal system. There are, though, plenty of things people do because they honestly want to for themselves, even if that desire is a product of The System or whatever.

    I like going to the gym because of how it makes me feel and, yes, how it makes me look. But even beyond that, I shave even if I’m not going to leave my apartment all day; not totally sure why, I just do. I feel better about myself if I have the self-control to eat right. Etc. As others have said, it’s all about the motivation.

    Though I guess even the motivation gets fuzzy if you go deep enough . . .

  51. August 23, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Ginmar:

    Read comment #24. If you want names so bad, respond when they’re given.

  52. ginmar
    August 23, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    Oh, you’re FUCKING kidding me, Ren. That picture was criticized because it fetishized the woman. That’s intellectually dishonest in the extreme. You’re actually going to pretend feminists were criticizing the WOMAN? Christ almighty, that explains a lot.

  53. ginmar
    August 23, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Trinity, thanks for doing me the compliment of assuming I wasn’t posting at the same time. And if you believe Ren’s example you haven’t seen the post or read it, as I did. The picture was criticized as an example of fetishizing a woman. The woman HERSELF was not being criticized.

    Intellectually dishonest and dishonorable in the extreme.

  54. sojourner
    August 23, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    And I am not saying I don’t cater to patriarchy, just that I recognize it for what it is when I do it. I am not gonna say that ok ginmar or whoever it was upthread doesn’t shave her legs and that’s her choice, I shave my legs and that’s my choice. That she should be happy with her unshaved legs and me with my shaved legs, and that all these choices are equal, and that it’s all good. That would be “choice feminism” which isn’t really feminism.

  55. ginmar
    August 23, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Well, fuck it, I seem to be stuck in the moderation queue. Funny, that. Because I saw that picture and I READ the criticism and remember it very clearly. The pose and the fetishization were criticized, not the woman.

  56. Karolena
    August 23, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    Ginmar was responding to comment 24. Names of people involved in the “uproar.”

  57. Q Grrl
    August 23, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Ren: regarding post #24. She wasn’t being mocked, feminists were taking the photographers and consumers to task for giving her limited options on how to display herself.

    And why is it that non-feminists, like yourself, want feminism to be the big band-aid over women’s ills, but you also want to tear feminism down as often as you can? Feminism didn’t create the unreal beauty standards and the you’re-only-valid-if-you’re-SEXXAYY mindset that women find themselves facing. Feminism critics the cause, which is pretty obvious in just about any form of feminism that you read, so I don’t know why you happen to be missing it.

    It is possible to do both you know: want women to feel comfortable in their skin and criticize those societal factors that shape women’s general discomfort. It is not the fault of feminism if indivdual women, like yourself, take it personally when feminism critiques high heels, make-up, breast implants, etc. Those things need to be criticized. And if individual women feel attacked then they need to seek clarification, not just assume that feminism is teh Evil, right next to conservative Christianity.

  58. August 23, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    I’ve definitely caught myself making fun of stereotypically attractive women before, and, for that matter, women who do everything in their power to appear stereotypically attractive (and sometimes fail).

    I did it not because I don’t shave (I do), or wear heels (I do – and my boyfriend ends up having lovely conversations with my ta-tas when I do this), or wear make-up (I rarely leave the house without it), or buy pretty things (just dug up a pair of Vivienne Westwood sunglasses on SALE baby, yeah!!!).

    I made fun of others because I was insecure. I did it because I was self-righteous. I did it because I thought I was “better.” Beauty culture is part of my heritage, getting dolled up is something even my grandmother, who had a brilliant medical career that spanned over 5 decades, did every morning, and for me it was “natural.” Almost everyone else, however, was just “trying too hard.”

    I gained a little bit of perspective on the issue when, in the workplace, I was threatened by a couple of self-described feminists precisely for this sort of thing. The minute I walked through the door, I was in trouble.

    I got a taste of my own medicine. It was enlightening.

    I also saw how something as well-meaning as a feminist ideology, an ideology meant to make our world a better place, could be used to threaten and demean another woman – particularly a younger, inexperienced woman who’s below your rank.

    It’s a long story, and I’d like to sit down and write a coherent blog post, or even article, about it sometime, but for now I’m just going to say that yes – this post struck a chord with me.

    I am not sure, however, what a good response is. I’m not going to deny that this is a complex issue – after what happened to me, the pendulum did not swing wildly in the other direction. I still make value judgments about women I encounter – I just don’t do it as hastily as I used to. I look deeper. We must always, always look deeper.

    People do what they do for a combination of reasons. Judging, say, a lipstick-wearer on the basis of the lipstick is really no different than judging a hijab-wearer on the basis of the hijab.

    I guess I’ll just conclude by saying thank you, Ren.

    P.S. Oh, and needless to say, the first time I’d mentioned what had happened to me in the office, I initially got the predictable “you must have simpered and baked cookies for everyone” line. From a fellow feminist (whom I respect, but still, it was unnecessary). D’oh.

  59. SarahMC
    August 23, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    I remember when that Sports Illustrated thing occured. And you know what? People were condemning SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, not the athlete herself. Because guys only give two shits about women when they look like sex pots. They had to sex her up for the spread. Get it?

  60. ginmar
    August 23, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Gee, my comments aren’t going through.

  61. ginmar
    August 23, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Sarahmc, I have three comments that are being ‘moderated’ that say exactly what you just said, except a great deal more incensed.

  62. Kallisti fnord
    August 23, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you.

    I’ve been told to leave feminist meetups because they only wanted “true” feminists and I was wearing a short skirt and makeup*–apparently that means I’m a tool of the patriarchy and I have nothing of value to contribute.

    So yes, Ginmar, Karolena, it happens. (Although this was on a college campus. I’m not sure if that changes anything, but I’ve gotten the same reaction from most other feminist groups in my area.)

    It’s extremely frustrating for me, since I’ve been an activist for most of my life and was really looking forward to getting involved with people who shared a similar passion. Luckily the group that does Take Back the Night doesn’t have any of those hangups, but I wish I could get more involved without feeling like I have to compromise my personal identity.

    *It was 97 degrees out, and the makeup was a shade of lipstick that hasn’t been in style for years but I wear because *gasp!* I like the colour. Yes, that’s it. Card carrying tool of the Patriarchy here. /sarcasm

  63. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    ginmar: I have no intention of moderating you out, not my style….

    Now-

    Links re; Amiee Mullins- where yes, she herself IS mocked. For having her ass in the air, and being thin, and blonde, and wearing pink nail polish. Yes, SI is citicisized, but so is that sellout Mullins, how dare she?

    http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2007/06/25/pose-of-the-week-department-of-supermodel-sports/

    http://bastantealready.blogspot.com/2007/06/moon-critique.html

    http://fetchmemyaxe.blogspot.com/2007/06/why-yes-thats-exactly-my-first-thought.html

    http://trinityva.livejournal.com/666098.html

    http://thegimpparade.blogspot.com/2007/07/not-legless-ten-pairs-of-legs.html

    http://trinityva.livejournal.com/674133.html

    http://renegadeevolution.blogspot.com/2007/07/urrggggghhhh-gahhh.html (nsfw)

    If people want to discuss the contexts in which Mullins chose to do that photo shoot, or general pornification, fine, really, have at it. But why make rude remarks about Mullin’s body and appearance, you know, remarks about her? And yes, some folk most certainly did. Forgive me for finding that problematic.

  64. August 23, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    ginmar — neither are mine.

  65. August 23, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    Because it makes your body feel good to exercise?
    Because getting physically stronger is something you can notice and feel proud of?

    Word. Some people go to the gym to actually get strong, and looking and feeling sexy is just a nice side effect.

  66. TiaRachel
    August 23, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    Peter @17, you bring up some good points. My sister-in-law and I have some similar health and weight problems. I try to keep my weight down because being too heavy really aggravates the aches & pains of my fibromyalgia, and it’s worth the nuisance of paying attention to calories in order to not feel like shit all the time (only some of the time, but whatever). My SIL tries to keep her weight down because she is very invested in being tiny, slim, and beautiful.

    If it should happen that I try a new medicine that makes me gain weight, I’ll just get out the larger-sized clothing. If she has to be on a new medicine that makes her gain weight, she feels like a failure as a woman. In other areas of her life as well, she adheres to patriarchal standards, and it seems to me that when she does something ‘for herself,’ as often as not it’s not so much that she’s enjoying being a beautiful woman, it’s that if she doesn’t do those things, she feels lousy for not being a ‘real woman’ at all. Rather than ‘feeling good’ = content and self-confident, ‘feeling good’ = not like shit.

  67. Lorelei
    August 23, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    we have this conversation on lj:kissmyass_cosmo probably every two weeks. i don’t know why it’s a difficult one. the fact of the matter is we were raised in this society (most of us coming from the US, Canada, or a western European country) and we were influenced by messages from society and the media from birth. if society hadn’t declared that shaved legs and big breasts are what is desireable for the ideal woman in our socety, i don’t think it would have occured to any of us to start doing it, for the most part. makeup can be argued a bit differently, as i do find it artistic in a lot of circumstances (for example, I have a friend who learned to do her makeup by watching Cirque de Soleil as a child, and she is, by profession, a make up artist for theater).

    however, leg shaving and breast implants? i can’t find another reason that someone would do it except for insecurity (which is caused by society/the patriarchy telling you that you are unacceptable), pressure from others telling you that you need to ‘do something about that,’ or trying to please the male gaze, or society’s gaze in general.

    this isn’t to say that i particularly give a fuck if someone wears make up, shaves their legs, gets implants, or whatever. i mean, i wear makeup and occasionally shave my legs. and a lot of times, the makeup is to look pretty for my manfriend and the shaving is because ‘leg hair doesn’t look good under tights,’ which is irrational.

    my point is that i don’t think anyone should kid themselves, particularly. i think there WILL be a time where one can wear their makeup and inflate their breasts till the day she dies and it won’t be influenced by anyone else, but until then, you ARE being influenced by society. hell, even people who are going against beauty standards, the nature of their rebellion is influenced by society. so, uh, yeah. i think that’s all i had to say.

  68. SarahMC
    August 23, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Kallisti, I’m very sorry that some feminists were mean to you, but what do they have to do with any of us?
    IIRC, nobody on this site has ever endorsed closing the door on certain women because of their personal style or appearance. That’s ludicrous. And we’re not responsible for the behavior of some jerky women we don’t even know.
    I mean, what do you think *we* look like? It seems like these rants are based on a very skewed perception of feminists that’s completely informed by the smear tactics of anti-feminists. Right, right, none of us wear skirts or dresses, we hate shopping, we shun makeup and shampoo, yada yada yada.
    Who is this, Tony Palmyra?

  69. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    re; comments/moderation…

    I am publishing the comments, all of them, that are getting stuck in moderation for this post, if they don’t show up immediately it’s not because I am silencing you, okay? I have to go in an approve a lot of them click by click and all (including my own), so a little patience please.

  70. August 23, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    A big problem is that, when it comes to these discussions, folks are notoriously bad at separating the people from the privilege, and everyone gets offended. Though personally, I’m inclined to think that the people with privilege should just deal with the criticism rather than demand that the people without privilege tread lightly to avoid giving offense.

  71. SarahMC
    August 23, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    Whoa. The thread like doubled. There are a lot more posts that just appeared up top so check them out, y’all.

  72. SarahMC
    August 23, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    I’d say that most of the time when you THINK a woman is being criticized for her adherence to patriarchal beauty standards, it’s really the patriarchal beauty standards themselves that are being condemned. The insistence that women should, at all times, be aware that the male gaze may fall upon them so they better prepare accordingly.

  73. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    sarah: yep, just did the manual approve thing for all the comments caught in moderation…which, as I said, I will have to continue doing, so if your comments don’t show up right away, please be patient…I do have to work this evening so I will be away for awhile later this eve, but I will check the moderation when I get home.

  74. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Sarah: Okay, that I can buy, even if often it does seem more personal than that to me. So, is there a way to critisize the practice without leaving this impression?

  75. other orange
    August 23, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    I’ve been reading and commenting on feminist blogs for several years, and I know it’s only anecdotal, but I have literally never heard or seen a woman attacked by feminists for conforming to pop-culture beauty standards. I’ve heard a million anti-feminists and faux Althousey-feminots comment on various women’s attractiveness; but never a feminist. I am not saying that it doesn’t happen !

    But I don’t think the problem lies with feminism. I think the problem lies with the fact that when one lives in the patriarchy, one absorbs it. (It’s almost impossible not to, we’re surrounded by it ! I mean, I wear skirts, I have long hair, I’ve absorbed a lot of the things I’m “supposed” to in order to present as female.) And when you absorb it, and it influences your choices on a very basic level, it’s hard to separate yourself and your thoughts and desires from the thoughts and desires you’ve been coded to find acceptable.

    So: the big question, do women who wax and paint and dye and diet do it because they feel, deep in their hearts, that is their personal path to happiness; or do they do it because they’ve been told to do it from the cradle, and shown how unacceptable and unlovable they’ll be without those things ? It doesn’t have to be entirely either/or.

    What feminists have asked for, what I believe they’ve always asked for, is an examination of choice. That we look past beyond the simplistic idea of “choice” (that every choice is equal and valid and awesome) to the root of those choices. Never that we demonize women who make perfectly valid choices to function and survive inside the patriarchy, but that we work to avoid that need for survival.

    I’ve had a woman tell me, with absolute sincerity, that she waxes because she “decided to” with no outside influence, and that in fact she had never, ever, seen anything that would have even in passing influenced that choice. I accept her statement that she’s telling the truth, but I’m saying that experience is INCREDIBLY RARE. Most of us are influenced by our surroundings and the stuff we consume. The desire to put on makeup isn’t innate and inborn, like a fight-or-flight-or-Cover-Girl gene.

    I’m rambling now. But: examination of choices. It’s vital, I think, to the core of feminist thought.

  76. Csquared
    August 23, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2007/06/25/pose-of-the-week-department-of-supermodel-sports/

    http://bastantealready.blogspot.com/2007/06/moon-critique.html

    http://fetchmemyaxe.blogspot.com/2007/06/why-yes-thats-exactly-my-first-thought.html

    http://trinityva.livejournal.com/666098.html

    http://thegimpparade.blogspot.com/2007/07/not-legless-ten-pairs-of-legs.html

    http://trinityva.livejournal.com/674133.html

    http://renegadeevolution.blogspot.com/2007/07/urrggggghhhh-gahhh.html (nsfw)

    Let’s see, half of these links come from you and your buddies, so I’m not even going to bother with them. (Did you even try?)

    The link from IBTP even discusses whether the woman or the magazine is being criticized, and the discussion pretty much solidifies that the woman is not being blamed.

    The second link is from an antifeminist site, so maybe you should do more than just Google “aimee mullins feminist.”

    The Fetch Me My Axe link definitely comes down on the side of blaming the magazine.

    The Gimp Parade link discusses not only the photo but the discussion of the photo and, again, blames the magazine.

    In other words, you’re rolling snake eyes on this one. Maybe you could find another example?

  77. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    Csquared: That’s a shame, as some radical feminists actually commented on the threads that “friends of mine” wrote. Oh well.

  78. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Csquared: Also, I wouldn’t call Basante Already an Anti-Feminist site as it is written by a woman who id’s as a feminist, discusses feminist issues and works with DV victims…but hey, to each their own as far as definitions go, I suppose.

  79. SarahMC
    August 23, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    What feminists have asked for, what I believe they’ve always asked for, is an examination of choice. That we look past beyond the simplistic idea of “choice” (that every choice is equal and valid and awesome) to the root of those choices. Never that we demonize women who make perfectly valid choices to function and survive inside the patriarchy, but that we work to avoid that need for survival.

    Bingo.

    This is what it comes down to. I don’t care if you do all the things necessary for women to survive as women under patriarchy. But please, for the love of god, don’t think TRUE feminists aren’t going to know it’s mostly done b/c of the intense pressure to be “feminine.” Most women aren’t aware of it because it literally starts before birth.

  80. janie
    August 23, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    I love makeup…a lot. I like putting different colors together, and I like putting them on my face. I think it can be creative. I especially love eyeliner, but i think that’s more of a punk/glam aesthetic than a patriarchy thing.

    I don’t feel the need to put it on every day, especially if i’m running late. I don’t freak out if i don’t have time to put any on, but I don’t think that makes me any better than women who do.
    If that makes me a slave to the patriarchy, then I guess I don’t have any business posting here.

    It’s issues like this that make me uncomfortable calling myself a feminist. It seems to me that with any activist group there are people who are going to be more ::insert label of group:: than you are. That’s what makes me shy away from labels and I think it’s attitudes like that: “i don’t wear make up so i’m more of a feminist than you” that cause it…and i think that’s sad.

  81. August 23, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    The second link is from an antifeminist site, so maybe you should do more than just Google “aimee mullins feminist.”

    Agree with her or don’t, as you like, but calling Kim an anti-feminist just because she’s no longer a radical feminist is sheer unadulterated bullshit.

    Period.

  82. Farhat
    August 23, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    Fuck. One works out because it is exhilarating to be able to push your body to the limits. Because it is great to be able to fuck for 2 hours without getting exhausted. Because it is great to have that bounce in one’s steps. What next? Opposing teeth brushing because the patriarchy approves of it?

  83. Lorelei
    August 23, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    I CANNOT FUCKING BELIEVE THAT WE ARE USING TWISTY’S BLOG AS AN EXAMPLE OF MEAN, MEAN RADFEMS.

    I’m okay with Twisty. It took me awhile, but I’m okay with her. I think her original post about Aimee Mullen was legitimate — Twisty is not sex-pos and has a point about the pornification of ‘unfuckable women’ (according to the patriarchy, anyway). What happens in Twisty’s comments is another story.

    I’m sure everyone remembers that awful thread on Twisty’s blog concerning trans* people? This is practically a thread that only occurs among Twisty’s readership. I have never seen a group of feminist people go batshit crazy about trans*folk like they did. I’ve seen *ignorant* comments made about them in other radfem circles, but not malicious ones. To use Twisty’s audience and claim that ZOMG ALL RADFEMS HATE TRANS* PEOPLE is totally ludicrous, unless I wicked, wicked missed something… especially because I consider myself a radical feminist and I do not hold those ideas about trans* people.

    So I don’t know what’s up with Twisty’s readership, but they seem to have these sorts of things happen often. I think some of them are just naturally mean people, which has nothing to do with their feminism. To claim that they encompass all natural thought and theory among radical feminists is just kind of a lie.

  84. Csquared
    August 23, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Given the scorn Basante heaps on feminists in that link, I’d definitely call her anti-feminist. Also, in Basante’s link, you actually comment, doing the same thing you’re doing here: conflating critiquing the pose with critiquing the woman. It’s as if woman and image are the same thing in your critique.

  85. August 23, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    however, leg shaving and breast implants? i can’t find another reason that someone would do it except for insecurity (which is caused by society/the patriarchy telling you that you are unacceptable), pressure from others telling you that you need to ‘do something about that,’ or trying to please the male gaze, or society’s gaze in general.

    I like pleasing the male gaze – in the sense that I am attracted to men, and enjoy it when they are attracted right back. WHY they are, on the average, more attracted to someone like me than, say, to a woman who doesn’t shave (I haven’t got breast implants, so I guess I won’t go there) – is admittedly a whole other kettle of fish.

    But then again, if I were to offer one explanation (there are many explanations that I have toyed with in my head, but listing them all would require a dissertation), I would say that most of us are simply conventional thinkers – a lot of people, when you get right down to it, enjoy the comforts of sexual conformity, and want their partners to do the same.

    More importantly, I enjoy beauty. As I writer, that’s what I write about – beauty and the way it corrupts, the way it redeems, beauty and its shallowness, beauty and its depth. And I find it in surprising places. My tastes can be very conventional – but I’ve been known to surprise myself.

    If you’ve got an artists’ eye (I like to think that I do) for my subjects – you introduce a whole new layer of complexity to the issue of feminism and looks.

    I’ve been told that I couldn’t possibly be a feminist, with the sort of writing I do. I’ve been told that I couldn’t possibly be a writer, with the sort of feminism I participate in.

    I don’t let it stop me – now that I’m older, and have started protecting myself against bullies.

    It’s a purely subjective experience, but I thank Feministe and Ren for letting me share it. Maybe you’ll find it relevant.

  86. August 23, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    Opposing teeth brushing because the patriarchy approves of it?

    Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face?

    ;)

  87. Csquared
    August 23, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    “i don’t wear make up so i’m more of a feminist than you” that cause it…and i think that’s sad.

    Well, then, it’s a good thing nobody on this thread is saying that.
    Also: Morgan’s comment about working out was supplemented by a comment about dieting. I’m noticing that nobody’s mentioning that. Maybe because it can’t be realistically answered with “I diet because I like it!” Nobody does. But women tend to do it. Why? Answer that and you’ll have some inkling about why the wearing of makeup is being questioned.

  88. SarahMC
    August 23, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    “i don’t wear make up so i’m more of a feminist than you”

    And when the hell did any of us say that? Like some others, I post on a number of feminist blogs and have been for a while, and I don’t know anyone who feels this way.

    And enough with the, “I do X so I guess you can revoke my feminist card” bullshit. As though true, honest-to-god feminists DON’T do X. We criticize and examine it – that’s the difference.

  89. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Lorelei:

    Twisty’s link is included because there are, at least imho, some comments in the thread which are critical of Mullin’s physical appearance. And I don’t recall saying “all rad fems” do/say “_____”.

    Sigh.

    Women of all sorts get insulted due to their appearances. We can, at some point, all agree on that yes? I also stated in the original post that it is okay and expected to question things- examine them- as it were. Sure, go for it. But it does upset me when women, whatever they look like, get attacked or feel attacked because of what they look like….so yeah, how can we go about not doing that or at least doing it less?

  90. August 23, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    To claim that [Twisty and her Twittohead commenters] encompass all natural thought and theory among radical feminists is just kind of a lie.

    Fair enough.

    I still think, though, that there’s reason to be weirded out by comments like those. And there are some overlaps in readership/commenters between that blog, Womensspace, and other more moderate radfem blogs.

    While I don’t think that every radical feminist in bloglandia has the same views as every other one, I do find all of that concerning.

  91. Kallisti fnord
    August 23, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    All I was doing was pointing out that yes, this happens. Yes, some groups of feminists are hostile towards women who don’t conform to their ideals in the exact same way men are hostile to women who don’t conform to patriarchal beauty ideals. It’s not all, it’s not even most (except my community, sadly), but it does happen and yes, it should be addressed.

    As someone above me said (I’m sorry, the numer and post are hard to find after everything coming out of the queue) we should not be attacking women who align with the popular beauty model. Some of it is genetics, some of it is voluntary effort, and yes, a lot of it is influenced by the patriarchy, but not all of it, and it’s foolish to assume that someone is working out at the gym out of anything other than a desire for fitness (as an example used earlier in the thread). It is entirely possible to make a decision to alter your appearance for yourself without having anything or anyone else come into it, and assuming that all women who happen to wear heels, or makeup, or skirts, or dye their hair do it because they’re too stupid to do anything but follow patriarchal ideals is insulting.

    What we need to do is open a dialogue for women about appearance and the patriarchy and how consumerism creates false desire so that women can decide on their own what parts of beauty culture they want to buy into (if any), with the understanding that none of it is related to their worth as human beings. We can’t do that while at the same time attacking women’s choices when we don’t know what motivated them to make that choice. Using my example, I was attacked for wearing short skirts. Had they asked me why I was wearing a symbol of male oppression, I could have pointed out that it’s almost impossible for me to find pants because my body type didn’t align with the styles that season, leaving me with few options. That could have blossomed into a discussion of the patriarchal beauty standard and mass-marketing and what do you know? We’re having a feminist discussion!

    There are a lot of women who assume that to be a feminist you can’t do anything fun or girly, or worse, you need to look and act like the Pussycat Dolls, and that turns them off the idea as a whole. They’re not stupid for buying into the patriarchy, just uneducated to what it actually is and how far-reaching the consequences can be, and when feminists attack them for not knowing that what they’re doing is harmful all it does is push them further away from something that might help them.

    (Standard disclaimer of if it doesn’t sound like you, it doesn’t apply to you.)

  92. Racy T
    August 23, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    FWIW, I specifically remember a thread on this very site (about a year-and-a-half ago) that blew up into a big argument over whether you could wear makeup and still be feminist. There were many people saying that you couldn’t. (I’d try to find it, but I can’t get the archives to work.)

    That being said, there’s no way to know who those people were for sure or what their politics really are, so I wouldn’t say it’s indicative of the movement or anything.

  93. magpie
    August 23, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    My experience is that most self-identified feminists don’t condemn other women for their beauty practices. The radical set might mock breast implants and the like. I am kind of femme-y; I like my lipstick and cowboy boots, so of course I took these critiques personally. Now, not so much. I think that these particular feminists are coming from a theoretical position that calls into question the idea of Choice and is vehemently opposed to beauty standards, which they believe were created by and for men and exacted on women. The good news for you is that there are legions of other feminists out there who do not feel this way or write this way. The self-named radicals are a very small segment of a large and diverse movement. (I Blame the Patriarchy even has a sister site: I Shame the Matriarchy.) Most feminist blogs support a more mainstream point of view, which is Yay for you if you have made a choice about your lifestyle and appearance that makes you feel good.

    I am uneasy about implants and vaginaplasties and Brazillians and dieting and scads of other trends that corportations and the mainstream media present to women as alternatives to being how they are. The more these things become normal for mid-upperclass women, the more I feel like lookism and classism have dovetailed into a poisonous union. I am also uneasy about the fact that these things are so painful. Shit, I cried so hard when I tried to wax my brows. I stood there bleeding and thought

    Why am I doing this? Is this really making me feel better?

    and

    WHY is the female body supposed to be pathologically devoid of any hair while my lovely boyfriend can walk around feeling like he’s Duke of the Dungheap with hair on his freaking back for god’s sake? Why doesn’t he CHOOSE to shave that thang?

    Just because I (a feminist) don’t easily accept a lot of beauty standards because they seem to be rooted in what I feel is a rotten and pervasive power structure (some call it Patriarchy) doesn’t mean that I disdain women who take part. Feminists have a lot of more important work to do than worry about what other women are wearing or how they modify themselves. I think I speak for a lot of feminists when I say that I would work with a woman who took part in beauty rituals just as eagerly as I would work with a woman who took part in none.

    Sorry to go on and on, but really–I think you have way more feminists in your corner than you know.

  94. August 23, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Oh, and I don’t mean to imply that I’m not insecure. I can be hella insecure. But, as I’ve already pointed out, people’s choices are governed by a variety of reasons.

    No one’s got a one-track mind.

  95. Rose
    August 23, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Thank goodness Feministe is here to take on the tragic oppresion of beautiful, thin women.

    I wear makeup, shave my legs, enjoy fashion and even wear high heels. I’ve never had a feminist question my committment to gender equality because of this. I’ve never met a woman who shaved her legs who was rejected by other women for doing so. If I meet a woman who likes to work out complusively, good for her. If she wants to discuss her diet and workouts with me non-stop I wouldn’t want to be her friend. Why? Because she would bore the living shit out of me. So it’s not a feminist issue, it’s a boring the living shit out of me issue. And I think that it’s sad that women undergo elective and dangerous surgery in order to fit in. Should I celebrate breast implants and botox? Is that the feminist perspective? And no, I don’t hate women who get plastic surgery, in fact, I support plastic surgery in cases where the patient has a severe deformity, but I want to help create a society where perfectly normal looking women wouldn’t feel the need to do it.

    That we want our bodies to be valuable objects in a society that commodofies us, is understandable. For feminists to take on objectification is a big part of why I understand feminism to be.

  96. janie
    August 23, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Ok, so I was being totally reactionary and the criticism is totally deserved…I also wasn’t specifically talking about what anyone here said, and was kind of using hyperbole although i guess pretty unclearly…
    I didn’t read all the comments here thouroughly enough and I apologize.
    I have to say after reading more of them, I most agree with what Magniloquence has to say.

  97. ginmar
    August 23, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    Um, Janie, you’re kind of missing the point. What you’re doing is listening to a bunch of women bitch about a strawfeminist but you’re accepting that strawfeminist. You shouldn’t be that easy to turn away if you’re really interested in feminism.

  98. August 23, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    So, is there a way to criticize the practice without leaving this impression?

    I think that’s the wrong question – it puts the burden on the person criticizing the standard to tread lightly. A better one would be: “How should I handle those criticisms I might take personally?”

    Maybe it’s easier for me as a white guy, because privilege is undeniable, inescapable, and unmitigated – I have to deal with it often enough that sorting out what’s a personal attack and what isn’t has become second nature. So what I generally do is think about it for a second, decide if I think there’s a valid criticism or not. If there is, I go from there; if there’s not, I figure most other people are capable of deciding that for themselves, so I don’t bother replying unless I have something more to say than “you’re wrong!”

    Now this may be one of those situations where something can be acceptable as a standard-for-self but not as a standard-for-others, but I do think it’s more constructive than demanding that people with legitimate gripes phrase them in just the right way.

  99. Rose
    August 23, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    “is a big part of WHAT I understand feminism to be” not why…sorry, sometimes my fingers are faster than my brain!

  100. Lorelei
    August 23, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    More importantly, I enjoy beauty. As I writer, that’s what I write about – beauty and the way it corrupts, the way it redeems, beauty and its shallowness, beauty and its depth. And I find it in surprising places. My tastes can be very conventional – but I’ve been known to surprise myself.

    If you’ve got an artists’ eye (I like to think that I do) for my subjects – you introduce a whole new layer of complexity to the issue of feminism and looks.

    I don’t see what your point is. WHY are your tastes conventional? Do you think you were born with these conventional tastes of beauty? Does being an artist redeem yourself of conforming to conventional patriarchal beauty standards? I just don’t get it.

  101. other orange
    August 23, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    …because they’re too stupid to do anything but follow patriarchal ideals…

    It has absolutely nothing to do with “smart” or “stupid.” Nothing. It’s pretty smart to work a strategy that will get you the least harassment by the patriarchy in general, like dieting and shaving and wearing makeup. It’s a survival strategy. But why should men be able to live while we survive ?

    We’re back to individual women supporting their own individual shaving/makeup/clothes decisions again, and that’s great, it’s great that we can all share. But as a feminist I don’t care what you do- I care why you do it. For example, janie, you say:

    I don’t feel the need to put it on every day, especially if i’m running late…

    But many women do. And plenty of those women feel stressed and anxious and nervous without makeup because they expect (because society tells them to expect) that they’ll be judged and looked down on and mocked and seen as less attractive and less female without it. So yeah, it’s valid that these women put on makeup every day and need it to help them survive in this culture; but is that good ? Is that need and that fear good ? I don’t think it is. You’re not saying that you’re better than those women, and I’d never say that any of us are better than those women; but their choice is not always based on the security or positive nature of your choice (as stated above- a desire for creativity and beauty.) Sometimes women make choices that are their own choices, but that reflect their desperation and discontent or just their immersion in the patriarchy. I’m not going to stand here and say hooray, those are good choices and I hope they have to keep making them in order to avoid social punishment !

    One the day when all women, every single woman on this earth, can step back and say yeah, I put on makeup/shave/wear miniskirts/went bald/dressed like a man/didn’t shave/wore silly hats/dyed my skin purple because I like the material/color/feel/look and I feel happy and unthreatened and freed by the outcome of all my choices; then I’ll lay down and die gratefully, because the work is done.

    But until then, I’ll keep examining this thought of choice and where it comes from.

  102. August 23, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Lorelei, if I start talking about WHY – I’m going to derail the thread entirely. Like I already said way, way up above – I’d like to do a thoughtful essay on this sometime. Send you e-mail address to nvantonova [AT] gmail [DOT] com, and I’ll drop you a line when I publish it.

    Although to answer one of your questions – I don’t feel the need to be “redeemed” from anything, by anyone, anymore. I’ve had to learn how to stand up for myself, after what happened to me at my first job.

  103. Lorelei
    August 23, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Twisty’s link is included because there are, at least imho, some comments in the thread which are critical of Mullin’s physical appearance. And I don’t recall saying “all rad fems” do/say “_____”.

    Sigh.

    It is your ONLY example of Mullin being attacked for her appearance. The rest of your links are people criticizing the Twisty thread.

    IBTP can be a weird place sometimes, and yes, I do find the comments critizing Mullin to be disturbing, but to make it sound like a PHENOMENON is dishonest.

  104. ellenbrenna
    August 23, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    It is not about criticizing things because they are too fun and girly. I think everyone occasionally gives into the feminine = frivolous construction that pervades our entire culture but that is a distraction from the real issue. It is because those activites use up your time and money and are extremely limited in their usefulness that they should be criticized.

    Time and money you could be using for something else instead of playing a game we will never win. We will never be good enough, we will always be too much of one thing or not enough of something else, so you might as well have some confidence, treat yourself with care and be happy.

    Patriarchy: the only winning move is not to play

  105. August 23, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    A better one would be: “How should I handle those criticisms I might take personally?”

    Actually, on further reflection, this is a both/and thing. I try to target my cultural criticisms accurately, and not add to the noise by taking personally others’ complaints about my privilege.

    What it really comes down to is that it’s more productive to ask “What can I do?” than “What can these other people do?”

  106. Lorelei
    August 23, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    BTW Natalia, I didn’t mean to make it sound like I was attacking you. I just woke up, so I’m still a bit out of it, haha. So I’m sorry if I came off like an asshole. If you would like to send me that essay in your own time (you’re not obliged to or anything), I’d be interested. My email address is LoreleiBlack AT gmail DOT com.

  107. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    other orange: Yes, right, very much so. When all women can do that because they want (that being whatever as far as beauty goes), hell, I am all for that…which why I think it is great when women DO buck the “beauty ritual” and don’t have a problem at all with the questions or examinations.

    But the side effect of that is the assertion that people who, well, do a lot of Patriarchy Approved (TM) things haven’t examined or considered or questioned, or asked, again and again, to examine it over and over, as if they can’t really have made a choice, for themselves, for their own reasons (which yes, often include pressure from society).

  108. SarahMC
    August 23, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    I agree with you, Jeff. I was thinking about how to answer that question but you nailed it.

    Perhaps, if you consider yourself a feminist but are easily offended when beauty rituals YOU practice are criticized, you should step back and ask yourself why you and other women do those things in the first place. Be willing to examine yourself and your choices. It’s something you have to do if feminism is really important to you. It will make you uncomfortable; that’s OK.
    Consider the fact that boys and girls are conditioned from BIRTH to conform to either “masculine” or “feminine.” Conveniently, men are required to let their bodies remain natural while women are required to change their bodies and faces in myriad ways.

    Just because you examine a particular practice or behavior doesn’t mean you have to stop doing it! Like I said, I shave my legs, wear makeup, get nice haircuts, like jewelry, etc., etc. But I recognize that I put a moderate amount of effort into my appearance because that it what the culture expects of me as a woman. I don’t like it, but it’s true. I’ve stopped doing certain things and will continue to do other things because, sadly, the patriarchy and society in general rewards us for doing them & punishes us for not doing them. In a lot of cases, it’s a catch-22 – which is also sad and frustrating.

  109. SarahMC
    August 23, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    the assertion that people who, well, do a lot of Patriarchy Approved (TM) things haven’t examined or considered or questioned, or asked, again and again, to examine it over and over, as if they can’t really have made a choice, for themselves, for their own reasons (which yes, often include pressure from society).

    Well, they haven’t. Why else would they get so defensive when they could admit that yeah, it’s often easier and more rewarding to play along with patriarchy? Nobody here is insulting or criticizing women who do that. We’re criticizing women (and men) who put blinders on and want to believe that their choices are influenced by nothing that their own pure desires.

  110. janie
    August 23, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    ginamar, i totally get what you’re saying, and i do think you’re right. I’m not going to be turned away from feminist issues in general at all. I still don’t know if I’d want to take on the label of feminist, which probably has more to do with my own issues than anything said here.

  111. janie
    August 23, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Oh, and I knew I was doing the straw thing at the time but I felt compelled to say something. It ended up being something unconsidered, and like I said I was being reactionary. My internet participation has tended to be much more informal. Participating somewhere where what I say is going to be picked apart (totally rightfully so, I’m not complaining at all and I’m glad what I said was picked apart) is new to me so apologies again…

  112. SarahMC
    August 23, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    I feel like I’m being a hog but I have a lot to say.
    Janie, I proudly call myself a feminist when I’m among other feminists and especially when feminists are smeared or mischaracterized on the Internet. I proudly speak up about feminists issues at book club (it’s not a feminist club but it is all women), and my boyfriend knows I’m a feminist.
    But yeah, it’s hard to call onesself a feminist out there in the general public because there are so many strawfeminists floating around, and it’s been turned into a dirty word by conservatives and anti-feminists. And it’s hard to stand up for yourself and feminism in general when the world is against you and doesn’t understand you (or want to). I struggle with that. I fear people will attack me or mock me, and nobody likes that. But I’m working on being more honest with the people around me.

  113. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    Sarah: Because sometimes I don’t think that is the case…I think sometimes they have examined, or have admitted at least on some levels the patriarchy pressured them to do it, but don’t solely do it forthe approval of society or what have you…sure, desires are often influenced, but they aren’t always controlled? (I think that is the word I am looking for…)

    For instance, yes, working out has Pat Approval points built in, but there are other reasons to do it.

    Leg shaving? Yep, pat approval points there too. Most women probably start off as teenagers shaving their legs because they are expected to…then some examine the practice…and continue doing it not just for the pat points but because personally, it is more preferable in a tactile sense or visually to that person.

    They’ve examined, they still do it, that doesn’t mean they have blinders on (or so I would hope).

  114. RenegadeEvolution
    August 23, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    (side note, I now have to head out for work, please be patient wrt to the comment moderation thing…I shall post the stuff stuck in moderation when I return home- RE)

  115. Lorelei
    August 23, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    Mind you, some could argue that the way I present myself is feminine and patriarchy pleasing. Here are a couple of photos: 1, 2, makeup. However, men do not like the way I dress because it’s all black, and that’s ‘depressing’ and ‘not pretty.’ Or what the fuck ever. And my tights are ‘too out there,’ on some planet. I’ve had men say to me, ‘You know, you should wear short skirts.’ Oh, really?

    My point is that there is a persona I have that is represented by my clothing, and I do follow a form of aesthetics in regards to my clothing. I do wear skirts and sometimes makeup, AND IT HAS BEEN INFLUENCED BY CERTAIN STANDARDS OF FEMININITY. And I think to lie to oneself and say, ‘No, I do all this for ME! :D’ is just denial. And I don’t think it’s WRONG to go with conventional standards of beauty, really, because no-one CAN fully escape society’s influence. I just DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS TREND of saying ‘I do it for me.’

  116. Lorelei
    August 23, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    My comments to this thread, by the way, have been a showcase of Lorelei’s thought process as she begins at ‘pretty much unconcious’ to ‘nearly alert.’ XD So if there are any weird contradictions or something, I apologize… I’ll work it out after I take a shower…

  117. other orange
    August 23, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    I just DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS TREND of saying ‘I do it for me.’

    Lorelei: yes, totally, I am so with you there. It really does seem to crop up again and again. Who honestly lives in a vaccuum ?

    Also, unrelated, I also think this particular discussion always focuses on primarily white, middle-class, Western beauty ideals. For example: skin-bleaching. I cannot imagine a woman entering this discussion and saying yes, I am a feminist, and I bleach my skin, but only because I think it tickles and I like the color from a purely aesthetic view. Many of us (hell yes, even me sometimes, I’m stuck in this bizarre patriarchy too) are okay with saying other cultures’ forced-beauty standards are wrong, but our own are somehow safe and okay and valid.

    No, I don’t think putting on lipstick for a night out is the same as skin-bleaching. That’s ridiculous. But one’s a real concern for non-Western women, something they deal with and internalize the implications of; just as we have to deal with the implications of skin-firming lotion and Botox and fad diets and Brazilian waxes.

  118. August 23, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    This is my perspective on it. As a fat woman I’ve come into all sorts of casual criticism for being fat. Hell, the whole damn world tells me I’m horrible and I internalize that.

    I’ve been guilty of turning that around and being vicious, whether verbally or in my head, toward conventionally attractive women, especially thin women. I’ve called them sticks. I’ve said things like “only a dog likes to chew on a bone.” I’ve thought to myself, “eat something, damn!” And not out of concern for their health because I didn’t give a fuck about their health. It just felt so good to turn all that crap onto somebody else for a change.

    I’m not saying it was right. I’m just saying that’s what I did. And it’s really only been through meeting other feminists online who struggle with eating disorders and body image problems (even though they’re thin) that I’ve come to realize that yeah, I was being just as shitty as people who fucked with me for being fat.

    So I guess that’s my context for being a feminist who was hyper-critical of other women for fitting the stereotypical “thin/blond.” I hate that we women are often so cruel to each other. Whether we I.D. as feminist or not we police each other’s appearances. And then we’re so busy doing that we don’t have time or energy to dedicate to fighting the issues that really count.

    I don’t read this as a post bashing radical feminism. Did Ren even mention radical feminists? I’ve seen women all across the political spectrum do it.

  119. Elizabeth
    August 23, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    I think everyone needs to realize the sociological aspect of this conversation.

    Basically, everything done within our lives is a product of a cultural, or sub-cultural norm. For instance, feminists are a sub-culture of people and can affect the choices of others within the sub-culture. So even though you are no longer yeilding to the tools of the patriarchy, you are yeilding to others. We are all connected to many sub-cultures, as well as our main culture, and those greatly effect us from birth onward. Everyone should really be a lot kinder and criticize a lot less because we all are giving into some sort of standard, and one that was not originally ours, but one that we found from others. And you may think that what you follow is better than what others do, but who are you to say that your bare feet are better than someone elses high-heeled shoes? Who is to say that your “pretty” face is truly better than another’s “ugly” face? Everything we do is pushed on us constantly, so give everyone a break for choosing what they choose. You cannot say that what you prefer is actually, 100% better than what anyone else prefers or gives in to and accepts.

    I’m sorry if that doesn’t make complete sense. If I was more educated in sociology I could explain my thinking a lot better. Hopefully you get the jist of what I’m trying to say.

  120. August 23, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    Magpie wrote:

    I am uneasy about implants and vaginaplasties and Brazillians and dieting and scads of other trends that corportations and the mainstream media present to women as alternatives to being how they are. The more these things become normal for mid-upperclass women, the more I feel like lookism and classism have dovetailed into a poisonous union. I am also uneasy about the fact that these things are so painful. Shit, I cried so hard when I tried to wax my brows. I stood there bleeding and thought

    Why am I doing this? Is this really making me feel better?

    Amen.

    I sell Arnica and other herbs to women who look like they’ve been beaten within an inch of their lives, like Rocky. Oh! Not to worry! They’re not “really” hurt, they’ve only just had more “work” done…

    I’ve sold these herbs to two men and hundreds and hundreds of women. What’s wrong with this picture!?

    Natalia, you are so interesting and complex, as usual. :)

    And whoever said Kim is not a feminist, didn’t do a very lengthy page-view.

  121. Anatolia
    August 23, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    The more I read about this, the more inclined I am to say,”fuck it.”

    I will never be socially acceptable, there isn’t enough years left in my life for all of this to sort itself out and for me to magically become acceptable.

    I look at myself now, as I write, at work, and my shoes are falling apart, my hair is in utter disarray and unwashed for three or four days now, my chin is full of zits, my right leg is smooth, my left still hairy (hey, I get bored with it and can’t finish the job in one sitting), and I have some gooey pink lipgloss on with perfectly lined lips that are chapped all to hell and make the lipstick garish. And I like that. Heh. I think I’m going a little nuts.

  122. August 23, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    How about instead of looking at every decision you make in your life in terms of “What will feminists think of me” or “Is some feminist going to give me a hard time,” you instead think “how does this action impact the culture that other women struggle in” ?

  123. Anne Onne
    August 23, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Elizabeth, it’s mostly clear what you’re trying to say, I think. However, I think ‘criticise’ may be the wrong term. To criticise practices is completely different from insulting people on a personal level (although the word ‘criticise’ does seem to be used colloquially in place of ‘insult’ it really hasn’t got the same meaning – it means something more akin to ‘examine’ and ‘explore’. Yes, we all fall for the standards of society and others to some extent, and we should not belittle those who have not realised to what extent their actions are socially dictated, or even those that do, and choose to follow the socially acceptable route. That does not mean that we can’t examine those practices, or why people feel compelled to follow them.

  124. shfree
    August 23, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    First, to get the shallow out of the way, Lorelei, in that second picture you linked to? I LOVE your shoes. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

    Okay, that’s done. Interestingly, as I have gotten older, I have had a harder time resisting the pull of the trappings of femininity. I think it is only my inherent laziness that is preventing me from returning to shaving my legs and putting on makeup in the morning, since I have now gotten pickier about how my skin looks and what my hair is or isn’t up to. I haven’t decided whether that means my insecurity about my femininity is growing, or if I am just heading into some midlife thing.

    But it is really hard. I started shaving my armpits again after about 15 years of not, and I work in a Feminist (with a capital F!) environment. I haven’t ever gotten flack about my hairiness, at least flack from people that I care about, but yet I still was looking at my pits and going “yech”. I find that troubling.

  125. August 23, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    Going out on a limb here:

    I don’t really understand why this is so fraught at all. On the one hand, there are people arguing that feminists never give people shit for their appearance. Which I don’t think is true (anyone remember the “sparklepony” term? Feminists who enjoy being feminine didn’t coin that one) but… okay, for the moment I’ll buy that.

    You’d think that now we’d have established that women’s grooming is not an issue. But we have the very people who claim they’re not into making a deal of this talking about how much the beauty myth worries them and how bad and wrong it is to feel any compulsion or desire to conform to them.

    Which is odd, considering “this shouldn’t be a feminist issue.”

    Which, well, to my mind it shouldn’t. Feminists are a privilege-soaked bunch if fretting about the state of our armpits is the worst we have to worry about.

    That’s not to say there’s no beauty myth, that beauty standards aren’t bad, etc. But for so many to so earnestly claim they’re Unacceptable Looking To Patriarchy when what they mean is “I sometimes have armpit hair”

    well…. as a person with a disability who is visibly physically different, unless you’re specifically and repeatedly getting shit, I don’t buy that your hairy legs or hairy pits make life tough. Sorry, not buying that.

    Signed,
    Hairy-legged ally of the SparklePony contingent

  126. Lorelei
    August 23, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    LMAO SHFREE THANK YOU. they’re the only pair of shoes i own, and if you can believe it, are the most COMFORTABLE pair of shoes i’ve ever owned! i’ve walked across boston all day in those and didn’t want to die. :D

  127. Dana
    August 23, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    Who are these legendary feminists who go around criticizing women for shaving and putting on makeup? I have never been criticized for my looks by a feminist. I’ve been by plenty of non-feminists, though.

    I’ve seen Twisty Faster at i blame the patriarchy say that makeup is a tool of the patriarchy. Of course it is. I don’t think it was INVENTED by the patriarchy, though; if it were, men would never have worn it, ever, in our entire species history. But the patriarchy is really good at co-opting things they didn’t invent, like motherhood. And, by the way, I’ve never been criticized by a feminist for being a mom, either.

    I call strawfeminist too.

  128. bluestockingsrs
    August 23, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    From Echidne of the Snakes (scroll all the way to bottom to read)

    “Or take the example Cox discussed in some detail, the one about women who are willing to have toes cut out in order to fit into sexy shoes. My take on feminism is not to condemn the women who do this, but to ask why such an act would seem like a good idea in this society. What is it about the society that makes some women willing to have amputations for the sake of shoes? Is it something similar to what caused the footbinding in ancient China? And if it is, what can we learn about the way the societal norms work on women?

    Which is a long way of saying that I heartily welcome my eight-toed feminist sisters. But I will still discuss the wider issues involved in how they turned out that way.”

  129. Hector B.
    August 23, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    If concern about appearance is driven by the patriarchy, then the patriarchy must be strongest in the South, because the prevailing female esthetic there is to look like a beauty pageant contestant.(The late Tammy Faye was merely the logical extreme of this esthetic.) And France must be far more patriarchal than Germany, because French women are very carefully put together before they go out, and German women see no problem with going out with a buzz cut and no makeup.

    Now, does this make sense? Are Northern women that much better off than Southerners? Is Germany a paradise for feminists compared to France?

  130. Jorge
    August 23, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    It amazes me how little of this discussion grapples with the question of why feminine beauty is such a powerful psychological thing to men and to women. To label this phenomenon as a concern “driven by the patriarchy” is to avoid trying to understand it. You can’t diffuse its power if you don’t know understand its dynamics.

    Look, relationships between men and women always involve negotiations about power: physical power (strength), economic power, the power of social expectations (how you can expect your friends, family and community to back you up), sexual power and emotional power (the last being purely an individual thing). It has been argued that cultivation of sexual power by women (by dolling themselves up) is a relatively recent phenomenon forced by women’s disempowerment in most of the other arenas. (Yes, the industrial revolution actually made things worse for women). Feminism seeks to redress this imbalance by giving women more economic power, curbing the abuse of physical power by men by making it socially and legally prohibitive, and by adjusting social expectations to maximize women’s equality. Implicit in this effort is the belief that women should stop seeking sexual power (which is demeaning and not an adequate substitute for social and economic power). Good in theory, but this isn’t a perfect world, so in practice, giving up any advantage could be seen as a foolish form of unilateral disarmament. More to the point, however, even if this were a perfect world, do you think that sexual power-seeking would cease to be a dynamic between men and women? If anything, it seems like that behavior has only increased in the last 20 years, by both men and women — that greater equality unleashes it rather than restrains it.

  131. KH
    August 23, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    Norms about female (& male) appearance obviously are bound up with patriarchy, but not all the normative pressures women face are expressions of patriarchy. Not all the norms women enforce against each other are internalized patriarchal norms.

    There’s also resistance to norms, resentment of people who meet them, & the promulgation of counter-norms. Not all of this is an unambiguous force for our liberation, & most of it predates feminism by millennia, but it now prominently includes feminist counter-norms. The claim that it’s inherently unfeminist to dress a certain way expresses a norm, & may enforce conformity to it. In some feminist milieux, such counter-norms may be enforced the ways not entirely unlike the way patriarchal norms are enforced in the wider world. It’s sometimes the case that women whose appearance doesn’t conform to patriarchal norms aren’t acting free from the pressure of all norms, but are merely surrendering to counter-norms. If feminism stands for freedom from the pressure to conform to any norms, rather than the duty not to conform to a particular set of them – & thus the duty to conform to the corresponding counter-norms –, then the existence feminist counter-norms is inconsistent with feminism’s own announced ideals. The situation arises not because of any intrinsic peculiarity of feminism, but because age-old patterns of behavior have insinuated themselves into feminist discourse & are seeking to legitimate themselves by association with it. All this should be subjected to the strictest feminist scrutiny.

    In a world in which almost anything women do is consistent or inconsistent with one or another norm or counter-norm, can we always be sure that the way we choose to appear (or can’t avoid appearing) necessarily & only reflects conformity, that there’s no room for individual autonomy? If the way I look happens to coincide with feminist counter-norms, is it fair to presume that I’m merely conforming to the rules I was socially conditioned to obey? Or isn’t it possible that I have at least some autonomy in the matter? And if I can dress in a ‘feminist’ style with some measure of autonomy, then can’t I also dress in a less ‘feminist’ way just as freely? Can’t we both acknowledge the reality of social conditioning & the self-constituting pressure to conform to norms – what Elizabeth (#117) calls the sociological aspect of this conversation –, and also accept that women aren’t completely devoid of agency?

    I’m not sure I agree with Ocean-Eyes (#3):

    There are few people I know who wear make-up and are okay with their appearance. In my experience, it’s mostly those who choose to go without and wear comfortable clothes who are happy with themselves, while those who have the mini skirts and heavy make-up who are not happy with themselves.

    Generalizations are always dangerous, but it is true, in my experience, that people who don’t conform to beauty norms may be more likely to say they’re happy than people who do, but mightn’t that sometimes reflect a greater need for self-affirmation? Who hasn’t ever felt that way? (Likewise, in certain feminist milieux, made-up & high-heeled women may feel a greater need to affirm their appearance than others.) It’s sometimes a thin line between the self-liberating sense of having freed oneself from the pressure to conform to norms (or counter-norms) & a dressed-up, happy-talking but ultimately self-derogating resignation to the sense that you just can never measure up. The latter, even cloaked in the rhetoric of self-affirmation, isn’t the real liberation that feminists seek. Sadly, it’s easier to go without makeup & wear comfortable clothes – & say you’re happier & less conformist than, even morally superior to, women in makeup & high heels – than it is to really feel good about yourself. It can be hard to reach that state of grace where – short or tall, thin or fat, made-up or not made-up, high- or flat-heeled, however you look & dress – you’ve really found the secure, healthy regard for your body & appearance that we all seek, & have the inner resources to act autonomously, despite obtrusive social pressures from whatever source, & also can find it in yourself to grant all other women, however much or little they resemble you, that same positive regard. It can be hard, but that – not the derogation of any other woman’s appearance – is the thing my feminism, at least, calls me toward.

  132. MsAnony
    August 23, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Ah, but “concern about appearance” goes in several different vectors. The “beauty pageant look” is accepted or desired in some parts of the country and some classes and some contexts; in the stereotypical Northeastern/upper class/professional environment there are just as many women spending just as much time, money, and effort to do THAT particular desirable look–smoothed, straightened hair, subdued makeup colors, etc. Sort of like how every two or three years beauty magazines run articles talking about how the “natural” look is trendy again; and of course to get this “natural” look one must spend an hour using fifteen different beauty products.

  133. La Lubu
    August 23, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    FWIW, I specifically remember a thread on this very site (about a year-and-a-half ago) that blew up into a big argument over whether you could wear makeup and still be feminist. There were many people saying that you couldn’t. (I’d try to find it, but I can’t get the archives to work.)

    Try October 2006. The “Like a Natural Woman” and “Like a Natural Woman, Part Due” threads.

    Like kactus, I’m not down with being hypercritical of other women’s appearance, because often there’s only the illusion of choice, not a reasonably feasible choice. I’m not willing to ask of another what I would be unwilling to do or accept for myself. And for many women, “choosing” to buck certain norms of appearance means real, measurable financial losses. Staying in the stockroom while other women, the “attractive” women get the plum sales position, or going to the job interview in Birkenstocks and no makeup, while the woman in the suit, pumps and makeup gets the job—-no, that’s not a reasonable choice.

    I like what ekf said earlier about “political puritanism”. And what janis said about the divide-and-conquer nature of sexism—that it impacts us all, if not equally in all situations (or ever), that no temporary advantage gives us respite. We are all ground down by it, and we all make our individual deals with the devil. There are no puritans here.

    Like I said back in “Like a Natural Woman”, the whole rest of our being impacts how we move through the waters of sexism. Some of our “choices” will be oppositional, and some will appear to acquiesce to sexism. But….we shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming that an individual woman’s appearance of falling prey to dominant sexist norms means that she has actually has, in her bones. Women have learned various pantomimes to get by. Including justification pantomimes. We shouldn’t require that of our sisters.

  134. Frumious B.
    August 23, 2007 at 9:06 pm

    Staying in the stockroom while other women, the “attractive” women get the plum sales position, or going to the job interview in Birkenstocks and no makeup, while the woman in the suit, pumps and makeup gets the job

    Thank you, La Lubu, for those examples of Pretty Privilege. Oh yes, it exists, oh yes it does.

  135. August 23, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    Okay, for everyone who’s been saying “no radical feminist ever said that,” here you go:

    http://ginmar.livejournal.com/1046893.html

    God, the pussycatdoll feminists. They’re young, they’re educated—-in a cliff’s notes, TL: DR kind of way. and they think that by using the same buzzwords as Phyllis Schlafly they’re somehow fighting oppression instead of sliding along with it.

    ….Hon, if you think doing what the patriarchy wants you to is feminist, I have a few words for you. Oh, and by the way? If you’re going to call me ‘crazy’ I expect you to show up at the damned hospital with flowers the next time the meds stop working and I have to be hospitalized so I don’t kill myself. Yeah, I said that. It’s the simple truth. Fair’s fair. You know who you are.

    ….Hell, I’m doing it right now, bitching at twentysomething college girls for their embrace of feminine stereotypes, when I did the same myself at their age.

    ….What is one to make of supposedly liberal women who sell out the same way and sell it as empowering for themselves? I really don’t care what you wear, but I do care when you slap a label on it that proclaims it’s something it’s not, or say it’s in response to boring old feminism. If you wear it because it’s easier than fighting, then don’t think you can fool anybody but yourself.If you’re doing what the patriarchy wants from women, then you’re not fighting anything but reality.

    If you can explain to me how calling people “pussycatdolls” is attacking PATRIARCHY rather than WOMEN, great. If you can explain why assuming women who like beauty rituals makes them Phyllis Schafly, be my guest.

    If you can explain to me how exactly calling other women sellouts because you don’t like them is feminist, that would be super great.

    There is no room for the word “sellout” in my feminism, however. Jerk, sure. Wrong, sure. Sellout? That word should be reserved for whiny kids who attach way too much importance to whether their favorite obscure band has ruined their dreams of counterculture obscurity by having a hit on the radio.

    I don’t fucking see it, and I think Ren has every reason to be irritated by stuff like this (things like this are, I expect, what set her off.)

  136. August 23, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    and also I’d like to see how that’s not ageist, while yer at it.

  137. KH
    August 23, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    Is it safe to assume that the urgency with which certain people deny that there are any non-trivial instances of women derogating others’ appearance on feminist grounds amounts to an implicit concession of the normative question, an admission that it would be a bad thing if it is happening? Or do we also have to deal with the distinction between hating the sin & hating the sinner? Because it would simplify things a lot if we could narrow the dispute to the empirical question of whether this stuff actually happens. It does, often.

  138. August 23, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    I’m not going to pretend that beauty ritual isn’t connected to patriarchy, but I think it can be more complex than that.

    I don’t feel self-conscious or uncomfortable when I haven’t shaved my legs recently. I’ll still go out wearing a skirt that shows my legs. But after a few days, I’ll probably shave, because I love the feel of smooth skin. I have pretty pale, unnoticeable arm hair, but I shave that, too. I also shave my pubic hair every now and then. Is it feminist? Well, no. There’s nothing inherently feminist about conforming to a societal norm, even if I don’t think I’d feel bad about not doing so. But I don’t think it’s a big huge Supporting The Patriarchy thing, either, because I don’t feel like it’s something I have to or necessarily should do. I don’t feel insecure when I don’t do it. I don’t think others should feel pressured to do it. But — well, I kink for smooth skin, regardless of what gender it’s on. So while I’d hardly call me shaving subversive, I don’t feel like I’ve got a lot of baggage attached to it. It’s definitely possible that the reasons I find it sexy are tied up in how the dominant culture promotes smooth skin as a necessity for women, but then I have to wonder why I find it hot on men, too.

    Eyebrow plucking, though? That has baggage attached for me. Mine are unusually thick and dark for a fair-skinned blonde type, and if I don’t pluck or wax them I get self-conscious fast. It’s not hard for me to connect that to patriarchy, especially because I don’t feel good when I’ve conformed to patriarchal norms like a good little girl — I just feel slightly less horrifically insecure.

    Some people’s ideal is that no one would ever mess with their body’s natural state. Mine is that no one would feel they had to, that those who didn’t wouldn’t face ridicule or violence. I don’t mind the existence of high heels — I just wish it wasn’t an assumption that all women will own them and no men will. If these things could become optional and gender neutral rather than gendered requirements for women and only women, I wouldn’t see a problem.

  139. August 23, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    …should I repeat my comment? I waited four hours!

  140. other orange
    August 23, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    Trinity: I can see in ginmar’s words something that might have rubbed you the wrong way; but I don’t think that’s exactly the focus there. I actually agree with the thought that “Pussycat Dolls” feminism (cough) is something that gets trotted out in our culture as actual functioning feminism, when it leaves much to be desired. The Pussycat Dolls claim to be a “feminist” organization, but they’re playing the same virgin/whore game that’s the favorite tool of the patriarchy. Here’s an important line that you chose not to bold:

    I really don’t care what you wear, but I do care when you slap a label on it that proclaims it’s something it’s not, or say it’s in response to boring old feminism.

    I take that to mean that the whole statement condemns blinkered thinking, and encourages dialogue about motivation and choice. Saying feminism is “boring” and just needs some lipstick to make it hot! and awesome! is, in my view, an attack on feminism. A feminist can wear lipstick. Sure ! Cool ! But does feminism, as a movement, lack beauty or dignity, or need to be sexed up to make it palatable ? No.

    I mean, I am a feminist. Not every choice I have ever made has been entirely feminist. I’m a Christian, too, and I’ve lied and used swears on people- still Christian. I am still a feminist. People who make non-feminist choices can still be utter and total feminists. I don’t feel threatened when people ask me about my choices- I don’t feel like anyone would, or can, remove my imaginary feminist card. Shaving my legs means that today, I don’t want to be looked down on or insulted on the subway or have a coworker rudely comment on my personal body hair. It doesn’t mean that I’ve ceded all territory to the patriarchy nor does it magically mean that I’ve found a way to smash the patriarchy by choosing to shave my legs, with no ulterior motive ! It means that I looked at my options and made today’s choice with the tools I had.

    I give other women the benefit of the doubt that they’re making their decisions with wisdom and strength. But one thing I’m tired of hearing is that Brazilian waxes are just something that women get when they want to feel nice, and not something that anyone or any culture ever pressured them into or influenced them towards, nope !

  141. August 23, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Why do you exclude men? Are men to be mocked for their appearance? Are men supposed to feel comfortable in their own skin?

    If feminism is about equality, and equality is not bound by gender, then surely this couldn’t be restricted to men, seeing as how it is a component. of feminist thought.

    Would you agree?

    Do you believe in human rights or women’s rights? If we have different natural rights, then surely we are not equal. Do you really believe in equality?

  142. August 23, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    If feminism is about equality, and equality is not bound by gender, then surely this couldn’t be restricted to men, seeing as how it is a component. of feminist thought.

    I made a mistake while revising that sentence.

    It should be “..bound by gender, then surely this rule couldn’t exclude men, as it is a component of feminist though which is about equality (assuming that it is)..”

  143. La Lubu
    August 23, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    …should I repeat my comment? I waited four hours!

    You mean, where is the feminist pressure to reject mainstream feminine beauty rituals? Well, how often you encounter that attitude probably has a lot to do with where you’re situated, geographically and socially. I think what rankles women who’ve dealt with that attitude—the “why do you shave your armpits/hold religious beliefs/get married/etc.etc.”—is the sense of betrayal it can foster. Why wouldn’t a feminist, of all people, have an understanding of the notion that sometimes you have to pick your battles? Or that sometimes there are conflicting pressures/loyalties—like the pressure to be protective of and/or adhere to cultural traditions?

    The pressure on women is never one-sided. Never. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Every single one of us is going to be alternately privileged and disadvantaged, at times. Why would we not recognize this, and recognize that other women experience this as well?

    Want an example? Ok, let’s say a woman is undergoing a difficult custody battle. She earns less money than her ex-husband. He has remarried. Is she a “sellout” if she goes to court dressed in white-collar business attire, wearing pumps, with her hair in a “respectable” hairstyle? Is her feminism lacking? Should she take one on the chin for the Movement by wearing her old Ramones T-shirt and Doc Martens to court? I mean, it’s not like she’s gonna lose her kids or anything….she’ll get to see ’em twice a month.

    Or is that ok, because it’s a temporary situation? Temporary selling out doesn’t really count….it’s only when she willfully wears that mask every day to work to pay the bills, that’s when it counts. Is it antifeminist to dye one’s hair? Or is that ok when it’s Manic Panic or henna—some counterculturally approved hair dye? High heels of course, are antifeminist—-but….what if they’re Harley boots, not stilettos?

    See, that’s the shit I’m talking about. The degenerative discussion that inevitably results with feminists engaging in the Justification Pantomime instead of redirecting those energies towards the real nitty-gritty. NO, my sisters in the mascara and heels are not the oppressor. Period. Exclamation point. And I don’t really give a fuck if they’ve explained themselves—they don’t have to justify themselves to me. They’ve spent their whole goddam lives justifying themselves to all and sundry. They can’t take a shit without justifying themselves—-literally, as in, I know adult women who won’t use a public bathroom to take a crap because they don’t want anyone to think ill of them for stinking up the joint.

    Please understand DaisyDeadhead, this rant isn’t directed at you. It’s just that—damn—every time the dynamic of “beauty rituals are antifeminist, and women who engage in them are giving aid and comfort to the enemy!!” pops up, it seems to serve primarily as a means of shaming and silencing other women, while the self-styled real feminists get to clap themselves on the back and feel superior to—who? Sexists? No. To other women. Women who are doing the best they can with what little they’ve got, in the midst of a society that divides us by any means necessary, that considers us less-than. Women who are playing a game against a House with loaded dice. And we’re shooting craps.

  144. Stefaneus
    August 24, 2007 at 12:10 am

    Re: Pussycat Dolls – Have you actually seen any of their videos? Perhaps the one where they sing Don’tcha you wish your girlfriend was wrong like me?, while posing around in almost-not-there dresses? Sorry, if you aren’t one of those ‘Look how I am empowered! Why isn’t everybody like me!’ girls, who ignore problems that women lower than them on the economical ladder have and, for the lack of a better word, are really selling them out for their own advancement, THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. It might be a little unfair to the group itself; they might be nice girls and all that, but the image they’re providing is making me something between amused and ill.

    And ageist? How is it ageist? I too hope that for most of these girls this is just a phase they will grow out of without hurting themselves or anybody else. If that is ageist then I don’t know what isn’t.

  145. August 24, 2007 at 12:15 am

    it seems to serve primarily as a means of shaming and silencing other women, while the self-styled real feminists get to clap themselves on the back and feel superior to—who? Sexists? No. To other women.

    Right on.

  146. August 24, 2007 at 12:42 am

    “If you’re doing what the patriarchy wants from women, then you’re not fighting anything but reality.”

    Hello, privilege! I sure do hope that self-righteousness helps to keep you blind to your own privilege.

    As a woman who neither wears make up nor confirms to the corporate stereotypes, can I just mention that the ONLY reason I’m allowed to get away with this is because I possess a skill that is currently necessary to fulfill the capitalist agenda?

    How difficult is it to see that? Look around you, people! Who is able to wear comfortable clothing and ignore the pressure to conform? It is the skilled tradesperson. Male or female. White person or person of color.

    If you happen to possess a valuable skill that is central to the needs of capitalism, then you are free of the social pressures to conform. If not, you’re screwed.

  147. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 12:53 am

    Matt:

    Why do you exclude men? Are men to be mocked for their appearance? Are men supposed to feel comfortable in their own skin?

    Not every post ever made about women, feminism, beauty rituals and whatnot has to include the men. Sorry, hate to disappoint you, but yeah, not always top priority to include the gents when talking about the way women view/pressure/judge/and deal with one another.

  148. August 24, 2007 at 1:06 am

    I actually agree with the thought that “Pussycat Dolls” feminism (cough) is something that gets trotted out in our culture as actual functioning feminism, when it leaves much to be desired. The Pussycat Dolls claim to be a “feminist” organization, but they’re playing the same virgin/whore game that’s the favorite tool of the patriarchy. Here’s an important line that you chose not to bold:

    But here’s the thing: what IS “pussycatdoll” feminism? I have no idea. All I can figure is that it’s a convenient way of completely dismissing anyone you deem too “flashy” or insufficiently “deep”… and there’s nothing in that post that mentions what makes a feminist a “pussycatdoll” other than

    1) being twenty
    2) interested in her appearance

    which is then presumed to be all about serving men and currying favor. Regardless, it would seem, of the women’s assertions to the contrary.

    Which… well, without a specific example of how and when an individual woman has snubbed feminism to stand by her man, why should I believe she’s not accurately reporting her convictions?

    Why is believing that feminist?

    I don’t see how it could be.

  149. August 24, 2007 at 1:08 am

    Pussycat Dolls – Have you actually seen any of their videos? Perhaps the one where they sing Don’tcha you wish your girlfriend was wrong like me?, while posing around in almost-not-there dresses?

    No. Didn’t know they were a band. I read “pussycatdoll feminist” and thought it was one of those cute neologisms people make up when they want to paint sex-positive feminists as vapid young scenesters.

  150. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 1:13 am

    QGrrl: Because in some cases it has gone beyond the “political” to bashing personal. Folk may not want to believe that, but it makes it no less true. And even as a non-feminist, it can annoy me to see women bashing eachother over looks…especially feminist ones.

  151. Hector B.
    August 24, 2007 at 1:20 am

    If you happen to possess a valuable skill that is central to the needs of capitalism, then you are free of the social pressures to conform.

    You might enjoy reading Class, by Paul Fussell. He points out that the middle class (management types) are under the most pressure to conform, because their skills are so nebulous and widely held. Therefore they must constantly be selling themselves to their employers. The “top out of sight” class can be nonconformists, because they do not have to care what others think of them. But just as you point out, so can the skilled tradesmen, because if their employer doesn’t care for how they dress or how they look, they can just pick up their tools and take their skills elsewhere.

  152. August 24, 2007 at 1:33 am

    Not every post ever made about women, feminism, beauty rituals and whatnot has to include the men. Sorry, hate to disappoint you, but yeah, not always top priority to include the gents when talking about the way women view/pressure/judge/and deal with one another.

    Then it is not about equality, and is therefor not essential to feminist thought, assuming that feminism is truly about equality.

    If it isn’t about equality then there is no problem. I was simply asking to find out what Ren’s thoughts on the subject were. If she believes it is about equality, and believes in spreading truth and proclaiming truths, then she must include men, or at least replace “women” with “people” for it to be complete. If she doesn’t believe it is about equality, then there is no problem with her post at all.

    However, in the future she might be inclined to re-think her stance on feminism and equality in general.

    This is not a “women not men” issue, as many men also are under pressure to feel good about their bodies and to look good, regardless of the less amount of pressure they are put under when compared to the pressure that society may or may not openly put on women.

    The truth of the matter is that there are people in this world who feel pressure to look good. Cutting out the irrelevancies is a good starting point when attempting to state a truth.

    It not has nothing to do with feminism, equality, or men and women for that matter. The fact that there are women alive who think about it more than other women, or more than men does not make it more true or less true, as there is no such thing as–help me–“truthiness”.

  153. August 24, 2007 at 1:37 am

    I too hope that for most of these girls this is just a phase they will grow out of without hurting themselves or anybody else. If that is ageist then I don’t know what isn’t.

    So you know better than people just because of how long you’ve been alive, eh?

    Strange, as some people I know remain unremittingly stupid for years.

    And really, if you don’t know how patronizing “just a phase” is I don’t know what to tell you. That phrase should remain solidly in the vocabulary of frustrated parents who can’t handle their teenage kids.

  154. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 1:42 am

    Matt:

    Did anyone here say men don’t face pressure in this arena? No. But women are allowed to discuss their version of it without having to include the gents every single time. Perhaps later in the week we can have this conversation centered on men, or, you could blog about it yourself, hum?

  155. August 24, 2007 at 1:56 am

    But one thing I’m tired of hearing is that Brazilian waxes are just something that women get when they want to feel nice, and not something that anyone or any culture ever pressured them into or influenced them towards, nope !

    The way I see it this can mean two things:

    1) I’m aware of the critiques of waxing, but I like it. I see feminists constantly talking about the pressure to do it and the women who conform to that pressure, and I’m tired of being assumed to do so because I’ve decided that my taste and the Pat’s coincide on this one thing.
    2) I disagree with the whole concept of the beauty myth.

    It seems to me that the people here who are annoyed with Ren are thinking that any woman who defends her choice to wax is asserting 2) rather than 1). I don’t see why.

    I can see how people who think “feminism is outdated” might assert 2) but I don’t see how anyone in a feminist discussion can be presumed to be asserting anything but 1)

  156. August 24, 2007 at 2:24 am

    You clearly have no idea what I’m talking about and I can’t simplify it further.

    I said nothing that should cause you to think I believe women should or should not be “allowed” to think or not think or discuss or not discuss anything at all.

    The idea that society’s belief = you are not allowed is the problem we are discussing here. There is no reason for these people to worry about what other people think. If you want to look nice for your husband or wife or whatever, then go ahead. Don’t blame others for your choice and don’t attempt to excuse yourself from accountability by using words such as “allowed”.

    You are not “forced” to wear makeup. Take responsibility, and admit that you wish to take part in society, for a number of reasons, whatever they may be, and in ordre to succeed in this society, you have to deal with other people and their needs and wants in order to get what YOU need and want. If you don’t like it, then leave. If you dont wish to leave, then it is better for you to analyze the situation and think about what you can do to achieve your goals. Putting on some blush so the idiot hiring you thinks you’re cute is not degrading. If anything, he/she is pathetic for spending money on a person simply because she is good looking with makeup on. Don’t convince yourself that it is your only option in this life. But if you do decide to leave, take responsibility and don’t blame people for your inability or refusal to take part in a game by focusing on the importance of something as irrelevant as shallow expectations of the idiots on the street. These things are not important and do not change who you are and believing that they do simply because you feel they do is ridiculous. I do not change because I wear a blue Yankee hat instead of the normal navy blue.

    As for worrying about people judging based on your looks, get over it. You cannot change this and it is a waste of time to worry about changing it. To think “This is..” is a judgement.

  157. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 2:26 am

    okay, now that we’ve been all over the place…

    I ask again, and I’ll even qualify…while it is okay to question and examine women’s choices wrt to body image and beauty issues, why is it hard to support women in those choices and work on making all women feel comfortable with the choices they’ve made (pat compliant or not?)

  158. Stefaneus
    August 24, 2007 at 2:27 am

    Trinity:

    I know better than some people not because of how long I’ve been alive, but because of what I’ve been through (war zone, PTSD,… and yes, teenage kids to tame) and a lot of what some people do makes my eyes roll in their sockets.

    For their own good, I hope it is just a phase, because if it isn’t, and they won’t grow out of it and learn better, they will end up very sadly. In case of these women, the knowledge will most likely come with the first wrinkles when they’ll see that the men they looove so much were just using them.

    And when did ageism become something that young use against the old? The last time I checked it wasn’t the Cult of Old that was being promoted all over the place and people over fifty weren’t taking over the jobs reserved for the dynamic youngsters.

  159. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 2:31 am

    Matt:

    No, I think you don’t get it. If we are looking to make society a place where a variety of looks are more widely accepted, these things do need to be discussed and tolerance for that variety needs to be expanded. Here, I am asking for imput on those issues wrt to feminism. It’s not about blush for a job interview, or leaving society, or pressure that men face, or any such thing, it is about why, if we seek to widen tolerance, we sometimes seem so incapable of doing it on a personal or even small group dynamic level.

  160. August 24, 2007 at 2:38 am

    Stefaneus,

    While I can’t speak to war… don’t assume the people you’re talking to don’t have PTSD, please.

    If it taught you something, why the assumption that it didn’t teach me (yet), or that it doesn’t teach people who are younger still?

    Actually that whole trope that PTSD makes you wise, I think, is worth examining too. It may offer wisdom, but it just as often offers hypervigilance, terror, flashbacks, and persistent anxiety. Not the wisest mode for engaging with the world.

    Or at least I don’t find it so.

  161. August 24, 2007 at 2:54 am

    And “for your own good” sounds like patriarchy and a whole bunch of other -archies talking, honestly. It’s always for the oppressed’s “own good” that the oppressor insists on something.

    Which is the point here. When feminists start borrowing that language, looking at what other women do and calling them fake, not serious, less intelligent, unaware… we’re doing the same thing we want the Patriarchy not to do to us.

    I don’t like that. I don’t think we should behave that way.

  162. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 2:57 am

    “And “for your own good” sounds like patriarchy and a whole bunch of other -archies talking, honestly. It’s always for the oppressed’s “own good” that the oppressor insists on something.

    Which is the point here. When feminists start borrowing that language, looking at what other women do and calling them fake, not serious, less intelligent, unaware… we’re doing the same thing we want the Patriarchy not to do to us.”

    Amen, yes, yes, yes and thank you!

  163. August 24, 2007 at 3:04 am

    A place where different looks are accepted is not important. In fact it doesn’t matter at all unless the feelings of people too obsessed with themselves to realize that the opinions about the shoes they’re wearing and why held by other people is more important to you then equality, which is supposedly one of the aims of feminism. I noticed you excluded men despite the overwhelming evidence that men also worry about their looks and decided to question you on this.

    The world is filled with living creatures and living creatures judge everything around them for a variety of reasons, humans especially. Not only will you most likely fail in attempting to change this, but it is not something you should worry about, as a feminist, unless feminism is about feelings. Fashion styles do not matter. A person’s self image do not matter.

    In your opinion, is feminism about equality under the law for all human beings, or the hurt feelings of the self-obsessed women whos appearances you judge, whether it be a negative or positive judgement. This is the only important question to ask in response to your question on whether or not you, as a feminist, should support all image choices that women make, as it addresses the situation completely.

  164. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 3:20 am

    Matt: right then, you go on ahead with thinking that people taking crap over their appearance, which most folk do at some time in their life, often starting very young, is not important. Truth is, it does effect people often in very negative ways, from feeling bad about themselves right on up to actual discrimination. I think this is an important thing that can and should be recognized and worked on. If you don’t find it to be important, great, I’m not trying to force you.

    I do think feminism isabout equality under the law and all those other things, but if I choose to talk about/question/explore beauty issues and body image issues, I will. If I choose to focus that discussion on women I will. You don’t have to like it, and I am under no obligation to see that you do.

  165. Stefaneus
    August 24, 2007 at 3:37 am

    Trinity:

    I never said I was wise, far from it, perish the thought. If war has taught me something, it was that people are able to do very stupid things for even stupider reasons and I was one of those people. Serving with female soldiers opened my eyes to feminism and trying to make respectable citizens out of hyperactive teenagers left me banging my head against the wall from frustration. These are not the only things that ever had an effect on me, I’m a sum of many experiences as is any other person, I brought these up just as an example.

    The only thing I ever wanted to prove here is that the more people I know, the more I’m left scratching my head and going: “No, you can’t really mean that, please? Here, have a book about the subject. Read it and then try again.” I haven’t got a license to judge anybody, but I don’t want to look with my mouth shut while they’re obviously (from my point of view) going to do something they’ll later regret. And don’t assume I’m talking about you, this whole discussion I’ve been talking about women who forget that the men could get rid of them for a newer model in a blink of an eye.

    You’re right, my PTSD sucks. It doesn’t make me wise, it makes me the crankiest person in the multiverse. I would have let this be if it wasn’t for the fact that you were taking the words of my good friend ginmar, and turning them into something that she would never say. I evidently touched something in you with my remark about ageism and I’m sorry about that. Just try to actually read the whole text you’re providing your quotes from next time.

  166. August 24, 2007 at 5:13 am

    Ren: Right then, examples of feminist women denegrading women who have conventional traits…how about the recent uproar over the photo of Amiee Mullings in Sports Illustrated? Where the woman was mocked for her pose (which is a runner like pose), her attire (which is runner like attire), and there was much talk of her appearing as yet another skinny bottle blonde with her ass in the air?

    You completely left out that Mullins is a double amputee. That considerably complicates any discussion you simply say was critical of her “conventional traits”. In fact, it erases what was the entire point of the discussion from my blog that you list.

    Also, if you’d point out the mocking that occurs in that discussion, I’d appreciate it.

  167. Loosely Twisted
    August 24, 2007 at 5:38 am

    Ren, Matt is a troll, it’s “WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ!!!”

    Anyone have a bingo card?

  168. August 24, 2007 at 6:19 am

    Please understand DaisyDeadhead, this rant isn’t directed at you. It’s just that—damn—every time the dynamic of “beauty rituals are antifeminist, and women who engage in them are giving aid and comfort to the enemy!!” pops up, it seems to serve primarily as a means of shaming and silencing other women, while the self-styled real feminists get to clap themselves on the back and feel superior to—who? Sexists? No. To other women.

    I never said this, and I don’t believe this, so why is my name even in this comment?

    My comments are #22 and #120, and if either comment gives the impression that this is my opinion, I sincerely apologize to everyone.

  169. Kim
    August 24, 2007 at 6:31 am

    “Strawfeminist,” my ass.
    “I demand proof!” my ass.

    All one needs to do is this: imagine a tres (likely radical) feminist meeting. Some imaginary place where anyone who would call Strawfeminist! on Ren’s post here are gathered. “All Womyn Welcomed!” reads a sign on the door to this imaginary meeting place.

    In walks a woman. She is very thin with obviously purchased breasts. She is fully madeup, hair styled. She is wearing a short skirt and 4 and 1/2 inch platform heels. Her jewelry jingles as sit downs and she flashes everyone in the room a smile full of perfect, white teeth. “Hi all! I’m a feminist just like all of you! It’s so nice to be here!’

    Can you honestly say, not ONE women in this crowd, when she felt it safe to do so and out of earshot of others, wouldn’t have a laugh or two over this woman? A critique or two, even if thinly disguised as “I can’t imagine how she can walk in those things?”

    Bullshit.

    Another thing: this topic comes up again and again and AGAIN. Yet, always the same “strawfeminist!” response from certain types who indentify as feminists. If many women who also indentify as feminists feel this is indeed a real issue, then, I feel this merits examining: in the true spirit of feminism; in the spirit of listening to voices of all women. (Forgive me getting all sisterlovingmoonytalk there on your asses, but I am sincere.) But nah. Easier I guess to yell Strawfeminist!, put a “tee hee” or two in for good snark, and stomp off.

    Nice.

    This: “If you’re doing what the patriarchy wants from women, then you’re not fighting anything but reality” says so much, really.

    This incredibly insulting comment, while I’m no mind reader, gives a direct window into what this commenter really thinks about Those Women. And it don’t look pretty to me.

    PS. Likely I made some typos. Get over it.

  170. tinfoil hattie
    August 24, 2007 at 6:38 am

    Please, can we ban Matt? After he leaves a link to his “what about the menz?” blog, of course, so any of us who are interested in what a MAN has to say about a discussion initiated by a WOMAN, on a FEMINIST blog, regarding WOMEN’s pressure from the patriarchy to conform to certain standards, can go read his brilliant and original thoughts.

    News flash, Matt: in the words of Twisty Faster, what a man thinks about feminism and patriarchy is simply irrelevant to the discussion. We don’t have to frame feminist and women’s issues according to your definitions. Drives you crazy, doesn’t it? Bunch of women bucking patriarchy and having our own opinions about a matter that mostly affects us, without taking your opinions into consideration?

    Back to the topic at hand: I think we’re all arguing the same thing here, but maybe missing the main point: in a patriarchy, every single decision we make is influenced by that patriarchy. Period. We don’t even know it half the time.

    But in a patriarchy, we all do what we have to in order to survive. Because what other choice do we have? None. Women don’t actually have any free, unencumbered choices in a patriarchy. That’s the whole problem. We’ll never know if women would have “discovered” make-up, shaving, waxing, and high heels on their own without patriarchy.

    And by the way, just as an aside: I think high heels are torture! Yikes! I used to be able to wear them, and literally “run” around campus and city streets when I was younger, and now that I’m an old boring curmudgeon, I can’t stand them! Ow ow ow!! What was I THINKING?? :-)

  171. August 24, 2007 at 6:55 am

    and in ordre to succeed in this society, you have to deal with other people and their needs and wants in order to get what YOU need and want. If you don’t like it, then leave.

    Matt, matt, where do I start. But I’m… confused. Leave society? Where do we go – do we get to live in a barrel on the side of a hill somewhere, or something?

  172. other orange
    August 24, 2007 at 8:01 am

    I ask again, and I’ll even qualify…while it is okay to question and examine women’s choices wrt to body image and beauty issues, why is it hard to support women in those choices and work on making all women feel comfortable with the choices they’ve made (pat compliant or not?)

    I’ll answer honestly for myself: because certain beauty rituals make me fucking nervous. Like, for example, black women facing pressure to straighten their hair. I get that plenty of people like the way straight hair looks ! Yay, awesome ! But that can never erase the fact that straightening your hair is practically required by the white, sexist patriarchy- see Pam Spaulding’s posts at Pandagon, etc.

    I’m not interested in punishing or judging women for their appearance. Never. What I am interested in is how their appearance codes them as “acceptable” and those of us, who don’t fully paticipate, as somehow marginal or unacceptable. Okay ? It matters less to me what people say on the internet about me, than what I have to face daily in the real world. The patriarchy is everywhere. Constantly delivering judgements on me, on us.

    I’ll say it one more time: I like some beauty rituals. But until women’s participation in them is seen by the greater world as participation instead of compliance, I want to keep examining the choices.

    Also, Trinity, you say:

    I’m aware of the critiques of waxing, but I like it.

    Good ! But where did you get the idea to do it ? From a dream ? From decoding a scret message in The Iliad ? I’m taking a joking tone, but what I’m really saying is: what influenced you to do it in the first place ? Because if you can step back and say, “yeah, I realize that society gave me the idea or the pressure to do it, but I continue to do it because I’ve examined my choices and it benefits my life,” then fine ! Good ! I’m not even talking about you, then, really. I’m talking about the people who continue to deny that culture shapes them and their decisions in any meaningful way. That’s all.

  173. La Lubu
    August 24, 2007 at 8:20 am

    I never said this, and I don’t believe this, so why is my name even in this comment?

    Solely because you were waiting four hours for a response to what I assumed was your original question—where was the feminist pressure? I just didn’t want you to think my ensuing rant had anything to do with you. The dynamic I mentioned is present, and is present on this thread—but no, I don’t consider you as part of that dynamic. After noting the level of agita in my response, I thought I better insert a qualifier to separate you from my rant.

  174. piny
    August 24, 2007 at 8:40 am

    No. Didn’t know they were a band. I read “pussycatdoll feminist” and thought it was one of those cute neologisms people make up when they want to paint sex-positive feminists as vapid young scenesters.

    I did get the reference, and I think the objection is still valid. “Jenna Jamison feminist” is not different from “pornbot feminist,” is it?

  175. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 9:06 am

    So maybe you should educate yourself about what feminists are talking about before you attack what they’re saying, Trinity.

  176. piny
    August 24, 2007 at 9:09 am

    Re: Pussycat Dolls – Have you actually seen any of their videos? Perhaps the one where they sing Don’tcha you wish your girlfriend was wrong like me?, while posing around in almost-not-there dresses? Sorry, if you aren’t one of those ‘Look how I am empowered! Why isn’t everybody like me!’ girls, who ignore problems that women lower than them on the economical ladder have and, for the lack of a better word, are really selling them out for their own advancement, THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. It might be a little unfair to the group itself; they might be nice girls and all that, but the image they’re providing is making me something between amused and ill.

    Ginmar wasn’t talking about the Pussycat Dolls. She constructed this whole epidemic category of Pussycat Doll feminists–who are, I suppose, alternately sparklepony feminists and fun feminists and sexbot feminists and yay-pornie feminists. She made a general statement rather than referring to actual women. In the absence of a specific subject, and in the absence of discussion of beauty rituals and those women who habitually perform them but are not included in the Pussycat Doll feminist category, I have difficulty reading this as anything other than a prejudice against femmey feminists. I think it’s a model that only exists via an assumption about the motives of women who consider themselves feminists and wax their cooters.

    I think, too, that the dichotomy between the patriarchal beauty-ritual and the woman doesn’t really stand. Beauty rituals are a very intimate thing for a lot of women, and they resonate along a whole bunch of different channels. Race, class, culture, moms. Makeup can be more personal than religion.

    Implants are an example. Ren has them, and is (ahem) up-front about them. I believe that there are many grounds for feminist critique of implants: normativity, pressure, self-hatred, expense, danger, trouble, pain, sensation. I believe that every woman should have the right to speak very bluntly about her personal feelings towards implants and her own desire for or aversion to them. And that she should be able to give as much credence to her personal wise disgust as suits her. I have had to delineate my preferences to at least a few doctors lately, and have noticed some very disturbing assumptions about what is and is not a minor procedure and a normal body.

    However, I am also aware that when I discuss implants, I am discussing a part of Ren’s actual body as well. I am discussing her nervous system, her sex life, her history, her appearance. I cannot refuse to acknowledge all of these things as they seem to her firsthand. Nor do I have the right to turn her into a grotesque.

    I think it’s also important to recognize that the patriarchy doesn’t actually offer love or respect to any woman, or acceptance of any female body. Misogynists are also quite capable of saying these exact things–gross, unnatural, ugly, fake, whorish, ridiculous, wasteful–about beauty tampering, and I don’t just mean fundamentalists. It wasn’t feminists who invented the bimbo. I’m not pessimistic, but critiques like these can be as compromised as silky fabrics and sweet smells.

  177. piny
    August 24, 2007 at 9:12 am

    So maybe you should educate yourself about what feminists are talking about before you attack what they’re saying, Trinity.

    So who are The Sparkleponies? Trance-klezmer faux-lesbian triplets from Rotterdam?

  178. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 9:13 am

    Matt, get over yourself. We don’t need some anti-feminist man coming in here to instruct us on how to be true feminists.

    Feminism is about MORE than just sexual equality under the LAW. It’s about social and economic equality. And way upthread I did mention that men and women are BOTH expected to conform to either “masculine” or “feminine,” respectively. And that the requirements are very different.
    While women are expected to wear makeup (and makeup is like, the least of the beauty requirements), men are forbidden. I’m sure plenty of little boys have been curious about their mothers’ makeup but have gotten slaps on the hand had they dared experiment with it. That’s wrong. Little boys should be allowed to play in tu-tus if they want. Patriarchy is most concerned with maintaining a very strong line between the “masculine” and “feminine” and anyone who ignores it is punished in some way.
    Whatever, I don’t even know why I’m talking to you.

  179. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 9:13 am

    I’m going to skip the other comments and sya Trinity, You better quote the whole goddamned essay instead of cherry picking for quotes. Christ on a crutch already. That’s almost as god as your friend Ren claiming that criticizing the culture is the same as criticizing the woman in the picture. And about as honest.

  180. Kim
    August 24, 2007 at 9:16 am

    Missed this:

    “The second link is from an antifeminist site, so maybe you should do more than just Google “aimee mullins feminist.”

    That would be my site and it is not anti-feminist as I am a feminist.

  181. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Piny, if you don’t read my damned blog don’t ask for a lesson in something that’s been years in the making. I’m not giving you a private lesson. The short version is that Sparkleponies something like the Pussycats but more demure; oh, yeah, and they’re like Ann Coulter with the insults to feminists.

  182. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Yeah, I also got the reference. And I got that “pussycatdoll feminist” doesn’t just refer to the band. It derogates a wider group of women for allegedly being like the band, & not in a good way.

    Likewise, the fact that “sexbot” & “fuckbot” originally referred literally to a kind of (imaginary) robot doesn’t mean that “sexbot feminist” & “fuckbot feminist” refer only to robots. They compare other women to robots, which is an insult, & meant to be. Although no feminist has ever used the terms, right?

  183. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Okay. I guess I got a little confused by all the scorn you heaped on everyone at IBTP. It sure sounded an awful lot like antifeminism to me. But hey, if you say you’re a feminist, you must be.

    In other news, I’m Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

  184. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Oh, yeah, and your take on the pussycat dolls was wrong, but don’t bother reading anything but Trinity’s quotes, why don’t you? That’s real honest.

  185. Kim
    August 24, 2007 at 9:20 am

    “Given the scorn Basante heaps on feminists in that link, I’d definitely call her anti-feminist.”

    It’s” bastante.”
    I heap scorn where scorn is due.
    End of story.

  186. Kim
    August 24, 2007 at 9:21 am

    Wondering why this didn’t go through?
    Reposting my comment again:

    “Strawfeminist,” my ass.
    “I demand proof!” my ass.

    All one needs to do is this: imagine a tres (likely radical) feminist meeting. Some imaginary place where anyone who would call Strawfeminist! on Ren’s post here are gathered. “All Womyn Welcomed!” reads a sign on the door to this imaginary meeting place.

    In walks a woman. She is very thin with obviously purchased breasts. She is fully madeup, hair styled. She is wearing a short skirt and 4 and 1/2 inch platform heels. Her jewelry jingles as sit downs and she flashes everyone in the room a smile full of perfect, white teeth. “Hi all! I’m a feminist just like all of you! It’s so nice to be here!’

    Can you honestly say, not ONE women in this crowd, when she felt it safe to do so and out of earshot of others, wouldn’t have a laugh or two over this woman? A critique or two, even if thinly disguised as “I can’t imagine how she can walk in those things?”

    Bullshit.

    Another thing: this topic comes up again and again and AGAIN. Yet, always the same “strawfeminist!” response from certain types who indentify as feminists. If many women who also indentify as feminists feel this is indeed a real issue, then, I feel this merits examining: in the true spirit of feminism; in the spirit of listening to voices of all women. (Forgive me getting all sisterlovingmoonytalk there on your asses, but I am sincere.) But nah. Easier I guess to yell Strawfeminist!, put a “tee hee” or two in for good snark, and stomp off.

    Nice.

    This: “If you’re doing what the patriarchy wants from women, then you’re not fighting anything but reality” says so much, really.

    This incredibly insulting comment, while I’m no mind reader, gives a direct window into what this commenter really thinks about Those Women. And it don’t look pretty to me.

    PS. Likely I made some typos. Get over it.

  187. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 9:22 am

    An Coulter isn’t the only one who insults feminists. Feminists who call other feminists sexbots also insult feminists.

  188. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 9:22 am

    The reason actual feminists are critical of “Pussycat doll feminists” is that they do not espouse actual feminism!! They cause people to think that feminism is something it’s not.

    Here’s a definition for you (which I got from the Finally Feminism 101 blog.)

    empowerful: disparaging description of the methods used by sexist marketing to appropriate “empowerment” in order to persuade women into yet more sexual displays for male titillation

    Note the inclusion of the phrase “sexist marketing.” Again, we are not necessarily attacking individual women. We are attacking the deceitful marketing of certain behaviors as “feminist” when they are most decidedly not – they usually benefit men. It’s a clever way of making women do what you want, by telling them it’s “empowering” them.

  189. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 9:23 am

    I wonder how many people bitching now are going to go after the sex pozzes who bash other feminists for not being cool like them. Nah, there’s nothing to the pussycat doll feminist label. Nothing at all. There’s a bunch of the sex pozzes flirting with the trolls that have been harassing Hearrt and BB but hey, we can’t criticize them because they’re your sisters in fun feminism—even though they eagerly toss other feminists to the wolves.

  190. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 9:28 am

    Exactly, ginmar. “Sexbot feminists” aren’t actually feminists. So no, we’re not attacking other feminists when we criticize them. We’re attacking the notion that feminism is nothing more than dolling yourself up to get attention from the menz while caring nothing feminist theory, women’s liberation or inequality.

  191. piny
    August 24, 2007 at 9:29 am

    empowerful: disparaging description of the methods used by sexist marketing to appropriate “empowerment” in order to persuade women into yet more sexual displays for male titillation

    Note the inclusion of the phrase “sexist marketing.” Again, we are not necessarily attacking individual women. We are attacking the deceitful marketing of certain behaviors as “feminist” when they are most decidedly not – they usually benefit men. It’s a clever way of making women do what you want, by telling them it’s “empowering” them.

    Not necessarily, but not infrequently, either. Twisty, who I believe originated the “empowerful” crack, attacks individual women, not just Clinique. It’s dishonest to pretend that this is always directed at the corporate overlords. It’s not. And if you’re attacking a bullshit system, you’re kind of inevitably attacking the women you argue are its shills and dupes. I get that you can’t really challenge the reasoning behind beauty rituals without disparaging the arguments of the people who so reason, but that’s what is happening.

    There’s a bunch of the sex pozzes flirting with the trolls that have been harassing Hearrt and BB but hey, we can’t criticize them because they’re your sisters in fun feminism—even though they eagerly toss other feminists to the wolves.

    Oh, Ginmar, you are so full of shit on this one.

  192. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Those of you who mistakenly believe feminists are not “allowed” to criticize other women or examine women’s behavior are being intellectually dishonest.
    I don’t have to accept and approve of everything a person does just because we have the same lady parts. That’s a really shallow view of feminism.

  193. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 9:32 am

    And if you’re attacking a bullshit system, you’re kind of inevitably attacking the women you argue are its shills and dupes.

    And? See 186.

  194. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 9:33 am

    And if you’re attacking a bullshit system, you’re kind of inevitably attacking the women you argue are its shills and dupes. I get that you can’t really challenge the reasoning behind beauty rituals without disparaging the arguments of the people who so reason, but that’s what is happening.

    So… what, then? Should feminists refrain from challenging a system that exploits the human race because people like Ren who not only endorse it but proudly make their living from it might get their feelings hurt and lash out at feminists because of it?

  195. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 9:33 am

    Oh, look, another dig at Twisty, who coined the term sexbot, I believe. Sorry, but it’s been my experience that ‘sexbots’—another term for Sparklepony—-are the ones who doll themselves and suck up to men whille calling feminists fat, hairy, smelly, and non-bra wearing. Here’s a good example: “My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie-chick pie wagons they call “women” at the Democratic National Convention.”

    Fun feminists typically claim they’re feminists while sucking up to men and spouting strawfeminists or outright hostility to radfems. And radfems are the ones who make everybody uncomfortable.

  196. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 9:39 am

    Piny, what do you want, a link? You want one see one of your buddies sucking up to Soulhuntre, an old time Ms. Boards troll?

    http://www.herdwatching.com/tag/heart/

    http://bppa.blogspot.com/2007/08/anti-porn-mothers-and-teenage-sons.html#comment-3192461574527430180

    I’ve got one more link but I’ve got to find but the fun feminists were sucking up to trolls and gloating about this days before anyone knew it was happening, quoting from Encyclopedia Dramatica—edited by somebody hostile to hearrt and BB—before the magnitude of the attack became apparent. So I’ll take your ‘full of shit’ and raise it to, ‘ignorance is no excuse.’

  197. piny
    August 24, 2007 at 9:40 am

    And? See 186.

    And so stop pretending that women don’t have the right to feel implicated on an individual basis. See the inconsistency? “We’re not necessarily attacking individual women! We’re attacking the patriarchy!” “Yes, you are too attacking individual women.” “Well, and so what if we are?”

    Those of you who mistakenly believe feminists are not “allowed” to criticize other women or examine women’s behavior are being intellectually dishonest.
    I don’t have to accept and approve of everything a person does just because we have the same lady parts. That’s a really shallow view of feminism.

    The fuck are you talking about? Ren just criticized a whole bunch of other women and their behavior, didn’t she?

  198. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 9:41 am

    we are not necessarily attacking individual women.

    Sure, whatever. But you are assuming that somebody died & made you arbiter of who’s a feminist, invested you with the authority to tell some feminists that they’re not ‘actual’ feminists. If someone told you that you’re not an actual feminist, your own self-understanding notwithstanding, I suspect you’d begin to question the “intellectual honesty” of their claims to authority in the matter.

    And you’re saying that, unlike you, these other feminists only appear to exercise agency. Unlike you, the words that come out of their mouths were put there by someone else. Not that any of this implies that they live lesser lives than you.

    “Sexbot feminists” aren’t actually feminists. So no, we’re not attacking other feminists when we criticize them.

    Petitio principii, anyone?

  199. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 9:46 am

    KH (and piny too): feminism DOES have a definition. If you don’t adhere to any feminist principles and can barely carry on a conversation without attacking a number of strawfeminists, maybe you’re not a fucking feminist.

  200. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 9:50 am

    “My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie-chick pie wagons they call “women” at the Democratic National Convention.”

    There, I fixed that for you, KH. A sexbot in action for you.

    And, yeah, fuck that. I don’t have to accept any damned woman just because she’s a woman. I sure as hell don’t have to agree with any fool thing a woman says because she’s a woman. I’d have to agree with Ann Coulter and any number of eejits in that case. Nor do I have to feel allegiance to any woman who says ‘Heartt brought it on herself.’ https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=27223451&postID=7099749257252036896

    Sorry, they’re on their own.

    I will say, it’s kind of interesting to see all the people who’ve been attacking feminists—didn’t Feministe do a piece on that?—gathered together in one congenial place.

  201. piny
    August 24, 2007 at 9:58 am

    KH (and piny too): feminism DOES have a definition. If you don’t adhere to any feminist principles and can barely carry on a conversation without attacking a number of strawfeminists, maybe you’re not a fucking feminist.

    Dang, and I was so hoping to buy you a drink!

    I love how it always ends up here. “So what if we are?” And after so much time spent insisting that no one’s saying these women aren’t feminists or can’t be feminists, and that we’re critiquing patriarchy, not insulting women, etc. etc.

    Look: the point here is not to argue either that feminism is a meaningless concept, or that it should be. It is also not to argue that women should not be able to criticize other women (is that not happening in the post?), or that beauty-rituals are not subject to feminist criticism. The argument as I read it is about assumptions about other women’s motives, knowledge, and self-knowledge; it’s also about the tendency of misogyny to insinuate itself even into well-intentioned criticism of beauty rituals. It’s kinda hard to reclaim terms like “sexbot” from the patriarchy, yanno?

  202. Kim
    August 24, 2007 at 9:58 am

    Wondering where my first comment went?
    I reposted and it’s still in moderation, yet my other comments appear to have gone through.
    Was it deemed unappropriate?
    Just curious.

  203. Kim
    August 24, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Wondering where my first comment went?
    I reposted and it’s still in moderation, yet my other comments appear to have gone through.
    Was it deemed inappropriate?
    Just curious.

  204. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 10:00 am

    I have two comments in moderation both with links.

    Sorry, piny, but criticizing the patriarchy is what you’re bitching about, or criticizing anti-feminist women. You’re the one mixing up whehter or not those women are feminist or anti-feminist.

  205. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 10:06 am

    Yeah, words have definitions, but they’re settled by convention, not by your or anybody else’s stipulation. And some concepts are contested. And some social movements comprise divergent tendencies. As I said, you beg the question, assume unearned authority when you presume to decide that feminists you disagree with aren’t “actual” feminists. On a widely accepted concept of feminism, your presumption is what’s unfeminist. So we could go around in circles like this all day.

    You can’t possibly know whether I’m unable to carry on a conversation without attacking “a number of” strawfeminists. Whether I’m attacking straw feminists is this conversation depends on whether you’re attacking “actual” feminists, a question you want to settle by definitional fiat. The empirical question isn’t really too hard to answer. There’s a long, undeniable record of attacks on sexbot feminists, fuck-me feminists, sparklepony feminists, etc, etc, ad nauseum. Your claim that my reference that that record of attacks is itself an attack on strawfeminists depends on your presumption that none of the people you & your co-thinkers make a habit of attacking are “actual” feminists. So we come back to your petitio principii.

  206. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 10:10 am

    Sorry, after dealing with so-called ‘bad feminists’—“I’m a bad feminist! I LOVE men! And makeup! And girly stuff! Tee hee! Look at me!” I’m at a loss as to how they can be ripe for anything but criticism. They’re explicitly dealing with strawfeminists, and then they’re using those strawfeminists to make themselves look attractive to men. Meanwhile, I kind of doubt they want to go back to not voting, no birth control, no jobs, rape being legal, and so forth. As a friend of mine just pointed out, they’re the female version of “I’m anti-PC! Look at me, being brave and honest and using a strawliberal!” All that’s missing is a Tee Hee.

    There’s a whole community set up on livejournal for so-called bad feminists. I guess I’m not supposed to criticize them because they’re women. I guess I’m not supposed to doubt their veracity. Well, fuck that shit.

  207. La Lubu
    August 24, 2007 at 10:25 am

    Look: the point here is not to argue either that feminism is a meaningless concept, or that it should be. It is also not to argue that women should not be able to criticize other women (is that not happening in the post?), or that beauty-rituals are not subject to feminist criticism. The argument as I read it is about assumptions about other women’s motives, knowledge, and self-knowledge; it’s also about the tendency of misogyny to insinuate itself even into well-intentioned criticism of beauty rituals. It’s kinda hard to reclaim terms like “sexbot” from the patriarchy, yanno?

    Thank you, piny. Those assumptions, and the form of that criticism, replicates those of misogyny. Refusing to acknowledge areas where one is relatively privileged, yet criticizing other women for making concessions where they don’t share that privilege, is quite frankly, standing on the backs of other women to stand a little higher. Tall enough, yet?

  208. Sheelzebub
    August 24, 2007 at 10:28 am

    I was underweight up until my thirties (110 lbs in high school, 110-115 in college, 125-130 in my thirties). I’m blond. And while I’d sometimes hear the cracks, they didn’t bother me very much. I’d see what kind of shit my fat female friends got, the vitriol thrown at women who weren’t pretty, the slammed doors in their faces, and that pissed me off a lot more. People assumed that they had no feelings, or that their feelings weren’t important. So, say, a heavy friend would be thrown over by a guy she liked, and he’d go to her to cry on her shoulder about the hot chick who lived in her dorm and how she wouldn’t give him the time of day. Women who weren’t hot weren’t considered for a fucking receptionist position in one company I worked for because, well, she’d represent the company and she had to be attractive. Nevermind that my boss was balding with crooked teeth and headed up sales. The standards were and are different for women.

    It wasn’t other women who pissed me off. A woman who made cracks about how I must be anorexic irritated me (FYI–I hated being underweight), but I didn’t find it oppressive. (What was immediately oppressive to me was the idea that I should somehow be public property, that I wasn’t quite human because I was teh female, that I should have no agency, the pay gap, violence, harassment, etc.) It was people who treated women who didn’t conform/couldn’t conform to beauty standards like shit that pissed me off. Even if they tried (dressed femininely, wore makeup, shaved, etc.), if they weren’t conventionally attractive or thin or whatever, they were treated like shit by a lot of people. And make no mistake, I knew that any one of us who showed our age or gained weight or got some skin condition that could be in the same boat.

  209. Sheelzebub
    August 24, 2007 at 10:36 am

    And I’ll also say–I had eczema, a horrific case of it, for most of my life. Often on my face. Lemme tell ya, I’d rather hear people call me an anorexic sexbot any day of the week in comparison to the shit I caught when I was deemed ugly and unworthy.

  210. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 11:09 am

    I guess I’m not supposed to criticize them …

    So are we officially no longer standing on the claim that nobody’s criticizing these so-called feminists? Is the line now that if they like makeup – or say it the wrong way – they can’t be ripe for anything but criticism?

    And if they keep being told that they’re not “actual” feminists, mightn’t their self-description as “bad” feminists be more of an ironic comment on the self-appointed keepers of the gates than an attempt to suck up to men?

    ….they’re using those strawfeminists to make themselves look attractive to men.

    Or, as Rozasharn puts it on your blog: “So they act like sexbots but try to get credit for feminism anyway. Then they bash real feminists in hope of reducing the dating competition.” Just keep telling yourself that: We’re not criticizing them – but if we are, they’re not really feminists -, & if they say we are, it’s just to make men like us less than them.

    It seems to me this gets things completely backwards. I profoundly doubt many men make mating choices based on the way feminists treat each other, & if anyone thinks women only object to being derogated as sexbots in order to gain an advantage over the women who insult them in some notional “competition” for men, they can put their minds at ease. Despite what you might have heard, the targets of these insults have neither the interest nor the ability to adversely affect other feminists’ relationships with men. They want the unwarranted & degrading personal attacks to stop for the same reason any other woman would. That’s shouldn’t be too much to ask a feminist.

  211. August 24, 2007 at 11:11 am

    KH (and piny too): feminism DOES have a definition. If you don’t adhere to any feminist principles and can barely carry on a conversation without attacking a number of strawfeminists, maybe you’re not a fucking feminist.

    This quote took me back to my younger days, growing up in a fundamentalist Pentecostal church. One of the favorite pastimes among the very sanctified members was spotting who was really a Christian and who wasn’t. And ironically enough, a lot of the criteria for who was or wasn’t truly a Christian was the way people dressed, who they hung out with, and random things they said.

    For example: True Christian women didn’t have pierced ears, or if they got them pierced before being saved they certainly didn’t wear earrings. And True Christian women didn’t wear makeup. True Christian men didn’t have long hair. True Christians of either gender didn’t have sex before marriage. I remember having furious arguments with other church members over whether or not True Christian women could wear swimsuits around men who were not their husbands.

    It was a very popular bloodsport, let me tell you. And especially satisfying if you could sit back, point fingers, and declare, “not a True Christian, not a True Christian, going to hell for sure, tool of Satan.”

    And it made those of us who managed to get into the True Christians Club feel very special and unique and close to each other. We knew that if anybody picked on a True Christian it was because they were not a True Christian themselves, and we would all rush to our fellow True Christian’s defense and start quoting scripture at the heathen Not True Christians.

    Yeah, it was nice to belong to such an exclusive club, let me tell you. Especially since it was so hard to get in and stay in–the rules were so very strict.

  212. August 24, 2007 at 11:12 am

    The reason actual feminists are critical of “Pussycat doll feminists” is that they do not espouse actual feminism!! They cause people to think that feminism is something it’s not.

    Okay, but I ask again: Who are the “pussycatdoll feminists”?

    Bloggers who are knowledgable about feminist theory but who reject some of the critiques of other women as “sellouts”?

    Fans of bands who twitter “Girl Power” but don’t know even basic Feminist 101?

    You’re not being clear about WHO you’re criticizing. You’re insisting that you don’t deride “actual feminists” but you’re not giving any reason why these people are “bad feminists” or “pussycatdoll feminists” or anything else.

    All I gather from ginmar’s post and from others’ comments is that they dress in socially acceptable ways and like it.

    If no one is dissing women for doing that, what makes a person a “pussycatdoll” feminist then? Where is this anger being aimed?

  213. Hector B.
    August 24, 2007 at 11:16 am

    A meta-question I’ve had is “Can a woman be a feminist if she doesn’t reject all the trappings of the patriarchy?” For example, almost all the professional women I know born after 1975 took their husband’s surname after they married, which I found a bit jarring — why not just get tattooed with “Property of Bob H.”?

    I’m pretty sure women can be feminists even if they meet a patriarchy-approved beauty standard — I know the Playboy Bunny standard that Gloria Steinem met was exacting, because the beautiful older sister of a friend of mine was unable to become a Playboy Bunny because the circumference of her thighs was one inch too great. And I think of Gloria Steinem as a canonical feminist.

  214. August 24, 2007 at 11:18 am

    So are we officially no longer standing on the claim that nobody’s criticizing these so-called feminists?

    It looks that way to me too. These people are only worthy of criticism, for… something. But we’re all just supposed to use our Feminist Sixth Sense to figure out what that actually is.

    Because it couldn’t be their appearance. No radical feminist has ever done that… yadda yadda ya.

    Maybe I never should have left the rarefied radfem circles. My Sixth Sense might still work. Trying to rely on my reason is just making my head hurt.

    Just keep telling yourself that: We’re not criticizing them – but if we are, they’re not really feminists -, & if they say we are, it’s just to make men like us less than them.

    That I think is the thing: everyone’s expected to accept that certain people are “not really feminists,” when the anti-feminist views they supposedly endorse wholeheartedly don’t even get mentioned, described, laid out.

    Unless the anti-feminism is revealed in the grooming, but everyone insists that it’s not, so I’ve no idea what’s even being said at this point. Other than that some women are fake feminists.

    And people wonder why folks like Ren are tired of all this? I don’t.

  215. August 24, 2007 at 11:21 am

    A meta-question I’ve had is “Can a woman be a feminist if she doesn’t reject all the trappings of the patriarchy?” For example, almost all the professional women I know born after 1975 took their husband’s surname after they married, which I found a bit jarring — why not just get tattooed with “Property of Bob H.”?

    I never understood that taking someone else’s name thing either, but I have no idea why someone doing that is supposedly a reflection on her feminism. See, to me, feminism is about doing activism for women: women’s rights, women’s freedom. Creating room in society for women’s perspectives to be heard and valued. Ending violence against women.

    I don’t understand how in the world whether someone took her husband’s last name impacts something like her volunteering at a DV shelter.

    Those things are feminism to me. Not “some women are sexbots” and all this. This is just internet noise.

  216. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 11:23 am

    KH, if you get any more dishonest you’ll be a Republican. It’s really fucking simple and it’s right there in rosasharn’s quote. So waht the fuck? IF somebody goes, “I’m a BAD feminist because I like girly shit,” they’re passive aggressively implying that GOOD feminists hate girly shit. I’m going to conclude you’re in favor of that kind of bullshit because you’re defending it, or at least being so obtuse that I’m wondering if it’s even worth dealingt with you.

    Oh, look, Trinity’s defending her friend! So shocking. And totally ont partisan or anything.

  217. Stefaneus
    August 24, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Trinity:

    Have you been reading those comments by ginmar at all? The short description of a pussycatdoll: a woman who presents herself as a “bad” feminist for liking feminine things and as such presenting the “good” feminists as unfemminine man-haters. Simple enough?

  218. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 11:27 am

    So any woman can call herself and be a feminist? So some women are off liimits? And KH And TRinity and Ren seem to think that switching the goal posts—ie., conflating incidents where some women claim they were criticized with other incidents where PRACTICES and the people who employed them–dishonestly, of course, what a shock—-were criticized are the same thing. Shocking, coming from the crowd that thinks that criticizing the content of the photo is the same as criticizing the content in it.

    So, I guess being a feminist means we have to accept any bullshit at all, if it comes from a woman? Guess what: NO. Fucking bullshit. Ann Coulter and the *tee hee* bad feminists are NOT my sisters and I owe them not one damned thing at all. And I”m sick of arguing with dishonest people about it.

  219. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 11:33 am

    IF somebody goes, “I’m a BAD feminist because I like girly shit,” they’re passive aggressively implying that GOOD feminists hate girly shit.

    Your inference is false. If someone says “I’m a BAD feminist because X,” then it’s more likely that they’re ironically commenting on having been told precisely the same thing, that X makes them a bad (or fake or sexbot) feminist, by some scold who’s arrogated to herself the authority to decide who’s a good & bad feminist. It happens all the time, and it’s not passive aggression to note that you’ve been subjected to it. Nor is it an attempt to lure men away from ‘good’ feminists.

    I should think that you, of all people, would be more modest about accusing other people of aggressiveness.

  220. August 24, 2007 at 11:38 am

    Gin, how exactly did we get to Ann Coulter? Where’d someone say she was a feminist?

    I really think you’re talking about something that isn’t going on here. Yes, it’s true that there are conservatives who co-opt liberal feminist rhetoric, but you’re the only one in here discussing that. You’re having a conversation with yourself right now about Coulter and Schlafly, not with us.

  221. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 11:44 am

    I’m talking about how if a woman says something and calls herself a feminist, evidently we have to accept that, because criticizing such women is off limits. Aren’t you the one who linked to me criticizing anti-feminist women? That’s off limits, evidently, especially if you hit a nerve or something. First we got told that criticizing the way a photo sexed up an athlete was the same as criticzing the woman. Then you linked to me criticzing anti-feminist women and you crowed that that meant that feminists DID TOO OMG criticize women.

    Well, you could have asked. You didn’t. I’m sick of people saying that we have to accept anything a so-called feminist says. If a bunch of people do that same thing, say the same things, and bitch about feminists the same way, that’s how I criticize them. Simple as that. And that’s what I’ve been trying to express. I’m sick of this shit.

  222. Stefaneus
    August 24, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Trinity:

    And that’s it. Coulter is not a feminist, so why the hell are many of these ‘bad’ feminists starting to sound like her when it comes to radical feminism?

  223. August 24, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Your inference is false. If someone says “I’m a BAD feminist because X,” then it’s more likely that they’re ironically commenting on having been told precisely the same thing, that X makes them a bad (or fake or sexbot) feminist

    Yeah. There are a lot of people who get told, for example, “examine your desires” whether that be sexual desire or desire to do something that is patriarchally endorsed. And the problem with that is not that examination is wrong or bad — careful examination of cultural standards and norms is the GOOD THING about radical feminism, and why I aligned myself with it for a long time.

    The problem is the assumption that if someone does decide to do that thing, whether waxing or using porn or doing sex work or getting implants or wearing makeup or shaving or BDSM or… whatever it may be… she hasn’t “examined” enough. When people claim, “yes, I’ve examined,” they’re assumed not to be accurately reporting unless they then follow this statement with the precise bits of radical feminist theory they agree with, at great length.

    People who don’t choose to do these things are never reminded to “examine.”

    Which is why I’m suspicious. I’m totally for examining cultural norms. But I am not for telling individual women what to do. It’s simply too easy to assume that because a woman chooses something you don’t, she “hasn’t examined” and needs to go “back to feminist 101.”

    And that to me is about judging and blaming and shaming and does absolutely nothing to change the cultural standards in question.

    THAT I think is my big beef. I don’t see what rolling our eyes at “pussycatdolls” does to CHANGE the fact that we live in a society in which shaving is considered compulsory (and heterosexuality, and fondness for sexual intercourse, and femininity in general, and “niceness” from women, and…)

    And that’s what I think we should be trying to change and that we keep not focusing on when we groan about the pussycatdolls (or, slightly kinder but no less patronizing, pity them or assume they do it only because complicity makes life easy.)

    Because I really don’t care whether a woman fits some standard. I care about the standard, and if it’s sexist I want to see it gone. That has nothing to do with what any woman does.

  224. August 24, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Coulter is not a feminist, so why the hell are many of these ‘bad’ feminists starting to sound like her when it comes to radical feminism?

    Again, I feel like I’m watching you converse with yourself here. Who are “these ‘bad’ feminists,” and what have they said that sounds like Ann Coulter?

  225. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 11:52 am

    I don’t see how it can be explained any simpler, Trinity. You’re off my hands, then.

  226. August 24, 2007 at 11:54 am

    No problem… have fun evading others’ direct questions.

  227. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 11:57 am

    (I think I got everything out of moderation, sorry it took so long, I had shit to do this morning, I will try and stay on top of the mod file throughout the day, but I do work tonight, so this eve, if your post doesn’t show immediately, please be patient.)

    There is a difference between criticizing a photo of an athlete and saying she looks like “just another skinny bottle-blonde with her ass in the air”…I’d say that is less about the photo and more about the body of the woman in it. But I guess I am just too sensitive.

    Most of the blogs of me and “my allies’ or a lot of other sex-poz types you won’t see anyone calling any feminist a fat hairy lesbian, a prude, or things like that. Look around other places and you will see sex bot, fuck bot, sparkle pony, fuck me feminist/ female mysoginist fiend, porny barbie, dupe of the Patriarchy, “tee-hee”, “these women are idiots”, this beauty ritual is gross, that proceedure is monsterous and ugly and yeah, even some very personal insults.

    But it seems THAT is not being denied anymore. Congratulation, light has been seen.

    So, still straw if its true?

    And yep, sure enough, pretty people often have an easier time of it in society…but as several have said here, women no matter what they look like, still get treated like shit. I just think it would be nice if as women: agree, disagree, like eachother, hate eachother, we could all stop treating eachother a little less shitty…especially on things like looks and yeah, agency.

    And really, you don’t want to get me started on a percieved lack of sympathy re; Heart and the annoying hackers.

  228. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Piny, being critical of certain anti-feminist behavior that’s labeled “feminist” is not the same as personally attacking someone.
    An example springs to mind: Ever see that show Beauty and the Geek? With the women who proudly call themselves bimbos and brag about how ignorant and helpless they are? They are doing a disservice to women. Appearing on that show and reinforcing damaging stereotypes about women hurts ALL women. Women who go on shows like The Bachelor fall into the same categoy. And if they call themselves feminists while participating in this demeaning experiment to catch men or whatever, they are misrepresenting feminism and doing us all a disservice.
    If you want to be an actual Pussycat Doll, that’s fine by me. But don’t go saying it’s a “feminist” thing to do.

  229. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    And also, it’s not a contradiction for me to say, no we’re not attacking women’s appearances but yes we can criticize women’s behavior. There’s a difference.
    Nobody’s defended calling someone a “dumb blonde stick figure” or something like that. That’s completely different from criticizing a woman for doing anti-feminist stuff and calling it feminism.

  230. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    You got an answer to your direct question, Trinity. I’m not going to allow you to waste my time by answering the same damned question over and over again. Asked and answered.

  231. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Most of the blogs of me and “my allies’ or a lot of other sex-poz types you won’t see anyone calling any feminist a fat hairy lesbian, a prude, or things like that.

    No, instead, you and your allies call radical feminists crazy. What an improvement!

    Look around other places and you will see sex bot, fuck bot, sparkle pony, fuck me feminist/ female mysoginist fiend, porny barbie, dupe of the Patriarchy, “tee-hee”, “these women are idiots”, this beauty ritual is gross, that proceedure is monsterous and ugly and yeah, even some very personal insults.

    But it seems THAT is not being denied anymore. Congratulation, light has been seen.

    So, still straw if its true?

    Again, you’re totally moving the goalposts. Your initial post was about womens’ looks being criticized and how awful that was for the pretty girls who did the patriarchal grooming (which is so reeking with privilege it isn’t even funny). Now, you’re saying that no behavior can be criticized as long as it’s … what? Done by someone who says they’re feminist (even if they sound an awful lot like an antifeminist)? Done by a woman at all?

    You want to have your cake and eat it too. You want to appease the patriarchy and be rewarded for it–to the point that you had surgery–but you also want the approval of feminists, even if you’re making nonfeminist and antifeminist choices and statements. That’s a position destined for failure.

  232. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Ginmar, On whether any woman can just call herself a feminist, see #206. You’re mistaken as a matter of logic if you think the ordinary precept of common decency that it’s wrong to unwarrantedly derogate other women as fuckbots or fake, fuck-me feminists entails the proposition that no woman should ever be criticized. I don’t contradict myself by criticizing your crass, unwarranted attacks on other women.

    It’s true that cultural criticism needn’t degenerate into personal invective, but as practiced by you it frequently does. The distinction between criticizing a woman & criticizing practices & the people who employ them – like the Christian distinction between hating the sin & hating the sinner – is sometimes, in careless hands, a distinction w/o a difference. If I’m called a sexbot, a fuck-me feminist, a fake feminist, if I’m subjected to the kind of unhinged personal invective you favor, am I being criticized for being a sexbot, or merely for my sexbot practices? And am I wrong to object in either case?

    On Coulter, see #188. If a feminist objects to being crudely insulted as a fuckbot by another feminist, that doesn’t make her “start to sound” like Coulter. On the contrary, ostensible ideological differences notwithstanding, it’s the latter who begins to resemble Coulter.

  233. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    You got it, Csquared.

  234. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Csquared:

    Ha, well, we’ve been called plenty o’crazy ourselves. And personally, I actually don’t go for speculating on people’s sanity as a general rule.

    And actually, I want to make a living, doing something I rather enjoy. How terrible of me, I know. And I’ve never said having that surgery was a feminist thing to do…wow, imagine that?

    And what I want is for folk to realize as much as they hate or get annoyed by being called “man-hating fat hairy lesbians” (ect)other folk dislike being called “teehee sparkle pony sex bots” (ect). Is it that hard to grasp, really?

    And yeah, I engage in a lot of un-feminist behavior…I’ve admitted that, I am not someone who is saying “stripping is empowering to women and a feminist action”, but oddly enough, even with all that, I can and so things that are deemed feminist. So? This isn’t yet another round of “Quick, show me your creds”…

    What I’d LIKE is for women with even a remote interest in feminism to stop dispariging other women for their choices in grooming, make up, clothing, body, excetera.

  235. August 24, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    There is a difference between criticizing a photo of an athlete and saying she looks like “just another skinny bottle-blonde with her ass in the air”…I’d say that is less about the photo and more about the body of the woman in it.

    Precisely. For all the talk of “intellectual dishonesty” going on, sneering at someone for putting “her ass in the air” (in a runner’s pose! She’s a RUNNER for fuck’s sake!) is about her, and what she did with her ass, was willing to do with her ass for the check, etc.

    When, y’know, the fact that, again, that’s a runner’s pose!, gets completely ignored so people can twitter about lordosis.

    Right. And who is it that’s pornifying the world exactly?

  236. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    So… yes. You do want to have it both ways. You want feminists to be nice to you and applaud your antifeminist choices, and you want to make your living appeasing the patriarchy and getting all the benefits that accrue to a proud member of the sex class. Good luck with that.

  237. piny
    August 24, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    No, instead, you and your allies call radical feminists crazy. What an improvement!

    I can pretty much guarantee that those are references to a very specific group of people, whose membership is shrinking every day.

    Just out of curiosity, how do you feel about references to “MacDworkinites?” Would it be hypocritical to start referring to unspecified “hairy-legged feminists”–in a way that has nothing whatsoever to do with the original misogynist slur, you understand–given that I have hairy legs at the moment?

    Again, you’re totally moving the goalposts. Your initial post was about womens’ looks being criticized and how awful that was for the pretty girls who did the patriarchal grooming (which is so reeking with privilege it isn’t even funny). Now, you’re saying that no behavior can be criticized as long as it’s … what? Done by someone who says they’re feminist (even if they sound an awful lot like an antifeminist)? Done by a woman at all?

    No, she isn’t. She was intially complaining about assumptions about conformity; she’s still complaining about assumptions about conformity. It’s still beauty rituals and beauty culture we’re talking about. What behavior?

  238. August 24, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    And what I want is for folk to realize as much as they hate or get annoyed by being called “man-hating fat hairy lesbians” (ect)other folk dislike being called “teehee sparkle pony sex bots” (ect). Is it that hard to grasp, really?

    I don’t get why it’s so easy to miss either. Suddenly if you ask “how is calling women names a productive way to challenge beauty norms?” you’re asserting that anyone who claims to be a feminist is one.

    Or something.

    HELLO MOON FRIENDS. HOW IS IT ON THE MOON? LET US HAVE A MOON-VERSATION.

  239. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Csquared:

    One, stop putting words in my mouth and assuming you know what I want, thanks.

    Two: I want women to stop attacking eachothers appearances. Horrible thing, I know. I should be hanged.

    I don’t demand that feminists approve of my anti feminist choices, as I’ve said REPEATEDLY it is fine for people to question and examine choices everyone makes. Missed that, did you?

    And yeah, there are benefits to what I do, most of them monitary, but it comes with a whole lot of draw backs, so let’s not gloss right over those if we are going to be, ahem, honest.

  240. August 24, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    Seriously, can it be that hard to critique social institutions and practices without also shotgunning individual women’s bodies and choices in the process? It really doesn’t have to get personal, even if you are dissing anti-feminist women like Ann Coulter. You just don’t attack her for how she dresses or how skinny she is, you attack her because of the drivel that comes out of her mouth constantly.

    It’s also not that hard to talk about social institutions and practices without making ridiculous blanket assumptions about everyone who partakes in those things, inadvertantly or otherwise. And yet that stuff is all over this thread, even as people insist it isn’t. Sometimes I can’t help but think the jibes and digs are put in there just to get attention, just to stir up some shit, just to take a mean swipe at some target, however undeserving. It’s not necessary. You don’t need to do any of this in order to get a message across, to say something important about beauty myths and patriarchal standards. It’s not that hard to check yourself, either, and err on the safe side of NOT attacking women for their looks or choices about how they look.

  241. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    I don’t demand that feminists approve of my anti feminist choices, as I’ve said REPEATEDLY it is fine for people to question and examine choices everyone makes. Missed that, did you?

    Yes, you do demand that feminists approve of your antifeminist choices. If you didn’t, you would never have posted your ill-conceived whine in the first place. Your whole problem is with people questioning choices because, as you’ve demonstrated throughout this thread, you cannot distinguish between the critique of an image of a woman and the critique of a woman’s value as a human being. Woman is equivalent to image in your worldview.

    The complaints of you and your crew are as follows: feminists have disparaged other women for behaving in a way that reinforces the idea that women are the sexual/visual entertainment class. Mind you, there is an actual feminist critique of this that says that women shouldn’t be blamed for trying to survive within a patriarchy, but that’s nowhere near any of the points you guys have submitted. Nope, it’s all that classic refrain “the feminists were mean to me so I’m not going to support them or their stinky ol’ judgmental feminism!”

    Also, I find it very interesting that now you’re playing the victim/martyr card. I thought you were proud of your sex work; it was the first thing you told us about yourself. Now, you’re admitting that maybe it’s not an ideal job? And now, you’re also complaining that people are putting words in your mouth, after you’ve spent dozens of posts putting words into the mouth of feminism as a whole?

  242. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    how is calling women names a productive way to challenge beauty norms

    I want women to stop attacking eachothers appearances.

    Did we not resolve this already? None of us has condoned attacking women’s appearances.
    It seems like you interpret criticism of behaviors/attitudes as attacking your appearance.

  243. August 24, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    And you know, calling someone’s ideas crazy — whether it’s Ann Coulter, a fundamentalist from the Concerned Women of America, or a radical feminist author whose position you find ludicrous — is totally different from attacking someone’s appearance.

    Also, I don’t see anyone in this thread defending the idea that you can do whatever you want and just call it “feminism,” i.e. that Hooters-style restaurant whose manager claims he’s running it as a feminist enterprise. But newsflash: not everything is inherently either “feminist” or “unfeminist” regardless of context or subject. It’s the half-witted black-and-white approach — or the laziness in writing invective that reads like it — that people find objectionable.

  244. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    Holly: Hawaiian Tropic Zone

    Ugh.

  245. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Csquared:

    Hey, I do like my job. I’ve never said it was ideal.

    As for my ill-concieved whine, it’s not all about me. Humm, Kim taking crap for her blog entries about ED’s and being lambasted for her “skinny privlige” ? Trinity getting slammed for the suggestion that maybe it was okay for PwD’s to appear as sexual beings? All the other sellout, sellout, sellout crap thrown at a whole lot of people other than myself?

    See, there comes a point in many of these sorts of exchanges when it becomes evident that any and all further conversation between various parties is useless. I could point out a direct examples of some very rude and very personal digs made by yep, a radical feminist, but there is no need really because rather than proof of such actions, oh, it would just be whining. Whatever. I really don’t think you and I have anything else to say to eachother, really…unless the tune changes and you can, oh, maybe address the issue of why can’t we just try harder not to insult other women for their looks and choices in beauty rituals?

    Is it THAT hard, really?

  246. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Sarah: Actually, I see a lot of defense and conflaguration around what is an attack, what isn’t, when its jusified, so on, so forth, ad infinitum, forever and ever, amen.

  247. August 24, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Loosely Twisted (#167):

    Lauredhel made an anti-feminist bingo card, if that’s what you’re looking for.

  248. other orange
    August 24, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    I think my earlier comment was in moderation for too long, or whatever. Maybe it was just boring ;)

    But I honestly do want to discuss the concept that every choice a feminist makes is inherantly feminist. I don’t think that’s probable, or even possible; because every day we make choices that ease our life in the patriarchy. Personally, that’s true for me: I took my husband’s name and added it to the end of my own, rather than go through life with my own name. It could definitely be argued, and it could probably be proved, that that isn’t a feminist choice. I’m still a feminist. I’m okay with that, I’m okay with being told that choice wasn’t feminist. If you said it, you’d be right. I pick my battles.

    Why does every choice, ever have to be a feminist choice ? Maybe putting on lipstick and dieting and doing all that isn’t inherantly feminist; but feminists do those things. I think that’s a double-sided truth that can be reconciled with the fact that we think in concepts, but we live in reality.

  249. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    I really don’t think you and I have anything else to say to eachother, really…unless the tune changes and you can, oh, maybe address the issue of why can’t we just try harder not to insult other women for their looks and choices in beauty rituals?

    Right. ‘Cause clearly the problem is me and my refusal to agree not to insult other women’s looks. (Which I don’t and haven’t.) I have no problem critiquing other people’s choices, especially choices that are as closely tied to the patriarchy as beauty rituals.

    At no point in this discussion have I seen any acknowledgment on your part of the role of the patriarchy in beauty and grooming, so yeah, it is pretty pointless to attempt to talk to you because you seem to be missing a crucial point.

  250. August 24, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Your whole problem is with people questioning choices because, as you’ve demonstrated throughout this thread, you cannot distinguish between the critique of an image of a woman and the critique of a woman’s value as a human being.

    Is it possible that just maybe, what’s objectionable is writing like this:

    Now disabled women can be sexbots, too, particularly when photographed on all fours with their enthonged, airbrushed butts in the air and published in empowerful women’s magazine Sports Illustrated.

    immediately followed by other comments like this:

    “At a recent media event, she sported fashionable white skinny jeans, gold sandals and a dark pink pedicure.”

    With the de rigeur PINK pedicure! And she’s so fashionable! Oh yeah, and she can run, too. Pretty fast. With no lower legs. Did we mention that?

    … where in the actual words being written, it’s not made clear whether it’s “just the magazine” being attacked, or whether the woman choosing to pose “on all fours” and “butt in the air” (I mean, she’s a runner, come on) and wearing a thong, or skinny jeans, gold sandals, and (omg) PINK toenails is also under fire? Maybe if you’re critiquing readers on the grounds that they “cannot distinguish” critiques, you ought to turn the magnifying glass on the writers, too? It takes two to tango a text.

    If the distinction is so important — that we should all be able to distinguish between a critique of an image published by a magazine, and a critique of a woman’s appearance and choices about her appearance… then MAYBE, just maybe, we should be striving for a higher standard of making that distinction? I mean, it would not be that hard to write any of the above text in a way that makes it totally clear who’s being blamed.

    And no, I don’t care how many 100-comment threads happened afterwards where you clarify and backtrack and insist it was just about blaming the patriarchy, oh no, didn’t mean anything about the woman in the picture, she’s fine (especially because she’s disabled, of course). It’s lazy up front, and it’s lazy BECAUSE people find it fun to mock other women’s appearance and choices about appearance. It’s an old, old game, people. It’s been around as long as women have been trained to attack each other for being ugly, for being too pretty, for being sluts, for being prudes, for shaving or not shaving, all the lateral hostility that we all CLAIM we’re soooo over.

    And it’s not necessary. You can produce your snark and your sass elsewhere, seriously.

  251. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    being critical of certain anti-feminist behavior that’s labeled “feminist” is not the same as personally attacking someone

    Two things. First, you beg the question of whether the behavior is anti-feminist. Your reference to a TV show (unknown to me) doesn’t settle the issues at hand. Second, while it’s true that criticizing a person’s behavior isn’t the same as criticizing a person for her behavior, in practice & in the cases at hand, it’s a distinction w/o a difference.

    it’s not a contradiction for me to say, no we’re not attacking women’s appearances but yes we can criticize women’s behavior. There’s a difference.

    None of us has condoned attacking women’s appearances. It seems like you interpret criticism of behaviors/attitudes as attacking your appearance.

    When the behavior being criticized is behavior related to appearance (grooming, dress, makeup, shoes, shaving, etc), as in cases under discussion here, the difference disappears. Other forms of behavior that evoke resentment include chewing gum, tilting your head to the side, certain ways of talking & moving, etc. In these cases also, the distinction between appearance & behavior is blurred.

    …you’re totally moving the goalposts. Your initial post was about womens’ looks being criticized and how awful that was for the pretty girls who did the patriarchal grooming (which is so reeking with privilege it isn’t even funny). Now, you’re saying that no behavior can be criticized…

    See above. No one claims that murder is except from criticism. Many of the behaviors at issue are largely related to appearance. Does anyone deny that some women, including some feminists, express personal resentment, sometimes in the most aggressive tones, including in this thread, toward the things other women do that affect their appearance? And that that resentment conspicuously goes one way, toward the fuckbots, sparkleponies, etc? Allegedly feminist rationalizations for this apparently deep-seated resentment are spurious. They don’t justify a single insult, act of invidious discrimination, or hostile thought directed at any woman.

  252. August 24, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    It’s also not that hard to talk about social institutions and practices without making ridiculous blanket assumptions about everyone who partakes in those things, inadvertantly or otherwise. And yet that stuff is all over this thread, even as people insist it isn’t.

    YES. Which is why this whole, well, #237:

    You do want to have it both ways. You want feminists to be nice to you and applaud your antifeminist choices, and you want to make your living appeasing the patriarchy and getting all the benefits that accrue to a proud member of the sex class. Good luck with that.

    is so flipping *strange* — everyone wants to insist “I’m not saying anything about any individual woman’s choices and motivations” and then come out with this. Which is a baldfaced statement of Ren’s motivations: she does the work she does, has the body she does, does the beauty rituals she does for money and benefits.

    If that’s not flat-out speaking for I’ve no idea what is.

    On my planet P & -P is a contradiction. Now there have been some arguments for formal logics that don’t have room for the law of noncontradiction, but I don’t think they apply here.

  253. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    Actually, Csquared, I said a couple of times many choices are influenced by outside pressure, even gave two examples of influenced choices which could also hold personal elements using working out and leg shaving as an example. True enough, no choice exists in a vaccum. I think we ALL realize that. Yet people do, and have to, make choices. Questioning those choices is fine. Attacking or mocking people for them? I don’t think it’s so great.

    For instance, I’ve asked women why they, personally, do not shave their legs or make up. I’ve received answers ranging from “because this is who I am naturally, and men need to figure that out”, to “Because I am really lazy and don’t like doing it”, to “I don’t like make up because it makes me break out and shaving gives me ingrown hairs” ALL valid answers with somewhat different reasoning behind them. Groovy. No problems with that at all. Likewise, if a woman tells me she does shave because initially, all girls shaved, but then she examined it, but decided to do it anyway because she likes the way smooth legs feel, also, groovy. And I don’t think any of those women should be anything but encouraged to enjoy and be okay with the choices they’ve made.

  254. August 24, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    Right. ‘Cause clearly the problem is me and my refusal to agree not to insult other women’s looks. (Which I don’t and haven’t.) I have no problem critiquing other people’s choices, especially choices that are as closely tied to the patriarchy as beauty rituals.

    I do have a problem with this, because going after individuals for engaging in beauty rituals is just as much about their looks as about their choices. I mean seriously, a whole lot of what’s included in “looks” is a choice. Got long hair? Or short hair that was cut to be a “women’s” hairstyle? Shop in the women’s clothing department? Do you walk and talk and smile and do a hundred other things unconsciously, like you were trained to, like you saw other girls and women do? All could be construed as choices — as engaging in beauty rituals that follow patriarchally prescribed guidelines. And no, I’m not going to attack anyone on those grounds, and not just because I do believe in “don’t criticize women for doing what they must to survive in patriarchy.” I won’t do it because it’s rude, unnecessary, and falls into a really old trap of women attacking each other for their looks. None of this makes it impossible to talk about beauty myths, rituals, and impossible standards in general.

  255. Kim
    August 24, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    “I’m sick of people saying that we have to accept anything a so-called feminist says.”

    Mmm hmm, me too.
    Although I must admit I see folks like Heart and Company as the “so-called.” Which is why, nope, I ain’t doing no sticking up for that crew and I myself am one who did in fact say “Suck it up” regarding the anonydrama.
    If I had a dollar for everytime myself or one of my “Yayporn friends” were treated like — was it pieces of excretement?– by that posse, well …
    So sorry.
    No “sisterhood” for me either.

  256. August 24, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    because every day we make choices that ease our life in the patriarchy.

    Other Orange: yes, this is true… but I think it’s also true that some of us make these same “going-with-the-flow” choices for other reasons too. I don’t think it’s always about complicity being easy. I think it’s sometimes about not caring.

    And I don’t think that’s bad. Take a feminist who is aware that the practice of taking her husband’s surname is patriarchal, but wants to anyway.

    Say she thinks about it, wondering if she’s only acting on indoctrination, and ultimately decides that in the grand scheme of things not doing so really doesn’t result in much Net Feminist Gain for the universe, shrugs her shoulders, and becomes Mrs. Smith.

    Why is her choice assumed to be less feminist because in the grand scheme of things (rape, murder, violence against women, job discrimination, the wage gap, sexual harassment) her surname doesn’t matter? So what if she does “like” the practice?

    That’s what I’m getting at. Not that the practice shouldn’t be examined… just this weird idea that these choices either are things real feminists would scoff at or things real feminists only do for gain in the world… rather than that it’s possible for a feminist to say “That practice as a whole is critiquable, but I’ve always liked it anyway, and what I personally do has no impact on something that actually matters, like the rape rate.”

    That’s what I’m just not getting.

  257. August 24, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    Likewise, if a woman tells me she does shave because initially, all girls shaved, but then she examined it, but decided to do it anyway because she likes the way smooth legs feel, also, groovy.

    Yep. I sometimes shave and sometimes don’t. I’m not more feminist when I don’t and less feminist when I do, or something. I’m always aware of the social context; that awareness doesn’t wax and wane because my decisions change.

    I’m hairy now, btw. Yay for cred!

  258. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Holly: last two comments of yours- yes, thank you, this is what I am (trying, apparently unsuccessfully) to get at.

  259. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    ‘Cause clearly the problem is me and my refusal to agree not to insult other women’s looks. (Which I don’t and haven’t.) I have no problem critiquing other people’s choices, especially choices that are as closely tied to the patriarchy as beauty rituals.

    I think you mean to say you’ll refrain from criticizing only those aspects of a woman’s looks than can’t be affected by her behavior. Because when you affirm your intention to criticize women’s choices, esp. “beauty rituals,” you’re saying you’ll criticize behavior that affects her looks (at least in ways you deem patriarchal). But a woman’s appearance is determined to some not inconsiderable degree by her behavior, so you’re granting that you’ll have quite a lot to say about women’s looks.

    I doubt the future of women’s equality would be threatened if, instead, you kept your opinions about women’s looks to yourself.

  260. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    Again, I’m seeing this bizarre conflation of questioning with attacking. I do question Ren’s motivations; as someone literally employed by the patriarchy, she has a vested interest in maintaining a patriarchy-approved exterior, so her motivations totally come into question. Why should they be above reproach? Why should anyone’s?

    I’m just mystified by posters here conflating attacking someone for their looks (i.e., “fatass!” “anorexic blonde!” which I don’t do) and questioning why they do the things they do (i.e., “I don’t think you would’ve gotten those implants if the patriarchal beauty standard was for a flat chest, so it’s pretty disingenuous to say you got them only for yourself” which, yes, I do).

    Again, all I’m seeing from the anti-mean-feminist klatch is a demand for silence from feminists when it comes to personal grooming rituals. And… no. Not gonna do it. Sorry.

  261. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    KH: A woman’s looks are also heavily influenced by her genetics, something she has zero control over….shrug.

  262. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    Ah yes, I have deep-seeded patriarchal motivations for thinking it is bad to insult ANY AND ALL woman for the way they look or beauty rituals they do or do not engage in! Right on there, yep, the sex industry WANTS me to support and encourage the choices of women who do not want to wear make up, diet, get surgery, or shave. That’s it for certain!

    And was my personal choice to purchase a fake rake subject to outside influences? Yep, it certainly was. But I am rather fond of it for a myriad of reasons, above and beyond “the men like it”.

  263. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    A woman’s looks are also heavily influenced by her genetics, something she has zero control over….shrug.

    Yeah, I know, another source of resentment. But what you eat, whether you wear makeup, how up dress, whether you have cosmetic surgery, exercise, etc, these are behaviors & so all fair game, apparently, & they affect the way we look. So Csquared is gonna have a lot to say about women’s looks, notwithstanding verbal disclaimers.

  264. August 24, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    An example springs to mind: Ever see that show Beauty and the Geek? With the women who proudly call themselves bimbos and brag about how ignorant and helpless they are? They are doing a disservice to women.

    …since when were any of those women feminist? Did they actually claim to? That’s like claiming the current commercialized “Girl Power” marketing is feminist because RiotGrrls called themselves girls. 8/

    I mean, the issue here is there are lots of women who call themselves feminist, who do a lot of knowledge gathering and have a wide range of experiences, who for some reason like to draw lines around what is and isn’t feminist.

    There are root, significant ideological differences, but they seem to get lost in this mess of well, YOU’RE anti-feminists”.

    I wish we could hash out the ideologies and ideas without it going so personal. The ideologies, and where and why they conflict, and whether those conflicts should fall under ‘individual differences’ or not – that’s where the room for growth is, imo.

  265. August 24, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Csquared, “questioning someone” is something that’s often best accompanied by actually asking that someone, i.e. where you expect and receive an answer, and listen to that answer. You know who I think is best qualified to speak to Ren’s motivations, and give that answer? Ren. And yes, I do think her answer would include her take on patriarchally-approved exteriors, how it relates to her employment, etc — especially if that was part of a respectfully addressed question. I don’t really care as much about other people’s assumptions about what Ren’s motivations are. I don’t believe they necessarily have a better insight into what makes Ren tick than she herself does — especially people who are just interacting with her through the internet.

    On the other hand, “questioning” in a way that assumes or mind-reads someone else’s motivations — something I see all over this thread as people say “well there’s NO reason to do this or that EXCEPT the one I believe to be the case, so that must be the motivation” — and where it seems somewhat dubious that the questioner would take the answerer at her word… well, it’s not hard to see where the line gets blurred between asking questions and attacking.

  266. Just as Holy as Thou
    August 24, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    Again, all I’m seeing from the anti-mean-feminist klatch is a demand for silence from feminists when it comes to personal grooming rituals. And… no. Not gonna do it. Sorry.

    I feel the same way about the obese. You can’t prevent me from trying to make them examine the choices they make.

    I won’t be silenced either.

    Sometimes the truth hurts.

    Sorry.

  267. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    So, again, feminists should just shut up about beauty. Got it. It’s not like women spend a bunch of money or time on it, or like it’s considered the main arbiter of a woman’s worth. Nope, it’s totally unworthy of discussion because after all it’s all so very personal.

  268. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    I think Csquared gave the game away w/r/t the distinction between questioning & attacking when questioning turned into reproaching.

  269. ocean_eyes
    August 24, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Magniloquence-

    I work in a dormitory. I see young women obsess, and it breaks my heart. I work in my campus’ Women’s Center. I give talks about body image and I see young women obsess about their make-up, hair, etc. I’m not trying to generalize that ALL women who wear make-up, etc. are unhappy with themselves, I’m just saying that on this college campus, women feel this pressure to conform and primp for hours and are made to never feel okay with how they naturally are.

  270. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    That’s so rich coming from KH.

  271. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Csquared: Once again, no one said that.

  272. August 24, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    KH: A woman’s looks are also heavily influenced by her genetics, something she has zero control over….shrug.

    Oh, I don’t know about that. There are always choices that could be made. History has stories of women who scarred themselves with acid so that they wouldn’t be exploited and used by the patriarchy (well, usually meaning, the enemy’s patriarchy, as opposed to their home patriarchy). And these days, we have plastic surgery and body modification. If you have body parts or facial features or a build that garners patriarchal approval, that somehow benefits you this way (and thereby perpetuates the lack of benefit to other women), it’s certainly a choice of yours to keep those “assets” instead of divesting yourself of them. Maybe that choice should be questioned too, I mean not like we grudge any woman doing what she has to in order to survive, but we can question all the pretty thin women with high-riding big breasts and blonde hair, for choosing to stay that way, right?

  273. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    When the behavior being criticized is behavior related to appearance (grooming, dress, makeup, shoes, shaving, etc), as in cases under discussion here, the difference disappears.

    No. It doesn’t.

    And why is behavior related to appearance off-limits anyway? Being skinny is not a behavior. Dieting is. Having blonde hair isn’t a behavior. Dyeing it is. Having smooth legs isn’t a behavior. Shaving is.

    If we actually attacked women for being beautiful, we’d be all over Jill, wouldn’t we? This also assumes that radical feminists aren’t attractive or don’t partake in beauty rituals.

  274. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    That might make sense, Just as Holy as Thou, if you attacked the obese for being anti-obesity activists.

  275. SoE
    August 24, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    It takes two to tango a text.

    To me

    “At a recent media event, she sported fashionable white skinny jeans, gold sandals and a dark pink pedicure.”

    With the de rigeur PINK pedicure! And she’s so fashionable! Oh yeah, and she can run, too. Pretty fast. With no lower legs. Did we mention that?

    sounds like a paragraph aching with sarcasm because the writer cannot believe that the point of the article is to prove that disabled women can *gasp* look fashionable and be successful. All that sticks from the article is “You see, disabled women are almost normal, they like pretty stuff and if you make a picture emphasizing the butt she looks soooo hawt and fuck-able.”

    But then, the internet is a dangerous field for friends of sarcasm.

  276. August 24, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    So, again, feminists should just shut up about beauty. Got it. It’s not like women spend a bunch of money or time on it, or like it’s considered the main arbiter of a woman’s worth. Nope, it’s totally unworthy of discussion because after all it’s all so very personal.

    You must have missed the part where I and other people said, over and over again, that it’s not necessary to attack individual women’s choices in order to talk about social forces, institutions, and practices. Amazingly, it’s even possible to include a consideration for individual women’s choices when you write about these things, so that it’s clear you’re making a distinction. Not bothering to make that distinction is just lazy, and makes for good mean snarky comments, of the same sort that women have been slinging at each other for centuries. I doubt anybody here would have a problem with you, or anyone else, writing about beauty rituals without totally unnecessary scapegoating.

  277. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    “At a recent media event, she sported fashionable white skinny jeans, gold sandals and a dark pink pedicure.”

    With the de rigeur PINK pedicure! And she’s so fashionable! Oh yeah, and she can run, too. Pretty fast. With no lower legs. Did we mention that?

    Isn’t it obvious that the writer here is mocking the fact that the woman’s appearance and wardrobe gets more attention than her athletic ability?
    Y’all are not too good w/ the reading comprehension.

  278. Jennifer
    August 24, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    A woman’s looks are also heavily influenced by her genetics, something she has zero control over….shrug.

    Yeah, I know, another source of resentment. But what you eat, whether you wear makeup, how up dress, whether you have cosmetic surgery, exercise, etc, these are behaviors & so all fair game, apparently, & they affect the way we look. So Csquared is gonna have a lot to say about women’s looks, notwithstanding verbal disclaimers.

    You do realize that women farther up the thread, including people criticizing you have acknowledged to participating in these same activities right? It’s not just “sex positive” feminists. Women who are self-proclaimed radical feminists have admitted as much, and other feminists as well. (I’ll also add my name to the list of rad fems who participate in patriarchal grooming habits.) They have also acknowledged that these choices are not necessarily free of social pressure and are not “feminist” just because they as feminists do them.

  279. August 24, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    And was my personal choice to purchase a fake rake subject to outside influences? Yep, it certainly was. But I am rather fond of it for a myriad of reasons, above and beyond “the men like it”.

    Exactly. That’s the thing that’s mystifying me too… this idea that there’s one and only one Real Reason for doing something and that’s pandering.

    When I shave my legs, I do it for several reasons:

    1) I have always been a fan of smooth skin. I find it very erotic. (Especially on men, actually.)
    2) I enjoy touching my own smooth skin. It’s to me a sensual way of enjoying my body.
    3) Other people around me think I’m ugly or too “strident” a feminist when hairy.
    4) Sometimes work requires it — as when I interned at corporations. Whatever statement I might wish to make, doing so in that particular environment is unwise.
    5) I like changing the look and feel of my body. If I have not shaved some body part in a while, it’s interesting to me to change it, similarly to getting a very different haircut on my head. (This is also a reason I let body hair grow out.)

    It’s true that SOME of those reasons involve complicity. When people stare at my hair or make rude remarks, it does make me want to get rid of the offending growth. (Just as it also makes me want to tell the insulter off — a desire which usually wins.) When I feel that my job security will be affected by my hair, this is a main reason for removing it.

    But not ALL do. While it’s possible that every time I shave the complicity-reasons are in fact influencing me, I don’t believe that every time I shave I am acting mainly on those reasons. Sometimes I am mainly interested in the feeling of smooth skin, mainly want a change, etc.

    And if the body part in question is my genitals, the reasons for doing it are often tied to sex and kink — and I mean my own kinks, not appeasing someone else’s. (Though knowing my partner also likes it can, yes, gasp! influence me. Oh no.)

    I don’t understand what’s so feminist about assuming I must be misreporting my motivations.

  280. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    I feel the need to point out that DV and sexual assault are not the beginning and end of feminist issues.
    Changing one’s name upon marriage IS a feminist issue. The popularity of brazillian waxes IS a feminist issue. It’s all related. So you can’t say, “I volunteer at a DV shelter so what does it matter if I strip and watch porn and wear makeup and got vaginal tightening surgery and took my husband’s name?”
    Well, you can say it, but it shows a failure to make a connection between all the different ways in which women are second-class citizens.

  281. Just as Holy as Thou
    August 24, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    I don’t understand what’s so feminist about assuming I must be misreporting my motivations.

    They don’t like what you do and why you do it, so they choose not to believe it.

    It’s denial.

  282. Jennifer
    August 24, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    When the behavior being criticized is behavior related to appearance (grooming, dress, makeup, shoes, shaving, etc), as in cases under discussion here, the difference disappears.

    No. It doesn’t.

    And why is behavior related to appearance off-limits anyway? Being skinny is not a behavior. Dieting is. Having blonde hair isn’t a behavior. Dyeing it is. Having smooth legs isn’t a behavior. Shaving is.

    If we actually attacked women for being beautiful, we’d be all over Jill, wouldn’t we? This also assumes that radical feminists aren’t attractive or don’t partake in beauty rituals.

    Thank you. I second this as well (and pretty much everything Sarah MC says.)

  283. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    They don’t like what you do and why you do it, so they choose not to believe it.

    You’re right. I don’t like the fact that women alter their appearance in countless ways because they get a negative reaction when they don’t. I don’t like the fact that I do it too. Note that I’m not saying I wish so-and-so wouldn’t shave. Rather, I wish people didn’t look at us cross-eyed for looking au naturale.
    I wish women didn’t live with such enormous pressure to fit the “feminine” mold, even when they’d rather not. Even when they realize how arbitrary it is.

  284. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    And thanks, Jennifer. :)

  285. Just as Holy as Thou
    August 24, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    I don’t like the fact that I do it too.

    I guess that makes you a pussycatdoll feminist too.

    Shame on you.

  286. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Nope. What’s it like to be willfully ignorant?

  287. August 24, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Rather, I wish people didn’t look at us cross-eyed for looking au naturale.

    But the thing is: so do I. And I just felled the forest on my legs.

    That’s why this is so weird. Because there’s this assumption that anyone who does shave (or whatever) hasn’t got the back of those who don’t. Which is just, y’know, WEIRD.

    Because… hell I’ve had people stick their FINGERS in my hairy pits and make disgusted sounds. In public. To shame me.

    Acting like people who engage in beauty rituals don’t get it, or aren’t brave, or are only interested in covering our asses is stupid.

  288. Q Grrl
    August 24, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Trinity:

    3) Other people around me think I’m ugly or too “strident” a feminist when hairy.

    and then later

    I don’t understand what’s so feminist about assuming I must be misreporting my motivations.

    And you still don’t get it? Wow.

  289. Janis
    August 24, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Christ’s sake, it’s not shut up about beauty. It’s that there is far, far more to say about it than feminism has traditionally been saying, meaning “If you’re young, pretty, and thin, men want to fuck you so you have it easier.” It’s an enormous topic, much much bigger than has been admitted in the past and even now when the whole fucking thing devolves into goddamned leg-shaving ONCE AGAIN.

    ANY WOMAN CAN BENEFIT FROM PATRIARCHAL BEHAVIORS, no matter what hand her genes have dealt her. Some of the worst rules-girls I’ve ever known in my life, who spared no opportunity to shred me over my non-adherence to these rules, were precisely the same women who one would imagine bemoan the cruelty of body image blah blah blah — women at least 50# heavier than I with thinner hair, generally less attractive according to current standards — who consumed bridal magazines like they were candy, primped and preened endlessly, fucking fawned over any man within eyeshot, boasted about how their boyfriends had good jobs so “he can put a rock the size of Gibraltar on my hand — I never have to get a job again!” while skinny me was working my ass off, despite the fact that the only vocabulary feminism has had for “body issues and the patriarchy” so far would insist that I was brimming with privilege and they were the poor outsiders, enver ever benefitting from patriarchal conventions of gender.

    That doesn’t even begin to touch on the hatred that women get from men when they want to fuck us and we won’t let them. I stopped going to mixed parties when I got sick of being threatened and followed around by drunks. Fine, I’m not saying that other women don’t have to deal with that — but I am saying that it wasn’t a compliment and there was no goddamned privilege attached to it. They follow and threaten plain women, and they follow and threaten pretty women — and an awful lot of feminism seems convinced that the staling and threats are actually privileges when they are motivated by lust.

    I do not put this body on every goddamned morning because I want to be a sparkleponygirl or whatever the hell it’s called. I’m not trying to make fat women hate themselves. No, I’m not going to change what I eat — I eat what I want, when I want, precisely how much I want. I’m not chopping my hair off because it’s somehow “more patriarchal” on my head than on a plain woman’s head.

    I’m sick of feeling like my body betrays my feminist principles, and I’m sick of finding too much of that attitude in feminism as well. A relatively attractive, thin woman’s body is an enemy in the world at large because it turns you into a steak surrounded by dogs. Within feminism, I feel like I need to defend it or at least STFU about the steak-dogs comparison lest someone in size 18 jeans tell me that it’s actually a privilege and my privilege prevents me from seeing this mystic, deep truth.

    And again, I walk past movie posters for movies where women who resemble me are tortured, tried up, buried alive, fucked to death with dildos made of knives, have our faces flayed off, or what have you, and I wonder where the feminist arean is for discussing the bone-deep hatred that this culture has for beautiful women, and hwo to talk about it without it devolving into a yeah-but contest where I’m informed that this is all actually a privilege that means that I have it easier inthe patriarchy compared to carrying an extra 30 pounds around. Can we even TALK about this without it tuerning into a “who has it worse” contest? Woman against woman?

    No. We can’t.

  290. bluestockingsrs
    August 24, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    It seems like a piece of this is similar to the debate over being out or closeted as a GLBT person.

    I pass as straight, but I choose to live out, meaning I correct someone if they assume I have a husband or boyfriend. I don’t do this every time I am mistaken for straight because sometimes it isn’t safe or worth it -does this make me less of lesbian when this happens? I don’t think so.

    I think a similar thing happens when women who abide by patriarchal norms do so without an acknowledgment of the benefits (and drawbacks) inherent in doing so and vice versa -it is essentially two sides of the same coin, but everyone is still on the damn coin together.

    My choice to live out is linked to this knowledge, that I benefit from being able to pass so I choose to not pass as often as possible. I think the same approach could be taken by women who abide by patriarchal norms by being out feminists (which I am sure many of the women posting on this thread are out feminists) and saying, “My choice to appear this way is just as valid as this other woman’s choice to not abide by the same norms.” and vice versa.

    But I think we need continue to examine the “why” of things as often as possible, like Echidne said, she welcomes her eight toed sisters as feminists, but we still need to have a conversation about how they got that way.

  291. August 24, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    I feel the need to point out that DV and sexual assault are not the beginning and end of feminist issues.

    No, they’re not. And yes, all these “little” things are feminist issues: they’re about how patriarchy expects women to behave, all the little twists of etiquette that get foisted on us. Some are tiny and they all add up. This is all stuff I agree with.

    BUT I also think that there are a lot of people in online feministland who pick those little issues to get outraged about: oh, I saw something sexist on TV. oh, someone noticed my armpits. oh, someone called me a hairy dyke, etc. and yet spend little or no time discussing the real, serious, BIG issues that face feminists.

    THAT worries me. Not because etiquette doesn’t matter, but because there’s so much heat and light generated over the small stuff.

    It’s part of the reason I pay a lot more attention lately to disability rights stuff than to feminism. Because you can’t blink without another Ashley X appearing and people asserting this is just dandy. You can’t blink without another murder of a child that gets called a “mercy killing” to spare the child living as one of us.

    Yet in feminist circles, so often it’s: shaving. railing against sex workers who say they find the abolitionist platform patronizing. television. pussycat dolls.

    And I just want to say: really, get the hell over yourselves and do something useful.

  292. antiprincess
    August 24, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    I guess that makes you a pussycatdoll feminist too.

    only if she doesn’t feel guilty about it.

  293. August 24, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    You’re right. I don’t like the fact that women alter their appearance in countless ways because they get a negative reaction when they don’t. I don’t like the fact that I do it too. Note that I’m not saying I wish so-and-so wouldn’t shave. Rather, I wish people didn’t look at us cross-eyed for looking au naturale.
    I wish women didn’t live with such enormous pressure to fit the “feminine” mold, even when they’d rather not. Even when they realize how arbitrary it is.

    I firmly believe that the only real way out of this kind of bind is to absolutely respect women’s choices within these systems. Why? Because none of us are mind-readers and it is dehumanizing to presume a woman’s intentions or assume that she must not have any real idea of how her choices fit into larger social structures, or that she has no free will and therefore cannot make a choice, despite inevitable pressures on her. If a woman opens her mouth and says all of this stuff, then you don’t need to read her mind; criticize her words and the ideas they express. But we shouldn’t be assuming stupidity, blindness to patriarchy, or “false consciousness,” at least not until someone actually opens her mouth.

    And because it’s another form of laterally hostile woman-shaming. Because you can’t just neatly divide “oh that’s how you naturally are” from “you’ve made a choice within a patriarchal system” — there is no neat dividing line there, I’m sorry. We’re all making choices constantly that position ourselves within and affect, however minutely, systems of capitalism, patriarchy, imperialism, racism, environmental destruction, exploitation of the less privileged, you name it.

    I think people get the idea that if you create a counter-set of “rules” for how to act or look or behave “feminist,” especially when it comes to appearance, then all you’re doing is… setting up another system of rules to follow. And taking away women’s choices, creating something meaningless. What I think is being missed here is the age-old legacy of how women have, for so so long, “enforced” rules on each other. It’s not through laws or violence or other tools of the state; it’s through shaming and pressure and “this is how to be a good girl” — whether good girl means prom queen or paragon of feminism. So yes, pressure IS important to talk about, in communities of women, in feminist communities.

  294. August 24, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Conveniently, men are required to let their bodies remain natural…

    Sarah – they are? I don’t think so at all. Men have less pressure to conform, but they are certainly not “required” to let their bodies remain natural. If you have an honest conversation with a male model, actor, athlete, TV presenter, or even just some random guy who wants the ladies to go wild for him at parties – this comes up pretty quickly.

    Even Peter Jackson (who has nothing to prove to anyone as far as I am concerned) had his stomach stapled to get thin.

  295. August 24, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    “At a recent media event, she sported fashionable white skinny jeans, gold sandals and a dark pink pedicure.”

    With the de rigeur PINK pedicure! And she’s so fashionable! Oh yeah, and she can run, too. Pretty fast. With no lower legs. Did we mention that?

    Isn’t it obvious that the writer here is mocking the fact that the wesoman’s appearance and wardrobe gets more attention than her athletic ability?
    Y’all are not too good w/ the reading comprehension.

    No, I don’t think it’s obvious enough, particularly the part about her pink toenails, which recurred after that too. If you’re criticizing a magazine for paying too much attention to someone’s appearance, you shouldn’t be paying too much attention, in an inverted way, to that same appearance. My point was that it’s muddy and could have been clarified, if people writing this stuff are interested in being clear about who’s being blamed. Of course I also saw the suggestion of the magazine’s voice in there, but thanks for doubting my command of English, real generous of you.

  296. Janis
    August 24, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Another short comment :-).

    No, women are not generally attacked “for being beautiful.” But if one opens her mouth and tries to discuss the specific ways in which the culture actually hates beautiful women — the particular ways in which beauty is a curse in this culture — then yes. You’d damned well better bet that she gest told that her piddling little problems are nothing and the fact that she’s even discussing them is a sign of her invisible privilege, or what have you. Instantly, the topic decays into why everyone else has it worse. Instantly.

    I’ve actually heard it compared to when men attempt to use feminism as an arena to address the ways in which the patriarchy hurts them, the dreaded PHMT. People have — and will and do — attack discussions of this as not part of feminism. Women’s experiences of being disadvantaged due to our outsides are very, very often deemed not part of feminism unless they are the laments of a conventionally unattractive woman.

    No, the woman herself — provided she shuts the hell up about her outside — won’t be attacked. But the topic (and she, should she broach it) of the myriad ways in which beauty disadvantages a woman in a patriarchy … yep. That’ll get attacked. That topic will be savaged as having no place in feminism, as being the whine of the privileged sparklesomethingorother. I’m not trying to talk about how my glitter eyeshadow is feminist (I don’t even wear makeup). I’m trying to talk about the following:

    1) Plain or fat or old women see themselves as comedy or else entirely absent in the media, overall.
    2) Attractive, thin, or young women see ourselves as naked murder victims, the hero’s squeeze, or equally comedic bimbos.

    Try talking about #2 without the conversation immediately being yanked back to #1, with the explicit statements that complaints about #2 are not really part of feminism, are whining, are a sign of invisible privilege, or are just less important. There is definitely a ranking in place by which that particular topic and its examination (carried out in depth according to feminist paradigms) is just plain old not welcome and not really the business of feminism.

  297. August 24, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Oops, my above comment was very much off-topic. Apologies.

    Anyway, reading this thread tonight has got me thinking that Ren’s questions are pretty pertinent today.

    Csquared’s distrust of Ren due to her choice of work, for example (not to pick on you, Csquared, by all means – you should be honest) – certainly appears relevant here.

    This is refreshing, actually. I like this.

  298. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    That’s so rich coming from KH.

    Spell it out. You got an argument, spill it.

    No. It doesn’t. And why is behavior related to appearance off-limits anyway? Being skinny is not a behavior. Dieting is. Having blonde hair isn’t a behavior. Dyeing it is. Having smooth legs isn’t a behavior. Shaving is.

    Yes, it [the difference between criticizing appearance & criticizing the behavior that produces it] does [disappear]. There might be reasons to object to the behavior that results in your appearance, but not the appearance that results from that behavior, but those reasons aren’t the ones involved here. Whether you object to the behavior on feminist grounds depends in part on the appearance it produces. You don’t object to my use of makeup so much if I apply it in a way that frightens the patriarchy. You don’t object to my dying my hair so much if I do it in a way that doesn’t conform to patriarchal norms. You can’t know whether you object to the behavior that produces an appearance unless you know the appearance it produces, & whether the patriarchy approves. (I exclude the small number of feminists who object to all body modification, including forms opposed by the patriarchy.) Your disapproval of the behavior is conditional on the resulting appearance.

    If we actually attacked women for being beautiful, we’d be all over Jill, wouldn’t we?

    Sorry, don’t know what she looks like, or what she does to look that way. See #259.

    You do realize that women farther up the thread, including people criticizing you have acknowledged to participating in these same activities right?

    I do realize. And I would be just as put off if they were mocked or derogated for it. If they aren’t as much, I imagine there are reasons why.

    They have also acknowledged that these choices are not necessarily free of social pressure and are not “feminist” just because they as feminists do them.

    I’m sure they aren’t completely free of social pressure, or cultural context more broadly. The same would be true of any alternative choice they made. See #131. And yet we all exercise a measure of free will. The balance varies by case & is hard to assess. I also agree that not everything a feminist does is a feminist act, even if she insists it is (although you & I might disagree over which purportedly feminist behavior here actually isn’t).

  299. August 24, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    I firmly believe that the only real way out of this kind of bind is to absolutely respect women’s choices within these systems. Why? Because none of us are mind-readers and it is dehumanizing to presume a woman’s intentions or assume that she must not have any real idea of how her choices fit into larger social structures, or that she has no free will and therefore cannot make a choice, despite inevitable pressures on her.

    QFT.

    Wish I had something to add, but I don’t. Just plain QFT.

  300. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    Maybe to attract certain women, Natalia, but the “masculine” label is often applied to men who go with the flow – of hair, of fat, whatever. You’re a “fag” if you get pedicures or wax your back (when you’re a guy). I know what you’re saying, but at least men’s WORTH in this culture isn’t tied completely to their outward appearance.

  301. Janis
    August 24, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Ask yourselves this — do you all really think that men like beautiful women? Have you ever heard them discussing such women when they think no one is listening? Do you think they use terms of respect, admiration, and amity?

    Can we please just step the fuck off of the pussycat-whatthefuckEVERS for a second and ask ourselves this?

    Do you think men truly like and admire those women?

    I’m not trying to defending it. I’m asking you all to stop and think about how such women are perceived by the patriarchy. They are not liked. They do not sit at the table of power. They eat scraps. They are temporarily useful to the patriarchy because they are stepping and fetching in the accepted manner.

    But stepping and fetching is itself an insult, not a fucking privilege!

    Fucking hell! God damn it, I fucking hate these topics! Yall just drop the fucking glitter eyeshadow and breast implants for a second and think!

    *bangs head against wall*

    I’m gonna go get a fucking mocha. Fuck this topic.

  302. Jennifer
    August 24, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    You’re welcome SarahMC! I have always appreciated your commentary on the various feminist blogs.

  303. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Janis, I agree with what you’ve said in 288. But I think you make the mistake of assuming only beautiful women are tormented and harassed by men. It doesn’t really matter if you’re beautiful; all that matters is the fact that you exist in a female body. I don’t consider myself particularly hot; I guess I’m average looking. And yet I’m constantly on the receiving end of catcalls, honking cars, demands to “smile,” etc. Men don’t harass us because we’re attractive; they do it because we’re women who dare to take up space in the public sphere.

    I just really don’t get where some of you are coming from. If we feel the same way about all these feminist issues, why am I (in your eyes) the radfem who considers you a Pussycatdoll feminist? Pussycatdoll feminsts are not PCD feminists because of how physically attractive they are, but because of their attitudes.

  304. other orange
    August 24, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    And I just want to say: really, get the hell over yourselves and do something useful.

    So it’s fine to tell other feminists to shut up about issues they feel are personal and important; but it’s not okay to say “I think we should examine why we strip off all our hair ?”

    Sorry, now I’m getting defensive. I’ll try to be clear instead. Trinity, as per your motivations (and that goes for everyone on this thread) I believe you. I can’t stress that enough, that I think your experiences and the experience of other women who’ve spoken up are perfectly valid and true. But again and again, people keep feeling the need to defend why they shave/dye/whatever. You wrote a list ! I don’t care if shaving feels good. I don’t care if you want to please your partner- great ! I love making my husband happy, too. Here’s the thing: all I ask, all I’ve asked on this thread, is that we talk about why we initially felt the need to do these things, and not other things. I want to talk about cultural pressure and expectations. Why we shave our legs instead of dying them blue. Why we diet and get implants instead of, I dunno, dance our love in rituals and wear blankets of chicken feathers to attract mates.

    What I’m saying is, nobody starts shaving because it feels good. If you’ve never shaved, you don’t know that it feels good ! What you do know, is that you’re supposed to. At the root, women shave because they’re supposed to. They keep shaving because it feels good, maybe, or they get used to it, or whatever. The root is the issue. The root is the thing.

    And if feminists can’t talk about this on the internet, one of the few places that is actually open to feminist dialogue of any kind, where the fuck are we supposed to talk about it ?

  305. La Lubu
    August 24, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Here’s why I don’t think this field of battle is a useful one for feminists: standards change.

    Remember what Morgan said way back on #15? About exercise? On first reading, I boggled. What. the. fuuuu….? and then I stepped back and thought about it. On second and third readings, I saw where she was coming from. She wasn’t talking about whether diet, exercise, or weight loss was inherently antifeminist, just about what her motivation was for going to the gym, on those days when for whatever reason, she’d rather not. And this is key. Because yes indeedy, the standards have shifted.

    See, Title IX was passed in 1972. And that set off a revolution of how women viewed their bodies, their physicality, their strength, and their relation to sport and leisure time. At first, women’s participation in sport and exercise was transgressive, especially for “older” women, meaning, women old enough to have graduated from school. Sports were for “kids”. The revolution didn’t happen overnight, but happen it did. Women entered the sporting arena (dojo, gym, street) in droves. YMCA’s went co-ed. the Boys Club became the Boys and Girls Club. Girls entering Little League teams went from receiving death threats to trophys in the course of a decade.

    And the average, everyday, workaday woman? Slowly but surely, she found the time to do something solely for herself too. She found that peace for herself on the racquetball court, the tennis court, the aerobics studio, the bike, the pavement, the dojo. She gained strength and flexibility. She gained mastery. Her body changed, and she learned to love it. All the more so, because she created it.

    Women, collectively, changed the perception of what a woman’s body was supposed to look like. How it was supposed to move and be. Was that a blow against sexism? Or more accurately, did it work?

    Or was the finish line moved? Now, the standards are higher. We went from being dykey if we lifted weights and did sit-ups, to being slobs if we don’t have a six-pack.

    Sexism is an institutional system. And there is a difference between external oppression and internalized oppression. And no, we aren’t all situated to fight on the same fronts with the same effectiveness. Put another way…

    Do you really believe Ren’s implants are what is causing other women to get them? I don’t mean Ren as an individual, I mean Ren as a symbol of all the thousands of women who get implants, and walk around in public unashamed. Are those women creating the movement, the body dissatisfaction, dysmorphia and doubt that drives other women to the surgeon? Really? Why just Ren and her minions? Why not Lubu? I’ve had the audacity to walk around with big tits since I was eleven. Are my tits, and the other approved, all-natural tits causing other women to question their own?

    Or does the cause not exist within our own bodies, whatever shape they may take? Within our own rituals, whatever they may be?

    In other words, like I said back in “Like a Natural Woman”, who holds the seat of power here? And why isn’t that the first and foremost question when delving into this discussion? Power analysis is always a useful field of engagement for feminists.

  306. August 24, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    You’re a “fag” if you get pedicures or wax your back (when you’re a guy).

    Not necessarily. It all depends on the kinds of people who surround you.

    I am constantly told that I am “too pretty” for my boyfriend, and not in a nice way either. A lot of people around me assume I’m with him for his money (not that he has any, lol), or that I cheat on him. I think he’s incredibly hot, but he’s short and has a unibrow he sometimes neglects to shave – and there’s obviously something “wrong” here.

    He ignores it – because he’s been taught to ignore that sort of stuff (unlike most girls), but not all of my male friends are this lucky. This whole “metrosexual” thing has its creepy drawbacks.

    I know what you’re saying, but at least men’s WORTH in this culture isn’t tied completely to their outward appearance.

    I would say that this, once again, depends on your lifestyle, your job, the sort of people you’re surrounded from. Plenty of gay men I know complain about rigid standards being used against them, to the point that they feel excluded.

    Male models, meanwhile, are a joke to practically everyone – gay and straight.

    Overall, however, I agree with you: men’s looks matter way LESS – and this is a problem.

  307. ellenbrenna
    August 24, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Feminism is a movement for female equality, you cannot be equal if you are spending more money and more time than a man on your appearance. You are losing the oppurtunity for something else…reading the news or sleeping in an extra half an hour.

    Those rituals may be kinky, necessary, fun, a break from normality, a hobby even but they are not feminist.

    It is the claim that these activities are feminist and empowering which raises our ire.

  308. August 24, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    I just really don’t get where some of you are coming from. If we feel the same way about all these feminist issues, why am I (in your eyes) the radfem who considers you a Pussycatdoll feminist? Pussycatdoll feminsts are not PCD feminists because of how physically attractive they are, but because of their attitudes.

    SarahMC, I really do think we’re making at least some headway here, and I want to answer you in a respectful way that doesn’t sound dismissive. But I really don’t know what you mean.

    I don’t know who “pussycatdoll feminists” are. It seemed that they are people like Ren, who enjoy femininity and various sexual activities, jobs, etc. But now you are claiming they are not. I see some discussion on a few blogs reacting to this scoffing at sex-positive feminists, so I’d assume they’re supposed to be us, but no one has said they are in here.

    So… if it’s not meant as “women who are too complicit for my tastes, however aware of feminist issues”… then WHO are these people? Obviously if someone asserts the same things as Schlafly or Coulter she’s not making feminist assertions — but who are these people? Where does one find them? What claims of feminism do they make?

    Without knowing any of that, these terms of derision sound to me like they are about women like me, like Ren, like our friends — for enjoying some of our beauty rituals, for talking loudly about being sex-positive (which is assumed to imply that we think radical feminists hate sex), for kinks, for… whatever. Without knowing who is being spoken about exactly, and precisely why, it sounds like a term used to look down your nose at people whose lifestyle doesn’t match yours.

    If it means something else, please do tell me. What is a pussycatdoll feminist? What makes her a sellout?

  309. August 24, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    all I ask, all I’ve asked on this thread, is that we talk about why we initially felt the need to do these things, and not other things. I want to talk about cultural pressure and expectations.

    Okay, sure. Let’s talk about that. I don’t think it was Ren’s point, but all right.

    Yes, there’s pressure to shave. Like I said: fingers in my armpits story.

    How do you think we best change it?

  310. August 24, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Oh, and JANIS –

    I loooove you right now. I really do. Here: *grouhug*

  311. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Nodding at Janis-

    I just don’t see until how until we can stop fighting/attacking/ distrusting each other on these issues how we can, oh, maybe stand next to each other for five minutes to focus that fury on, oh, someone OTHER than other women, you know?

  312. SoE
    August 24, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    If you’re criticizing a magazine for paying too much attention to someone’s appearance, you shouldn’t be paying too much attention, in an inverted way, to that same appearance.

    So if someone comes up after a presentation in, let’s say, my uni I held and tells me that my hair looked soooo wonderful, I should avoid the urge to say “A shame I talked to the audience and you couldn’t see my bum”?

  313. August 24, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    And the average, everyday, workaday woman? Slowly but surely, she found the time to do something solely for herself too. She found that peace for herself on the racquetball court, the tennis court, the aerobics studio, the bike, the pavement, the dojo. She gained strength and flexibility. She gained mastery. Her body changed, and she learned to love it. All the more so, because she created it.

    Yes. Anyone remember the MacKinnon piece about this? I disagree with her about quite a lot, but that piece is simply BEAUTIFUL.

  314. August 24, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Those rituals may be kinky, necessary, fun, a break from normality, a hobby even but they are not feminist.

    Who claimed they were? I’m certain it wasn’t me.

  315. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Ask yourselves this — do you all really think that men like beautiful women? Have you ever heard them discussing such women when they think no one is listening? Do you think they use terms of respect, admiration, and amity?

    Absolutely not. I completely realize that, no matter what you look like, if you are a woman you are scum (in the patriarchy). Men don’t adore or admire porn stars, strippers, girls who look great in bikinis or hot female athletes. But even though I realize that, it’s hard to not get envious of the tiny scraps some women are fed by the patriarchy. And I’m fed scraps sometimes, too; but then I remember that they taste like shit and I spit them out.

  316. August 24, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Besides beauty rituals, I also perform rituals such as jumping over a fire on Midsummer Eve.

    Am not claiming that it’s feminist either. ;)

  317. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Um, I coined the term PCD feminist and if you want to what it means you’ll have to either ask me or read the essay, which Trinity selectively quoted and then didn’t link to. I’m sure she’s not trying to be dishonest or anything.

  318. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    gahhh…

    “Okay, sure. Let’s talk about that. I don’t think it was Ren’s point, but all right.

    Yes, there’s pressure to shave. Like I said: fingers in my armpits story.

    How do you think we best change it?”

    I think, perhaps even in the original post, I suggested (and resuggested) over and over that WE, as women, start backing up other women on WHATEVER choice the end up making wrt to this stuff, so that said women would be more comfortable with thier decisions…which you know, I sorta see as a first step…

    Because if a woman has another women, or five other women, who, whether she does not wear make up, or is heavier, or has hairy legs, or if she is thin and waxed, standing there with her telling whomever else, whatever, oh, say man, that he needs to fuck off for calling her ugly, or disgusting, or a bimbo, or…

    See my point here, if we can accept, encourage and make each other feel BETTER instead of WORSE about these things, well, gee, that sort of thing spreads into other areas…

  319. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    sure gin, we’ll get right on that, right after we digest the three threads just chocked full of insults and intellectual dishonesty you have goin’ on at your place…see, we’re not just intellectually dishonest oursevles, but our experiences and thoughts are suspect, we are just allabout the men, and dumb and everything, so you know, it’s hard for us to comprehend things like permission.

  320. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    I don’t know who “pussycatdoll feminists” are. It seemed that they are people like Ren, who enjoy femininity and various sexual activities, jobs, etc. But now you are claiming they are not.

    The term comes from the PCD themselves. A “girl power” singing group who parades around on stage in lingerie. They are called PCD feminists because they claim their performance is “empowering.” The thing is, it doesn’t give them any real power. It earns them scraps from the patriarchy, to borrow Janis’ phrasing. It’s doing something for male titilation and calling it “feminism.” Then the public gets this warped idea about what “feminism” is, and the patriarchy has a good chuckle about the whole thing.
    It’s not that I dislike anyone who dances on stage. Not true at all. I just don’t like the fact that some women (and men) slap the “feminism” label on the most degrading, frivilous, and/or UNfeminist stuff. The quote from that guy in the Hawaiian Tropic link is a perfect example.
    You and I would probably get along well IRL; the fact that none of us knows where the other stands is getting confusing. But it’s just not true that radfems aren’t into the beauty thing or don’t get any pleasure from doing stereotypically feminine things.
    I think we all need to be clear that radfems aren’t into attacking women on the basis of appearance. In fact, some of us are model-pretty.

  321. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    I think, perhaps even in the original post, I suggested (and resuggested) over and over that WE, as women, start backing up other women on WHATEVER choice the end up making wrt to this stuff, so that said women would be more comfortable with thier decisions…which you know, I sorta see as a first step…

    Except you’re the one who whines that any cultural criticism is the same as criticizing the individual and then you blame rad fems or fems for being mean and nasty and shit.

  322. August 24, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Ginmar:

    I’m interested in what SarahMC means too, since she’s picking up the term.

    But okay: what DID you mean? I read your post, and it didn’t make sense to me. Who are these people who claim to be feminists yet resemble Schlafly? What have they said? Reading the post again it seems that perhaps one particular person attacked you (and from what I gather said something snide about your PTSD, which is totally not on, and incidentally why I didn’t quote the entire post, so as not to appear to be mocking you for serious shit) and that’s who “the pussycatdoll feminists” are…

    …but in that case why make the word plural? What are the general characteristics of “pussycatdoll feminists?”

    Are you talking about people educated on feminist issues, or people who watch TV and hear the Spice Girls chant “Girl Power” and assume themselves to be feminists without any research?

    Because if you’re talking about the former, I couldn’t agree less, but if you’re talking about the latter… yeah, that pop-feminism is really a shame.

    Though I think conflating that pop-feminism with sex-positive feminism, as you do here, only confuses the issue.

    And again, I’m not at all sure who you are talking about when you say the PCDs claim “I love men!” — no one here has said anything about “loving men”, other than me saying I like them with shaved bodies — but that’s purely about sexual desire.

    And I could also go on at considerable length about women’s bodies; I’m not heterosexual. So… who’s this totally MEN-LOVE invested person? Someone on this thread? Some sex-positive feminist who has not yet been named? (Glittery Voldemort!) A PCD, the tribe of which has not been represented here?

  323. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    Oh Jesus I didn’t realize ginmar coined the term. Who are you, ginmar?

  324. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    people who watch TV and hear the Spice Girls chant “Girl Power” and assume themselves to be feminists without any research?

    YES

  325. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Oops, my “yes” shouldn’t be quoted.

  326. August 24, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    I think, perhaps even in the original post, I suggested (and resuggested) over and over that WE, as women, start backing up other women on WHATEVER choice the end up making wrt to this stuff, so that said women would be more comfortable with thier decisions…which you know, I sorta see as a first step…

    *is a bit confused*

    Ren, in case you misread me (I’m not sure), I was saying “how do we change the PRESSURE?” not “how do we change the SHAVING?”

    I don’t give a fuck who shaves. I don’t give a fuck who shaved yesterday, who shaved today, or who shaves tomorrow in Post-Feminist-Revolution Utopia.

    I do care about BS like the fingers in my armpits.

    But I suspect you know this and I misread you anyway…

  327. other orange
    August 24, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    Thank you, Trinity.

    How do you think we best change it?

    Personally, I’ve tried to be more vocal about body acceptance. When people confront me about my weight or my body hair or anything they don’t like (if it’s not just threatening or flat-out harassment, like if it’s a friend who expresses something like you haven’t shaved in a while, huh ?) I try to talk to them about why I don’t value that particular practice, and ask them why they do. I thinking talking about it, especially with people we respect or trust or work with, can do a lot of good.

    And I agree that infighting for feminists is just plain wrong. I personally don’t talk down women who engage in beauty rituals- some people do. But I think the early example of a conventionally pretty woman sitting in on a meeting of feminists, and then getting mocked; could be countered with a hairy-legged mohawk-haired tattooed woman sitting in on a group of “feminine” feminists. I think it would come from both sides. The patriarchy sets us against each other to rip ourselves apart, and we fall into that trap again and again.

  328. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    I call ’em like I see ’em, Ren, and as you’re still saying that feminist criticism is mean and nasty and OMG unfair, you don’t have a leg to stand on. You want to do what you want to do, I don’t give a fuck. But I’m gong to talk about why I see a bunch of women doing it, and oh, by the way? Wanting to silence radfems from criticizing a practice you like to do cuz it makes you uncomfortable is your personal problem.

  329. other orange
    August 24, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    I also agree with ginmar’s general thoughts that the oft-suggested idea “what’s wrong with feminists that they hate sex and pretty hair” is kind of insulting. I’m a feminist and I have goddam pretty hair. I think terms like sex-positive feminist are deeply insulting and, coincidentally, very dividing, and they set “sex-positive” feminists (or whatever term it is) above “regular” feminists, who must hate sex.

    I think we all, to some extent agree: women are not the ones who should be judged or punished for conforming/not conforming. It’s society that we’re fighting to change, not feminism; which has no core belief that women shouldn’t feel pretty and be happy and exercise free will. The problem doesn’t lie with feminism.

  330. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    Ginmar: A leg. Okay, didn’t want to go here, but hey, at this point…personal attacks… I direct you to this thread, where yep, indeed, there was a personal attack on my appearance, women were called whores, “house niggers” , one radical feminist was labelled a sellout by another for taking issue with attacking another womans appearance, accusations were made about statements that were never made and no proof of such statements could ever be produced, all out of a feminist.

    http://punkassblog.com/2006/08/21/each-prostitution-post-is-a-beautiful-and-unique-snowflake/#comment-6889

    Leg present and accounted for, unless, of course, this is totally acceptable in certain corners of feminism.

  331. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    I’m talking about people who call themselves feminists, I kind of suspect, because it’s the new ‘playing-hard-to-get’ and makes them seem kind of rebellious and special while thinking that feminists have to accept them just because they’re women. Yes, they’ve attacked me in some pretty shitty ways. I had one person snidely link to a bitter fight I had with a former friend, who defriended me while sniggering at my mental condition behind my back, then bitched at me for criticizing the patriot act. This was shortly after I was diagnosed with PTSD. Others in that crowd have harassed me for criticizing juvenile sexual harrassment, as if doing that and closing, “But not to invalidate her point….” Bullshit. Just bullshit. Now they’re doing it to other radfems who are under attack, radfems, it happens, with whom I have issues, but who are far more intellectually honest than these PSD feminists. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t use feminism as an easy means of rebellion and then attack people who really are on the frontlines. Criticizing the culture IS going to make women uncomfortable because it criticizes practices women might not want to think about. I criticize people by action, or try to, and I see a lot of women blaming radfems and fems for supposedly calling them on their makeup but given this post it’s become clear that any cultural criticism of feminine practices is verboten. And that’s no way to change the culture.

    I’ll withdraw my comment, then, about you not quoting the whole post. If people wish to attack me for being crazy, then they have to realize that in fact if I am crazy, what are they for attacking me? And if I’m am crazy, I’m entitled to that as a defense. And it’s so-called feminists doing it.

  332. August 24, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    SarahMC:

    In that case no disagreement from this corner. Other than to point out how quickly many women get accused of falling into that category when we HAVE examined quite a lot.

    My own experience is that being aware of complicity is very good and useful, but being weighed down by the constant concerns about whether what we do is complicit every moment isn’t useful.

    Because when it becomes about individuals and their false consciousness, rather than about the standard… well then anyone can claim anything about anybody.

    Just to take the whole sex-pos v radfem thing as an example: what both sides often do to one another is that.

    Jerky “Radfem” : Oh, you like BDSM and porn and kink? It’s only because the patriarchy shaped you! I know the real deal with you…
    Jerky “Sex-positive”: Oh, you don’t like BDSM and porn upsets you? Patriarchy represses women’s sexuality, you must just be living down to the “lie back and think of England” stereotype. I know the real deal with you…

    and both sides are in a sense doing the same thing: assuming that if the other only looked at the world and herself more carefully, her desires or her attitude toward them would change.

    None of which actually addresses the way women’s sexuality has gotten smooshed up and repackaged under patriarchy, either as Virgin or as Slut.

    And the thing is that both sides, as far as I can tell, are actually about depackaging all that, about discovering what it is to be a woman who is sexual on her own terms.

    I’m sex-positive because I think I can be. I don’t always think I am. Sexuality and compulsive BS go hand in hand under patriarchy.

    Which is why “examining” itself sometimes worries me. It’s so easy for that to become personal, become something to accuse another woman of not doing… which takes it out of its real purpose (seeing the Matrix, where by that I mean being aware of compulsory sexuality under patriarchy) and takes it into “I see it! you don’t!”

    It’s THAT that worries me. And Ren too if I read her right.

  333. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Trinity: Yep.

  334. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Ren, what is it that you do for a living?

  335. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    So Trinity, I assume you’ll have my back when the sex pozzes accuse me of being driven mad by the war and the radfemminess and all that? Becaues it’s just as unfair as those jerky radfems you keep citing, in a topic where people have repeatedly confused cultural critique for personal critique.

  336. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Ginmar: Everyone around knows what I do for a living. I strip and do porn. And? This has what to do with women’s treatment of other women? This has what to do with supporting other women’s choices- whatever they are- in regards to beauty issues? What, really? If it has to do with a woman calling me a whore, well, yeah, techinically I am. The word actually doesn’t faze me much, but, is it okay to do that? What, exactly does my job have to do with, oh, the topic at hand, especially when I am opennly IN support of women who do not engage in beauty rituals, ect?

  337. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    I assume #333 is what we mean by cultural critique, nothing personal.

  338. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    Maybe I’m mistaken on the definition of radfem. Maybe it’s a big tent. Because I have sex. I’m in favor of women making sexual choices and being sexually autonomous. I would not legislate against any consentual sex act, even if I personally disapprove or think it’s sexist or dehumanizing. Does that make me sex-pos?
    OTOH, I’m pretty anti-porn now that so much of it’s brutally violent. I think it’s shaped the way men view women and not in a good way.
    Basically I’m for comprehensive sex ed, stricter punishments for sexual criminals, safer conditions for sex workers… I don’t know what else. I’m having an identity crisis over here.

  339. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    Aren’t you defensive? I have some friends who work in porn and I used to work in a dirty bookstore. Best job I’ve ever had for cameraderie before the Army, easy. . I’ve criticized porn and stripping from an experienced position. That does not mean I have criticized the women in those jobs, but I HAVE seen such women pick feminists as the bad guy when it’s quite clearly the woman-hating culture that’s to blame. And it is. I got harassed in my job not by feminists, but by conventional men and women who felt I was a slut for working with gays and transpeople and whatever, or that I MUST be a slut for working with porn, gays, transpeople, and what have you. But here’s the thing: there’s a difference between attacking a culture, the jobs that produces and the people in it.

    I’ve seen soldiers slam liberals for being soldier haters. It’s not true, but if I’d known they were soldiers off the bat I would have been better prepared for that, given that I’m a card-carrying, blue-collar, white trash, commie pinko feminazi moonbat. That’s all I meant.

    Lot of soldiers believe liberals spit on soldiers when they came back from the war. Lots of people believe the same thing about radfems. Lots of people believe soldiers collect ears. Myself, I’d prefer to believe that if a bunch of people perform the same destructive acts they can be defined by those acts, such as my neighbors with their insanely obscenely loud stereos.

  340. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Oh, and I obviously didn’t know. What makes you think I would know?

  341. August 24, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    So Trinity, I assume you’ll have my back when the sex pozzes accuse me of being driven mad by the war and the radfemminess and all that? Becaues it’s just as unfair as those jerky radfems you keep citing, in a topic where people have repeatedly confused cultural critique for personal critique.

    Who’s doing this and where?

    As far as radical feminism driving people mad, I’ve had some personal bad experiences with it which led me to disassociate myself from it. I do think the sex-positive viewpoint is a healthier and wiser one, generally. So I’m not going to be dishonest and claim I’m neutral — but I also have no interest in claiming radical feminism is useless and stupid. I don’t believe that… it’s the seed of modern feminism!

    I used to associate more closely with some radfems on LJ, and I did find myself beginning to have trouble. For me, it began to feel like a constant ritual of scrutinizing myself and shaming myself for false consciousness, over and over and over.

    It wasn’t healthy for me, and it didn’t actually change anything I did other than to make me fearful and critical of myself and others for things I actually didn’t really care about.

    It also made worrying incessantly about what I wanted, what I did, how I spoke, what I liked, and how I behaved take up all the time I could have spent actually doing something helpful for women. It became all about me and my unworthiness and it liberated nobody — not me, not any other woman. I just sat around.

    And I’ve known a couple others (not naming names here because I don’t want to drag people into drama) who have felt the same way about certain radical feminist groups/cliques.

    So I’m perhaps more sympathetic to the idea that some strains of radical feminism can be harmful than you’d like.

    But no, I don’t think that people giving you shit for mental health problems is okay. And that’s what that saying “crazy radfem vet” as if they all are the same thing and make you not worth hearing is doing, yes, I agree.

  342. other orange
    August 24, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    This has what to do with women’s treatment of other women? This has what to do with supporting other women’s choices- whatever they are- in regards to beauty issues?

    Well, honestly, you’re the standard. You’re the standard, then, that the rest of us are held up to. Whether you like that or not, it’s true. And while nothing you do as an individual hurts or helps women who are not in your industry; the sex-work industry contributes to the judgement of women’s bodies and sets the standard for beauty and beauty practices. You’re not running it- you’re not in charge of it. You didn’t invent it. But you’re participating in it.

  343. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Oh, it wasn’t radfem stuff that I blame for having PTSD; it was quite clearly the war. But I’ve had sex pozzes or some of these fluffy feminists quite clearly relish my difficulties. That’s where I stop calling them sister, and now they’re doing it to other radfems—even with the very trolls that are trying to bring them down.

    I’d be very curious to hear the exact details of what you think is self-shaming, because I’ve been a feminist for a long time and this is the first I’ve heard of this as some feminist value.

  344. August 24, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    And as far as “not liking sex” I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know that when I was engaging with a certain subset of radical feminists in a way that was unhealthy for me, the endless “examining” in a shaming way made me not like sex for a while.

    Which was not good for me, as I’m actually someone with a rather high libido (and in whom low libido and depression issues go together like peanut butter and jelly) and the particular unhealthy way of doing the “examining” was messing with my head and taking away one of the ways I relax and feel good about myself.

    Which I strongly believe was bad for me.

    But that is just me and no kind of assertion about anyone. And not an assertion that questioning patriarchal sexual norms is bad; it’s the way in which the difference between “scrutinize the norm” and “scrutinize yourself” got steadily elided that did it. (Which is why I twitch when I see something that looks like the same thing…)

  345. August 24, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    Well, honestly, you’re the standard. You’re the standard, then, that the rest of us are held up to.

    I honestly don’t think that sex-workers are always the standard, it depends on the context.

    This issue is way more nuanced than that, imho.

  346. August 24, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    Oh, it wasn’t radfem stuff that I blame for having PTSD; it was quite clearly the war.

    Oh, I didn’t think you said that — and it’s not what caused mine either, if I wasn’t clear there.

  347. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    Ren, in that link you provided, ONE poster said all the things you ascribe to “feminists” — except for “whore”; you called yourself that.

    Rather than bolstering your argument here, all that thread proved was that you’ve been complaining about the mean old radfems — while slamming them every chance you get — for at least one year as of yesterday. Happy anniversary!

  348. other orange
    August 24, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Also, I want to say kind of a strange thing, in response to the “where does this negativity come from” question. For the women out there who do consider themselves beautiful, or at least socially acceptable in the eyes of the patriarchy, those who do participate: when you’re held up against a standard of another person/group who is considered infinitely worthier and better and lovelier and more deserving and good and more female than you; every day, unrelenting, for the entire process of your life; whether it’s a gut reaction or not, every now and again, wouldn’t your reaction be: hey, fuck that person !

    It’s not a nice reaction or a positive reaction or one that helps win the feminist battle. It’s not fair to you in any way. It targets the wrong source. But I think I can understand that basic, oh-so-human-and-flawed impulse, even if I don’t necessarily feel it. I think that’s where some of the negativity you’ve experienced comes from.

    I’m not saying that your negative experiences with beauty aren’t awful. They are. God, the things the media does to beautiful women make me sick to my stomach.

  349. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Gee Ginmar, I don’t know why I would be suspicious of your question, considering the speculation going on about me and my profession and all that good stuff going on at your blog at the moment…because, you know, me being a stripper makes everything so clear, and some of us are extremely fucked up, and explains so much and explains why I am so angry at feminists and what, with it being only way I can resolve the cognitive dissonance and all…

  350. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    Wait a second. You took exception to my labelling a group of feminists with a sarcastic name, but you’re differentiating between feminists, too!

    Also, what subset? Look, dude, I might be skeptical about the sex pozzes who say and do certain things but show me one that’s respectful and she’s my long-lost sister. Which subset are you talking about?

  351. other orange
    August 24, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    I honestly don’t think that sex-workers are always the standard, it depends on the context.

    Not every sex worker is the standard, no. Agreed. But the sex industry sets the standard. Popular culture is heavily influenced by pornography; looking at magazines or watching television will tell you that.

    I should have been more clear: the standards of that profession are the standards all women are essentially set against.

  352. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    Csquared: Any particular reason you’re still talking to me? Yep, I provided one example, and listed others wrt the ED/thin priv/PwD/sexuality issues of such things as well. I’m not going to draw you a road map. Gin wanted an example, I gave her one, of an actual attack. Hey, if you think that kind of thing is okay, fine. I don’t.

  353. August 24, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    So if someone comes up after a presentation in, let’s say, my uni I held and tells me that my hair looked soooo wonderful, I should avoid the urge to say “A shame I talked to the audience and you couldn’t see my bum”?

    No, I think a more apt analogy would be, if a person came up and says that to you, someone else shouldn’t say “what, that’s digusting how much attention that person was paying to SoE’s hair… that kind of hairstyle is so predictable and trite!” That’s what I meant by inverted attention.

  354. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    ginmar, what’s your blog!?

  355. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Draw me a road map? You still haven’t provided one legitimate example to prove your freaking THESIS.

    Oh, speaking of which:

    whatever happened to women, all women, being happy with their bodies?

    Was this before or after you went under the knife?

  356. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    other orange: I would argue that the media as a whole, even, actually, more mainstream media sets the bar, but yep, the sex biz is part of that.

  357. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Csquared: the thread Ren cited also mentioned a reference to me as a “bloated parasitic whore” by a moderately well-known feminist blogger. We’ve since made up & I’ve become very fond of her, but don’t pretend there was nothing there.

    More generally, if you’ve lived such a cloistered life as to imagine that these insults aren’t common currency in certain circles, just do a Google search on any of them. You’ll get tens of thousands of hits.

  358. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    What Other Orange said in 347 is worth repeating.

  359. August 24, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Wait a second. You took exception to my labelling a group of feminists with a sarcastic name, but you’re differentiating between feminists, too!

    *sigh* I’m talking about a group it was personally unhealthy for me to be a part of. And I am, notice, NOT asserting anything about all radical feminists — I’m explicitly taking care not to do that.

    If you can’t accept that I don’t see why giving you more information about why I broke with groups I found unhealthy for me is any kind of a good idea.

  360. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    CSquared: I liked it before, I like it better now. Actually, I’d still really like to be taller, but alas, genetics blessed my brother with all the height in the family. I could give you other examples of some fine behavior, over on Basante Kim, or at Trins place, or I shame the Matriarchy, but well, they are probably all antifeminist sites in you head, so likely you would not read them anyway. This does not answer the point tho, was the behavior of that particular person okay???

  361. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Uh, Ren, I’ve had experiences with strippers or what have you blaming feminists for all kinds of shit, just the wya you did. If I’d known you were a stripper and that you were exhibiting the exact same accusations I would have approached the topic differently. I might have even avoided it. So take it or leave it. Nobody’s speculating on anything at my blog. They’re saying that they’ve seen the same manuevers before.

    Sarahmc; The thread in question. Once again, evidently reminiscing about past experiences with people who have a bias counts as bashing Ren personally. http://ginmar.livejournal.com/1163110.html

    Maybe I’m in the wrong profession. The so-called feminists that have bashed me have done it personally. Bashing soldiers is easy to defend against; there’s more and more liberals in the ranks every day.

  362. August 24, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Was this before or after you went under the knife?

    Whoa.

    That was entirely not called for, CS.

  363. ellenbrenna
    August 24, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Patriarchy Approved beauty rituals were cited above as:

    necessary for work in a professional setting
    a turn on, erotic

    that would be where I got my comment from

    why is it that a woman’s expression is usually confined to her clothing and appearance? an interesting experiment below…

    http://www.littlebrowndress.com/brown%20dress%20archive%20home.htm

  364. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Ginmar: Okay. Cool, that’s fine. I’ll even admit that alot of my interactions with SOME radical feminists have really rubbed me the wrong way. There are others I think are really great people. I just get really tired of both the sex bot tee hee andthe sexless prude hairy bullshit, here, there, and everywhere. And I do not at all agree with bashing soliders, it’s one hell of a tough job from everything I’ve ever seen or heard.

  365. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    I was just pointing out the massive inconsistency in Ren’s original post: if you’re happy with your body, you tend not to surgically insert dangerous foreign objects into it.

  366. other orange
    August 24, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you, Sarah.

  367. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    Does this mean we agree on something? HOly shit, dude, I want a ciagarette!

    (Just kidding.)

    No, seriously, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  368. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    CS: I also asserted that if women DO things that make them more comfy and at home in their skins, that make they happy with their body….you know, that part? Hell, if you really want to know why I got a tit job, I’ll tell you, multiple reasons really, but just like some women get braces, or tattoos, or peircings to modify their look in a way they like or feel more comfortable and at home in their own bodies, for whatever reasons? Well, I sorta feel the same way about my implants.

  369. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    Ginmar: It appears so, and it is a little scary (smirk) …passes over a camel and a light.

  370. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    Here’s where I think implants differ:
    – Braces correct tooth alignment problems that, if uncorrected, could lead to pain
    – Tattoos don’t tend to have long-term detrimental health affects
    – Piercings aren’t necessarily permanent and, again, aren’t known to be hazardous to your health

    Implants require medical touch-ups, have been known to leak, have been known to cause infection problems, etc. Women who get them are risking permanent damage to their health. And yes, it’s totally their right to do so. But it’s my right as well to say that I think it’s a terrible idea and I wish women could learn to love their bodies as they are.

  371. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    RE: do you agree that we’d all be better off if patriarchy didn’t make us feel like we had to have double-d’s?
    Do you understand the frustration some of us feel when other women get implants or do other things that seem to say, “I side with the patriarchy?”

  372. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    Sarah: Yep, I do, and I actually applaud women who make a conserted effort who do ignore that pressure and go very anti-patriarchy approved in appearance. I can understand that frusteration. Indeed I can.

  373. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    What I think is sick is the fact that most men think “eh?” re: implants. No big deal. As long as he’s more visually stimulated, that’s all that matters. Can you imagine MEN going under the knife for something like that? I KNOW more men are getting cosmetic surgery these days, but I still think women are overwhelmingly pressured to do DRASTIC things to their bodies in order to conform to a beauty ideal.

  374. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    CS: agreed, so long as the tattoos.piercings are taken care of and done in a sterile setting….I saw an infected back alley tongue piercing gone bad that was just….eww, and required the owner of said peircing get hostpitalized. And yes, there are legit medial reasons for braces, but generally, the reasons behind a whole lot of dentistry, including braces, is cosmetic. Hell, I have slightly crooked teeth myself.

    But sure enough, there are a host of concerns with getting implants. But see, as an adult woman with the ability to make a choice, knowing all the facts and all, to get them, I did. I don’t say that all women think about everything when they get them, examine it so to speak, but yep, some of us do…and I have no issue with women who don’t get them or find the process…well, icky on a lot of levels, but I don’t like it when a woman is reduced to her implants, especially by other women, and yeah, it does happen.

  375. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    To expand on SarahMC’s (typically awesome) point, I think men’s take on implant surgery is similar to their take on giving birth: what’s the big deal? Never mind that any kind of general-anesthetic surgery, like giving birth, has inherent risks to life and health.

    (I forgot to mention the surgery part in my post above. It’s surgery, man, people die just from being put under!)

  376. bluestockingsrs
    August 24, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    I think that if you want the radfems to be ok with your sex positive stance then you need to be ok some women being “prudish” about having sex.

    It works both ways, whether I choose lots of sex or no sex, that is my right.

  377. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Wait, can someone clarify? At what point is one considered a rad fem? From what some of you have said, rad fems don’t have sex?

  378. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    wait, wait, look, people, after close to 400 comments, we are ACTUALLY TALKING, civil and shit, about things!!!

    (Does a happy dance).

    Sarah, this is me agreeing again. Some men definately have a preference for “real”, but yeah, women overwhelmingly go in for more cosmetic procedures, and yep, because of the patriarchy and pressure. Heh, I will say though that my significant other has, um, had a few chemical peels in his day. Smirk.

  379. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    I firmly believe that most rad fems have, and yep, like sex. Most of the rad fems I’ve ever encountered admit to this (the having and liking sex thing). And me personally, my stance on sex? Sorta like the Burger King Mantra- “Have it your way”.

  380. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    I think that if you want the radfems to be ok with your sex positive stance then you need to be ok some women being “prudish” about having sex.

    It works both ways, whether I choose lots of sex or no sex, that is my right.

    Fair enough. Truth be told, I suspect a fair number of sex-positive types are that largely on principle, & lead sexual lives not so diferent from the next person.

  381. August 24, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    Orange, the media is not the worst of it. I’m honestly afraid to type this comment now. I don’t know why – sometimes it’s hard for me to talk about these things. Sometimes it’s easy. Not today. But anyway. Here goes.

    I was abused. My abuser, naturally, had claimed that I had “asked for it” when confronted about it much later. I was a child at the time it happened.

    He got away with it. He went on to do it to others.

    I’ve spent many years in psychological and spiritual limbo as the result of all this. I have forgiven him, and I don’t believe he’s a monster. But, for the longest time, I had also blamed myself for what happened. I couldn’t rationalize it. But the guilt and shame were always there, as they are there for most, if not all, survivors. And they come back to this day – these feelings. They never quite pass.

    But when I finally began healing somewhat, the first religious authority I approached on the subject (I’m Christian), a person I trusted, said that my looks had “obviously played a part.” If I had been a “good little girl,” if I had been cloistered away, if my parents had given some thought to what my blond hair and blue eyes might “do to a man” – I might have been spared.

    I needed to accept my “complicity” in what had happened. My parents, apparently, had been “complicit” as well – they should have locked me away.

    At first, I wanted to kill myself. Then I got angry. Then I decided to start protecting myself against this awfulness.

    The job where I was bullied for looking the way I do? Quit it within days. Took a lower-paying gig instead. Because I’m a human being, not a pair of legs or whatever.

    Would I still have been abused had I not had the blond hair and blue eyes? Probably. Would the religious authority come up with some other excuse for what had happened? Probably.

    And that’s a testament to something – when you get down to it, we’re all screwed. We’re just screwed in different ways.

    Obviously, I’ve been snarky to stereotypically pretty and stereotypically unpretty women too. But in speaking out about my experiences, I have also found and given (at least, I hope I am capable of giving) a lot of support.

    There IS a common ground for all of us. I’m not sure how to negotiate it. But we can, and should, keep trying.

    Oh, and:

    the standards of that profession are the standards all women are essentially set against.

    Personally, I am disconnected from this standard. I mean, I know that someone, somewhere, might say something like “wish Natalia’s tits were as big as Jenna Jameson’s” or something, but it doesn’t really bother me.

    *scratching head*

    Call me naive, or whatever.

  382. August 24, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Is it even remotely possible that we could talk about the pressure to say, have larger breasts or get breast implants separately from individual people’s choices to do so? Because there are any number of exceptions and I don’t think it works to generalize, either. If you want to write about your own experiences with your breasts, or a close friend that you’ve had a discussion with, fine. Generalizing doesn’t work, and neither does pretending to X-ray someone else’s brain so you know what they think, what pressures they experience and how strongly, and how they’re reacting under those pressures. That’s what I find really odious about this and other discussions.

    For instance, I know a woman who got a single breast implant because of a childhood injury that left her without a left breast. They changed the implant over time to resemble her remaining breast. (And incidentally, her breasts are a fairly average size.) If the culture didn’t care at all about women having breasts or large breasts, would the pressures on her be different? Certainly. But there is obviously other stuff going on too — like growing up with a less lopsided body, which she decided, both as a child and as an adult, that she wanted. There are plenty of other examples too — women with breast cancer, for instance — that aren’t directly comparable to getting implants for professional reasons, getting implants to please your husband, or getting implants because you are just tired of having small breasts. Of course all of these situations are affected by patriarchal pressure, but that’s not the whole story in any of them. This is why it’s insulting to generalize about people’s motivations, or assume you know what they are.

    Generalize about pressures instead.

  383. SoE
    August 24, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Actually Holly, I can see a friend of mine saying exactly that and just having this picture in my mind made me laugh. I realize though that quite a few people never get his point.

  384. August 24, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    I could see it too, if he’s your friend and he’s making a joke or being sarcastic. Which is not quite the case with other examples of that genre. Plus, as was previously mentioned, the internet is seldom sarcasm’s best friend, especially when paired with brevity.

  385. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    Holly: Well, I think the overriding pressure wrt to implants is certainly patriarchy influenced, and it is to look like what folk think a woman is supposed to like it…i.e. she has breasts, usually a B or bigger. Two of them. When people mentally visualize a woman, they picture them with breasts. So yeah, a lot of women, who are small breasted to start with, or for medical reasons, get them to “look like what women are supposed to look like”…

    eh, just one theory there.

  386. August 24, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    In #300, Janis Says:

    “Ask yourselves this — do you all really think that men like beautiful women? Have you ever heard them discussing such women when they think no one is listening? Do you think they use terms of respect, admiration, and amity?”

    I wasn’t going to interject in this thread, but to this, like so many blanket statements about “what men think” is just so much bullshit. Yeah, men are quite capable of dissing or treating women they find attractive like shit. They’re also quite capable of loving and even admiring women they find “hot”. Depends on the man, depends on the woman, depends on the situation.

    Respect and serious animal attraction are not mutually exclusive, not even among evol menz. Of course, if you’re coming from a point of view where wanting to fuck somebody automatically translates into disrespect and hostility, then I guess you’d seen things differently. (And I feel sorry for anyone with that POV, really.)

  387. August 24, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Do you understand the frustration some of us feel when other women get implants or do other things that seem to say, “I side with the patriarchy?”

    Conversely, do you understand the frustration those women might feel when someone assumes they’re saying “I side with the patriarchy” with their breasts, even though they say something quite different with say, their voices (an underappreciated part of women)? Even though they may have gone through a very complex decision-making process to make a choice like that about their bodies, one that can’t be summed up as “siding with the patriarchy” and that may very well include that same frustration you’re talking about, as part of the sum total?

    I’m glad this conversation is taking a turn for the productive, so please don’t think I mean any of that harshly. I just think there’s a flip side to that same thing.

  388. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Natalia, I am truly sorry that you were put through all that. A knot developed in my stomach because I knew what was coming. But do you think feminists actually AGREE with the people who told you your looks were to blame? So often feminists are blamed for things that are decidedly NOT feminist – they are misogynist and victim-blaming.
    We KNOW misogynists hate ALL women, not just the unattractive ones. We are all damned no matter what we do, no matter who we are or what we look like.
    The level of victim-blaming in the US and around the world is at epic records, I believe. From child rapists getting off because the little girl had already been sexually active (aka she’s already been victimized!) to “regular” rapists getting off because the victims were wearing such-and-such, or were drunk, or had the audacity to venture out of her home alone. It’s a fucking war zone out there!

  389. August 24, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Ren: that’s pretty much what I meant by “all of these situations are affected by patriarchal pressure,” which you could also generalize to something like “standards and notions of what bodies are “supposed” to look like in order to be normal / acceptable / natural / beautiful.”

  390. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    I consider myself pretty radical (although, God knows, there are a lot of shortcomings in my consciousness) in terms of feminism, and I have sex every chance I get.

    For the record, I also shave my legs and pits, dye my hair (and bleach the hair on my Italian upper lip and forearms), wax my brows, wear makeup and blowdry my hair when it’s not too damn hot outside. What I don’t do is diet (having developed a tenacious case of bulimia after a childhood of forced body-hatred) and unless I’m majorly disfigured by cancer or an accident, I won’t get plastic surgery. I’ve made my personal bargain with the patriarchy and I know that that’s exactly what I’ve done.

    In a strange way, I look forward to the day I can truly say “fuck it,” shave my head and let my hair grow in gray or white and possibly grow that Tom Selleck ‘stache I know is in the offing. But I know that that is the day I essentially disappear from the public consciousness. My standing, already devalued by my status as female, will plummet, and I’ll have to fight several times as hard to be seen, heard and acknowledged (by strangers that I want to be seen, heard and acknowledged by — those who may target me will likely find me more noticeable than ever).

    Where this fits into the question/attack, personal/political schism is: I do identify strongly as a feminist, and few things piss me off faster than feminists and feminism being criticized for not being nice enough. Feminism has a tall enough order as it is; making sure everybody feels unconditionally appreciated seems pretty unreasonable.

    Personal choices are snowflakes, but as the saying goes, put enough of them together and you’ve got an avalanche. I’m going to stretch the metaphor way too hard, but I see the job of feminism as mitigating the harmful affects of the avalanche. Can that be done without adjusting the snowflakes?

  391. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Answer me this, IACB: are you the same Iamcuriousblue who’s been harassing BitingBeaver and Hearrt?

  392. August 24, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    But do you think feminists actually AGREE with the people who told you your looks were to blame?

    Of course not. Although many different people wear the feminist label nowadays. The person who said those things to me was a self-ascribed feminist… As I learned later, this individual was involved in community efforts to help prostitutes kick their drug habits and escape their abusive pimps… On the other hand, she made me want to kill myself for having been abused. And so it goes.

    My point to Orange was that it’s not just the media who does horrible things to stereotypically-attractive women.

    It can be the people you trust, and the people you respect.

    Life is just so weird sometimes.

  393. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    Csquared, you are awesome.

    And yes, Holly, I do see what you mean.

  394. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    CS: And I get that, I actually DO get it. And I got no problem with you questioning implants til the end of time, but when there is so much of the questioning of personal decisions, and not listening to the answers…

    Well, how the hell if we are so busy arguing about that stuff are we supposed to, oh, you know, actually set that shit aside long enough to DO something?

    ANd yep, there ARE people who can do that, they can set aside that long enough to do stuff, but damn it can be hard, it can be hard to work with people even on something very important who you feel see you as subhuman, or not at all capable of agency, or totally unconcerned with women, or whatever else. It’s hard to ally with folk for the big things with these things still all in the mix. I mean, I’ve said before, I can look beyond lack of conforming to beauty standards and work with rad fems on hell, lots of things, if they can look past my conformity to them…

  395. August 24, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    Women in general are criticized for not being nice enough, by other women too, right? But here’s the thing — the other side of the coin is that the admonishments to be nice often mask the invidious shaming rituals and pressuring tactics that patriarchal societies have gotten women to police each other with for ages. We have to talk about that too. Csquared, is it possible to read any of this not simply as “be nice to everyone, feminists!” but instead as “let’s find new ways to discuss these things without tearing each other down, since that just plays into the same old women-policing-women crap?”

    As for avalanches, I think that’s a pretty good metaphor, so I’ll stretch it even further. You can’t actually stop a real avalanche just by trying to PUSH all the snowflakes around. The trick is to watch and note where the snowflakes are accumulating — when many, many of them tend to drift in a certain direction. Again, the solution here, I’d suggest, is not to try and push snowflakes around. It’s for snowflakes to have free will. In a true environment of choice, snowflakes would settle evenly across a mountainside, because they’d all be fluttering in slightly different directions. Of course, human beings aren’t as random as snowflakes; even more inexorable than physics in some way, we don’t have perfect free choices (and maybe never will). But the notion of choice is incredibly valuable for resistance at the snowflake level. It has to be. That’s why it’s important to respect choices, even as we continue to discuss what forces are pressuring us and shaping our choices. I’ve heard people talking more and more recently about deconstructing the idea of choice, the media-ized notion that we can just freely choose whatever we want — and sure, that makes perfect sense to me, choices aren’t made in a vacuum. But we can’t go so far as to start implying — and I do believe this starts to happen sometimes, even subtly — that women don’t actually have any agency at all.

    I don’t think we can really improve choices for women in this society if we go down a path where women are attacked for making their choices — or if we assume that women are blindly or ignorantly making false choices. Even if that is the case for many women, you can’t assume any more than you should assume everyone in the blogosphere is white just because most of you might be.

    Heck, I actually don’t even believe in free will, not literally. But I think the concept of having choices is still incredibly important for change, even if it’s not literally true. (OK, maybe that was a bit too tangential and weird for this discussion.)

  396. August 24, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    I think that if you want the radfems to be ok with your sex positive stance then you need to be ok some women being “prudish” about having sex.

    Who isn’t okay with someone else’s sex life or lack thereof? Saying “I” need to be okay with something I’ve never spoken against makes no sense.

    I don’t know who the “you” you’re addressing is, but she’s not me, clearly.

  397. SoE
    August 24, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    I could see it too, if he’s your friend and he’s making a joke or being sarcastic

    It doesn’t matter if the person is a friend or not. There is a difference between being nasty and sarcasm and that’s what counts. While sarcasm is tricky, she went to include

    Did we mention that?

    which puts the emphasis on the magazine.

    I might add that I turn to sarcasm quite often and obviously don’t want to abandon this utility in life. Some things make me bitter and rather than start swearing I become sarcastic. If someone gets upset about that chances are that person will make a fuss anyway.

  398. bluestockingsrs
    August 24, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    I think this is a good point, Holly. But I have come to question how many of my choices are truly free given that the patriarchy ultimately determines the choices permitted me in the first place.

    I think often what people are trying to say is, the amount of agency you have in any choice as a woman is limited because of the patriarchy. Feminist women understand this and sometimes don’t, women not yet understanding feminism, don’t either.

    At Shakesville yesterday, Melissa talked about a post by Echidne who mentioned that sometimes being an out loud feminist is utterly thankless, because women, who wish to avoid the stigma of the word, feminist – join in the hatred of feminists and promote the stereotype, but want the benefit of what feminists DO.

    This seems monumentally ridiculous, doesn’t it? I want to hate feminists and feminism, but I want to have equal pay, birth control, equality in relationships, safe from violence, etc, but I can’t bother to call myself a feminist.

    And I think this is where all of the ire on this thread is coming from in some ways -it may be unjustified, but there it is.

  399. bluestockingsrs
    August 24, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    I don’t know who the “you” you’re addressing is, but she’s not me, clearly.

    One, Trinity if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t put it on.

    And two, English lacks a plural “you”, so perhaps I should have written, “one” instead.

  400. Kim
    August 24, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    Comment #288: Janis.
    WELL DONE!

  401. ellenbrenna
    August 24, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Why should we look past your conformity to a standard that hurts other women?

    If your body is a vehicle for self-expression are we disallowed commentary simply because it is your body or would we be disallowed commentary if you expressed yourself through painting, music, poetry or sculpture?

  402. August 24, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    One, Trinity if the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t put it on.

    Didn’t. You brought up the classic strawsexpos who goes around claiming that other women should have higher libidos, not me.

    I’ve never met her m’self.

  403. August 24, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    But I have come to question how many of my choices are truly free

    I find that worrisome. I think that believing we don’t have choices really isn’t healthy. It’s one thing to say “culture impacts us” and another to claim we’re all automata.

  404. August 24, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    bluestockingsrs — Yeah, I totally get that, which is what I meant by “human being don’t have free choices.” So, let’s suppose I were to say, one of feminisms goals is the improvement of variety and quality of real life choices available to women. By “real” I mean, there’s not a huge amount of pressure to do one thing rather than another. Right now, such pressures obviously do exist. But I don’t think societal inequality is a big ship that’s careening to one side — change is not going to happen by telling everyone to do the opposite of what they’re doing right now. I think we all get that. If we want to improve agency, part of that means respecting people’s choices — even though choice is highly imperfect right now. At an individual level, many of us have made big strides over our lifetimes in figuring out more about what is influencing us, questioning that, and we make choices anyway. Even if all we have are little seedling sprouts of true agency, in a mostly oppressive system that pushes us around, we should cherish the fact that we have some agency — that we’re able to think about things, weigh the costs and benefits, look at the bigger picture and how what we do affects all women, even minutely, know what we need to do in order to survive… and make a decision. Even when that decision ends up being to get breast implants, or paint your toenails, grow hair long, or change your last name. The particles of choice involved — still really important.

    And like I said, I don’t even believe in the literal existence of these particles of choice. You’ve “come to question how many of my choices are truly free,” and I feel fairly sure that none of my choices are free, at all. But it’s quite important to me that I behave as if I do have choices — and indeed I couldn’t behave any other way, because I’m human, it’s embedded in our consciousness, and I also have values that lead me to cherish the notion of choice.

  405. B
    August 24, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    I love this discussion. What a topic! Let me add that I think far too many women conform to the patriarch’s expectations because it is easier. Going around with hairy pits and legs does attract unwanted comments and sneers. It takes a tough skin and determination to resist. I will not judge another person for giving into social pressures because I was there once too.

    I am really curious as to the relative ages of the commenters. I found it hard to resist the urge to conform when I was younger and still eager for male attention. As I have aged and my hormone levels dropped, and as I settled with one good man, I found it much easier to follow my feminist beliefs more closely. A young woman with all her hormones active in her system has subconscious signals sent to her brains to attract males. This is in conflict with what our intellects are telling us we should do to resist the patriarch. How we struggle with this conflict is vast and varied. This discussion proves it.

    And one last thought; make up, tight jeans, and push up bras do not cause permanent deformity on injury. High heels and breast implants can and do. I will try and talk every woman I know thinking of either one of these behaviors, out of it. Regardless of whether it makes you feel better, look better, your honey likes it or whatever, permanent injury and deformity is too high a price for male attention. You will thank me later.

  406. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Ellen: If looking past it long enough to do something else that might help women is something that you (or whomever else) cannot do, then okay, you cannot do it. But I am at a point where if one cannot look past it to do that thing, well, then I am not going to sign on to help them do it. I will find another way, or another place to focus my effort, with people who can.

  407. bluestockingsrs
    August 24, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    Actually, no. I suggested that the people on this thread who object to being referred to as “sexbots” for being sex positive, should not use a mirror image of that scorn for women who are more conservative in their attitudes about sex.

    Strangely, KH seemed to understand the point I was trying to make: “Fair enough. Truth be told, I suspect a fair number of sex-positive types are that largely on principle, & lead sexual lives not so diferent from the next person.”

    I agree with KH.

    Considering I have posted a number of times in this thread offering a conciliatory point of view between these two sides, it interesting that you would choose this post to harp on.

    Wev.

  408. August 24, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    If your body is a vehicle for self-expression are we disallowed commentary simply because it is your body

    Yes.

    or would we be disallowed commentary if you expressed yourself through painting, music, poetry or sculpture?

    No.

    People have to live in their bodies, all the time. Some people do use their bodies as sculpture. But they’re still bodies, not just hunks of rock. This is an essential part of consideration for other human beings — human beings are, in many ways, bodies.

  409. August 24, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    I am really curious as to the relative ages of the commenters. I found it hard to resist the urge to conform when I was younger and still eager for male attention

    Just a question: what about the commenters who are eager for female attention? There’s been a lot of discussion of pleasing men which is assumed to mean inciting male desire, but very little about inciting female desire. And personally I think that’s a mistake — there are many different variations on women’s desire for women. What should we say in a discussion like this, for example, about queer femmes?

    Do they perform beauty rituals in a way that’s different, or are they simply going through the motions of pleasing “men”? (What does that say about their partners and our respect for their partners?)

    Or bisexuals: does who I’m pursuing impact how my grooming ought be judged? And how?

    I’m 28, to answer your question.

  410. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    bluestockingsrs, I definitely know what kind of women you’re talking about, and I DO have a lot of resentment towards them.
    Women who’ll say “ewww, I’m not a feminist!” but want to be safe from DV, rape, etc. They’ll vote and work outside the home but hell no! they’re not feminists. It really bothers me. Like the conservative women who make a living telling other women they should devote their lives to homemaking and childrearing whether they want to or not. It’s so hypocritical. If you’re not into feminism, see how you like life without its benefits for a while. Not talking to anyone in here, just venting.

  411. bluestockingsrs
    August 24, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    I find that worrisome. I think that believing we don’t have choices really isn’t healthy. It’s one thing to say “culture impacts us” and another to claim we’re all automata.

    Seriously, could you read/quote the whole sentence rather than cherry picking?

    The whole quote:
    I think this is a good point, Holly. But I have come to question how many of my choices are truly free given that the patriarchy ultimately determines the choices permitted me in the first place.

  412. August 24, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Why should we look past your conformity to a standard that hurts other women?

    Also, we all must look past “conformity” at some level if any work is to get done at all. We’re all complicit in systems of imperialism, misogyny, racism, capitalism, exploitation of the poor, environmental destruction, and the list goes on. The solution is education, and increased availability of alternative choices — and that does not NEED to include shaming people or the choices they make within the systm. None of us would be free of shame, for the aforementioned list, even women, all of us, who live and deal with a patriarchal society.

  413. August 24, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    People have to live in their bodies, all the time. Some people do use their bodies as sculpture. But they’re still bodies, not just hunks of rock. This is an essential part of consideration for other human beings — human beings are, in many ways, bodies.

    Yes! Thank you. As someone who’s had some pretty intense corrective surgery for disability, well:

    My choice to have the surgery was made in an ableist world. That world directly influenced my choice, whether I like it or not — but the choice was still, ultimately, mine. The fact that cultural norms impacted me did not mean cultural norms DECIDED FOR ME.

    Reading comments like those being made about Ren’s implants feels very similar to reading, say, “You’re betrayed the disability community by altering your body.”

    Not that that would fly in the disability community I know. I think the feminist community could take some lessons from it, honestly.

  414. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Csquared sees the job of feminism as mitigating the harmful effects of the collective effect of people’s personal choices, & wonders whether that can be done without “adjusting” people’s personal choices. The first question is, done by whom? What power do you anticipate exercising? The power of an elected government in a constitutional liberal democracy? The power of a commenter on blogs to do cultural critique? Benign dictatorship? Your concept of feminism is underdetermined until you address that question.

    Choices happen where preferences meet constraints. You can go about “adjusting” people’s choices – using whatever power you assume – by changing the pattern of constraints people face or by manipulating their preferences (or some combination). Feminists often divide over the word “choice” & over the combination of measures that best serve feminist ends. Some of us emphasize changing the structure of material & other constraints that face people, & are content thereafter to leave people to seek their own preferred ends. Others place higher priority on changing people’s preferences, & pay less obesience to the people’s choices, given either current or ideal constraints. To get a sense of what anyone’s proposing, the metaphor needs to be sharpened.

  415. bluestockingsrs
    August 24, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    What should we say in a discussion like this, for example, about queer femmes?

    Do they perform beauty rituals in a way that’s different, or are they simply going through the motions of pleasing “men”?

    Some femmes believe that anyone who expresses/performs what I think Amber Hollibaugh calls “critical femininity” may call themselves femme. This is fairly new and controversial as it includes straight women and gay men.

  416. August 24, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    B — although I’m not sure I buy what you’re saying about hormones (does this apply to queer women too, for instance? are you posting a hormonal difference there?) I’ll answer your question. I’m 31, I tend to not perform many beauty rituals (I don’t shave my legs, or wear makeup, or dresses, I have wild short-ish hair, and when I go to fancy dress parties I wear a jacket and tie) but that has nothing to do with my feelings about say, breast implants and whether I feel right about pressuring women to not get or get them. I don’t.

    In fact, queer femmes haven’t come into this discussion at all, which is surprising.

  417. August 24, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    We’re all complicit in systems of imperialism, misogyny, racism, capitalism, exploitation of the poor, environmental destruction, and the list goes on. The solution is education, and increased availability of alternative choices — and that does not NEED to include shaming people or the choices they make within the systm.

    I swear, I want to marry you, Holly. Or at least your brain. :)

    Complicity is inherent in almost everything we do… which means that simplistic accounts of it which encourage judgment and blame are nowhere near complicated enough to handle it well.

    I think a lot of these interminable debates would be less fraught and less frequent if we had a solid theory about complicity and how it works.

    Which we really don’t. And may never.

  418. bluestockingsrs
    August 24, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    In fact, queer femmes haven’t come into this discussion at all, which is surprising.

    Not surprising given our overall invisibility in both communities.

  419. Csquared
    August 24, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    Your concept of feminism is underdetermined until you address that question.

    My concept of feminism is underdetermined? Fuck you, KH, and fuck your bullshit “what power do you expect to exercise” questions. What power does any social/cultural movement expect to exercise?

  420. August 24, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    Oops, spoke too soon about the femmes.

    KH:

    Feminists often divide over the word “choice” & over the combination of measures that best serve feminist ends. Some of us emphasize changing the structure of material & other constraints that face people, & are content thereafter to leave people to seek their own preferred ends. Others place higher priority on changing people’s preferences, & pay less obesience to the people’s choices, given either current or ideal constraints.

    This is a good summary in some ways. Maybe it’s just the fact that many people in political circles I’ve grown up in are very leery of 70s Marxist “anti-rules,” but I am highly suspicious of the idea of “changing people’s preferences.” It smacks of social engineering and replacing power with more power — even in small subcultures / communities, or worse still, cult-like situations.

    I’m firmly in the former camp (changing structural & material constraints) .

  421. August 24, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    Complicity is inherent in almost everything we do… which means that simplistic accounts of it which encourage judgment and blame are nowhere near complicated enough to handle it well.

    I think a lot of these interminable debates would be less fraught and less frequent if we had a solid theory about complicity and how it works.

    We have to at least have an operational model of how to address this stuff. Mine goes something like this: you are complicit. And you, and you, and you. Your choices, which are not truly completely free if they’re free at all, are playing into the system.

    But I cannot tell you what to do about that. That would be against the whole point. You have to take your own responsibility to educate yourself, ask questions, engage in discussion, and then make your own decisions. Insofar as you’re able to actually question the nature of your own choices, examine what effects you may be having on everyone else (and there will be some negative ones, mark my words, no matter how righteous you might attempt to be) — you have become more aware and are making more informed choices. And that’s a good thing, in the long run: more potentially uncertain molecules, buzzing around.

  422. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    There is no real “choice” when the consequences for making one decision over the other are extreme ostracism, violence or worse.

    Sure, DV victims have the “choice” to leave their abusers, but women are at an even higher risk of violence when they leave than while they’re “with” the abuser.

    Homosexuals have the “choice” to come out to their families, but when the family is ultraconservative or homophobic, coming out may result in abandonment, estrangement or violence.

    The desirable state would be one of true free choice. We don’t have that right now, unfortunately.

  423. RenegadeEvolution
    August 24, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    FYI I now have to go and get ready then go to work. If your comments don’t show, they are in moderation, and it is likely I won’t get to them until tomorrow- I work late this eve, so be patient please

  424. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    I’ve got to get going as well. I’ve enjoyed this discussion…

  425. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Whether you call it conformity or simply behavior, there are limits in liberal societies to how far the community can intrude on any person’s projects in the name of the greater good. Those limits are called ‘rights.’ In order to live a truly human existence, I require a certain space in which I can pursue my ends without subordination to the preferences of others. (See Bernard Williams’ critique of utilitarianism.)

    Anyone who seeks to establish an overriding community interest in what a woman may do with her body faces a heavy burden of proof. This isn’t a question of whether (self-selected members of) the comunity have the freedom to speak about the woman’s most intimate projects, but how far they should insist on standing on their rights where her business is concerned. I should hope feminists would be sensitive to this point.

  426. August 24, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    I am highly suspicious of the idea of “changing people’s preferences.” It smacks of social engineering and replacing power with more power — even in small subcultures / communities, or worse still, cult-like situations.

    YES.

  427. August 24, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    Some femmes believe that anyone who expresses/performs what I think Amber Hollibaugh calls “critical femininity” may call themselves femme. This is fairly new and controversial as it includes straight women and gay men.

    *nods* Yes, I said that quite sloppily, thanks for the reminder.

    But what if the person in question is a woman and is specifically performing the rituals to incite desire in other women, and has no interest in men?

    That’s the thing that I think gets very lost when we talk about these rituals as if they are primarily about getting along under patriarchy, with a little dab of inciting hetmale desire. No, not really — these rituals are performed for a bewildering array of reasons, some of which reveal complicity and some of which don’t.

  428. August 24, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    Homosexuals have the “choice” to come out to their families, but when the family is ultraconservative or homophobic, coming out may result in abandonment, estrangement or violence.

    Very true, but not everyone is in this situation. Many are in situations in which coming out carries less risk. Which indicates to me that, rather than living in a world in which choice is illusory, we live in a world in which choices are more constrained or less.

  429. B
    August 24, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    My apologies to lesbians. A simple oversight. I would think that hormones send us subconscious signals to mate (should have used that instead of “attract a male”), regardless of orientation. I have never read on the subject but sexual urges are sexual urges, aren’t they?

    Does/did anyone else feel conflicted about appearances when they were young and on the prowl? Did you find time helped them match their beliefs with their actions? I think I was 25 when I swore off high heels. Prior to that, I felt it made my butt look great and that seemed more important than my feet. It also was about that time I decided my face was good enough just they way it was and anybody who didn’t like it could walk right on by. That would be fine. Time has made me more and more inclined to do just what I think is best and screw the rest of the world if they don’t agree.

    We all know we have hormones. We have hormones and chemicals that signal our brains to do all kinds of different things. They have recently discovered a stomach hormone, grehlin, which controls appetite. When given to AIDS patients, they are hungry again. Its one of the reasons gastric by-pass works so wonderfully for some people. Think of PMS and post-partum depression. Can it be so hard to believe that there are signals being sent to your brain that effect your behavior without you being consciously aware of them. Obviously I think it is easy to believe.

  430. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    There is no real “choice” when the consequences for making one decision over the other are extreme ostracism, violence or worse.

    True. That’s where the constraints come in. People who’re suspicious of the language of “choice” tend to neglect the role of constraints in the analysis. In the case of DV, solutions working from the end of constraints seek to provide women safe alternatives, & more fundamentally, see to it that the have the education & social power to refuse marriage or partnership w/ abusive mates. Solutions working from the side of “adjusting” preferences might seek to civilize abusers or change women’s preferences w/o changing their material situation.

  431. ellenbrenna
    August 24, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Our culture pushes the idea that conformity to “femininity” is a form of selfexpression all of the time.

    We are all performing every time we are not naked (some of us apparently are performing while naked). We are saying I am from this place, by implication I think this way, I am not like you, I am like you. We pierce our ears or we don’t we get tattoos or we don’t but all of these activities are labelled self-expression.

    Just because we take it personally and usually go about it completely unconciously doesn’t necessarily mean it is truly different from any other expression.

    As I said before no one should be insulted or attacked but no form of expression is above discussion especially when it is so public and effects other women.

  432. August 24, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    In 390, ginmar Says:

    “Answer me this, IACB: are you the same Iamcuriousblue who’s been harassing BitingBeaver and Hearrt?”

    I guess not, because there is no Iamcuriousblue who’s been harassing Heart or BB. Nor has anybody else in the sex-positive blogosphere. Nor has anybody in the Wikipedia community. Its Anonymous/4chan/Encyclopedia Dramatica that have been harassing Heart and BB, something that’s been openly condemned by myself and many of the other folks you’re bashing here.

    It does seem like some people are trying to put together a Nixon-style “enemies list” here, but it ain’t gonna fly.

    And also this conspiracy shit you’re trotting out happens to be way off the topic of the actual thread, no?

  433. August 24, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    As I said before no one should be insulted or attacked but no form of expression is above discussion especially when it is so public and effects other women.

    I agree. I just think we should be ever watchful that critique of a form of expression doesn’t devolve into critiques of the people who perform it.

  434. August 24, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    Very late to this, but I wanted to mention how I “met” Ren. All of a sudden, I got a ton of traffic and I traced it back to her link to a post I’d written that she admired. The post was about my choices with regard to appearance.

    Here’s what I wrote then, and I think it applies to this discussion as well:

    I work in a corporation in the Midwest in which corporate dress, including makeup, is strongly encouraged. Yet I choose not to wear makeup. Every day I see maybe a thousand women at work and my guess is less than 12 of us make the decision to not wear makeup.

    I experience zero discomfort over this decision…

    Do I live in a lesbian utopia? Nope. But I do live in a state that until very recently was overwhelmingly devoted to agriculture. So the women who were and are valued here are strong, skilled and no-nonsense farmwomen. Flannel and denim clothing, leather gloves and steel-toed boots, strong arms and backs are the attributes of an ideal farmwoman. If you bothered with make-up it was gone after the first few hours of hard labor…

    I haven’t been able to keep up with this discussion, so this may be out of place now, but I did want to make it clear that I appreciate Ren’s willingness to hear and honor women when we make decisions about our appearance that differ from her own. She’s not a proselytizer. She’s an accepter. Which is very cool, imo.

  435. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    So that is you, you’re just using weasel words to deny it. What complete and utter bullshit. If you’re going to try and harass someone at least have the balls to own it. Coward.

  436. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    Yeah, the same sex pozes who are so sisterly when it comes to radfems! You’re not fooling anybody.

  437. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Relevant, I think
    The myths of bullying:
    http://www.bullyonline.org/workbully/myths.htm

    Myth: We mustn’t bully the bully
    Targets of bullying withstand a verbal, emotional and psychological battering for months, often years. By contrast, the first time the bully gets a taste of their own medicine they run whingeing to authority demanding protection. When called to account for the way they choose to behave, bullies use a variety of strategies to evade accountability. Denial, counterattack and feigning victimhood are common. One tactic is to claim that “you mustn’t bully the bully”, a disingenuous and deceptive attempt to confuse bullying (a pattern of constant daily, trivial, nitpicking criticism, isolation, exclusion, undermining, etc over months or years) with accountability (holding the bully responsible for their behaviour and its effect on others). Those in positions of authority and with responsibility for people management are notoriously vulnerable to this deception.

    Myth: You mustn’t demonize the bully
    Your behaviour profiles are a character assassination of the bully
    The behaviour profiles are the result of long-term observation of the behaviour of serial bullies. I am only the messenger. As bullies have free choice over their behaviour (if not, they have diminished responsibility and need to be under the care of a psychiatrist) then serial bullies are choosing to demonize themselves or assassinate their own character by their choice of behaviour.

    Myth: Your behaviour profiles serve only to vilify bullies
    I observe bullies’ behaviour and report it; I am only the messenger. Bullying is behaviour, behaviour is choice, therefore bullying is a choice. A rapist deserves to be called a rapist because of their choice to commit rape. A paedophile deserves to be called a paedophile because of their choice to commit acts of paedophilia. A bully deserves to be called a bully because of their choice to exhibit bullying behaviours. Normal people do not choose to bully. All a bully needs to do to no longer merit the label “bully” is to change their behaviour and stop bullying. It really is that simple.

    OBJECT LESSON

    The moral to this story is that eventually targets get fed up, and will fight back. This is not an even blogwar, as the proof can be easily found in the respective blogs – when radfems quote other bloggers it is usually in praise and to build upon the work – when YAYporn quote (radfem) bloggers, it is to discredit, humiliate, and (personally) attack. There have only been a few posts criticising the behaviour of the nonradfems, two of those I wrote, but also deleted.

    There is a huge difference between a critique of radical feminism, and constant attacks on the feminists themselves. Worlds apart.

    Radfems are actually a moral and tolerant bunch, and therefore make easy targets for bullying. Yes, I wanted to scare the bejeezes out of RE and the posse, however the attack planned would have been to discredit her with information (by her own blogging) among her peers. This is the most damaging type of ‘outing’, for to ‘out’ her personal stuff would just enable her to whine on and on about being a victim. The threats, were off the mark of what I was planning, but I also needed to show that I had actually done a bit of investigation (which I have). The information that I have shown can be found by anybody who wants to waste a few hours of their life, with the aid of a few glasses of sanity-preserving red wine. Note that I did not reveal the link to the photos, nor reveal my methods in discovering them. I revealed that I have seen them, which I have.

    Yes, bullying tactics by me were used, but mere ‘talking it out’ would not end this campaign against radfem bloggers. I had had enough, and I also used misleading strategy to get it. I am also experienced in dealing with sociopaths, and to bring about their downfall by their own weaknesses of narcissism, boasting, lying, and of course, arrogance. Yes, I played dirty, but what did I have to lose? I had already been discredited and ridiculed by a campaign that lasted nearly two months. So the object lessons for bullies is perhaps, know what your targets are capable of when they have been pushed to the limits, for eventually, most will fight back.

    Trust me RE, you do not want to reneg on your promise, because discrediting you among your peers will hit you the hardest, that is still on the table. The radfems already know you are a bullshitter. Don’t think you can just go after ‘some’ select targets either, because quite a number of people have ‘taken interest’ in studying you, and the most damning bits were not found by me.

    My message to the radfems is that you do need to let the past injuries go, mainly because you will never get a sincere apology out of this lot, nor will they cease voluntarily to stop what they are doing unless cornered. Pony has been the most hurt by the leaks, and I wish to apologise that I have not shown her the depth of my support. I realise that my ‘let it go’ sentiments will wound you the most Pony, I am sorry. No apology from them will ever be sincere, all I can do is help find the culprits and expose them if need be. Ending this war is the only way to stop this happening again, but I cannot undo what others have done to you, any of you.

    To the posse, including “Deep Feminist”, you may wish to take away the object lessons (after all DF, I actually have not exposed what I know, nor is it a betrayal of a private space, or betrayal of someone I have pretended to be allies with). If the current posse continue to harass and stalk, yes you lot were the original stalkers, then perhaps ‘another stormy’ will arise from the ashes and go after you. So stop your bullying behaviour now. Don’t even try to justify it with “…but they started it”, that shit comes from two year olds. This entire ‘war’ ends here and now. I fucking mean it.

    Again the spirit of the agreement: not to bitch about other bloggers. It goes further than that, not to talk about ‘the others’ and to just ignore them. There are plenty of ‘feminists’ in the world, and these two camps just do not mix, and will NEVER get along. Anybody who thinks they are ‘helping’ by straddling the divide, is only maintaining hostilities and connection between the two groups.

    Postscript

    Ultimatum n
    1. A final statement of terms made by one party to another.
    2. A statement, especially in diplomatic negotiations, that expresses or implies the threat of serious penalties if the terms are not accepted.

    Blackmail n
    1a. Extortion of money or something else of value from a person by the threat of exposing a criminal act or discreditable information.
    1b. Something of value extorted in this manner.
    2. Tribute formerly paid to freebooters along the Scottish border for protection from pillage.

    I fail to see the financial (or strictly personal) gain in what I have done (in fact, I stood to lose from this) – which more accurately fits the definition of ultimatum rather than blackmail. The other thing is, blackmail is NEVER done out in the open, but always private dealings. So for the idiots who bandied around the word blackmail, just more proof that you will take any opportunity to discredit radfems.

    And if attacking half a dozen to a dozen radfem bloggers by a group backed up by the entire pornified world isn’t bullying – I don’t know what is.

  438. ellenbrenna
    August 24, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    Trinity my problem is when women adopt a form of expression without actually thinking about it and then when someone else critiques the expression they take it very personally.

    There is a huge gap between what you may have meant by adopting a behvior and how society interprets that behavior. How you meant it and how the rest of society sees it is the ground for discussion we should be sticking with.

    I still say it is all a waste of money since we live in a hyper capitalist society it means we are giving away our power for very little real benefit.

  439. August 24, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    Re: 430

    Nothing here to “own”. Liar.

  440. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    Of course the harasser never thinks of what they’re doing as harassment. Coward.

  441. August 24, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    Trinity my problem is when women adopt a form of expression without actually thinking about it and then when someone else critiques the expression they take it very personally.

    Understood. But also: are you talking feminists here and people acquainted with feminist theory, or are you talking anyone?

    Because there are a lot of people in the world who don’t know feminist theory, whose familiarity with feminism only extends to “liberal feminist” issues, etc. I don’t think it should be surprising that such people feel defensive when suddenly confronted with the idea that they’re not really doing what they’ve always done “for themselves.”

    And I also think there are larger problems with the way feminists who have been around a while forget that defensiveness and those self-protective feelings, and sneer and put down other women for still feeling them when they should know better.

    I didn’t sign on to feminism to feel self-righteous. I did it because I wanted to help other women and myself. I don’t think any of this drama is particularly feminist.

  442. Onion Volcano
    August 24, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Ginmar, hi Iamcuriousblue. Google gives me lots of hits for you both. Iamcuriousblue gets a lot of complaints and anger. Ginmar not so much.

    Curiousblue: the internet apparently thinks you will get old, miss everthing cool and die angry.

    I hope this helps resolve things.

  443. August 24, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    It becomes as if feminism is a club for the girls who know the scoop, and if you’re not one of those, you’re uncool. It takes a prefectly reasonable observation and turns it into the basis for high school cliques.

  444. ellenbrenna
    August 24, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    I am speaking of women in general but women who hold vaguely feminist ideas in particular.

    The confusion of personal desire, temporary happiness and social rewards for femininity and conformity with the advancement of an international movement for women’s equality is frustrating to say the least.

  445. August 24, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    temporary happiness

    Whoa whoa, “temporary happiness”? What’s real happiness then? Why is happiness bad if temporary? That’s a very odd phrase.

    Most pleasure is fleeting, yeah, but a life without pleasure is unbearable.

  446. August 24, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Ginmar –

    I’d be happy to let you get in the last word about all the smack you want to say about me.

    However –

    You’re now making threats against Renegade Evolution because you’re pissed at me? What’s that shit about? That ain’t right and you know it.

  447. Alix
    August 24, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    You’re now making threats against Renegade Evolution because you’re pissed at me? What’s that shit about? That ain’t right and you know it.

    …Where’s the threat?

  448. Alix
    August 24, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    Because there are a lot of people in the world who don’t know feminist theory, whose familiarity with feminism only extends to “liberal feminist” issues, etc. I don’t think it should be surprising that such people feel defensive when suddenly confronted with the idea that they’re not really doing what they’ve always done “for themselves.”

    So these people should not be expected to, say, actually get over their defensiveness and think?

    That sounds harsher than I mean it to be, but I’m dizzy and can’t think of a better way to put it…

  449. August 24, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    “…Where’s the threat?”

    The stuff under “OBJECT LESSON” – old threats of outing against RE that seem to keep coming up when certain people get angry.

  450. August 24, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    OK, Ginmar –

    I see way the hell down in the comments section you say: “It’s by stormy, not by me.” Though in the post, you couldn’t have been any more unclear that those weren’t your words.

    For the record, you’re not making threats against RE in this post, correct?

  451. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Seriously, Alix. A lot of the resentment I feel towards other women IS towards women who don’t consider themselves feminists and aren’t familiar with feminist theory. In fact, many of them are of the “I’m not a feminist, but…” persuasion.
    You try to broach the subject of patriarchy and how it influences our choices and they deny the existance of patriarchy. They think feminists are women who hate men. Oh no, they do X, Y and Z because THEY like to, and it’s simply a coincidence that the patriarchy demands X, Y and Z from women. And why do we hate men anyway? They get defensive that you’d even question their attitudes and/or behaviors.

  452. August 24, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    You try to broach the subject of patriarchy and how it influences our choices and they deny the existance of patriarchy. They think feminists are women who hate men. Oh no, they do X, Y and Z because THEY like to, and it’s simply a coincidence that the patriarchy demands X, Y and Z from women. And why do we hate men anyway? They get defensive that you’d even question their attitudes and/or behaviors.

    This is true… and I even get why it’s frustrating, it used to drive me bonkers. But really: why should we expect them to understand a complicated theory about false consciousness when we don’t bother to explain it, or snark that they should get over themselves? It doesn’t actually make sense.

  453. Alix
    August 24, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    Sarah – I’m just perpetually boggled that so many people don’t think. And people take things so personally. (That, incidentally, is the hardest thing for me to adjust to when writing online – in person, I can use my tone and my body language to get my intent behind a point across, but online, not so much.)

    If someone criticizes me, I may feel defensive, and I may certainly argue if I feel I am right, but I also argue with the intent of drawing out the reasons behind the critique in the first place, to better understand if it’s them, me, or both that’s the problem. Even though I know a lot of people who aren’t like that, it still throws me.

    (And boy, was that a tangent.)

  454. Alix
    August 24, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    …False consciousness is a complicated theory?

    The idea that a lot of things influence any one decision is a hard one to grasp? People honestly don’t know they make choices based on a whole lot more than what they’re immediately thinking of?

    ……..I’m going to go pound my head into my desk now.

  455. August 24, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    old threats of outing against RE that seem to keep coming up when certain people get angry.

    No kidding. Why is this even getting brought up again, by anyone? I’d hope everyone no matter how deep the feuds would agree that outing someone is uncalled for and vile and despicable.

    (And the later comment on that post about how Stormy hoped that Ren would lose face among her friends — why would she? Why would knowing her name make us less likely to have her back? It makes no sense. Or is she talking about telling real life friends of Ren’s who don’t know it (are there any?) that she’s a sex worker?)

  456. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    Maybe because WE bothered to think and examine our place in the patriarchy, Trinity? I wasn’t always aware of all the sexism and woman-hating and systematic oppression in this world. It hurts to come to grips with that and realize that you’re second-class because you’re a woman. But that didn’t stop us from facing the truth and becoming feminists, did it?
    And we’ve tried to explain it to other women. They don’t want to hear it. To them, it’s flattering that their fathers “give them away” to another man on their wedding days. They’re lucky that they “get” to wear high heels, wax their hair off and aren’t expected to know stuff about mechanics or construction. Just examples, you know? Gah, it’s so frustrating when you’re viewed as some conspiracy theorist for trying to smash the patriarchy.

  457. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    Oh, you’ve got to fucking kidding me, I am curious blue. The post says it’s by someone else. And you’re a fine one to talk. did you object to it when RE said she wished radfems would die by choking on their own blood? Or did I miss that touching bit of altruism?

  458. August 24, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    …False consciousness is a complicated theory?

    Yep. The notion that someone can walk up to someone else, go “Y’know why you’re wearing that dress, REALLY?” and get taken seriously without explaining a whole mess of background theory about social domination of various kinds is…

    …well, shall I say… naive?

  459. Alix
    August 24, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    The notion that someone can walk up to someone else, go “Y’know why you’re wearing that dress, REALLY?” and get taken seriously without explaining a whole mess of background theory about social domination of various kinds is…

    My response, then, would be that perhaps it’s not the theory that’s the problem, but the presentation…

  460. August 24, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    I wasn’t always aware of all the sexism and woman-hating and systematic oppression in this world.

    No, of course not. Either other feminists told you, or something big happened in your life that made you think about it. That’s all I’m saying. That I don’t see why we should deride other women for not being awake yet. That’s just… strange. Isn’t it better to go around waking them up?

    And to do that, the funny thing is… some level of respect is required. Which isn’t there if we’re headdesking and talking all fancy about how nice it is that we’re the ones that can think, yay us.

    Ugh.

  461. August 24, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    My response, then, would be that perhaps it’s not the theory that’s the problem, but the presentation…

    Exactly. Which is why the whole headdesking about their not knowing makes so little sense to me.

  462. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    RE said she wished radfems would die by choking on their own blood

    Are you fucking kidding me?

  463. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    Oh, it’s not like feminists randomly approach women on the street and lecture them. Seriously.
    Any attempt at conscious-raising usually comes up within a discussion about politics, or marriage, or shopping, or any number of topics that might branch off into a convo re: feminism.

  464. August 24, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    The idea that a lot of things influence any one decision is a hard one to grasp? People honestly don’t know they make choices based on a whole lot more than what they’re immediately thinking of?

    It’s not an incredibly old idea, and it’s also one that a lot of people aren’t necessarily exposed to. It’s kind of patronizing to assume everyone should be able to “get it” immediately. Not everyone’s been exposed to the same ideas, educated the same way, etc. Plus, I think there really is something problematic about some of the ways “false consciousness” has been framed in the past. I’ve often seen it used with a smattering of “I know your interests better than you do,” which can provoke understandably defensive reactions, especially when someone is talking down a power incline, as has been known to happen in some feminist discussions, eh? It also kind of implies that someone’s waking, conscious personality, is not their “true self” or their “true interest.” In some ways you could spin this to be accurate; in other ways such a presentation is bound to alienate.

    Also, and this is what really gets me… how do you KNOW that women aren’t thinking? Can you just tell by the way they look, the way they wear clothes, the expression on their faces? By the fact that they watch some TV shows and not others? That they read certain magazines and not other less well-known periodicals?

    When ellenbrenna says “Trinity my problem is when women adopt a form of expression without actually thinking about it,” how does she know they’re not thinking about it?

    If it’s because words have come out of their mouth that plainly show they’re not, then sure, I agree with you. And I also think that yes, they should think about it, and do their best to not react defensively. I have the same frustration with not thinking and defensiveness — I’m sure most of us have encountered that more than once while blogging or discussing things online. (say, from men?)

    But that’s not what we’re talking about in some of the cases that have come up in this thread, where women who write and read in the feminist blogosphere (and who, if you give them any sort of benefit of the doubt, have definitely been thinking about some sort of feminism) have gotten lambasted for “not thinking about it” or making wrong choices, etc. I know that’s not who ellenbrenna meant, but it’s part of the bigger picture that’s been hashed out in this thread.

  465. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    Yup. April in her blog.

    http://renegadeevolution.blogspot.com/2007/04/hate-hardline.html

    You reap what you motherfucking sew. Examine that, yah, watch me, you fucking petty bitches…

    Fall under a truck and die choking on your own blood.

    hah, you want to see what I really think often, you want me to, and all us other sellouts to “examine”?

    No, really, trust me, you don’t. you do not want to hear it. You WOULD NOT like the results.

    So, yeah, sounds like feminist skepticism might be in the nature of defensive.

  466. August 24, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    Yay Ren! Thank you for bringing this up.

    Also, I’m glad to stay out of the 400-plus-comment aftermath.

  467. August 24, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    Sarah: Ren did say it. She said it because a large number of other bloggers she respected and liked were coming under fire and she was angry. (Including a radical feminist who I myself have said some nasty things about in the past.)

    She was defending people against treatment she saw as unfair.

  468. August 24, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Ginmar: didn’t you tell me not to cherry-pick? Here’s the rest:

    “FUCK YOU. fuck most humans, fuck most women, fuck the popular girls club and all this other bullshit. I, actually, could not care a rats fucking ass what happens to a whole lot of you because you treat people like shit. Need I name names…okay then…

    Antiprincess
    Laura
    Andrea
    Faith
    The Apostate
    Amber
    BFP!!
    BLACK AMAZON
    RosaRose
    Jill

    ALL TREATED LIKE SHIT. WHY? WHY THE FUCK IS IT NEEDED? THEY ARE GOOD PEOPLE! AGREE WITH YOU OR NOT!”

  469. Alix
    August 24, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Which is why the whole headdesking about their not knowing makes so little sense to me.

    Thing is, if I were talking about the patriarchal influences inherent in female clothing choices in the first place, it’d be with people who I know how to talk to. (Which is, honestly, how most people communicate – with people they know well enough to communicate with.) If they then reacted on the defensive, with the whole “oh, no, not ME” thing going on, I’d just … boggle. WTF?

  470. QLH
    August 24, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Around comment 300, roughly, I have to stop and ask:

    Those of you who love the feeling of smooth skin so much that you shave your legs, do you shave your arms, too? I don’t mean your armpits, I mean your arms. If you love smooth skin enough to shave your legs, shaving your forearms is a natural step, yes?

    Yet I don’t know anyone who does this, aside from a friend in high school who was experimenting.

  471. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    Well obviously I don’t know the history but it seems weird to me that she’d be guest blogging at Feministe if she doesn’t consider herself a feminist. Or if she hates those “other” feminists with such a passion. I don’t know; I don’t have a blog so I’m not exactly hip to what’s going on among y’all.

  472. August 24, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    In 449, ginmar Says:

    “Oh, you’ve got to fucking kidding me, I am curious blue. The post says it’s by someone else.”

    Actually, no it doesn’t – and one of your readers thought the same thing I did. Perhaps you should be a little less hasty and more careful about clarifying things when dredging up that little piece of Stormy’s ugliness.

    And you’re a fine one to talk. did you object to it when RE said she wished radfems would die by choking on their own blood? Or did I miss that touching bit of altruism?”

    How is that even remotely the same? There’s a big difference between expressing an “I hope you die” sentiment and actually threatening to carry some kind of harm, whether blackmail or physical harm.

    Does hating somebody’s guts mean that you’re going to go out and kill that person? If so, should I expect to pushed under a train by a radfem hit squad? Let’s get back to reality here.

  473. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    Yeah, I was just going to say, Alix, that it’s not like feminists waltz up to strange women on the street and berate them. Any attempt at consciousness-raising would happen during a discussion about politics, marriage, shopping, or some other topic that might branch off into a convo re: feminism or sexism.

    I posted this once already but it’s in mod.

  474. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Who cares, Trinity? Wishing for death is okay with you?

  475. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    Because a little criticism totally makes it okay. And let’s face it, a couple of those women on that list aren’t exactly people I’d consider feminsts, so they’re open to criticism. If they don’t want crit, maybe they shouldn’t be such shits to other women. A RE is fond of saying, “You reap what you sew.(sic)”

  476. August 24, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    Sarah, it’s very long and drama-ful and I don’t remember exactly what was up myself. I do remember that she was angry about some of her friends (see that list) catching drama she didn’t feel they deserved.

    And I know that that post elicited threats against Ren of digging up her personal information (since she’s a sex worker she has very good reason to keep her personal info private.)

    I’m not saying that Ren wasn’t angry and nasty in that post — she was. I am saying, however, that the personal threats it elicited were NOT okay and far escalated the situation.

    Therefore I don’t approve of ginmar reposting Stormy’s reasons for saying that actually trying to coerce someone into not blogging is okay.

  477. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    I’m really curious now about what exactly radfems did to that list of bloggers, including Jill (if you’re talking about Feministe Jill).
    I know she’s been harassed by MRAs and law school guys, but not other feminists.

  478. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Well threats of outing are definitely not cool. Ugh.

  479. August 24, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    And let’s face it, a couple of those women on that list aren’t exactly people I’d consider feminsts, so they’re open to criticism.

    Now see: I don’t agree with you. I don’t think that people have some weird mark of Cain for not subscribing to a certain brand of feminism which makes it perfectly OK to harass them.

  480. August 24, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    I wish people would die all the time, practically every day. That doesn’t mean I’m issuing death threats to them. For one thing, I’m not hurting anyone but myself, since if some jerk I wished death upon actually were to die, I’d feel pretty damn upset, even though it’s highly unlikely my wish had anything to do with it. So yeah, cry me a river. Someone does something that makes you really mad, you wish they would die (particular people here, mind you, I didn’t see any mention of “all radfems”)… and, what is the big deal here? Just something to get all worked up about?

    Those of you who love the feeling of smooth skin so much that you shave your legs, do you shave your arms, too? I don’t mean your armpits, I mean your arms. If you love smooth skin enough to shave your legs, shaving your forearms is a natural step, yes?

    When I was into shaving for a few years, I totally did this too, for the reason you’re saying. Feels nice. Now I’m too lazy, and if I do shave parts of my body, it’s mostly because I don’t want to feel irritated by weird looks people give me. It’s a compromise, and not without some injury to my self, but since I’m damned either way, I go with what’s barely less annoying to me.

  481. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Well, when you bitch about feminists being OMG so mean to you maybe it’s better if you don’t associate with women who go around associating with trolls and gloating over others’ faux pas.

    Kind of like this whole topic, actually.

  482. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    So I’m confused that you’re not some Hearrt-wiki editing, prostitute-using, porn apologist wiki editor, IACB? So sorry then.

  483. August 24, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Well, when you bitch about feminists being OMG so mean to you maybe it’s better if you don’t associate with women who go around associating with trolls and gloating over others’ faux pas.

    I did this where again?

    Forget it, Ginmar.

    I have no interest in defending my choice in friends to you, or in attempting to prove to you that you exclude a lot of good people from your definition of feminist — as if impressing you were some sort of test for sufficient feminism.

    So. Done. Now.

  484. SarahMC
    August 24, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Perhaps we can return to the topic at hand?

  485. Alix
    August 24, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    Here’s another thing I don’t get –

    A lot of – dare I say all? – feminists are capable of being mean, nasty, vicious bastards, and if you show me a feminist who’s never been deliberately cruel, I’ll show you a liar.

    But that doesn’t reflect on feminism. It only reflects on their feminism if they claim it as the reason for their actions, but even then, it doesn’t extend beyond them, in a very real sense.

    …Let’s put it this way. I am female. I also went batshit insane in the middle of a crowded mall once. Can you extrapolate something about the nature of all women from that?

    Not if you’re honest.

  486. Alix
    August 24, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    Hell, show me a PERSON who’s never been deliberately cruel, and I’ll show you a liar (or a person with a very bad memory).

    (Probably should’ve put that in my previous post, eh?)

  487. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    Trinity, you’re being obtuse again. I’ve had it with you.

  488. lolwut
    August 24, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    Antiprincess
    Laura
    Andrea
    Faith
    The Apostate
    Amber
    BFP!!
    BLACK AMAZON
    RosaRose

    Show me trinity where these women are targeted by radical feminists? Go on, show me. And if you are talking about Ren’s *defence* against the onslaught of *marauding* rad fems. Then I’m talking in the relentless post after post after post that our thread host has enjoyed over the last year attacking anyone who is anti PORN . If fact, You included. It seems as though – if radical feminism didn’t exist your blogs would be over taken by cobwebs and vast amounts of mice communes.

  489. August 24, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    But that doesn’t reflect on feminism. It only reflects on their feminism if they claim it as the reason for their actions, but even then, it doesn’t extend beyond them, in a very real sense.

    I think that’s why the original post was about some bad stuff that sometimes happens in feminism — not “all of feminism.” This is a feministe blog, it’s called Feministe. All of feminism is not being brought into question because of dubious tactics on some people’s part.

  490. August 24, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    I think that’s why the original post was about some bad stuff that sometimes happens in feminism — not “all of feminism.” This is a feministe blog, it’s called Feministe. All of feminism is not being brought into question because of dubious tactics on some people’s part.

    Right on. It seems some people are going on the assumption there are only two options here:

    1) Nothing should ever be critiqued. We’re all awesome!
    and
    2) a) Everything must be subject to intense scrutiny.
    b) If you scrutinized and then stopped because it got pointless, return to a).

    Both of which are self-evidently ridiculous to anyone who does subscribe to the idea of patriarchy.

  491. ginmar
    August 24, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    Wow, that’s breathtakingly dishonest. That’s not what anybody’s saying at all.

    Good job.

  492. Alix
    August 24, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    Holly – I was more making a general point in response to the drift of the thread.

    Thing is, it’s very hard, on one level, to separate a person from the group they claim to be a member of. I can even see that a little in your comment – where you say this is about some bad stuff that sometimes happens in feminism. Pointing out the broader group, not the few actors.

    There does come a point where we have to look at what people say they believe and how they really act, and if they aren’t achiveing the standards of the group they claim to belong to, then we cannot really call them members of that group, even if they want to be so called. There comes a point when we have to realize that while almost all (all?) problematic behavior is at least reinforced by group interaction, a good chunk of the problem is individual.

    You can’t hold feminism responsible for some “feminists” who slam someone for shaving her legs. You* cannot call their meanness feminist, and identifying them solely as feminists is linking their bad behavior with feminist philosophy itself.

    *general “you”

    And I know it’s a feminist blog. I’ve been reading for quite a while, thanks.

  493. Alix
    August 24, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Trinity – I didn’t say “scrutinize”, that I recall. I said “think”.

    What the hell is wrong with people, that they DON’T think? If you’re NOT thinking, what the HELL is wrong with you?

    …This always boggles. Why are so many people so certain that turning off their brains is the highest good?

  494. August 24, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    And I’d point out that sometimes individual behaviors are part of group dynamics — I’ve been pointing out this whole thread, that slamming other women’s appearance and choices about appearance are part of a larger pattern of horizontal hostility between women who live in a patriarchy. Self-policing through pressure, shaming, and rule-mongering. I actually think sometimes pointing bad behavior out as “just some bad apples” does a disservice to our larger communities, because it makes problems look like they’re solely attached to individuals. The lone gunman theory, right? Or for another (unrelated) example, thinking you can make racism go away because racism is something that only a few nasty people do.

    Really, I think this kind of social problem, seen at an individual level, is often just a symptom of something larger. I’d suggest that this is both a manifestation of horizontal hostility between members of an oppressed class, and it’s also related (although maybe not “caused by”) to ways that we frame “choice” (do you have any? how much?) and “responsiblity” and the distinctions that KH made above about “trying to change people preferences” vs. “altering the structural and material constraints that shape preferences.” All of this merits discussion (and has been discussed, above) and is above the level of individual bad behavior. There are a lot of ideas involved. So it is about and related to feminism, but nobody is blaming all of feminism. I don’t think feminism is endangered by having this discussion about what sometimes happens in feminist circles; if anything, one would hope that it’s strengthening for many people, regardless of differences in opinion.

    Also I think there are a lot of different kinds of feminism and ways to be feminist. Who is going to define “the standards of the group they claim to belong to” as you put it? I assume you’re not volunteering. Are you suggesting that we should call everything good about discussions in blogs like this one part of feminism, and everything that is kind of problematic is an individual problem? Seems a little disingenuous and counterproductive. ;) There’s no need to lose hope for feminism completely just because there are some snags.

  495. August 24, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    Alix Says:

    “You can’t hold feminism responsible for some “feminists” who slam someone for shaving her legs. You cannot call their meanness feminist, and identifying them solely as feminists is linking their bad behavior with feminist philosophy itself.”

    Well I beg to differ with you on that point. I think any religion or ideology should be judged on the way people actually practice it, not against some idealized pure version of it. This, of course, is not limited to feminism – one need only look at Christianity, Islam, Marxism, etc.

    If you’re talking about the behavior of a very small number of people who are roundly condemned by their co-believers for their behavior, that’s another matter. If you’re talking about a pattern that comes up again and again, then the practice of the religion or ideology itself has to be called into question.

  496. Alix
    August 24, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    Holly –

    1. I thought I acknowledged not only group dynamics, but the idea of actions being far more complex than we like to think in a few of my previous comments?

    You’re right – group v. individual as pertains to an individual’s actions is a huge murky area to be explored – which would kinda be why I wrote the comment you were complaining about. It was a jumping-off point not intended to be the be-all end-all of the discussion.

    2. Every group has a few (and they really are FEW) core principles/philosopical tenets that define the group. Those, and the principles the person in question claims to uphold, are what I meant. Beyond that, one can look at the more common definitions of an ideology – for example, if all but a small minority claim that “x” is Christian, than someone who doesn’t believe “x” but claims to be Christian can rightfully be treated as someone who belongs to a fringe group, not the main group.

    3. I’m not sure I’m making any sense, and I think I’m coming off as hostile, which I’m not intending.

  497. Alix
    August 24, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Holly- I have a response to you in moderation, just so you know. :D

  498. August 24, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    Got a couple posts in there myself :D

  499. August 24, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    What the hell is wrong with people, that they DON’T think? If you’re NOT thinking, what the HELL is wrong with you?

    Most people don’t think. A lot of people find ideologies just so they can turn their brains off. Usually this happens with certain religions but it can happen anywhere at any time.

    (I personally think this is common among Twisty’s commenters, myself…)

  500. Alix
    August 24, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Most people don’t think. A lot of people find ideologies just so they can turn their brains off.

    Which I always find so damn sad it makes me angry.

    (And I’m, er, glad you realized the “you” in that comment was general, and not directed at you.)

  501. Anthony Kennerson
    August 24, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    Oh..but thid is getting ridiculous real quick.

    Ginmar….you know damn well that Ren was reacting in anger to some very nasty and personal attacks made by YOUR ALLIES on other posters (remember Andrea?? Laura?? The “Wasps and Honeybees smack from StormCloud??) when she made that “threat”….and quickly and openly repudiated it right after she said it. If I remember well, your response was to threaten to out Ren’s private life and destroy her, right??

    But I guess that it’s always us “sex pozzies” that make the threats against you “radical feminists”, right???

    As for IACB…he is about as much a troll as I am a neo-Nazi. All he did was to successfully challenge Heart’s Wikipedia entry as a violation of their own rules of sourcing…nothing more or less. Contrary to your myopia, he is NOT one of the guys who hacked into Heart’s (or Biting Beaver’s) site or board; in fact, he has openly repudiated such attacks as innately reactionary. But, hey, he’s a “pro-porn” consort and a john with an Asian fetish (allegedly), and he defend’s Ren’s right to exist and disagree with your ideology, so he’s part of the problem, too…..right???

    You might be better off resetting your “gender trumps race” memes, Ginmar…because you are so off your game this time.

    If I remember right, this is Ren’s entry, not yours. She has the right to comment however she wants, and she has more than giben you and your friends enough freedom to keep on hanging yourself. If you can’t stick to the fundamental issues of this thread and stop with the misdirection and adhominens, then please move on and bring your myopic vendettas elsewhere.

    Anthony

  502. WhatThe...?
    August 24, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    I’m not a radfem or a sex poz feminist. I come to Feministe for the great essays and the awesome follow-up commentary. After reading the post and all these comments (and the links for a historical context) I’m really disappointed. The initial post seems like nothing more than juvenile baiting. Why did anyone bother commenting?

  503. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    #448 …False consciousness is a complicated theory?
    The idea that a lot of things influence any one decision is a hard one to grasp? People honestly don’t know they make choices based on a whole lot more than what they’re immediately thinking of?
    ……..I’m going to go pound my head into my desk now.

    #453 …it’s not the theory that’s the problem, but the presentation…

    No one denies conscious & unconscious influences, cultural influences – a complex, shifting array of local norms & counter-norms –, biological influences, all kinds of influences play a role in our behavior. None of us is exempt from them, & none of us fully understands the sources of her actions. But the theory of false consciousness makes broader claims than that, not all of which are so well supported.

    If we nevertheless exercise a measure of free will & are capable of effective practical reasoning, it’s not a gift bestowed only an ideologically enlightened minority. No woman can fairly point to another & say “her so-called choices are merely a reflex of social conditioning, whereas I transcend them, see the world plain, & act autonomously.” If anything’s false consciousness, that kind of pride is.

    The theory of false consciousness actually is complicated, & confounded by serious philosophical problems. For an excellent review of its difficulties, see Michael Rosen’s On Voluntary Servitude: False Consciousness & the Theory of Ideology (Harvard UP, ’96).

    Too-easy resort to potted versions of the theory of false consciousness can cause serious problems for feminists, & we should be careful how we invoke it.

  504. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Are my 424 & 428 still in moderation?

  505. August 24, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Yes. Ren is the only one who can moderate this thread — well, and maybe Jill — but neither are around right now.

  506. August 24, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    SarahMC said: “Maybe because WE bothered to think and examine our place in the patriarchy, Trinity? …And we’ve tried to explain it to other women. They don’t want to hear it. To them, it’s flattering that their fathers “give them away” to another man on their wedding days. They’re lucky that they “get” to wear high heels, wax their hair off and aren’t expected to know stuff about mechanics or construction. Just examples, you know? Gah, it’s so frustrating when you’re viewed as some conspiracy theorist for trying to smash the patriarchy.”

    Sarah, I’m confused about who “we” is here — I assume, radical feminists? If so, I disagree that rad fems are the only brand of feminist who have problems with being given away by dad or getting pressure to wear certain things or not being incentivized to learn certain subjects.

    In fact, per your mention of learning fields that are currently male-dominated, having been employed in a number of male-dominated fields myself, I’ve gotten more pressure from radical feminists for trying to “play the patriarchal game” than approbation for crossing defined gender boundaries. Not all radical feminsts, of course — some have been quite supportive.

    I see the so-labeled sex-poz or sparkleponies as just as supportive of smashing the patriarchy — but with a different philosophy as to how this gets done.

  507. August 24, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    My two cents:

    When I was in college getting my Women’s Studies degree, I knew a woman who was LDS and she was getting the same degree. I couldn’t understand how a Mormon could be a feminist, the ideas are incompatible. But then I realized that it’s a movement, we’re all changing, and we all draw our lines somewhere.

    I wear make-up, get my hair highlighted, and shave. I don’t think those things make me less of a feminist, particularly because I’ve thought about it and I’ve made the conscious decision to do those things and not others (like plastic surgery).

    And it’s also because to me, those habits represent other things. Shaving comes from swimming. I swam on the swim team in high school and elementary school. To me, hair, make-up, and fashion feel more like an artistic expression than social conformity.

    Certainly there are overlaps. I’m just as insecure about my looks as the next woman. Sometimes I try to conform, to pass. But none of my beauty routine makes me less of a feminist because I understand that none of it makes me more of a woman.

  508. August 24, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    I see the so-labeled sex-poz or sparkleponies as just as supportive of smashing the patriarchy — but with a different philosophy as to how this gets done.

    Thank you, Octo. This is exactly it: the dispute between these sides is one about TACTICS.

  509. August 24, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    are the only brand of feminist who have problems with being given away by dad

    Yeah… I’ve been mulling that comment over in my head and I can’t think of a single person I’ve ever met barring perhaps a few fundamentalists at an old church (and even they had very complicated lives and opinions, and questioned their role as women often in many ways) who expressed happiness at being given away by dad.

    I’m reading a lot of these comments and these women being pointed to terribly confuse me. Maybe it’s just that I was raised in the city, but I can’t think of anyone, even the most annoyingly unaware women I’ve known, who I’d even suspect would be specifically thrilled by that.

    HAve I known women who I think wouldn’t question the tradition or who want big weddings or things like THAT? Sure, but I can’t think of a damn person who’d be excited about “being given away by dad.”

  510. August 24, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    Other orange:

    Also, I want to say kind of a strange thing, in response to the “where does this negativity come from” question. For the women out there who do consider themselves beautiful, or at least socially acceptable in the eyes of the patriarchy, those who do participate: when you’re held up against a standard of another person/group who is considered infinitely worthier and better and lovelier and more deserving and good and more female than you; every day, unrelenting, for the entire process of your life; whether it’s a gut reaction or not, every now and again, wouldn’t your reaction be: hey, fuck that person !

    Urm, no, my reaction has been “fuck you” toward the people doing the comparing. Occasionally, I catch myself feeling bad about MYSELF for not being thin/sexy/athletic/organized/etc…, but I’ve never disliked the people who have the characteristics I lack – in fact, I’m far more likely to like them and want to spend time with them to see if some of it rubs off. My reaction to people I envy is a desire for extended contact and affection, not dislike or hatred. This, of course, leads to an external locus of control where the comparison makes me depressed, which is why I battle it and talk myself through and out of it as a reaction, but I can’t recall a time I’ve ever disliked someone because a third party compared us.

    I honestly find the idea of disliking someone because a third party compared us rather baffling, to be honest. The person trying to make me feel bad is the third party, not the person they have objectified in order to try to make me feel bad. Why dislike someone else the third party is mistreating instead of the third party?

  511. August 24, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    (honestly even with the fundamentalists… I think the constant reminders to women are necessary precisely because women rebel. Perhaps in smaller ways than a secure feminist, but damn if I’ve not seen it.)

  512. August 24, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Me:

    I never said this, and I don’t believe this, so why is my name even in this comment?

    La Lubu:

    Solely because you were waiting four hours for a response to what I assumed was your original question—where was the feminist pressure? I just didn’t want you to think my ensuing rant had anything to do with you. The dynamic I mentioned is present, and is present on this thread—but no, I don’t consider you as part of that dynamic. After noting the level of agita in my response, I thought I better insert a qualifier to separate you from my rant.

    Umm, no, I was waiting four hours to get my comment out of moderation.

    Jesus H Christ. Are people touchy in this thread, or what?

  513. August 24, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    Trinity:

    HELLO MOON FRIENDS. HOW IS IT ON THE MOON? LET US HAVE A MOON-VERSATION.

    I would totally be up for this. :P

  514. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    473 A lot of – dare I say all? – feminists are capable of being mean, nasty, vicious bastards, and if you show me a feminist who’s never been deliberately cruel, I’ll show you a liar.
    But that doesn’t reflect on feminism. It only reflects on their feminism if they claim it as the reason for their actions, but even then, it doesn’t extend beyond them, in a very real sense.

    479…it’s very hard, on one level, to separate a person from the group they claim to be a member of…

    There does come a point where we have to look at what people say they believe and how they really act, and if they aren’t achieving the standards of the group they claim to belong to, then we cannot really call them members of that group, even if they want to be so called. There comes a point when we have to realize that while almost all (all?) problematic behavior is at least reinforced by group interaction, a good chunk of the problem is individual.

    You can’t hold feminism responsible for some “feminists” who slam someone for shaving her legs. You* cannot call their meanness feminist, and identifying them solely as feminists is linking their bad behavior with feminist philosophy itself.

    I mostly agree. Feminists are members of the human race & behave accordingly. The most egregious behavior on whatever side of whatever division often disproportionately reflects the well-known (if sometimes discreetly unmentioned in some circles) temperamental bent of a few vocal individuals, who would likely behave similarly if they were transported to the religious wars of the 16th-17th centuries. Differences over abstract doctrine don’t fully account for the kind of individual nastiness we’ve been talking about & occasionally exhibiting here.

    But as Holly points out, if it’s not the theory, it’s also not just a few bad apples, who would have little effect if the usual in-group/out-group social dynamics & boundary-maintenance processes weren’t at work. Although it’s not the fault of any theory, theoretical differences, real or imagined, trivial or profound, are used (or opportunistically redrawn) to reinforce in-group/out-group divisions.

    The unsatisfying quality of our disagreements is also be influenced by the discourse norms at work, which again are a separate matter from our ideological differences. Similar crudball discourse norms produce similar results in online discussions within the most ideologically diverse groups. Efforts to engineer better norms, to make people state their views less prejudicially, w/ less personal invective – more intelligently – usually fail, & the internet will never become some new Plato’s Academy, but we should take more care to hold ourselves & each other to higher discourse norms.

    Those are three good reasons to hold feminism innocent of the bad acts of individuals or groups of feminists. But there’s no cause for complacency. If feminist ideas can be opportunistically dragooned as rationalizations for personal nastiness, there’s reason to ask whether they can be adapted to make them less susceptible to misappropriation. There’s ample evidence that different ideologies have different effects on their adherents, elicit different weaknesses, present different temptations, appeal to different motives, are vulnerable to co-optation for different ulterior reasons. People with different ranges of personalities, strengths & weaknesses self-select for adherence to different belief systems, & affect the way those beliefs are lived in the world. Some belief systems encourage the growth of open, tolerant societies, others, equally idealistic, the development of closed millenarian sects. Ideologies that once seemed poised to sweep all before them often fail, in no small part because they elicited destructive behavior among their adherents. Their failure can’t be laid entirely at the feet of the individual adherents; ideas do have consequences for good or bad. Without overstating the problem, I think this may be a good time for feminists, all of us, whatever our views on the present disagreement, to engage in a bit of ideological & personal reflection, to ask ourselves what kind of people we want to be, how we want to treat & be treated by each other, & how all that bears on our feminist ideals & practice. We can all always do better.

  515. August 24, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    I don’t know how to do a trackback, so here’s my fakey-fake trackback link: You has a flavor: color, beauty, and the whirl of senses.

  516. mythago
    August 24, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    I wear make-up, get my hair highlighted, and shave. I don’t think those things make me less of a feminist, particularly because I’ve thought about it and I’ve made the conscious decision to do those things and not others (like plastic surgery).

    So if you have plastic surgery, you’re not a feminist. Sparkly lipstick is OK, though.

    I mean, if you want to say that feminism isn’t graded on how short your beauty routine is, I’m right there with you. But it’s equally fucking stupid to draw lines and say, gosh, at least *I* don’t do *that* so I’m still a feminist!

  517. August 24, 2007 at 11:25 pm

    Somehow I managed to link the blog and not the post. Wherps. My bad.

  518. KH
    August 24, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    Have I known women who I think wouldn’t question the tradition or who want big weddings or things like THAT? Sure, but I can’t think of a damn person who’d be excited about “being given away by dad.”

    Mostly just trying to get to 500, but I also don’t know of any more women than men who’re excited about being given away by their fahters – i.e., none. The only difference is that men don’t face any expectation that they might choose to be given way.

  519. Alix
    August 24, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    mythago- I don’t think that’s what Elaine meant. I thought she meant that those were where HER boundaries are, not necessarily where others’ are, and that it’s not the routine that makes the feminist.

  520. August 25, 2007 at 12:08 am

    AJ, that “red” thing is fascinating.

    I’ve wondered for a long time about hormones and whether and how they impact us, so thanks for that.

    (In fact I sometimes suspect that some of the sex bickering may be about libido as much as anything. Women with high libidos feel angry when other feminists claim women’s sexual pleasure is an illusion or a shiny thing the Pat wants to distract us with. Women with low ones get angry when other women claim they must be bitter or angry for saying “owning my body means unapologetically asserting I’m not interested!”

    (Note that I’m not asserting anyone on any side has a high or low one. I know sex-critical feminists with high libidoes and sex-positive feminists with low ones, tyvm.)

    And none of it’s actually about who should do what.

    As far as your actual point: yeah, yeah, YEAH. Perspective is key. Actually hearing whether person X has or hasn’t examined. Hearing why X may choose not to, and analyzing that respectfully rather than jumping to “taking the easy way out” ways of explaining others’ behavior. etc.

  521. August 25, 2007 at 12:10 am

    There’s ample evidence that different ideologies have different effects on their adherents, elicit different weaknesses, present different temptations, appeal to different motives, are vulnerable to co-optation for different ulterior reasons.

    Yes.

  522. August 25, 2007 at 12:31 am

    Storm in a teacup.

  523. KH
    August 25, 2007 at 1:32 am

    Reviewing, I just wanted to note, re bluestockingsrs’s #408, that I’d actually been dissatisfied w/ the circumscribed tone of my agreement w/ her earlier comment, which made an eminently fair point. It does need to be said by people like me that there is a non-trivial amount of baseless, invidious insinuation about the sexual lives of non-sex-pos people. I don’t like it or the people who do it, but it exists, & I probably could have been more militant in my opposition to it. I myself have gone through perfectly content celibate periods, if anybody cares, & if anyone wants to mock non-sex-pos people for their presumed sexual habits, they might as well mock me too. Nobody should presume anything about any sex-pos person’s sexual life on the basis of her opinions, or about any non-sex-pos person’s sexual life on the basis of her opinions. (The only way you could ever know is if you merit the confidence.) Nor should they presume to judge or mock anyone’s real or imagined forms of sexual expression. It goes both ways, like so many of us, who try to be fair.

  524. ginmar
    August 25, 2007 at 9:08 am

    AK, bullshit and you know it. The sex pozzes are SO eager that we forget everything they do but they have the longgest memories around. If REn ever apologized it’s not like it matters because that enry is still there. And her friends? More of the same. Some of her friends are anti-feminist, what do you want? Just ask Belledame. She remembers only one thing about me and that’s all she cares about.

    As for IACB—a Wiki editor who trolls with the sex pozzes on a radfem issue? Yeah, you keep telling yourself whatever you have to, sweetheart. I don’t even know you.

  525. ginmar
    August 25, 2007 at 9:36 am

    Now I do. Begone, man who buys sex from women. You’re dead to me.

  526. August 25, 2007 at 9:38 am

    Storm in a teacup.

    Much of the personal attack crap is, but I think the actual systemic questions are important. They’re pretty basic to most culturally oppressed groups.

    1 “How do I live in a society where people seek to caricature me for $characteristic and stay true to myself?”

    2 “What happens when my personal expression coincides with the caricatures laid out for me and how should I handle it?”

    3 “If the choices are conform and eat, or don’t conform and don’t eat, what do I do?”

    4 “How do I recognize my allies in an environment where people are increasingly mouthing the theory of equality while acting in a manner opposed to it?”

    5 “How do I decide who is another $minoritygroupmember and who is not? Should that even be a question on the table?”

    6 “How do I handle appropriation of things considered emblemic of my group and why?”

    Someone earlier in the thread mentioned that one OPTION women who were attractive COULD TAKE to show solidarity with less attractive women and to attempt to subvert the patriarchy is deliberately scar and disfigure themselves using surgery. That is one answer to question 2, but I personally find it extremely disturbing even as a thought, much less an action.

    There is no longer one single right that white women can circle around outside of abortion, and the latter is handled in a way which alienates WOC, which makes attempted-allies like myself uncomfortable. This leads to, inevitably, a fracturing of what directions people feel they need to go in, which leads to divisiveness.

    The issues which remain and which start determining ally lines are also sometimes new to white feminists. Issues of including WOC as policy-determining and shaping members, for instance, or accepting and including transsexuals. I know that my frames for acceptable approaches to other people have expanded to include both of those issues, as well as more fluid understandings of gender, where the central focus is on self-determination. I don’t know if this will result in equality, but the now-stance of it is consistent with my morals whereas other approaches are not.

    But these aren’t, really, storm in a teacup things. The ramifications of who can be considered women and where women disagree with women and why and how are all central, I think, to dismantling power based on $characteristic instead of the character and skills of an individual.

  527. August 25, 2007 at 9:51 am

    Sarah: Ren did say it. She said it because a large number of other bloggers she respected and liked were coming under fire and she was angry. (Including a radical feminist who I myself have said some nasty things about in the past.)

    The thing is, a lot of the derision that conventional female beauty standards and the people who cater to them receive is coming from a similar place of anger. If you’re a woman who doesn’t sufficiently conform to the standards, intentionally or unintentionally, you’re going to catch some shit for it.

    But instead of recognizing that, what some of you folks appear to be doing is demanding that people police their reactions to make sure there’s no way they could possibly be interpreted as applying to privileged *people* rather than to privilege, and the effect of that is to tell the people who are upset that their issue is less important than your feelings.

    It’s the whole “civility” debate all over again.

  528. Gayle
    August 25, 2007 at 10:00 am

    The sex pozzes are SO eager that we forget everything they do but they have the longest memories around.

    A little too long, if you ask me. They set up entire blogs dedicated to attacking feminists. Their friends are anti-feminists and “pron activists” (eye roll).

    Iamcuriousblue, from the God awful Shakes thread on Anon:

    Without injecting myself into this debate, I just want to point out, the original post is not a forgery, is very much real, and is a real post to the Womensspace boards by Biting Beaver. That would be readily apparent if the Womensspace boards were working. In the meantime, here’s the Google cache:

    I edited the cache out.

    Isn’t it nice how IACB helped his Anon friends attack a woman? A woman whose very life was being threatened by Anon?

  529. ginmar
    August 25, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Gee, I wonder when Gayle’s comment will come through. And this: if Ren’s still getting over a year-old thread which occurred after Pony was harassed by sex pozzes at her blog, don’t you think we’re entitled to ask where’s our year long grace period?

  530. August 25, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Jeff:

    If you’re a woman who doesn’t sufficiently conform to the standards, intentionally or unintentionally, you’re going to catch some shit for it.

    What baffles me is why the anger goes toward the other women instead of the system.

    There is a huge difference between “ass in the air/pink nail polish/ewww” and “why is it that the emphasis in a news article goes immediately to the superficial aspects of women instead of focusing on their integrity and strength?”, especially when, in the case of said female athlete, she was photographed in the starting position FOR racing – the sport she is known for.

    Be angry, yes, please, but direct the anger toward the people setting up the situation – the newspapers and reporters and a culture which causes the hair of a female politician to upstage her platform – not the other woman whose perfectly reasonable actions given her position have been reinterpreted to support the preconceived notions of what women can be.

  531. Gayle
    August 25, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Why isn’t my comment going through? I’ve reposted it at Ginmar’s, just in case it, somehow, fails to post here.

  532. Quin
    August 25, 2007 at 10:45 am

    Sarah: Ren did say it. She said it because a large number of other bloggers she respected and liked were coming under fire and she was angry. (Including a radical feminist who I myself have said some nasty things about in the past.)

    So it’s okay for Ren to mean things about someone because she’s upset, but not for someone to criticize her on her behavior.

    Right.

  533. Em
    August 25, 2007 at 10:51 am

    QLH:
    For most women the question is moot b/c the vast majority of females don’t have terminal hair on their forearms. They have vellum hair, which is much softer and less coarse than the terminal hair found on the lower legs. It’s soft enough that the skin feels smooth despite its presence. But for the record, I do know a couple women who shave their forearms regularly.

  534. Em
    August 25, 2007 at 10:53 am

    Jennifer Cascadia,
    I prefer the more onomatopoetic phrase, “Fap fap fap.”

  535. anna
    August 25, 2007 at 11:08 am

    I think it’s wrong when a handful of radical feminists say a woman can’t be a feminist or make fun of her because she’s beautiful. But for everyone who does that, there are hundreds of people who wouldn’t hestitate to call me subhuman-a pig, dog, whale. There is an entire industry (diet) trying to make me feel like shit because of my weight. The overwhelming majority of men I’ve asked out have laughed in my face and insulted my looks. I’m sure pretty girls have their problems, but in this world today you’ll never convince me they have it as bad as us ugly ones. Do you ever see a pretty girl trying to make herself ugly? I suppose you can come up with one or two anecdotes, but it doesn’t compare to the thousands of women who have undergone life-threatening plastic surgery in the desperate hope they could be pretty one day.

  536. SarahMC
    August 25, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Octolagore, “we” is feminists in general. I thought I made it clear that I was talking feminists vs. non-feminist women.

  537. August 25, 2007 at 11:56 am

    if anyone wants to mock non-sex-pos people for their presumed sexual habits, they might as well mock me too. Nobody should presume anything about any sex-pos person’s sexual life on the basis of her opinions, or about any non-sex-pos person’s sexual life on the basis of her opinions.

    Yep. I don’t know where the assumption that sex-positive feminists have lots of sex comes from. Sex positivity is about the idea that the patriarchy controls women’s sexuality not just by demanding them to be “the eager slut” but also by demanding them to be “the pure virgin.”

    Sex positivity is about believing that women can and should have the right to make their own sexual choices and about believing that doing this can be a positive, freeing step in the lives of women who seek to discover their own sexual selves and needs.

    None of that dictates what a woman should do or what she should like or how high her libido should be. It’s about recognizing sexuality as a site of oppression and believing that deeming women to have false consciousness for wanting the “wrong kind” of sex is mimicking patriarchy all over again.

  538. August 25, 2007 at 11:57 am

    For most women the question is moot b/c the vast majority of females don’t have terminal hair on their forearms. They have vellum hair, which is much softer and less coarse than the terminal hair found on the lower legs. It’s soft enough that the skin feels smooth despite its presence.

    Thanks Em. I was struggling to find the right words for that myself.

  539. August 25, 2007 at 11:59 am

    The thing is, a lot of the derision that conventional female beauty standards and the people who cater to them receive is coming from a similar place of anger. If you’re a woman who doesn’t sufficiently conform to the standards, intentionally or unintentionally, you’re going to catch some shit for it.

    Jeff, have you read all the comments here? I’ve mentioned several times that I know this and have caught shit for it myself. Your talking to me as if I have not is, to borrow a phrase, “intellectually dishonest.”

    And I don’t appreciate a man coming in here and telling me who I’m supposed to defend in feminist space thank you very much.

  540. mythago
    August 25, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    “Sex pozzes”? Oh, wow, we have our own sneering, derogatory shorthand. I feel special, particularly because all “sex pozzes” think exactly alike. (Like Suzie Bright? You might as well be a Pussycat Doll, you sellout!”)

    I thought she meant that those were where HER boundaries are, not necessarily where others’ are, and that it’s not the routine that makes the feminist.

    Well, Elaine can certainly clarify, but it seemed rather plain to me that she said what she meant: that adopting certain beauty routines doesn’t lessen her feminism because she’s made the choice to do those things and NOT other things, e.g. plastic surgery.

  541. August 25, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Like Suzie Bright

    Hehehehehe!

    Yep, we all think like Susie Bright. Despite that I’ve, y’know, not read her in years.

    Makes me wonder: how many people in here (on either side) have actually read Rubin’s _Thinking Sex_, anyway?

  542. La Lubu
    August 25, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    Excellent illustration, Deoridhe.

    I think part of the problem with “false consciousness” is the name. Maybe “partial consciousness” is a better way to term it—I think people inherently get the idea that not every thought is fully conscious and/or expressed, but calling the result “false” is what is confusing. “False” is defined in the vernacular as “phony, fake, not true, a lie”, rather than as “incomplete, that which leads to false conclusions.” Kinda like how the term “myth” can be misunderstood.

    When it comes to image presentation (or “beauty rituals”), one source of frustration or miscommunication is the idea that we all start from Square One, being female, without recognizing the other intersecting identities that impact that presentation. To give an example:

    Back in the eighties, Big Hair was “in”, and I went for it in a Big Way. My hair was teased out “to the max”. I kinda shake my head about that now, and I’m sure any radfem looking at my teenage self would have thought I was doing it “for the boys.” But I wasn’t. It went deeper than that. As a Sicilian-American, I was an ethnic anomaly in the various communities of central Illinois that my folks kept inflicting on me (kidding—kinda. We moved a lot. I kept wishing for the day when we’d move to New Jersey, where I could be normal instead of the resident classroom freak, but I digress).

    And then came Big Hair. After a decade of Marsha Brady, the Breck Girl, etc., BIG HAIR was splashed across the covers of the fashion magazines. And for the first time, a natural attribute of mine was actually “in”. “Fashionable”. I was in the new position of possessing a trait considered attractive by others—well, others not in my family. So I made the most of it. I jacked that hair to (to borrow a phrase from the Digable Planets) “unthought of dimensions”. And it was cool! I was hip! Now, the questions weren’t about what I was or what I ate or why don’t I look like this that or the other. No, it was: How could my hair do that? What did I use? How do I do that?

    And it was really the “how do I do that” that hooked me. As in ‘how do I look like you?’ after growing up thinking of my appearance as the anathema of beauty. It was heady—the idea that I too, could be beautiful—just by going with (instead of against) my natural hair. And all it took was a couple minutes with a comb.

    And that little, relatively short-lived episode of false consciousness set me on a path towards ethnic pride, rather than shame. Seeing Gia on the cover of magazines made me think differently about myself. Paradoxically, it was that foray into fashion culture as a teen that led me away from using makeup and fighting my hair. Before, I hadn’t realized, I hadn’t dissected, exactly why I thought I was “ugly”. I was comparing myself to the wrong standards. Paradoxically, it took the manufactured beauty culture to allow me to see what was naturally there—and like it. I wasn’t getting that reinforcement out in the world, but I did after it became legitimate through mass marketing. And that opened my eyes to a whole lot more than just the possibility of being considered attractive.

    That’s why I started being suspect of any blanket denunciation of image presentation—because of the intersecting identities that led me to both adopt and abandon certain images, long before I had the framework and forum to specify just what was going on. The mass market appropriates and remarkets preexisting beauty rituals, as well as the preexisting human need to be beautiful. Makeup, hairstyles, clothing predate sexism.

    So, dissecting is good—teasing out the difference between the internal and external forms of oppression, from the “natural” and the resistant. But conflating the image of any given woman with what created/creates her image is not. Even the beauty culture can be a site of resistance.

  543. KH
    August 25, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Someone earlier in the thread mentioned that one OPTION women who were attractive COULD TAKE to show solidarity with less attractive women and to attempt to subvert the patriarchy is deliberately scar and disfigure themselves using surgery. That is one answer to question 2, but I personally find it extremely disturbing even as a thought, much less an action.

    Yes. There’s a (bad, didactic, not recommended) novel, Facial Justice, by LP Hartley on the subject. The principle could be extended to include surgical interventions to eliminate socially significant advantages in intelligence, personality, artistic, musical & athletic ability, etc., with equally gruesome results. Like other movements for liberation, feminism has to think carefully about the relationship between equality & individual autonomy as it sets its goals.

  544. RenegadeEvolution
    August 25, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    Shit, you leave for a night/early morning bit of work and all hell breaks loose.

    Lemmie say a few things about a few things…

    I did make that entry, and the statement in it, and it was a horrible thing to say and I’ve appoligized repeatedly for saying it. I was very angry at the way some bloggers I like and respect were being treated (by a variety of people, not just rad fems, actually) but still, it was a horrible thing to say, and I shouldn’t have said it. I didn’t delete the entry because I am in no way denying I said it, but it was a wrong thing to say.

    IACB, AK, Ginmar has never threatened me in any way, so I’d prefer if no one accuse her of doing so.

    Yep, I have anti-feminist commenters on my blog. I also have rad fem commenters on my blog, and everything else in between because I pretty much publish all the comments that are made on my blog…that’s just the way I do things.

    Yep, I thrash on anti-porn tactics and theory…and you know, the anti porn movement is made up of a lot more folk than just rad fems. I find a lot of the things they do to be sketchy, so yep, I write about it. If you don’t do those things, well, I am not talking about you.

    And yep, I do have a long memory, but so does everyone it seems, and frankly, I just as soon NOT talk about the threats I got, because all this is detracting to what I thought was some excellent headway on issues made yesterday before I had to leave.

    So yeah, actually, on that note, MORE conversation on that level is great, I’d love to see it…any more attacks on Gin, or anyone else for that matter, humm, I might do something I don’t normally do and remove/moderate those comments out. So yeah, shall we get back to how to discuss/consider/examine beauty rituals/pressures and things of those nature without making it personal?

  545. A.W.
    August 25, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    I myself have gone through perfectly content celibate periods, if anybody cares, & if anyone wants to mock non-sex-pos people for their presumed sexual habits, they might as well mock me too.

    I thought sex positive was a descriptor that meant comfortable with oneself’s sexuality and with sexuality in general, so the mocking on both sides over habits is quite ridiculous and helps self-esteem not at all. Also tends to enforce grudges, imo.

    If REn ever apologized it’s not like it matters because that enry is still there.

    Taking down a post for the reason of feeling bothers me, because it’s like pretending the feelings and the reasons someone had them never happened, and that one person’s feelings are more important than anothers’. Which is the tone I get when you say an apology doesn’t matter, not all all.

    As for IACB—a Wiki editor who trolls with the sex pozzes on a radfem issue? Yeah, you keep telling yourself whatever you have to, sweetheart. I don’t even know you.

    Your first sentence professes some sort of acknowledgment, so what’s with the second? If it’s sarcasm, disregard the question please.
    ‘sex pozzes’ in my mind do not equal trolls. Can’t troll with something that isn’t a troll themself, I don’t think.

    Lots of people edit wiki, including myself. I’d venture so far as to guess (brave of me, I know!) that there’s been hundreds upon hundreds of edits there so being an editor is no supremely special thing. The editing process (what to keep and what to delete) isn’t to be ‘for’ or against’ anyone, it’s to present pertinent information on the topic in question in a neutral form and to have the topic meet the criteria for addition. If a topic doesn’t meet the requirements for a page then they do not get a page. It has nothing to do with like or dislike of whatever personality or politics a person or event had or seems to have had. I read that page before it was removed; it didn’t present as neutral in the least. If the fiasco with Hearts message boards hadn’t happened I believe the page would’ve been deleted much sooner with little to no fanfare. Myself, I wouldn’t have been adverse to suggesting adding some of the information contained to the homeschooling article but she isn’t well known enough and the bulk of the information presented wasn’t far reaching enough for her to require her own page. So Iamcuriousblue voted for deletion- it isn’t who the pages were about, it was whether a page was even warranted. Mentioning several times that he edits wiki and that he ‘trolls’ with sex pos. people isn’t nearly as much of a slur as I believe you meant it to be.

    -Sorry for continuing the long-ass derail, Ren, but the multiple reference to editing the wiki page as a ‘bad thing’ bothered me, among other things.

  546. RenegadeEvolution
    August 25, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    QLH: I do actually wax off my arm hair, and any other hair that isn’t eyebrows or the hair on my head. When I say body wax, I mean the full deal…

  547. rebeccab
    August 25, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    I haven’t read the whole thread, so this may have already been said, but wanted to add, why is it so surprising to anyone that the patriarchy we live in conditions *women* to police other women’s behavior? Frees the men up for all their more *valuable* goal-directed activity…much more efficient for them that way. One thing (among many) that I think drives the *policing appearance* behavior among women is the feeling, unconsciously or not, of *how come I feel I have to do this and you don’t? why should you get away with it if I feel I can’t?*…kind of like, in certain professions, sadistic demands are put on trainees by their elders / superiors who HATED and suffered under those demands just as much, but feel that they’ve *paid their dues* so why shouldn’t the next person have to. (No one may REALLY be surprised, but I read some of the comments as finding it noteworthy that it’s usually women who notice and comment on other women’s appearance.)

  548. August 25, 2007 at 2:12 pm

    And then came Big Hair. After a decade of Marsha Brady, the Breck Girl, etc., BIG HAIR was splashed across the covers of the fashion magazines. And for the first time, a natural attribute of mine was actually “in”. “Fashionable”. I was in the new position of possessing a trait considered attractive by others—well, others not in my family. So I made the most of it. I jacked that hair to (to borrow a phrase from the Digable Planets) “unthought of dimensions”. And it was cool! I was hip! Now, the questions weren’t about what I was or what I ate or why don’t I look like this that or the other. No, it was: How could my hair do that? What did I use? How do I do that?

    And it was really the “how do I do that” that hooked me. As in ‘how do I look like you?’ after growing up thinking of my appearance as the anathema of beauty. It was heady—the idea that I too, could be beautiful—just by going with (instead of against) my natural hair. And all it took was a couple minutes with a comb.

    Yeah. I think part of what’s missing from these discussions is that sometimes we latch onto these rituals for reasons that don’t show up in the discourse.

    I mean, like take BDSM… something some feminists don’t think is the wisest sexual practice for feminist women.

    Well, I believe that part of the reason I found BDSM was simply because I’m kinked that way — I was attracted to the idea of sexual control and pain since I was very small. Whether this is because of abuse, trauma, absorbed messages from patriarchy, natural dominant tendencies, genetics, imprinted lovemap, high levels of testosterone… I don’t know and don’t want to get into here.

    But part of the reason I think was because I’d always been taught by the culture around me (dare I say “by the Patriarchy?” Yes, I do) that women were unattractive if they weren’t submissive. Female sexual desire that fell outside of that, like mine, was something I got the idea I was supposed to hide. Secret fantasies were all I could allow myself.

    Then I got older and read that “the dominatrix” is a common fantasy for men. That was exciting, perhaps in a similar (I don’t say “the same”) way to you discovering hair like yours was suddenly “in.” Suddenly I wasn’t a freak but something wanted, desired, all the guys’ (and even some of the girls’, oh wow) secret fantasy TOO!

    And I think that even if we analyze BDSM as anti-feminist full stop (which I don’t do and am against doing) and completely decide that it’s about nothing but Going With The Patriarchal Flow, there’s a lot to be said about the ways that some of these rituals seize us because they give us something WE wanted.

    I wanted not to be Ms. Secret, so for a while I was willing to play the dominatrix in ANY WAY at all — including ways that I now recognize as blatantly icky and gender essentialist and pandering and don’t do any more. I wanted the heels and the corsets and practiced the fakey humiliating sneers and voices because: hey, it’s SOMETHING. (And fantasizing about it as a job, too, because that’s all you hear: you do this and people hire you. Once I really thought about it — no, I don’t want to do it as work, and no, it’s not glamorous to.)

    And I think that needs to be acknowledged in here. Some of these beauty rituals are not ideal and the motivation is very mixed.

  549. rebeccab
    August 25, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Bloody hell. Should have read the whole thread. Sorry for what will now sound rather inane.

  550. August 25, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    Re: #549

    Thanks for this, AW.

    If anybody actually cares about what happened on Wikipedia, the discussion is archived here.

  551. August 25, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    I think part of the problem with “false consciousness” is the name. Maybe “partial consciousness” is a better way to term it—I think people inherently get the idea that not every thought is fully conscious and/or expressed, but calling the result “false” is what is confusing. “False” is defined in the vernacular as “phony, fake, not true, a lie”, rather than as “incomplete, that which leads to false conclusions.”

    Actually I do think this is what many people mean. There are plenty of people who will gleefully tell you you’re lying to yourself if you claim to be doing something for yourself, because the only possibly motivation is men’s approval.

    Or with BDSM: you’re lying to yourself if it’s not trauma at men’s hands that warped you.

    That’s the thing that’s so patronizing and paternalistic. “You’re lying to yourself.”

    Not “what if you have multiple motivations?” That’s rarely what’s said.

  552. Gayle
    August 25, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    I think it’s wrong when a handful of radical feminists say a woman can’t be a feminist or make fun of her because she’s beautiful.

    I agree. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened. RE keeps rehashing bogus arguments to stir up resentment against feminists.

    Sex positive is a polemic term. If you disagree with a sex pos argument, why then you’re sex negative! It reminds me (and many others) of the pro-life argument. If you’re not pro-life, then you’re pro-death, baby!

    RE:

    the anti porn movement is made up of a lot more folk than just rad fems. I find a lot of the things they do to be sketchy,

    Yeah. Right back at ya.

  553. Gayle
    August 25, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Trapped in moderation yet again.

    *sniff*

  554. RenegadeEvolution
    August 25, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    hey all, i’ve had a hell of a time logging in to get comments out of moderation today, seems word press was having some issues, I think I got them all out now…but yep, headed out to work, so once again if you post and it doesnt show immediately, its not because I am moderating you out, it’s because I am not here, and I will check when I get home.

    And Gayle, I don’t think too many people are actually sex negative. Better terms than sex pos and what have you would be great.

  555. August 25, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    Sex positive is a polemic term. If you disagree with a sex pos argument, why then you’re sex negative! It reminds me (and many others) of the pro-life argument.

    *sigh* Nope. No sex positive feminist says this. It’s a classic tactic to claim we say this (and handwave about “polemic” instead of giving specific examples), but we don’t.

  556. La Lubu
    August 25, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    And I think that needs to be acknowledged in here. Some of these beauty rituals are not ideal and the motivation is very mixed.

    Exactly, trin. What is feminist beauty? Where are the lines drawn? Who draws those lines? That’s a conversation we need to be having, ‘cuz the one I’ve been hearing most of my life replicates the pre-existing power structure—with the twist being that a relatively small group of relatively privileged feminists gets to slide over from the shotgun seat and make these decisions instead of the Establishment. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. ‘Cept, I’m a union member; I’m not invested in the “boss” point of view—I’m looking for an alternate structure.

  557. August 25, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    “Sex positive is a polemic term. If you disagree with a sex pos argument, why then you’re sex negative! It reminds me (and many others) of the pro-life argument.”

    Oh, good lord, this old argument again for the millionth time. Look, any movement has a fucking right to call itself whatever it want, based on things in might positively value. “Pro-choice” and “pro-life” are accepted terms for the different sides in the abortion debate, I damn well think “sex-positive” should be accepted as a self-designation in this one. I don’t think anybody should have to change their self-designation in order to kiss their opponents ass.

    Those of you on your own side of the fence have every right to your own designation. I think I’ve heard “sex critical” floating around before – its not bad, maybe you should go with it. And yeah, it implies those of us on the other side “sex uncritical”, which is bogus, but I’m not going to whine about it.

    Jesus, some people are hung up on tired arguments.

  558. ginmar
    August 25, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    Do threats on behalf of sex pozzes somehow hang up the moderation? WAy to go there, on all counts. Ak is threatening to take action on behalf of ‘real’ human beings, because evidently not-his-friends don’t count.

  559. ginmar
    August 25, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    Just be careful of what you wish for, ladies, it may come back to bite ‘ya…..hard. Some of us believe in fighting back.

    Sex positivity in action. Remind me again how peaceful and non-violent they are?

  560. ginmar
    August 25, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    You deleted my comment about AK threatening me! Defending your friends?

  561. August 25, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    Exactly, trin. What is feminist beauty? Where are the lines drawn? Who draws those lines? That’s a conversation we need to be having, ‘cuz the one I’ve been hearing most of my life replicates the pre-existing power structure

    Yep. For some people it’s a luxury to be able to be the Hairy Feminist and not lose your job. For some people it’s easy to be.

  562. August 25, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    “Do threats on behalf of sex pozzes somehow hang up the moderation? “

    Ginmar – where are these “threats” and “violence” supposedly coming from sex-poz folks? Seriously.

    There’s plenty of angry words from “our side”, both now and in the past. Same with your side though. (Have you read your own blog lately?)

    In any event, angry rhetoric is not “harassment”, much less violence. Unlike threats of outing, DoS attacks, etc.

    There are some important distinctions to be made to keep this shit from escalating.

  563. Cassy
    August 25, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    Why is a man inserting himself into the middle of a group discussion of women on feminism? Talking to the women in a condescending tone is just icing on the cake.

  564. ginmar
    August 25, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Can’t you read? Oh, wait, Ren deleted my comment! And there’s a quote right there. Oh, wait, I’m a radfem, so let me guess—I’m making it up? Fuck you. I screencapped this asshole.

  565. ginmar
    August 25, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    IACB you’re a porn-and prostitute-justifying man. If you talk to me any further, I’ll just pretend you don’t exist.

  566. ginmar
    August 25, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    Let me guess, that one’s going to get deleted too. Oh, wait, do I get to use the “I was so upset” excuse? It seems to be awfully popular.

  567. ginmar
    August 25, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    Oh, look, my comments go into moderation after their first appear! How strange.

  568. August 25, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    Ginmar, are you always an hysteric, or do you just play one on the internet?

  569. lolwut
    August 25, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    Ginmar, us rad fems have “elastic” comments which can be sprung or un-sprung – sheesh where have you been?

  570. Cassy
    August 25, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    The women seem to be coming to agreement and closure. It seems to be peaceful so it looks like things need to be stirred up. If the women can find a way to get along they might be able to get something done. Might it be that he wants to maintain his privilege of ruling over the sex class?

  571. lolwut
    August 25, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    Ginmar, are you always an hysteric, or do you just play one on the internet

    ?

    I fucking resent that Daisy. Women do NOT call other women “hysteric”

  572. ginmar
    August 25, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    Oh, look, it’s a Daisy, a totally impartial source. Fuck you too.

  573. August 25, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Ginmar, chill. The site host is having major issues.

  574. ginmar
    August 25, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    Yeah, that explains why my comments went back into moderation and the one that named names disappeared. Just a coincidence.

  575. August 25, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Oh my god. Can I just say, as someone who has had to deal with moderating comments here before, it’s kind of a huge pain in the ass, and I’m sure you’re not being censored.

    In fact, Ren is one of the more lax bloggers I’ve read in terms of letting comments through. Read any comment thread from a ‘topics-y’ post on her blog and there’s usually a few comments saying things about her that I would never let through on my blog.

    I’m sure this comment I’m writing now will go into moderation. In fact, I kind of think ‘moderation’ is one of the words that triggers the mod-bot.

  576. August 25, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Did you notice the site was down for several hours today? Were you aware that over 75 comments were in moderation when I woke up this morning, or that another 25 or so made it into the spam queue? Did you try to sort and clear them out? Were you the one who spent 45 minutes today talking to tech support to get the site back up and running?

    No. I was. I am the person that is taking care of the site while Jill is out of the country. I am the one with administrative access at this time. Quit blaming things on the guest bloggers and if anything blame them on me.

    So, your comment being lost… Coincidence? Who fucking knows. You’re not a victim here, so chill out.

  577. David Thompson
    August 25, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    When I say body wax, I mean the full deal…

    How do you reach that part between your shoulder blades, or do you hire that out?

  578. Gayle
    August 25, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    No sex positive feminist says this.

    You don’t have to say it, that’s the point. The term says it all.

    Look, any movement has a fucking right to call itself whatever it want, based on things in might positively value.

    And I have every fucking right to call a polemic term polemic.

    I think I’ve heard “sex critical” floating around before – its not bad, maybe you should go with it.

    I’m not critical of sex. I’ll disregard your advice.

  579. La Lubu
    August 25, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    Yep. For some people it’s a luxury to be able to be the Hairy Feminist and not lose your job. For some people it’s easy to be.

    Or, to be the Hairy Feminist and still not pass muster, because the rest of your hair looks too mainstream, or too punk, or too involved, or too-something. Not proper Feminist Hair, which is supposed to be a lot like Marsha Brady hair, except longer and parted down the middle. Or maybe a bowl-cut. Nothing too “too”, and that includes too butch, also.

    Or, to be the Hairy Feminist and have other Hairy Feminists grossed out by your version of body hair. Because Hairy Feminists have internalized the dominant sexist values too, and being a Hairy Feminist doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of doing a double-take at another feminist’s leg hair.

    Or, wanting to be the Hairy Feminist, but not willing to cross that line yet, because you’re fat (or skinny, or homely, or suffering from acne, or pick-your-poison) and you just aren’t ready for being repulsive to the general public in multiple ways, ‘cuz you still have to walk outside your door and have undeserved invective hurled at you, and it seeps into your soul, no matter how hard you push it away.

    Or, wanting to be the Hairy Feminist, but having to make a hard choice about who, exactly, you’re allying with, because being a Hairy Feminist means separating yourself from your ethnic culture; yet fellow (white) Hairy Feminists aren’t exactly throwing out the welcome mat either, and the alternate culture they have created serves them well but not you—and you miss the nurturing resistance of your home culture.

    Not to mention, if looks are only skin deep, why can’t you enter where you are? Aren’t the hurdles high enough?

    I’ll say it again, feminists, of all people should understand these convergences, divergences, intersections. We live on a daily basis with (at least) dual consciousness—we have to, just to get by. Why don’t we grant other women the (shamelessly stealing from Nanette) benefit of the doubt?

  580. August 25, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    Just as a datapoint regarding the reaction of a non-feminist commenter to “sex-pos” in the Jargon File at FF101 (he was attacking several of the jargon terms):

    sex-pos = the existence of this term is effectively an admission that many feminists are anti-sex;

    That’s what readers who are naive/disingenuous regarding feminist theory/history take from the term. (The commenter was self-confessedly trolling from another blog, but he was only able to jump on the term because it is semantically/semiotically imbued with that polemic.)

  581. August 25, 2007 at 8:54 pm

    Not to mention, if looks are only skin deep, why can’t you enter where you are?

    Applauds. Waves lighter.

    Also, agree about the bit regarding ethnic identity.

    Also, you guys (tigtog and others) are right, sex-pos is a bad, polemic term. I don’t use it myself. Let’s think of a new one.

    But here I am not staying out of this thread like I promised myself I would…

  582. August 25, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    I’m deleting any further comments that contain personal invective. I am also closing comments on this post until the author returns.

    In case anyone forgot, this is the official comments policy. Follow it or post on your own blog.

  583. Pingback: Feminist Critics

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