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  1. Orodemniades
    Orodemniades January 13, 2008 at 6:55 pm |

    I read that and wasn’t sure what to make of it. I was torn between “Yeah, abortion takes a toll, so does adoption, so does keeping a baby” and “Whaaa?”. I kept waiting to read about how maybe if we taught girls that they have the right to their bodies and that using birth control isn’t DEH EBBILEST THING EVER, that maybe movies like Juno or Knocked Up would be seen as quaint rather than The Way Things Are.

    But no.

    And, of course, there was no discussion of boys taking responsibility for anything…

  2. annajcook
    annajcook January 13, 2008 at 7:14 pm |

    Yeah, my favorite quote was this one:

    female desire can bring with it a form of punishment no man can begin to imagine, and so it is one appetite women and girls must always regard with caution.

    Argh!!!!

    No, Ms. Flanagan, just because we girls and women can get pregnant from hetero intercourse doesn’t mean we “must always regard” (and why are we “regarding” and not “embodying” it anyway?) our desire with “caution” (meaning, in this context, “more caution than men and boys”).

    We all, regardless or sex or gender, need to be aware of which sexual activities might cause pregnancy and how to avoid them/lessen the risk, so that we can embrace our desire, not be forced to tread gingerly even when we ARE the one capable of gestation.

    Instead, this Flanagan just seems to be rehashing the unsurprising news that, yes, women are the ones capable of getting pregnant, and yes, because it’s our bodies, we’re the ones who must ultimately make (until the government takes that option away) the subsequent decisions.

    Can we, for once, NOT turn this into a cautionary tale about “female” desire??

    P.S. What’s with her book on the emotional lives of “pubescent girls”? How is that different from being adolescent? It sounds creepy and clinical to me.

  3. brandann
    brandann January 13, 2008 at 7:26 pm |

    ditto to above…and maybe i am alone…but was anyone else confused by the end? what exactly did “please” mean?

    that piece was garbage…

    and i liked “juno”…

  4. DAS
    DAS January 13, 2008 at 7:51 pm |

    why is she still getting paid by anyone after it turned out she plagiarized

    Now I know why I have long wondered whether Caitlin Flanagan and M. Dowd are cut from the same cloth.

    Of course, Dowd takes the cake (didn’t she plagiarize in a report about plagiarism?) …

  5. annajcook
    annajcook January 13, 2008 at 8:31 pm |

    . . .oops, I didn’t mean to write “this Flanagan,” just Flanagan . . . bad proof-reading

  6. Sarah J
    Sarah J January 13, 2008 at 10:51 pm |

    I hate that woman.

    I really, really hate that woman. I couldn’t even stomach the article because I saw her name and needed to be ill.

  7. Kmach
    Kmach January 14, 2008 at 3:49 am |

    Wow, if I didn’t think she was already nutso, that “please” anecdote convinced me. All those hours it must have took for that poor, pregnant girl to carve that word into the wall. Or maybe it just took her five to ten minutes with a housekey or a pen knife. And maybe that “please” meant “please let this pimple go away before the prom” or “please let me pass history” or “please let me execute a three point turn correctly on my road test”.

    Or, hey, maybe it wasn’t a prayer to some god at all. Maybe it was part of a song lyric going through her head or something. Who the fuck knows?

    Oh, the omniscient Mrs. Flanagan, of course.

  8. KMTBerry
    KMTBerry January 14, 2008 at 3:50 am |

    She’s not a writer. She is a Propagandist, and she’s been hired to help shepherd us into an era of greater oppression of women.

    The “Powers That Be” like what she’s sayin’.

    She makes ME Barf.

  9. Rosehiptea
    Rosehiptea January 14, 2008 at 6:37 am |

    Even the much-discussed pregnancy of 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears reveals the rudely unfair toll that a few minutes of pleasure can exact on a girl. The very fact that the gossip magazines are still debating the identity of the father proves again that the burden of sex is the woman’s to bear. He has a chance to maintain his privacy, but if she becomes pregnant by mistake, soon all the world will know.

    And that should teach us the women really do need to fear sex, not that gossip magazines should refrain from being assholish toward pregnant young women?

    My 14-year-old daughter was just telling me yesterday that she thinks the media should leave Jamie Lynn Spears the hell alone, and I couldn’t agree more.

  10. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil January 14, 2008 at 10:29 am |

    Does the full enfranchisement of girls depend on their being sexually liberated? And if it does, can we somehow change or diminish among the very young the trauma of pregnancy, the occasional result of even safe sex?

    I hate the implication that having been pregnant cripples you for the rest of your life. It’s like you have to be a permanent victim instead of crying, grieving, etc. and then picking yourself up and keeping on going. Goodness knows women can’t recover and move on with their lives…

    (I don’t know who’s running the NYT Op-Ed page these days, but would someone please slap them up the side of the head?)

  11. annajcook
    annajcook January 14, 2008 at 10:40 am |

    And that should teach us the women really do need to fear sex, not that gossip magazines should refrain from being assholish toward pregnant young women?

    Amen, Rosehiptea! That’s the thing that pisses me off so much about women (or men for that matter) like Flanagan . . . this “well, that’s just the way the world works” attitude. I understand that we have to be realistic sometimes–the world is not going to change overnight, and that sucks. But that is NOT a reason to accept the sexual double standard as inevitable. Blech.

  12. Rosehiptea
    Rosehiptea January 14, 2008 at 10:55 am |

    And maybe that “please” meant “please let this pimple go away before the prom” or “please let me pass history” or “please let me execute a three point turn correctly on my road test”.

    I was going with “Please clean this place,” and with it being in that receptacle because it’s easier to mark up than the wall, but I guess I don’t have much of a flair for the dramatic.

  13. Ms C
    Ms C January 14, 2008 at 11:25 am |

    I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the Victorians showing commitment to their daughters by upholding a system that denied them the vote, economic freedom, bodily autonomy, access to edcuation and other basic human rights. Girls were property to be sold off to the highest-bidding suitor to breed more chattel (daughters) or heirs (sons), or, if they had the misfortune of being born poor, girls were drudges to be sent into servitude, factories or child prostitution.

    Oh, yeah, those were the days, Caitlin.

  14. Jha
    Jha January 14, 2008 at 11:43 am |

    Plagiarists make me sick. In my school, we’re all up in arms and paranoid about even using ideas we thought of ourselves, and then saw in a secondary source, that even if we DID think of it first, we’d still cite it.

    And Victorians showing commitment towards their daughters… *grrk* Yes, lady, because keeping your daughters indoors until they’re pale and sickly is attractive.

  15. NicoleG
    NicoleG January 14, 2008 at 11:43 am |

    zuzu, that was my thought exactly. I see “please” on a receptacle bin, occam’s razor says it means stop trying to flush your maxi pads. Whoever figured out Caitlin Flanagan’s weird-ass assumption was that the girl had missed her period should get a cookie, because that was the last thing on my mind. I thought maybe she wanted the girls to magically stop menstruating.

    I hate this insidious “I feel so bad for poor teenage girls” tone while basically saying they’d all better keep their dirty legs closed (of course the ONLY time she mentions birth control is to handwave it as ineffective, so might as well not bother). What a vile woman.

  16. Astraea
    Astraea January 14, 2008 at 11:57 am |

    I think Flanagan has seen too many movies with young Victorian women walking arm-in-arm through the garden like the perfect BFFs with no cares in the world except their dance card.

  17. Neko-Onna
    Neko-Onna January 14, 2008 at 11:42 pm |

    I get so sick of the old “biology is destiny” crap. No, Ms. Flannigan, Patriarchy is destiny until such time we tell it to fuck off and stop holding women prisoners with their “biology”. In today’s world, the fact that I can become pregnant is almost meaningless. I can also become “un” pregnant pretty easily, and do many things to make pregnancy less likely. The real truth is that people like Ms. Flannigan are desperately clutching at straws in an effort to make us think “biology” still holds us in it’s thrall.

    As a matter of fact, terminating pregnancy isn’t all that terribly difficult, and would have been reliably availaible long before it was if the patriarchy wasn’t so heavily invested in thwarting any vestiges of female control. It is patriarchal society that mandates that pregnancy be a source of fear and misery for women, not “biology”.

    People who pull out “biology is destiny” better never wear glasses or hearing aids, they better stay the hell off of airplanes and out of cars, out of modern hospitals, and pretty much everything else that circumvents natural “biologically” determined parameters for physical functioning.

  18. mythago
    mythago January 14, 2008 at 11:54 pm |

    I have had it with these motherfucking tampons on this motherfucking bathroom floor!

    Cast Gina Torres as the starring role in that movie and I will crawl over broken glass to see it.

  19. Raincitygirl
    Raincitygirl January 15, 2008 at 5:47 am |

    I would crawl over broken glass to watch Gina Torres read the phone book in Esperanto. But cast her as an ass-kicking custodian declaring war on evil sloppy tampon users and I would crawl over broken glass while juggling oranges and reciting the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

  20. Lilybelle
    Lilybelle January 15, 2008 at 12:17 pm |

    Thank you for this post! Hit the nail on the head. Hate this crap about how abortion is always a wrenching and emotionally harrowing experience. Sometimes. Sometimes it’s a relief. Hey Flanagan, how about letting women figure out for themselves their emotional responses to pregancy, abortion, and adoption. Like much else, one size does not fit all.

  21. Fred
    Fred January 15, 2008 at 5:13 pm |

    “Now we have to ask ourselves this question: Does the full enfranchisement of girls depend on their being sexually liberated?”

    Yes, it does.

    “Biology is destiny” What the hell does this mean?

  22. Woodbun
    Woodbun January 15, 2008 at 6:53 pm |

    I think in some cases, abortion can be difficult for women… because our society teaches them that it “must be difficult and painful and tragic.”
    I think our society teaches women this propaganda to keep them under control, and prevent them from making rational decisions that are in their best interest. I truly wish it was not so.

    I also really wish I’d gone to see Juno now.

  23. 2008 December 15 archive at Kindly Póg Mo Thóin

    [...] So Mr. Blow, on the payroll of the New York Times, is just making shit up to fit the latest (or, in typical Times fashion, just-about-over) buzzword. Well, not that surprising for the paper that employs Maureen Dowd, William Kristol and David Brooks (and, for that matter, Caitlin Flanagan herself). [...]

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