Author: has written 5281 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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105 Responses

  1. Marle
    Marle January 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm |

    Naomi Wolf is a traitor. Grrrr.

    My dad got me the Beauty Myth as a child, one of my first introductions to feminism. This bullshit really hurts.

  2. ozymandias
    ozymandias January 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm |

    At the rate this is going, the only Big Name Book-Writing Feminists left who have their heads screwed on straight will be bell hooks and Jessica Valenti.

  3. April
    April January 7, 2011 at 3:21 pm |

    After watching her multiple gaffes in the debate with Jaclyn Friedman on Democracy Now, I am starting to doubt that she even believes in the things she’s saying. It seems like, after getting an abundance of criticism for the first article about the dating police, that she chose not to respond by looking at facts, but by sticking to consistency, thinking she’ll, at the very least, be right at least once or twice.

    I honestly feel sorry for her.

  4. Craig Ranapia
    Craig Ranapia January 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm |

    No, I don’t think Wolf is trolling. Like too many others, she’s drunk all her Assange-worship/white, heterosexual middle-class American privilege denying Kool-Aid is would like some more…

  5. Amber
    Amber January 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm |

    Marle, I feel you, completely.
    The Beauty Myth meant so much to me in high school, and now I feel like all of her work has been tarnished by her recent ridiculousness.

  6. Lara Emily Foley
    Lara Emily Foley January 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm |

    Well said Jill. I think she’s also just shaping her arguments around whatever works best to support Julian Assange. Also I get the feeling that she doesn’t want to be seen as just a feminist anymore, so she’s shaping her arguments in a way that will gain her more support of those outside of the feminist community. Really she’s selling us all out. Throwing feminism under a bus for money and to sell books.

  7. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar January 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm |

    Team Roiphe never runs out of players. It pays well being on the pro-rape side.

  8. Marti McKenna
    Marti McKenna January 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm |

    Wolfe is drunk on her own koolaid. I don’t envy her the hangover she’ll have when she finally wakes up.

  9. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm |

    Marle: Naomi Wolf is a traitor. Grrrr.

    Agreed.

    Pretty much, when a self-identified feminist figure like Wolf starts to make significant money (as in, enough to earn a living) from their writing or whatever, I pretty much write them off. Same with “anti-racists” like Tim Wise.

  10. A.Y. Siu
    A.Y. Siu January 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm |

    I believe she’s interested in reviving a gasping career, and she’s realized that this is a pretty damn good way to get people to talk about her again.

    You may want to take down the link to her Guardian piece, then. All you’re doing is giving her even more publicity.

  11. Jim
    Jim January 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm |

    “And that’s why Wolf’s argument falls totally flat — we do have legal mechanisms in place to counteract all of the harms she alleges occur from keeping rape victims anonymous. ”

    That is quite true. It’s also irrelevant unless those legal mechanisms actually function. Rape has also always been illegal in everry jurisdiction, for all the good that did rape victims at getting decent treatment at the hands of police and prosecutors. As it happens prosecutions for knowingly false and malicious accusations are very few – maybe because the offense is infrequent, maybe because chivalrous police departments and prosecutors exercise discretion – and we have no way of knowing because records and stats are patchy. In any case the penalties for this particular crime – perjury leading to false imprisonment – are in no jurisdiction as severe as those for rape itself, so if a person wants to use this weapon the risk is less than the pay-off.

    Wolf’s timing and choice of person to defend make me suspicious of her motives.

    She does refer to what she says are solidly feminist positions from feminists of the past. I have no way to evaluate the validity of those references, and almost everyone here is better equipped to do that, so I am ready to be schooled on that.

  12. nathan
    nathan January 7, 2011 at 5:04 pm |

    I agree with the above comments that Wolf is entirely too interested in defending Assange, and keeping her career going.

    But I’m interested in this paragraph:

    “Anonymity serves institutions that do not want to prosecute rapists. In the US military, for instance, the shielding of accusers’ identities allows officials to evade responsibility for transparent reporting of assaults – and thus not to prosecute sex crimes systematically. The same is true with universities. My alma mater, Yale, used anonymity to sweep incidents under the carpet for two decades. Charges made anonymously are not taken as seriously as charges brought in public.”

    I remember meeting with security officials and our college chancellor over the rape and sexual assault statistics published on campus – which basically said such things never happened there. The fact that there weren’t any faces and names available made it difficult to get changes made both in reporting and in campus safety policies. And I have no doubt this happens in the military as well. Individual cases might be resolved, but the culture of the institution doesn’t have to change.

    So, while I agree that the media is entirely unreliable at best when it comes to handling rape and assault cases, I do wonder if anonymity for individual victims protects them, but ends up potentially limiting the ability to get cultural/institutional shifts to occur.

    I don’t have a clear answer here. Nor would I want anonymity policies to just disappear, as Wolf seems to be arguing for. I just think it’s worth considering the ways in which anonymity functions, and whether that might be producing some unintended consequences.

  13. Jadey
    Jadey January 7, 2011 at 5:31 pm |

    Amber: The Beauty Myth meant so much to me in high school, and now I feel like all of her work has been tarnished by her recent ridiculousness.

    I guess the message is that people can change for the worse as well as for the better. Sometimes people write crap and then years later realize how asinine it was and renounce, retract, rephrase, and redeem themselves. Wolf seems to be trending in the opposite direction.

  14. matlun
    matlun January 7, 2011 at 5:49 pm |

    I found it very strange that she used the Assange case as the hook for this thesis that we should ditch anonymity.

    Since the women in the Assange case are hardly anonymous (a quick google will give the names for anyone interested) it seems irrelevant to this case. It is in fact a rather strong counter argument, I think. Look at the current situation and the kind of discourse we have seen on the net; the case for anonymity just becomes stronger.

  15. matlun
    matlun January 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm |

    As to her basic point (as I understand it), it is at least somewhat interesting. By so systematically treating rape survivors as victims and damaged, do we risk just reinforcing their victimhood?

    I actually agree with her that in an ideal world rape shield laws would not exist. We should be able to treat sex crimes in the same way as any other crime and there should be no special shame attaching to the victim for these crimes. However we do not live in that ideal world.

  16. Kim
    Kim January 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm |

    I hate to be a lone wolf, but a few thoughts:

    I think Naomi was spot on when she called out Interpol for being the dating police. Its obvious that Interpol has no interest in providing justice to victims of rape and sexual assault and they are using the allegations to get Assange in a county that has an extradition treaty with the US. No matter what you think about this case, or rape laws, you have to admit this case does not have the spotlight because Assange is accused of sexual assault. Should we let Interpol get away with using these women for political reasons and what harm has it done to them?

    Second: I don’t think that disagreeing with Naomi negates all of her previous work that you admire.

    Third: Is there a valid point to the idea that if sexual assault victims were more vocal and visible, would that change the stereotypes and assumptions made about victims of sexual assault and they would become less exploited by the media? I know that this is a very emotional issue, and as it stands right now sexual assault victims are treated horribly by many in the justice system and the media. But what if by assault victims becoming more vocal and standing up and fighting for themselves it would it dispel the negative assumptions about sexual assault victims, create a larger community of support and affect the way the media reports these kinds of cases. I think the idea needs more thought and consideration than Naomi Wolf saying absolutely yes this is something we should do and critics just as vehemently saying the opposite.

  17. Bushfire
    Bushfire January 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm |

    At the rate this is going, the only Big Name Book-Writing Feminists left who have their heads screwed on straight will be bell hooks and Jessica Valenti.

    On that note, when are you going to write a book, Jill?

  18. Jim
    Jim January 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm |

    matlun: I actually agree with her that in an ideal world rape shield laws would not exist.

    Vaclav Havel and others called thier form of resistance “living as if you are free” They just made a show of ignoring the totalitarian system they lived in and took thier chances. Black parents sending their kids to de-segregating schools douring the CRM did basically the same thing.

    That’s fine for those who want to make those moves and face those risks. But I really object to forcing the sacrifices it takes to achieve this wondeful new order on anyone and making other people’s lives grist in some brave visionary struggle.

    Everyone in these situations needs protection.

  19. Angus Johnston
    Angus Johnston January 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm |

    Is there a valid point to the idea that if sexual assault victims were more vocal and visible, would that change the stereotypes and assumptions made about victims of sexual assault and they would become less exploited by the media?

    Absolutely there is, and that’s why every feminist I know applauds when someone who has been raped makes the informed, careful choice to go public with their experiences.

    But that’s not what Wolf is calling for. She’s calling for that choice to be taken out of the hands of people who have been raped — for “going public” to be made the price of admission to the legal system.

    It’s worth noting, by the way, that this position — that forcibly outing people who have been raped is an important tool against rape — is one that just about nobody in this debate, Wolf excepted, is taking on. If you look at comment threads at the Guardian, the Huffington Post, etc, the people cheering her on are people who think that the present system is unfair to accused rapists, which is a very different argument than the one Wolf herself is making.

  20. Brendan C.
    Brendan C. January 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm |

    Who’s the troll?

    Not only is the tone of this piece completely over the top, but to attack Wolf with such vitriol over a topic that is far from black and white is childish and offensive.

    Why don’t you expound on the many mechanisms that we do and do not have in place to counteract her suggestions, instead of writing some amateurish and vague hit piece. You’d be doing your readers (potential and long faithful) and yourself a favor.

  21. Nahida
    Nahida January 7, 2011 at 7:05 pm |

    WTF Naomi Wolf. I used to love you.

  22. ballgame
    ballgame January 7, 2011 at 7:06 pm |

    Jill, I’m extremely disappointed to read your post here. I respect the substance of your disagreement with Wolf, but I completely disagree with your ad hominem attack on her integrity. I think she has been courageous in her analysis of America’s step-by-step descent towards fascism, and I’m appalled that you accuse her of being “the Ann Coulter of feminism.” Your notion that she’ll now be receiving “right-wing-welfare checks” is just imbecilic and frankly jarring coming from someone like yourself who is normally extremely sharp and insightful.

    Whether Wolf is right or wrong about specifics regarding the accusations against Assange, she deserves to be treated with respect, not adolescent smears.

  23. Nahida
    Nahida January 7, 2011 at 7:09 pm |

    I want to read Jill’s book as well.

  24. Brendan C.
    Brendan C. January 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm |

    I’d really love to see you write lengthier and more well thought out posts, because I’m genuinely interested in reading well reasoned arguments. You have such a privileged educational background that I was honestly shocked to read your words and to see a lack of stats/evidence to back up some of your claims.

    Finally, very classy of you to take a jab at her “hopefully getting her a house in Connecticut” out of this. I’m sure you’re living the hard knocks in New York (and hopefully Paris)!

    (For the record, I don’t identify myself as a feminist or anti-feminist, but I just happened to see this at the top of the page on reddit and it got me thinking. http://antifeministmedia.blogspot.com/2011/01/false-rape-allegations-womans-hour-bbc.html )

  25. oxygengrrl
    oxygengrrl January 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm |

    Sexual assault is under-reported in the U.S. (and elsewhere) because even with the protections for victims in place, it’s a confrontational and traumatic experience to report the crime, press charges, etc. Victim protections do come into conflict with ease and effectiveness of prosecution, yes. Certainly, over time, more victims stepping forward would ease the stigma. But that does not mean that the individual women and men who are assault victims today should be expected to “take one for the team” as it were and accept further trauma so that life will be better down the road. More importantly, whatever you expect of expect of them, they won’t, because at present the trauma is still there. So the result of removing the protections in place would be even less reporting than there is today. The solution is to improve prosecution mechanisms, though, not further victimize victims (of any crime).

  26. Lori
    Lori January 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm |

    As I read through Wolf’s piece, I couldn’t help but think: “whose side is this former feminist on?” and also that her arguments will no doubt be co-opted by some right wingers. Characterizing her as the Ann Coulter of feminism seemed spot on.

    (On a side note: Connecticut isn’t so bad; I grew up there.)

  27. Brendan C.
    Brendan C. January 7, 2011 at 8:03 pm |

    Characterizing her as the Ann Coulter of feminism seemed spot on.  

    Gimme a break. That’s like the right wingers equating the Obama admin with Nazi’s and socialism. It’s a lazy trick, at the least.

  28. ellid
    ellid January 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm |

    Y’know, I wish I could lock her into a room with Susan Brownmiller for five minutes. Just five minutes.

  29. Nahida
    Nahida January 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm |

    Lori: As I read through Wolf’s piece, I couldn’t help but think: “whose side is this former feminist on?”

    I’m angry with her too, but can we refrain from accusing people who identify themselves as feminists of not being feminists? It seems too close to “I disagree with you on one issue and therefore you’re not REALLY who you say you are because I know more about that and you than you do!”

  30. Miss S
    Miss S January 7, 2011 at 8:48 pm |

    I agree with Nahida. Not everyone who identifies as feminist (or even womanist) is going to have the same beliefs. I don’t think there is an agreed definition of the word feminist, and there are groups that address social inequalities that reject the label completely.

    Question for legal experts:

    Aren’t the names of victims of other types of assaults published, or does it vary by state/jurisdiction? For instance, there was a physical assault by 2 males on 2 other males at my old campus. I’m almost certain that all of their names were published in the paper. On the other hand, I’ve seen police reports that say “a male student was walking on campus when he was approached by a suspect who demanded his wallet.” (Yeah, my old school isn’t half as safe as it used to be).

    Does it depend on whether it was a violent or non violent offense?

  31. Yeny
    Yeny January 7, 2011 at 9:05 pm |

    ‘I’m angry with her too, but can we refrain from accusing people who identify themselves as feminists of not being feminists -Nahida

    I don’t know about this, I’ve met some pretty sexist guys who say they are feminists and I’m afraid that I can’t help but call shenanigans.

    I think there is more than enough evidence to call into question Naomi Wolf’s feminist beliefs. Any feminist who makes light of accusations of rape is no feminist in my book. And frankly, if taking rape allegations seriously has somehow become optional to being a feminist, then hell, I renounce my feminism here and now.

  32. Nahida
    Nahida January 7, 2011 at 9:16 pm |

    Yeny: ‘I’m angry with her too, but can we refrain from accusing people who identify themselves as feminists of not being feminists -NahidaI don’t know about this, I’ve met some pretty sexist guys who say they are feminists and I’m afraid that I can’t help but call shenanigans.
    I think there is more than enough evidence to call into question Naomi Wolf’s feminist beliefs. Any feminist who makes light of accusations of rape is no feminist in my book. And frankly, if taking rape allegations seriously has somehow become optional to being a feminist, then hell, I renounce my feminism here and now.  

    Sure, I hear you. But when can you say that? I’ve been accused of not being a feminist because dressing up. It was quite infuriating.

  33. Nahida
    Nahida January 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm |

    Because sometimes I like dressing up.* Sorry.

  34. Brendan
    Brendan January 7, 2011 at 9:46 pm |

    You know, I bookmarked this site a few months ago after being linked through BoingBoing somehow, because I see becoming familiar with and sensitive to womens rights as one small step in becoming a real man.

    It’s sad that the one day I decide to comment on a piece is the day my posts are deleted without explanation. Good luck reaching out to anyone other than your small clique of like-minded individuals, and have fun using your education to prey on people with less life experience than yourself to further your pathetic agenda. Faciste.

  35. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 7, 2011 at 9:55 pm |

    Naomi Wolf may have been a feminist at one point, but she isn’t now. Most of ye old guard seems to have torpedoed themselves. Wolf, Jong, Mckinnon- does anyone take them seriously any more?
    Personally, I’ve never seen the point of reporting a rape or a sexual assualt to the police. It’s better to take the attacker down by yourself. Graffiti their house, treat them to a beat down one dark night, or just arrange an accident for them. Men won’t stop being rapey until they see women as a credible threat. (Feminist hitmen- we need them.)

  36. Pidgey
    Pidgey January 7, 2011 at 10:06 pm |

    One would think that the fucked-up job with which even liberal media portrayed the Assange accusers would be all the evidence needed that releasing victims’ names would be a TERRIBLE idea.

  37. Jadey
    Jadey January 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm |

    *mourns the passing of yet another unwelcomed and unwanted obnoxious commenter*

    Brendan, you will be forgotten immediately and replaced even faster.

  38. Sunil
    Sunil January 7, 2011 at 11:44 pm |

    To people accusing the author of making an ad hominem attack: an ad hominem is when personal statements/attacks are made *in lieu of* an argument. If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that Naomi Wolf’s arguments have been refuted in great detail. There is nothing wrong with making personal remarks in addition to that. You can call them offensive if you want, but they are certainly not ad hominem arguments.

  39. javier sandoval
    javier sandoval January 8, 2011 at 12:07 am |

    “On a point of fact, Wolf is quite wrong in claiming that the rule of law by which the plaintiff in a rape case is given anonymity is a “Victorian relic”. Commenter “snoozeofreason” said that anonymity was introduced, for what were seen as feminist reasons, in the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1976. This link to RapeCrisis, an activist group, confirms that fact”
    -http://www.samizdata.net/blog/

  40. javier sandoval
    javier sandoval January 8, 2011 at 12:27 am |

    also::
    “For your information Ms. Wolf the male-centric legal system did not withhold the names of women/girls who had been subjected to male sexual violence. Read feminist historians such as Anna Clark who has investigated male sexual vioence committed against women during the 18th and 19th centuries. There you will find women survivors’ names were commonly published within scurilous tabloids and these pseudo newspapers delighted in publishing the graphic details women survivors were forced to describe in open court, concerning what the male rapist(s) did to them. Of course the courts were filled with men avidly listening with delight to women’s humiliation because ‘respectable’ women were not allowed to attend court cases involving men’s sexual violence against women.

    Anonymity for female survivors of men’s sexual violence only occurred after a very, very lengthy struggle by feminists for our male-centric legal system to recognise that women survivors of men’s sexual violence do not experience fairness or justice within the legal system. Instead when women survivors’ names were published the media enjoyed minutely examining every detail of the women’s history in order to subject them to trial by media and of course deliberately discrediting their ‘truthfulness.”

    http://maria-technosux.livejournal.com/
    ‘More comments from people more reasonable than the intellectual sycophant Wolf’

  41. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie January 8, 2011 at 12:41 am |

    Is there a valid point to the idea that if sexual assault victims were more vocal and visible, would that change the stereotypes and assumptions made about victims of sexual assault and they would become less exploited by the media?

    Well, we all know what happens when the world finds out the name(s) of someone who accuses a famous or powerful man of rape. That doesn’t work out too well for the woman who was raped, now does it? I don’t know of a single case where the trial of public opinion found for the plaintiff in a rape case involving a famous or influential man.

    Furthermore, it’s not rape victims’ job to change rape culture. It’s the job of rape apologists to stop apologizing, and it’s the job of rapists to STOP RAPING. And it’s the job of our justice system to prosecute rape and sexual assault cases diligently.

  42. Sunil
    Sunil January 8, 2011 at 1:10 am |

    PS: Brendan – you’re giving up too easily. If you’re serious about learning about feminism, stick around and learn – and admit it when you’re wrong. It’s all part of the process.

  43. David
    David January 8, 2011 at 2:12 am |

    “And it’s the job of our justice system to prosecute rape and sexual assault cases dilligently.”
    mmmm yes.

    “(Feminist hitmen – we need them)”
    mmmm no.

  44. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 8, 2011 at 2:54 am |

    Re: Disclosure & Other crimes

    Its rare for people to question whether your credit cards were actually stolen.

    Typically, people don’t question your morals by asking what you were wearing when your house was burgled.

    Its unusual to be “let go” from your job because you were mugged.

    Judges don’t often snort, sigh, grunt, etc derisively when you testify about how your car was stolen.

    Your sexual or relationship partners don’t usually leave or withdraw when someone takes your purse.

    Juries don’t, as a general matter, acquit armed robbers caught with film of their robbery on their phone.

    You don’t often get harrassed and assaulted because your car stereo was lifted.

    When rape victims can disclose without these (and other) repurcussions they I’ll agree its possible to safely remove the shield. Until then, I’m putting the needs of individual rape victims – the need for healing and the need for safety – first.

  45. Niveau
    Niveau January 8, 2011 at 3:25 am |

    There are so many things about Naomi’s actions of late that make me angry and sad, but I think the worst is this: remember how she flaunted her work with rape victims in the Democracy Now debate? I’m betting that at least some of the women she’s worked with are feeling incredibly betrayed by her right now – not only does she have a serious blind spot when it comes to date rape, she’s also voluntarily ignoring the truth about the way ALL rape victims are treated.

    And if someone who I’d trusted to help me through my rape started saying things like that? I cannot imagine how violated I would feel.

  46. Medea
    Medea January 8, 2011 at 6:49 am |

    Yes, it certainly is cruel of Jill to use her law school degree to prey on Noami Wolf, who has so much less life experience than Jill does.

  47. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub January 8, 2011 at 8:39 am |

    Trigger warnings all over this.

    I’m gonna point out that it’s really fucking easy to declare that someone else who was brutalized and humiliated should go public. All too often, these girls/women and their family are harassed, threatened, and assaulted in retaliation. The local press in New Bedford, MA released the name of the survivor of the Big Dan’s pack rape; she, her partner, and her kids were driven out of town by the harassment of her fellow townspeople (and other supporters of the rapists). Her fucking family was threatened. The survivor of the OC pack rape case was harassed and threatened. One of her neighbors, apparently being mistaken for her, was assaulted. There was one case where the teenage girl who was raped found that the supporters of the rapist had leafleted her fucking high school when she returned after four months of convalescing after being beaten and raped. The women in the Assange case have gotten death and rape threats, been smeared with all kinds of false accusations, and been the focuss of unending harassment.

    The reason why most media outlets won’t release the names is not becuase the ladies are embarassed or weak or cowardly, FFS. It’s because all too often, they aren’t just disbelieved, they are actively put in danger when their names are released. As in: their rapist’s friends and family, rape apologists, and misogynist asshats actually do them harm.

    I mean, for fuck’s sake. For someone who claims to have worked with rape survivors for 20-plus years, Wolf should fucking know better.

    And I may be a meanie-butt for saying this, but I don’t think questioning someone’s commitment to feminism because of their rape apology is anywhere near the same as someone denying your feminist cred for dressing up. If we’re going to go down that road, Phyllis Schafly can call herself a feminist.

  48. tinfoil hattie
    tinfoil hattie January 8, 2011 at 11:39 am |

    sheelzebub for the win.

  49. Tweets that mention So Naomi Wolf is just trolling at this point, right? — Feministe -- Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Matthew Elliot, Dirk Lester. Dirk Lester said: So Naomi Wolf is just trolling at this point, right? — Feministe http://bit.ly/hJ0XCM #MooreAndMe [...]

  50. milou
    milou January 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm |

    i can’t believe she identifies as a feminist.
    she makes me so angry.
    this is the third time i’ve foolishly let myself get triggered by her extreme lack of care for survivors.
    i’m also heartbroken at how democracy now has handled the whole case, even before this debate. as for the debate, she should not be given any sort of validation as a “feminist” on a progressive news source. but honestly, given their previous coverage and even *jokes* on the matter, i was surprised they gave the feminist opinion the light of day at all.

  51. Fanona Mus
    Fanona Mus January 8, 2011 at 12:48 pm |

    “Which is why we don’t publicize their names in the media.” The New York Times published Miss A’s name in August.

    “So Naomi Wolf is just trolling at this point, right?” Has the definition of trolling changed? How does writing an article for a major newspaper equal trolling?

  52. Bushfire
    Bushfire January 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

    sheelzebub for the win.

    I second that.

  53. Athenia
    Athenia January 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

    Naomi is just using the vibrant feminist blogsphere to give herself page views.

    Which, normally, I wouldn’t be so harsh about, but she’s really putting her “left-wing politics” before the experiences of women.

    I read her book “Promiscuities” and I really think she’s much more “lefty” than specifically feminist. I think she’s only interested in feminism when it promotes some type of leftist agenda or a leftist identity. (Sorry, I don’t mean to offend those who identify as a leftist. I wasn’t born in the 60s/70s, therefore my liberalism is probably much more conservative.)

    Maybe she feels that the “right” is just using feminism to get at Julian Assange in some sort of Palin-like scenerio, but I don’t think Wikileaks is a Left v. Right issue. Also, even if she did feel like that, she could just say that and not dig herself a bigger hole.

  54. Michael Crichton
    Michael Crichton January 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm |

    Sheelzebub :
    The reason why most media outlets won’t release the names is not becuase the ladies are embarassed or weak or cowardly, FFS. It’s because all too often, they aren’t just disbelieved, they are actively put in danger when their names are released.

    It’s important to note that the media doesn’t show this restraint out of the goodness of their hearts, it’s because they fear legal consequences. If not for the risk of lawsuits or the very rare criminal prosecutions, they’d be publishing victims names even more often than they do now.

  55. David
    David January 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm |

    Personally I think Wolfe has it wrong. If we were going to go about this systematically, I’d prefer to err on the side of not publishing anyone’s names in the papers – accused or accuser – until the outcome of the trial has been established. Quite frankly, nobody needs to know a victim’s name at all and nobody needs to know the name of the accused until something has actually been proven. It’d be a pretty fair way of making sure defendants get a fair shake and accusers aren’t abused and threatened in the way that they so often happen to be.

  56. AngryBush
    AngryBush January 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  57. Danielle
    Danielle January 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm |

    I’m sorry, but I have to take severe umbrage at this post.

    I am a woman, and once called myself a feminist. Unfortunately, my father began to systematically abuse me, starting from exposure at ten, to harassment at thirteen, solicitation at fifteen, and finally molestation, rape, forcible fellatio and sodomy until I left the house at eighteen.

    My feminist friends at the time told me that I was a wimp. But do you know that a man who has served twenty years in the military as a US Army Master Sergeant can snap a sixteen-year-old’s neck in two if he pleases?

    And double if he’s cruel enough to fuck his own daughter! So I don’t know what psychedelic tampons you ladies are using, but get off your high horses and realize that there are women who act better than men. But the chief defenders against my father and for me have been MEN, not WOMEN.

    Grow up and get a goddamned clue.

    P.S.: Brendan is right. Fascistes.

  58. gherkinette
    gherkinette January 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm |

    Have you heard that Naomi Wolf is now saying she’s been the victim of two previous attempted rapes? She outed herself last night on the BBC World Service while I was debating with her.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00ctvtd#synopsis

    She appears to have reported one, but frankly she was so busy contradicting herself on everything, it was hard to tell if this was a definite.

    If this is the case, she should know all the better just how damn hard rape reporting is even with anonymity. At this point she’s just so desperate to get Julian Assange to like her since he’s the cool boy in school right now that she’ll throw any one in the class to the lions soon as look at them…

  59. Nahida
    Nahida January 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm |

    It was a lousy example on my part Sheelzebub, but I still stand by not telling people what they are or aren’t.

    On top of that, Naomi Wolf’s previous contributions like The Beauty Myth… well, it relieved me when I first read it, and it’s hard to believe that she’s really betrayed everything feminist. It seems surreal. And I’m still hoping that she is having a massive, MASSIVE brain fart, and that she’ll come around and apologize to everyone she’s offended and for how very, very wrong she was.

  60. makomk
    makomk January 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm |

    matlun: the women in the Assange case aren’t anonymous if you know where to look. Still makes it hard to figure out what’s going on unless you do a lot of digging, and causes a huge nuisance for anyone wanting to discuss the case.

    Nahida: Not just that, but it’s interesting to see who does actually get accused of not actually being feminist, and for which things such accusations are verboten. The “you’re not a feminist” attack seems to be limited to stuff that affects a particular kind of white cis woman in a particular set of acceptable ways. Successfully lobby for trans women not to have access to rape counselling or domestic violence shelters? Still a feminist. Use violence against other women for having sex in ways you disapprove of? Ditto.

    javier sandoval: a lot of the more politically effective feminist ideas build heavily on pre-feminist ideas of gender. There’s an argument to be made that anonymity in rape cases is one of those, that it’s founded on Victorian ideas of female gender and sexuality. (In fact, a lot of feminist thought seems to assume Victorian ideas are somehow universal.)

    Sheelzebub: on the other hand, suspects are still named despite the fact that all this and more tends to happen to them and continue to happen to them even if they’re acquitted. In fact, I think there have even been campaigns to continue to allow this precisely so this kind of mob tactic can continue. (I suspect that, if this were ever to happen to a female suspect, things would change pretty quickly. How society treats its criminals is hugely gendered.)

  61. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm |

    David, please explain why any woman should give a crap about a defendant in a rape case. It may have escaped you, but women don’t usually report rape for giggles, so chances are he’s guilty. Even if he isn’t found guilty by a court, that should be a signal for any woman in a rape defendant’s life to drop him like a hot potato, no matter what her relationship to him is.

  62. James Landrith
    James Landrith January 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm |

    Sheelzebub,

    I went public on my own rape that had occurred 18 years prior. The victim-blaming, harassment and outright mockery put me into all day panic attacks for weeks. It has taken nearly 3 years to get to the point where I can tolerate callous individuals commenting or joking without the PTSD spiking out of control. At one point, an online stalker warned me that if I were smart, I’d never name the woman who drugged and raped me.

    Having endured what I have, I completely understand why the majority of rape survivors don’t report and why only a tiny minority speak out publicly. Naming victims would seriously hinder even the minority of survivors who report now from coming forward.

    I’ve paid a price for my advocacy and public speaking. I wouldn’t turn back the clock and undo it as I’ve heard from too many people who felt validated and less alone, but I can’t pretend it didn’t leave some new scars I now have to tend.

  63. makomk
    makomk January 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm |

    javier sandoval: see, that blog post is very much what I mean when I say that some reasons for calling feminists non-feminists are treated as more valid than others. At least two of the three feminists on the list – Gloria Steinem and Germaine Greer – were and are huge, unapologetic contributors to transphobia within feminism. Germaine Greer wrote a transphobic piece in the Guardian at least as recently as this summer. Yet there was no campaign to accuse them of betraying feminism, nor was there when Julie Bindel insisted trans women should have no access to rape-related services and had her wishes granted by the UK government. There was no sudden wave of feminists rushing to denounce them and pressure everyone else to; in fact, the exact opposite happened and continues to happen, with people being pressured to shut up and not kick up a fuss in order to remain within feminism. Harriet’s analogy falls flat on its face for this and other reasons.

  64. Jadey
    Jadey January 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm |

    Danielle: So I don’t know what psychedelic tampons you ladies are using, but get off your high horses and realize that there are women who act better than men. But the chief defenders against my father and for me have been MEN, not WOMEN.

    Danielle, your feminist friends were wrong. Unequivocally and horrifically wrong, and I am so sorry for what happened to you – it was also horrifically wrong and in no way your fault or a product of who you are. Only your abuser is to blame for his abuse of you. I am also very glad that there were people in your life who did stand up for you and help you, and I hope those people are always part of your life, and that people like your feminist friends are few and far between. Those friends are definitely not representative of all feminists (although just identifying as a feminist doesn’t protect any of us from behaving like an asshole and a misogynist).

    That being said, there are also many women (and men) here who have also experienced violent abuses at the hands of men (and women), and I don’t think we can be characterized as using “psychedelic tampons” or being on high horses or not having a clue. Some of us have been protected by men, some of us have been protected by women, some of us have been hurt and protected by both, or neither. The vast majority of us here would never call you weak for being abused by a person with such physical and social power over you, and the few that might would be roundly rebuked and banned* if they tried to, which is part of the importance of having a moderated blog.

    *I’m not a mod – I’m assuming based on the comment policy and past speedy actions of the mods here.

  65. e y p
    e y p January 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm |

    GallingGalla: Wait, what’s so bad about Tim Wise? Is this all about having a public career? Presumably if he was doing the same work entirely within academia it wouldn’t be a problem. Or would it… academia is a career too. Why is or isn’t it wrong to make money in academia, and why is it wrong to take that show on the road? There are a lot of things I’ve learned from Tim Wise, and if his time was wholly consumed by bagging groceries then I wouldn’t have learned those things. I don’t see how we’re supposed to educate people if no one is supposed to make a living doing public education.

  66. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm |

    There’s an argument to be made that anonymity in rape cases is one of those, that it’s founded on Victorian ideas of female gender and sexuality.

    Except of course that many people support rape shields not just to protect women but also to protect men and non-gender binary people. I think privileged women (by which I mean cis, white, not poor, etc), very generally, receive much better treatment when coming out about rape than, for example, men. A good friend of mine was permanently disabled by a severe assault after he reported being raped by his high school coach. The coach on the other hand still has his job 10 years and who knows how many more victims later.

    makomk: suspects are still named despite the fact that all this and more tends to happen to them and continue to happen to them even if they’re acquitted. In fact, I think there have even been campaigns to continue to allow this precisely so this kind of mob tactic can continue.

    Yes, Bryant, Roethlisberger & Polanski are assaulted and reviled whenever they leave the house.

  67. David
    David January 8, 2011 at 7:04 pm |

    Politicalguineapig:
    David, please explain why any woman should give a crap about a defendant in a rape case.nbsp; 

    There are plenty of men who have gone to prison for decades for rape and only later been exonerated by DNA evidence. I’m for protecting everyone (accuser and accused) until guilt has been proven. If you want to promote a culture of vigilantism and violence (like in your post above, where you were joking about feminist hitmen), go ahead. At least put it above board and say what you mean.

  68. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm |

    makomk: on the other hand, suspects are still named despite the fact that all this and more tends to happen to them and continue to happen to them even if they’re acquitted. In fact, I think there have even been campaigns to continue to allow this precisely so this kind of mob tactic can continue.

    Orly? Sources where we can weep for all the men who were falsely accused of rape and had to deal with horrible social repercussions that are in line with what Sheelzebub described?

    @Danielle, I’m signing on with Jadey. None of my jerk female friends described themselves as feminists, so I don’t understand quite what you went through (and also, my experiences weren’t on going, before I turned 18, or with a family member), but my heart goes out to you. I hope you know that you did absolutely nothing wrong (and even if you do, it really bears repeating), and I hope that wherever you are, you’re safe now and know that you’re not alone. You’ll be in my thoughts tonight, at least.

    @James, thanks for your work.

  69. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 8, 2011 at 8:44 pm |

    makomk: Nahida: Not just that, but it’s interesting to see who does actually get accused of not actually being feminist, and for which things such accusations are verboten. The “you’re not a feminist” attack seems to be limited to stuff that affects a particular kind of white cis woman in a particular set of acceptable ways. Successfully lobby for trans women not to have access to rape counselling or domestic violence shelters? Still a feminist. Use violence against other women for having sex in ways you disapprove of? Ditto.

    BING-FUCKING-O. Janice Raymond, Germaine Greer, Julie Bindel, and I have no fucking clue how many other feminists get to keep their feminist cards even when the call for our (trans women) elimination.

  70. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla January 8, 2011 at 8:57 pm |

    e y p: GallingGalla: Wait, what’s so bad about Tim Wise? Is this all about having a public career? Presumably if he was doing the same work entirely within academia it wouldn’t be a problem. Or would it… academia is a career too. Why is or isn’t it wrong to make money in academia, and why is it wrong to take that show on the road? There are a lot of things I’ve learned from Tim Wise, and if his time was wholly consumed by bagging groceries then I wouldn’t have learned those things. I don’t see how we’re supposed to educate people if no one is supposed to make a living doing public education.  

    Here, have a read.

    Now, let’s end the derail, eh?

  71. PM
    PM January 8, 2011 at 9:06 pm |

    I don’t really buy what I can only term the “No True Feminist” argument. Feminists are people; people make mistakes. It’s great that Jill and others on the blogosphere have called Wolf on her shit. And damn, is it shit. But to just say, “Nope, not a feminist” when a self-proclaimed feminist says something shitty smacks of intellectual dishonesty.

    That said, rape and assault victims deserve an apology from her. Big time.

  72. April
    April January 9, 2011 at 1:32 am |

    LOL–

    As I was searching through Feministe archives for an article completely unrelated to this entire thing, I came across a post Jill wrote, discussing the negative reviews Full Frontal Feminism was getting.

    Criticism is one thing, and I’m not arguing that Jessica’s book should be immune to it. I think that many of the criticisms of the cover have been valid, even if I don’t necessarily agree. But I think we cross the line when we call Jessica a “whore to the patriarchy” or “a feminist version of Ann Coulter.”

    I just think it’s funny that now, both Wolf and Valenti have been compared to Ann Coulter. What on earth do we think of Ann Coulter if both Naomi Wolf and Jessica Valenti are comparable to her?

    /LOL

  73. David
    David January 9, 2011 at 1:51 am |

    @April

    Yeah, that’s slightly ironic.

  74. Michael Crichton
    Michael Crichton January 9, 2011 at 2:46 am |

    Makmk: <i<on the other hand, suspects are still named despite the fact that all this and more tends to happen to them and continue to happen to them even if they’re acquitted.

    How often does this really happen? IANAE, but it seems to me that if a suspect is even remotely sympathetic seeming, people tend to bend over backwards to make excuses for them. It’s only the suspects who are otherwise already low on the social totem pole who get ostracized.

  75. Michael Crichton
    Michael Crichton January 9, 2011 at 3:45 am |

    Ack, screwed up formatting. That should have been:

    Makmk: on the other hand, suspects are still named despite the fact that all this and more tends to happen to them and continue to happen to them even if they’re acquitted.

    How often does this really happen? IANAE, but it seems to me that if a suspect is even remotely sympathetic seeming, people tend to bend over backwards to make excuses for them. It’s only the suspects who are otherwise already low on the social totem pole who get ostracized.

  76. Tony
    Tony January 9, 2011 at 4:07 am |

    I hate to use an overuse phrase, but Naomi Wolf jumped the shark a long time ago. Let’s recap. Back in the stone ages (1990), Naomi Wolf was a young, up and coming writer with a massive hit. She did some legitimately good work in the Beauty Myth. This inspired her to write more books, including Fire with Fire, Promiscuities, and Misconceptions. Each got less and less success. By mid-decade she was a has-been. She had probably spent all the money she made off Beauty Myth and still had bills to pay.

    Then she started writing and lecturing on Progressive stuff, not necessarily feminist stuff, such as Letters to a Young Patriot. It’s a success! Suddenly, she matters again, she gets attention again. She makes money again. And she can even leverage her reputation as a feminist for “cred.” Only she knows that her bread is now buttered on that side, not this side. She’s not fading into respectable obscurity like Susan Faludi, Bell Hooks, Erica Jong or many others. She’s a professional. Whether she believes what she writes doesn’t matter, it’s in her contract that she’s paid based on how many hits she generates, how many books she sells. In short she has sold out. And the thing is she probably thinks that makes her smarter, more mature, than everyone who didn’t.

  77. sho
    sho January 9, 2011 at 5:16 am |

    i didn’t think she could fall any lower after her ‘debate’ with jaclyn on democracynow, but this is just plain ridiculous. Please let her not be taken seriously. (does anyone take ann coulter seriously?)

  78. makomk
    makomk January 9, 2011 at 6:34 am |

    Except of course that many people support rape shields not just to protect women but also to protect men and non-gender binary people.

    No, they really don’t. There are a lot of people who are theoretically happy that rape shield laws protect hypothetical cis men. It’s when they start dealing with cis male rape victims as actual real people that were actually raped that they suddenly start balking. (Female victims are often treated in a similar way – the difference is that for male victims, this happens within the feminist community and within the various anti-rape advocacy organizations as well.)

    There’s a reason I specified cis male victims above – for trans men it’s a lot more complicated. They do seem to be treated as genuine rape victims more often, but on the other hand that usually seems to be because they’re effectively treated as women. This probably isn’t a good thing. (As for non-gender binary people, that’s another can of worms entirely.)

    Yes, Bryant, Roethlisberger & Polanski are assaulted and reviled whenever they leave the house.

    Believe it or not – and this may shock you – not all men are actually equal, and some men are far less equal than others.

    Michael Crichton: as far as I can tell, the “bending over to make excuses” mostly happens for “date” rape (scare quotes intended) where the male accused is known to the people making excuses, is otherwise respectable, and doesn’t move in circles where being accused of rape is a sufficient mark of evil in itself. The more successful feminism is, the more likely male rape suspects are to be treated badly even after acquittal – which means that your justification for why this isn’t a problem could only work if feminism was unsuccessful and was doomed to remain so forever.

    There are in fact also a fair few cases of this happening already to respectable-other-than-the-allegations men, but I’d really prefer not to link to the Daily Mail and none of the other national news organizations make a fuss about it. (The local ones mention it, but it’s a pain to find historical articles from them.)

  79. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 9, 2011 at 10:28 am |

    makomk: “bending over to make excuses” mostly happens for “date” rape (scare quotes intended)

    Oh, for 90% of rapists then?

  80. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 9, 2011 at 10:29 am |

    Also, can you please send us references for that other 10%?

  81. e y p
    e y p January 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm |

    Now, let’s end the derail, eh? – GallingGalla

    You derailed by bringing up Tim Wise. If you’re going to bring up something off-topic, you can’t complain when someone asks you about it. Be glad; you obviously wanted this opportunity to tear down Wise in a thread about Wolf, and I gave you an opening. And you can’t demand that people not respond, just so that you can get the last word in.

    The link you provide from Ewuare Xola Osayande makes reasonable points about Wise’s white privilege and the advantages it bestows upon him. Wise acknowledges this:

    I fit the aesthetic that is needed, on too many campuses and in too many communities around the country, in order to come in and to give this talk. Nothing that I am going to say tonight, or at least very little, originated in my head. Nothing, or at least very little, of what I say tonight is in fact new. Almost every single thing that I am going to say this evening is wisdom that has been shared with me either patiently or sometimes not so patiently by people of color, who have in almost every instance forgotten more about the subjects of racism and white privilege since breakfast yesterday than I will likely ever know.

    And yet they will not be asked to give 85 engagements around the country this year or next on this subject. Not because they have not the wisdom to do it, but because privilege, the subject that I’ll deal with tonight, bestows upon me that advantage. And so as a matter of responsibility and accountability I have to own that up front … and when you go away from here thinking that I have filled your heads with all this great knowledge and wisdom, please know that it is not mine. And the next time you hear it from a person of color, the next time it is shared with you — for those in the audience particularly who are white, the next time is is shared with you — by a person of color, as it will be and as it has been in one form or another, please listen to it. And please know that it is from that source that I get virtually all of my material. We will know that we have made progress only on that day when a person of color can get up and give the talk that I’m about to give, and be taken half as seriously as I expect to be taken.

    But it’s worth noting that Osayande is also a professional activist, who “make[s] significant money (as in, enough to earn a living) from their writing or whatever”. I don’t think that discredits Osayande, but by your own standard, you should.

    Osayande seems to think that if Wise wasn’t working, there would be more work for Osayande. But that does not follow. Institutions which find Wise unthreatening would not suddenly find Osayande more palatable if Wise was gone. These institutions would be happy to ignore Osayande either way.

    In those cases where the choice is Tim Wise or nothing, the question is whether Tim Wise is better than nothing. That’s a fair question, but I’d say yes, because there are people learning from Wise who would not be learning anything from anyone otherwise.

  82. Radfem
    Radfem January 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm |

    No, the media doesn’t do omissions out of the goodness of the heart (if it even had one) but for legal reasons.

    I think it should be up to the choice of the survivor. In some cases, it’s much riskier than others, including where the perpetrator is high-profile, wealthy or in law enforcement. When lawsuits are filed by survivors then the names do go public then. But having covered rape trials involving LE officers, the victim’s names weren’t mentioned even during the trial. With LE in particular, it’s hard to even get women who’s been “driving while female”, and not sexually assaulted to bring those complaints forward for the same reasons that many rape survivors don’t want to have their names released.

    The last rape by the color of authority (as it’s called) trial I covered about a year ago really sobered me after the testimony of sexist behavior that came out with regards to one survivor’s case. The past year and all the scandals which erupted (all of which I think fed into the sexist, misogynist culture particularly at the top of the department) I think was like a release valve to that but as for making changes, I would think much more would have to be done.

    I agree with sheelzebub,

  83. Radfem
    Radfem January 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm |

    I’m kind of a lapsed feminist I guess but it took me some time to remember who Naomi Wolf even was. I don’t know if I’d compare her to Ann Coulter but yeah, a lot of the “media chosen” feminists have somewhat drifted away from their roots.

    Feminism’s changed enormously since Wolf’s day. She just didn’t change with it.

  84. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm |

    makomk: No, they really don’t. There are a lot of people who are theoretically happy that rape shield laws protect hypothetical cis men. It’s when they start dealing with cis male rape victims as actual real people that were actually raped that they suddenly start balking.

    Evidence? Proof? The people I work with have argued for the enforcement of rape shield laws for precisely that purpose. So unless you are in a better position to judge our motives…I’m going to have to say this is bullshit.

    makomk: Believe it or not – and this may shock you – not all men are actually equal, and some men are far less equal than others.

    I could provide you with names of non-famous people but then you wouldn’t know them. I have never personally encountered a case where being accused and acquitted of the rape of an adult person lead to harassment and assault. I’ve never seen it lead to the loss of a job, the loss of a house, or even the loss of potential dating partners. You give me some statistics on the loss of income due to a rape allegation that does not lead to conviction and maybe I’ll believe you. But right now you’re just spewing shit that contradicts more than a decade of working with rape victims.

  85. makomk
    makomk January 9, 2011 at 4:54 pm |

    Evidence? Proof? The people I work with have argued for the enforcement of rape shield laws for precisely that purpose.

    Of course they have. You will notice that completely fails to contradict any of what I was actually saying. What’s their attitude actual, specific men that are actually raped? How do they deal with male victims who need more than just laws that benefit female victims, who are looking for counseling or even just the ability to report their crimes to the police without being laughed out the station?

    (Would have more specific links demonstrating exactly what I mean, but I’ve been out of the loop for a white and they’ll take some time to find again.)

    You give me some statistics on the loss of income due to a rape allegation that does not lead to conviction and maybe I’ll believe you.

    Unlikely, for exactly the same reason as you haven’t quoted any such statistics: they haven’t been collected, and anyone who’s in a position to do so doesn’t care enough to actually do it. After all, they’re accused of rape and they’re male.

  86. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 9, 2011 at 5:06 pm |

    David: Considering the sorry state of the justice system wrt rape victims, why yes, I do think vigilantism would work better.

  87. David
    David January 9, 2011 at 9:32 pm |

    Politicalguineapig:
    David: Considering the sorry state of the justice system wrt rape victims, why yes, I do think vigilantism would work better.  

    Walk the talk then. Just don’t blame me when you get arrested for your impromptu street-flavor justice.

  88. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig January 9, 2011 at 11:19 pm |

    If my only choices are to go on trial for vigilantism or end up being persecuted and blamed for my own rape, then I’m going to take the one that gives me some dignity. And those are the only two choices, sadly.

  89. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. January 10, 2011 at 12:49 am |

    makomk: What’s their attitude actual, specific men that are actually raped? How do they deal with male victims who need more than just laws that benefit female victims, who are looking for counseling or even just the ability to report their crimes to the police without being laughed out the station?

    Well considering that I personally have provided counseling and later legal assistance to cis male rape victims through these organizations without anyone even noting their gender identity, I would say my original statement stands. There are many people who support rape shield laws because they protect all rape victims, including men.

    makomk: Unlikely, for exactly the same reason as you haven’t quoted any such statistics: they haven’t been collected, and anyone who’s in a position to do so doesn’t care enough to actually do it. After all, they’re accused of rape and they’re male. makomk

    Except that you’re contradicting significant observational data. If you want to contradict years of experience working with rape victims and accused rapists then you need to provide a higher quality of data.

  90. jeffliveshere
    jeffliveshere January 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm |

    Jadey: *mourns the passing of yet another unwelcomed and unwanted obnoxious commenter*Brendan, you will be forgotten immediately and replaced even faster.  

    Who?

  91. Marie
    Marie January 10, 2011 at 5:03 pm |

    I’m with the others who are gravely disappointed in Naomi Wolf, because I too loved The Beauty Myth.

    Is Wolf a rape victim? If not, she should keep her mouth shut about outing the victims’ names. As a victim of sexual assault as a child, I have told many of my close family and friends, but I’ve not gone public. I recently had a traumatic experience after being called for jury duty, and it brought up all sorts of PTSD from the incident 33 years ago (!). Wolf clearly has no idea how much trauma is associated with going public after rape or sexual assault.

    She is clueless. I agree that she’s just trying to be obnoxious to revive her career.

  92. Blacky
    Blacky January 11, 2011 at 7:48 am |

    I don’t know about this, I’ve met some pretty sexist guys who say they are feminists and I’m afraid that I can’t help but call shenanigans.  

    You ot that wrong.
    Being sexist is an integral part of being a feminist.

  93. Azalea
    Azalea January 11, 2011 at 10:15 am |

    matlun: As to her basic point (as I understand it), it is at least somewhat interesting. By so systematically treating rape survivors as victims and damaged, do we risk just reinforcing their victimhood? I actually agree with her that in an ideal world rape shield laws would not exist. We should be able to treat sex crimes in the same way as any other crime and there should be no special shame attaching to the victim for these crimes. However we do not live in that ideal world.  (Quote this comment?)

    BINGO! While I do not agree that doing away with rape shield laws are the answer, I do think automatic anonymity is oh so awesome either. I was raped, the notion that rape victims’ identities must be witheld did nothing more for me than internalize the idea that I had something to hide, to be ashamed of, that I couldn’t let anyone know that it had happened to ME and the idea of going into a police station and revealing myself as a rape victim was much scarier than telling a friend or family member and just hoping they would go to police for me. I was a teenager. Fast forward now and I have spoken to women, adult women who have been taught that there is no shame in being a rape victim who want nothing more than to be anonymous about rape but would defiantly tell the world about any other crime committed against them if they survived to tell the story. You have to ask, why is that? I think anonymity should be a choice and not an automatic assumption that the victim would feel shamed if anyone knew her identity because you’re essentially telling rape victims how they should feel, ashamed.

  94. On holding sites accountable for sexism « Holly Richmond's scintillating thoughts

    [...] Guardian also mentions the ridiculous Naomi Wolf piece in which Wolf (who Feministe dubs “the Ann Coulter of feminism”) argues against the anonymity of rape victims. (Oh right! [...]

  95. Interesting posts, weekend of catching up « Feminists with Female Sexual Dysfunction

    [...] the nature of the allegations. Also that the names of accusers of rape should be published. What? That also sounds like an absolutely terrible idea. This is a big, though not necessarily surprising, disappointment from within a feminist [...]

  96. Julian Real
    Julian Real January 17, 2011 at 2:04 pm |

    With apologies to anyone who has responded to this point. I have not read over the all the comments. But I have read many, including the last few.

    So, first, to Azalea:
    If some women do feel non-anonymity is another form of grossly exploited over-exposure, of violation, and the creation of a more hostile environment in which to bring charges against their attackers and assaulters, ought not the ability to choose be left in the hands of the survivors, such as yourself? Are you making a case that legally ensuring survivors don’t endure the abuses that publicity often generates and fuels, creates more shame in those of us who are survivors (I am a survivor of child sexual assault, child molestation, and a form incest; my mother was probably incested as a girl and was definitely raped as a woman; most female family members are survivors of incest and a few also of rape in adulthood) than the removal of that legal right? I personally find sexual assault, terrorism, violation, and humiliation far more shaming than the fact that I can decide whether or not I wish to have my name released to the media. Any charges I bring against anyone are not and may not be done anonymously. I must give my name. As do any and all survivors who report the assault/abuse.

    I will now address and earlier commenter:
    Hi Nathan,

    I am concerned by the assumptions I hear in the questions you are raising. I’ll respond to several portions of what Wolf and you wrote that you posted as a comment above.

    “Anonymity serves institutions that do not want to prosecute rapists.” (N. Wolf)

    Lack of anonymity more effectively serves institutions that do not want to prosecute rapists. Of the two choices, public anonymity vs. publicnon-anonymity, one allows survivors to choose whether or not it is in their best interests to reveal their name to the public; the other doesn’t.

    As mentioned in my response to Azalea above, no one can legally anonymously bring charges against someone for raping them. So the only issue here is who gets to have access to that information, not whether or not legal authorities have it.

    “In the US military, for instance, the shielding of accusers’ identities allows officials to evade responsibility for transparent reporting of assaults – and thus not to prosecute sex crimes systematically.” (N. Wolf)

    This appears to me to be a woefully ignorant assessment of why it is rape is not prosecuted in the U.S. military. Let’s keep in mind that many survivors of rape by U.S. men who are soldiers are “foreign” women and girls, often also murdered. A percentage of the raped are also female U.S. soldiers and women who are in the lives of male soldiers. Rape, like murder, is part of what the military teaches men to do. It won’t prosecute rape appropriately or systematically because it thrives on rapist ethics and practices. Rape is part of warfare for a reason–because it is effective as a means of terrorising and subordinating the “enemy”. I recommend reading chapter one of “Conquest” by Andrea Smith for more understanding of rape as a tool of genocidal warfare. That Wolf pretends the military has any interest whatsoever in prosecuting rape systematically shows a glaring lack of insight into what the U.S. military exists to do, with or without international human rights law and policy on its side. The issue is that the U.S. military protects the anonymity of its trained and paid rapists.

    “The same is true with universities. My alma mater, Yale, used anonymity to sweep incidents under the carpet for two decades. Charges made anonymously are not taken as seriously as charges brought in public.” (N. Wolf)

    Wolf is one of the most privileged U.S. women to ever make feminist arguments, and therefore speaks without personal-visceral-cultural experience of what it means to survive rape in the contexts in which most women experience, endure, and respond to rape as a raced and gendered atrocity perpetrated at least 90% of the time by men, against women and girls disproportionately; perpetrated at least 80% of the time by U.S. white men when the survivors are American Indian women and girls. Charges made by women, generally, are not taken seriously. On college campuses, it is often known, in some student, faculty, and staff circles, who it is that brings the charges. We have witnessed how women who publicly challenge the rights of men to have unwelcomed and unwanted sexual access to women using force, coercion, drugs, alcohol, or by any means necessary, have no protection from further abuses, threats, and violations.

    I remember meeting with security officials and our college chancellor over the rape and sexual assault statistics published on campus – which basically said such things never happened there. The fact that there weren’t any faces and names available made it difficult to get changes made both in reporting and in campus safety policies. And I have no doubt this happens in the military as well. Individual cases might be resolved, but the culture of the institution doesn’t have to change. (Nathan)

    This also shows little to no understanding of what racist patriarchal institutions like the Academy and the Military exist to do. They exist to promote the welfare and well-being of U.S. white het men. First and foremost. College personnel have access to the names of those who have brought charges; they choose to ignore them. They do this because they see it as not in their financial interests to alert prospective students that rape occurs on campus. They do this because they don’t wish to “alarm” other women on campus that rape occurs, systematically. Their motives are entirely self-serving and aren’t due to not being able to publicly release the names of those who report rape.

    So, while I agree that the media is entirely unreliable at best when it comes to handling rape and assault cases, I do wonder if anonymity for individual victims protects them, but ends up potentially limiting the ability to get cultural/institutional shifts to occur. (Nathan)

    Nathan, do you understand why and how rape occurs in the U.S.? Do you get that media’s function, if corporate, is to support racism and misogyny, and all forms of terrorism, not challenge them? The corporate/dominant media is entirely reliable in not supporting ending rape, in not supporting challenging the status quo in any regard whatsoever, unless that status quo somehow, rarely, impinges on the civil liberties of racist, misogynist het men, and even then we have the gool ol’ ACLU to defend them against those dreaded HaShoah survivors (vs. Neo-Nazis), terrorised African Americans (vs. the KKK), and women and girls raped systematically in the pornography industry (vs. the likes of rich woman-silencing pimps like Larry Flynt and Hugh Hefner).

    I don’t have a clear answer here. Nor would I want anonymity policies to just disappear, as Wolf seems to be arguing for. I just think it’s worth considering the ways in which anonymity functions, and whether that might be producing some unintended consequences. (Nathan)

    I encourage you to examine the function of anonymity of the structurally powerful/enfranchised/privileged/advantages/entitled, as a tool for maintaining all manner of perpetration of atrocity: rapist, genocidal, racist, heterosexist, capitalist, ecocidal, and misogynistic. “Anonymity” is what CEOs, COOs, and CFOs usually have, what corporate pimps have, what military leaders have, what the rich who put their taxable money in foreign bank accounts have, what racists and rapists have, most of the time, almost all of the time. So why do you focus on the anonymity of survivors of rape when anonymity is most frequently a tool of the White Master to protect his political interests and power?

    Let’s not forget, Academies protect the names, reputations, and personhood of the accused, of the rapers on campus, and it is generally women who name their rapers on campus who end up dropping out of college, not the rapers, when charges are ignored or are handled with planned, institutionalised irresponsibility.

    I support what Sheezlebub and Radfem have written above.

  97. Julian Real
    Julian Real January 17, 2011 at 2:06 pm |

    I apologise for the text in bold in my first comment. I didn’t intentionally code any of the text to be in bold, only some of it in italics. (Julian)

  98. RD
    RD January 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm |

    But Azalea and matlun,
    There is also shame – more shame I think – attached to being damaged from all this stuff. Society’s view is, “get over it, and if you can’t, I don’t want to know.”

  99. snobographer
    snobographer January 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm |

    @Danielle, I’m signing on with Jadey. None of my jerk female friends described themselves as feminists, so I don’t understand quite what you went through (and also, my experiences weren’t on going, before I turned 18, or with a family member), but my heart goes out to you.

    It’s probably not news to anybody here that some very non-feminist women call themselves feminists. I’ve known several who appropriate the word to advocate for their own advancement and to pat themselves on the back for their accomplishments, while clinging to essentialist bullshit and dumping on women who aren’t as “strong, sexy, and fearless” (or whatever empowerful nonsense is in vogue that week) as they like to think they are.

  100. snobographer
    snobographer January 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm |

    Blacky:
    You ot that wrong.
    Being sexist is an integral part of being a feminist. &nbsp

    I know you all really wish you were oppressed, but there’s no such thing as sexism against men. No racism against white people either. Nor is “heterophobia” a real thing. Next you guys are going to come up with “disabled privilege.” Shit doesn’t roll uphill.

  101. junk
    junk January 18, 2011 at 2:41 am |

    Oh geez. Do not read the comments on that Guardian article. I always do that and it is always so unbelievably depressing. Her comparison to Wilde at the end of her article is quite possibly the worst analogy I have ever read in my life.

  102. Naomi Wolf: this is what a feminist does NOT look like : The Hathor Legacy

    [...] Feministe suggests, she really is just trolling at this point. I wouldn’t let this woman’s comments through here at Hathor if she said anything like [...]

  103. auspiciousbunny
    auspiciousbunny January 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm |

    I think she has a disease which unfortunately has become highly contagious among ambitious women. Equivocation.

    I am a teacher– and I’m sorry to say that while there are many strong and independent young women in my college, there are now far too many who are (frighteningly) sophisticated at the art of equivocating. They see this is the way to “get ahead,” and learn the skill from older successful women, such as Wolf and even people like Sarah Palin. Unfortunately, there are still persuasive economic rewards for betraying what is in the best interest of women. At this point it seems Wolf is perpetuating this state of affairs.

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