Author: has written 5273 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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49 Responses

  1. Archie
    Archie February 16, 2012 at 11:22 pm |

    Drivel. Nonsense.

  2. law talking girl
    law talking girl February 16, 2012 at 11:24 pm |

    That article confuzzled me.

  3. Seth Eag
    Seth Eag February 16, 2012 at 11:49 pm |

    The purpose of lifting the left’s Potemkin skirts is not to score tits for tats.

    Any connoisseur of awful writing would have to admit that this ranks among the greats. There’s the mediocrity that comes naturally and then there’s the kind you really, really have to work for.

  4. eoghan01
    eoghan01 February 16, 2012 at 11:50 pm |

    Two minutes of my life that I can never have back, thanks to Mr. Poulos.

  5. Donna L
    Donna L February 16, 2012 at 11:57 pm |

    Incomprehensible.

    As far as I can tell, though, the author is actually attempting to convey that he’s an essentialist second wave feminist:

    Ironically, one of the best places to look for a way out of the impasse is the strain of left feminism that insists an inherently unique female “voice” actually exists. That’s a claim about nature. Much good would come from a broader recognition that women have a privileged relationship with the natural world. That’s a relationship which must receive its social due — if masculinity in its inherent and imitative varieties (including imitation by quasi-feminized males of quasi-masculinized females!) is not to conquer the world.

    In other words, it’s all about the moon and the tides.

    Maybe he’d enjoy The Vagina Monologues?

  6. EG
    EG February 17, 2012 at 12:08 am |

    Hmm. I’ve been trying and trying to make a baby, but somehow instead I keep teaching and writing and playing with my godson (not the same thing!) instead. Maybe I’m using the wrong parts? But why would I have parts that aren’t part of baby-making? The whole thing is a conundrum.

    women have a privileged relationship with the natural world

    Heh. I think this bozo should meet me and my mother, native New Yorkers both of us. I think that our relationship to the natural world can best be summed up in the following dialogue:

    “Is that a…waterbug? EW EW EW. KILL IT!”
    [smash]
    “Ew. Yuck.”
    [pause]
    “It’s really nice out today. Want to go to Central Park?”

  7. EG
    EG February 17, 2012 at 12:20 am |

    Any connoisseur of awful writing would have to admit that this ranks among the greats.

    See, I find it a little too forced to be really one of the greats. As an English professor, I see a lot of really terrible writing, and the best of it has a certain je ne sais quoi, an ease about it that marks it as truly terrible. This is so stilted, it’s less bad writing than it is meaningless tripe, perhaps even an exercise in surrealist mad libs.

    What’s more distressing about the excerpt you quoted is that the writer apparently thinks that tits are to be found under skirts. One can only wonder about his experiences.

  8. Donna L
    Donna L February 17, 2012 at 12:30 am |

    You make me laugh, EG. A good thing, what with all the horrifying wretchedness that seems to be everywhere these days. (Including in some of the comments here, at least lately!)

  9. thinksnake
    thinksnake February 17, 2012 at 4:04 am |

    The purpose of lifting the left’s Potemkin skirts is not to score tits for tats.

    I keep looking at this sentence, and haven’t got the foggiest idea of what he’s on about. Potemkin skirt? Is this a thing? I don’t understand what ‘what women are for’ has to do with a confidant of Catherine the Great, a battleship or an uprising.

  10. thinksnake
    thinksnake February 17, 2012 at 4:08 am |

    And after doing a google search, all the results were to do with this article. So I am none the wiser.

  11. Elsa
    Elsa February 17, 2012 at 7:11 am |

    Dear lord, that is some of the most atrocious writing I’ve ever seen. By the end I wasn’t even sure what point he was arguing for anymore. But I’m glad to know that us ladies have a special relationship with nature. One does wonder though, where he thinks men came from since they evidently aren’t part of nature.

  12. jennifer
    jennifer February 17, 2012 at 7:43 am |

    To the menstruation huts, where we can properly consider our privileged relationship to the natural world! Unless we’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or actively trying to get pregnant–where we’re, you know, actively fulfilling that relationship.

    It’s odd that these jagoffs don’t get the implication of their own argument that if men really need women to “civilize” them, then perhaps they aren’t suited for the leadership roles they so disproportionately occupy.

  13. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date February 17, 2012 at 7:51 am |

    In a simpler time Sigmund Freud struggled to understand what women want.

    Ah yes, the good old simple times of Europe in the first several decades of the 20th century.

  14. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated February 17, 2012 at 8:11 am |

    It’s one more incoherent diatribe in support of compulsory pregnancy. The writing style brings the phrase “batsh*t crazy” to mind.

  15. EG
    EG February 17, 2012 at 8:12 am |

    Freud was many laudable things–highly intelligent, a compelling writer, darkly witty–but understanding of women’s various situations he was not. In fact, he should go on the shit list for deciding that his many patients were delusional when they told him about being raped by their fathers.

  16. DollHeart
    DollHeart February 17, 2012 at 8:57 am |

    Silly me, why didn’t I know?
    Being a white hetero cis-male is the default for existing, anything else is a deviation!

  17. DollHeart
    DollHeart February 17, 2012 at 9:02 am |

    In a simpler time Sigmund Freud struggled to understand what women want

    Ah yes. In that simpler time when women stayed in the kitchen, before the internet and other tools of the devil helped them voice their desires.

  18. Athenia
    Athenia February 17, 2012 at 9:35 am |

    To the growing discomfort of many, that framework hasn’t come anywhere close to answering even the most basic questions about what women are for — despite pretty much universal recognition across the political spectrum that a civilization of men, for men, and by men is no civilization at all, a monstrously barbaric, bloody, and brutal enterprise.

    Huh? This dude sounds like a dude who is freaking out once he has learned that life isn’t simple, that once you give women the power to control their lives, it means that he has lost power. YEAH, NO SHIT DUDE. JOIN THE PARTY.

  19. Kristin A
    Kristin A February 17, 2012 at 9:41 am |

    I have to say I didn’t get the Babies thing from reading his article. Moreover, I didn’t get any sense of rational or coherent thought, other than making sure sentence structure worked out OK.

    I am left with the question about his writing: “Huh?”

  20. matlun
    matlun February 17, 2012 at 9:47 am |

    It was painful slogging through that article, but in the end I did not even get Mr Poulos’ answer to the question.

    Did I actually miss it in all the drivel?

  21. Karen
    Karen February 17, 2012 at 9:53 am |

    I take comfort in the knowledge that so far, every single comment is against the author. Also, I have an image in my head of Gregory Potemkin, in full powdered wig and tricorn hat, wearing a bra, tulle ballet skirt and covered in biker tats. If only I had some Photoshop skills.

    Finally, can someone help me respond to a comment by Tony Esolen here? He asserts that the PIll has no medical benefits, and I don’t have medical chops to reply to him.

  22. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers February 17, 2012 at 10:14 am |

    Dudes, if women have a privileged relationship to the natural world, *and* if women are the driving force behind civilization, why are you not asking what men are for? It sounds like your argument is, we don’t need you — we’re connected to nature *and* we have the traditionally “human” trait of being able to create networks of cooperating humans who don’t all automatically kill each other, so exactly why don’t you think we should be keeping you guys locked in our bedrooms to move our furniture, sexually satisfy us, give us babies when we want to reproduce, and otherwise spend your time decorating your bodies to look nice for us? Because it sure sounds like, if we’re a civilizing force that men cannot create civilization without *and* we have the connection to nature, then what are *you* for?

    Or, maybe you can stop trying to figure out what we are for, and recognize that we’re not “for” anything any more than you are.

  23. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage February 17, 2012 at 10:20 am |

    He asserts that the PIll has no medical benefits, and I don’t have medical chops to reply to him.

    Preventing unwanted, uncontrolled pregnancy isn’t a medical benefit?

    Is he one of those “slutty sluts should just keep their legs closed” creeps?

  24. Jane
    Jane February 17, 2012 at 10:35 am |

    @ Karen — I don’t know about other medical benefits, but I know several people who started taking the Pill (or some sort of hormonal birth control) at a young age to control extremely painful cramping or violent mood swings related to hormonal changes. My family tends toward endometriosis and really bad periods. I, personally, would classify “makes life less painful” as a medical benefit, but I don’t know if that’s what you’re looking for.

  25. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil February 17, 2012 at 10:43 am |

    He asserts that the PIll has no medical benefits

    Spacing births is healthier for both women and their children. The Pill can also help control other medical conditions, including endometriosis and PCOS and reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

  26. loretta
    loretta February 17, 2012 at 10:59 am |

    There’s only one way to improve that essay: put a match to it.

  27. Matt
    Matt February 17, 2012 at 11:26 am |

    11
    Elsa 2.17.2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Dear lord, that is some of the most atrocious writing I’ve ever seen. By the end I wasn’t even sure what point he was arguing for anymore. But I’m glad to know that us ladies have a special relationship with nature. One does wonder though, where he thinks men came from since they evidently aren’t part of nature.

    Elsa, men were brought into existence by robots from another dimension to fight the good fight for logic and math and visual spatial skills against the tyranny of expressing ones feelings and women’s intuition. As for the existence of the robots, well, philosophy and logic just don’t mix with 2 X chromosomes. I could explain why except we reach the problem of infinite regression given that:
    existence=0;
    if(existence<infinity)
    {
    "philosophy and logic just don't mix with 2 X chromosomes. I could explain why except we reach the problem of infinite regression given that: "
    existence++;
    }

  28. Katherine
    Katherine February 17, 2012 at 11:54 am |

    Does this mean sandwiches are so 90′s? Are babies what are now “hip”?

  29. Rainface
    Rainface February 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm |

    Wait, I have a privileged relationship with the natural world? Well I better just slap my fairy wings back on and go dance around the forest while the mens figure out how to make the best use of my confusing femininity. At no point did this make sense…

  30. blondie
    blondie February 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm |

    Psst, Poulos, you usually don’t lift a skirt to find the tits.

    This unfamiliarity with women may provide some explanation for his confusion about them.

  31. Tall Girl Productions
    Tall Girl Productions February 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm |

    ofcourse, women are baby incubators, that’s it. in fact, we don’t even need mothers or sisters or friends or lovers – just more little boys to grow up and control us. uggg. come one!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tall-Girl-Productions/118207934921591

  32. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 17, 2012 at 3:11 pm |

    thinksnake. . .I believe Mr. Poulos’s comment about “Potemkin skirts” is a riff off the idea of “Potemkin villages,” which is an idiom referring to an fake, elaborate facade that is put up to deceive or manipulate people.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potemkin_village

    But, really, who can say with this guy?

    I started reading his article expecting to be enraged, offended, and disgusted (or at least amused), and I still firmly maintain that whatever he is trying to communicate probably would have that effect on me. It seems as though he is probably saying something deeply offensive and problematic. But as others have pointed out, whatever his horrible message is thankfully get lost in translation. I apparently no longer speak fluent Pompous Twit.

  33. Lynn Gazis-Sax
    Lynn Gazis-Sax February 17, 2012 at 3:19 pm |

    Medical benefits of the Pill:

    1) Preventing pregnancy, under circumstances where pregnancy would be risky to the mother. (Obviously, contraception in general is a huge benefit, but I’m construing the request for medical benefits narrowly here. And there are plenty of women who, for one reason or another, would face high medical risks to themselves should they get pregnant.)

    2) Preventing pregnancy, where a too soon pregnancy would be risky for the baby (for example, a pregnancy too soon after a stillbirth or premature birth may be less likely to be carried to term).

    3) Preventing debilitating cramps.

    4) Preventing debilitating excessive bleeding, which can cause anemia and all the health problems associated with that.

    That’s just off the top of my head.

  34. Tim
    Tim February 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm |

    In a simpler time Sigmund Freud struggled to understand what women want.

    As awful and sexist as Freud’s infamous question was, it actually seems slightly less awful next to “what are women for?” The former at least implies a sentient being with agency; the latter just an inanimate object.

    Beyond that, I could barely struggle through his awful writing to make any sense of it. I’m happy to accept Jill’s interpretation.

  35. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm |

    thinksnake. . .I believe Mr. Poulos’s comment about “Potemkin skirts” is a riff off the idea of “Potemkin villages,” which is an idiom referring to an fake, elaborate facade that is put up to deceive or manipulate people.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potemkin_village

    But, really, who can say with this guy?

    I started reading his article expecting to be enraged, offended, and disgusted (or at least amused), and I still firmly maintain that whatever he is trying to communicate probably would have that effect on me. It seems as though he is probably saying something deeply offensive and problematic. But as others have pointed out, whatever his horrible message is thankfully get lost in translation. I apparently no longer speak fluent Pompous Twit.

  36. shfree
    shfree February 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm |

    Cosigned with all those who agreed with finding his writing incoherent. I think he was trying to come off as extremely learn-ed and anyone who couldn’t follow him must be an uneducated buffoon, but really he just reads like a pretentious asshat who wants approval from academic circles.

  37. Alexandra
    Alexandra February 17, 2012 at 7:06 pm |

    blondie 2.17.2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Psst, Poulos, you usually don’t lift a skirt to find the tits.

    This unfamiliarity with women may provide some explanation for his confusion about them.

    I just about died laughing.

  38. javier
    javier February 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm |

    this article, written in 2012, is way too frightening to laugh at, for me……
    obscure to cover the gargantuan dogwhistle that it is…..
    *shudder*

  39. Brennan
    Brennan February 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm |

    Okay, those ideas are way too disturbing to languish in bad-writing purgatory. So, I translated it. Yes, every painful paragraph. While I certainly wouldn’t call this version elegant, it is marginally more coherent and gets to the heart of his argument. Enjoy!

    (And if my 11th grade English teacher is reading this blog, Miss Salka, I profusely apologize for the use to which I’m putting my hard-earned English skills.)

    “What are women for? Society can’t seem to agree. The prevailing answer insists that the real purpose of women is nothing in particular.

    Conservatives hate this answer. Because conservatives are not satisfied with this philosophy, they are under attack by those who hold this view.

    Liberals are targeting such benevolent organizations as the Catholic Church and Komen for the Cure, trying to cast them as dangerous extremists. They attack Republicans for such sound policy decisions as opposing the Violence Against Women Act, mandating transvaginal ultrasounds, and holding an all-male hearing on birth control. They even level accusations of “slut-shaming” after harmless comments like “women . . . either looked frumpish or like two-bit whores.”

    Of course, allegations of sexism against the GOP are entirely unfounded. After all, this is the party of Carly Fiorina! And while there is a wide range of right-wing views on the status of women, the left’s alleged philosophical unity is a lie perpetuated via their tyrannical control over the mainstream media.

    I point this out not to score cheap political points against the liberal establishment but to remind analysts that there is internal disagreement in both parties, but this lack of consensus is more damaging to the left.

    There was a time when liberals agreed that judges could not know when life began. This was deemed a religious question, and the left’s disdain for God is well known. During Sandra Day O’Connor’s time on the Supreme Court, they denied the obvious criminality of elective abortion in the name of non-judgmentalism. This was motivated only by a desire to save face—the Supreme Court could not overturn Roe v. Wade in Planned Parenthood v. Casey without appearing to bend to public pressure. This ignored the fact that the Court had already bent; through the Roe decision, it caved to the multitude of women who supported abortion. By swaying public opinion to the practice of abortion, these women activists altered what it meant to be a woman on both a political and metaphysical level. They embraced Roe in the name of “progress,” ignoring the degeneracy that motivated it.

    Despite the many evils of the Roe v. Wade decision, it was nominally based on a moral argument. Casey lacked even that shaky grounding. Its passivity reflects a splintering of the left between the old school of thought and insurgent post-modern liberals. These new thinkers saw through the intellectual elitism of the old guard and dismissed its ideas as the nonsense they are.

    Postmodern liberals are consistently persecuted for their clear-sightedness. Cynthia Nixon is a perfect example. Speaking from her own experience, she challenged the liberal assumption that sexual orientation is predestined and immutable. For this she was accused of “aiding and abetting bigots and bashers.”

    The left reveals its hypocrisy in this: while paying lip service to the ideal of “empowering women to do whatever they want,” it nonetheless enforces a narrow range of acceptable behaviors. These enforced norms are subject to constant debate, as shown by the ongoing dialogue over the advisability of marriage.

    Unfortunately for the left, new academic theories—if followed to their logical liberal conclusion—will produce policies directly at odds with the current framework of liberal sexual politics.

    This framework is failing because it refuses to answer the most basic questions about what women are for. It rejects a society dominated by men as barbaric but does not offer any meaningful alternatives.

    The answers may be found only in a philosophy known as gender essentialism. This posits, among other things, that there is value in the uniquely female “voice.” We must further acknowledge that women have a privileged relationship with the natural world—as evidenced by their ability to create life. This—the truly unique female trait—must be acknowledged, valued, and protected by society. Otherwise, men and queer people will conquer the world.”

  40. DragonBreath
    DragonBreath February 18, 2012 at 2:27 am |

    Delusions of grandeur only make sense to the one having the delusions so i guess the rest of us are doing just fine.

  41. suspect class
    suspect class February 18, 2012 at 4:19 am |

    thinksnake. . .I believe Mr. Poulos’s comment about “Potemkin skirts” is a riff off the idea of “Potemkin villages,” which is an idiom referring to an fake, elaborate facade that is put up to deceive or manipulate people.

    See, I figured it was a reference to Battleship Potemkin, which would only make sense as a feminists = communist. Also, women = skirts.

  42. Amelia ze lurker
    Amelia ze lurker February 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

    Just wanted to add something about the Pill’s medical benefits re: PCOS: in a Feministe article a few weeks ago, there was a story about a woman at a Catholic university (was it Georgetown?) who had a prescription for the Pill due to PCOS, was denied coverage, and developed a cyst on an ovary, which had to be removed. So the Pill is useful not only for controlling fertility, but for PRESERVING it.

  43. Sandy
    Sandy February 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm |

    Wow, thank you Brennan for the translation. I was a bit curious, but this essay sounded so bad, I wasn’t going to bother to wade through it.

  44. Lynn Gazis-Sax
    Lynn Gazis-Sax February 18, 2012 at 7:59 pm |

    The translation is way more coherent than the original. My reaction to the original was, 1) boy, this guy sure can’t write, 2) hey, here’s a link where he says Reihan Salam said something interesting, 3) I’m following that link, because whatever Reihan Salam said, it’s got to beat reading this.

  45. Feministing Weekly Reader
    Feministing Weekly Reader February 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm |

    [...] The Daily Caller asks, “What are women for?” Yes, really. [...]

  46. Lena Schimmel
    Lena Schimmel February 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm |

    When reading Poulos’ article, I though that my inability to make any sense of it was caused by my insufficient English skills (I’m not a native speaker) or missing knowledge about references that any smart American would know. Then again, I’m able to read and understand just about any other English book or blog, so my skills may not be that bad.

    It was really relieving to read that most of you – and I suppose there are a lot of native speakers among you – did not get his message neither. It strengthened my belief in my own ability to read and think.

    I’m really grateful for the “translation” by Brennan. Might be the first time that I got a benefit from an English-to-English translation :)

    What’s also interesting is that Poulos released a response to the backlash he got. If feels to be a little bit more coherent than the first one, but still, not like something worth publishing.

    I mean, no matter if that person might be smart or dumb or whatever, he’s obviously unable to write. If he had a real opinion to share, he should get help by someone who is able to express it – if he can manage to explain it to that special someone.

  47. What are Robots For? | zota
    What are Robots For? | zota February 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm |

    [...] Outsider artist James Poulos wrote a psychoanalytic prose poem which appears to be about how badly he wishes he had tats on his tits. But in realtity, his poem is about how he wishes he were a robot with tits. [...]

  48. Cara
    Cara February 26, 2012 at 12:55 pm |

    Dudes on ‘ludes should not write.

    /Spicoli

  49. H
    H March 1, 2012 at 2:06 am |

    He goes off in too many directions. He probably needed another page or two to talk about some of the things he mentioned in order to make his thesis more clear.

    I’ve skimmed and written better rants than this. Recently I came across one rant where the author’s thesis is essentially “We need to control women, because they have sex with bad boys, and that leads to Mad Max.” Much better read than this.

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