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146 Responses

  1. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 February 20, 2012 at 9:34 am |

    We should legalize prostitution in all 50 states.

  2. John
    John February 20, 2012 at 9:56 am |

    I wonder how manyof these women had a genuine choice?

  3. Jadey
    Jadey February 20, 2012 at 10:20 am |

    We’ve all heard the “fun fact” about Eskimos having something like 20 different words for “snow”; since the stuff factors so importantly in their lives, it stands to reason that they would talk about it a lot and therefore require words with finer nuances than the few we have (snow, slush, powder, drift, etc).

    Seriously?

    1) Not true. (Both in the sense that there is no single Inuit language *and* that no language used by Inuit people has that many discrete words for snow. In fact, the partial list provided of English words for snow actually shows that we *do* have quite a lot of nuance in how we describe snow in that language.)

    2) “Eskimo” is generally considered an offensive term which shouldn’t be used unless someone specifically says they prefer to be addressed that way.

    This introduction is so irrelevant to the actual purpose of the article, can it just be edited out? It adds nothing and detracts much. It just contributes to a silly incorrect meme that exoticizes Indigenous people.

  4. Nia
    Nia February 20, 2012 at 11:01 am |

    Like this post a lot.

    Jadey has a real good point.

    John: (a), why do you assume that only women engage in sex work? and (b) the “choice” issue is one that is present in all occupations, but gets used a lot by people who confuse their personal issues with how they might not want to do sex work, with other people’s experiences. (Not saying you necessarily mean to do that, but it happens a lot, and it’s irritating.) I think it’s pretty clear, from Maggie’s breakdown, that there were a lot of variations on how much choice is involved. ie, job I love ≠ job I don’t really like ≠ job I hate ≠ slavery. This is a really important distinction, both historically and in the current context, and to make it fully, I suggest thinking about this conversation in the context of another profession if you haven’t already.

  5. Athenia
    Athenia February 20, 2012 at 11:18 am |

    I always laugh when social conservatives try to say that only if we restrict sex, that dudes will treat women better or women will get what they want.

    Clearly, in the sex trade there are many different kinds of “sex” with their own prices. Sex isn’t necessarily “cheap” even without marriage.

  6. LC
    LC February 20, 2012 at 11:19 am |

    Gonna third Jadey’s comment about the “X words for snow” thing, which is one of those things that bugs me no end.

    I mean, there’s even a term for it now: Snowclone.

  7. Emily Winch
    Emily Winch February 20, 2012 at 11:21 am |

    Fascinating stuff! Do you have sources for this that I could read more of? All a speedy google has turned up is people referencing Aristophanes, and while his plays are hilarious I don’t think one can take them any more literally than one would Spitting Image…

  8. dontboxsarah
    dontboxsarah February 20, 2012 at 11:25 am |

    THANK YOU Jadey. Took the words right out of my mouth.

  9. Carolyn
    Carolyn February 20, 2012 at 11:25 am |

    I think it’s a little silly to say prostitution wasn’t stigmatized in ancient Rome when clearly the safety and comfort of Roman prostitutes, per your article, depended enormously on class. I mean, perhaps streetwalking wasn’t any worse than other lower-class occupations, but you make it sound in your intro like it was some sort of sex-work idyll, and the facts make it clear sex work was heavily segregated by class. I doubt the stigma or lack thereof would be significant to the comfort women.

  10. Anna
    Anna February 20, 2012 at 11:29 am |

    Linguistics BA here. (Never thought I’d dust off THAT old thing!) The “Eskimos have [insert large number here] words for snow” meme is a myth. Yup’ik and Inuit (which both have many different dialects) are both agglutinative languages, meaning there is a “root word” that can be combined with many different affixes to create a huge number of words — but this is true for all root words, not just the root word for “snow.” Linguists wouldn’t really consider the root word combined with affixes to be hundreds of separate words.

  11. Jill
    Jill February 20, 2012 at 11:30 am | *

    Good to know! Post edited.

  12. SeteSois
    SeteSois February 20, 2012 at 11:30 am |

    Great article, really comprehensive! I find the sheer diversity of sex workers interesting. Particularly as these are only the references/names/types that have survived in our sources, which can be pretty thin on the ground when it comes to people that aren’t upper class Roman senators.

    What you say about folks like the mimes, the cymbelists, the mourners and so forth is interesting.
    I know they were considered sort of ‘in the same class’ as actors and gladiators and prostitutes (the theory going that this is because they use and display their body in a very public sphere) but is there much evidence that they worked as sex workers too?
    There’s some stuff about famous gladiators having trysts with aristocratic women; I wonder did it ever happen in the context of sex work.

  13. chava
    chava February 20, 2012 at 11:59 am |

    IIRC, being a prostitute in Rome generally afforded one more social and economic freedom than being a ‘respectable’ married woman. You escaped most of the restrictions in exchange for a relatively unprotected status in society. I don’t recall if children of prostitutes could ascend to a high social status or not, though.

  14. Jadey
    Jadey February 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm |

    (Thanks, Jill.)

    Regarding the rest of the article one thing I wonder, which we may never know, is *how* these terms were used. This list outlines them like a simple descriptive glossary, but what was the valence of these terms? Even if used to describe a particular sort of sex worker, could one also be used as a shorthand for a general slur against all sex workers? And were they all contemporary terms of each other, or did they go in and out of usage throughout history? Because English has a lot of words for sex workers (and people considered to be similar to sex workers) as well, some descriptive, some derogatory, some current and some archaic.

    The ones I can think of/look up (several of which are used in this very article) are…

    Sex worker, prostitute, hooker, whore, ‘ho, escort, call girl, streetwalker, gigolo, hustler, tramp, doxy, concubine, courtesan, harlot, kept woman, mistress, comfort women, moll, floozy, fallen woman, strumpet, pro (which I think is half short for “prostitute” and half short for “professional” which is another term for a sex worker according to the OED’s online thesaurus), working girl, catamite, rent boy… and that’s not getting into some of the more obscure and out-of-use terms like “kennel-nymph” or “mud-kicker”, or general terms for sexually promiscuous people who may or may not be paid but are nonetheless often conceptually lumped in with sex workers and vice versa.

    I’m not saying these are necessarily equivalent to the taxonomical descriptors provided in the OP, but at the same time I wonder if those terms are really as neutrally descriptive as they appear to be, or if history has simply weathered off the emotion of use and left only the bare etymological origins.

  15. matlun
    matlun February 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm |

    It is really interesting to consider how much our current views of sex work is just coloured by our cultural prejudices and preconceptions.

    @Carolyn: If you want to consider it as some kind of “sex work idyll” it would have to be in a very relative way compared to other professions. Life in ancient Rome was no utopia.

  16. Yonah
    Yonah February 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm |

    I think it’s pretty weird to comment on the sexual culture of “Ancient Rome” as if it had like a policy statement on prostitutes. It’s especially weird that the author says there was no stigma, yet later mentions Augustus — if anyone was anti-protitution it was him. Prostitution was legal before Augustus, he just taxed it (the purpose of the registration mentioned), just as he taxed men and women over 20 who were unmarried and/or childless.

    Quoting Jady for truth:

    This list outlines them like a simple descriptive glossary, but what was the valence of these terms?

    Seriously, check out some Latin literature, these are not hard and fast technical terms. Catullus uses “amica” in a number of ways with varying levels of suggestion, for example, not once that I can think of in the sense of a prostitute who is up for servicing other women.

  17. Yonah
    Yonah February 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm |

    Can’t find any really good online sources for Augustus and family laws, but here’s an interesting quote:

    To further what he saw as morality, Augustus had prostitution taxed, and he made homosexuality a punishable offense. Adultery remained a crime, but it was no longer commonly punished by death. An adulterous wife and her lover could now be banished to different islands, with the woman obliged to wear the kind of short tunic worn by prostitutes.

    from here

    Being forced to dress like a prostitute was considered degrading punishment — hard to imagine that being at all effective or imaginable to them if prostitution really was not stigmatized.

    I’m not arguing that all Romans thought that prostitution was all bad. But just as you can’t say that “America” doesn’t stigmatise sex workers because a great variety exist there and you can find some pro-sex worker literature and organisations and vocabulary, same deal with other countries, including in the past.

  18. valentifan69
    valentifan69 February 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm |

    (1) The Roman Empire/Republic spanned 1000 years. Extrapolating about the whole period from particular texts a little like making statements about views on witchcraft in post-Norman conquest England based on an analysis of the Harry Potter novels.

    (2) The Romans were a bunch of evil fuckers. Prostitution may not have been illegal or stigmitised, but compared to some of the other shit they did it not surprising. If you were a slave you’d just get raped, not get any money, and get crucified if you complained. Compared to that you can see why being a hooker was thought of as a pretty good deal.

  19. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth February 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm |

    So… no matter what kind of work you did, you were also required to have sex with your customers?

    Sounds downright utopian.

  20. Chiara
    Chiara February 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm |

    What’s the point of this post exactly, I don’t get it? Are you saying we should celebrate ancient Rome because you think they were totes pro-women’s rights? You’re a bit of a fool if you ask me. I’ve met also people who believe that ancient Greece was all pro-gay rights. They really weren’t. It was just old men pedophiles and shit.

  21. ch
    ch February 20, 2012 at 4:37 pm |

    I’d really like to know what the sources are for a bunch of the assertions in this article. As a graduate student in classics, with a strong focus on the study of women, I had never heard of a lot of these things– for example, the fact that the Bona Dea festival included prostitutes as an official part of its rites, or the idea that there were sex workers serving only other women (“amicae”). That second one, in fact, is the thing I am the most highly skeptical of given the paucity of references to anything similar to lesbianism in Roman sources.

    And what ancient texts did these references/words come from, and how were they used? All of our Roman texts come from individuals with agendas and biases; looking at a couple of those as a whole would be far, far more instructive than simply providing a list of words with no context or source citation.

    Furthermore, as other commenters have mentioned, the fact that there are a lot of words for something does not mean anything about the societal acceptance of it. We have a lot of words for sex workers in modern English, too; they certainly do not imply a legal or societal acceptance of sex work.

    Rome was not a place where women’s rights in general and sex worker rights in particular flourished (and yes, there were male sex workers, but I got the feeling that this post was mostly about female sex workers). Prostitution was legal, and highly regulated (I believe you are right that certain types of prostitutes did have to register, and there were definitely class restrictions on who could engage in certain types of sex work). The point of this post, though, seems to be that this means that Rome was some sort of idyllic place for sex workers. In reality, it’s quite the opposite. And furthermore, the U.S. today also has restrictions on different types of sex workers and similar regulations (prostitution is illegal, but acting in porn is not, nor is stripping, etc., and each of these professions has a number of different types of work and government regulations surrounding them).

    I’m still not entirely sure what the point of this post was, but it is poorly cited and inaccurate.

  22. Fiona
    Fiona February 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm |

    I find this article incredibly frustrating; the remark about the Eskimo names for snow is not the only inaccurate point. In particular, the idea that prostitution was not stigmatised in ancient Rome is untrue. This can be seen from laws that were put in place to prevent the social advancement of prostitutes (this is recorded, for example, in Suetonius’ ‘Domitian’ 8.3).

    As Valentifan69 said, the article doesn’t specify which period it is dealing with and to make such sweeping statements about Rome or the Romans is attempting to generalise about a society that changed hugely during its existence.

    Also, this article attempts to examine the hierarchy of prostitution in the Roman world but it does not mention the pimps that were involved, falsely creating a sense that the people working as prostitutes were all independent.

    If you want to read more about prostitutes in ancient Rome, some articles you might be interested in are:
    C. Edwards (1997) ‘Unspeakable Professions: Public Performance and Prostitution
    R. Flemming (1999) ‘Quae Corpore Quaestum Facit: The Sexual Economy of Female P. in the Roman Empire’, Journal of Roman Studies 89, pp. 38-61.
    in Ancient Rome’, in Roman Sexualities (Princeton University Press).
    T. A. McGinn (2004) The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman World (University of Michigan Press).

  23. Iris Tyto Alba
    Iris Tyto Alba February 20, 2012 at 4:49 pm |

    As I have come to expect on mainstream feminist blogs, this piece is completely and offensively entrenched in unexamined class privilege. Congratulations! Also, I have to congratulate the author for somehow making slavery and prison rape sound like a lurid romance novel instead of torture. The kyriarchy salutes you!

  24. Fiona
    Fiona February 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm |

    Sorry, mangled the references a bit.

    C. Edwards (1997) ‘Unspeakable Professions: Public Performance and Prostitution in Ancient Rome’, in Roman Sexualities (Princeton University Press).
    R. Flemming (1999) ‘Quae Corpore Quaestum Facit: The Sexual Economy of Female P. in the Roman Empire’, Journal of Roman Studies 89, pp. 38-61.
    T. A. McGinn (2004) The Economy of Prostitution in the Roman World (University of Michigan Press).

  25. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 February 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm |

    As I have come to expect on mainstream feminist blogs,

    Not happy with the content? Then leave.

  26. Angel H.
    Angel H. February 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm |

    Not happy with the content? Then leave.

    Yeah, it’s not as though unexamined privilege has ever been a problem in mainstream feminism.

  27. Xeginy
    Xeginy February 20, 2012 at 6:50 pm |

    Not happy with the content? Then leave.

    Now that’s not fair. I think that pointing out potential unexamined privilege – whether coming from gender, class, race, etc. – is really important for feminist blogs in particular. It’s not a good idea to shut down criticisms like that, because then the content can never improve.

    As to this post – I found it interesting. But I also felt like there wasn’t enough context. I’m not sure if you are planning on guest blogging on a regular basis or what, and if so, maybe this is just an intro blog? I think a discussion of sex work in other cultures can be really interesting, and especially ancient Rome (just because of all of the little bits of info floating around.) But a list of terms ends up leaving me with more questions than when I started reading.

  28. iiii
    iiii February 20, 2012 at 6:57 pm |

    Not happy with the content? Then leave.

    You must be new.

  29. QLH
    QLH February 20, 2012 at 8:28 pm |

    Really appreciate all of the information in comments. Thanks for the additional perspective and knowledge!

    (That was sincerity, not sarcasm. Just in case.)

  30. number9
    number9 February 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm |

    Now that’s not fair. I think that pointing out potential unexamined privilege – whether coming from gender, class, race, etc. – is really important for feminist blogs in particular. It’s not a good idea to shut down criticisms like that, because then the content can never improve.

    That’s very true, however, just saying “class privilege!” is not really productive criticism, is it? Especially when it comes after several comments that actually do point out the issues in the post. Just saying something is problematic without saying how and why is not going to be very valuable at this point.

    As to the post, I’m pretty skeptical of any historical/linguistics claims that do not cite any sources, let alone primary sources. Isn’t what we know about sexuality in Rome mostly drawn from poetry and fiction? Literary language can draw on slang, but it’s still different from legal language or common speech. And even if all these names for sex work did exist in Rome, what does that really tell us about attitudes towards sex work? All I can take away fom this is that Romans were very specific in describing jobs! Some jobs, at least, because I don’t even know if they were equally exacting in describing other professions. Like, did they have a word to describe the dude who only paints frescoes in the public baths? I don’t know!

  31. wl
    wl February 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm |

    “Streetwalker” is derogatory and offensive.

  32. Kate Dolan
    Kate Dolan February 20, 2012 at 11:29 pm |

    I think if mimes still carried on the side business, they’d get a lot more respect today (at least in some quarters). And I understand now why May Day was frowned upon in later centuries. Makes Mardi Gras look like a kiddie birthday party.

  33. Iris Tyto Alba
    Iris Tyto Alba February 20, 2012 at 11:54 pm |

    Well the conversation has to start somewhere, and pointing the unexamined privilege out is a start. It’s not my duty to provide a full essay with citations every time this topic comes up, which is way too often. By now you would think that dedicated feminist writers would at least know where to find a primer on class issues, and would at least have the presence of mind to consider that it’s kind of gauche to be all, “poor women were raped as slaves, but hey, it was really fun and liberating for rich women and that’s who we’re all here to talk about amirite??”

    Once again, the conversation is about the women with class privilege, and the rest of us are just spoilsports when we want to be considered. Nevermind that throughout all of history, working class women, poor women, slave women, peasant women have been the MAJORITY of women. It’s always about the elite and what amuses them, whether it’s making money off our labor or playing at “harlotry” at our expense.

  34. Natalia
    Natalia February 21, 2012 at 1:52 am |

    Ancient Rome was a weird and brutal society, but a thousand years from now, people will consider us weird and brutal as well – so whatever.

    The post is interesting as a piece of history (people want full on citations? In a blog? I mean, it’s great you guys have time and energy to slog through that shit as you cruise feminist blogs, I guess. I’m jealous) – however an imperfect compilation it may be (omigod! She doesn’t talk about the exact time periods! It’s a bit of pop history! Oh no!).

    It makes for an entertaining primer, though, and makes you want to dig deeper into some issues. If one had the time, once again, and wasn’t, say, a harassed working mother with an infant on her arm.

    I’m also not sure as to what the author ought to be doing here – tearing her hair out because slaves were raped and murdered in that society?… Well, we still have that happening in many parts of the world today. Why, it’s happening to trafficked women right here in Moscow, where I’m at! I find that a bit more upsetting than the reality of what it was like back then.

    History teaches us a whole lot about ourselves – not just the people who lived way back when. At the very least, it teaches us that if you have a thriving sex industry – it’s probably best to regulate it. Instead of pretending as though something you don’t think should exist will magically stop existing. Because you said so. Which is what many countries tend to do. It’s not going to make the sex industry a paradise for the most underprivileged people involved in it – especially now, as we increasingly live in a world with few borders (and traffickers get around existing borders easily enough) – but it’s a hell of a start.

  35. chava
    chava February 21, 2012 at 2:20 am |

    Well….hm.

    So, my issue with feminist revisionist history is that it is both bad scholarship, and posits a mythical Before-Time where the Mother Goddess ruled and we all got our groove on. Yet in reality, this shit’s been neck deep for a long, looooong time.

    I don’t expect citations or crystalline scholarship, but I do think that a general suspicion of narratives along the lines of “Back in time X, the conditions of Y group of women were SO AWESOME, YO.” I’m sympathetic to the desire for that history, I really am–but AFAIK it tends to turn out as nothing but mythmaking.

    A few years ago I had to write a book review for a reasonably well-known scholar. She had succumbed to the before-time-mother-goddess myth (in this case, Egypt, not Rome), and reacted VERY badly to being called on her poor scholarship. So…yeah, not so inclined to drink the pop-historical KoolAid on these things. It reflects badly on women’s studies/history as a whole.

  36. Natalia
    Natalia February 21, 2012 at 2:23 am |

    So, my issue with feminist revisionist history is that it is both bad scholarship, and posits a mythical Before-Time where the Mother Goddess ruled and we all got our groove on. Yet in reality, this shit’s been neck deep for a long, looooong time.

    That I do agree with. There was no golden age – but some people did the best they could with the time that was given to them. And most just did their worst. ;)

  37. ch
    ch February 21, 2012 at 2:47 am |

    I mean, I don’t expect really detailed scholarly work or anything on a blog post, but some sort of indication as to where she’s getting her claims might be nice (especially as some of them seem a bit out-there to me). Though my bigger problem was the lack of any sort of argumentation or point– just a (probably inaccurate) glossary of terms doesn’t really tell me much about…. well, about anything. And that’s something I do expect from a blog post. (And, actually, I expect some sort of citations from blog posts making any sort of factual statement– she got this info from somewhere; I’d like to know where so I can look at it for myself).

  38. John
    John February 21, 2012 at 4:41 am |

    I think the point of an article like this, surely, is to help us address our own attitudes to prostitution today.
    My own view is that it is beyond vile. Here in the UK, for every “happy hooker” plying their trade through free choice that certain people assure us exist, there are 99 women and children being exploited and abused. I’ve been heavily involved in social services from a legal perspective in the UK and I’d be amazed if the position is any different in the US and elsewhere.

  39. ellid
    ellid February 21, 2012 at 7:19 am |

    I’d like some citations because I think at least some of these definitions are based on exaggeration.

  40. Bunny
    Bunny February 21, 2012 at 8:00 am |

    One thing that needs to be considered when discussing social attitudes to things like prostitution in ancient cultures is that a LOT more about those cultures was different to us in ways we don’t always realise.

    I’m not a historian myself, but I’m particularly fond of this blog…

    http://thebeautifulevil.wordpress.com/

    which goes into those sort of details. The posts in it indicate a ritualised approach to masculinity and heirarchy that puts a VERY different spin on discussions of women’s lives and rights in ancient Rome.

    In a civilisation where rape of a woman was seen as a property crime against her father/husband/owner, can sex work really be interpreted as having been some accepted, open thing free of judgement?

  41. nas
    nas February 21, 2012 at 8:11 am |

    i found this post interesting in illuminating the broad outlines of life for prostitutes in rome. i would be interested to see the reaction around here to some of maggies more argumentative pieces.

  42. Gorbachev
    Gorbachev February 21, 2012 at 10:36 am |

    One of the commenters is correct. Roman society was unspeakably savage and barbaric by modern standards. Generosity that was uncalculated was regularly seen as a type of social evil; charity was often seen as tragic, immoral weakness. There was an entirely different moral and conceptual universe in operation, in fact many of them.

    As hard as it may have been for women, even prostitutes, one thing has to be remembered: it was an unspeakably violent time, and men and women both were treated as posessions and class and ethnicity were both crucial.

    Just ask the Dacians. After a few revolts, they were exterminated in a war of complete obliteration. Or try the Alesians.

    Standard tactic when conquering a city from bronze age Greece to late Imperial Rome:

    -Kill all males over a certain age; geld the younger ones.
    - Enslave the women and use them for breeding, labor and domestic or agricultural service
    - If not amenable, smash in babies’ heads to make the adults more compliant.

    If men were lucky, they could work for a savage 2-4 years in the dank, feces-layered decks of a galley or die a slow, agonizing death in mines.

    Lucky males might just have their testicles cut off .

  43. Gorbachev
    Gorbachev February 21, 2012 at 10:38 am |

    As one woman said, the Romans were evil fuckers.

    What happened to prostitutes was, if possible, the very least of the injustices going on.

    It wasn’t great to be a woman. But it was pretty much completely shitty to be a man, too. In many ways, worse; at least women weren’t considered fully intelligent beings responsible for their own behavior. Men had no such recourse. Step out of line, or even don’t, and your fate was torture, beating or violent death – pretty much all the time.

  44. Alcharisi
    Alcharisi February 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

    Chava @ 35,
    Out of curiosity, what field are you in? I’m wondering whether I might have ever come across the book you mention having reviewed.

  45. chava
    chava February 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm |

    CompLit, but I think the book was classed under either French Studies or Postcolonial.

  46. seisy
    seisy February 21, 2012 at 2:02 pm |

    Well, it wasn’t entirely un-stigmatized, IIRC. I mean, prostitutes (and actors and gladiators and lenos) were infamia, disreputable, and that carried with it a loss of status and certain legal protections.

    The vestal virgin thing is…well, I’ve never heard that before, and am very interested in reading the source, if the reference is handy.

  47. j.
    j. February 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm |

    So Marksman announces that he thinks prostitution should be legalized in all 50 states, with no explanation why; and then he tells a woman who objects to this post to GTFO. What a fucking creep.

    And Natalia is railing against accuracy in history.

  48. seisy
    seisy February 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm |

    @Gorbachev

    I’m fairly certain neither the Greeks nor the Romans used slaves to power their ships. That was a Renaissance innovation.

    The Romans were fairly practical (and often brutal) in how they conquered places…and what they did with the places they conquered depended greatly on where it was and how much trouble the place in question had caused them. There were some marked differences in how they approached it from how various Greek states did. It’s not that easy to generalize, but it is an interesting subject.

    I’m not sure where the generosity/charity thing is coming from. While it is true that every (ancient) civilization had a conception of the universe (and morality) that is different from our own, they weren’t you know, Objectivists.

    @Chava

    A few years ago I had to write a book review for a reasonably well-known scholar. She had succumbed to the before-time-mother-goddess myth (in this case, Egypt, not Rome), and reacted VERY badly to being called on her poor scholarship. So…yeah, not so inclined to drink the pop-historical KoolAid on these things. It reflects badly on women’s studies/history as a whole.

    Amen to that. I once spent a period of time studying the Minoans (well, more accurately, the 20th century historiography of Minoan culture) and the sheer amount of nonsense that was perpetuated as scholarship drove me up the wall. Though in that case it wasn’t just women’s studies, it was pretty much everyone…though it was predominately feminist scholarship that kept certain concepts going when they started to wane in historical and archaeological studies.

  49. Alcharisi
    Alcharisi February 21, 2012 at 2:43 pm |

    @Chava- gotcha. I’m in religious studies (ethics, specifically), and it’s depressing how much this trope crops up in feminist conversation there. Though, to be fair, it’s worse from outside the discipline– “Oh, you’re a feminist in religious studies? Have you read The Chalice and the Blade?”
    I think what especially bothers me is its use in grounding ethical arguments: “X culture was matriarchal, therefore oppressing women is wrong.” To which I have a very difficult time not responding, “Go to your room, and don’t come out until you can deliver a satisfactory account of the is/ought fallacy.” Oppressing people is wrong regardless of who did or didn’t (or does or doesn’t) practice it.

  50. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm |

    One of the commenters is correct. Roman society was unspeakably savage and barbaric by modern standards. .

    I’m confused, Gorbachev. From your previous comments in other threads, I was certain that you believed that the the most unspeakably savage and mercilessly cruel people in history are contemporary teenage girls in the USA. How could ancient Romans possibly be worse than that?

  51. Ariel
    Ariel February 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm |

    @Iris tyto abla – I’m with you. Cause most of the time the ‘slave – prostitution’ thing seems a lot more like american history style slave rape. It was only legal cause they were slaves, and seen as less then human obviously, or it would have been counted as rape.
    Seriously, where is this authors mind right now that they can type this up and proof read it and go ‘slave rape = prositution for extremely low wages, there were no pimps, everything was hunky-dory for girls who sold themselves, of course they all did it willingly; look even the slaves did it willingly.’
    This article makes my skull want to implode from all the ‘ugh’ I can’t let out in a library.

  52. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm |

    I’m not a historian myself, but I’m particularly fond of this blog…

    http://thebeautifulevil.wordpress.com/

    I went to the link with interest, but stopped reading as soon as I saw the following sentence referring to a passage in Isaiah (which the blogger misspells as “Isiah”):

    “Traditionally, this passage of Hebrew prophetic literature has been taken to refer to Jesus.”

    Sorry, I can’t read people who write things like that, regardless of how much they might know about ancient Rome or anything else.

    Traditionally, my Jewish foot. Not my tradition, that’s for sure.

  53. j.
    j. February 21, 2012 at 2:57 pm |

    I visited that blog too and was turned off by all the Jeebus-talk.

  54. wl
    wl February 21, 2012 at 3:33 pm |

    Well,

  55. Gorbachev
    Gorbachev February 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm |

    Julius Caesar references the use of slaves for a variety of military purposes; one of these was for oarsmen. The Athenians liked to have citizens man the oars, or allies at least, because they tended to be more reliable and were also then armable for fighting. But Romans ruled when the seas were calmer and only the occasional pirate was a threat; the merchant ships were largely staffed by slaves. The grain run from Egypt was supposed to be one of the major death routes for slaves; by and large, they weren’t freed if ships went down.

    On the whole, life for men was devastatingly short in classical times. Status was everything. Gender was a form of status, but women were also hugely privileged, as well as used as tools.

    Rome wasn’t the universal land of male privilege we think it was.

    The same is true, of course, today; while males may have some privilege, middle-class and lower-class males aren’t exactly on the same social level as upper-class or upper-middle class females.

    Class really is everything. Sex is just one component of a very complex system.

  56. Gorbachev
    Gorbachev February 21, 2012 at 3:37 pm |

    Donna, don’t sarcastically incite.

    It’s not good form.

    Teenage girls in general are well-known for their ability to psychologically manipulate each other. While boys engage in physical and rank-ordered cruelty, the well-documented spiteful behavior of female bullying, which is often done for pleasure alone, is unlike that engaged in by most boys.

    And this has no place n this comment stream. You can exercise whatever contempt you have for me, in your spiteful and bitter tone, any way you like; but I suggest derailing here might be inappropriate.

    I have a hard enough time staying on topic. Stop your mindless goading.

  57. debbie
    debbie February 21, 2012 at 3:43 pm |

    Class really is everything. Sex is just one component of a very complex system.

    Do you really think this kind of comment is going to be well received on a feminist blog?

    As for your comments to DonnaL, do you really think that other posters don’t remember how obnoxious you’ve been in every thread you’ve participated in?

  58. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 3:43 pm |

    Gorbachev, if you can’t take a little harmless teasing from Donna, who is one of the kindest commenters here, then you had better take your condescending bullshit self to the nearest fainting couch and rest up.

    As to your nonsense about teenage girls, I just want to point out this bit:

    While boys engage in physical and rank-ordered cruelty, the well-documented spiteful behavior of female bullying, which is often done for pleasure alone, is unlike that engaged in by most boys.

    See, girls bully for pleasure, whereas boys obviously have very important, manly reasons for bullying.

    Class really is everything. Sex is just one component of a very complex system.

    Gee, a hard-core reductionist Marxist. And here I thought my dad was the only one left. Ha, left.

  59. Li
    Li February 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm |

    Here in the UK, for every “happy hooker” plying their trade through free choice that certain people assure us exist, there are 99 women and children being exploited and abused.

    Citation needed.

  60. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

    Spiteful and bitter? Mindless? I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but never any of those before. Congratulations.

  61. anon for this one33
    anon for this one33 February 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm |

    I really don’t think this claim that prostitution was in any way a valued or respected position in ancient Rome holds up at all. If you read about Roman and Byzantine (which, especially in the early years, was extremely similar to ancient Rome, as they viewed themselves as Roman) sexual ethics, or read what slurs they applied to others, it’s pretty clear that they didn’t view sex workers well. Take Procopius’s Secret History–wasn’t the greatest slur against Empress Theodora that she had been an actress, and, presumably, a sex worker? That sex work was legal and paid sex widely available doesn’t mean that it wasn’t stigmatized… And Roman sex was so clearly framed as a power issue (for example, why men who had sex with men, as opposed to slaves or teenagers, were necessarily looked down upon) that I don’t think you can make a strong case that sex work was viewed positively.

    Not to mention, let me add myself to the earlier posters: I also think framing sex work as a socially valid choice made by privileged women misrepresents prostitution in ancient Rome (and I threw in Byzantium, so let’s throw that in, as well.) The vast majority of women who were paid for sex or sex work were slaves, ex-slaves, or economically marginalized; it’s not a very glamorous picture.

  62. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 21, 2012 at 4:14 pm |

    Teenage girls in general are well-known for their ability to psychologically manipulate each other. While boys engage in physical and rank-ordered cruelty, the well-documented spiteful behavior of female bullying, which is often done for pleasure alone, is unlike that engaged in by most boys.

    Seriously, this again?

  63. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm |

    why men who had sex with men, as opposed to slaves or teenagers, were necessarily looked down upon

    My understanding was that it wasn’t men who had sex with men who were stigmatized, but rather men who were penetrated who were looked down upon. The idea was that penetration was something for a subordinate to endure, and youths and slaves were subordinates. If you, a man, were penetrating a fellow man, orally or anally, you were fine, but he was degraded.

  64. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm |

    I understood the same dynamic, in the Aeneid the characters Nisus and Euryalus are lovers and have a definite difference in power, Nisus is older, more masculine, and in charge. Euryalus is younger and portrayed as more feminine and dies in a way that serves to bold, underline, and highlight that trait.

    While this isn’t straight study of Roman culture, it’s what I got.

  65. anon for this one33
    anon for this one33 February 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm |

    EG: I think I ended up writing something a little confusing by using men who have sex with men to mean both guys who had homosexual sex, and guys who had sex with adult guys who weren’t slaves. My understanding is pretty similar to yours: most people think Roman sexual mores were heavily based on the idea of a dominant, male, penetrator and a submissive, feminine, penetratee, which made it functionally impossible for free adult males to bottom but completely possible for them to top whoever. That’s why I think when you read Roman poetry or epics, and they feature a romantic relationship between adult men, usually one of them is not actually a grown man.

  66. Bunny
    Bunny February 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm |

    I visited that blog too and was turned off by all the Jeebus-talk.

    Seriously? There’s like, one blog post total about Jesus on that blog. The rest is all about feminist issues from an ancient-history perspective.

    I went to the link with interest, but stopped reading as soon as I saw the following sentence referring to a passage in Isaiah (which the blogger misspells as “Isiah”):

    “Traditionally, this passage of Hebrew prophetic literature has been taken to refer to Jesus.”

    Sorry, I can’t read people who write things like that, regardless of how much they might know about ancient Rome or anything else.

    Traditionally, my Jewish foot. Not my tradition, that’s for sure.

    Donna, Ah I regrettably know sweet f-all about any of the Abrahamic faiths myself, so I had no idea that most recent blog post on there was problematic.

    I was more thinking of her post on ancient Roman approaches to sexuality and masculinity… maybe I should have just linked to that post, sorry about that.

  67. Chiara
    Chiara February 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm |

    As far as I know, quite a lot of gay male relationships are based around one bigger guy and one smaller guy. Like a truck driver guy and a fashion guy, not that I intend to imply that truck drivers and fashion guys are necessarily homosexual. But quite a lot of movies of the time, such as Gladiator, are quite homoerotic. Though I think that relationships obviously lend themselves to this masculine and feminine pairing, because everyone has some tendency like that. So it wouldn’t make sense for two masculine people or two feminine people to do sex.

    1. Jill
      Jill February 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm | *

      As far as I know, quite a lot of gay male relationships are based around one bigger guy and one smaller guy. Like a truck driver guy and a fashion guy, not that I intend to imply that truck drivers and fashion guys are necessarily homosexual. But quite a lot of movies of the time, such as Gladiator, are quite homoerotic. Though I think that relationships obviously lend themselves to this masculine and feminine pairing, because everyone has some tendency like that. So it wouldn’t make sense for two masculine people or two feminine people to do sex.

      Uh… what? I would suggest that your knowledge of gay male relationships is extremely limited (although by definition every two-person relationship has to have one “bigger” person and one “smaller” person, since no two people are exactly the same size, but I don’t think that’s what you were getting at here).

      And believe me, it often makes perfect sense for two masculine people or two feminine people to “do sex.” Perfect, sweaty, glorious sense.

  68. IrishUp
    IrishUp February 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm |

    Chiara – that 5:42 post is a bag of hot-buttered fail.

  69. wl
    wl February 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm |

    You’ve highlighted here my least favorite sex worker blogger. In addition to classism, she displays some pretty egregious racism. My posts with the link keep going into spam and not showing up even days later but you can search her blog for a post titled “Black Men.”

  70. Anton Sherwood
    Anton Sherwood February 21, 2012 at 5:51 pm |

    prostibula is evidently related to prostitute (both derived from prostāre ‘stand forth’) but can’t be ancestral to it unless b-l can magically become t-t.

  71. wl
    wl February 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm |

    Chiara – yeah, no.

  72. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm |

    The idea was that penetration was something for a subordinate to endure, and youths and slaves were subordinates. If you, a man, were penetrating a fellow man, orally or anally, you were fine, but he was degraded.

    Unless you were Hadrian and had the power to deify the beautiful young Antinoüs, and create a cult of veneration of him throughout the Empire.

    That said, I’ve always gotten the impression that there were those in Rome who weren’t entirely happy with Hadrian himself, given the openness and extravagance of his love for Antinoüs (particularly after Antinoüs’s death). Cassius Dio wrote that Hadrian was “ridiculed” as a result. Another source says that Hadrian “wept like a woman” when Antinoüs died. And Wikipedia has this quotation from the writer Aurelius Victor: “As a result of Hadrian’s devotion to luxury and lasciviousness (luxus lasciviaeque), hostile rumours arose about his debauching of young men (stupra puberibus) and his burning passion for his notorious attendant Antinous.” Given these comments about the most powerful man in the Empire (albeit some not contemporary) — a man generally considered one of the very greatest of the emperors — I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate to say that you were “fine” if you were the older man penetrating the younger.

  73. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon February 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm |

    My posts with the link keep going into spam and not showing up even days later but you can search her blog for a post titled “Black Men.”

    Wow.

    “Yep. As I used to say to young escorts who asked me about it, “If you can’t tell he’s black on the phone it usually doesn’t matter.””

    Vomit.

  74. Esti
    Esti February 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm |

    Wow, wl, thanks for the heads up. I assume Jill et al. didn’t knowingly invite someone who writes things like this:

    The typical black man seems to believe that the point of intercourse is to damage a woman’s sexual equipment as much as possible

    to guest post here, but now that you’ve pointed it out I hope we won’t be seeing this guest blogger again.

  75. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 6:03 pm |

    quite a lot of movies of the time, such as Gladiator, are quite homoerotic

    You’re suggesting that this is some kind of evidence of what sexual relationships between men were like in ancient Rome? Or perhaps that Gladiator was actually made in ancient Rome? Could be. But I thought most movies of the time were silent and in black and white, and, as such, I don’t find them particularly homoerotic, or erotic at all. I don’t think talkies, and color film, were invented until at least the time of Charlemagne.

    As for your general comments about gay male relationships, I guess you know as much as you do about Ancient Roman film. Hot-buttered, disgusting fail is right. Are you fucking kidding me? A truck-driver guy and a fashion guy? I’ll have to ask my son which kind he is. Seriously, fuck you.

  76. Charlotte
    Charlotte February 21, 2012 at 6:06 pm |

    You’ve highlighted here my least favorite sex worker blogger. In addition to classism, she displays some pretty egregious racism. My posts with the link keep going into spam and not showing up even days later but you can search her blog for a post titled “Black Men.”

    You’re right. Plus if you look up the post entitled “A Whore in the Bedroom” there are some bits that strike me as… problematic. Such as this: “If you want to keep your husband sexually happy the best advice I can give you is, get the word “no” out of your vocabulary!”

  77. Charlotte
    Charlotte February 21, 2012 at 6:07 pm |

    There’s also a post called “A Whore in the Bedroom” that sounds… kind of rape-y

  78. Charlotte
    Charlotte February 21, 2012 at 6:10 pm |

    For some reason this doesn’t seem to be going through if I mention the name of the post but one of her posts also contains this gem: ““If you want to keep your husband sexually happy the best advice I can give you is, get the word “no” out of your vocabulary!””

  79. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon February 21, 2012 at 6:14 pm |

    “I’ve frequently pointed out that both sexes need to view the others’ differing desires realistically: women need to either provide enough sex or expect that their men will get it elsewhere, and men who feel so driven need to hire professionals rather than entering into dangerous dalliances with amateurs.”

    “I have no real comment to make about this, but I figured my male readers might enjoy these pictures of Femen’s latest protest.”

    Okay, seen about enough of this blog.

  80. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 6:15 pm |

    [Just an experiment to test the moderation algorithm. Apologies for the duplication]

    Chiara said: “quite a lot of movies of the time, such as Gladiator, are quite homoerotic.”

    You’re suggesting that this is some kind of evidence of what sexual relationships between men were like in ancient Rome? Or perhaps that Gladiator was actually made in ancient Rome? Could be. But I thought most movies of the time were silent and in black and white, and, as such, I don’t find them particularly homoerotic, or erotic at all. I don’t think talkies, and color film, were invented until at least the time of Charlemagne.

    As for your general comments about same-sex male relationships, I guess you know as much as you do about Ancient Roman film. Hot-buttered fail is right. Are you kidding me? A truck-driver guy and a fashion guy? I’ll have to ask my son which kind he is. I seriously hope you never make another comment here about this subject again.

  81. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm |

    I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate to say that you were “fine” if you were the older man penetrating the younger.

    Fair point. There’s also how much was made of Antony’s strong affection for Curio by Cicero as something degenerate, although both were, from what I have read, attractive young citizens of about the same age and status, and so who knows who was penetrating whom…

  82. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 6:17 pm |

    Wow. That blog is about as horrifyingly awful as can be.

  83. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon February 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm |

    “Unfortunately, this girl’s attitude is not at all unusual nowadays; women used to understand that men had sexual needs which it was a wife’s responsibility to provide for. But as I discussed in my column of July 21st, decades of lies and neofeminist propaganda that men and women are the same and that women should only accept sex when they desire it (and for no other reason) have done tremendous damage to the male-female dynamic ”

    Baffling. Why is this woman guesting for Feministe?

  84. Charlotte
    Charlotte February 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm |

    “I’ve frequently pointed out that both sexes need to view the others’ differing desires realistically: women need to either provide enough sex or expect that their men will get it elsewhere, and men who feel so driven need to hire professionals rather than entering into dangerous dalliances with amateurs.”

    “I have no real comment to make about this, but I figured my male readers might enjoy these pictures of Femen’s latest protest.”

    Okay, seen about enough of this blog.

    And if you click one of the links there you get to something even more directly rape-y

  85. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm |

    men who feel so driven need to hire professionals rather than entering into dangerous dalliances with amateurs.

    That kind of cracks me up: “Don’t trust your sex life to an amateur…”

  86. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon February 21, 2012 at 6:26 pm |

    ” I don’t think your negative reaction is due to any oversensitivity on your part, but rather because you haven’t lived in modern American culture and don’t realize how bad it’s become for men here. Though my audience is international, this column was primarily intended for American women, and unless you’ve lived here in the past two decades it is impossible to explain to you how much of a sense of privilege the typical American woman has developed.”

    Oh god, I can’t stop. But this sounds like something from BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN!

  87. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 6:29 pm |

    Wow. You could play every possible kind of bingo all day long on the OP’s blog.

    Gender essentialism!

    all men are, to put it bluntly, perverts by female standards; as the picture at right reminds us, everything turns men on! Yes, a lot of what they like is weird or gross or nasty or even funny to most women; so what?

    More gender essentialism, and fat shaming, too!

    what isn’t ‘high on [men's] list of priorities’ is boring, repetitive sex with their dumpy, frowsy wives who sit around in sweatsuits with short hair and only want sex when they’re interested in the way they want it, and everything else is greeted with ‘That’s disgusting!’ or ‘You’re a pervert!’ or ‘I’m not gonna do that!’ Those same men are plenty interested in young-looking, well-kept escorts who have maintained their figures, dress in a feminine manner and will give them the kind of sex they want when they want it.”

    When you’re done jumping up and down, screaming at me and calling me a bitch, sit down and listen to what I’m trying to tell you. I understand that some women’s figures go south after having kids and that it’s difficult to reclaim them, but I’ll bet most husbands understand it as well; that’s not what I’m talking about. I’ll use my own family as an example; I am the eldest of four sisters who all look much alike and started out with similar figures, though our personalities are all different. All three of my sisters had two children each; the third sister is most like me in personality and still looks hot at 41, the youngest is athletic and has a very trim figure at 40, and the second is fat and dumpy. The two younger sisters and I dress attractively and wear our hair in flattering styles; the second wears sweatsuits and “fat clothes” and chopped her hair off boy-short while she was pregnant with her first baby. Finally, the two younger sisters and I treat our husbands well, while the second won’t lift a finger for hers; though I’m not privy to the details of my sisters’ sex lives, does anyone here have any doubt whose husband is most likely to cheat?

  88. Matt
    Matt February 21, 2012 at 6:31 pm |

    Its amusing that no one on this site does any research on guest bloggers. I wondered when I saw the blog name if they realized what they were linking to.

  89. Bunny
    Bunny February 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm |

    Oh bloody hell that blog is horrifying. So tell me again, what are the criteria for posting a guest blog on Feministe these days? How was this person picked as an appropriate guest blogger for this site?

  90. Chiara
    Chiara February 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm |

    Uh… what? I would suggest that your knowledge of gay male relationships is extremely limited (although by definition every two-person relationship has to have one “bigger” person and one “smaller” person, since no two people are exactly the same size, but I don’t think that’s what you were getting at here).

    And believe me, it often makes perfect sense for two masculine people or two feminine people to “do sex.” Perfect, sweaty, glorious sense.

    Well by bigger and smaller I meant in terms of like weight and strength and stuff. For example, on the channel 4 show “True Blood” [spoiler alert] there are some gay guys called Lafayette and someone else but it’s pretty clear that Lafayette is the ‘smaller’ guy and the other guy is like ‘bigger’ – he looks like he’s going to headbutt everyone. Just in terms of their character you can tell that. And this show is written by a gay guy.

    I’m not sure how it works in lesbian relationships but I think there may also be a tendency to do that too. For example in the BBC show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, [spoiler alert] there is a lesbian couple Willow and Tara and while it’s less clear here I’d say that Tara was probably the ‘bigger’ woman and Willow the ‘smaller’ woman. I think this show is written by a gay guy too, though I’m not certain.

    Anyway I hope I’m making sense, I’m a bit drunk. I’m not saying that these are rules that are followed at all times but I think it’s clear from these shows that there is something like this going on.

  91. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 6:59 pm |

    Chiara, could you please stop citing movies and television shows as evidence of what gay male or lesbian relationships are like, or of what’s “clear”?

    Do you know any real, live, gay men or women? Seriously?

    I have a comment in moderation in which I’m considerably less calm about what you said. That kind of stereotyping makes me see read and want to bite people’s heads off, even more than trans-ignorant comments do. I guess that’s what happens you’re the parent of a gay child.

  92. Iris Tyto Alba
    Iris Tyto Alba February 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm |

    WHAT THE HELL, FEMINISTE? You would think that after Hugo-gate you would put at least some *minimal* effort into finding out of your “guest bloggers” are scary rape apologists. What is wrong with this place??

  93. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm |

    More from the OP’s blog. Wow:

    To a large degree white women represent a “forbidden fruit” to black men, something that was off-limits to them for a long time; and though society no longer prohibits interracial relationships a white sex partner still spells success to many black men, which is why so many wealthy ones (such as O.J. Simpson and Tiger Woods) marry white, usually blonde, women.

    Naturally, she starts that post by explaining that she can’t allow political correctness to stand in the way of her honesty.

  94. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm |

    Oh, more brave challenges to political correctness:

    I also refuse to employ ridiculous neologisms like “cisgender”, a coinage which is a perfect example of what’s wrong with “inclusiveness talk”; the terminally PC use it to mean people who aren’t “transgendered”. News flash: The vast majority of the human race is “cisgendered”, so it isn’t necessary to specify it. What’s next on the PC agenda, a special word to signify that a person isn’t handicapped?

    As I said before, we could play bingo all day with the OP’s repulsive blog.

    I suppose the moderators are putting their heads together right now to write their mea culpa for promoting this person.

  95. Chiara
    Chiara February 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm |

    Chiara, could you please stop citing movies and television shows as evidence of what gay male or lesbian relationships are like, or of what’s “clear”?

    Do you know any real, live, gay men or women? Seriously?

    I have a comment in moderation in which I’m considerably less calm about what you said. That kind of stereotyping makes me see read and want to bite people’s heads off, even more than trans-ignorant comments do. I guess that’s what happens you’re the parent of a gay child.

    Apologies. I hoped to cite some well regarded works by lesbian authors so as to provide some insight… But I don’t think my examples really show what I thought they showed anyway. On further consideration those characters’ relationships are more nuanced. Also I was a bit drunk when I wrote that, though I still am.

    I don’t know any gay or lesbian women in my real life, that I know of, because it’s a little difficult for me to meet new people.

  96. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm |

    Not to be pedantic, but Buffy is not a BBC show. It premiered on what was then the WB and then moved to UPN. And I’m pretty sure that Joss Wheedon is straight, though I wouldn’t stake my life on it.

    Well by bigger and smaller I meant in terms of like weight and strength and stuff.

    That has nothing to do with gayness, driving trucks, or being into fashion. That has to do with genetics and getting enough to eat as a kid and suchlike. It also has little to do with gender. The fellow whom I look back on most fondly was definitely smaller and slighter than I am.

  97. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm |

    OK, one final example of the OP’s staggering idiocy:

    In addition to one post in which she very specifically places “transsexual” sex workers in a different category from those who are “women,” she has the following gem, from a post entitled “He or She,” illustrated, among other things, with pictures of Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie. She valiantly attempts to answer the following important question:

    “How can you tell a transsexual from a real woman?” Most of my female readers probably consider the answer to be obvious, but . . . many of my male readers may be equally convinced that it isn’t . . . Let’s face it; men really don’t look much like women. Even with padding in the right places they’re taller and larger, their faces, shoulders and waists are wider, they have thicker skin and deeper voices and hair everywhere, and their mannerisms aren’t much like those of women even when they try. . . . As I said above, transsexuals are physically and hormonally male; even years of hormone therapy and full-body electrolysis cannot erase greater height and larger bone structure, and once the larynx expands during puberty not even voice lessons can disguise the male vocal timbre.

    And so on. Lovely, isn’t it?

  98. anon for this one33
    anon for this one33 February 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm |

    Not to drag this pile-on off-course, but I’d also like to comment that, in general, her historical columns all seem really, really inaccurate. I’ve looked at a few of them so far and I feel pretty comfortable saying that although the OP may be a librarian, I don’t trust her scholarship very much, and I think we should take this article with a tremendous grain of salt. For example, I’m not saying I’m an expert in Franco-German sexual/romantic relationships during World War II, but I did do my thesis in college on the purge, so I’m mildly familiar with the topic. In her article on ‘horizontal collaboration’, she wrote this huge elegy to sex workers who interacted with Germans and had their heads shaved after the war; this is like completely untrue. The femmes tondues were pretty much entirely working-class women and girls, particularly those seen as being romantically involved–upper-class women who had relations with German soldiers and prostitutes were not the victims there. Even if you just do a Google search in French, “femmes tondues prostitutées”, it comes up quickly with assertions about how these women weren’t sex workers, as it is commonly understood. And her assertion that extra-judicial murder of these women was common also seems really fishy to me: there was an absolute ton of extra-judicial violence in 1944, particularly concentrated in the SW where the FFI and other Resistance groups liberated the area for themselves, but I’ve never seen another source claiming that many women were murdered for their sexual relationships. Not to mention, also, her timeline seems off — in the paragraph where she refers to the invasion in May 1940, she says that women were pressed into sex work with German soldiers because of insufficient rations by the Vichy government, but this is nonsensical. Vichy, until November 1942, only controlled the Free Zone in the South, where there were no Nazi soldiers with whom to have sex. The North was run via German military administration, as was the South after Nov 1942. /pedant

    So yeah, not to be totally off-topic, but looking at this article, and looking at articles about France during WW2 and Japan after the war, I really don’t think this blog is in line with historical anything.

  99. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm |

    Jesus. I salute all of you who had the stomach to wade through such a staggering amount of misogynist, racist, and anti-trans bullshit. It’s not just her credibility on ancient Rome that’s shot, as far as I’m concerned. I…lack words.

  100. Bunny
    Bunny February 21, 2012 at 7:51 pm |

    Chiara, if you don’t know any LGBTQ people in real life, don’t try to make statements about what gay people do or don’t do sexually at all. Especially don’t make them based on what you see on fictional TV shows. It isn’t that “the relationships on those shows are more nuanced”, it’s that they are fictional.

    And yeah, really wondering what the hell is going on with this choice of guest blogger. Pretty much every blog entry I can find by this blogger contains seriously questionable statements.

  101. Jadey
    Jadey February 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm |

    @ Chiara,

    Word to the wise – don’t comment while drunk. Write it up in a Word document, save it, read it again when you’re sober, and see if it still makes sense and seems worth posting. Otherwise you will almost certainly end up making comments that are inappropriate and devoid of factual relevance. That kind of contribution only makes these discussions more difficult and won’t endear you to anyone. Might even get you banned depending on how far you take it, and then you won’t be allowed to participate.

    Also, sober or drunk, if you don’t know much about something, then you don’t have to comment on it – read instead.

  102. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 8:06 pm |

    Wow. I actually wrote, “see read” instead of “see red” in my comment above to Chiara. Unbelievable, and highly disturbing! I think I’ll just blame my fingers.

  103. piny
    piny February 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm |

    And so on. Lovely, isn’t it?

    Wow. She must have been fucking tanked. Or just, what’s the word, hateful.

  104. Angel H.
    Angel H. February 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm |

    I’m just gonna leave this here:

    on February 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Reply Gorbachev
    maggie,

    Check out your guest post at Feministe. The commenters are literally aghast.

    You are, apparently, Satan.

    on February 21, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Reply Maggie McNeill
    Yeah, I was pretty amused by the straining after gnats in the first few comments, then it devolved into asking what the “point” of the column was, nitpicking on what period the terms from and indulging in mental masturbation about “true” consent. When a member of the Feministe staff asked if they could reprint that post I rather expected stuff like that; it doesn’t really bother me because I figure my blog wouldn’t be as popular with intelligent, thoughtful people as it is if I were as bad as some of those commenters seem to think.

    on February 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Reply Gorbachev
    They really do seem deranged.

    They’re busy reading your blog and saying how you’re a rape apologist (not what I read on your blog), etc. and selectively quoting.

    I do think their belief system is more like a religious belief rather than a carefully argued philosophical structure.

    Also de-rigeur is the pat-on-back social grooming, the typical affirmation and the shout-outs in horror meant to arouse the “uh-huhs” and “That’s right, sister” responses.

    They don’t realize it, but they’re reinforcing the most tired female tropes and stereotypes.

    It’s rather sad they don’t see this.

    on February 21, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Reply Maggie McNeill
    From “A Short Glossary of Prohibitionism“:

    Apologist: Anyone who answers propaganda with facts: “Maggie McNeill is a trafficking apologist.”

    on February 21, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Reply Gorbachev
    Latest:

    “I also refuse to employ ridiculous neologisms like “cisgender”, a coinage which is a perfect example of what’s wrong with “inclusiveness talk”; the terminally PC use it to mean people who aren’t “transgendered”. News flash: The vast majority of the human race is “cisgendered”, so it isn’t necessary to specify it. What’s next on the PC agenda, a special word to signify that a person isn’t handicapped?”

    As I said before, we could play bingo all day with the OP’s repulsive blog. I suppose the moderators are putting their heads together right now to write their mea culpa for promoting this person.

    Your blog is, apparently, repulsive. It’s a moral crisis.

    on February 21, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Reply Maggie McNeill
    Well, of course it’s repulsive to neofeminists and others who can’t think for themselves. After all, I expect my readers to, like, think and stuff. And to allow others to think for themselves without censoring them or expecting them to adhere to approved PC guidelines.

    on February 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Reply Gorbachev
    They do read like parrots – there’s no original thought, at all, and there’s one more thing:

    Only moral revulsion. There’s no actual social criticism or actual analysis: Just statements and then hum-haws of approval or shouts of shame.

    It’s fascinating.

    on February 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply Maggie McNeill
    Which is exactly why they’re commenting there instead of writing blogs of their own.

    I was particularly fascinated by the moral outage at the “Black Men” post; I wonder what they’d say if they knew that the reaction to it from real black men is about 75% positive? Only in PC-land could a woman who’s never actually worked as a prostitute condemn as “wrong” an essay written by a prostitute about her actual experiences.

    on February 21, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Reply Gorbachev
    You should post in the comments. Just say something.

    I want to see how they react to the author: What they actually *say* to the author. It’s easy enough to react with shock and horror, but, …

    You can say something very general. Actually, this is an excellent exercise.

    on February 21, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Reply Gorbachev
    More:

    Jesus. I salute all of you who had the stomach to wade through such a staggering amount of misogynist, racist, and anti-trans bullshit. It’s not just her credibility on ancient Rome that’s shot, as far as I’m concerned. I…lack words.

    You’re not a feminist, not of the kind that Feministe approves of:

    And yeah, really wondering what the hell is going on with this choice of guest blogger. Pretty much every blog entry I can find by this blogger contains seriously questionable statements.

  105. piny
    piny February 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm |

    Word to the wise – don’t comment while drunk.

    Listen, this is good advice, but I’m not buying it, and I’m a little irritated that the excuse was even offered. Alcohol doesn’t make you bigoted or ignorant. This is on Chiara, not Wild Turkey.

  106. Bunny
    Bunny February 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm |

    The umbrella term “transgendered” has become quite popular among so-called “GLBT” activists, but since it covers everything from straight guys who are turned on by wearing their wives’ underwear to drag queens to transsexuals to hermaphrodites it is so broad as to be useless for anything other than furthering a political agenda.

    I. Just. What.

    WHAT.

    Also.

    some men are, to one degree or another, uncomfortable in their gender role; obviously some women are as well, but while most women who feel that way attempt to deny all gender by becoming neofeminists, men adopt a variety of behaviors ranging from cross-dressing to sex-change surgery.

    WHAT.

  107. piny
    piny February 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm |

    I want to see how they react to the author: What they actually *say* to the author. It’s easy enough to react with shock and horror, but, …

    …He’s a troll Svengali.

    And, ha, yeah, it’s hilarious, all the commenters think you’re a jackass…why the guest blog gig again?

  108. Carol
    Carol February 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm |

    I don’t agree with, but understand, Maggie’s problem with “neofeminists” who she defines as anti-sex and treating all sex workers as brainwashed, abused victims. She has a lot of interesting things to say about prostitution.
    But in addition to all the other ignorant stuff in her blog that other posters have pointed out, what she writes about trafficking (or “trafficking” as she dismisses it in quotes) is not based in, as she would like to see it, facts. She calls people leading efforts to end trafficking globally “fanatics” and “fetishists” and otherwise implies the whole issue is a made-up propaganda and hysteria. This is so incredibly irresponsible I can’t believe it.

  109. the_leanover
    the_leanover February 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm |

    Isn’t it delightful how Gorbachev sidles over to stir things up over at her blog rather than making any attempt at a defence here? He must have been getting manipulation tips from those nasty teenage girls, huh

  110. Freibiergesicht
    Freibiergesicht February 21, 2012 at 8:27 pm |

    wait so seriously after hugo schwyzer you still don’t bother to oh, I don’t know, take a casual stroll through the blog of guest bloggers?

    what in the holy hell, feministe. what the fuck is wrong with you. will you ever learn?

  111. piny
    piny February 21, 2012 at 8:29 pm |

    You’re right. It’s downright diabolical. Perhaps he…is a teenage girl?

  112. Chataya
    Chataya February 21, 2012 at 8:34 pm |

    @Chiara: for the love of fuck, get your information on homosexual couples from actual people, not Buffy and Japanese manga.

    re Roman society: My understanding is that Romans didn’t have the same concepts of sexuality as we do. You were either the “sword” (gladius) or the “sheath” (vagina). Being the sheath was generally looked down upon by citizens as it represented being of lower rank.

    re Guest Posting: I believe it’s been stated before that they don’t have an actual vetting policy on guest posts. Pretty much anyone can submit an article, and I think this post clearly shows that not much is done to research the poster. This is a great* example of why that isn’t the best policy to have.

    *and by “great,” I mean awful, horrible, what the fuck is this doing on a feminist blog?

  113. Chataya
    Chataya February 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm |

    on February 21, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Reply Maggie McNeill
    When a member of the Feministe staff asked if they could reprint that post I rather expected stuff like that; it doesn’t really bother me because I figure my blog wouldn’t be as popular with intelligent, thoughtful people as it is if I were as bad as some of those commenters seem to think.

    Okay, ignore my last point. Who though this would be a good idea?

  114. Gorbachev
    Gorbachev February 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm |

    Apparently, I know nothing of which I speak.

    Okay then. Don’t listen to me.

    For the glitterati.

    http://www.hopehouseonline.org/pages/girls.shtml

    Boys and girls engage in aggression, but girls are more likely to express aggression in a relational sense, including behaviors such as rumors, gossip and social exclusion. Girls purposefully ignore or exclude other girls, spread rumors, and tell peers not to associate with another girl as a means of retaliation. Girls use their relationships to inflict harm, manipulate peers, and injure others’ feelings of social acceptance.

    For example, a relational aggressive girl may insist that her friends ignore a particular child, exclude her from their group, form secret pacts to humiliate the child, call her names, and/or spread rumors about her. Examples of such manipulation include, “If you don’t do what I say, I won’t play with you.” Children in preschool have been observed excluding peers by saying, “Don’t let her play,” or using retaliation, “She was mean to me yesterday, so she can’t be our friend.” In older girls, the gossip can be more vicious, for example, “Her dad’s a druggie,” “I saw her cheat,” or “She think she’s all that.”

    The consequences are serious. Both victims and aggressors are at risk for serious adjustment problems that can have far-reaching effects on their lives, including depression and suicide. Relational aggression creates a social environment in schools that is hostile and affects a girl’s ability to learn and grow. Three groups are involved in relational aggression: the aggressor or bully, the victim, and the bystander.

  115. Chiara
    Chiara February 21, 2012 at 8:41 pm |

    Gorbachev you totes got busted like.

    Listen, this is good advice, but I’m not buying it, and I’m a little irritated that the excuse was even offered. Alcohol doesn’t make you bigoted or ignorant. This is on Chiara, not Wild Turkey.

    Don’t exactly know what you mean by Wild Turkey. But anyway alcohol means I’m more likely to type out whatever is floating around in my head into a comment. But yeah I admit what was floating around in my head was ignorant.

  116. Gorbachev
    Gorbachev February 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm |

    More.

    http://www.promoteprevent.org/publications/prevention-briefs/girls-bullying-and-violence

    Social media: Relational aggression has received more coverage in recent films, news, and other media outlets due to the devastating effects it can have on its victims. This broadened media coverage may normalize the issue of females who engage in RA (i.e., “mean girls”) and create an “everyone does it” mentality that may desensitize young girls to the negative effects of RA, make aggressors and bystanders less likely to feel shocked or distressed by this behavior, and lead to further instances of this type of aggression.

    BTW, males by and large don’t do this: They just come over and hit you.

  117. piny
    piny February 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm |

    …I don’t think the moderators are going to let you reargue this one, since you lost on the last thread, but I’d love to hear you explain why having the shit beaten out of you isn’t also traumatizing. Oh, wait, I wouldn’t, because it would actually just be a bunch of fapping about how girls are way worse because girls say bad things about each other. Do you really not understand the difference between saying that girls are more likely to engage in emotional abuse than physical abuse and saying that boys do not engage in emotional abuse? Unlike you, apparently, I actually had male friends growing up, and the idea that they weren’t badly hurt by other young men men simply because those other young men felt free to beat them up is a bunch of bullshit.

  118. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm |

    For example in the BBC show “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, [spoiler alert] there is a lesbian couple Willow and Tara and while it’s less clear here I’d say that Tara was probably the ‘bigger’ woman and Willow the ‘smaller’ woman. I think this show is written by a gay guy too, though I’m not certain.

    So much wrong with this.

    Also, WTF? I have no desire to read that blog, fuck. I am just flabbergasted. I…just, what?

  119. Gorbachev
    Gorbachev February 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm |

    http://www.ucalgary.ca/iejll/soohoo

    Nice piece on how girls don’t necessarily hit each other. They just socially manipulate and destroy each other.

    If a boy wants to bully you, by and large he comes over and hits you. Often with his buddies. But it’s almost always physical.

    All of the men I know comment on this rather odd behavior of women and especially teenage girls: Social bullying and vicious, underhanded fighting.

    Boys will just beat the snot out of you and leave you bleeding. In most cases, “mean girls” aren’t happy until you’re a social outcast.

    But of course I know nothing.

  120. piny
    piny February 21, 2012 at 8:47 pm |

    BTW, males by and large don’t do this: They just come over and hit you.

    And as we all know, physical abuse isn’t traumatic at all.

  121. Chiara
    Chiara February 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm |

    BTW, males by and large don’t do this: They just come over and hit you.

    Well that’s much better.

    Btw what point are you trying to make exactly? That commenters here are just being mean girls by criticizing Roman Prostitute Woman?

  122. Gorbachev
    Gorbachev February 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm |

    http://www.post-gazette.com/localnews/20020410meangirls0410lnp1.asp

    And more. I like this piece. A little dramatic, but you guys seem to like that kind of drama.

    And, apparently, this phenomenon is a mystery to women everywhere. I guess.

    The girl-bully is skinny, pretty and seemingly perfect.

    And she can make other girls’ lives so horrible that, decades later, they’ll break down in tears just talking about it — if they can talk about it at all.

    With the recent publication of several books and studies on girl-bullies and their victims, there’s been much discussion of the issue. Probably no one is hearing more about the topic than the staff of the Ophelia Project in Erie.

    The project has been around since 1997, offering self-esteem programs and mentors for girls.

    But the heart of the project is a school program called “How Girls Hurt Each Other.” Using older teens as mentors for younger girls, it’s meant to address the often Machiavellian methods of girl-bullies.

    With this month’s release of “Odd Girl Out: The Culture of Hidden Aggression in Girls,” a book by Ophelia Project member Rachel Simmons, the program has been inundated by e-mails and phone calls “from ocean to ocean” and around the world, said Assistant Director Holly Nishimura, and it was featured on “Dateline NBC” last night.

  123. Angel H.
    Angel H. February 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm |

    But of course I know nothing.

    That’s what people have been trying to tell you!

  124. Gorbachev
    Gorbachev February 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm |

    For her book, Simmons conducted hundreds of interviews with girls and women, some of whom described bullying so severe that they developed ulcers and eating disorders, transferred to other schools, used drugs, or became depressed or suicidal and underwent psychological counseling well into their adult years.

    She found that much of the aggression results from a bully, and as many girls as she can rally, targeting one lone classmate, often for no particular reason. The girls will start rumors about the victim, pass notes in class or write embarrassing letters to boys and sign the victim’s name.

    They’ll have parties and make sure the victim knows, but not invite her. They’ll crowd the lunch table so there’s no room for her to sit.

    And in the 21st century, they use technology as a weapon. Three-way calling, for instance, is wildly popular among younger girls, who will put a third party on the line secretly and then get a victim to say embarrassing things about her.

    “Instant messaging” or IM — an Internet service in which several people can have a real-time conversation simultaneously — also is epidemic in the world of girl-bullies.

    The evil here is that the users, known as “buddies” in IM lingo, can use a fake name, steal someone else’s name or pose as several different people while insulting and defaming an unfortunate victim.

    Yes, but apparently, though I have nieces suffering from the most brutal, savage personal abuse I’ve ever seen any human inflict on another, all being dished out by girls, I know nothing.

    As one teacher said: I have never seen boys be as calculating brutal and soul-destroying as a group of young girls.

    And being a man who was once a boy, I can say with some confidence: At no time did the groups of boys I knew *ever* engage in this kind of behavior. There was lots of bullying, but it was out and out physical, and the response was always 1) Defend yourself or 2) Get a group of friends together and get revenge.

    The long-term social effects were largely zero; in fact, it was possible to score point by surviving attacks by bullies, who were seen not so much as Alpha Males but as predators to be avoided and survived.

    Not so the girls. My SO says she still, to this day, has pain from having to deal with young girls, as a young girl.

    But I know nothing.

  125. the_leanover
    the_leanover February 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm |

    Dude, stop being a patronizing dick, WE GET IT. Many of us were teenage girls. Believe me, I have far more first-hand experience of this than I care to discuss. As a feminist, however, I prefer to avoid making crude generalizations about ‘bad things women/girls do because that’s just how they are’ and instead centre the question of why harmful gendered behaviours exist (hint: patriarchy usually plays an insidious part!) and how they can be improved (hint: not by constantly reiterating that women are just naturally backstabbing bitches!). Either way, this is off-topic; but feel free to expend your energy on explaining why you don’t think Ms McNeill’s attitude to race and trans issues is problematic.

  126. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm |

    If a boy wants to bully you, by and large he comes over and hits you. Often with his buddies. But it’s almost always physical.

    And that makes it better…how? Teenage boys beat the shit out of people, stuff them in lockers, piss on their belongings…but they don’t make people social outcasts, is that what you’re saying? So geeky boys or gay boys or swishy boys…after the rest of the boys finish beating them up and pissing on you and stealing your shit…it’s all cool, is that what you’re saying? Because boys somehow don’t need to feel physically safe around people in order to be friends?

    You know what else teenage boys do? They rape.

    So, as I said in the last thread, speaking as a former deeply unpopular teenage girl who was ostracized by both girls and boys (boys are fully capable of making someone a social pariah–two of my closest friends at this time were boys), I’d far rather be with teenage girls than teenage boys. Hell, I’d cross the street to avoid your average group of teenage boys.

  127. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm |

    The long-term social effects were largely zero

    You know jack shit. I suppose the male friends in their 40s whom I’ve seen actually break down in tears at the memory of the physical and emotional bullying they suffered at the hands of their peers are just wimps, huh? Because obviously it couldn’t have been that bad. Penises prevent you from hurting people’s feelings.

  128. the_leanover
    the_leanover February 21, 2012 at 8:59 pm |

    Also, I still have certain baggage from the nasty girl-inflicted bullying I suffered for the majority of my childhood and young teenagehood, but from everything I have read and heard it absolutely pales in comparison to the emotional trauma involved for most women who have suffered physical and/or sexual abuse at the hands of men. So seriously, stop invoking ‘but my girlfriend agrees!’ and accept that women are not a fucking monolith.

  129. Gorbachev
    Gorbachev February 21, 2012 at 8:59 pm |

    http://wikis.lib.ncsu.edu/index.php/Girl_Bullies_in_Schools

    Adult

    The highest concern of bullying is actually among the ages of 20 to 24-years-olds. For 11 to 14-year-olds they face bullying on the playground but for a 20 to 24-year-old it’s in the workplace.

    * Women targets were more likely than men targets to be recipients of the following tactics from women:

    Bullying Tactics: (Men,Women)—Contributions to meetings discounted(61%,74%)—Being mistreated when medically/psychologically vulnerable(35%,45%)—Denied training time to succeed in new job(34%,43%)—Blocked access to equipment and resources for success(21%,30%)—Uninvited invasion of office space and scrutiny of e-mails(14%,22%)

    In my experience, women in the worldplace are in almost all cases ach other’s worst enemies. Being a semi-technical field that requires lots of personality, the women in my field tend to be very highly respected by all of the men.

    In almost all cases, I’ve had the women say they detest working for other women. They’ll choose a male boss every time. of the four sexual harrassment lawsuits companies I’ve worked at have experienced, one was directed at a self-evidently lecherous male boss, one was clearly a miscommunication that became a cash-grab, and the last two were – get this –
    Two women who were suing *other women* for creating a hostile climate.

    I’ve had much the same story from others, too.

    But, of course, as a man, and as XX anonymous commenter, I know nothing.

    It’s all sisterhood and joy.

    In my experience, I restate just for the peanut gallery: I have never seen rank, calculated cruelty designed to devastate and destroy as I’ve seen among teenage girls. And I’ve been to Bosnia, Sudan and Afghanistan.

    Males do things to hurt others usually for some goal.

    Nowhere have I seen people do things just for the sake of cruelty itself; just to humiliate and destroy for no other purpose but to see others wither and die. But I’ve seen 14 year old girls do this.

  130. librarygoose
    librarygoose February 21, 2012 at 8:59 pm |

    Fuck You, Gorbachev.

    I was mercilessly bullied by both boys and girls, and I can tell you now that physical and emotional trauma all suck. And both groups inflicted both types.

    What you are saying and trying to force here is the idea that as a young girl, I was a monster. A horrible, soul crushing, manipulative wraith made of malice. You’re claiming that my nieces, sisters, mother, aunts…do you see what you’re claiming? You’re not the only one with nieces, and I’ll raise you sob story as proof, my nephew has cried to me about how his “friends” are mean to him. Not physically, he’s a big boy, but emotionally they destroy him. They call him fat, stupid, gay, and it hurts him. Don’t you tell me his experience is nonexistent.

  131. Gorbachev
    Gorbachev February 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm |

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/10/business/10women.html?pagewanted=all

    “I’ve been sabotaged so many times in the workplace by other women, I finally left the corporate world and started my own business,” said Roxy Westphal, who runs the promotional products company Roxy Ventures Inc. in Scottsdale, Ariz. She still recalls the sting of an interview she had with a woman 30 years ago that “turned into a one-person firing squad” and led her to leave the building in tears.

  132. the_leanover
    the_leanover February 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm |

    Oh, and finally: let’s please stop erasing the experiences of non-hetero boys, who regularly suffer intense long-lasting psychological and physical trauma mostly, I’d be willing to wager, at the hands of other boys.

  133. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon February 21, 2012 at 9:07 pm |

    So geeky boys or gay boys or swishy boys…after the rest of the boys finish beating them up and pissing on you and stealing your shit…it’s all cool, is that what you’re saying?

    Well, of course, EG! When the fighting’s done, they all shake hands and say ‘good game’ like at the end of a little league game.

  134. the_leanover
    the_leanover February 21, 2012 at 9:07 pm |

    In my experience, I restate just for the peanut gallery: I have never seen rank, calculated cruelty designed to devastate and destroy as I’ve seen among teenage girls. And I’ve been to Bosnia, Sudan and Afghanistan.

    Males do things to hurt others usually for some goal.

    Nowhere have I seen people do things just for the sake of cruelty itself; just to humiliate and destroy for no other purpose but to see others wither and die. But I’ve seen 14 year old girls do this.

    Seriously just fuck the fucking fuck off. There are almost definitely women in this thread who have been raped and physically or psychologically abused by men. Stop fucking telling them that this was probably ‘for some goal’ and probably not as bad as the pure evil that is teenage girls. Seriously.

  135. Computer Soldier Porygon
    Computer Soldier Porygon February 21, 2012 at 9:16 pm |

    I assume Jill et al. didn’t knowingly invite someone who writes things like this:

    Well, Jill almost definitely didn’t. Comment on the original post over at The Honest Courtesan:

    “Clarisse Thorn
    Wow. Awesome.”

  136. Esti
    Esti February 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

    Am I missing something, or is this thread not about your theories of gender-based bullying?

    I know it’s really tempting to respond to stuff this obviously ridiculous, but maybe we could all make a collective pledge to ignore this dude? He’s just straight up derailing every thread he posts on with this same shit.

  137. Chataya
    Chataya February 21, 2012 at 9:31 pm |

    Well, Jill almost definitely didn’t. Comment on the original post over at The Honest Courtesan:

    “Clarisse Thorn
    Wow. Awesome.”

    Oh boy, this thread again.

  138. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 9:45 pm |

    “As one teacher said: I have never seen boys be as calculating brutal and soul-destroying as a group of young girls.”

    “In my experience, I restate just for the peanut gallery: I have never seen rank, calculated cruelty designed to devastate and destroy as I’ve seen among teenage girls. And I’ve been to Bosnia, Sudan and Afghanistan.”

    Here we go again, you devilish little instigator, you!

    So, to bring this back on topic, Gorbachev, would it be fair to say that if only the Roman Empire had put legions of teenaged girls in charge of dealing with the barbarians, it would never have gotten soft and Rome would never have fallen?

    Hey, it makes at least as much sense as all the ludicrously ignorant and inaccurate historical and sociological contentions over at Ms. McNeill’s blog! I pity the library where she used to work. But don’t ever call her homophobic or transphobic or anything like it! Why, that’s one of her “pet peeves”! She actually saw fit to devote an entire little essay to explaining her brilliant insight that, like, well, see, “phobia” means you’re afraid, and most people who don’t like homosexuals aren’t really afraid of them! Maybe they just think they’re disgusting! What an assault on the English language! (Apparently, words must always be used forever in a manner precisely consistent with etymology.) And besides, its all a plot by PC neo-feminists and radicals to label those who don’t like homosexuals as having an illness! But of course she has nothing against homosexuals! And doesn’t actually even know any transsexuals (because of course we all go around with scarlet “T’s” tattooed on our foreheads, and she can always tell by our enormous man hands and man voices, right?) h

    And as for the loathsome Ms. McNeill’s blog being “popular with intelligent, thoughtful people,” it seems to me that “fetid cesspool” would a more apt description; the bulk are from right-wing, joyfully un-PC types, predominantly men. Here’s one typical example, from another one of her gender-essentialist train wrecks:

    “American society has created a gen Y or millenials that have way too high a proportion of semi emasculated “nice guys” who are in fact sexually unattractive in their behaviors to cute and hot girls, and who accordingly can’t get sex in their twenties from other than fat girls, even though successful.”

    So intelligent! So thoughtful! Just like friend Gorbachev!

    A match made in heaven, methinks.

  139. Anon this time too
    Anon this time too February 21, 2012 at 9:46 pm |

    I know it’s really tempting to respond to stuff this obviously ridiculous, but maybe we could all make a collective pledge to ignore this dude? He’s just straight up derailing every thread he posts on with this same shit.

    I agree, Esti. But I have to get a thing or two off my chest before I cease to react to anything else he posts:

    For one thing, just because somebody summarizes their interpretations of their observations on a website, doesn’t make it An Indisputable Fact, Gorbachev.

    Also, with regard to the tensions between other women: consider that girls/women are an oppressed group—consider the profound ways that this shapes the types of tensions that might exist among them, and the ways they are expressed. Tensions between boys (presumably straight, white, and otherwise “normal” boys, re: class, ableism, etc., based on your descriptions of the dynamics) don’t exist and play out on an oppressed/socially disadvantaged plane. So, there’s always that. Sorry to snatch down the halos that hover over the crowns of ‘validated and honorable’ boy bullies… they’re just fighting from a place of privilege.

    Come back when you can understand why any argument that suggests “inherent” differences based on sex is not going to inspire any awe among this readership.

  140. Donna L
    Donna L February 21, 2012 at 9:48 pm |

    Ohmigod, I bet it was Clarisse Thorn who asked if she could post this. It’s the Hugo thread all over again! How long before these comments get shut down, I wonder?

  141. Claire.
    Claire. February 21, 2012 at 10:08 pm |

    Jill, just close this blog down. It’s a disaster.

  142. Iris Tyto Alba
    Iris Tyto Alba February 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm |

    And then “but guys I wasn’t feeling well. Bloggers have lives offline too, omg.”

  143. Melusina
    Melusina February 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm |

    Guys, who cares about the racism and transphobia and other stuff as long as it’s ~empowering~ and makes Clarisse say WHOA COOOOL right? That’s 2011 Sex Positive *F*eminism in a nutshell.

  144. EG
    EG February 21, 2012 at 10:12 pm |

    Nowhere have I seen people do things just for the sake of cruelty itself; just to humiliate and destroy for no other purpose but to see others wither and die. But I’ve seen 14 year old girls do this.

    Sure. Because 14-year-old girls are just engines of sadistic destruction. They don’t have reasons for doing the things they do. I mean, Gorbachev can’t figger out what those reasons could be, so they can’t possible exist, right?

    But boys who beat up gay boys and rape them and rape girls as well–I’m sure their motives are totally understandable.

    Well, Jill almost definitely didn’t. Comment on the original post over at The Honest Courtesan:

    “Clarisse Thorn
    Wow. Awesome.”

    Oh, you have got to be fucking kidding me.

  145. Jill
    Jill February 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm | *

    Oh man… yeah, you are all correct, I did not peruse the original blogger’s entire blog before approving this post. I read this, thought it was interesting, scanned her blog generally and hit publish. Ugh. I apologize, and I am closing this thread down.

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