Tag Archives: the misogynist within

Links: February 24, 2011

24 Feb

I recently joined Tumblr. Woohoo.

Some good news this morning: “Julian Assange Ordered by Court to Be Extradited to Sweden”:

Judge Howard Riddle, in his ruling, said that allegations brought by two women qualified as extraditable offenses and that the warrant seeking Mr. Assange’s return to Sweden for questioning was valid.

Womanist Musings: “Bill Maher Pronounces Sexism in the Middle East Worse Than in America” . . . because Maher is still an asshole. Here’s a handy image to help him understand why he is wrong: (via)

Noanodyne: a great roundup of rad fem blog links on ‘cis privilege’ and the likes. . . “Come on in, have a seat at the table”. Generally, just go read all of Noanodyne’s recent posts.

Scum-o-Rama: “The ‘Gendered’ Intersex Brain”

Here’s a good compilation of links to stories on how Republicans are trying to take away abortion rights across the country.

And the most upsetting for last. . .

TruthvsCompliance: “Pornography isn’t abusive???? Trigger Warning!” . . . a very detailed review of the film “Hardcore” [really, really strong TW for descriptions of sexual assault and pornography].

The Non-Radical History of a Radical Feminist

18 Feb

I’ve been thinking lately about how much I have changed in the last few years… and the last few months… and, hell, the last few weeks. The more I read, talk, and know, the more radical I become. I cannot wait until I’m in my 50s!

Opposition to prostitution and pornography was my intro into radical feminism. Learning more about what radical feminism was, it was all downhill after that, as you can see with this blog o’ mine.

But here’s a bit of how I used to be. Your little Lishra, several years ago (keep in mind that I’m in my early twenties now, with many of these things happening when I was like 15)…

*I bought several “strip-aerobics” videos, which helped with facilitating my eating disorder and general self-hatred I had at the time. Oh, Carmen Electra. So succinct in your ability to make a teenage girl feel like shit so that you may profit from the male gaze. (Still, I blame the patriarchy, though, not Carmen.)

*I’ve seen every episode of “Sex and the City” at least twice. Although… burgeoning radicalism: I stole every one of the DVDs from a particular big-box store. I was a crafty one. Also? Such a Carrie.

*[TW] In playing Grand Theft Auto (bad enough!), I sometimes had my character have sex with prostitutes and then killed them afterward, recouping my money. (What the hell was wrong with me? That’s really disturbing, and seems totally unreal to me now. This was about eight years ago, but still.) [/TW]

*I had a “burlesque is totes awesome” phase. This included buying Dita Von Teese’s book, watching several videos of old-timey burlesque skits, and thinking of unique acts that I could do one day when I was old enough to be in bars that local troupes perform in. I even made black sequin pasties at one point.

*This is a more recent one… a couple years ago, there was a period of two months in which I really, really wanted a corset. Not just any corset, but one that would let me “waist train”. Yes, the kind that you wear for 23+ hours a day, every day. Thank goodness for my partner being like, “No. That’s a really awful idea. What the hell? You do not need to do that. That’s so impractical. It will hurt you. Don’t do that!” It also helped that I never could scrape together the $90 for one.

*Also a more recent one: I thought I was super cool because I “got” Judith Butler. True facts: no one gets Judith Butler.

*I used to define my feminism almost solely on opposition to shitty media representations of women. That’s probably a common entry point to feminism for a lot of folks, but, damn, aren’t you glad I moved beyond that? Bonus: I had another blog before this one that was basically dedicated to “Gosh, this ad is awful! Look at how awful this ad is! OMG PHOTOSHOP!”

*I read Jezebel daily from about three months after it started until spring of last year. (The final nail in the coffin was last summer in which the site did a post on Maia’s week of guest blogging over at Feministe about child-free spaces and the shit.hit.the fan. as Jezebel folks rushed over there to make asses of themselves. Whooda guessed that Jezebel’s commentariate consists of a lot of USian white women with zero ability to understand that Other People Aren’t Always Like You?)

*I had a subscription to BUST magazine. ‘Nuff said.


So, as you can see, there is hope for our less enlightened sisters. In time, they too may be fighting the good (radical) fight with us. It’d be nice if they could hurry up though.

Final note to my former self: WTF was that?

Final note to my future self: I can’t wait to be you.

Degrading Feminism (See What I Did There?)

15 Jan

[Trigger warning for descriptions of BDSM.]

I found an interview on Feministing with “feminist” pornographer and sex-pozzie educator Tristan Taormino recently. I don’t visit Feministing anymore, so I found it linked from another site. That site? Adult Video News, the pornography industry’s trade mag. Just how I like my feminism. . . pornography-industry approved and promoted.

I’m not really going to get into the interview too much, but you can read it here if you’d like. There were just a couple bits I wanted to draw attention to since they relate to my later analysis.

1. Taormino says that, in college, she lived in a place called Womanist House. Later, when discussing young women not identifying as feminists, she expresses her confusion at this. She mentions how it’s a slap in the face to all the feminist work of the past, which I’m assuming means USian, white suffragists. While I get the train of thought she’s going with, there are other reasons that women – even young women – don’t call themselves feminists. Uh, hello… Womanist House?

2. “And I was raised by a gay man, so I love musicals.” And I was raised by straight, blue-collar parents, so I love NASCAR.

Now, onto something that was not in the interview.

On Taormino’s website, she answers messages from people asking advice about their sex lives. This one question stuck out to me. The following bold emphasis is mine.

Dear Anal Advisor:

My boyfriend is ultra submissive in just one area: his ass. He doesn’t go for the Mistress thing, lick-my-boot mentality, but when it comes to his ass (which is the focus of his fantasies and always how he’s able to come) he’s full sub. I know exactly what he needs that way, pain and humiliation. Directed at his ass. Insulting HIM gets us nowhere, but insulting HIS ASS does.  My snag is this: there are only so many ways to insult an ass. Degrading his ass, calling it a cunt or pussy gets him off in a snap. Is there any way to get good ideas to boost my imagination so play is not monotonous for either of us?

Mistress of His Ass

Can you guess what is not addressed whatsoever in the response? What is just glided over as a-okay and totally unproblematic? Get out your sex-poz bingo cards!

Dear Mistress of His Ass:

Plenty of people get off on pain, humiliation, degradation, and overall submission. Clearly your boyfriend’s submissiveness is tied directly to his ass and anal play. There are many ways to combine submission and anal pleasure. You’ve already insulted his ass, but have you also tried to insult and humiliate *him* for wanting his ass penetrated, for being a naughty butt boy? Take all the cultural baggage that comes with anal pleasure, and use it to your advantage, as a psychological tool: it’s dirty, taboo, dangerous, and will make him gay. Of course those aren’t true, but these myths can make for great mindfuck material. If he likes extreme submission, you may also want to explore forced anal penetration or anal rape scenes; that’s tricky territory, so tread lightly. It also sounds like there is an element of gender play in your man’s fantasies, since he enjoys having his ass be called his pussy. Try to explore that part of his desire further. Does he want to crossdress, to be girl? Does he want to be forced to do it? Forced feminization is quite popular and may be part of what he’s try to express in the anal play you’re currently having. See if he will open up about and be specific about his submissive anal desires, and use what he gives you to take things to the next level.

Way to NOT unpacked everything that goes into the idea of degradation being sexy.

The woman writing for advice says that her boyfriend enjoys being degraded. How? By calling a particular orifice of his a pussy or cunt. This is then misidentified by Taormino as a possible desire for “gender play”. Could it be that, since he equates having a vagina with being degraded, that he is actually just into that other popular practice of misogyny? Then, there’s “forced feminization” brought up in her response. That idea/practice is seriously woman-hating as folks raised as girls/women endure that exact thing – forced feminization. And this is what bunch of dudes get off on. Surprise, surprise.

The first line of Taormino’s response is simply a statement of fact, implying that if enough people like something, that makes it good/healthy/etc. “Plenty of people get off on pain, humiliation, degradation, and overall submission.” Yeah. Like rapists.

Taormino advises the advice-seeker to use “cultural baggage” as a way of turning her boyfriend on via degradation. Interesting term… “cultural baggage”. Using homophobia as incitement for your boyfriend to orgasm. . . FEMINISM.

And for all the talk about how “sex is a normal and natural thing”, “pornography can be a celebration of healthy sex”. . . why is it that sex is constantly referred to as dirty, women as dirty, etc in all porn, including feminist porn? Oh, but Taormino clarifies that sex as dirty and so on “aren’t true”. Just how far are we supposed to take this massive cognitive dissonance here? What if this boyfriend (who I’m assuming is white because BDSM is totally a Thing White People Like) really got off on, say, “fantasies” of being degraded as a black woman under U.S. slavery? Do we say, “Hey, well, what gets you off gets you off,” or do we offer even a modicum of analysis of just why the hell that may be? Hmm, could it have to do with misogynistic racism? I’m a little surprised Taormino doesn’t suggest something like that since, you know, what’s more degraded than having a vagina as well as brown skin? “But how else will he orgasm if not imagining himself in the position of an indentured woman?” Tough shit. Find something that isn’t  overwhelmingly offensive even at first glance. Find something that doesn’t eroticize someone’s oppression.

Golly, I’m sure glad that feminist Tristan Taormino is doing justice to all the feminist work that came before her. Fight the good fight, Tristan. . . well, unless someone thinks it’s really hot.

“Middle-Class White Women” & Not Getting It

7 Jan

(I know this post is quite long, but please do stay tuned for the end in which I make amusing conclusions! And hand out free candy!)

There’s a peculiar trend in my women’s studies class discussions this week. Primarily, it’s massive hypocrisy and double-speak among other students and even one of my professors. I suspect this has always occurred, but I’m just noticing it now due to my increased radicalization these days.

In a 300-level women’s studies course, we had a little refresher on what each ‘wave’ of feminism primarily worked against/for/etc. Notably, this was also the only class in which the ‘wave’ model has not been criticized, which I immediately found odd. Then came the real wackiness.

Question to class: “And what is the current, third wave of feminism about?”

I took notes on what students said so I could handily recall it all for you right now.

One woman who is notorious for her sex-pozzie, liberal feminist double-speak in other classes we’ve both taken: “Well, it’s about, like, more about individuality. Like, the individual woman, and what she does. . . and her individuality.” (Not an exact quote, but frighteningly close.)

Another woman who has shown in another class that she doesn’t seem to know what she’ll say until she’s saying it: “So, you know, like a woman can strip or whatever and it can be like a way for her to get by and make money. . . and get to the top.” (A more exact quote.)

While I understand that my fellow students, particularly these two, aren’t likely reading radical feminist books and blogs everyday like yours truly. . . have we not all been getting the same women’s studies curriculum for the last few years? While I may not have been as radical in the past, I have been anti-pornstitution and equipped with a highly-sensitive bullshit detector for quite a while. I don’t know where they are getting this from. As anti-radical-feminism as certain assigned readings have been in other classes, these kinds of mindless “feminist” talking points did not come from anything our instructors have said, nor the vast majority of what we have read. Are they all just repeating what Jezebel and Feministing have to say? (Hey, I’ve been there too.)

The professor for this class, well. . . I had high expectations. Then she got on that sisterhood/solidarity-shattering notion of “there’s no universal experience of all women”. Strangely, she then — right after saying that — said that the exceptions would be the threat of sexual violence “which is pretty universal” in women’s lives, and that women have diminished social and political power.

Excuse me?

Sure, the 25+ percent of women who have been raped by men may not have been raped in the exact same way, and the other 75 percent hasn’t been kept in absolute fear in the exact same way, but isn’t that a BIG DAMN COMMONALITY in general?

“Diminished social and political power” seems like shorthand for “women are an oppressed class”. . . that also sounds pretty universal and wide-reaching as it affects women’s lives, yeah?

The word “oppression” wasn’t spoken once by anyone, even in the discussion (for the newbies and non-majors) about “how women are disadvantaged”. There was one reference, by the instructor, of women as a “group” so I’ll give her a half point for that.

Otherwise? It was downhill from there. We got on the topic of difference between second-wave feminists and third-wave feminists. You can probably tell what’s coming. Someone mentioned Dworkin, said how feminists have been at odds about porn/prostitution, but less so now, and then the instructor said something kind of dismissive in an “Oh, that silly Andrea Dworkin – how quaint” kind of way.

The professor then added that some feminists’ interests can be at odds with the interests of other feminists, and — get this — “they can sometimes oppress one another”. NO. NO THEY CAN’T. Women are incapable of oppressing other women as women. To oppress you need both privilege and power. Women do not have structural power or privilege as women, so that ain’t happening.

Finally, the most hilaritragic claim about feminist “differences” was repeated by five students, all of whom were white women sitting in a university classroom. They all said that second-wave feminism was more focused on the needs of “middle-class white women” whereas third-wave feminism is not.

I’ll be right back. . . I need to fix a drink.

Ok. *deep breath* I’m sorry, fellow white lady students, but have you looked at your skin color lately? Or your privilege that lets you sit in this room and say all this? And going on about how feminism these days approves of things like porn, prostitution, and stripping. . .  do you know who is in prostitution? Do you think the majority of them — worldwide or in the U.S. — look like you or have your economic background? Do you think your brand of feminism helps a poor, non-white 14-year-old girl in prostitution, or do you think that your “it’s her choice” bullshit only serves to prop up her pimp?

White, (presumably) middle-class young women claiming that their feminism is just so different from that old lady feminism that focused on white, middle-class women. . . are you kidding me?

But then things actually got better. In another women’s studies course on gender and colonialism, the professor (who is not white) did not mess around with wishy-washy definitions or let this “choice” rhetoric pass for actual feminism.

We started the class with clear definitions of things like racism, colonialism, and violence. Then our professor asked us to define feminism, say what it is “about”.

Then came the broken record. “Choice, gender equality” *skip* “choice, gender equality” . . . but scant mentions of women at all. If I wasn’t so anxiety-ridden and not sure which feminism definition she was seeking, I would have said what I had written down: “the elimination of (white, hetero,) male supremacy; the abolishment of gender”.

To the woman spouting, “It’s about choice,” our professor did a fabulous omg-you’re-being-serious face. Seriously. . . “choice” doesn’t stop men from raping women, “choice” doesn’t end male supremacy. And I’m sure the instructor was wondering how choice has anything to do with colonized women.

Later, I snickered about one student (the first one quoted) getting a total comeuppance. She said — somewhat relevantly — how, at a club, she used a nongendered bathroom “and it was really cool”. Full stop. Again, awesome professor looked quizzically at her and asked, “‘Cool’? In what way was it ‘cool’? What do you mean by that?” I’m such a radfem geek. . . in my head I was like OH YEAH, hells YES she finally got called out.

So, things are looking up for that class. We’re talking about “structural” things, not interpersonal “women oppressing other women” crap. . . you know: feminism.

Conclusions:

- Third-wave, “choice” feminism leads to dangerously high levels of illogical thought, diminished capacity for political syllogism.

- Prior and current experience indicates that my women’s studies professors who are white tend to have a myopic view of what women’s liberation looks like while my non-white women’s studies professors diligently hammer home the point that systems of oppression – OMG! – actually exist.

- It is going to be a long, stressful term dealing with anti-radicals. My alcohol usage is likely to increase by 15%.

- My class discussion experiences this term might cause me to say something “inflammatory” during my graduation speech later this year, which may or may not include me shouting sarcastically about “choosing my choice”, then dropping the mic and flouncing off. Look forward to the Youtube video captured on someone’s cell phone titled “chick studies harpy loses her shit”.

Links: December 14, 2010

14 Dec

The Bitch Who Roared: “Short Post: Please Don’t LGBTQI Me”

Said It: “Little Women, Big Men: Sexism and the Language of Size”

A Radical Profeminist: “The Trans/Gender Politics of Shaming Women-as-Women, Around and Beyond the Queer, Antifeminist Blogosphere”

Lots more links involving Julian Assange and the ongoing saga of worldwide victim blaming… [TW]

The Curvature (Tumblr): “So Here’s the Thing, People”. And I’m gonna go ahead and quote a bunch of it here, because the post is just so awesome.

This right now is probably not a good time to say “I’m real happy for you, and Imma let you finish about all of this girly rape apologism stuff, but the fact is that Assange is only being charged with anything because of Wikileaks.”

Because you know what? Chances are we know that. Chances are, it really fucking hurts to see governments finally taking rape “seriously,” only to know that they’re likely not taking it seriously at all, that they couldn’t care any less about rape than all of the librul d00ds running around talking about how women are lying whores and CIA operatives and radical feminists but lying whores especially, and are just using violence against women to their own ends in an attempt to shut down work that we support.

CHANCES ARE THAT HURTS A LOT. And that it hurts us, and upsets us, and affects us a whole lot more acutely than it affects you, dude, who thought now was the perfect time to mansplain this shit. Chances are we’re not stupid. And we know. And maybe also we’re feminist bloggers who spend EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY WRITING ABOUT HOW NO ONE CARES ABOUT RAPE, so if anyone knows that no one would care if Assange raped an entire fucking country of women except he pissed some governments off, it’s us.

The Washington Post: from Jessica Valenti, “What the Assange case says about rape in America”

Shakesville: “Yikes”, on Michael Moore posting bail for Assange, and the little tidbit of ‘them lying bitches’ that Moore manages to get into his explanation of why he paid his bail.

And from the comments on the previous post, via B., comes Assange-victim-blaming bingo!

Spilt Milk: “Who hears you, when you speak about rape?”

Jessica Valenti, “AOL News at the center of ‘sex by surprise’ lie in Assange rape case”.

Links: November 21, 2010

21 Nov

Echidne of the Snakes: “Visiting the Boys at Youtube” [TW for almost parodic levels of objectification] . . . looking at Youtube comments on videos of female athletes.

“A Lesbian-Feminist Critique of The Vagina Monologues”, originally published in Rain & Thunder.

Bruce Schneier, a wonderful critic of bullshit security theatre, has compiled a huge list of links regarding the TSA’s new rules regarding the x-ray/nude-o-scope machines and “enhanced” pat downs. Shakesville has also had several great posts on TSA things this week.

Womanist Musings: “9 Inch Heels: The Hobbling of Women or Just a Fashion Trend?”. Yes, a 9 inch heel. Yes, I blame the patriarchy (and so does Renee).

This is an incredible find. . . a whole bunch of original documents from the late 60s/early 70s on how to lead consciousness-raising groups. More files like this can be found via the radical feminism tag on the site.

Finally, check out The Magazine Project. Valerie M of We Won’t Submit has an article up right now that is wonderful.

Dudebro: “There’s Some Women… Which One Should I Fuck?”

10 Nov

I watched The Colbert Report tonight and the guest was Cee Lo Green, who performed his very popular “Fuck You” song. I noticed that all the people in the band were women people, much to my happy surprise. Keyboardist, bass, guitar, drums… women! Way unexpected and cool to see for once.

Then, I went online to look up more about the band. Third result: “Which one in Cee Lo’s all female band would you bang?” I presume ‘one’ means ‘woman’ and is not referring to and instrument or another object.

Are there no limits to men’s ability to to sexually objectify any and all women they see? I saw these women and thought, “Oh, that’s pretty cool… good for them,” and this dude and plenty of others thought, “Oh, they’re hot… which one of them should I fuck?” And, of course, dudes, I’m sure those women totally want to have sex with you too. They aren’t there because they want to play their instruments and make some music; they’re there because they wanted some random internet guy to contemplate and discuss, with other guys, which one of them is the most ‘fuckable’.

Also related to the performance tonight, how fucking sad is it that I questioned whether or not the band members were really playing the instruments? It was a very brief questioning, but still… that the presence of conventionally-attractive women playing instruments looked artificial and just a mimicry of a “real” (mostly male) band? I guess that’s why I have the tag ‘the misogynist within’ on here.

What Feminism Is Not: Anti-Feminism

2 Nov

First, I have a little coming out to do: I’m a women’s studies major. Alright.

Today, in a class of mine that is mostly other seniors who are women’s studies majors, we did some small group work to discuss future employment with our degrees. One of the women brought up a friend of hers who just moved somewhere and is having a lot of trouble finding a job. This friend apparently took a good number of women’s studies classes as well. While talking on the phone, her friend said, “What do you think the women’s studies department would think of me being a Budweiser girl?”

One would hope that my classmate told her something like, “It sucks if that’s your only opportunity for income right now,” and try to help her find something else or what have you. Well, no, she didn’t say that. Instead, my classmate said something about how “feminism is all about not doing what is expected of you, and, you know, if you like wearing low-cut shirts and stuff, do it”. My classmate also told us how her idea of feminism has changed and that she now thinks you don’t have to do everything that feminism approves of (which appears to mean “what those hairy man-haters approve of”… strange since I’m pretty sure she calls herself a feminist too).

Now let’s take a moment to deconstruct the hell out of that: “Feminism is all about not doing what is expected of you”. Who is expecting you do something? What kind of power do they have to impose expectations upon you? What are these expectations? To my classmate, the problem is feminism imposing the expectation that one should not sexually objectify themselves. To me, the problem is patriarchy expecting that women should be sexually objectified (and happy about it) as a service to men .

Let’s do a super cool feminism 101 exercise. Shout out the answer when you know it. Who has more power to impose behavioral expectations upon women… is it feminism or patriarchy? That’s right… patriarchy! Good job! You win a free trip to Hagsville! You also get 100 ladypoints if you just actually shouted “patriarchy!” out loud.

Clearly though, my classmate seems to have a different understanding of things (i.e. reality). To her, it’s those feminists with all that political clout (ha!) telling her friend that it’s bad to wear low-cut shirts, therefore, her friend should rebel against feminists and their supposed expectations. Because that’s what feminism is all about… rebelling against feminism. Got it.

Actually, feminism is about ending male supremacy. Got it?

What Feminism is Not

10 Aug

(Alternate title: “What Feminism Should Not Be”.)

*sharing tips about how to lessen your gag reflex response when giving blow jobs

*buying things that “support breast cancer research” and are, undoubtedly, pink

*using the language of capitalism to describe women’s options under patriarchy (ex: “a woman’s choice to be a prostitute”)

*(while we’re at it) saying “I choose my choice” non-ironically

*upon being called out by a POC/WOC for displaying white privilege, you refuse to seriously consider their concerns

*attacking folks who call you out on your ableist language (remember, this post is being written by a “crazy” person!)

*seeing no or few problems with relationships or pornography based on sexualized power dynamics

*not finding it problematic that “rape fantasies” are appealing to some people

*denying internalized self-objectification; saying things like “I do it for myself”, regarding wearing makeup, dressing a certain way, etc

*thinking that the personal isn’t all that political

*jumping at the chance to interject, “BUT I LOVE MEN!” to avoid the man-hating feminazi stereotype

*99.8% of the content of all episodes of Sex & the City (this is a generous approximation)

*photos of baby animals (but they do help you deal with the above items being done in the name of feminism)

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