Friday, August 24, 2007

new and improved.

i encourage you to check out twisty on dizzy, because she always manages to be sharper and funnier than just about any other feminist blogger out there. certainly more so than me, because this is what i was talking about.

i know some of my friends and readers see this as somewhat overly reactionary - as dangerously close to throwing out the baby with the bathwater, in terms of ever getting anywhere with feminism. however, i think two important things to consider here are:

1) as men reading about feminist frustration, it's very useful to try to avoid the immediate reaction of "but wait, you say 'men,' but i'm not like that! you're indicting me by association and that's not fair!" please take a step back and cut us some slack - yes, sometimes we resort to these generalities, but it's because a) of all, we're frustrated and pounding out a blog post, not a term paper, and b) of all, if we took care to actually nuance out all the overviewing in our observations, every post would be laden with a page of footnotes.

2) generalization aside, there are a shocking number of men who behave this way. i know - i've talked with them. there is validity to this frustration, and it bears out a resulting cynicism about whether we actually will ever "get anywhere" at all. you can only talk to so many sexist asshats, hear so many women casually referred to as "dumbass shit-eating cunts", see so many articles about judges fining wife-beating doctors chump change because of their "good character" and so on and so on and so on before you start to despair about their being any point to talking to anyone about feminism again, ever. when women are so consistently denigrated and reviled by a majority of society, the fact that there are a few decent-minded people interested in change out there hardly seems to mitigate the sad-sack reality that so many are not.

18 comments:

Toast said...

I got as far as the first sentence in the second paragraph. That is some tiresome shit. It's not even the generalizing about men. It's just the fucking noxious 'tude. The overpowering chip on her shoulder. I mean, if there's something that you find cathartic about it, more power to you. But if I'd stumbled across that site randomly, I'd be like, please, go fuck yourself.

And I'm sorry, but no, I don't buy that there are hordes of men out there who start from the assumption that women are "not fully human". What a crock.

Cara said...

And I'm sorry, but no, I don't buy that there are hordes of men out there who start from the assumption that women are "not fully human". What a crock.

Damn, toast, I wish that you were right. But instead, it seems like we might just be living in two completely different worlds. Maybe our basis for considering one "not fully human" are different?

Toast said...

Maybe our basis for considering one "not fully human" are different?

Well, I'm game: What would you describe as a situation where someone does not treat you as "fully human"?

(Note: Of course, by dizzy's rules, attempting to engage in this exchange is somehow proof that I'm tiresome and not worth talking to. Or something.)

Cara said...

Well, I actually think that it's a lot easier to define examples where women are not treated as fully human. The fight against abortion rights, is definitely an example for me. Denying women the right to control their own bodies is definitely considering her not fully human. Raping a woman is considering her not fully human. Coming up with excuses for why the woman might have been at fault for her own rape (she was drinking, flirting, wearing a short skirt, etc.) is considering her not fully human. Intimate partner abuse, which occurs predominantly against women by men, is considering her not fully human. Ignoring such behavior because it's "not your business" is considering her not fully human.

All of these acts occur on a daily basis by very significant portions of the population.

And that's just in America. We could also look at sex trafficking, culturally accepted spousal rape, "honor" killings, dowries, sex-based infanticide, and the inability of women to own property, as just a few international examples.

Based off of these examples, then, I suppose that I would define being treated as "fully human" as being treated as a fully autonomous and free person with all of the bodily and intellectual rights, privileges and respect afforded to cissexual men.

kate.d. said...

It's just the fucking noxious 'tude...if I'd stumbled across that site randomly, I'd be like, please, go fuck yourself.

you're right. she definitely should've gone with a more sexyfun tone in this post. maybe followed it up with some gratuitous talk about her boobs, just to lighten the mood, you know?

oh wait, she doesn't have boobs anymore. sheesh, some Fun Feminist she is.

Dewey said...

I think we have to be very careful with excusing ourselves for making generalizations about men. I think that when we allow ourselves to men-bash because we're so tired of the chronic women-bashing, we lower ourselves to their level, and then it just becomes a free-for-all.

Cara said...

But I don't think that bashing a certain type of asshole is the same as bashing men . . .

kate.d. said...

yeah, dewey, i know that "man-bashing" is an adjective that the third wave is very interested in getting away from, generally for good reason. to be fair, the extent of "man-bashing" that actually ever happened/happens in feminism has been greatly exaggerated by mainstream media and its chicken little backlash that began in the 80s.

cara's salient point aside (both twisty and dizzy's posts were technically about dismissing a certain type of man and his "argument"), i tend to agree with twisty's explanation of why "Men Hate You" is a valid generalization to make. it is the kind of statement that makes all of us (especially those with guys who really seem to "get it") recoil at first, but when you think about how it functions on a high level - all men, even if they don't consciously or actively "hate" women, benefit from a patriarchal society that overall hates women - i find it hard to argue with.

so perhaps i am a Man-basher, in the capital M sense :) but ultimately, it's because i'd love to tear down the whole system that attempts to put us all in these straitjacket gender roles, restricts our options, and hobbles our emotional capacity.

Toast said...

oh wait, she doesn't have boobs anymore. sheesh, some Fun Feminist she is.

Kate, what the hell does that have to do with anything? And who said she had to be "sexyfun" or whatever other dismissive adjective you're in the mood to use to belittle my criticism? She writes like a bitter fucking asshole. She writes like a feminist bigot. I'm pretty sure there's a middle ground between her stance and being a happyfun bubblehead.

You know what my problem is with this jerk, and why I get so pissed off when you lavish praise on her? She's everything you're not. I've told you in the past that you are, hands-down, my favorite feminist blogger. Christ, I inaugurated my IYROT series by directing everyone whose eyeballs I could to your unbelievable "Above And Beyond" post. Because it was powerful and thoughtful and moving and true. This shit that your new buddy is writing? It's crap. It's hate speech. And it's utterly beneath you.

That's it. That's all I've got to say. Keep on pimpin' that garbage if you want. I'll shut up because, frankly, it's beneath me too.

Toast said...

The fight against abortion rights, is definitely an example for me. Denying women the right to control their own bodies is definitely considering her not fully human. Raping a woman is considering her not fully human. Coming up with excuses for why the woman might have been at fault for her own rape (she was drinking, flirting, wearing a short skirt, etc.) is considering her not fully human.

Cara, I completely agree with every example you've given. But it bears mentioning that it's not "Men" as a class who hold these beliefs and perpetrate these acts. It's a subset of men. As easy as it is get lazy and generalize -- particularly against the "dominant" group, the "patriarchy" or whatnot -- it's not justified and it's not fair. Dewey's response above is spot-on. Man-bashing is just intellectual laziness. And maybe that's it: Maybe our host is just tired and feels like indulging in some lazy hate.

I know this: If a guy wrote a blog post talking about "Women" as a class the way dizzy/twisty/whoever talks about men in her posts, the entire liberal blogosphere would be up in arms about it. So it just disgusts me to see her getting a pass.

kate.d. said...

toast, you are of course entitled to your opinion on this, which is (as so many of our other opinions, i guess!) going to be widely divergent from my own. and the boob point, while admittedly one part reactionary snarking, is also two parts a frustrated pointing out of how it seems like we feminist bloggers are so often exhorted to make sure we stay clear of that "strident" end of the spectrum, lest we - god forbid - alienate someone.

and i'm glad you like my writing, but i love twisty exactly because she holds my - and every other self-proclaimed feminist out there - feet to the fire. twisty is the far left bank, and she's going to point out all the ways in which this society is rotten to the core. and she's going to reminds us that, in light of said rottenness, all the little ways we compromise and capitulate? they're bullshit. she understands that they're survival tactics in an (as marcotte diplomatically puts it) "inhospitable environment," and that often times they're the best choices women can make under the circumstances, but bullshit just the same. and i, for one, appreciate the reminder - appreciate the push to continually be critical of what's around me and the ways in which i consciously or unconsciously succumb to it.

anyway, like i said, we're gonna agree to disagree here and that's fine. but i just wanted to speak to why i personally don't consider it garbage.

Toast said...

(as marcotte diplomatically puts it)

Oh, that's rich. Invoke Amanda "All Computer Programmers Are Deadbeat Dads" Marcotte. Another asshole who uses precisely the tactics of the "dominant class" she derides.

to make sure we stay clear of that "strident" end of the spectrum, lest we - god forbid - alienate someone.

It has nothing to do with being strident, kate. You can be as strident as you like, as long as your stridency is targeted at the actual Bad Actors who are setting back the cause. When you slack off and start generalizing unfairly, You Are Wrong. I don't know what's so hard to grasp about that. I don't know how someone as intelligent as you can write:

"please take a step back and cut us some slack - yes, sometimes we resort to these generalities"

Uh, no. No I will not cut you some slack. Any more than I would cut a male chauvinist slack for making bogus generalizations about women, or cut a racist slack for making generalizations about blacks or hispanics. No slack. Sorry. You want to be a credible voice for a fair and equitable society, you don't get to make generalizations about people based on their gender. Period.

kate.d. said...

the more i ponder this wholesale indictment of generalization, the more i think that it's going to be a whole 'nother post. i'm interested in opening up that can of worms a bit. so sit tight for that, if i have time and feel like my brain is working right, i'll try to get to it tonight.

and toast, with all due respect (literally, not snarkily), if you like my writing and think that twisty and amanda are assholes, that makes me think i might not be doing the job i want to do. i find this eye-opening and somewhat vexing - i'm going to have to chew on it.

Toast said...

the more i ponder this wholesale indictment of generalization

It's not an indictment of generalization per se, it's an indictment of unfair and/or unsupportable generalization. I generalize about right-wingers all the time because, as a class of people who hold a fairly consistent set of beliefs, it is possible to make broad, supportable generalizations about them. The generalization is based on their actions and their avowed beliefs. You cannot make generalizations about complex behaviors or beliefs based on gender any more than you can do so based on skin color or hair color. The evidence simply doesn't support it. It's mere bigotry.

and toast, with all due respect (literally, not snarkily), if you like my writing and think that twisty and amanda are assholes, that makes me think i might not be doing the job i want to do.

That just horrifies me. Seriously. The world needs more voices like yours, and fewer like theirs. If my comments have somehow prodded you to become a harsher, more militant, less reasoned blogger, then... well... (sigh)... I need a drink.

Cara said...

Well, toast, the point was whether or not there are "hordes" of men who think this way. I didn't prove "most" men, nor was I intending to. But I do think that I have clearly won the "hordes" argument, since "hordes" means a large group. The examples I have given do carry hordes of men among their numbers.

And again, the only generalization that I see here is about chauvinist, patriarchally-exploitative assholes-- not about men. Can you please provide a quoted example of where Twisty accused all men of being horrible, other than the glib "men hate you" tag, because I'm honestly NOT seeing it. I think that Dew was responding to Kate's post about generalizations (correct me if I'm wrong, though, Dew), but Toast, you seem to be taking issue with Twisty specifically, and I don't get what in this particular post you find to be unfair.

Toast said...

other than the glib "men hate you"

Other than that? Other. Than. That?

Wow, I'd have thought that was sufficient. But yeah, last time kate quoted her, she was defining feminism as a worldview that "doesn't care what men think". I mean, come on, it's pretty clear that, when she speaks straight up, she's an anti-male bigot. She can't confine herself to targeting misogynists, she has to spread the broad smear. And that's wrong.

I have clearly won the "hordes" argument

Indeed you have. Credit where it's due. I guess I was thinking more in terms of overwhelming majorities, and in a U.S. context, not so much a global one, but in any case, yeah, there are an awful lot of misogynist douchebags out there. And I hate them, a lot, just so you know. I just think it's important to frame the battle as being against misogynists, not against "men". That's all.

("Misogynist douchebags" is an interesting turn of phrase, no? I must go ponder the irony...)

Anonymous said...

She writes like a bitter fucking asshole. She writes like a feminist bigot.

As opposed to mikey over at heyfreak, who's just trying to be funny with that shit-eating cunts business, and isn't it past time bitches got a sense of humor anyhow?

But yes, certainly, toast, I can see how all that bitter fucking assholeness might perturb one so erudite, eloquent, and deliberate as yourself. Fair enough! How'd you do on the Nigel quiz, by the way?

Anonymous said...

Come on, Toast. How dare you accuse us Womyn of having a 'tude. We've been oppressed for so long by evil, evil men. Oh, they are so bad, and wrong, and evil...to put it bluntly, "Men are inhuman! Only us Womyn are human!"