Saturday, December 30, 2006
My better fraction, dear husband that he is, just came home with a sewing machine. for me. because it was on my christmas list and he pays attention.
it is perfect.
I am so happy.
O sewing machine! O the works of art, the epiphanies of creation, the revelatory visual statements with you I shall create!
gettin' all walt whitman about my sewing machine. I'm such a dork.
all of my other christmas presents were housework-related, ironically. two mixers, a cast-iron skillet, a panini maker (colloquially known as the "sandwich shooter"), a bouquet of utensils - scrapers, flippers, ladles, etc., a cutting board, a set of dishes, an iron...guess now that I have a sewing machine I'll have to whomp up a frilly apron to go with all that kitchen stuff...or something...
as I drape my heavy arm around the shoulders of the blogosphere, and breathe boozily into its ear: you know how I really feel? let me tell you how I really feel:
there is no patriarchy.
rape there is, humiliation there is, institutionalized racism and sexism and horrific crimes of mind-numbing sexual violence - yes, all exist, and flourish, in ways that defy logic and sanity.
but patriarchy? as real as the tooth fairy, as santa claus, as a flat earth. as real as God.
men don't go to special heaven when they die. they're not handed some great big envelope stuffed with Privilege tickets upon their birth.
men thrive, and women choke to death and die on the vine, because somehow someone somewhere convinced men that they were born to thrive, and women that they were born to choke. but it's not real. it only looks real, like the earth looked flat for so many hundreds of years.
The Patriarchy is a dream of men, a vast shared delusion of mankind, of humanity. it's not real. the benefits of patriarchy, or patriarchal approval, are illusory at best. better food? more money? more independence? more prestige?
even so, as Ann Bradstreet said "adieu, adieu; all's vanity."
acting as if our strings are pulled by some puppeteer of patriarchy, for good or ill, reinforces the power of the myth.
so, one can't really blame The Patriarchy, any more than one can blame God.
maybe that was the joke the whole time. maybe Twisty herself was putting one over on the blogosphere.
Friday, December 29, 2006
I think I'm on, what, like six or eight blogrolls. if any of y'all whose blogrolls I'm on also link to twisty (by some wild statistical hiccup), just go ahead and de-link me. It's not like I'll be mad or anything (as if anyone cares about tender fee-fees). and it's not like she'll care anyway.
It makes me feel weird to be on the same blogroll. I have a right to my boundaries, more or less. so please, just remove me from those blogrolls which also link to her site.
I'll take suggestions for a new improved blog name, to further reduce confusion.
change is good.
I was snide, smug, dismissive and slightly mocking, vis-a-vis Bea's new blog title, "Dead Men Don't Rape", to wit:
the phrase is not "dead rapists don't rape."
the phrase is "Dead MEN don't rape." sounds rather universally-condemning to me.
is it any different from saying "dead women don't complain?" "dead women don't cheat?" "dead women don't hit you on the head with a frying pan?" "dead women don't have abortions?"
I'm sure it feels good to declare that, with all its implications. I'm sure it feels...dare I say it...empowerful, both overtly and covertly.
has that "go sister" sort of vibe.
but as a human being who doesn't like to think about making people dead, usually, no matter how reprehensibly those living things behave, I'm not down with that.
if I were a man, I'm not sure I'd be offended so much as confused, especially if I had not prevailed upon any of my female acquaintances to give me nonconsensual sex.
so, I'm-a just fall on this handy sword over here, and apologize for being snide, smug, dismissive and slightly mocking, because that had some farther-reaching implications that I'm not so proud of, I gotta say.
I own my words, and I'm responsible for how people react when they read them. I'm sorry that my words helped trigger people's issues. I should have thought things through a little better.
And that apology is no less sincere for what I'm about to bloviate about, notably, this:
Way to go, all you wonderful pro-porn Feminists over at I'm not a Feminist, but... . This is what happens when your mouths overrun your brains and politics become more important to you than PEOPLE. This is what happens when you worry more about offending men who commit heinous violations against women and children and protecting your precious, precious porn than worrying about the feelings of PEOPLE who have experienced horrible trauma.
Feminists are supposed to be working to help women and children who have been the victims of abuse at the hands of men, not hurt them further. (from Feminist Nation)
I know that the particular women who I am talking about, if they read this, will feel absolutely no compassion for rape survivors - it's all about them and defending their own crap behaviour. (from The Axe Forgets)
See, for one thing, it's not really about my precious precious porn. I'll be happy to talk about my precious precious porn if that's what people want. But I thought we were done with that. And I am irritated that my views on the slogan "Dead Men Don't Rape" are conflated with my views on dirty pictures. The two do not join up in my head, and I didn't realize that I had to make that clear. (I guess I'll know for next time.)
It's about how I feel about men: that I'm as uncomfortable with cutting them out of the human race as I am with men cutting women out of the human race, even if I'm angry with them, individually or as a class - even if I even hate them sometimes, individually or as a class.
It's about how I feel about rape, as a survivor, as a victim of violent crimes: that no amount of making living things dead will ever return me to a state of grace, if that state of grace was ever real and true to begin with.
Yes, Dead Men Don't Rape. No doubt about it. So, for the next big rape-prevention campaign, we could round up all the men, make them dig their own graves with rusty shovels, and empty their pockets to pay for the bullets we use to shoot them with, and all cheer as they fall over dead - and what then? do we turn on those women in the crowd who don't cheer loudly enough? Women are not immune to the intoxicant of power, not by a long shot. in a world full of women, I'm sure we'd figure out how to wreck shit all on our own.
for what it's worth, Dead Men also don't change, grow, reconsider, modify their points of view, feel regret, open their hearts to love, all that happy crap. which Live Men sometimes do.
but you're right about one thing - this is what happens when politics become more important than people.
But I hasten to remind us all - I'm a member of Class People, who has been crushed under the wheels of Politics more times than I care to count. And no one has ever given me the kid-glove treatment just on accounta being a rape survivor.
Many of us who have been accused of lacking compassion are ourselves survivors.
I'm saying - who among us is NOT a survivor of something? I'd say many, if not most, of us who comprise (for good or ill) the population of the Feminist Blogosphere have found ourselves rocking back and forth on the bathroom floor, weeping silent tears and wondering how we could have let this happen, what we could have done to prevent it, what the hell we do now, so on and on - some of us more than once.
if it's the new thing, now, to be gentle to survivors - that's great. I applaud the new era of gentleness and enthusiastically welcome our new gentle overlords.
But gentle is as gentle does.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Although I'm really trying to avoid the defensive, reactive posting habits I mentioned several days ago, I do find this comment thread swirling around the Twistyverse to be worth examining.
But I'm not alone, at least. A couple of other folks did to, like Shouty Lucy and the refreshed and rejuvenated Andrea (back from hiatus, much to my delight), and also Amananta.
There was this comment on Twisty's thread that really brought it all into focus for me:
But in this case, they dominate women by co-opting our identity and insisting we recognize that they are what we are, effectively erasing our very identity and existence as women. The stakes are too high.
Now that's a very scary thing, feeling erased. Phrased in those terms, I understand what puts the "phobia" in "transphobia". I get it now.
However, I'm not sympathetic. Not even a little bit. in fact, I'm less sympathetic now than I was before I understood what it was all about.
First of all, what's "our identity"? there's enough diversity among women, at least to my mind, to make any definition of "women's identity" wildly inaccurate at best. Women are not the same. I wouldn't be surprised if under some people's definition of "women's identity", I don't even make the cut, XX chromosomes and menstrual cramps notwithstanding.
it's probably worth mentioning that it was not so very long ago that the late Betty Friedan feared that lesbians (eek!) would infilitrate the Women's Movement and destroy it from within, co-opting feminism and perverting it to their own destructive purposes.
The Lavender Menace, so to speak.
Similarly, making gender-dysphoric people out to be mole agents for the Patriarchy in the War Between The Sexes just doesn't make sense to me.
This idea that men are just lining up in front of Dr. Hackenslash's Lady-in-a-Minit Surgi-teria and Dry Cleaning, rubbing their giant man-hands in delicious anticipation, ready to do their part for the Vast Patriarchal Conspiracy? Not realistic, or fair to those undergoing transition through years - YEARS - a lifetime-- of pain. As far as I know, the process of transition is years-long, and the screening process is rigorous, to weed out just such fellows as may think they're somehow erasing womankind by aping its mannerisms.
As I write this, I realize there's a lot I don't know yet about the subject, so for the moment I'll pause, pending further reading and conversing. But please, feel free to add comments as the spirit moves you.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
check this out:
In an evolutionary twist, Flora the Komodo dragon has managed to become pregnant all on her own without any male help. She is carrying seven baby Komodo dragons.
"We were blown away when we realized what she'd done," said Kevin Buley, a reptile expert at Flora's home at the Chester Zoo in this town in northern England. "But we certainly won't be naming any of the hatchlings Jesus."
Other reptile species reproduce asexually in a process known as parthenogenesis. But Flora's virginal conception, and that of another Komodo dragon earlier this year at the London Zoo, are the first time it has been documented in a Komodo dragon.
The reptiles, renowned for their intelligence, are native to Indonesia. They are the world's largest lizards and have no natural predators — making them on par with sharks and lions at the pinnacle of the animal kingdom.
The cases of Flora and the London lizard, Sungai, are described in a paper published Thursday in Nature.
Parthenogenesis is a process in which eggs become embryos without male fertilization. It has been seen in about 70 species, including snakes and lizards. Scientists are unsure whether female Komodo dragons have always had this latent ability to reproduce or if this is a new evolutionary development.
share and enjoy.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
from Yahoo News:
NEW DELHI, India (AP) -- An Indian runner who won a silver medal in the women's 800 meters at the Asian Games failed a gender test and was stripped of the medal.
Santhi Soundarajan, 25, took the gender test in Doha, Qatar, after placing second.
The Indian Olympic Association said Monday it has been told by the Olympic Council of Asia that the 25-year-old runner was disqualified.
"IOA has asked the Athletic Federation of India to return the medal as desired by the Olympic Council of Asia," the Indian Olympic group said.
The IOA also asked its medical commission to inquire into Soundarajan's case and report within 10 days.
There are no compulsory gender tests during events sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations, but athletes may be asked to take a gender test. The medical evaluation panel usually includes a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist and internal medicine specialist.
An Indian athletics official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media said Soundarajan almost certainly never had sex-change surgery.
Instead, the official said Soundarajan appeared to have "abnormal chromosomes." The official also said the test revealed more Y chromosomes than allowed.
Soundarajan was not immediately available for comment.
Monday, December 18, 2006
go read thishere post by my pal Bimbo:
There's a belief that thongs are products of the patriarchy's oppression of women. Or at least that a woman's acceptance of these things is capitulation. This suggests that the philosophical tenets of the radfem movement are too tentative and finespun to withstand the delicates cycle. I fail to see how this gender is so mindless, so indoctrinated, that electing to wear these things means we are falling prey to male domination. A fucking pair of panties does not decide value or dedication, intellect or awareness. The attempt to define 'good' women by the context in which the body appears is in direct disproportion to the revolution; and is in fact a patriarchal nasty habit.
really, when it comes to underpants (and I can't believe I have to say this) - to thine own self be true. find those that don't strangle you and aren't itchy and don't migrate or bother you or make you self-conscious.
because, of course, one's sexual availability is NOT determined by what one wears. remember? if that's true for low-cut blouses and short-short skirts, it should also be true for underpants.
and Bimbo further points out:
Long before the invention of judgment by camera phone women wearing corsets made it possible for us to call ourselves feminists.
um, why yes. yes they did. excellent point.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
No doubt she and John Lennon were deeply in love. And no doubt the house of cards that was The Beatles did not tumble down solely because of Yoko's influence. And no doubt the statements Yoko made in her visual art were both timely and evocative -
But I defy any of you to listen to more than 30 seconds of any of her recorded music without scraping your eardrums out with plastic spoons.
+3 for Great Love of the Century, -10 for musical gift to the world.
there, I said it.
Maybe you haven't been tuned in from the beginning and so find yourself a little confused - but here you are anyway, at my blog, I Shame The Matriarchy, wondering "what's all the hubbub, bub?"
Well, that's not the original title of the blog. back in late April of this year I started this blog and called it "Paleofeminist."
I was really so happy to discover the deep and broad and vibrant feminist blogosphere back in February. It was all kinds of exciting and diverse and - just wow! It felt like coming home after a long long trip, and finding it all totally new, but all totally the same simultaneously. Like an oasis, in a lot of ways.
Of course, you know, there were some points of departure for me - a few minor nitpicky quibbles on the true nature of "patriarchy," for example, maybe an ideological challenge or two I was looking forward to exploring - but instead what happened is that I said stupid things that were offensive. True to my experience they were, but stupid and offensive, maybe, nonetheless. After being roundly chastised for it at such places as I Blame the Patriarchy and Den of the Biting Beaver, I had the idea to just start my own damn blog and not be such a pest. I was really doing more harm than good, in a lot of cases, to my own blood pressure as much as to anything else.
I had just gotten done re-reading Sisterhood is Powerful, and also The World Split Open, and a couple other books of similar content. it occurred to me, after my experience around the blogosphere, that pitched battles over lipstick, high heels and kinky sex were just not what the Great Righteous Sisters of the Second Wave had in mind - and in a brilliant moment of luminous hubris, I thought that I, mere mortal as I am, knew what they had in mind - hence, "Paleofeminist", to ally myself with the giants on whose shoulders we all stand.
But of course blogging is all interactive and shit - comment threads wax and wane, expand and contract, grow vicious and petty - I had big-ass rules once upon a time, I was going to be oh so civil and oh so respectful and stuff, and people were going to follow my oh so good example and nobody was going to fight and we were all going to learn stuff and not be mean...
and then came the Great Blowjob Wars of 2006.
I had just just just just JUST HAD ENOUGH. It's not worth going back through the whole sordid mess - suffice to say my great plans to usher in the New Era of Dignity in Discourse were somewhat disappointing, resultswise. But I'd had my fill of feeling dirty and unwanted by people I respected, which I just couldn't help but do everytime I opened my mouth.
from a post on July 26, 2006:
Don't Panic! Change is good!
Same bat-time, same bat-channel, same bat-URL, but a whole new title to reflect my stripped-down, high-speed, faster-tougher-smarter (or at least sadder-but-wiser) new attitude for the next millenium.
antiprincess v2.0: I shame the matriarchy.
Well, I do. Seriously - how can anyone argue with that?
I meant "bring shame TO", not "heap shame ON". In the way that a convicted murderer might be said to "shame" hir family (only not so horribly). Although I've come to some more-or-less cordial detente with many in the radfemblogosphere, I still feel like there are folks out there who are embarrassed and offended by what I have to say, and maybe would prefer I didn't run around calling myself a "feminist".
which, also, belies the snarky little tagline - came from Stormcloud, commenting on Heart's blog, to wit:
Ampgate was a good example of modern day fuckery (as has happened in the past to 2nd wavers), and certainly exposed the Handmaidens of the Patriarchy that call themselves ‘feminists’ (they should have a disclaimer along the lines of “any resemblance to feminism is purely co-incidental”).
so, I thought that was pretty funny.
But I didn't ask Stormcloud if it was okay to use it. Maybe I should have. I'll remove it if Stormcloud feels like I ought to. Similarly, the title stays, you know, unless La Twisty herself descends from her lofty height and suggests I change it. Which I'll totally do, if she asks.
So, if you're coming in from Ginmar's blog, again - welcome. Please feel free to leave a comment as the spirit moves you.
Friday, December 15, 2006
does that actually accomplish anything? whadyacallit - "Locks of Love"? that sort of thing?
will it do anything really relevant, besides assuage my guilty conscience and make me feel useful to no legitimate purpose?
cuz money I have not got. but hair - I got extra. seriously. I make Cousin It look like Sinead O'Connor.
is it counterfeminist to donate hair to "cancer"? does it undercut support for shorthaired or nohaired women? does it diminish, or minimize somehow, the important life-or-death struggle, the day-to-day ordeal, all the stuff I'll never understand unless (or until) it happens to me? "Yeah, sorry about your chemo, and that body part you lost - here, have some hair so I don't have to be reminded of how sick you are..."
or is it counterfeminist to say to a woman who has enough to worry about already - "oh, don't worry - hair on women is a construct of patriarchy. hey, sorry about your chemo..."
My mom died of some crazy speed-demon bone cancer. she didn't need hair. she didn't have time for chemo. she needed someone to sit with her, keep her company, keep the crushing ennui from killing her before the cancer could.
Maybe volunteering at a hospice or something would be a better step. or, maybe the cancer world could give a crap about my pathetic attempts at "help" and I should just keep my damn mouth shut and keep my do-goodnik ass at home.
1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123, go down to the fifth sentence
3. Post the text of next 3 sentences on your blog
4. Name of the book and the author
5. Tag three people
eh, well. nobody asked, but here you go:
"In his magisterial treatment of the history of prostitution, the German physician Iwan Bloch tells us that it develops as a byproduct of the regulation of sexuality: 'Prostitution appears among primitive people wherever free sexual intercourse is curtailed or limited. It is nothing else than a substitute for a new form of primitive promiscuity.' While this is undoubtably true, it does not explain under what conditions prostitution arises and becomes institutionalized in a given society. It also ignores the commercial aspect of prostitution by treating it as though it were simply a variant form of sexual arrangement among consenting parties."
Lerner, Gerda. The Creation of Patriarchy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.
there - are you people happy now?
I tag Jean, and guyanese_terror, and taihae
Yeah, antiprincess, whatever. You’re sitting there, commiserating with a sexist guy. Your site is basically mocking Twisty. Exactly how are you anything but a cheerleader for sexist assholes?
oh, so look who's mocking.
See, what this whole thread exploded over was Maiken's suggestion that castrating future rapists might not be such a good idea, even in jest.
I gotta say - if agreeing with Maiken is wrong, I don't want to be right.
hand me my pompoms.
on that note, I open the floor for all-a-y'all - former first-stringers, saddle-shoe-rejecters and frustrated pepsquad rejects alike, to compose your own cheers as appropriate. or inappropriate. whatev.
Be! Creative! Bee-Ee Creative! Whoo!
Is it just my imagination or does antiprincess spend an inordinate amount of time inventing reasons to not like Twisty (and pretty much all radical feminists)?
And I think she's right about this at least - I do spend a lot of bandwidth, here and at other places, listing all the reasons why Twisty makes me lose my shit on a regular basis. I could write a book. But it means that I'm a lot more REactive than PROactive - and how can that be healthy? That's really something to examine and consider, with respect to my blogging and also with respect to the rest of my life.
so, much respect for Lya today. Your comment really helped me, regardless of how we may feel about each other personally.
you know, which leads me to this - as far as "pretty much all radical feminists" - well, I'm not at all sure that's true. The problem is, perversely, that I like most of them an awful lot. I'm full of respect and admiration for many of those who use that label to describe themselves. They do a lot of hard work, and have a sincerity and zeal borne out of a true and legitimate desire to do good, and if nothing else that kind of dedication to an idea is really remarkably admirable.
But there are places where I just think that the radical feminist arithmetic could use some checking. That's all. If I ran around all loud-n-proud saying that two plus two make five, or three point eight, or that it didn't matter because numbers is the debbil anyway, I'd want someone to tap me on the shoulder and straighten me out. I feel that when I try to do this, I get treated like someone's bratty little brother - and in no way do I feel like I deserve that.
I have marched with you, struggled with you, yelled with you, poured out my pockets with you - all so that you can ignore me and call me names when I try to contribute to the conversation? seriously, what's up with that?
I think the illusion that I dislike pretty much all radical feminists may be caused by the fact that I seldom speak up in agreement, when I agree. Maybe I should start doing that, adding to whatever Greek chorus I come upon in my travels through the blogosphere. Maybe that would help.
But on those points where I do disagree, where I feel like logic falls short, or effort is counterproductive, or simply where I feel like representing a different experience would enrich the conversation - I feel like I should speak up. It is healthy to do so - healthy for me, healthy for others, healthy for The Movement, such as exists.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
So in my travels 'round the blogosphere I find myself in some pretty crazy places.
talk about down the rabbit hole. Obviously the fellow watched that Borat movie five or six times while huffing marine-grade adhesive and thought "hey, I'll start a blog! It will make fun of feminists! that will be a good idea!"
It's clear that "Martha" is inspired by the work of Sascha Baron Cohen, which I can't really knock, since even though I found the movie a great disappointment, I still really respect his work. (buyakasha!) And I can't really say anything about wanting to make fun of feminists (without looking like the world's biggest hypocrite), and I can't say a damn thing about an individual's right to make himself look like the Mother of All Assholes in the public sphere. shit - I do that all the time. His blog, his rules.
However, the problem with the whole "Martha" persona is the fact that it's not funny. I mean, not in a schoolmarmy-disapproval-oh-my-stars-offended kind of way, but it just doesn't work as humor. it's not cohesive. It doesn't gel. It's not even stupid-funny or absurd-funny or any-funny. It's just ineffective. The "Martha" thing is like a badly-executed, obscure halloween costume that nobody really understands. "what are you supposed to be?"
but that's not why I called you here today, brothers and sisters.
off of that site I followed another link, to what appears to be the Man behind the Martha.
on his regular site, in one of his posts, he's trying to make some point about the Bible being all yay!rape, and how women should just get over their aversion to nonconsensual sex, or something - it's hard to follow - and he backs up his point with a great long excerpt from Deuteronomy. Which, you know, groovy if you're into that, but one little verse jumped out at me in its utter ineffability:
30: A man shall not take his father's wife, nor discover his father's skirt.
What does that mean? What?
it's been buzzing around in my head like a plague of locusts. Come on all you armchair theologians, divinity students, bona fide bible scholars, shade-tree mechanics of testaments - help me out.
discover his father's skirt? huh?