Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Editorial note: originally, I claimed she had a fascinating discussion, which, upon further review, I have to say it ain't. A discussion, I mean. yet. but the comments thread is no less fascinating for its lack of discourse.
most folks are simply answering the question as they see fit: "femininity is blahbleeblah." but there are wildly nonconforming definitions thrown in among the rather expected contributions.
so, go for it. answer here if you're uncomfortable answering there. it won't count towards the project, of course, if you answer here, but it will make for interesting discussion nonetheless. Most of the answers there are sort of "Devils Dictionary" or "Wickedary" style atttempts at wit-n-snark, but there's a surprising amount of diversity.
and while we're at it, what is masculinity?
Central to today’s fun’n’sassy Empowerful Woman narrative, femininity is that set of self-absorbed, self-defeating behaviors required of women by the dominant culture to ensure a ready-steady supply of submissive sexbot availability.
Because there was never so hideous an abomination as a woman who can’t prove, through word, deed, and sportcorset, that she has successfully internalized the patriarchal message and is conversant in fulfilling male fantasy.
Femininity is the antithesis of humanity.
it goes on in that vein, with most everyone trying to outshine each other in the femininity-damning witty-epigram department.
but one thing is on my mind as I read this -
if femininity is so damnable, so abhorrent, so repulsive, why is it so insulting to be called "a man"?
I'm a little wary of seeing femininity as the antithesis of humanity, given that it's not just about fashion and dependency but also about characteristics that would be positive were they not the sole burden of half of the population. Nurturing is both human and feminine. It's toxic in the context of femininity-the-sexist-imperative because it's neither optional nor dignified. The difference between loving one's elderly parents and being treated as the family nurse because, well, your brothers have penises.
Dunno. I'm feeling a little cynical about all of this shit right now, and am not terribly interested in Wickedary-esque snark. I didn't see all that much wit.
Piny, my friend, no jury would convict you for that.
I examine my feelings towards pro athletes and their salaries. A few years ago I might have followed parental example and concocted a complex and embittered view towards "those bastards that make $15+ million per year." By contrast, now I just enjoy the game and see their windfall as their blessing.(Their joints and ligaments will be shot by 60, if that is some recompense for the jaded...)
As of late you have seen me balance out on a lot of things. Following suit, I say people are people. Everyone- man, woman, cloaca-bearing amphibian- has needs, desires and drives. Undoubtedly women have had the shit end of the stick for some time. Both sexes share humanity though; I wonder if any person's inability to come to terms with their own demons forces them(as a matter of pride)to lash out at the nearest, most semantically chic punching bag.
Life is a two-way street. I don't want to be the guy who gets smooshed because my dick was stuck in a chicken.
I kinda need to.
I'm undergoing a kind of gender gestalt revolution right now. At first it was really messing with my head, and now it's just kind of bemusing.
I'm glad it's no longer messing with your head. we all really missed you.
I've missed blogging. I really have.
I am sort of glad I took some time off, though. My understanding of the trajectory I'm on, as in how long it'll take before I can go back, has changed a lot over the past couple months. Over the past couple days, even.
They're so unimaginative.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: if everything one knows about "femininity" one learned in the toy aisle at fucking Wal-Mart, that is mostly the result of one's own tragic lack of scope.
I need a little barfy smiley. What really fucking cracks me up:
-therefore- "assertion of weakness==acknowledgement of lesser than==bad==patriarchy."
So, basically, deciding that femininity equeals "weakness," and then deciding that you reject femininity based on rejecting weakness, is itself, inherently patriarchal.
Logic is fun.
give it to me! give it all to me!
seriously - I am so in love with you right now. your comment was wicked elegant.
can you teach me to do that? is there, like, "logic for dummies"?
For me, it means wearing clothing that flatters and accentuates my physical qualities as well as behaving in a quiet, decorous manner. I want to be thought of as 'ladylike', feminine.
I have a bucket for anyone who needs to barf. But do it quietly. Bodily functions are so masculine.
Twisty and all her little asskissers are becoming exactly what it is the profess to hate. Judgmental "us uber alles" dictators of the One True Vision of Woman...opressors, even. Think about it...people specifically avoid commenting at IBTP for FEAR of invoking the shame fest dissenters get from Twisty and Her Merry Band of Analigus performers. People flat out avoid her because if you do not agree you are shamed, mocked, and told how stupid and wrong and fucked up you are. And then such things spread like wildfire across bloglandia (need I mention RandomBird?) It's a stinking chunk of ofal, really. Blame the Patriarchy? She and her crew are just LIKE the patriarchy in so many ways its laughable.
Better a fuckbot slave to the oppressive cock warlords than Twist and Co any day of the week. At least the Pat pays me for being degraded and getting fucked.
Oh yeah, sorry, I left my tact filter in my other thong.
As for what's masculine...that's easy. COme to my house, I'll show you (and let you smell).
Where feminine is an ability to multitask, masculine is an ability to focus on a single thing (which is why they have trouble finding the mayo). Feminine is quiet and decorous, masculine is loud and protective (of feminine). Feminine is smooth, masculine is prickly. Feminine is cats, masculine is dogs.
Ok, enough stereotyping for you? You do know I jest, right?
As you know, I was called “a man” at IBTP. It’s the new insult for “women who don’t agree with the site groupthink.” Profiting from femininity because the Pat pays for it, as Ren said, is bad, and profiting from capitalism because that pays too, is bad. So apparently, getting paid, period, is bad. And masculine. So then, is femininity = “not getting paid”? But wait, femininity’s bad, right? So then getting paid is good? This shit’s confusing!
Ren said: “People flat out avoid her because if you do not agree you are shamed, mocked, and told how stupid and wrong and fucked up you are. … Blame the Patriarchy? She and her crew are just LIKE the patriarchy in so many ways its laughable.”
Agree! I posted about that just yesterday.
I posted my definition on IBTP, and fully expect a major post-lashing.
“Femininity is subjective. There’s no one-size-fits-all definition. For some, it’s a self-defeating prison where inmates adopt Stockholm-like patriarchal mantras. For others, it’s a tool to get out or stay out of that prison. And for another group, it’s not all bad or all good, just another way to live in whatever moment feels right at the time.”
Oops, sorry, had my academic hat on there.
The funny thing is that Twisty and friends actually LIKE certain things traditionally considered feminine. They've just relabelled them as somehow not patriarchally imposed, whereas all the things they don't like are. That's convenient and all (being nurturing is just the way women are, high heels are imposed), but it's also intellectually lazy.
I avoid her comments section nowadays. Why bother? It usually sounds as if there's only one commenter restating the same thing with in marginally words over and over again. They're like the RadBorg.
Rootie - My cat has a penis. Oops!
octogalore - You're going to get torn a new asshole. Which is SO anti-patriarchal.
You really want me to answer that?
which makes me wonder how our experiences with our own personal micro-patriarchies color our perceptions of the wider world.
how does "feminine" differ from "effeminate" in the 21st century?
octogalore - I have fought that battle a bunch of times. the first time it happened it actually made me cry. because I am weak and (ahem) feminine.
I hate to see that happen to anyone. I'm sorry I didn't speak up louder for you.
Well, that was a mental image I did not need..
It's also a paraphrasing of something I heard in The Last Boy Scout with Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans.
AP -- I appreciate everything you said. I would cry too, if certain things weren't so comical. Like where one of them claimed, tongue in cheek, to have slept with my husband, and then proceeded to have fun with various supposed sexual deficiences of his, and then when I responded in kind, I was accused of being "scum" who was "viciously attacking."
The end result was that someone who considered herself a feminist, and apparently had actually joined NOW, decided that feminism wasn't for her. Smooth move on their part.
It was hideous. And, it's the reason I stopped bothering with IBTP.
I stopped bothering sometime around "All blowjobs are degrading and oppressive."
The fact that Empowerful has become such a fun joke on there is ironic, I think. It's a combo of two words that many on that blog feel are so inappropriate for women that they have to make a funny to shame women who have the gall to feel either of them.
Twisty writes well and has some valid points to make. I agre with the above comment, though. Ignoring someone (especially if they are on the internet, and therefore easy to avoid) is often very appropriate. I find the notion that anyoen can be called upon, at any time, to give an account of themselves for their opinion (or because they've disagree with another's opinion) to be simply one of the more erroneous aspects of western thinking and its hyper-rationalism.
They're quite depressing. I think one of them barfed up something along the lines of "Women have as much power as a man's dog" recently.
Just... what a message of Hope!!
I just read some of today's responses on that thread, and all I could think was, "Who the hell ARE these people?! What planet are they on, and why do I know so little about it if it's just next door?"
I just don't get it. There have been a few occasions where I realize that some of those women have such a different approach to possessing a vagina and such an extremely negative view of what it is to be a woman, that I just can't relate in the slightest. It's not that I disagree with them about feminism... it's that I disagree with them about the basis of humanity and the Meaning of Life itself.
I hadn't heard the Random Bird story before, must have been during my Hiatus. That's just...horrfiying, actually. Remind me why we think hounding other women out of the movement is a good idea, again?
If you link to "pro-pornstitution" you are "pro-pornstitution." Apparently, "pro-pornstitution" is like cooties. Highly contagious.
You don't hit the top of the food chain until they start referring to you as a "rape apologist." Should be lobbed your way soon.
The funny thing is, the only person on my blogroll who's pro-porn as such is Ren. Everyone else seems to be ambivalent. Ambivalent doesn't seem to be allowed as a choice, even though I think that's where most of us are in reality.
Another accusation I got in the "I fucked your husband and it was over in one minute!" thread was "wealth flaunting in this thread while viciously attacking others [who are dissing your husband]." Which was odd, but I checked just to make sure, and the only items mentioned were being happily married and unashamed of having a job. Apparently, to be a true feminist you need to be heterosexual or employed only apologetically.
Kinda takes the fun out! Hmm, maybe that's the point?
Well, it's simpler than that, I think. You are because they say you are. They could say I am, if they wanted to, and most of their constituency wouldn't argue the point. They could call you pro-crabgrass and it would stick.
that's a good question. Is it unmasculine to inquire as to someone's mental state? is it unmasculine to look like you care about how people feel?
oh, and no - I was just oblivious. but I fixed that. :)
maybe we've all beaten that horse to death so many times, we don't care anymore what femininity means.
in terms of the "what is femininity" project - I'd have to agree with Octogalore, in that femininity is totally subjective.
I wonder if we can only define what it WAS, and not what it IS.
Does observing femininity change femininity?
For me, more broadly speaking, femininity can be a devouring force, with teeth and claws and insatiable hunger. not necessarily negative, but certainly not necessarily passive either.
My take on femininity:
well, I wonder if many of the commenters there are trying to say "The Patriarchy thinks femininity is XYZ and PDQ," not "I, Jane Random-Commenter think femininity is XYZ and PDQ."
when I was very thin, and my situation had me trying to wrestle with all that feminine armor-plating on a daily basis, I used to look in the mirror and feel really weird, like I wasn't a real woman but more like a caricature of femininity.
but I think that was just me.
I actually really like Victoria. Victoria and I are cool. Sam seems to have decided I'm the enemy, which sucks, because according to V we'd actually get along in real life...
I'm seriously confused, though. Is anyone else here under the impression that I'm all "rah rah I love prostitution!With no reservations at all!"? Because I'm not at all sure where she got that idea.
Now that's the big question, isn't it? I think out personal experiences sort of set the filter through which we view everything, and it's very difficult to look outside that. For everyone.
Which brings us to Veronica's point..."I just don't get it. There have been a few occasions where I realize that some of those women have such a different approach to possessing a vagina and such an extremely negative view of what it is to be a woman, that I just can't relate in the slightest. It's not that I disagree with them about feminism... it's that I disagree with them about the basis of humanity and the Meaning of Life itself. "
That's where I'm at right now, too. I just don't see the world the same way they do. My universe doesn't look like that. I don't feel like that about myself. I don't WANT to feel like that about myself. It feels like a dead end, like "abandon all hope ye who enter here". Why would anyone sign up for that?
You've been written off. I mean... how to put this?
I have repeatedly asserted that I am not a "sex positive" feminist. I've said that I could give a shit less if stripping is "empowering." I've clearly stated that I do see porn as prostitution, and that I find prostitution problematic. I've directly said these things to a couple of the women in question. It doesn't matter.
Because, see, it's been put forth that I'm part of the Pro-Pornstitution Tag Team. I'm also a "smug" "rape apologist" because of a run-in with Bea. (Which is why I didn't have much to say directly about her comments on lingerie. I try my best to avoid discussing her.) It was also said that it was convenient that I'm a rape victim, myself. Convenient.
If you're on the list, you're on the list. It doesn't matter what you actually think. It's all about the company you keep. If Sam's written you off, well.. the rest will follow shortly. Especially if you write about BDSM anymore. Or lusting after dudes. Actually, "Female Desire Week" might have already done it.
It feels like a dead end, like "abandon all hope ye who enter here." Why would anyone sign up for that?
I'd rather not write a book here in AP's comments... but... simply, if Patriarchy never dies, then Ms. RadFem is always, and forever, The Heroine. She's always the special one that sees through the Veil of Reality. She's always the special one with the special insight.
WTF? As in, they think you went out and got yourself raped so that you could win brownie points in arguments?
Seriously, WTF? I didn't think anyone would stoop that low.
On another note...I don't see how lusting after dudes could be interpreted as bad from a feminist point of view. If I was posting pics of half-naked women I could see how that would raise hackles, but treating men as sex objects...how is that anti-feminist?
I'm seconding the thing you said that I voted before. I don't understand how some people's minds work.
'Cause the Menz WANT YOU to want to have sex. You're playing into their nefarious plotz. You're a WILLINGLY SHACKLED member of the Sex Class, lusting after MENZ WHAT HATES YOU!
I wish I were fucking kidding.
The trainwreck that followed was so bizarre I could not look away. First, it was annouced that my husband DID hate me, would shortly leave me, and that he had metaphorically fucked an ex-prostitute commenter. Then I and various other convicted married heteros were advised that we should shave our heads, grow our hair everywhere else, and hang out solely with lesbian separatists, only read feminism-related books, and THEN SEE if our husbands were still with us.
Well, since if my husband started doing these things, I would be on the next bus to the heavy benching section of Gold's Gym to see what might look tasty, I didn't feel that this was a particularly valid test of "hate"... since last time I checked, I don't hate men...
I know, stupid question.
You don't really want what you think you want, Cassandra. You've been brainwashed by The Patriarchy. The only thing that will save you is wearing a tinfoil hat.
Veronica - Of course, silly me, why didn't I realise? I should just remember to consult Twisty before making any decisions, so that she can tell me how I really feel.
The funny thing is they'd probably dislike me even more in real life. I just attacked my husband because I found the way he was eating his ice cream provocative. And now I'm listening to a band called Sex Machine Guns. I'm pretty much doomed, really.
Seriously, if he cuts his hair I'm out of here. I LIKE long hair.
I'd be willing to doubt that. I've noticed that a lot of people aren't nearly as "hardcore" in real life as they are online...
If you're right let's hope that applies to some of the more militantly insane MRAs, too.
as the McDonalds ads say
i'm lovin' it.
it's funny, I haven't personally been attacked in a long while.
either they've given up on me or they're afraid of my whips. :)
i have a book by Charlie Anders called "The Lazy Crossdresser's Handbook." might have some handy borrowable tips if one wished to pursue femininity without fuss.
or just take a page from the Radical Faeries (see my latest post).
As for TF and co:
Walter Mitty for the Michael Savage generation is all.
my goodness, i was cranky then.
Cassandra, you've nailed it. Exactly. I'm too different or too powerful or too pervy or too SOMETHING to dare exist AND be a woman AT THE SAME TIME OMGZ.
i have to admit that there's a part of me that really wishes she'd kept the Edwards gig. i'd have put it back on with the successors at the helm. and Pam of course. as it is...
Belle - Yep, If it were mostly Pam and Illkya I'd be fine with it. Less smugness, more self-awareness.
"you are so SELFISH. SELFISH SELFISH SELFISH. how dare you think about yourself (like, as in, honestly acknowledging what you actually think and feel) when there are (casts about) penguins starving in Antarctica? huh? Why don't you think about someone ELSE for a change. Like, um, um, uhhhhhhhhhhh, oh, just hypothetically for example...Me. except for I'm not actually gonna say so because that would be too much like actually owning my shit. I'll just make grandiose yet vague appeals to Class Woman/the Masses, who -just happens- to sound exactly like my own personal story, because I'm Every Woman, but -it's not about me-, it's about THE PEOPLE. why are people always getting in the way of The People? so SELFISH. people suck. Up the People! VIVA!"
Yep. That's what I think is going on. If your whole identity is tied up in the theory, how do you respond to people who don't fit the theory? Damn those people for fucking up the nice, neat theory!
BTW, I appreciate your contribution to my thread and would be delighted to hear more from you.
I just have not heard anyone say the latter two things and at the same time feel pretty good about their boyfriends/girlfriends and work lives. Philosophies stemming from bitterness aren't any more valid than those stemming from rose-colored naivete.
And re your blog, many thanks and I hope to see more of you as well (if I can get my act together to post more).
I get what you mean now, but I'm reluctant to call people out on that because, while I suspect a lot of people are speaking from a place of anger and bitterness, in many cases there's a lot of real hurt behind that. Women who really have been abused throughout their lives are inevitably going to have a different take on a lot of things, and I don't feel right about throwing that in people's faces.
In other words, it's easy for me to say "why are you so bitter and angry?" since no man has ever done anything really awful to me. For someone who has been genuinely victimised, it's not so easy, or at least that's my theory.
We're all influenced by our life experiences in how we see things.
I don't think it's in good taste to call into question anyone's bitterness, either. That person probably has a right to be bitter. But when the bitterness extends to (1) trying to develop an entire philosophy that can only fit a world in which female bitterness is universal, and (2) ridiculing and attempting to silence those who feel there are glimmers of hope that can be the platform for change, then I most certainly do have a problem.
I think we actually outnumber them, we just don't shout as loud.