September 15, 2006

Let's take a closer look at those breasts.

NOTICE: You are about to read a post that has been widely linked and discussed on various blogs, and I suspect that you are not inclined to read this post carefully or with any sympathy toward what I intended. So, I'm adding this note to make it more likely that you will understand what I am trying to say. First, I am writing from a feminist perspective, even though I am criticizing a feminist. Second, the "breasts" referred to in the heading are the drawings and photographs of breasts that a feminist blogger sees fit to decorate her blog with. I don't like that. Third, the real target of this post is Bill Clinton. I think Clinton betrayed feminism (and I hate the way many feminists have given him a pass). Fourth, this post is written in a humorous, cutting style. It's meant to hurt, but I am attacking public figures about an important issue.

What follows after the asterisks is the original post.

***

I wanted to elevate a discussion from the comments section of a post from Wednesday, you know the one with the photo of the Daou-wrangled bloggers posing in front of Bill Clinton? The first commenter, Goesh, picks up on my prompt -- "Let's just array these bloggers... randomly" -- and wisecracks: "Who is the Intern directly in front of him with the black hair?"

Eventually, Jessica from a blog called Feministing, shows up and says: "The, um, 'intern' is me. It's so nice to see women being judged by more than their looks. Oh, wait..."

Snarky but somewhat conciliatory, I say: "Well, Jessica, you do appear to be 'posing.' Maybe it's just an accident."

Jessica Feministing returns and says:
It's a picture; people pose. And I'm not sure I understand your logic anyway. If I "pose" for a picture (as opposed to sulking and hunching over?) then I deserve to be judged for my looks? I don't see anyone talking shit about the other bloggers smiling pretty for the camera.
Provoked, I decide to actually give her a small dose of the kind of judgment for brains she seems to demanding:
Jessica: I'm not judging you by your looks. (Don't flatter yourself.) I'm judging you by your apparent behavior. It's not about the smiling, but the three-quarter pose and related posturing, the sort of thing people razz Katherine Harris about. I really don't know why people who care about feminism don't have any edge against Clinton for the harm he did to the cause of taking sexual harrassment seriously, and posing in front of him like that irks me, as a feminist. So don't assume you're the one representing feminist values here. Whatever you call your blog....
Making this colloquy into this new blog post, I actually click over to Jessica's blog, and what the hell? The banner displays silhouettes of women with big breasts (the kind that Thelma and Louise get pissed off at when they're seen on truck mudflaps). She's got an ad in the sidebar for one of her own products, which is a tank top with the same breasty silhouette, stretched over the breasts of a model. And one of the top posts is a big closeup on breasts.

Sooooo... apparently, Jessica writes one of those blogs that are all about using breasts for extra attention. Then, when she goes to meet Clinton, she wears a tight knit top that draws attention to her breasts and stands right in front of him and positions herself to make her breasts as obvious as possible?

Well, I'm going to assume Jessica's contributions to my comments are an attempt at a comic performance, as was her attendence at the luncheon dressed in the guise of Monica Lewinsky. Lord knows we need more comical feminists.

Or are you going to say she's some kind of Karl Rove plant? Alternatives: She's a clueless fool. She's in it for the money. (And you know the blog money is all in the T-shirts.)

UPDATE: You know what? If you breastblog and someone calls you on it, just laugh. If you try to deny it, people will laugh at you. Case in point? The big comments thread herein. I'm not saying you should read all the stuff in there, even though some of it's funny (and it could be useful as raw material for a Women's Studies master's thesis), but really, denial is some serious quicksand. And thanks to Glenn for linking. Quoting the title of this post unleashed some serious Instalanche action. (I knew it would.) The most ever, actually. And late on a Friday! What are you going to do? Guys love breasts. I think Jessica knows that quite well. And I think for all her gasping outrage, she's thoroughly pleased to get this attention. And as for you chumps who spent the afternoon defending her... well, you're chumps. So am I for giving her the publicity.... but what the hell? It's Friday.

ANOTHER UPDATE: This post has gotten a lot of links from folks who profess "puzzlement." I think a lot of this puzzlement is willful blindness to the criticism of Clinton.

501 comments:

1 – 200 of 501   Newer›   Newest»
Doyle said...

Ann, she was wearing a tee shirt, not a cocktail dress. She was noticeable only for being unusually attractive.

Please don't embarrass yourself any further.

Ann Althouse said...

Pathetic try at spin, Doyle. You must be really dizzy.

Ann Althouse said...

But I certainly think that to really do a great comic performance, Jessica should have worn a beret. Blue dress would have been good too.

VICTOR said...

Your focus on Clinton's sexuality was lame. As was your commenter's focus on the intern.

It's OK, we all give in to those impulses.

Fatmouse said...

It's the new Feminism 3.0!

"Hey, look at my tits! No, don't look at them like that, you pig!"

dorothy said...

Coincidentally, my two favorite blogs (I read both daily) are this one and Feministing. I really don't like that a whole post was devoted to this. It's not the type of thing I like to see.

Fatmouse said...

Oh, and the real thing is to point out her compared to the rest of the (much dumpier) females there. They're standing, she's posing.

It's the difference between a genuine smile and a fixed grin for the camera.

Ann Althouse said...

Victor: Your attempt to give Doyle an assist is also pathetic. I'm just calling them as I see them.

And I do mean them.

Todd said...

Wow, did somebody pee in Ann's cheerios today?
I think you're overthinking this. Still, chuckleworthy.

Ann Althouse said...

Dorothy: Face reality. Sorry if it hurts.

Ann Althouse said...

Todd's making a play for a line in my banner.

ak21 said...

While lurking once on another blog, I witnessed a quarrel between two Feministas and another female blogger. I don't even remember the topic, but within minutes of the quarrel starting, the Feministas were attacking the other women for being a lonely, dried-up, childless spinster who was just jealous of younger, prettier girls.

Feminists my ass.

Ann Althouse said...

And anyone who doesn't like what I'm saying about Jessica, prove your good faith by condemning the "Daily Show" clip about Katherine Harris that I've linked to.

David said...

Notice Clinton: Can't see his hands and he's checking out the profile like a coyote looking at a pork chop! For appearance sake she should have stood anywhere but directly in front of the lech in Chief.

This intern has her line in the water and is trolling for Clinton saying "you can look, but don't touch the bait!"

Maybe she thinks she really can have it all!

Freeman Hunt said...

What's the deal with "feminists" hanging out with Bill Clinton? We are talking about the same guy who is notorious for his extramarital affairs? The same man who when he was nearly fifty years old and the most powerful man in the world, started boffing a 22 year old female subordinate and later denied it during a sexual harassment lawsuit against him?

Feminists hang out with that guy?

Old Dad said...

Ann,

From a Darwinian perspective, Femisnisting was simply featuring what she perceives to be natural advantages. Sexual display for a powerful male is quite common in Washigton, by that I mean the animal kingdom. And the old lech, I mean President Clinton, is obviously enjoying the show.

I don't know whether or not orthodox feminists should behave in said manner. From a survival of the fittest perpsective, it's probably a bit dangerous around Bill Clinton.

David said...

The Jon Stewart link is a pathetic display of frat house humor. I am not a feminist but humor like that, especially when Stewart repeats the bad joke as if we didn't hear it the first time, is immature and juvenile. Where is the backlash from the feminists? Where us the backlash from the democrats? Do I hear any jokes about Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer?

Key sound of crickets!

David said...

The only reason Clinton fired a cruise missile at UBL was because he was saying:

"YES YES YES, OH GOD YES" to Monica and somebody at the door thought it was permission to send a cruise missile.

noah said...

Yeah, Ann, what is it with women showing cleavage and then getting all hissy if you look?

And, BTW, I have talked to a bunch of women who spontaneously allowed that they would love to give Clinton oral sex! So, apparently, "sexual harassment" may be going the other way. An inconvenient truth?

JohnK said...

I wonder if Jessica read this comment while she was trolling around the blog,

"SippicanCottage said...
The girl in the center is a hot babe, huh?

This is why plain girls go to trekkie conventions. In here, I'm Miss America"

I thought that one was pretty devistating. I think Jessica is pretty atractive, but I have a thing for brunettes and skinny girls with bige breasts. I am willing to overlook a lot of other flaws if a woman has those two assets.

Simon said...

Fatmouse said...
"It's the new Feminism 3.0!"

Actually, were it new, it would be Feminism 4.0, but as it is, it's perfectly exemplary of many of the things that a wrong with the Third Wave.

It's a shame, because both Feministing and Pandagon have gotten unbearably shrill in recent months, despite the fact that they really used to be quite enjoyable, in a disagreeable sort of way. I think it's basically driving them absolutely crazy that they have practically no power to control events at the moment; it's really going to be a shock to these people when they don't prosper anything like as much as they think they're going to in the midterms. No doubt, there will be allegations that it was stolen.

knoxgirl said...

The same man who when he was nearly fifty years old and the most powerful man in the world, started boffing a 22 year old female subordinate and later denied it during a sexual harassment lawsuit against him?


This is what drove me away from the democratic party and really made me reform my allegiance to (who I thought were) my fellow feminists. I wasn't crazy about Bill's affairs, but I gave Hillary enough credit where I was able to reason, "if it's ok with her, it's ok with me." But when the sexual harassment stuff started coming out... and there was defending of him instead of condemnations!!!! I was seriously, seriously disillusioned.

tdocer said...

Doyle:

Unusually attractive? Who's embarrassing him/herself here?

noah said...

You could have been there yourself Ann, if you had just thrown a hissy fit about the "Path to 9/11". Not in your character as I perceive it but perhaps the thought experiment would be useful for you to undertake!

Pete the Streak said...

I also clicked over to Jessica's blog, and was similarly unimpressed. A post about a shirt that says "You cum like a girl"? WTF? One commenter nailed it(loosely quoted): "You insult a guy with those words? Like a female orgasm is somehow inferior?". Seems like 90% of the (admittedly small) stuff I read was nothing but sex, sex, sex. I suppose that's empowering somehow.

RogerA said...

I always vote in favor of large breasts--oops--freudian slip

I do agree wholeheartedly with Ann's point about the to-do the portside branch of politics made about Katherine Harris' looks, make-up and hair--and to this day, the feminist movement, IMO, gave up any pretext of principle when they failed to condemn the ex-president for his conduct. As long as you get those abortions on demand, anything else is fair game.

MadisonMan said...

The one thing I notice in the picture is that Jessica is inappropriately dressed for a meeting with an ex-President. She's wearing pajama tops. I doubt the commentary would've evolved as it did if she wore a jacket over the shirt.

Just so I'm not accused of sexism, I'll note that the guys on either end are also way underdressed. It's better to overdress and remove tie/jacket than to be underdressed when invited to dine.

I will agree, also, that (although I've never met her and this could be her normal pose) it looks like she's more than posing. She's voguing. Look at me! I'm lunchin' with Bill!

knoxgirl said...

Seems like 90% of the (admittedly small) stuff I read was nothing but sex, sex, sex. I suppose that's empowering somehow.

I think this comes from several sources:

1. the strong idealization by feminists of the era of the sexual revolution--this era really brought the birth of feminism and it's very romanticized, no pun intended by a lot of them. As it is, obviously, by a lot of liberals.

2. the desire to IN NO WAY be associated with the religious right. There is nothing that drives a feminist up the wall like being perceived as sharing an agenda with them (such as anti-porn, etc.) In my experience, a lot of feminists go way overboard with the sex stuff to differentiate themselves.

3. they think it makes them sound tough. Sort of like that Samantha character in "Sex and the City" was supposed to be so strong and independent.

knoxgirl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Pete the Streak, your comment makes me speculate that Feministing is intended for lefty men who crave some sexual content but feel they must limit themselves to things that aren't sexist. I haven't read enough of it to see if there's anything that would impress me as bona fide feminist content.

Madison Man, you're right that half of the bloggers showed up underdressed. Unless they were told to dress "like bloggers" or whatever, they were pretty disrespectful to dress like they did. The men should have worn suits and ties to a lunch with a former president. Now, an argument could be made that one ought to show disrespect to presidents, but their blog posts show them fawning over him. So why didn't they dress better? Bloggers!

Janet Rae Montgomery said...

Ann, I agree with your points, particularly after clicking to your links and checking out the "feminist" site -- are the buxom broads at the top redeemed from being demeaning because they are giving stage right the finger? Be prepared for that argument. Also, I noticed a mention of Ann Richards but nothing for Orianna Fallaci on that site (and was reading a long essay by Fallaci this morning when I realized that SHE was one who first described "Islamic Fascism", rather than it being an invention of Chimpy McBush Hitler. Too bad the trial for being anti-Islamic cannot now proceed in Italy, unless of course it can.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann:
What a total takedown you did on her! Why do they generally believe they are so righteous? Sothey can't see when they are being inconsistent as in the examples you pointed out?
As to your original post- it was fine. You are great observer of stuff- that is what makes your blog interesting.

noah said...

knoxgirl, dunno whether I entirely agree but sounds plausible. I remember thinking Wonkette was completely off her rocker if she thought sounding like the boys locker room was sexy!

But since you double posted and removed the second post I got to wondering whether that is the origin of most of the post removals. I always figured it was because the author reconsidered.

Janet Rae Montgomery said...

Sorry, the phrase Orianna used was "Islamic Nazism"

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1450024/posts

Mack said...

I don't know, Feministing's sex-charged layout always struck me as strange as well. It kind of begs for this type of post, doesn't it? I don't have a problem with it per se, but it certainly doesn't seem compatible with then complaining about people commenting on it (or women's looks generally). After all, the whole point of the site seems to be to meld feminism, sexuality and politics, and to say that that's ok.

If I happened to be Arnold Scharzenegger, and I ran a blog, and I put up a picture of me in a muscle shirt flexing my arms, I think I would get made fun of too. Whether or not either is appropriate is probably more of an issue of whether we should be more open to mixing sex with politics, not really a matter of feminism. At the same time, when you do it on a blog about feminism, that also raises some questions which seem like you'd expect to have to answer.

BJK said...

I'm not judging you by your looks. (Don't flatter yourself.)

That may be the best line I read all day.


Feministing -- what an odd word. Depending on context, it would seem equally appropriate as a conjugate form of feminist, or an amalgamation of 'feminist' and 'sting.' Even if the latter is the intended use, 'sting' could equally refer to a manifestation of power (like a bee's sting) or an act of deception (like the 1980s motion picture). The site might be able to explain the origins of the word....but that would require me to actually go there.

Lest there be any doubt about it, any guy who visits a website with a form of 'feminist' in the title is only there to pick up lefty chicks (which might explain the emphasis on the mammary).

John said...

Actually, were it new, it would be Feminism 4.0, but as it is, it's perfectly exemplary of many of the things that a wrong with the Third Wave.

Yes. Feminism has eveloved and taken many new forms over the years. Which for most people of both genders is a positive thing.

For those looking for stability, it seems that Feministing solidly re-enforces the "long-standing, self-centered, immature, whiny, b..." stage of human development: "I can say what ever I please and contribute nothing!"

stoqboy said...

I've never thought about feminism specifically. I think my approach is "situational meritocracy." If I o were out looking for women, breasts would be important. If I were to be discussing economics breasts would be unimportant. Its easy for me to believe that, situationally, someone would think it was important to display their breasts around Mr. Clinton. I also believe that feministing.com has situated itself as a place where breasts are very important, even while they would have me believe that is not the case.

pluripotentate said...

is this a republican blog, or is it just the commenters?

ms. althouse, you may be a fine lawyer, but wonkette you ain't. maybe a different tone would work better for you.

Jessica Feministing said...

Wow, Ann. You certainly like talking about my breasts. You know, if you feature t-shirts for women, they tend of have breasts in them. And as for my "pose," I moved to the side because I figured that people would be more interested in seeing Clinton than me standing directly in front of him.

As for attacking the content of my site, that's just kind of low. I posted about this on feministing because I was trying to make a point about the insanity that is feminists attacking each other. This is just kind of sad.

Tom Head said...

You know, Feministing exists in large part because this is the treatment young women always get whenever they try to act as if they have, you know, value. They get ridiculed as if they're sex objects--and then told why they "asked for it."

As for picking up leftie chicks: I live in Mississippi. Jessica lives in New York City. Get real.

Ms. Althouse, I'm more than happy to condemn the Katherine Harris clip. And the attacks on Ann Coulter for having an Adam's apple. But you're the one who's going to have to live with the fact that you treat young women in exactly the same patronizing, hypersexualized way that Bill Clinton did. If you're not willing to judge Jessica Valenti for her mind, I don't see how you're any better than Kos or the other anti-feminist liberal bloggers.


Cheers,

TH

Anthony said...

Someone nailed it earlier:
"Look at my boobs!"

"STOP LOOKING AT MY BOOBS!"

Also, I had a rather different interpretation of the "Feministing" moniker which either shows that A) I have an exceptionally deviant mind, or B) "A" as well as being particularly perceptive.

Simon said...

Pete:
"Seems like 90% of the (admittedly small) stuff I read was nothing but sex, sex, sex. I suppose that's empowering somehow."

It's called Sex-positive feminism, and it is a reactionary outgrowth against those feminists who were opposed to pornography (Greer, Paglia, Levy et al). In the view of these people, it is empowering that, although Asia Carerra, for example, makes a living by being sexually objectified, it is liberating that she is able to do so, and that she is her own pimp. I'm sceptical, to say the least, that there is anything "liberating" about a career in prostitution, but that's their premise.

Third wave feminism, it seems to me, have never had so much to do with discrimination against women qua women as it has had to do with uniting various left-wing causes with the very worst of left-wing habits of mind.

Seven Machos said...

I thought Althouse's comments were appropriate. The woman in the picture seems trite in every way. And anyone who thinks she is "unusually attractive" needs to get out more.

ginabina said...

Oh Puh-lease!

The reason that Jessica posted on Ann's blog in the comments in because she wanted to draw attention to herself. "Look at me!"

The reason that Jessica "posed" in front of the president? Same thing, "Look at me!"

The reason that Jessica's blog is all sexed up is because it draws attention to her..."Look at me!"

This isn't about feminism or even about Presidential luncheon etiquitte. This is about Jessica's immature cries for attention.

She's simply using feminism as a front to achieve that goal.

RogerA said...

Geez--so much for beauty being in the eye of the beholder!

Tom Head said...

Ms. Althouse, since this is the second consecutive thread on this issue that has degenerated into a series of attacks on Jessica's looks, maybe that should tell you something about the tone you've achieved here.

You think Bill Clinton doesn't value young feminists as human beings? That's sensible. You think liberal bloggers acquiesce to him when they shouldn't? That's sensible.

But then you turn around with this completely contradictory bullshit about how this particular young feminist really is a sex object and (implicitly) really should acquiesce to him, if only for the sake of consistency.

I wish you'd make up your mind. You can't use an anti-feminist argument and a radical feminist argument at the same time and expect it to not reduce the quality of discourse to the point where it all becomes a glorified hotornot.com session.


Cheers,

TH

Truly said...

Jessica: Since when is criticizing a blog's content out of bounds? You want to be judged on your intellect rather than your figure, don't you?

I only glanced at it, but the banner is rather vulgar, to say the least.

Emily said...

I don't have the link on me but Jessica recently attacked women who believe in modesty in The Guardian.

If Jessica can judge women who dress modestly, why are Ann's comments illegit?

OK, I am seriously procrastinating by reading all the comments in this thread!

If Jessica was like, "I'm not making fun of any woman for her dress" then that's one thing, but when she wants to make fun of conservative women she does so what's the dif?

Jessica Feministing said...

Emily, I didn't attack them for dressing modestly--I attacked the idea of the "modesty movement" and their regressive views about women.

Truly, I meant that criticizing the blog's content as "all about using breasts" without actually reading the site is low.

Jessica Feministing said...

Emily, I didn't attack them for dressing modestly--I attacked the idea of the "modesty movement" and their regressive views about women.

Truly, I meant that criticizing the blog's content as "all about using breasts" without actually reading the site is low.

BJK said...

@ TH

As for picking up leftie chicks: I live in Mississippi. Jessica lives in New York City. Get real.

Obviously, how silly of me. After all, there's no chance that other people from outside of New York view that blog. Likewise, the possibility of travel to or from New York is equally impossible.

(And, BTW, what kind of real feminist is completely willing to overlook my use of the word 'chicks'? I stand resolute in my opinion.)

As to the photo, and Ms. Feministing herself:

Believe it or not, Bill Clinton knows how to have his photo taken with a group. If he can't see the camera...or thinks he's blocked by the camera...he'll move. Worst case - they'll re-shoot and use a different picture. And even if you're 'pose' rationale is to be believed....that really doesn't explain why you're posed in profile. Unless you have some neck condition we don't know about which prevented you from squaring up to the camera, I'm not buying it.

(Of course, if you hadn't placed said profile directly in the center of the photograph...chances are we aren't having this discussion.)

Jessica Feministing said...

apologies for the double post

Philo said...

Ann,
I'm judging you by your apparent behavior. It's not about the smiling, but the three-quarter pose and related posturing, the sort of thing people razz Katherine Harris about.
If you look at the picture you linked to in your first post on Jessica and her breasts you'll see that at least six other people are looking in the same direction Jessica is looking. As is common in large gatherings there was clearly more than one camera here, hence the picture you see.

As far as I can tell your two posts on Jessica offer nothing more than sheer jealousy that liberal, nay, feminist bloggers are being given space to speak with President Clinton. In t-shirt and jeans no less (though your protestations echo Kurtz, I can't possibly believe you're nitpicking as to what people wore to a private meeting with a president).

Your attacks on Jessica are incredibly juvenile. Inane, irrelevant, unconstructive, vacuous, and insulting to the intelligence of anyone who wasted their time reading it. I seriously feel dumber for having read these two posts.

Can you please offer one substantive critique of a feminist blogger, attractive or otherwise, young or otherwise, attending a meeting with Bill Clinton?

I'd note that Jessica is probably the youngest blogger there. Her presence is a sign of stature and her brilliance. She is deserving of praise for breaking into a meeting defined by middle-aged men and women.

pluripotentate said...

we see the world as we are. if all ann althouse and her commenters can see are breasts breasts everywhere they look, how strange. but then, breasts are nice. it could be worse.

Ann Althouse said...

Jessica: Why don't you attempt a substantive defense of your own blog instead of saying things here are "low" and "sad"? I'm really disgusted with women fawning over Clinton and playing up to him. Why not read the posts I've linked to here, like this one, and get to some serious reflection about feminism? You come across as a lightweight seeking attention on the web for pretty much nothing. You load up your blog with breasts, and then you're offended why someone points it out. That's low and sad if you want to just dribble out three letter words.

You do not impress me at all. I don't see how you have a damn thing to do with feminism. You seem like a self-promoter appropriating and debasing a word that's important. You've got a lot of explaining to do. I can see why you prefer to go on the offensive and attack me. But all you're attacking me for is something I pointed out about you. Why don't you defend yourself? Or better yet, why don't you try blogging without those crappy silhouettes and tight T-shirts? And start taking what Clinton did seriously. Then I might begin to have some respect for you. But I expect you'll just come back with another wow, Ann, you're really low and sad to talk about my breasts comment. And that will be totally lame, let me say in advance. It's obvious that you're bending over backwards -- figuratively and literally -- to keep the attention on your breasts. How about some actual intellectual substance instead?

Seven Machos said...

I think the main idea here is that it is very, very difficult to pose with the president with your tits hoisted and in a little grey t-shirt and be taken seriously as an intellectual.

So, to review:

1. Hoist your tits and pose.

2. Be a serious mover and shaker in the intellectual world.

3. Both.

The subject of the debate clearly has succeeeded at (1). It appears based on the evidence that she has failed at (2).

I don't know, by the way, that feminism is really at issue. George Clooney spoke at the UN Security Council this week. Did anyone take himself seriously? I doubt it. While Clooney does not have nice breasts, he obviously has traded successfully on certain aspects of his appearance. Once you do that, it's hard to get taken seriously regarding policy. (Only one person I can think of has ever done it: Ronald Reagan.)

XWL said...

Isn't this all just a tempest in a C-Cup?

(let me take a closer look . . . OK, possibly a tempest in a B-Cup, it's hard to tell, given the enhancing effect of the pose)

However, the real question everyone should be thinking about, would a Republican former President who posed in a room full of rabid right wing bomb throwing radio show hosts or bloggers be given a pass regarding 'endorsing' the lunatic fringe of his party?

And to Jessica at Feministing, don't you know that 'flipping the bird' as an insult is all part of the eeeevil phallocentric hegemony endemic throughout male dominated culture?

The upraised middle finger is a substitute phallus, if you really want to promote feminism your site wouldn't reproduce this sort of abusive phallocentric imagery within your banner.

johnstodderinexile said...

One might also ask why Jessica was invited to this Clinton summit in the first place. Her blog ranks far below the others represented at the lunch. Her page views are, for example, far belows yours, Ann, but massively below Kos, significantly below TalkLeft, Firedoglake, and the other well-known and popular progressive sites, based on Alexa, which Technorati uses.

(To be fair, I compared her site to mine and she kicks my ass like she was John Kerry and I was a swiftboater. But I wasn't expecting an invite.)

I am not suggesting she was invited for her appearance. But could it be tokenism?

pluripotentate said...

It's obvious that you're bending over backwards -- figuratively and literally -- to keep the attention on your breasts.

no. your post is titled "LET'S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THOSE BREASTS," ann. your post, not jessica's. you are an idiot.

MadisonMan said...

Philo, it was me who -- as you call it -- nitpicked about the dress of those who met former President Clinton. I'll restate what I said: If Jessica had worn something more respectful of the office of the Presidency, this entire thread would not have taken place. She thrust her breasts into the spotlight and took umbrage that people noticed. That sounds narcissistic to me. And you sound like a sycophant.

Aspasia M. said...

Jessica,

I think you rock - and your outfit was perfectly fine to wear for a lunch.

I hope you ignore this crap.

Seven Machos said...

I can't believe that you would not wear your best, most business-like suit to a meeting with any president of any country, present or past, whether you like the person or don't.

Perhaps the meta-argument here is: Jessica, grow the @#$%& up!.

And she will. Everybody does.

Tom Head said...

Ms. Althouse, it's really obvious--based on your high tolerance for right-wing anti-feminist posts, and your low tolerance for young liberal feminists--just what kind of Phyllis-Schlafly-meets-Ann-Coulter schtick you've got going on here.


Cheers,

TH

2.2L said...

Re: the dress of the attendees, there is no possible way that many people chose not to wear a suit unless they were instructed not to. Give these people some credit, please.

re: Feministing's banner, I think people are taking it the wrong way. The mud flap girls are a symbol of the objectification of women, and having them defiantly giving the finger sends a message that they're sick of it.

@bjk: as a man who regularly reads feministing and many other "feminist" blogs, please. Grow up. Everything I do does not revolve around meeting women to date, and I suspect there are many men who agree, like TH. If the idea that men can be intellectually curious about the feminist movement is that surprising to you, perhaps you should read a bit more. The issues discussed on these blogs impact us all as human beings, not just as men and women separately.

Doyle said...

Ann -

This disaster of a discussion began with your gratuitous swipe at the attendees of a lunch, who either "gravitated" or were "Daou-wrangled" into meeting with Bill Clinton.

Your initial post took extra care to call attention to the "intern" standing in front of the Clenis, as evidence of some moral failing on her part, or Bill's, or both. That was weird, and depressing, as I pointed out in that thread.

Now it turns out she's not an intern, but has a blog that you're not at all impressed with, so you're whaling on her for that.

Why does Jessica suddenly owe you "intellectual substance" when there hasn't been any here for days?

The Stuffed Tiger said...

It is unbelievable how much you have read into this photo. Based entirely on an image of a pretty girl posing for a photograph you have her standing in her room that morning tarting herself up for a former president, the photographer, and the general public. You even seem to have her elbowing her way into position in front of the president either to get leered at by him or so that we would all see how pretty she is when we look at Clinton in the image. Though the objective perception seems to be that Jessica is, in fact, pretty, you condemn her for being so in a picture as if it were her duty to take Atrios' place in the back to be obscured from view.

Take a moment and consider how Jessica got to the event. Did she present her breasts at the door and get ushered in, or perhaps was it her reputation as a blogger, her dedicated readership, and unique contribution to the blogosphere? To focus so heavily on one pose in a single photo is to ignore what she accomplished to get into that photo, what she contributed at the meeting, and how she plans to continue her work now. It is, in effect, to discount the person to dwell on the body, which is shallow, regressive and a good indicator why Ms. Althouse wasn't invited to join the group. Had she gone, I'm sure she would have dressed in full Islamic garb to ensure that no one would assume that her breasts got her into the room--just like she'd stick to legit issues on her blog lest people think she's the intellectual equivalent of the tramp she accuses Jessica of being.

knoxgirl said...

if all ann althouse and her commenters can see are breasts breasts everywhere they look

Interesting summary. Speaking for myself, what I object to is not breast, breasts, everywhere, but that a person who writes a blog called feministing is meeting with Bill Clinton.

Sorry: there is simply NO WAY to be an intellectually honest feminist and admire Clinton at the same time. (if Jessica wants to be taken seriously, she has to address this.)

With that said, though it resulted in an amusing photo, I personally do not believe that she posed that way on purpose.

Seven Machos said...

Actually, Doyle, this disaster of a discussion began with someone who clearly doesn't understand the engineering brilliance of a good modern bra calling a grossly average-looking woman "unusually attractive."

Tom Head said...

Oh, so now she's supposed to gussy up for the "office of the presidency"? While at the same time not showing any deference by posing with Clinton? Make up your damn minds, people.


Cheers,

TH

Tom Head said...

seven machos, it sounds to me like you and Ms. Althouse represent the same stream of "feminism."

I'm done here. I don't like to waste time arguing with intellectually dishonest right-wing hacks.


Cheers,

TH

knoxgirl said...

Yes, Doyle, it's such a buzz-kill.

Not Clinton's behavior, of course! ... but when people remind you of it. How dare they.

Seven Machos said...

Tom -- Yes, that pose shrieks deference. And humility. What she seems to be saying is, "This is not about me."

knoxgirl said...

Tom,

I'd like to hear your justification of Clinton's behavior.

Seven Machos said...

See ya, Tom.

JohnF said...

So this is how wars start. Cool.

Ann, you have only two choices. (A) Erase this post and all the comments, or (B) get out those topless pix of you from Woodstock.

Otherwise, these comments may degenerate into useless, repetitive, escalating vituperation.

knoxgirl said...

calling a grossly average-looking woman "unusually attractive."

seven, this comment is grossly below the level of commentary on this blog, You're going to far, IMO.

Ann Althouse said...

Mr. Head: There may be a lot of right wingers in my comments, but your equation of that with anti-feminism is quite ignorant.

Interesting point about Feministing being a much lower traffic blog than the other one's represented in the group. But I couldn't see what the traffic was over there. Anyway, I read Jessica's bio, and I found it hard to see what Mr. Head was drooling over.

And, people, I know Mr. Head, is a troll. He, and others, can't do much more than stamp their feet and name call. One senses they are very young. In any case, they aren't sharp and they aren't funny. The level of commenter sent over from Feministing is perhaps an indication of the quality of that blog.

Hey, like 10 comments went up while I was writing this. I guess a nerve has been hit. I hope some of the regular readers say something funny soon. I'm sooooooo bored with Jessica's breasts and they guys who are championing them/her.

CRD said...

Wow. This is really sad. Talk about hating. Do I have to worry about what I wear now in order to be feminist? You would think Jessica would be getting nothing but props for being INVITED to attend this roundtable blog discussion with a former president. It's this kind of monologue that keeps feminism down in this country.

And Ann, it looks like your blouse in that photo of yours would have been showing cleavage if you didn't crop it...

The Drill SGT said...

David said...
Notice Clinton: Can't see his hands


No David, if you look at the Feministing version, you can see Bill's hands are all visible.

As for Jessica's www site and this discussion overall I think both are fairly puerile. My quick take is that it is a Wonkette clone without the good DC gossip. same sorts of over the top sexual commentary to titillate. Same bad jokes, like that Harris spoof. I note however that Harris and Jessica both do like that 3/4 pose with pecs extended, and tight tops.

Lindsay Beyerstein said...

Ann, you went for a cheap Clinton/intern laugh at Jessica's expense. Then you berated her for complaining about the insult.

Think about it: The "intern" joke is classic sexism. A young female blogger gets invited to a meeting with a former president. She gets called an intern--which in this context implies both underling and lover. This is the kind of sexist crap that people have used to undermine women since time immemorial.

Instead of backing down, you tell her she deserved the putdown and go on berate her for complaining.

Sticking with the old standbys, you insist that she's fair game for sexist putdowns because you don't like her wardrobe or her body language.

Then you follow up with the sexist canard that any hint of a sexual persona in any context makes a woman fair game for scorn and ridicule.

Don't call this attack feminist.

Doyle said...

How are you going to respond to that, Ann? Her blog is breast-free!

knoxgirl said...

A young female blogger gets invited to a meeting with a former president.

Not just any blogger. A feminist blogger.

Not just any president. A sexual harassing president.



See the problem????

David said...

HEAD! You lost yours in this discussion. You were had!

pluripotentate said...

ann, if you're bored with jessica's breasts, why did you write a post titled "let's take a closer look at those breasts"? i still don't understand.

if you think women should be ashamed of their bodies, i hear the taliban is making a comeback in afghanistan.

Ann Althouse said...

Doyle: "Now it turns out she's not an intern..."

Doyle, why are you this dumb? It's really not fair to Feingold that you're using his picture to represent you.

The Stuffed Tiger said...

Lindsay Beyerstein is my new hero.

Ann Althouse said...

Lindsay: You aren't answering enough of my questions. Look at that blog! Tell me why you accept feminism presented that way. And read my old post that I linked to about how Clinton and feminism. You're brushing this off and not taking it seriously. I'm laying out a challenge here and you're engaging in spin, acting like I'm just stooping for a cheap laugh, but that is not so. There is a serious point here, and you're ignoring it.

the Rising Jurist said...

pluripotentate: The breasts issue isn't about shame, it's about contradictions. You can't demand to be taken seriously intellectually and flaunt your feminine sexuality at the same time. I tried to explain this over on feministing and got vacant stares. I don't know how to explain it any more simply. It just doesn't make sense.

The Stuffed Tiger said...

Actually, Ann, Lindsay is pointing out exactly the fact that you only fished for objections to Jessica's content after you were caught being a complete ass. You tacked on a bogus feminist critique to a sexist cheap shot.

pluripotentate said...

ann, if your question was "why would a feminist meet with bill clinton?" why didn't you say that instead of "look at the tits on that one!"

The Stuffed Tiger said...

Rising Jurist: can you demand to be taken seriously if you're a man who bulks up? Can you be flagrantly gay and still be taken seriously? Can you be a woman and not hide it and be taken seriously? It's your fault if you can't take someone seriously if they look a certain way.

Aspasia M. said...

By the way - I'm almost positive that silk shirt is from the Ann Taylor summer collection.

I wear the same outfit to conferences all the time. If it's hot, I take of the blazer of my suit. There is absolutely nothing anti-feminist about this.

It sounds like you all think it's anti-feminist to have breasts. Which I just find bizarre.

I think this post is creepy.

XWL said...

I hope some of the regular readers say something funny soon. I'm sooooooo bored with Jessica's breasts and they guys who are championing them/her.

I tried with the 'tempest in a C-Cup' comment earlier, but it got lost in all the angry recriminations from the sinistral side of the blogosphere.

Let's just ignore all this and celebrate the lives of two REAL feminist who passed this week, Gov. Ann Richards, and Oriana Fallaci.

And I don't know about anyone else, but a blog named Feministing keeps causing my mind to wander over to thoughts of this particular activity

pluripotentate said...

trj, i believe jessica asked if you think women should bind their breasts when they go out in public. i also suggest that women could wear burqas to avoid men and women who can't think about anything else if breasts are around.

it is about shame, and it is about who decides what women do with their bodies. hint: to feminists, it ain't men.

Richard Dolan said...

What a strange thread this has turned into.

Skimming through it, I started thinking back to all the political posturing when the Monica business first hit the fan. I distinctly remember Ann Lewis, a DNC honcho and very experienced politico of ostensible feminist persuasion, on the various talk shows going after anyone who doubted Clinton's finger-wagging denial about never "having had sex with that woman." Throughout the whole circus, the silence from the NOW crowd was deafening. It was proof, if any were needed, that as a political matter they were part and parcel of the Dem team. And, in terms of loyalties, it became obvious pretty quickly that the political needs of the Dem team in general, and Clinton in particular, trumped whatever their ostensible commitment to feminism might otherwise require.

I gather that the bloggers that Clinton chose to dine with and that were featured in the photo giving rise to all the current noise, were all identified in one way or another with the Dem party. I didn't have much reaction to the photo when Ann posted it and still don't. But judging from the reactions on this thread, nothing much has changed over 10 years: when it comes to priorities, the demands of lefty Dem politics still take precedence over the demands of feminist principles. Clinton thus will continue to get a pass from that crowd; the real creep in the whole Monica mess will always be Ken Starr; and Clinton's past peccadilloes and known proclivities are just something to joke about (verbally, or visually, as here, in this photo).

Seven Machos said...

There are six women in the photo.

Why is Jessica from Feministing the one that got tagged with the intern joke? Particularly the blond woman in the black-and-white dress and the woman in the conservative gray suit. Or, for that matter, the guy standing next to Clinton on his left with the terrible hair? Why are none of them the objects of ridicule and criticism?

Could it be because they are dressed appropriately and standing appropriately and using appropriate body language given the situation?

I think the people who are disagreeing with Ann Althouse here ultimately are questioning whether there is such a thing as appropriateness.

pluripotentate said...

richard, if ann althouse had written your comment, we'd be talking about that. ann althouse wrote a post disapproving of another woman having breasts.

The Stuffed Tiger said...

Seven Machos- you nailed it:

"I think the people who are disagreeing with Ann Althouse here ultimately are questioning whether there is such a thing as appropriateness."

Yes, as in the appropriateness of Althouse's post and subsequent comments. We could also make this about intellectual cohesion, I suppose, and not just appropriateness. I'll leave it to Lindsay to do that (see comment up thread).

the Rising Jurist said...

Stuffed Tiger: You, along with the folks over on feministing, misunderstand what I am saying.Yes, you can absolutely be smart and sexy. Everyone should embrace both of these parts of their personality. But you cannot, as these young feminists do, challenge the objectification of women if you objectify yourself.

pluripotentate: Yes, you both had responses and they fell in line with Stuffed Tiger's and missed my point. When I clarified, Jessica said she didn't "get" it.

Seven Machos said...

The Stuffed Tiger: I'm 5'8", about 135 lbs. Let's say I start taking HGH and all manner of steroids and really working out and get jacked up to 6'0", 240.

Then I meet with an ex-president. I wear a tanktop that shows off my rock-hard guns. It's really tight, too, so you can see my washboard abs. Also, I have a blog that mixes stories of weightlifting and manly exploits and photos of me scantily clad with politics and philosophy. Also, the ex-president faced impeachment (probably unfairly) for a blood-doping scandal.

Are you going to take me seriously? Might I come in for some criticism?

Coco said...

I've visited this blog almost daily for a couple of years now and its the first time I've witnessed Ann acting this petty. So that's a plus for Ann - most people (including me) act like that almost daily and don't blog long issues three or four times a day. This is an underhanded compliment, but its still a compliment. Keep up the 99.99999% good work.

Mack said...

Ann is harsh, but her point is valid. You can be sexual, but then you can't simply deny it. Your choice then is to say "damn right I look good, and that's how I'm going to keep looking." Alternatively, and the only alternative, is to separate your sexuality from your politics. You can't have it both ways.

From appearances here, Feministing is trying to have it both ways, by specific design, and aggressively so. I think that justifies Althouse's question. Also, when Feministing's emblem itself features a symbolic "f-ck you," I'm not sure one can really criticize Althouse's tone. Again, you just can't have it both ways.

Pat Patterson said...

When did torpedo bras get popular again?

Furious|T| said...

Well, if anyone ever wanted to know why I read feministing and DON'T read althouse, this thread will tell you why. And it's apparent that Althouse doesn't read feministing, either, based on her puerile and inaccurate description of it.

Reading the comments of those who agree with Althouse made me depressed, too. Not exactly the kind of company I'd like to keep.

Aspasia M. said...

That's an Ann Taylor silk shirt.

It is appropriate for a summer lunch.

lizzy said...

I don't understand what the fuss is all about. Jessica is wearing what most female Hill staffers wear all the time.

The problem, as I see it, is that Ann is attacking a fellow feminist. How is the women's movement ever going to gain a substantial foothold unless we work together against issues that truly matter, rather than the fact a young, accomplished woman is standing up straight in a photograph with a former President?

price said...

This is my favorite post in a long time. This Jessica chick could have gone really far with just saying, 'yeah, I do sort of look like that,' and laugh it off. But when she got all highfalutin' about her blog's mission, she completely invited Ann's hilarious remarks.

If she just pulled an Ana Marie Cox and admitted her slutty sensibility, people would respect her honesty and therefore intellectual integrity even more.

tcd said...

If any of you Jessica fans would actually read Ann's original post, she did not mention Jessica's boobies. The boobs comments were made in the comments section by some keen-eyed Althouse regulars. Ann's 2nd post was done after visiting Jessica's blog and in response to Jessica's comment. How could anyone not notice the mammaries on that sight?

I am enjoying this comments bout immensely. It's fun watching an intellectual heavyweight like Ann dust off featherweight "professional" feminists. Seriously, when did feminist become a profession?

The Stuffed Tiger said...

Seven Machos and Rising Jurist:

So it comes down to this: Jessica's choice of a modestly cut sweater and dress slacks covering her natural breasts means she's asking for it. She objectifies herself by (a) existing and (b) turning to the camera at an angle.

I'm sorry, but I think it's more likely that the problem with this photo is in how you two and Ann are perceiving it. Your inability to get past her breasts has nothing to do with Clinton but rather your inability to allow Jessica to exist outside your sexist preferences.

Aspasia M. said...

and what lindsay said.

Mack said...

The reason for Althouse's original extremely subtle comment was largely to jab Clinton, because that's interesting.

If someone's bad hair had political relevance, she'd probably have alluded to that too.

The Stuffed Tiger said...

Shorter Althouse commenters: I reject Jessica's intellect because she made my pants move.

MadisonMan said...

xwl: I think of that too.

Seven: Yes. Not appropriate.

geoduck2, it may be appropriate for a summer lunch. My argument is that it's inappropriate for a lunch with a President, when you should put on your best bib and tuck. I don't care if they're told to dress down. Clearly, the President didn't. If your clothes are too casual compared to your host's, you've done something wrong. And if she were dressed more conservatively, if I can use that word here, this whole discussion would not have taken place.

I wouldn't wear flipflops to meet the President, either, by the way.

Seven Machos said...

Stuffed: How does anyone ever get objectified under any circumstance ever?

The post by tcd nails it. If she just pulled an Ana Marie Cox and admitted her slutty sensibility, people would respect her honesty and therefore intellectual integrity even more.

You absolutely can be intellectual and powerful and sexy. The woman's problem is that she obviously puts a lot of thought into being sexy but doesn't seem to want to admit it. There's a certain fraud being perpetrated as a result.

Ann Althouse said...

I only did the second post because Jessica showed up in the comments on the first post and acted like I was "judging her" by her "looks," and it struck me that it was funny that she was essentially bragging about her looks, when my post was all about the behavior. I never said she looked fabulous or something, though she seemed to have construed it that way. Then, to write this post, I had to go to her blog, and I was floored. It was really funny that she actually was exploiting breasts on her blog. I hadn't realized it was, like, her trademark.

And all these commenters showing up and going on and on about it is really in the category of protesting too much in my view. Plus you folks who won't accept my razzing Jessica for this will never, ever talk about Bill Clinton and how much he hurt feminism.

The Drill SGT said...

tcd said...
I am enjoying this comments bout immensely. It's fun watching an intellectual heavyweight like Ann dust off featherweight "professional" feminists. Seriously, when did feminist become a profession?


Obviously, Feminist is a profession, they give degrees in it like:

Masters degree in Women's and Gender Studies from Rutgers University

http://feministing.com/jessica.html

Dave TN said...

Well, I see what's going on in here. I am smack dab in the middle of a good old fashioned cat fight.

John said...

ahem???
Will any of you Jessica defenders actually defend the point of this disagreement - so brilliantly presented by knoxgirl:

knoxgirl said...
A young female blogger gets invited to a meeting with a former president.

Not just any blogger. A feminist blogger.

Not just any president. A sexual harassing president.



See the problem????

3:57 PM, September 15, 2006

Paul Zrimsek said...

Alternative title for Jessica's blog: "A Rack, the Model".

Jessica Feministing said...

John, I'd be happy to discuss it if that's what this post or the previous thread were actually about. But they're not--they're about what a dirty whore I am for having breasts.

Aspasia M. said...

My argument is that it's inappropriate for a lunch with a President, when you should put on your best bib and tuck.

I disagree. Lunch with an ex-president and bloggers in New York.

(not at the White House.)

That's an Ann Taylor silk shirt and perfectly fine to wear. I wouldn't be surprised if she had taken off the jacket. I do that all the time at conferences.

Lordy - all you men have very specific opinions about the dress choices of petite young women. At that age I didn't even own a suit.

And, do you know what, it is hard to cover up breasts! Particularly if the rest of you is petite!

If a woman is petite, and tries to buy a shirt that fits her shoulders (especially with a silk shirts being sold at Ann Taylor)... well, the only way one's breasts are going to get covered up is with a jacket, a blazer, or a really baggy shirt.

tcd said...

7M, price was the one who made that very apt observation re Wonkette. I agree w/ both of you.

Ann,
Should you close this comments section and bid Jessica and fans goodbye with a rendition of "Thanks for the mammaries"?

Old Dad said...

Paul Z,

Good one.

Alternatively--"Tits on a Bore."

Mack said...

Stuffed Tiger,

I don't think anybody rejected Jessica's intellect, other than possibly Althouse.

Some do have a philosophical problem with what one commenter well described as objectifying women at the same time as you complain about objectifying women. Sadly, nobody has defended this choice.

Basically, I think this is because there is no defense. There is a reason most feminist bloggers don't prominently feature breasts on their blog; it's hypocritical and it undercuts the message. There's really no question that Feministing does this. It's a real problem, and one which is legitimately criticized. If there's no defense, that's something to consider.

I'd really like to know what people are furious about, because they're not saying. When they come and attack the character of those defending Althouse, it only provides further justification for Althouse's aggressive tone in the first place.

MadisonMan said...

geoduck2 -- I complained about the men in shirtsleeves too. Boy, if I showed up like that for a meeting with the President, and my Mother found out what I wore, she'd complain long and loud to her bridge club!

But I can see we won't agree on this.

Seven Machos said...

Gooey Duck: Think about it this way: what is the guy equivalent to what she was wearing? Would it have been appropriate for a meeting with a former president? (There are a number of woefully underdressed men in that photo. President Clinton, to his credit, is not one of them.)

Aspasia M. said...

But they're not--they're about what a dirty whore I am for having breasts.

Yep. And this post is all about taking "a closer look at those breasts" and presenting you as an object for bodily critique by the (mostly male) audience.

See the latest post on "thanks for the mammories."

The biggest problem people had with the pictures -- was the actual existence of Jessica's breasts.

This is a profoundly anti-feminist thread.

Simon said...

lizzy said...
"The problem, as I see it, is that Ann is attacking a fellow feminist. How is the women's movement ever going to gain a substantial foothold unless we work together against issues that truly matter."

Well, you could start by not trying to homogenize the movement by marginalizing and belittling anyone who does not tow the line 100%. There is an urgent need for feminists to recognize that one does not have to be female to be a feminist, one does not have to be liberal to be a feminist, one does not have to reject traditional values to be a feminist, one does not have to embrace sex-positive feminism to be a feminist, and most of all, one does not have to be pro choice to be a feminist. As Ronald Reagan once observed, you don't get to be a majority by going around looking for people you won't work with, which is precisely what the third wavers have done to feminism: they have gutted it and demanded the excommunication of anyone who dissents from an official dogma which has very little to do with feminism as that term has previously been understood.

I don't agree the idea - amply represented in this thread - that there is an inherent contradiction between feminism and embracing female sexuality, but there is a contradiction in embracing it yet criticizing others for embracing it in ways you disapprove of (sexuality either is, or is not, on the table, for all purposes), and there is an even deeper problem in making this embrace and castigating anyone who does not also do so.

AJ Lynch said...

Paul:
Maybe I need new glasses but I did not think Jesica had what it takes to be a contestant on your new show "A Rack The Model".

Anyway, I can't wait to read what Jessica (it's been three days now Jessica) and the other worshipful bloggers learned at the big pow-wow. Especially since one of her fans claims there were quite a few brainy heavyweights at the lunch not including WJC.

John said...

Jessica Feministing said...
John, I'd be happy to discuss it if that's what this post or the previous thread were actually about. But they're not--they're about what a dirty whore I am for having breasts.

4:42 PM, September 15, 2006


Some are {A Rack, The Model - c'mon. Pull it back.}, most aren't. And the main thing is, the original (today's post) is about the dichotomy between Clinton's actions and feminism. How can they co-exist?

Steve H. said...

Thanks for the link, Ann. But before you criticize Jessica, I think you should take a closer look at her site. Here is a really fine essay from which we can all learn.

namazu said...

xxx

Ann Althouse said...

Mackan: "Althouse's aggressive tone"

You have not yet seen Althouse's aggressive tone. This is pretty fun-loving. I've been striving for a relatively light tone here and emphasizing how funny I found Jessica. I'm aiming a few light stabbing pokes at Clinton. But, trust me, if I wanted to be aggressive... it would be really different from this.

Simon said...

I don't even agree, by the way, that there is an inherent contradiction between being a feminist and liking Bill Clinton. But I would argue that it is incumbent upon those who would adopt such a deeply counterintuitive position to explain why. Even if that explanation is as simple as "because he may have done some really terrible things, but he appointed Ruth Ginsburg and that's good enough for me", even if the explanation doesn't convince anyone, you surely owe it to yourself, if no one else, to explain why it isn't contradictory.

Gibbie the labrat said...

Yeah, much ado about nothing. Sorry, Ann, i'm a supporter of you. I don't see the big deal with the pose. It's not like she's hot.

Aspasia M. said...

Think about it this way: what is the guy equivalent to what she was wearing? Would it have been appropriate for a meeting with a former president? (There are a number of woefully underdressed men in that photo. President Clinton, to his credit, is not one of them.)

Women have an issue of having breasts that we often can't hide. (Especially if we are bigger then a B cup.)

And it's hard to dress professionally. I find it very hard to find a button down shirt that works. (I envy men for their ability to find professional clothing in a easy manner - just buy a button down shirt.)

I wear silk shirts like Jessica's all the time to conferences, because they are made to fit under the classic blazers. And they also qualify as a professional outfit if I pair them with a skirt or dress slacks.

The male equivalent would be a man who's taken off his jacket and is standing in a button down dress shirt.

What's different, is that our breasts sick out. And there ain't a lot we can do about that unless we bind them.

Jessica Feministing said...

Steve H., maybe you should be honest about what you're linking to. If you wanted to promote your stupid parody, just say so, don't try to pass it along as mine.

The Drill SGT said...

Dave TN said...
Well, I see what's going on in here. I am smack dab in the middle of a good old fashioned cat fight.


sssshh! They might turn on you.

Jill said...

Ann, you should be ashamed of yourself. Jessica is standing the exact same way as the woman to the left of her. You just can't see that woman's breasts because she's wearing a black t-shirt.

Nothing about Jessica's behavior was "innapproriate." She's dressed appropriately. She's standing with her back straight and her hands at her sides, just like everyone else. She was positioned in the front of the picture because she's shorter than most of the other attendees. I saw the picture yesterday and none of these things even crossed my mind -- it looked completely normal to me.

Jessica has breasts. When she wears clothes, you will probably still be able to notice the fact that she has breasts. Your fixation on their presence seems a little odd. I suggest you get over criticizing other women for living in female bodies and get onto doing something that actually matters.

Old Dad said...

Ann,

Never use "light stabbing pokes" and "Clinton" in the same sentence.

Some might get the wrong idea.

Susan said...

I check Feministing every day and always find it interesting. I'd never heard of Althouse, and likely never would have if Jessica hadn't linked to it. I won't be back; and I love reading about the law and feminists. Not this crap, though.

knoxgirl said...

Thanks, John. Obviously I'd like a response, too, but apparently, that's not going to happen...?

Ann Althouse said...

I love the way Jessica came back to say "what a dirty whore I am," something no one had said. I don't really know why I'm helping her get the attention she craves. Sorry if it's boring. Not sorry if I hurt her feelings... but I don't really think I did.

tcd said...

Don't hold your breath knoxgirl. I think some people would rather focus on the latest fashions from Ann Taylor.

Nowhining said...

The difference between Jessica and Wonkette?

1. Wonkette is actually funny.
2. Wonkette is actually hot.

Steve H. said...

I must have been committing what Maddox refers to as "phallic aggression."

I hope I go to hell and Andrea Dworkin sits on me.

Mark the Pundit said...

Ann, she was wearing a tee shirt, not a cocktail dress.

I hope to God that is not t-shirt. Who in their right mind wears a t-shirt to a meeting with a former President of the United States?

But, it does say a lot about how much respect Jessica holds for the office, if not the man, no?

Seven Machos said...

Gooey Duck -- A conservative women's suit functions exactly like a Brooks Brothers sack suit. It forms a blog over the body and de-accentuates breasts (or lack of breasts). I have a hunch, also, that our subject can afford a nice professional suit and owns a few

Furthermore, it is my general experience that the person front and center in the photo (and slightly turned) rarely just happens to end up there and that way.

Steve H. said...

If not Andrea Dworkin, some other fat crazy frigid bitch who needs to get laid. You know the type.

Seven Machos said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
namazu said...

Absent evidence that this young blogger's relationship with Clinton extends beyond the wing and thigh, it would be impolite to point out that her large breasts and generous proportions could turn an ageing poor white Southern boy to buttermilk. So let's not.

Seven Machos said...

A blog over the body?

knoxgirl said...

tcd:

yes, they're all dismissing the discussion as petty fluff; but then they keep harping on those points and studiously avoid the one serious topic many of us keep bringing up.

Ann Althouse said...

Knoxgirl is the conscience of this thread.

Aspasia M. said...

Jessica,

I'm having trouble with logging into my account on your site --

I just wanted to say I'm so sorry about all of this.

----------

seven,

If you look at the picture, you can see that everybody in the front row is angled in the same way. It's a common thing done in photographs to have people slightly tilted towards the center.

Look- I wear stuff like that to professional conferences all the time. It's perfectly acceptable. It looks just like my freakin' Ann Taylor outfits. (which, fyi, are not at all considered "edgy" in the fashionista world.)

Ann Althouse said...

Steve H is the demon. Did you do that parody? It's quite something. I thought it was from Feministing at first and thought, hey, they really are funny. If I were Jessica, I'd claim credit for it.

Steve H. said...

I thought it was me.

Jim said...

Don't judge Jessica by her looks. Judge her by her sparkling personality and sense of humor.

Steve H. said...

I have no idea who did that parody, but it's about ten billion times as important as Jessica's online puddle of curdled estrogen.

XWL said...

Don't judge Jessica by her looks. Judge her by her sparkling personality and sense of humor.

Jim, that's just cruel and uncalled for.

Mark Daniels said...

It's a bit difficult for me to know what to make of all this.

My basic take on your original post on the Clinton meeting with progressive bloggers was, like yours I think, how fawningly uncritical and superficial all of them had been. I thought it ironic for him to be closer to the women in the photo on your site. But I didn't necessarily think that the blogger in question was posing inappropriately.

But on her site, she does seem to want to have things both ways: to be an ardent advocate for feminsm and the deobjectification of women, while voluntarily acceding to such objectification. You see this inconsistent admixture among younger women who describe themselves as feminists and it mystifies me.

Mark

lizzy said...

Simon said,

Well, you could start by not trying to homogenize the movement by marginalizing and belittling anyone who does not tow the line 100%. There is an urgent need for feminists to recognize that one does not have to be female to be a feminist, one does not have to be liberal to be a feminist, one does not have to reject traditional values to be a feminist, one does not have to embrace sex-positive feminism to be a feminist, and most of all, one does not have to be pro choice to be a feminist. As Ronald Reagan once observed, you don't get to be a majority by going around looking for people you won't work with, which is precisely what the third wavers have done to feminism: they have gutted it and demanded the excommunication of anyone who dissents from an official dogma which has very little to do with feminism as that term has previously been understood.

Simon, I wasn’t homogenizing the movement. I wasn’t marginalizing or belittling anyone. You don’t know anything about my beliefs, and I resent the fact that you’re lecturing me on what a feminist is without knowing anything about me. I know one does not have to be liberal, female, pro-choice, reject traditional values, or embrace sex-positive feminism to be a feminist. I am simply saddened that one feminist is harping on another not for anything of substance, but for her shirt. I just don’t think fashion is an important enough issue to attack one another. Call me crazy, but I think Jessica, Ann, you, me, and whoever else should be able to wear what they want without being rudely commented on. Especially when there are more important issues at hand.

white wine said...

Oh Ann. You're just jealous 'cause you're ugly, not very interesting, and a pretty crappy writer.

TallDave said...

Ann, she was wearing a tee shirt, not a cocktail dress.

Actually, in young-people parlance we call that a "tit-shirt." It very intentionally emphasizes the breasts, especially when you go to the trouble of sticking your chest out (in front of a President known for being a adulterous lecher, no less).

If you're going to complain about being "judged on your looks" you really shouldn't behave as though you're trying to be judged on your looks.

Women can, and do, wield a certain kind of power over men by attracting them sexually, and there's nothing wrong with that. But you can't blatantly cavort for the camera and then complain you're being judged on the that basis. It's like deciding to be a stripper, and then complaining that guys are always staring at your boobs and butt while you're dancing instead of focusing on your physics dissertation.

Ann Althouse said...

Lizzy: Yeah, there's a really important issue that everyone on your side of the argument keeps pretending not to see. So since you're interested in some serious substance, how's about you get your side started with that. Because we've been waiting and waiting.

I'm still waiting for one of you to get into the substance of my old post Democrats have a long, long way to go to convince me that they care about feminism. And the way is getting longer the more you folks keep ignoring it. Every time you say I'm only concerned about Jessica's darned breasts, the way gets longer for me. You won't even begin to try.

So, yeah, "there are more important issues at hand." I agree. Get to it. I've been waiting all afternoon.

Jim said...

"Feministing -- what an odd word. Depending on context, it would seem equally appropriate as a conjugate form of feminist, or an amalgamation of 'feminist' and 'sting.'"

Yeah, it's an unusual coinage. Are there any other words that start with "f" and end with "isting"?

Ann Althouse said...

I should say that in linking to that old post of mine, what I really want you to address is the part about Clinton, which mostly means that you need to read the linked article by Stuart Taylor (which had a huge effect on me). If you are a Clinton fan (and I voted for him twice), you owe yourself the enlightenment.

BeckyJ said...

Jessica & others supporting/defending her: I suggest you read Phyllis Chesler's The Death of Feminism and then respond. Although, I'm guessing that in your Women's STudies classes and programs you were told that Chesler is apostate and not to be read, listened to, or taken seriously.

Ann Althouse said...

And Jim's right about the meaning of that blog name. It's a graphic sexual image, which is just one more reason why the protests on Jessica's behalf aren't believable. She was promoting her blog and I'm pretty sure she's happy it worked.

The real sticking point for the people who are pissed at me is that they love Clinton and they know that what this post and the other one were really about was him. Jessica's breasts are definitely a distraction, but personally I'm not distracted. This is about Clinton and the abject support women have given him.

Harkonnendog said...

These two comment threads make feminists seem petty, catty, malicious, obstinate, and idle. Or am I confusing feminists with laywers?

Sushizuki said...

Someone who gets a Masters degree in "Women's Studies" and then creates a blog about her breasts? Why is anyone taking this person seriously?

Mack said...

If I may, I think there are a few issues here which really need to be separated.

1. Was it profoundly uncool for Althouse to joke about the somewhat provocatively-dressed/posed woman standing in front of Clinton?

My answer: it was just a joke, mostly toward Clinton, and would never have been a big deal.

2. Can Jessica really complain that someone comments on her appearance, when she dresses somewhat provocatively for the setting, stands somewhat provocatively, and has a blog that blatantly objectifies women?

My answer: I may be wrong, but it kind of looks like she should have anticipated this, and should be ready to provide some actual defense.

3. Is it wrong for feminists to kiss up to Clinton?

My answer: Sure, nobody said he's perfect, but who is?

Furious|T| said...

Yeah, Jessica's desperate to "promote her blog," Ann. Jesus Christ, you lob a critique of her appearance and then get pissed that she stood up for herself, dismissing her as self-promoting?

NO, the real sticking point is that if you wanted to blog about Clinton, you should've blogged about Clinton and left Jessica out of it. You failed at doing that and now you're desperately covering up for it. Take some goddamned responsibility. Your attacks on Jessica were out of line.

Mack said...

Edit that: Sure, it's ok to kiss up to Clinton.

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"And Jim's right about the meaning of that blog name. It's a graphic sexual image, which is just one more reason why the protests on Jessica's behalf aren't believable."

A far more natural (and less unpleasent) reading would be that "Feministing" is a portmanteau of "Feminist Sting," which is how I have presumed it is to be read.

dave said...

Lady, you are Bat. Shit. Insane.

End of story...

Simon said...

Lizzy,
I meant "you" as a group noun. It wasn't intended as a personal attack, it was intended as an answer to the question I saw as being implicit in your post.

Simon said...

Lizzy,
I meant "you" as a group noun. It wasn't intended as a personal attack, it was intended as an answer to the question I saw as being implicit in your post.

Jill said...

"Jessica's breasts are definitely a distraction, but personally I'm not distracted. This is about Clinton and the abject support women have given him."

Which is why the post is titled "Let's take a closer look at those breasts," right Ann?

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Medopine said...

I agree with the person above who said that this was a lapse in the usual quality of this blog.

If you want a serious discussion on an issue, you probably should start a thread about that instead of one titled "Boobies." It's hard to see the issue you are saying you brought up what with all the snarky remarks. /shrug

reader_iam said...

Whoo. I see that there's been bunches of comments since I started to add mine (it's the dinnertime shuffle) around here. I haven't read 'em yet, so if mine ended up redundant, I'm sorry.

Snickers said...

I'm really disappointed with this post, and the ensuing discussion. From your description of her outfit, I was expecting a cleavage-baring, skintight midriff top and some bachelorette party-esque pose that involved grabbing her own breasts. Instead, Jessica wore a high-necked plain shirt that is fitted like any generic shirt, and is "posed" in the same way as three other women in the photo. The only difference between her and the other women is that she has nobody standing immediately to her right obscuring part of her body, and she is younger. There is nothing in either her outfit or her "pose" that is even mildly suggestive, and I'm really disturbed at the vitriol with which you reacted. Would it have been better if she wore a top in a larger size? What about a caftan, that would really obscure the shape of her breasts. Hey, what about a burqa.

As for the logo on Jessica's site, I didn't realize feminists weren't meant to be ironic. Did you miss that she's flipping the bird? There are versions of the trucker logo where the silhouette is of a shapely man rather than a woman, and I read those as funny (and biting) commentary too, rather than deplorable objectifications.

Jill said...

Wait, Jessica is dressed "somewhat provacatively"? Are you serious? She's wearing a sweater the covers her entire upper body and long pants.

Perhaps a burka would have suited your tastes better?

reader_iam said...

That's an Ann Taylor silk shirt.

It is appropriate for a summer lunch.


Not with the pants selected, not without a jacket or light summer sweater. Too casual. The fact that it's summer doesn't matter. And the "Ann Taylor" thing is irrelevant--it's not about the designer or the clothing line. (Unless you think that because something's put out by/under a particular name or line makes it automatically appropriate in all outfits in all circumstances. In which case, whatever. No, how shallow.) What you may or may not choose to wear at conferences has nothing to do with anything.

As to substance (in my opinion): The problem here is not boobs. Not Jessica's or anyone else's. Or even boobie blogging (which I don't happen to think Jessica is doing, by the way, though I think the closeup pic of the [cute] "love your blog t-shirt" is maybe ill-advised). I get the irony of the mudflap girls myself, but I can just as easily see how that irony might not work for everyone, and that the logos themselves could legitimately detract from the blog content, even among those who might not disagree with posts on the blog. And I think XWL has got a point or two.

But all of that is irrelevant to the point that keeps getting shoved aside, despite, for example, Knoxgirl's valiant efforts.

In short, the problem is not BOOBS, it's Bill. It's feminists considering it an honor to meet with Bill WHEN their primary identification is as feminists AND when the failure of feminists to condemn Bill on a specific issue that feminists themselves had worked so hard to bring to light, simply because it was "their guy" who was involved, was a MAJOR low point for organized feminism in the the 1990s. To my way of thinking, the lowest in modern feminist history with the exception of the most recent, which would be too big of a digression to get into.

Note that I tried to be very careful in how I worded that. I am not a global Bill-basher. I thought the way that the whole Clinton investigations eventually devolved was a terrible distraction (cure: one six-year term for presidents only; we just can't cope beyond that).

But my point still stands. I don't particularly care about what Jessica wore in the picture, or anyone else, for that matter. I may note here that I think some of the dress in the picture, including hers, is not appropriate, since the issue had already been brought up, but I don't really care.

I care that she and other feminists , as representatives of such philosophy, and other like-minded groups, consider it to be an honor to meet with Bill Clinton, given the black-eye organized, political feminism inflicted on itself back in '90s.

It brings it all back, that disillusionment, the sense that what's good for one gander is not good for another gander. That women, when it comes to party partisanship, can make just as much gooses of themselves as men.

Now, I think I'll go back to poring over boring census data and pondering how we're defining race, ethnicity, origin and culture in this country. It'll be a welcome distraction.

Reposted because the original exceeded even my toleration for typos in comments, and clarify in one place or two (minor word additions).

The Drill SGT said...

Ann,

I reread your Nov 2005 post on Feminists and Clinton as well as the Stuart Taylor piece. I'm pleased to reprise one of my eaerlist blog postings to that same piece:

The Drill SGT said...
I don't have much of anything to say about your personal Feminist credentials but will toss in 2 comments:

1. That site and those 890 comments are a cesspool of mental cases.

2. There are too many FEMINISTS (large F types) who can't dis-connect democratic politics and what is good for women. For example, it seems to me that the fact that Afghanistan elections that elected more women than the floor (25%) should be a real success story. Same with all the girls in school, but because if one were to call them successes, it might reflect well on the US and the current administration, those stories don't appear or are denigrated by the AP or CNN.


It's still true. Honest Feminists ought to deplore Clinton's gross objectivacation of women in the workplace. Those that aren't captives in the orbit of the DNC that is.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Serious comment: What Mark Daniels said (5:28). And Knoxgirl. And Ann (re: feminists and Clinton).

Not-so-serious-comment: This is the funniest Althouse thread ever, both intentionally (XWL, Old Dad, Dave TN, Drill Sgt, et al.) and otherwise.

AlaskaJack said...

I agree with Ann that Bill's ruddy color in the photo is probably due to lust rather than age. Given this, and given that Jessica the Chaste bears some resemblance to Paula Jones, it is likely that Lusty Bill will contact Jessica the next time he is in her city. And if he does, will she agree to inform all of us of this as well as about the specifics of anything that transpires later?

dave said...

BTW, earlier I accused Ms. Althouse of being "Bat. Shit. Insane."

After reading her entire post more carefully, I'd like to amend that to say she's a dried up, humorless, know-nothing old cunt with obvious issues over the appearance of younger women, and most likely pissed off because nobody wants to fuck her.

I regret the error.

Pastor_Jeff said...

I mean, "Tempest in a C-Cup"?

C'mon! That's classic!

XWL, your talents are unappreciated in the thick fog of neo-feminist outrage.

paul a'barge said...

Wow, talk about the breast thing over at Feministing's
Breasts
, there's another one.

This babe is totally into showing us her titties!

And, Sippi is correct.

The Drill SGT said...

changing the subject slightly, in my exploration of Feministing, I learned two more things that should not, but do amaze me:

1. There are people that now call themselves social justice journalists. Those people used to be called left wing propagandists. and

2. beyond women's and gender studies degrees, you can get a degree in Master's Degree in Human Rights from Columbia University simply amazing.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Whoa, there, Dave!

Do your folks know you're up this late?

Sam said...

I think she's cute--got nice breasts. I've no doubt Clinton paid plenty attention to her and enticingly bit his lip while focussing on her brain. She cozied up to him, because he encouraged it. I don't think there's anything wrong with what she did, aside from being the typical pro-sex-no-wait-anti-sex feminist. It's just humourous that Clinton plays to his own caricature so reliably.

Jim said...

"Wow, talk about the breast thing over at Feministing's Breasts, there's another one."

It's true, feminists do it better. Unfortunately, "it" refers to frowning and making "shame on you" gestures.

dave said...

For example, it seems to me that the fact that Afghanistan elections that elected more women than the floor (25%) should be a real success story. Same with all the girls in school, but because if one were to call them successes, it might reflect well on the US and the current administration, those stories don't appear or are denigrated by the AP or CNN.

Actually, the Taliban is back to killing teachers and family members that allow female students to go to school.

Spend a little more time reading the news and a little less time pointing to "boobies" and giggling uncontrollably...

paul a'barge said...

Ann,
Dave's last "bat. shit." comment has to go. Please whack that vulgarity, and ban the troll while you're at it.

NSC said...

Eh, I late to this discussion, but one this is for sure, this gal and her boobs got some prime face time with Clinton. Ten bucks says he remembers her boobs longer than he remembers her though.

C. G. said...

I think this whole thing is rather petty, and I am rather surprised that a seasoned professor would feel the need to "put her in her place." Reminds me of the drama you hear about in high school.

Ann, you really showed her who was boss here, I am sure you are proud.

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