October 13, 2006

"But let's reserve the word 'anti-feminist' for our real enemies."

So says Erin Matson, the co-chair of that National Organization for Women Young Feminist Task Force, commenting on the on the breastblogging controversy I caused a few weeks ago. This quote appears in a piece written by Liz Funk (over at Huffington Post). Funk is fairly balanced in her analysis -- although I find it rather unfair that there is no link to my blog. (The other blog, Feministing, is linked twice.)

Funk seems to confirm my observation that Feministing uses breast imagery to attract an audience:
If Feministing is in fact using sex to attract readers, they aren't alone. From female celebrities sporting minidresses on the cover of Cosmopolitan, to risqué perfume ads, to commercials for tampons, many media outlets geared towards women (and many of which are intended to empower women) use women's sexuality to attract women readers. Sex sells... and women buy it.

Sex is almost always needed to market to younger people. As young feminist interest seems to be dwindling in traditional women's organizations, Feministing lures readers with politics and social commentary-made palatable. Putting the term "subverting the dominant paradigm" as a blog post title would not draw Gen Y readers; "'Cause calling girls slut is always funny" relates the same message of gender equality, with more sparkle.
Yes, of course, but if you're going to be a feminist, you need to do a feminist analysis of that move! So you want to get your message across? But you have to ask yourself whether you've changed the message. This is such a glaring question that it's mindboggling that you think you'd escape this critique.

But feminists aren't what they used to be. They shrink from an intense debate with each other. Here's Matson's point in context:
"This controversy is a rehashing of a very old debate within the feminist community: is public sexuality empowering or harmful to women? It's a complex issue and it's good to keep the discussion going... some feminists may disagree with the stance taken by many of Feministing's writers, but let's reserve the word 'anti-feminist' for our real enemies. To slap the same label on Jessica Valenti and Anne [sic] Coulter is completely ridiculous."
"Our real enemies"? Oh, yes, feminism has gotten rolled up into the conventional left-right of American politics. Ever since feminists chose to subordinate themselves to the interests of the Democratic party to help Bill Clinton with his problems, the feminist discourse in this country has been lame. It's a means to a political end, and so you always know who your "enemies" are. Fifteen years ago, feminists critiquing each other was an important part of feminism. Now, doggedly serving liberal partisan politics squelches everything that could become vital.

Maybe if feminists had the nerve to engage in real debate about feminism they could get some young people excited about real ideas. But go ahead, tart up your website with boobies for now. It's helpful that you make your desperation so clear.

UPDATE: Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for linking. If you're not familiar with the original controversy, here is my key post touching things off, and here and here are later posts responding to it.

89 comments:

AllenS said...

"Feministing uses breast imagery to attract an audience:"

And we get pictures of Ann's feet.

Simon Kenton said...

AllenS -

T&A to attract the younger generation, F&L (feet and leaves) to attract this cohort. It's painful, but perhaps each blog has its audience taped.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

The current problem of 'feminism' runs far deeper than most people realise. Essentially their wave has broken and is running itself out on the beach.

Strauss and Howe ('Generations' [1991]; 'Fourth Turning' [1997]) are probably the pre-eminent experts in the cyclical flow of generations and their issues.

A decade ago they predicted that the mid-'00s would be characterised by organisations that seem hyper-fastidious at the periphery and largely empty at the core (FT p252). That certainly describes 'feminism' today, and it was the Clinton affair that exposed such emptiness for all to see.

Strauss and Howe have also traced the ebb and flow of 'feminism' over centuries, as part of the larger cycle of generations. As that wave runs back out to see each time it leaves behind certain accomplishments in roughly an 80 to 90 year cycle: "women are not property," "women can vote," and "women are competent workers and managers in a wide range of professions" being the most recent three.

The current cycle of 'feminism,' however, is essentially over and only those of us alive after about 2055 will see its renewal.

For now, it is decidedly post-seasonal and increasingly irrelevant to the broader issues that matter. We should not, therefore, be surprised when in its waning years it gets quirky, petty, frivolous, and desperate.

Simon said...

It's interesting that it is simply assumed by that blog (and by Valenti et al) that "progressive" and "feminist" are synonyms.

Set clearly in rejoinder against various statements clearly intended to sound non-feminist is the statement that Feministing is (supposedly) "the most highly trafficked website for progressive women on the web." Valenti notes what is, in her view, "the anti-progressive nature of picking apart the appearance of the one young woman in the group" - which is a non-sequitur on its face, because Althouse did not criticize her for being a bad progressive, she questioned the feminist cachet of such a move; for such a statement to make sense, Valenti would have to be either unaware of, or glossing over the fact that one need not be a liberal / progressive / conservative / republican / Christian / atheist / [insert other political or religious philosophy of choice] to be a feminist.

For a movement that makes much of "choice", it seems remarkably interested in cabining itself politically.

Simon said...

By the way, I had no idea that Okay, "Valenti's Myspace page headline (which she uses to promote Feministing) is 'these boobs are made for blogging'" - doesn't that statement cut to ribbons the people who complained about the coining of the (admitedly very silly) term "breastblog" as a pejorative? On the other hand, I do think - as I pointed out at the time, and as the Huffpo entry points out - that you're far too hasty (and commenters here have been far too hasty) to state as fact your assumption of the etymology of "Feministing." At least as immediately likely is a portmanteau of "Feminist Sting." I found the repetition of the meme as fact, mainly by commenters to be sure, was actually quite irritating. It made me think of those ads that the DCCC is running now about how this or that Congressman voted against raising the minimum wage but voted to raise his or her own pay - the desire to call a point of order that no member of Congress can vote to raise their own pay becomes overwhelming with repetition.

Doyle said...

Oh man. What would it take for you to let this go?

I mean if this article made you out to be some kind of hero, I could understand your linking to it and dredging up this nonsense again, but it doesn't.

You come across as exceedingly bitter.

Simon said...

Another example - " feminists are obsessed with sex." No, liberal feminists are obsessed with sex. Pro-life feminists don't regard abortion as being about sex, and conservative feminists don't regard pornography - and still less, more direct forms of sexual violence - as being about sex. I thought it was now accepted as orthodoxy that rape - which is the lens through which most non-sex-positive feminists view pornography - is not about sex, but about violence, power, control and patriarchy? This isn't simply misrepresentation, it is an incapacity to grasp that different feminists can have different - and even non-liberal, non-progressive - ideas about feminism, society and women's empowerment.

Simon said...

Doyle, you seem so hung up on this weird idea that this is all just a blood feud between Althouse and Valenti that you can't grasp the more important questions about feminism that are going on here. It's as if you're so inured with reading between the lines that you're not actually reading what the lines say.

knoxgirl said...

Both the article and Jessica's comment that follows it avoid addressing The Clinton Question. Convenient.

For someone who is supposed to be a serious thinker, she struggles pretty hard to limit the conversation to her outfit.

The Drill SGT said...

I don't know that all we get here is feet and leaves.

The previous post has a artsy shot of a sexy tight German rear end. Covered in snow?

Goesh said...

I still think her shoes were picked up on a secret trip to China. What a pitiful, sad debate over whether or not using sexuality is harmful or empowering to women. Weeping Jesus! Show me some tits and I'm automatically going to think about equal pay for women and sexual harassment issues. Dumb blonde jokes do the same for me. I always think of underfunded domestic violence shelters when I hear a dumb blonde joke.

Doyle said...

But go ahead, tart up your website with boobies for now.

Yeah, Simon, this is some pretty highbrow stuff.

reader_iam said...

'these boobs are made for blogging'

I was under the impression--which could absolutely be wrong--that Jessica came up with that phrase and had t-shirts made up with it in response to the flap of a few weeks back. Eh, maybe it doesn't matter, anyway.

Bart: Interesting. I'm going to have check out those books. Thanks.

Simon said...

Doyle - that perfectly exemplifies my point. Out of an eight paragraph post, the only thing that attracts your attention is an eleven word sentence that you take as evidence for your presupposition of a blood feud. You fail to engage with even the substance of the post, let alone the broader underlying issues in play.

Are you just too lazy to do so, or do you genuinely just not understand the issue sufficiently to engage?

reader_iam said...

Or studies, whatever they are.

Goesh said...

"A sexy tight German rear end" - by God! if you don't get the best wags I've ever read!

Ann Althouse said...

"Oh man. What would it take for you to let this go?"

It would take blogs on the level of Huffpo not writing a big article about it! Do you have any idea how many blog posts I haven't responded to? Do you know the high-profile engagements I've decline?

In short, you are ridiculous to ask that. Say "oh man" to the other side.

George said...

As a guy, when I see material like feministing, I ask myself:

"If this were a publication oriented towards men, would I think the men involved were louts and nitwits?"

Take, for example, the new issue of Glamour, the one featuring a botoxed Faith Hill on the cover. In the cover story "The Secret Sex Lives of American Women," six supposedly typical Glamour readers (a blues singer, arts marketer, "life coach", college bureaucrat, and two students) are photographed, and each photo caption reveals their most intimate sex secrets, including "Once had sex inside a dinosaur exhibit at a museum."

Inside the exhibit?

I won't repeat the other pathetic revelations, but if a man revealed such intimate "facts," I'd think that at worst he was a creepy exhibitionist pervert or at best a soulless cretin who thinks nothing of violating his partner's privacy by sharing personal details of their life with thousands of strangers.

(Interestingly, a crime story in the issue has a large quote runing across two pages, saying: "The general feeling in [the town] is that if a tiny woman picks up a shotgun and shoots her husband, well, she must have a good reason."
This is an article about a minister's wife who slaughtered him while he was asleep.)

Imagine if the genders in the quote above were reversed.)

Bottom line: The only way most media targeting young men or women like feministing, Glamour, or men's rags, like Esquire, can survive is by constantly expoiting sex to get attention, and those who run these vehicles prey on exhibitionists who think that by publicly degrading themselves they're somehow enlightening or "liberating" the rest of us.

Simon said...

George - unfortunately, most third-wave feminists seem incapable of grasping the idea that sexual equality doesn't necessarily mean women doing all the disgusting, stupid and infantile crap that infects young, urban male culture. Such magazines are only marginally better than Maxim and its ilk.

reader_iam said...

Simon: Regarding your question to Doyle, I'm beginning to think there's just a pattern of wilfulness in not wanting to look at the bigger picture (or, put in another, somewhat contradictory way, the core issues). Doyle is just one example, but he (she?--sorry if I should know this) is not alone. And what I'm thinking I'm observing isn't confined to this particular issue.

How to put it? Hmm. Well, it's almost as if there's a refusal to try to grasp what's being communicated, as if doing so somehow would automatically imply you'd have to agree with it.

Like: "If I agree to see your point of view or understand the points you're making, then I would be somehow validating you, an enemy, in some small way, so therefore I'm going to turn a blind eye."

I honestly don't understand that attitude, if indeed that's what's going on. It makes the idea of, well, "Ideas" so oddly personal to me. Somehow, I'm thinking, this phenomenon, whatever it is, is tied into the general degradation of serious, public debate on various issues.

I'm pretty sure I'm not putting this well (essentially, I'm just thinking out loud), so I'll stop there.

Elizabeth said...

My feminist roots are in that period where robust debate among feminists was a near constant. I agree that it made us stronger. But I don't think saying that saving our strongest disagreements for "our real enemies" is as simple as devolving into left-right politics. The left has anti-feminist issues to contend with, and certainly the right does as well. I have no qualms about labeling Ann Coulter, the example given in the quote here, as anti-feminist, anti-reason, and oh, just fill in the blank.

I'm also a bit tired of Clinton hysteria. He doesn't define me as a feminist, nor should we be caught up in playing and replaying "but the feminists supported Clinton!" Some did, and it was a stupid thing to do. But I understand their dilemma. There isn't much going for feminism on the right side of the spectrum. That isn't to say there aren't conservative feminists, but the GOP as a party and as a political force has little to offer. What's most craven about Clinton, and this is true for me both as a feminist and a lesbian, is that he betrayed his constituencies so glibly precisely because he knows there's little alternative for them.

But he's been out of office for six years (not that you can tell by the "it's Clinton's fault" every time there's a national security problem or budget issue or again, fill in the blank). I don't care about him, and I'm not going to predicate every feminist discussion on how it relates to Clinton.

Maybe we ought to have a South Africa-style truth commission, get the discussion out of the way, and move on without repercussions.

dick said...

Elizabeth,

I can understand your trying to get past Clinton as an issue, but he IS an issue. That the feminist leaders were so ready to accept from him what they would be storming the barriers for from anyone else is a picture of just where the feminist leaders have led the issue. That they can say that they would gladly give him a BJ because he said he would support abortion is a ludicrous thing to say. They are willing to overlook his using his power to get BJ's from those working under him and thinks he can do whatever the hell he wants and still have their support does not speak well of the movement.

Now we have a new generation of politicians and we still hear that only the LLL dems can offer anything to them and that anyone else is a cretin and not worthy of any support. There are, believe it or not, conservative women who are lawyers and doctors and people who hold executive positions and politicians and nurses and teachers, etc. They work hard and deserve support but all we hear is that the conservative movement offers nothing to feminists. For some reason the women who are conservatives and are making a good way of life don't seem to matter to true feminists. That should tell most of us just where feminism is headed and since the rest of the country is headed the other way maybe it is about time feminists took a good long look at what they are standing for and think more as people rather than an robots for the LLL dem positions.

reader_iam said...

OK, so I just clicked back to the browser tab containing the Huffington piece and noticed underneath that post the "related news stories" section. One of the stories there was Olbermann Gets Worst Person In The World For Calling Hilton "A Slut"....

Clicking to that post, I see this: Underneath footage of Paris going to the police station to file a report was the tagline "A Slut and Battery," which stayed on the screen for a full 20 seconds (of a 32-second clip).

And--Natch!--the post is accompanied by a headshot of K.O. and what can fairly be described as a boob-centric picture of P.H.

Am I the only one who sees a rich, rich vein of irony here?

That tagline, "A Slut and Battery", could easily be a title--with sparkle! Which sells!--of a blog post. Right?

Where does a news outfit such as MSNBC get the idea that that sort of tagline is acceptable now? That it won't be seen as anti-feminist, even anti-woman?

Hmm. Let's see.

Doyle said...

This whole "big picture" discourse on feminism would not have taken place were it not for the Clinton blogger lunch, which brought Clinton, liberal bloggers, and boobies together in the same room.

Everything after the initial tasteless Lewinsky joke is just window dressing to create the illusion of a serious ideological struggle.

knoxgirl said...

I'm also a bit tired of Clinton hysteria. He doesn't define me as a feminist, nor should we be caught up in playing and replaying "but the feminists supported Clinton!"

Elizabeth, feminists never addressed this conflict and avoid it whenever possible. That's why it's still a lingering issue.

There are consequences for actions. Serious people are going to have problems with a feminist activist who accepts an invitation to a luncheon with Clinton, writes excitedly about being honored, proud, and the like, and happily poses in pictures with him.

When serious feminists don't call her on it--and in fact, defend her and urge others to "let it go"--you're giving tacit endorsement and approval of his behavior toward women. Support for Clinton coming directly from feminists is no small matter, especially for the cause of ending sexual harassment. Imagine the statement it would have made had feminists renounced him and spoke out against his behavior!

Anyway, is all this excusable because feminists supposedly have "little alternative" politically? Only if feminism truly has become just a little subset of the Democratic party. I think Simon's 8:09 comment debunks the notion that feminists have to be on the left, but they essentially act that way. Too bad. In my opinion, the only principle they are beholden to is the dedication to equal rights, free from any outside influence which could possibly compromise that dedication.

Pogo said...

Re: " just window dressing to create the illusion of a serious ideological struggle"

Doyle, in contrast, defines and discusses serious ideological struggle by saying, repeatedly, this is soooo lame, dude, I'm soooo outta here.

Elizabeth's complaints about being overly Clinton-centric is valid. I myself like the idea of a drawing a line on the past and forgetting (if not forgiving) it all. But of course the past won't and can't be forgotten. At least some of the older bodies should be buried, though.

I would say both the left and right have something for feminism. My own daughter, nearing 21, seems to abhor the ritual PC requirements at school, and it makes her turn away from those she percieves as feminists. So she sees little offered to her by the left.

The question "is public sexuality empowering or harmful to women?" should be discussed. Instead, the debate is over Who is asking the question?. That is, leftist feminism has declined into a simple ideological choice of sides, the answer to the question provided by whoever happens to be Party Leader at the moment.

johnstodderinexile said...

Reader Iam:

I thought this was an acute perception on your part:

How to put it? Hmm. Well, it's almost as if there's a refusal to try to grasp what's being communicated, as if doing so somehow would automatically imply you'd have to agree with it.

Like: "If I agree to see your point of view or understand the points you're making, then I would be somehow validating you, an enemy, in some small way, so therefore I'm going to turn a blind eye."

I'm constantly running into this nowadays. With the new media so partisan, anyone who samples from the full spectrum and then cites something learned from the "wrong side," -- and I'm talking here about facts, not opinions -- the first response back is to dismiss the fact because it was reported by, say, Fox News.

If Fox News is reporting it, it must be in support of Bush's agenda. So therefore, by learning this fact, you are implicated in the Bush agenda.

That's the most typical example, but there are many. You are only supposed to get your information from politically acceptable sources. God forbid, you should even entertain an idea first propounded by the other side.

On the point of this topic, the feminist movement long ago buried even any mention of whether supporting Clinton during the Monica episode was appropriate. If you've read somewhere that it was inappropriate...well, where did you read that? Why were you reading that? How often do you read that? How can you stand reading that? I don't read that, why do you?

Simon said...

Doyle, that's your third comment in this thread, and you have still yet to engage with the substance of the topic. That tends to confirm my presupposition that you either can't or won't engage with the issue at hand. So at this point, you have the options of slinking off, engaging with the topic, or further demonstrating that you're more interested in making snarky remarks about our Hostess than in actually engaging -- which does rather beg the question of what you're doing here.

I'm not interested in the pop culture zeitgeist posts - the project runway stuff, for example - that Ann sometimes writes about, and I have nothing to add to those threads, so I just ignore them: don't read them, don't comment in them. When you, Doyle, actually have something to contribute, it's usually worth reading (regardless of whether I agree with it or not) - so why oh why won't you keep your powder dry and butt out of a thread you have clearly demonstrated no interest in and no comprehension of?

Simon said...

Elizabeth:
“There isn't much going for feminism on the right side of the spectrum. That isn't to say there aren't conservative feminists, but the GOP as a party and as a political force has little to offer. What's most craven about Clinton, and this is true for me both as a feminist and a lesbian, is that he betrayed his constituencies so glibly precisely because he knows there's little alternative for them.”

I disagree with that. I think that conservatism – which is, at core, about judging people as individuals, vs. liberalism which is at core about erasing the individuals to better treat them as groups – is a far more natural home for feminists than liberalism. Now, to be sure, the GOP is against abortion. Abortion is a feminist issue, but being pro choice is not THE feminist position on abortion, any more than is being pro-life. The former is certainly the predominant position, but I think that’s hurt the women’s movement because many can no longer tell the difference (and some have actively tried to blue the boundaries) between feminism and being pro-life. And to be sure, the GOP is, in the main (although it is scarcely monolithic on the point) against gay marriage. But gay marriage is not a feminist issue, any more than the space program is a feminist issue; it may be an issue that affects you as a lesbian, but it does not affect women, qua women, and is thus not a feminist issue.

Henry said...

Ever since feminists chose to subordinate themselves to the interests of the Democratic party to help Bill Clinton with his problems, the feminist discourse in this country has been lame.

Count me as one of those who doesn't get why the Clinton affair is seen as some kind of rubicon for feminism.

I guess to feel betrayed by the feminists that rallied to Clinton, you have to feel that their leadership actually mattered at the time.

I emphasize "at the time". It is shocking to run into people who have no concept of the vile bigotry and conformist denial that feminists strove to overcome in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. But part of the reason for this complacency is that the rightness of the movement has been strikingly internalized into our culture. The hostility to women's equality a generation ago (let alone a century ago) is simply hard to comprehend in today's terms.

I don't mean to say that the struggle is finished, that bigotry has been completely overcome, that the culture and body politic can't improve. The balkanization of feminist ideals into into identity-group politicking doesn't obviate such remaining problems, it just demonstrates how complex they are to solve.

Because the biggest issue -- the basic recognition of equality -- no longer hangs in the balance. It is challenged only by the most marginal elements.

At least in the West. When I read the lead quote -- "But let's reserve the word 'anti-feminist' for our real enemies" -- U.S. party politics is not what came to my mind.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Count me as a conservative woman who works in what is perceived as a man's occupation as completely clueless as to what current feminists want to accomplish "now". In the 60's I was embarrassed and annoyed (they were blocking my way to classes)by the strident and confrontational attitudes that seemed counterproductive to me. While the feminists were burning their bras in public, my Mother was quietly advancing to the top of her trade in an occupation that had less that 1% participation by women. While they are whining now about....I don't know what, I am also advancing my own career in spite of them.


"But let's reserve the word 'anti-feminist' for our real enemies" Who are these enemies? A definition of who and why they are enemies would be in order, I think. As a woman I would consider my enemies to be those who don't defend the rights of women every where in the world to not fe forced wear a veil and couch throw, be sold into marriage without consent, be castrated before puberty and to be able to make their own choices about what to do with their lives, be it a career or become Betty Crocker and wear an apron. Why are the "feminists" not taking up these causes? Like Freud I wonder: What do they want? Of course not all women want the same things. Maybe this is the problem with the current feminist movement, that they can't recogninze this and deal with it.

As to the Clinton/feminist issue, I felt it was a clear demonstration of the sheer hypocrisy of the feminist movement at that time. If the abuse of power by a male CEO of a large corporation (say Enron and most likely Republican to boot)towards a subordinate female employee was the issue, there would certainly have been no support by "feminists" in that case. The teeth gnashing and wailing would have been deafening. Instead it was more of a "boys will be boys" attitude.

Shanna said...

I guess to feel betrayed by the feminists that rallied to Clinton, you have to feel that their leadership actually mattered at the time.

I think there could have been a lot of common ground for liberals and conservatives on women’s issues. But, to me, the movements current leaderships defense of Clinton’s actions towards these women severed all hope of common ground between conservative women’s rights advocates and “feminists”. I am still young, but didn’t their used to be a concern about women who reported sexual harassment or rape being called names and having their reputations destroyed? That was a huge issue to me, all the name calling of women who dared to bring this issue to light and the deafening silence from women who should have cared!

Who are these enemies? A definition of who and why they are enemies would be in order, I think.
Exactly. Unfortunately, I don’t think they were talking about actual enemies of women. Especially the “Ann Coulter v. Jessica whatever”. I don’t care for Ann Coulter, but just bringing up her name as an “enemy of feminism” is silly and unserious. What the hell is feminism now to these people? Because I don’t believe it hasn’t anything to do with women. And just bringing up Coulter doesn’t negate any points made about the wisdom of purported feminists meeting with Bill Clinton.

Revenant said...

if a man revealed such intimate "facts," I'd think that at worst he was a creepy exhibitionist pervert or at best a soulless cretin who thinks nothing of violating his partner's privacy by sharing personal details of their life with thousands of strangers

Let me guess: you're not a Howard Stern fan, are you.

OddD said...

If "Feministing" is a portmanteau of "feministing", then it's a tone deaf one. The natural emphasis of the word is "Fe-mi-NIST-ing", not "FEM-in-ist-Sting".

Simon: I disagree with that. I think that conservatism – which is, at core, about judging people as individuals, vs. liberalism which is at core about erasing the individuals to better treat them as groups – is a far more natural home for feminists than liberalism.

Depends on whether your intention is to "liberate women" so that you can treat them as a favored group or "liberate women" so that they're free to act as individuals.

Fitz said...

I have been following the “Feministing” blog for quite some time now, (year or so) and like to stop in now and again & comment. I agreed with Ann in the boob-war of a few weeks ago. The first thing I noticed was the presumed endorsement of Clinton, and the use of sex on that Blog has always seemed overdone. Some people have done a parody site of “Feministing” at Feministing.org (instead of .com). It is pretty funny takeoff of this brand of feminism.

I have tried to engage posters of that Blog & found them to be rather doctrinaire. It’s often a yes fest over there with dissenting viewpoints pretty well marginalized. The certainly think there is “A” (single) Feminism, and that they bear its mantle.

George said...

Rev-

I listened to Stern off and on 20 years ago, but I now live in a part...Ha! I was going to say I live in a part of the country where he's not broadcast. Of course, that's no longer the case.

I recently rented a Rodney Dangerfield DVD and was surprised to see that he had clean and dirty versions of his act for TV and nightclubs. ('They had a father-son dinner at the church, and my kid, my kid, he took the milkman! I tell ya' I don't get no...'")

As you might imagine, I thought the Tonight Show version was better. Saying 4-letter words over and over to get big yuks is lazy. (Same with feminist website breastflashing.)

As some wise person once said, freedom exists only within boundaries. Self-restraint doesn't mean Bushhitler totalitarianism; it just means you wield your paintbrush more deftly.

Sl0re said...

Well, I think your right to keep the issue going.

I can't really think of what feminism means anymore outside of being a 'progressive - dem partisan'... They've essentially taken the race, class, gender narrative of the far left to mean they are entitled to use their sexuality to obtain power (or viewers, et cetera)... ahem.. Anyway, they define this as 'empowering'... at least in my experience / opinion...

Being that this situation is not really very productive, mentally healthy, et cetera… your right to question it… for the sake of feminism…

JodyTresidder said...

Dust bunny queen says: While the feminists were burning their bras in public, my Mother was quietly advancing to the top of her trade in an occupation that had less that 1% participation by women. While they are whining now about....I don't know what, I am also advancing my own career in spite of them.

It's just possible the "whiners" ended up helping those who couldn't "quietly" advance in professions otherwise 99% the male preserve.

Shanna said...

It's just possible the "whiners" ended up helping those who couldn't "quietly" advance in professions otherwise 99% the male preserve.

In the past, absolutely. But now? What are their issues now? Besides abortion?

The Drill SGT said...

I'm hardly an expert on Feminism or Gender Politics, not having had the opportunity to obtain a Master degree in either :)

However, it seems to me that the folks that the folks who claim the mantle as "Feminists" today in the mold of "Feministing" are to the Femininst leaders of the 60s-70s as todays "Civil Rights" leaders are to the giants like Abernathy and King.

The originals in both were about equality. Today's lesser successors are all about identity politics, political spoils and personal power.

The Jerk said...

Fifteen years ago, feminists critiquing each other was an important part of feminism. Now, doggedly serving liberal partisan politics squelches everything that could become vital.

The irony in this statement is that say this in the same week when a lot of the feminist blogs are fighting with each other over whether things like makeup and shaving are anti-feminist, feminist, or neither. Apart from this fight with Valenti, do you actually read any of the feminist blogs?

Chris said...

Well said. "Identity Politics" is a poor subsitute for genuine mobilization for political change and legal equality. Interestingly, I see gay politics recently having moved out of the postmodern ideological void feminism now seems to inhabit. What got us out of our rut? The marriage issue - something real to unite and fight against, instead of bickering with each other.

The Exalted said...

shorter althouse:

I really hate Bill Clinton.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It's just possible the "whiners" ended up helping those who couldn't "quietly" advance in professions otherwise 99% the male preserve

In the 60's, which I personally remember very well, there was a definite need to get job parity for minorities and women. The feminist movement was integral in helping to get parity for women. You notice I don't say equality. We, as human beings, are not equal to each other and never can be exactly the same but we can demand and get parity.

That was then, this is now. The current feminists seem to be more concerned with being politically correct and "toeing the line". Step outside of the mantra, like I did in my previous post and they are all over you. I would like to know just what the "formal" current feminist movement stands for.

Ann's point (I think, since I can't presume to read another person's mind)in a post was that the presence of a "feminist" placing herself proudly and directly in front of a person who should be anathema to the principles of feminism was incongruous. The sheer fact that Ann had the temerity to question this or point it out brought the hounds (more like dyspeptic Chihuahuas) nipping at her heels.

And as to your point. Today's feminist activists have NOT been helpful in my profession. Yes, possibly in the past but not now.

Revenant said...

Self-restraint doesn't mean Bushhitler totalitarianism; it just means you wield your paintbrush more deftly.

Self-restraint is fine for those who enjoy it, I suppose. But it has been over twenty years since I hit puberty and I'm still far from tired of hearing stories about good-looking women acting slutty.

Elizabeth said...

Simon, I disagree with you on what is or isn't a feminist issue so far as same-sex marriage goes, for instance. I also notice you don't offer examples of what the GOP does have to offer feminists. I'd be interested to hear that. But I also know plenty of registered Republican women who identify themselves as feminist, and I don't disbelieve them.

We use the word feminism, and speak of feminist leaders, as if there is some lockstep definition. It's not hard to reel off a list of 10 or 15 types of feminism, all united by no more than a belief in equality of men and women. While Democrats have done much more than the GOP to advance pragmatic legal and social change for women, I don't have any illusions about why. When I look at Congress and see a vast sea of white, male faces, it's easy to conclude that women-- conservative, liberal, radical, libertarian, marxist, seperatist, traditionalist, whatever--have to use whatever tools they find useful to achieve their goals. And that all those varities of feminists will form various partnerships and shifting allegiances as we do.

I'm bored, bored, bored with Clinton. Right now, my interests are about how New Orleans will cope with half the population to fund social services but double the reports of domestic violence, with no women's shelter in the parish (it was burned down by an abuser), and no sexual assault unit in the NOPD.

Elizabeth said...

As a woman I would consider my enemies to be those who don't defend the rights of women every where in the world to not fe forced wear a veil and couch throw....Why are the "feminists" not taking up these causes?

Strawman. Why do you assert that feminists aren't taking up those causes? If you did a little inquiring, you'd find that they are. Also, are you under the misimpression that feminists in countries with sharia law aren't fighting against those laws? Have you noticed that post-invasion Iraq is fast becoming one of those places you so vividly describe? Feminists have.

Shanna said...

with no women's shelter in the parish (it was burned down by an abuser),
That is so sad! I guess with all the rebuilding that might difficult to get rebuilt right now.
I'm bored, bored, bored with Clinton.
God, me too. I wish all the Clinton's would go away and I would never hear about them again, but I don't see that happening.

The Exalted said...

sorry if i didn't read all the comments but just wanted to ask:

why do we hate clinton so much again? why is he sooo bad that all feminists must ritually denounce him?

is it all because he basically slept with a 22 year old intern and then called her a liar? shameless and reprehensible, yes. but an Eternal Affront to Feminisim? sorry, i don't see it. i see it as a personal moral failing, not some vast betrayal of All Women.

dick said...

My problem with the democrats and feminism is that so much of what they do is the same as what they did for the gays. There give a lot of speeches and tell them they are going to do all these wonderful things like aids research, etc and then do diddley-squat in reality until the next election. The rinse and repeat. When you have a president who uses women as tools and then discards and lies about them and then you have all the feminists supporting him, you have to wonder just what it is they are supporting him for. Then you hear that it is because he says he supports feminism. Well if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is a duck. Whatever gave the feminists the idea that Clinton and the democrats are supporting them. A lot of talk doesn't do much.

At some point it might be helpful for the feminists to do some publicity as to what they actually do support. Someone mentions that there are countries where sex mutiliation happens or honor killings or women not able to do anything, even leave the house, and you hear from feminists that feminism is doing things about that. Just what precisely and why with the huge support that any LLL dem project gets is nothing said about it. It is only when someone asks that you hear these things but again no information. What we do hear and see from the feminists who are publicity hungry are things like the issue of Ms magazine where all these women announce that they had abortions and what that is in aid of bypasses me totally. Then we hear all about the vapors a college professor gets because someone says women have a different learning capacity for sciences than men. We also hear that years later a feminist had a sexual relationship with a professor and one time when they were together 10 years ago he made a pass she rejected and he forced her. We see the women supporting all the hip hop stars with their ho's and beeyotches and N*ggas and then we hear all about the oppression because someone said something bad to them.

forgive me for going on so long but the whole mystique of feminism is now lost because these feminists have overlooked all too many cases of LLL dems trespassing their limits and then yelled when a conservative even came close to them. We her all about the oppression of women if they can't have their way and then we see the oppression of white men and it means nothing at all. And to top it off we hear all about the fight for equality of opportunity and then they try to force equality of results. Not the same thing at all.

Revenant said...

I also notice you don't offer examples of what the GOP does have to offer feminists.

In my experience, the kind of feminists who belong to the GOP are the kind who don't want the government to offer them anything. They see those aspects of sexual discrimination that remain in American society as being something the government either cannot or should not deal with, and the various quota, special rules, and draconian laws pushed for by left-wing feminists as ultimately harmful to women, society, or both.

Of course, others just belong to the GOP because they are pro-life, and therefore not welcome in the Democratic party.

johnstodderinexile said...

Also, are you under the misimpression that feminists in countries with sharia law aren't fighting against those laws? Have you noticed that post-invasion Iraq is fast becoming one of those places you so vividly describe? Feminists have.

This is a bit disingenuous, wouldn't you say? The logic of your position is that Saddam Hussein and the rapists in the Republican Guard were better for women than what we are trying to install in Iraq. Of course, it's not unexpected that removing Hussein's Stalinist totalitiarian clamp on public expression would result in greater leeway for the Islamists in Iraq. But, as in this country, if there is a clear distinction between church and state, and if women are free to choose to accept or reject the fundamentalist view of Islamic law, then we should have no problem with it. That's the system we're struggling to establish in Iraq. It was a hugely ambitious undertaking, and for many reasons including Rumsfeld's incompetence, we could fail. But the goal was entirely consistent with a strong feminist agenda, as is the larger so-called "war on terror."

The reason we're in this war is precisely because of the persistence of radical Islamic beliefs and the bloodthirsty determination of its advocates to impose it on all of us. You might say, "how ridiculous, the sharia won't come to the enlightened west." Maybe not, but the holy warriors are pledged not to stop fighting until it does. Among the many horrors this cult wants to impose on the world is brutal oppression of women.

What I think Dust Bunny Queen's point was that war against the jihad is by far the most important feminist issue of our times, if you measure a feminist priority in terms of the severity of the oppression, and how many women are affected by it. Beating back the Islamist movement has to qualify as the most important feminist issue of our lifetimes -- by miles.

NOW and the feminist intellectuals should be on the front lines of helping persuade the public the nature of this emergency. Actually, for many years before 9/11, there were feminists who were doing precisely that -- but once Bush took office, 9/11 happened and we invaded Iraq, they stopped, is if the war against the Islamist jihad had suddenly became a partisan issue. If Gloria Steinem went to the White House to pose with Bush and urge support for his policies, she would be immediately branded as a traitor to feminism. That's an extremely ironic and absurd state of affairs.

Revenant said...

why do we hate clinton so much again? why is he sooo bad that all feminists must ritually denounce him?

It is a matter of consistency with their own beliefs. If feminists believe the things they claim to believe when they're getting laws pushed through Congress, they *should* have condemned Clinton. That they did not indicates that they either do not really hold the beliefs they claim to hold or consider their jobs as activists to be more important than their principles.

For example, it is an accepted truth in activist feminist circles that women do not lie about rape. Clinton was accused of rape. Four people confirmed his accuser had told them of the rape. A nurse confirmed that she had treated the accuser's bruises and been told of the rape at the time it happened. Does this prove Clinton raped her? No, it doesn't prove it. But it is FAR more evidence than has been necessary for feminists to accept accusations of rape as true -- see the Duke University lacrosse fiasco, for example.

It is another accepted truth that noncoercive sex between a powerful leader and a subordinate is not possible. Yet Clinton's numerous affairs and sexual advances towards subordinates were allowed to pass without comment.

is it all because he basically slept with a 22 year old intern and then called her a liar?

That's certainly a dainty way of putting it. Personally I'd say that mobilizing a platoon of pundits and spin doctors to portray Monica Lewinsky as a deranged and sexually obsessed stalker goes beyond "calling her a liar". And Clinton had pulled the same routine on Gennifer Flowers years before, calling out the goon squad to attack her character and destroy her reputation despite the fact that, as he later testified under oath, they had indeed had a sexual relationship.

Repeatedly attempting to destroy womens' reputations and paint them as crazy sluts rather than admit to having slept with them sounds like the sort of thing feminists should condemn, don't you think?

Elizabeth said...

The logic of your position is that Saddam Hussein and the rapists in the Republican Guard were better for women than what we are trying to install in Iraq. Of course, it's not unexpected that removing Hussein's Stalinist totalitiarian clamp on public expression would result in greater leeway for the Islamists in Iraq. But, as in this country, if there is a clear distinction between church and state, and if women are free to choose to accept or reject the fundamentalist view of Islamic law, then we should have no problem with it. That's the system we're struggling to establish in Iraq.

No, the logic of my position is that the pot is calling the kettle black when conservatives state that feminists--Western and Middle Eastern--ignore Islamist fundamentalist oppression. As far as Iraq, when women are afraid to leave their homes without the burqua on, are beaten in the streets for wearing western clothes, are pushed out of professional positions, threatened because their working, that's not an example of women "choosing" to accept or reject fundamentalism.

Elizabeth said...

I wonder how many of those detailing Clinton's predatory acts have written so much as a critical sentence about Newt Gingrich's behavior, which is no less predatory and repulsive. Gingrich is active in GOP strategy, is constantly appearing on TV in front of conservative fundraising groups and thinktanks. Not a word from you all. No accusation that any woman with the low esteem to attend such an event is no doubt meeting the Newtster in the parking lot for a hummer in his backseat.

johnstodderinexile said...

Elizabeth, a sincere question, and for the record, I'm no fan of Newt Gingrich. But I'm unaware of allegations that Gingrich is a sexual predator, or has abused his power to get sex with a much younger member of his staff such as an intern, or has condoned an effort by his staff and supporters to slander a woman with whom he had sexual relations. I am aware that he left his wife for a younger woman while she was battling cancer, but what's been alleged beyond that? I'm uninformed.

MadisonMan said...

I wish all the Clinton's would go away and I would never hear about them again, but I don't see that happening.

Too right. Whom would Bush apologists have to blame if there was no Clinton?

johnstodderinexile said...

I long for a day when all the Bushes and Clintons are out of power. America could use a breather. As a bonus, they could take all the Kennedies with them. They could go up to some coastal compound in New England, play touch football, barbecue some cheeseburgers, and grope each other 24/7, so long as they leave the rest of us alone.

reader_iam said...

It is a matter of consistency with their own beliefs. If feminists believe the things they claim to believe when they're getting laws pushed through Congress, they *should* have condemned Clinton. That they did not indicates that they either do not really hold the beliefs they claim to hold or consider their jobs as activists to be more important than their principles.

Well, I'm not sure about the specific reference to "jobs" per se, as being the motive. (Sorry, here you're going to have to deal with me in wary mode.) I'd suggest that there's an alternative explanation. Alternative explanations. (Which is not to say I think any particular one is particularly praiseworthy, or that all, in one way or another, isn't blameworthy.)

But that's piddling around in terms of the very relevant, and very much larger point. Which the above-captioned quote captures extremely well, and which demands an answer--an answer which has been sidestepped for even longer than the conventionally accepted, standard 15-year reference, in my minority view, anyway.

In any case, I think the dance is going to continue, as it has yea-these-many-years.

Dance, dance, dance. Different dances for different sides, but a big-assed ball, regardless.

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

standard 15-year reference

Should be: 10-15 year reference.

Not sure, though, that that's not a distinction without a difference.

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

And now I'll finally make note of the fact that not a single person--including Ann--picked up on the "A Slut and Battery" reference as worthy of a reaction or response, either way, from whatever POV.

Even I didn't take note of that, until a bit ago.

WTF?

Ed said...

"Count me as one of those who doesn't get why the Clinton affair is seen as some kind of rubicon for feminism."

"why do we hate clinton so much again? why is he sooo bad that all feminists must ritually denounce him?"

Look up the names Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Elizabeth Ward Gracen, and Monica Lewinsky. These are all women that Clinton used his (considerable) political power in order to force them to have sexual relations with him, dating back to his time as governor of Arkansas and continuing right through his Presidency.

If the boss in any corporation forces female underlings to have sex with him (even if it is "only a blowjob"), then that's called sexual harassment. The end of sexual harassment is a concept that feminists used to champion. The fact that they instead embraced Clinton even as he was being accused of rape by Juanita Broaddrick, merely because he supported abortion, is a repudiation of generations of feminists. That's why it is unseemly for feminists to (continue to) associate with Bill Clinton.

Revenant said...

I wonder how many of those detailing Clinton's predatory acts have written so much as a critical sentence about Newt Gingrich's behavior, which is no less predatory and repulsive.

Does your reference to Gingrich's behavior as "no less predatory and repulsive" mean that you concede that Clinton was a sexual predator? If so then we're pretty much done here, because that's my point -- that's why I think feminists should have been anti-Clinton. Maybe Gingrich is one too, but that's irrelevant to this discussion. We're discussing whether Clinton is scum, not whether he's worse scum than Gingrich is.

I would be curious, though, to know what was so "predatory and repulsive" about Gingrich's behavior. I know that he cheated on his wife with Congressional aide-- but since he then married the aide in question rather than taking the Clintonian approach of painting her as a cheap lying whore I don't see how that's worse than what Clinton did.

Shanna said...

I long for a day when all the Bushes and Clintons are out of power. America could use a breather. As a bonus, they could take all the Kennedies with them.
I think this could be a nice bi-partisan campaign :)

For the record, my Clinton fatigue is longstanding, he was my governor my entire life before he was my president. If I never hear the name again it will be too soon! Go away! And take the Bush and his spending habit's with you.

OhioAnne said...

No, the logic of my position is that the pot is calling the kettle black when conservatives state that feminists--Western and Middle Eastern--ignore Islamist fundamentalist oppression. As far as Iraq, when women are afraid to leave their homes without the burqua on, are beaten in the streets for wearing western clothes, are pushed out of professional positions, threatened because their working, that's not an example of women "choosing" to accept or reject fundamentalism.

Well, I don't know where you got the idea that conservatives have said specifically that Middle Eastern feminists ignore the conditions of women in Iraq, but it is interesting that you sought to link Western feminists with their efforts. The Middle Eastern femiminist groups have so far not embraced efforts from traditional Western feminist groups to work with them largely for the same reason I am no longer a Democrat - if you don't embrace the public agenda completely, they don't want you.

Earlier you said that the GOP has little or nothing to offer feminists. Perhaps you could educate us as to what the liberal and/or Democrat Western femiminist groups have offered to the women of Iraq to combat the issues that you list.

OhioAnne said...

I long for a day when all the Bushes and Clintons are out of power. America could use a breather. As a bonus, they could take all the Kennedies with them.
I think this could be a nice bi-partisan campaign :)

No kidding! Sign me up.

How did a nation with 300 million people end up with just the families mentioned representing us to the world?

Rowena Hullfire said...

"These boobs were made for blogging."
Hmmm, I wonder how many words per minute her nipples can type.

Using boobs to flog her blog: at least at Boobiethon, the lookers have to donate to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for a good cause to gawk at boobies.

Public sexuality empowering women:
That is, until you complain of being treated like a sex object.
After all, those Girls Gone Wild seem really empowered, don't they?!

GOP Feminists: given the high and increasing rate of small business ownership by women, I am not at all surprised they would ally with the business-friendly party. Now that to me seems far more empowering than flashing your boobies.

Ann Althouse said...

The Jerk: "Apart from this fight with Valenti, do you actually read any of the feminist blogs?"

What makes you assume I read them at all? I only looked at the imagery for this controversy. I've always said I didn't read that blog. Frankly, I've become familiar with feminist blogs at various times when they've linked to me, always in a situation where they were being unfair to me and treating me as an enemy because they perceive me as right wing. Consequently, I have never felt like reading them.

I keep track of feminism through mainstream media and books. I suppose I could make it my business to monitor feminist blogs and critique them, but I just don't respect them. I really don't read many blogs, and I don't read blogs I don't like for the purpose of finding things to attack. I also don't read things I know are attacks on me. I'm unapologetic about this.

Elizabeth said...

Well, I don't know where you got the idea that conservatives have said specifically that Middle Eastern feminists ignore the conditions of women in Iraq, but it is interesting that you sought to link Western feminists with their efforts.

If you read what I quoted earlier and called a strawman argument, then your question has been answered.

The Middle Eastern femiminist groups have so far not embraced efforts from traditional Western feminist groups to work with them

Offer some examples, please. Are you not including such efforts as fund-raising, hosting Middle Eastern feminist speakers, publishing of their works, publishing interviews in feminist presses, providing scholarships, supporting small business development and low-interest loans for women's businesses in third-world countries, and lobbying for U.S. and UN support of feminist positions on issues abroad?

I think there is some truth is what you say; there are definately clashes between Western values and Middle Eastern values. Wearing the veil mystifies me, and many, many Middle Eastern feminists oppose laws requiring it, but they also likewise oppose European laws that forbid it in schools. But to say there are no alliances, no cooperation, among Western and Eastern feminists is not accurate.

largely for the same reason I am no longer a Democrat - if you don't embrace the public agenda completely, they don't want you. Again, I'm sure you can provide examples. But I'm awfully dubious about the pronoun "they," especially when referring to a group so large and diverse as feminists.

Elizabeth said...

That is so sad! I guess with all the rebuilding that might difficult to get rebuilt right now.

It's about money. They're in a temporary location and fundraising is going on. It's called Crescent House, and it's run by Catholic Charities--I'm sure they welcome donations.

Post-Katrina life is very stressful for a large part of the population: it's hard to find affordable housing, businesses closing put people out of work and our ability to provide social safety nets is way down. Working-class people face higher costs and more inconvenience for everything--food, housing, transportation, utilities. Few schools are open, and only a couple of hospitals. Amidst all that, men that might never have raised a hand to their partners are now feeling out of control; they're unable to support their families or change things for the better. There are few resources for counseling those couples, and few places for refuge when things get really bad. It's difficult to get a restraining order, because the court system is just getting started up again, the jail was flooded and there isn't much space to keep people incarcerated. Sorry, I know this is a litany of woes, but they all connect.

New Orleans is currently an experiment in libertarianism, or at least decentralization. Neighborhoods are being restored by volunteers gutting homes and setting up small health clinics and food banks; parents' groups are opening charter schools. My university is running three public charter schools. Our student gov't operates a relief store--free clothes, food, household stuff. Some grad students are opening a family health clinic near the Quarter. So for many of the woes, there is someone trying to get a grip on solving them, with or without government help.

The Jerk said...

What makes you assume I read them at all?

I didn't. I asked if you did. I would think one would read them a bit before making this statement:

Maybe if feminists had the nerve to engage in real debate about feminism they could get some young people excited about real ideas. But go ahead, tart up your website with boobies for now.

Presumably the feminists lacking the nerve to engage in real debate about feminism includes feminist bloggers. Additionally, this is in the context of a blogfight between you and Valenti, which was joined in by many other feminist bloggers, strengthening the inference that you are criticizing feminist bloggers for lacking the nerve to have a real debate about feminism. Therefore, to be able to make this claim accurately one would have to have some familiarity with feminist blogs. If you don't read them, how do you have any basis for that claim?

Ann Althouse said...

Jerk: I saw enough of the quotes to see the statements about me were very unfair and vicious, full of lies and epithets of the worst sexist kind. I have better things to do with my time than to immerse myself in the specifics.

They repelled me. I'm unapologetic about being repelled by people who are very actively trying to repel me. I showed my interest in getting into a vigorous debate. They did not attempt to engage. They never responded on point to my challenges, and I have no respect for them under the circumstances. I view them as political hacks, and they haven't done a damned thing to invite me to think anything else.

You might think it's strange that I can do all that without reading them, but I can.

And I said from Day 1 that I never read Feministing but only viewed the imagery. You assumed in your first comment that I had, when you said "Apart from this fight with Valenti, do you actually read any of the feminist blogs?" The first clause of that assumes I read something. I didn't. I read comments that came to my blog.

I saw snippets in Technorati, enough to know who was linking and what their tone was, which was enough to deter me from clicking through. I'm a blogger who is experienced with blog fights, and I have my strategies, which I need to keep from wasting my time and having to feel angry, two things I really hate.

OhioAnne said...

Elizabeth said...
If you read what I quoted earlier and called a strawman argument, then your question has been answered.


Well then, you may want to reread the post you were responding to because it didn't say that.

Offer some examples, please. Are you not including such efforts as fund-raising, hosting Middle Eastern feminist speakers, publishing of their works, publishing interviews in feminist presses, providing scholarships, supporting small business development and low-interest loans for women's businesses in third-world countries, and lobbying for U.S. and UN support of feminist positions on issues abroad?

Since you apparently misunderstood the question in the previous post (from the part you didn't quote), let me rephrase it. WHICH of the western Democrat and/or liberal feminist groups are doing those things that you list and what types of progams are they hosting?

I am familiar with any number of groups doing the things that you list, but many have nothing to do with feminism and are all about simple human rights. Others are conservative in nature and, as you indicated earlier the GOP offers nothing of worth to feminists .... ;)

But to say there are no alliances, no cooperation, among Western and Eastern feminists is not accurate.

How fortunate then that I never said that. ;)

But I'm awfully dubious about the pronoun "they," especially when referring to a group so large and diverse as feminists.

I absolutely agree ... "they" wasn't referring to feminists however. ;)

Elizabeth said...

Ohio Anne, you seem to be doing revisionist history on your own remarks to make it appear I'm deliberately misunderstanding you, or refusing to answer you.

"Why are the feminists not taking up these causes" is inclusive. To follow that up and say that it doesn't mean these feminists or those feminists is disengenuous.

You didn't ask WHICH groups are involved with feminist issues in the Middle Wast, you asked what such groups are offering.

You're using conservative and GOP interchangeabley; I'm not. The GOP as a party and conservative activist groups aren't the same thing, any more than liberals and Democrats are.

You didn't say Western and Middle Eastern women's groups aren't working together? Huh: The Middle Eastern femiminist groups have so far not embraced efforts from traditional Western feminist groups to work with them. So what do you mean?

Elizabeth said...

Revenant, Gingrich has been accused of more than sleeping with one staffer. He's had a history of asking campaign staff and volunteers for oral sex. That's his thing, and just like Clinton, he uses the excuse that receiving oral sex isn't really sex, so you can say "I did not have sex with that woman!" And yes, anyone who treats subordinates that way is a predator. I've never said otherwise.

The Exalted said...

For example, it is an accepted truth in activist feminist circles that women do not lie about rape. Clinton was accused of rape. Four people confirmed his accuser had told them of the rape. A nurse confirmed that she had treated the accuser's bruises and been told of the rape at the time it happened. Does this prove Clinton raped her? No, it doesn't prove it. But it is FAR more evidence than has been necessary for feminists to accept accusations of rape as true -- see the Duke University lacrosse fiasco, for example.

It is another accepted truth that noncoercive sex between a powerful leader and a subordinate is not possible. Yet Clinton's numerous affairs and sexual advances towards subordinates were allowed to pass without comment.


alright, now i see what the issue is. in your eyes, "feminists" are synonymous with "lockstep morons." sure, if feminists were as stupid as you think they are, then they are rank hypocrites to not burn down the Clinton library and raze Hope, Arkansas into oblivion.

sadly for the clinton haters here, "feminists," to the extent this term even has relevance any more, are not morons, and can recognize that not every suspect relationship is sexual harrassment or involuntary, and that not every rape accusation is true.

and to be honest, as someone who has followed politics fairly close for a long time,i dont have the first clue what the hell you are talking about with this "clinton rape" accusation. i suspect it comes from the intellectual bastion of rush limbaugh university.

as for commenter "Ed's" contention that Clinton "forced" these women, there is no evidence that he forced anyone to do anything. unless you think he forced Monica to flash her thong at him? get real. they were attracted to him, he saw an easy mark, he went for it. this makes him a shameless womanizer, who let his family down repeatedly with his transgressions. this does not make him a rapist, a sexual assualter, or whatever other demons you folks imagine him to be.

and what does this have to do with "feminism?"

absolutely nothing.

Elizabeth said...

reader iam, I saw some posts about Olbermann's nasty remark about Paris Hilton on Broadsheet today, a feminist blog at salon.com. It's getting some heated reaction, apparently in between the usual feminist blogging about how much they all love blowing Clinton.

OhioAnne said...

Elizabeth, is the question so hard to answer that is it easier to shoot the person asking the question?

You didn't ask WHICH groups are involved with feminist issues in the Middle Wast, you asked what such groups are offering.

Actually, you didn't answer the question in either form I asked it so far.

(And I have already acknowledged that I rephrased it the second time from the first so there's no need for your "revisionism" of what I actually said.)

Let's me restate it for you again:

"WHICH of the western Democrat and/or liberal feminist groups are doing those things that you list and what types of progams are they hosting?"

You're using conservative and GOP interchangeabley; I'm not. The GOP as a party and conservative activist groups aren't the same thing, any more than liberals and Democrats are.

Sorry, I was unaware you were incapable of humor. I'll remember that in the future.

As to what I actually said to the last question - which you misquoted it in your last post -

"The Middle Eastern femiminist groups have so far not embraced efforts from traditional Western feminist groups to work with them largely for the same reason I am no longer a Democrat - if you don't embrace the public agenda completely, they don't want you."

Yes, that sentence indicates that there is reluctance on the part of Middle Eastern feminist groups to work with traditional Western groups, but it does not - as you claimed it did in your earlier response - say:

"But to say there are no alliances, no cooperation, among Western and Eastern feminists is not accurate."

Dang - I'm starting to get the same headache I get in faculty caucus. :-O

Elizabeth said...

ohioanne, my humor's intact, thanks. I'm amused by this never-ending "no, that's not what I said!" act.

Have you noticed that while you claim conservative or GOP or whatever groups do all sorts of wonderful things for feminist causes in the Middle East, you haven't named any?

I'm assuming your ISP doesn't block google.com, so you could do a little rooting around on your own. For the record, I took issue with Dust Bunny Queen (I love her name, by the way) asking "Why are the "feminists" not taking up these causes?"--that question takes it for granted that no feminist groups or individual feminists take up any of those causes, when really, all that could be truthfully said is that DBQ doesn't know of any groups doing such--because she hasn't bothered to find out.

Start with Feminist Majority Fund. Go from there and google some information. You'll find lots of information, about U.S. and European feminists. Who's supporting asylum for women fleeing clitoridectomies in Africa? Feminists, including NOW, and others. When Ontario was considering introducing sharia law into its arbitration process for family issues (divorce, custody), feminists there were among the groups opposing it.

I think you might be implying, correctly, in other comments that there is not a clear, comfortable fit between Western and Middle Eastern feminists. If so, I agree. It's very common for Western feminist views to be perceived as being patronizing, as seeing Middle Eastern women as needing rescue, or as being weak and victimized. That's certainly a big part of the picture.

Revenant said...

Revenant, Gingrich has been accused of more than sleeping with one staffer. He's had a history of asking campaign staff and volunteers for oral sex.

So far as I can tell, the reports of Gingrich propositioning women for oral sex (and on occasion receiving it) have less evidence supporting them than the accusations that Clinton committed rape and molestation. Nor does Gingrich appear to have made it a point to crush the reputations of his ex-lovers.

So even if the accusations against Gingrich are true, I'm afraid I still don't see your basis for claiming he "no less predatory and repulsive" than Clinton. The problem was never that Clinton cheated on his wife -- it was his behavior towards women who resisted and/or talked that puts him in the "scum" column.

knoxgirl said...

i dont have the first clue what the hell you are talking about with this "clinton rape" accusation. i suspect it comes from the intellectual bastion of rush limbaugh university.

First indication that someone has no real arguing material or skills: the tried--and tired--and true Rush Limbaugh reference.

If you've never heard of Juanita Broaderick, why don't you educate yourself instead of speaking with authority on something you admittedly know nothing about. It seems wrong--misogynist, even-- to dismiss a victim of rape as a fabrication of RL before you've heard her story... "Hater" also applies to misogynists, by the way.

knoxgirl said...

E,

if Newt was a sexual harasser and predator, I condemn his actions.

Just as soon as the feminists rush to his defense--or claim to be bored with the complaints about his behavior--I will call them on it!

Revenant said...

Where does a news outfit such as MSNBC get the idea that that sort of tagline is acceptable now? That it won't be seen as anti-feminist, even anti-woman?

The reason they aren't afraid that calling Paris Hilton a slut will be perceived as anti-woman is that most women think Paris Hilton's a slut.

If he called Jennifer Anniston a slut, THEN he'd be in trouble.

Revenant said...

exalted,

The alleged victim's name was Juanita Broadrrick. And if you've never heard of her before, you didn't pay enough attention for your opinion on this subject to be worth listening to.

As for your note that only "lockstep morons" believe that false accusations of rape don't exist -- go to NOW's website and search around. Take a moment to reflect on the fact that every mention of false accusations of rape cites them as a myth. For example, it is cited as a myth that "women make false accusations of rape and child abuse to gain the advantage in divorce and custody cases".

I agree that people who think things like that are "lockstep morons". They are also the leaders of the modern feminist movement.

OhioAnne said...

ohioanne, my humor's intact, thanks. I'm amused by this never-ending "no, that's not what I said!" act.

As I am by your inability to answer a simple question or copy and paste accurately.

The Jerk said...

They repelled me. I'm unapologetic about being repelled by people who are very actively trying to repel me.

Ok, but the issue here is whether they actually have serious debate about feminism, not whether they said nasty things about you. That some of the people who read those blogs said nasty things to you does not preclude that possibility that the feminist blogs have serious discussions with each other about feminism.

You might think it's strange that I can do all that without reading them, but I can.

I understand that you can be repulsed by them because their commenters have come over here and flamed you, but can you accurately assess whether they have serious discussions about feminism without reading them?

Part of your contention in the post seems to be that they are lightweights who just do Bill Clinton's bidding and never have serious discussions, and I still don't understand how you can make that assessment if you never read them.

Slac said...

Althouse is the cutest blogger on the net. End of discussion.

Hmm. Okay, it's a tie with Dr. Helen. =)