June 8, 2007

Ryan Grim live-chats his way through the big dustup he started by asking me about my "biggest dustup."

You know... all that Clinton-lunching-with-the-feminist-bloggers stuff. Excerpt:

12:12 PM kentucky: I don't understand why Jessica is so defensive about what you said in your profile of Ann Althouse. I personally don't think her chest was the focal point of the photo, but you, as a young man, are welcome to that opinion. So why does holding that opinion mean that you think she was flaunting her secuality [sic], or however she described it?

Ryan Grim: I bought Valenti’s book the other day and am about halfway through it. The title, Full Frontal Feminism, is an obvious play on Full Frontal Nudity, a porn term that let’s folks know how much they’re about to see. And then there’s the cover, splashed with a nude woman’s midsection. And then there’s the content: a steady theme of the book is sexuality, getting into specifics like oral sex and masturbation.

On the Colbert Report the other night, she said, "Nothing says feminism like a naked woman's body." Okay, fine.

I don’t care one way or the other what Valenti writes about. But to pick that subject matter and then object to me saying that she’s “not shy with her body” strikes me as a double standard. A woman can talk about sexuality but a man can’t then say that she’s comfortable doing what she’s doing? And why would anybody object to that characterization? What’s wrong with not being shy?

Thanks to several women who have discussed that very question to me, I now (think I) know why she objects to that. When she says “everyone knows” what I meant, she’s saying that I was using coded language to call her a ‘slut.’

Now, if you take the line I wrote completely out of context, I can agree that such an interpretation is possible, though it’s a stretch. But I can also say that that interpretation couldn’t be farther from the truth. What purpose on Earth would it serve either me or the story to call someone I never met a slut?

Not only wasn't intended to be offensive, the line wasn’t even remotely intended as a criticism. What could possibly be wrong with not being shy about one’s body? A lot of people aren’t and, I would think, that’s a trait shared by mature individuals.
I think there's something really incoherent about the Third Wave/pro-sex feminists. They continually use sexuality for self-promotion, but if you want to examine issues of sexuality from any dimension other than the one they control, they slam you as a misogynist or some such thing. You know, my biggest problem with them is that they are boring. There's no possibility of an interesting discussion about anything.

This adds to my sense that they are incoherent. They don't want to engage, because they can't deal with the flaws that can be pointed out by anyone who is not fully submissive to their ideological discipline. Note that Ryan invited Jessica Valenti to interact with him in the chat, and she wouldn't do it. She just insisted on an apology and a retraction. Even when you're sure you're right, why don't you like discussion, debate, and analysis? How utterly tedious... and suspicious.

ADDED: Bad link fixed.

39 comments:

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

You have to understand Ann that third wave feminism is based on the denial of reality; namely that there are differences between how men and women view sex. Jessica talks a good game about the power of female sexuality and all that, but that just not reality. Reality is that most women emotionally tie sex to love and commitment in a way men usually don't and are emotionally unsuited to having multiple non serious sex partners. Most women want to marry the right man and have a family. Because of that, women tend to end up on the loosing end of free love. They are the ones who end up raising the unwanted children or suffering the effects of an abortion and women are the ones who usually end up hurt when sex and love are decoupled.

Further, in a world of female sexual empowerment, it is the young attractive women like Jessica who have all the power. The old women and the homely women and the fat women don't get too much of Jessica's vaunted female sexual power. Men have it easy under such a system because they get two shots. If you are an old, fat or bald or unattractive man, you can still do well in the world of female sexual power by having a lot of money or a powerful job because women are not as shallow about looks as men. If you are woman and don't look like Jessica, you are basically screwed.
Third wave feminism can't admit that and that is why is incoherent.

Valenti is also just plain childish. She wants to flaunt her sexuality in everyone's face where they want it or not but at the same time expects no one to comment on said sexuality.

Freeman Hunt said...

Valenti is also just plain childish. She wants to flaunt her sexuality in everyone's face where they want it or not but at the same time expects no one to comment on said sexuality.

Exactly. It's very silly.

gg said...

Two points about Grim's original quote, and no I don't know much about the past of this "dustup."

1) Valenti isn't “shy about __her__ body.” The evidence he cites is the picture on her book, and then later the content of the book (about masturbation) and then about her quote about a woman's body promoting feminism. But who said any of that refers to __her__ body? That's where the comment got unfairly personal [“slut!”], though it was probably an oversight.

2) Grim's line didn't lead anywhere, so he can't very well complain about people misunderstanding his intent. What's the import of Valenti not being shy about her body? Does that make Althouse's quote justified? Is that a criticism of Valenti? Or a criticism of Valenti's criticism of Althouse? Grim didn't bother to explain in his original comment, so of course some people are going to interpret it to be mean.

Last time I probably agree with the feministing people about anything, and I hope to stand corrected.

stoqboy said...

This is very simple. Jessica has a book out and she is marketing it through controversy, where ever she can create it.

Anthony said...

Ace sums it up rather concisely:

Old, Hateful, Barbaric Rule: Women must keep their eyes averted when speaking to their superiors, men

New, Empowering, Enlightened Rule: Men must keep their eyes averted when speaking to their superiors, women.


Otherwise known as "We can say and do whatever we want, but you can't."

Fen said...

Thanks to several women who have discussed that very question to me

Heh. I wonder if that line was intentional? [instead of with me]

And Valenti is her own enemy: "These are my breasts... Stop looking at them! STOP IT!"

Hey said...

1: For the love of God, it's LOSING!!! "Loosing" means to let go a la "let loose the dogs of war"!!!!

2: Vortex Time! Whee!

3: "Feminists" of all stripes are inherently uninteresting and self ghettoizing. Incapable of holding an argument or defending their positions, they are inherently self-refuting. Either women are fully capable members of society who can handle the rough and tumble of life, or they can faint when someone proposes a contrary interpretation of data as the senior professor from MIT did when Larry Summers suggested that there might be some genetic differences in the variance of intelligence (i.e. that more men are non-functional idiots/autistics as well as geniuses/high functioning asperger's).

The second proposition is very Victorian, but nearly unanimously adhered to when confronted by someone who does not believe or heretically does not uphold the most radical party-line. This is common amongst radical politics and seems to be most prevalent on the Left (the cliche vis a vis which side is looking for converts and which is looking for heretics).

Since I'm an evil Right-Wing Imperialist Likudnik Nazi Opressor (ok so the first three are generally correct), I hold to a modified version of the first proposition: Women in general are fully equal members of society and should be treated no better and no worse, women in the workplace need to be treated with extreme discretion, and women in my personal life need to be treated according to Victorian manners (well, mostly). Or, in short form, have manners in person and treat people as equivalent when discussing abstract concepts while allowing for significant variation (no Marxist widget assumptions).

Fen said...

BTW, I wasn't impressed with the whole chat format. I used to chat on the CNN sites back when I was a liberal, but had forgotten how limiting it is.

1) Its too easy for the moderator to suppress points he doesn't want heard.

2) It doesn't allow for much discussion, lending more to innane responses: I don't know, I think as long as we stay open and honest with each other then we can continue to have productive discussions. WTH?

Meade said...

"Even when you're sure you're right, why don't you like discussion, debate, and analysis?"

Because discussion, debate, and analysis are antithetical to self-righteousness, smoke and mirrors, bluff and bluster?

knoxwhirled said...

Seems to me, Valenti, for all her sassy "toughness," is just a wimp when it comes to any sort of adult debate. Throughout the whole "I had lunch wiff Bill Clinton!" affair, she steadfastly refused to defend her support of him. Which is, in case I need to clarify, odd coming from a professed "Full Frontal" Feminist.

Anyway, now she's doing the same thing, expressing outrage, demanding apologies, etc, using the word f**k endlessly, *yawn.*

She's outraged because of this guy's mild comments? O-kay... Jessica:
1. you're not helping to further the notion that women aren't shrinking violets who need to be protected from any hint of offensive behavior.

2. This is pretty Victorian for somebody who uses the f-word like I use "the." (And feel free to replace "Victorian" with "lame" or "disingenuous".)

vrse said...

This blog has become such an ugly place.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

This blog has become such an ugly place said the fake law student troll still nursing a 6- month-old grudge... [yawn]...why do you keep coming back then?

Ryan Grim: Not only wasn't intended to be offensive, the line wasn’t even remotely intended as a criticism. What purpose on Earth would it serve either me or the story to call someone I never met a slut?

Its serves Valenti's purpose. She needs a claim to cower under, however threadbare, and you gave her one. She can now refuse to engage you by pretending her cowardice is based on prinicple: you won't apologize [for something you didn't do].

She's afraid of subjecting her dogma [and hypocrisy re Clinton] to criticism, so she chooses to play the victim instead. Much like she did with Ann.

I would just placate her hypersensitivty. Put up with her f-bombs. Tell her you're dreadfully sorry then see what she does with it. Bets she'll find another out? But whatever you do, don't look at her breasts.

Dave said...

"This blog has become such an ugly place."

Well, I'm certainly glad to see you've fixed that. Of course, one could just always refuse to visit 'ugly places'.

Anyway, Valenti is just exposing the weakness of her 'positions'. Way too many of the more 'modern' 'Progressive' doctrines have come to resemble the old, repressive regimes of the Puritans or the Inquisition.

In addition, the dual standards applied by such as Valenti are tiresome at best. She cannot be gaining any adherents for her positions by this sort of activity. Women like her are why strong women like my wife, my ex-wife, my sister, my daughter, and all my nieces plus my female friends and most of my female colleagues now refuse to call themselves Feminists or to associate with such as Valenti.

Fen said...

She cannot be gaining any adherents for her positions by this sort of activity. Women like her are why strong women like my wife, my ex-wife, my sister, my daughter, and all my nieces plus my female friends and most of my female colleagues now refuse to call themselves Feminists or to associate with such as Valenti.

Exactly. She's using feminism to make a few bucks [promote her book]. Same way that NOW betrayed their principles re Clinton for a veto of the partial birth abortion ban. These are mere opportunists, no better than Sharpton or Jackson. Real feminists should find their own path.

I'm sorry Ryan had to deal with all that [and can just imagine the vitrol he got from Valenti crowd], but at least he now understands what Althouse had to put up with.

Mortimer Brezny said...

I think Stephen Colbert was right to note that Jessica Valenti looks like a shemale.

Revenant said...

Jack Valenti -- former head of the MPAA -- has a new book out, released shortly after he died last month. That's all I know about it.

So I'm skimming through Althouse to see what the latest posts are, and my eye catches this:

I bought Valenti’s book the other day and am about halfway through it. The title, Full Frontal Feminism, is an obvious play on Full Frontal Nudity

First response: "why the HELL was Jack Valenti writing about feminist sexuality?!?"

Internet Ronin said...

As I've grown rather bored with this subject, I had planned to avoid reading the latest chapter, but I had nothing better to do while waiting for a delivery, so I did.

How silly. This latest episode is even more surreal than the previous ones (a feat I had considered impossible). Jessica Valenti needs to grow up. Ryan Grim owes her no apology or retraction. I'm tempted to say that only a pervert could interpret his remarks as they supposedly were by Valenti, but perhaps paranoids and self-important so-called feminists who specialize in reading between the lines for hidden meanings are prone to such interpretations as well.

Of course, it helps Valenti sell books to feign anger, and gets her lots of free publicity along the way, too. I thought she'd milked this for all she could already, but it appears there are a few more drops to be had.

Fen said...

First response: why the HELL was Jack Valenti writing about feminist sexuality?!?

Hey now. Jack's ignorance on the topic might serve feminism better than Jessica's fraud. ;)

Fen said...

Just dropped in over at Feministing - they're still fixated on Jessica's breasts.

Mortimer Brezny said...

How can jessica valenti calim her site doesn't use sex to promote itself. Look at what they linked to! I got this site from feministing!

http://www.stockroom.com/SiFeet-Pussy-Foot-P2958.aspx?ref=840050

This is feminism?

Mortimer Brezny said...

Oh! And best part:

It was posted by Jessica!

http://feministing.com/archives/007155.html#comments

dave™© said...

I think there's something really incoherent about the Third Wave/pro-sex feminists.

You've really got a problem with young women, don't you?

The funny thing about it is, it's so glaringly obvious to anyone reading your mean-spirited, misogynist rants, and you don't have a fucking clue, do you?

You're like one of those hateful librarian-type dykes in a Mickey Spillane novel.

Simon said...

I was writing a footnote in a paper discussing a case called Larson v. Valente a few weeks ago and realized after I'd posted it that I'd written Valenti instead of Valente. I must have her on the brain.

Dave said...

"The funny thing about it is, it's so glaringly obvious to anyone reading your mean-spirited, misogynist rants, and you don't have a fucking clue, do you?"

Funny that you come here, then, no?

How's the weather up there inside your colon, anyway? And how can you read a blog in such a position?

Nice argument, though, PeeWee.

Terri said...

I'm so sick and tired of living in a society full of people who are constantly offended.

The USA is a nation of wimps.

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Simple, elementary school logic that isn't taught anymore.

Amanda Marcotte said...

There's something really incoherent about your continued insistence that you have a right to speak your opinion while having breasts.

Simon said...

How's the Edwards campaign going for you these days, Amanda? Oh...that's right. Sorry.

Fen said...

Amanda Marcotte: There's something really incoherent about your continued insistence that you have a right to speak your opinion while having breasts.

Amanda is still being dishonest re this. Its not about Valenti "posing" her breasts in the photo, it has nothing to do with her physical appearance. The only reason the photo comes into play is because it is symbolic of the way "feminists" like Valenti/Marcotte enable sexual predators like Clinton.

Amanda, all Valenti needed to do was explain how she squared her "pride" in appearing with Clinton with his sexual predatory behavior in the workplace. There's no right or wrong answer, just an explanation would be enough. But, like you, she keeps pretending its all about people mocking her breasts.

Quit dodging.

Roger Sweeny said...

Last Friday at my high school, a girl wore a very tight tee shirt over large breasts and a small waist.

It had an upward pointing arrow and the message, "My eyes are here. Your's should be too."

What's the opposite of "res ipsa loquitur"?

dave™© said...

Funny that you come here, then, no?

No, it's the reason.

Nothing is funnier than watching someone proudly spew incoherent, contradictory bullshit.

I'll bet the Blithering Idiot's classes are a real hoot, too.

dave™© said...

There's something really incoherent about your continued insistence that you have a right to speak your opinion while having breasts.

DING DING DING DING DING!

We have a winnah!!!

dave™© said...

BTW, the only thing funnier than Blithering Misogynist Idiot's obvious hatred of women younger than herself is the number of pathetic fanboys posting their "gurlzz are teh slut" whinings.

Truly, a match made in heaven!

Fen said...

Interesting. I yank Marcotte's chain and our resident troll-dave responds to a dead thread with three consecutive flames...

Amanda in drag? That would explain alot.

Synova said...

Last Friday at my high school, a girl wore a very tight tee shirt over large breasts and a small waist.

It had an upward pointing arrow and the message, "My eyes are here. Your's should be too."

....

Is that a bit like people who dress as outrageously as possible (punk, goth, etc.,) for the apparent purpose of being able to be self righteous about other people's judgmental attitudes?

Not that young girls with remarkable figures should have to wear sacks or anything, but there's got to be something between that and spray paint.

Simon said...

Synova said...
"Last Friday at my high school, a girl wore a very tight tee shirt over large breasts and a small waist. It had an upward pointing arrow and the message, 'My eyes are here. Your's should be too.'"

The rule of thumb is that if you wear a top with something written on it over your breasts, you thereby consent to people staring at your chest to read it. Don't like it? Buy a shirt without writing on it. Why would you buy a shirt with a slogan on it other than for people to read it?

Fen said...

The rule of thumb is that if you wear a top with something written on it over your breasts, you thereby consent to people staring at your chest to read it... Why would you buy a shirt with a slogan on it other than for people to read it?

So you could do The Valenti:

"These are my breasts. Stop looking at them!"

;)

R. Stanton Scott said...

John: "Reality is that most women emotionally tie sex to love and commitment in a way men usually don't and are emotionally unsuited to having multiple non serious sex partners. Most women want to marry the right man and have a family. Because of that, women tend to end up on the loosing (sic) end of free love. They are the ones who end up raising the unwanted children or suffering the effects of an abortion and women are the ones who usually end up hurt when sex and love are decoupled."

Whose "reality" is this? Do you think this is some kind of natural order society should impose on people who have a different outlook? And how, exactly, are women "hurt" when sex and love are decoupled--except to the extent that normative and legal social rules punish women who wish to decouple it?

I can't speak for Jessica Valenti, but I think the point of feminism is to challenge the prevailing view of sexuality and gender roles as socially constructed my men as a way to control women. That is, nature does not dictate the social roles of men and women--despite the obvious biological differences. Many people, I suspect including many feminists, see human (and especially male) agency in the development of the society we live in today.

Society is constructed in several ways, most obviously by creating religious and secular rules (formal and informal) that encourage normatively acceptable behavior through punishment and reward. So children are taught certain attitudes from birth, and tend to accept the roles their parents accept because the parents punish some behaviors and reward others.

Two examples illustrate the point. One is the "slut" moniker, a normatively insulting term used by authority figures and peers as a way to punish by ostracism and derision sexual attitudes and practice that do not fit the prevailing norm. Authorities (fathers and peers) praise young men for sexual prowess and promiscuity--calling them studs-- while they (mothers and peers) tell women they are damaging themselves--calling them sluts and making them believe men won't want them once they have been "soiled."

Abortion law is another way of controlling women, by turning their bodies into incubators. Anyone who reads Pandagon or Feministing or Feministe will see a recurring theme: if abortion law were about life, those who would prohibit it would lobby for incarcerating women who have them--murderers, by "pro-life" logic--but they don't. Valenti et al argue that abortion law is really about forcing women to suffer the "consequences of having sex" outside of marriage--because men want to control the secual behavior of women. I find it telling that John raises this very issue as if this is a good and natural thing, and implies that women *should* suffer consequences of "free love" as if finding joy in sex as a general matter--whether in or out of love--is somehow bad for people.

If you think feminism is about flaunting sexuality and then complaining when men stare, you miss the point: feminists want to challenge traditional gender roles as bad for women and to do this they challenge the basis for their construction. Since women are part of society, and should themselves take a hand in constructing it (and because I personally get along better with intelligent, independent women) I for one am happy to root them on.