May 13, 2012

"The image of the feminist as a mirthless, hirsute, sex-averse succubus is a friendly-fire casualty of the Republican 'war on women.'"

"It’s a grave loss to conservatives, who have used this faithful foot soldier as a comfortably grotesque stand-in for the real people whose liberties they have sought to conscribe: women."

Goofball rhetoric from Rebecca Traister in the Washington Post.

I mean, it's such a silly collection of words that I'm not sure you're even supposed to try to sort it out. Maybe Traister just wants us to wallow a big comfy bubble bath of words. But I don't care. Despite being a woman, I look for reason and order.

A "succubus" is "A demon in female form supposed to have carnal intercourse with men in their sleep" — OED, first meaning — so what's a "sex-averse succubus"? Assuming some people thought feminists were demons, whoever thought they were demons who sneaked up on sleeping men to have intercourse?  And if one ever did think such a thing, would you picture them doing it without mirth? I'll grant you the hair. I think the demon ladies who fuck you in your sleep probably don't take the trouble to go into the salon for a thorough pre-fuck waxing.

But, anyway, it's good to know — thank you, WaPo expert feminist — that this image is shot to hell by Republicans, who accidentally slayed one of their own. You have this war — the "war on women" — and on one side of it are Republicans, and — within this metaphor — these warrior Republicans shot the grim, hairy, female rapist demon — or, more specifically: her image and said image was one of the Republican soldiers.

And now "conservatives" (presumably these same "Republicans") suffered a "grave loss" because "this faithful foot soldier" — the succubus — had been serving "as a comfortably grotesque stand-in for the real people whose liberties they have sought to conscribe: women." Now you could really get confused here, because the word "conscribe" might make you think of forcing people into the military service, and if the succubus was a fellow soldier to the Republicans and a stand-in for real women, then you might think, what's the loss? Obviously, Republicans want real women on their side.

But Traister is using the word "conscribe" in the sense of "circumscribe." It's really bizarre to choose the less common word "conscribe" over "circumscribe" precisely when you're working the military analogy and the alternate meaning of conscription is likely to suggest itself. Anyway, it's not that the Republicans are trying to conscript real women onto their side in a political battle. It's that Republicans are out to cut back the "liberties" of women, and it's easier to do that, presumably, if you've demonized women.

But the demons were only the feminists, not women more generally, many of whom are Republicans and/or conservatives. Presumably, all women care about their liberty. The argument is over the meaning of liberty and how one person's desire for liberty is to be weighed over the needs and wants of others. In the present-day context, the Democratic Party side of the war on women the "liberty" in question is having one's health care treatments paid for.

If you want to get real, let's get real. Talk straight. Be clear. And then we can see what we're talking about and make rational decisions.

73 comments:

Hagar said...

slay (sla) verb, transitive
slew (sl?), slain (slan), slay·ing, slays

Excerpted from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition Copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products N.V., further reproduction and distribution restricted in accordance with the Copyright Law of the United States. All rights reserved.

chickenlittle said...

I've noticed that lefties are gluing uncombed.

What a hot mess.

ndspinelli said...

Attorneys often obsess on semantics. Many believe words are more important than actions. That's why so many pols are attorneys. Oh, and this is Crack bait.

Tom Spaulding said...

I think the demon ladies who fuck you in your sleep probably don't take the trouble to go into the salon for a thorough pre-fuck waxing.

BWAAAA! Ann Althouse, all is forgiven! :)

pm317 said...

'hirsute' women.. haha. reminds me of a conversation long time ago.

While visiting India in the early 90s, met with my husband's friend, a physicist had married a math Ph.D. and both had returned to India for good. She was not a particularly attractive woman. I remember distinctly her telling me, that Americans don't like women with a lot facial hair. To think she worked in a university setting in America and hobnobbed with other liberals, feminists who are supposed to like hirsute women.

wyo sis said...

I think Ms Traister has read too many feminist tracts.
As for the premise that feminists are not attractive and they don't care to be attractive, one need only look to the recent delight about Hillary Clinton going au natural to know where that comes from. They create it and extol it and they own it.

chickenlittle said...

ndspinelli said...
Attorneys often obsess on semantics. Many believe words are more important than actions.

No shit. Not an attorney here--just a close observer--and I've seen entire matters hinge on the meaning of a single word. It's more fun when it's a technical term.

Scott said...

My hirsute bitch needs a walk soon so she doesn't defecate on the carpet.

rhhardin said...

It's the new fun feminism.

Cedarford said...

Rebecca Traister is quite similar to Hilary Rosen. Both progressive Jews from NYC, both with long ties to the entertainment industry (Rosen in music firm PR and management, Traister as Hollywood film associate). And both esentially working as Democrat operatives sent out to flack the "War on Women". Traister by her liberal media benefactors, Rosen by her consulting firm's boss.

Traister is a non-lesbian feminist, though.
Still, she is an identified member of the pro-Obama JournoList.

Obama and Axlerod's strategy is to call in the chips from Hollywood and the heavily progressive Jewish media and DC lawyer crowd to create more divisions in the country along race, class, gender lines and use them as hit pieces on Romney and the Republicans to demonize them - and manipulate the emotions their target demographics..

I think it is going to backfire. They have tried launching feminists, radicals in the street, angry black mobs, hysterical gay activists before - and ended up with the Center of the country (the moderate and Silent, not Shocked! and Outraged! Majority) rejecting the Puppet Masters and going with Nixon, Reagan, Bush.

Ann Althouse said...

To be fair, Rush Limbaugh frequently says "The feminist movement was created to allow ugly women access to the mainstream of society." He considers it one of his best insights ever and enjoys repeating it.

rhhardin said...

Limbaugh may be right, claiming only the origin.

Ann Althouse said...

I find that Rush quote annoying, but I'm equally annoyed at the women who think a good response is: Hey, I'm really pretty. That's retrograde. It's a beta move.

ndspinelli said...

chickenlittle, I know exactly what you mean. A good rule of advice is to hire attorneys who talk more about the facts than the law or semantics. Those attorneys are the winners.

Here in provincial Wi. where the vast majority of attorneys are either from UW or Marquette due to the incestuous no bar exam rule, I find generally the Marquette attorneys focus more on facts, UW more on the law. I know exceptions to that, but they are just that..exceptions.

Paul Zrimsek said...

You can chuckle about how moldy and outdated the other side's bogeys are, or you can put Phyllis Schlafly in your lead paragraph. Not both.

Tim said...

"If you want to get real, let's get real. Talk straight. Be clear. And then we can see what we're talking about and make rational decisions."

Traister is a feminist.

Getting real isn't an option.

Trying to deconstruct her is as useful as trying to deconstruct those who claim they've been abducted by space aliens and anally probed.

Both fervently believe what they believe, but there's no hope in making any sense of it.

Narrow, extreme ideologies are delusional too.

rhhardin said...

Derrida has the feminist movement as eternal, with its progress a marching in place.

I take that as its being a women-not-happy essential state, the first move in sending your male on a quest in normal relationships, but abstracted in feminism to a permanent state against all men in general.

Scott said...

Another radio pundit, Jason Lewis, said that prostitution should be legalized because it allows ugly guys to have sex.

So why isn't there a bigger market for male prostitutes who will have sex with ugly women? Is it because the nature of women's sexuality is so different, or is it because it's so hard for a guy to fake it?

edutcher said...

When Rush coined the term, "feminazi", he pretty much had the image down pat.

Ann Althouse said...

I think the demon ladies who fuck you in your sleep probably don't take the trouble to go into the salon for a thorough pre-fuck waxing.

Have to disagree. I always envisioned the succubi as nocturnal nymphs or something. And any women who visited me in my sleep were always smooth as silk.

But also full-flavored.

wyo sis said...

As for the premise that feminists are not attractive and they don't care to be attractive, one need only look to the recent delight about Hillary Clinton going au natural to know where that comes from.

Also have to disagree. There was an opinion piece in the Daily Mail offering the view that, by doing that, Hillary is opting out of politics. If you remember all the articles that said Willie called Dictator Zero an "amateur" and that he had wanted her to primary Zero and she turned him down, it makes sense.

It also explains those pics of her getting down and funky in Cartagena last month.

I'm waiting for her to give him the boot, too.

PS When they said Hillary was going "au naturel", I had visions of unbound flesh on a bareskin rug.

Tom Spaulding said...

This War on Succubi will not stand!

rhhardin said...

R. Emmett Tyrrell on the origin of the feminist movement, back when RET wrote like Mencken.

rhhardin said...

Somebody famous blogged very recently that we ought to pay for Sandra Fluke's deoderant needs as well, if her sex life is our responsibility.

Probably iowahawk but not sure.

The right will win the humor war.

m stone said...

Cue Valerie Jarrett.

J Scott said...

edutcher:

I could certainly see the Clintons acting out Lord Stanley at Bosworth Field come the fall.

At least the idea of it is delicious to consider.

MisterBuddwing said...

Despite being a woman, I look for reason and order.

Such delicious irony is often lost on the humorless.

JohnBoy said...

There's a great use of the word "succubus" in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" by the Coen brothers, who actually understand the use of language. Clooney gets whupped and then banned from Woolworth ("Was that one Woolworth or all of them?") as Penelope's fiancé mistakes it for a profanity.

Me, I love a good grammar takedown. One my fellow grammar nerds persuaded the local grocer to change the sign from "10 items or less," to "10 items or fewer."

On another note, you have to be impressed by the sheer inanity of the Democratic weekly accusation of wars against everyone who isn't straight, white, Christian and prosperous. And the media coordination is impressive - from Stephanopolous asking a question - seemingly from thin air at the time - about contraception to the suspiciously well-timed Wa Po hit piece on Romney's lurid prep school past, which included forced hippy grooming apparently.

I wonder if they can continue to roll out the distraction of the week, or of they can madly keep these plates spinning for another 5 months? I mean, isn't it time for another Sandy Fluke sighting?

bagoh20 said...

I absolutely love the women who fuck me in my sleep, even the succubses. They never have a harsh word and are always gone by morning.

Larry J said...

chickenlittle said...
ndspinelli said...
Attorneys often obsess on semantics. Many believe words are more important than actions.

No shit. Not an attorney here--just a close observer--and I've seen entire matters hinge on the meaning of a single word. It's more fun when it's a technical term.


Even more than the importance they place on individual words, far too many in the legal profession worship process over all else including justice. They have the naive belief that if they can perfect the process, then they'll have perfect legal outcomes. Such is the delusion of fools.

CWJ said...

Agitprop. It's all about how it sounds, not about what is actually written. It's purpose is to provoke the "correct" emotional response, not reason, much less reflection or analysis. Analyzing it logically serves no purpose, unless your purpose is to mock it.

Gary Rosen said...

"heavily progressive Jewish media"

You mean like the NYT, run by an Episcopalian who loudly rejects his Jewish heritage and hates Isael as much as you do LOL?

By the way, C-fudd, I've been meaning to ask you - have you and Andi Sullivan ever been seen in the same place at the same time, outside of a glory hole? You both get the willies over Jews, Israel, Palin, vaginas. Does the gay anti-semitism have something to do with circumcision?

Gary Rosen said...

But I will say this on C-fudd's behalf - when it comes to pimping out ass-raping child molesters and perverts he is preference-neutral. He tried to whitewash Polanski *and* Sandusky.

Not to mention his exoneration of pedophile clergy, claiming the victims were gay and willing. Cedarford is a perp or a victim himself, count on it.

Colorado Wellington said...

ndspinelli said...
Attorneys often obsess on semantics.


I don't understand this strange obsession either of trying to understand pronouncements such as Ms. Traister's.

bagoh20 said...

CWJ, That's exactly it, all rolled up. The left handles issues like a teenage girls' slumber party. They can whip a single rumor into an exhausting bout of emotional payoff. It seems like the emotion itself is all they are after.

Ipso Fatso said...

"The image of the feminist as a mirthless, hirsute, sex-averse succubus..."

Can you say Cathrine MacKinnon? Can you say Andrea Dworkin??

Jay said...

Talk straight. Be clear.

I wouldn't assume the author of that garbled mess is capable of any such thing.

Bob said...

She's probably using the word succubus in its connotation of a demon in female form, with "sex-averse" to denote the lack of interest in copulation (with men, anyway). It is a poorly thought-out metaphor.

Freeman Hunt said...

This is WaPo too?

What a run of recent articles. Yikes.

edutcher said...

J Scott,

Right on!

EDH said...

But Traister is using the word "conscribe" in the sense of "circumscribe." It's really bizarre to choose the less common word "conscribe" over "circumscribe" precisely when you're working the military analogy and the alternate meaning of conscription is likely to suggest itself.

Maybe she didn't want to confuse it with circumcision?

Now, if I may retain my liquids here for one moment. I'd like to continue the 'redundance' of my quote, unquote 'intestinal tract', you see because to preclude on the issue of world domination would only circumvent - excuse me, circumcise the revelation that reflects the 'Afro-disiatic' symptoms which now perpetrates the Jheri Curis activation.

Allow me to expose my colon once again. The ramification inflicted on the incision placed within the Fallopian cavities serves to be holistic taken from the Latin word 'jalapeno'."

Joe said...

What's a "sex-averse succubus"?

1) A women who wakes you up in the middle of the night wearing a neglige and then turns you down for sex.

2) A woman who has hot sex with you and then claims the next day that she was raped and/or ashamed of what she did.

Rohan said...

The other aspect of succubi is that they drain the life force of the men they seduce.

('Cause seriously, there has to be a downside to sleeping with hot demon chicks.)

I think that aspect of succubi might be what the author is referring to. It makes sense in her metaphor.

Chip Ahoy said...

There is no Republican war on women. Those words that all of us would have simply skipped had they not been dragged in here for us to ridicule are all to get readers to see the invisible war raging in Imaginaryland. Apparently Imaginaryland is a horrible place to go so why the invitation to visit I can only guess is to vex. It does not describe a Republican thoughts, nor a composite Republican's thoughts, nor a cartoon Republican's thoughts, nor a cartoon version made out of cartoon straw of a Republican's thoughts. It's the worst straw cartoon composite Republican ever who cannot even think those things that the author imagines them thinking, and says that it is thinking and acts on that thinking, so she can attack it. It is a very strange thing to observe and it and all the Imaginaryland wars like it cannot convince a single solitary voter.

William said...

I think that's a fair description of Bella Abzug. How the cause of feminism has suffered since her passing. I think one should understand "fucking" in its metaphorical sense when one thinks of Bella Abzug as a succubus.

gutless said...

Shoot, and here I've been missing out on all these succubuses, er, succubi. A Black man can't catch a break.

Bender said...

the demons were only the feminists, not women more generally

The demons are the faux feminists, the counterfeit feminists (much like other demons are those promoting a counterfeit social justice, etc.) who, far from celebrating the feminine and that which is specific to woman, despise these things and seek to suppress them. Again, the demons are those who advocate against truth, including the truth of the inherent dignity of woman as woman, rather than a caricature of the worst aspects of (many) men.

Freeman Hunt said...

There should be a word for the nonsense that women say as a result of the soft bigotry of low expectations they experience.

I like "lady twaddle."

Down with lady twaddle.

damikesc said...

I'd buy into the feminism mentality if their heroes, such as Steinem and Clinton, didn't have to fuck guys to get their positions of power while their sycophants demonize women like Bachmann and Palin who did not.

In a world where you don't "need a man to succeed", how can one side with Hillary or Steinem over Palin or Bachmann and be serious?

Paul Zrimsek said...

I can't wait for Obama to throw me under the succubus.

Tim said...

Freeman Hunt said...

"There should be a word for the nonsense that women say as a result of the soft bigotry of low expectations they experience.

I like "lady twaddle."

Down with lady twaddle."


Hmmm. Given the context of this discussion, I think that reads better as "lady twatle," lol!

Balfegor said...

Harpies. I think she meant harpies, not succubi.

Tim said...

Balfegor said...

"Harpies. I think she meant harpies, not succubi."

Well, if the last two decades of the 20th century taught us anything, it's that if you can't say good-bye, then glove up and wear protection when you're having sex with the seccubi.

Otherwise, you might catch Harpies Simplex II.

THAT shit is nasty.

paul a'barge said...

click to look at Rebecca

Succubus? You decide.

ndspinelli said...

Crack didn't take the bait. He's wily, like trout.

Blake said...

This post is a classic example of missing the forest for the trees. Getting hung up on whether "succubus" contradicts "sex-averse," or whether "conservative" is synonymous with "Republican" (which, incidentally, it is for nearly all intents and purposes in the United States), completely misses the truth that Ms. Traister is expressing. Republicans across the country intensified their party's war against women's rights, and in the process of fighting back women went a long way toward destroying the longstanding rightwing caricature of feminists. Not that hard to understand, if you've been paying attention to the rest of the newsverse, and completely irrelevant to quibbles over rhetorical prowess and vocabulary.

Kirby Olson said...

The 60s: my favorite thing was the back to the land movement. My second favorite thing: women are closer to the earth than men. Third favorite thing: earth is a woman named Gaia. My fourth favorite thing: people from the sixties are almost all dead.

Casey said...

Blake, what women's rights are Republicans going to "war" against? Specifically? Aside from the mirage generated by the Democratic Party, aided by the MSM? (recall Stephenopolous' out of left field question about birth control during last winter's GOP debates)

I have to second what Tom Spaulding said upstream; that line was hysterical. I'm just glad I wasn't drinking anything right then.

One point which seemed to have been driven underground by the fun with words is: just what is a feminist? It is still the old-school definition wherein women are as capable as men at handling responsibility, and deserve similar access to personal & professional advancement and compensation? Haven't we 98% established that by now? For all intents and purposes, there is gender equality in this country.

If it's not holding to a standard of "equal opportunity, equal rights & equal pay" then what is a feminist? To my mind, the modern feminist as exemplified by the WaPo author has about as much to do with equal rights between the sexes as the Nation of Islam has to do with equal rights across race/ethnicity.

The Professor's puckish quip about a "pre-fuck waxing" reminds me for some reason of my favorite light bulb joke:

Q: how many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: THAT'S NOT FUNNY!

Freeman Hunt said...

Republicans across the country intensified their party's war against women's rights, and in the process of fighting back women went a long way toward destroying the longstanding rightwing caricature of feminists.

Not giving us free birth control is a war against our rights?

The hysterical reaction to the idea of not giving free birth control has only made caricatures of feminists seem true in fact.

Gary Rosen said...

"in the process of fighting back women went a long way toward destroying the longstanding rightwing caricature of feminists."

What is your evidence for this? Of course it's an impossibly vague statement so I guess you don't need evidence.

Kirk Parker said...

Blake,

Your version might use fewer pretentious words than Traister's, but in the end it's not really any more coherent.

Rusty said...

I think one should understand "fucking" in its metaphorical sense when one thinks of Bella Abzug as a succubus.


I just threw up a little in my mouth.

X said...

pics or it hasn't happened

Fen said...

Republicans across the country intensified their party's war against women's rights,

How? By claiming we thought Fluke should pay for her own birth control?


and in the process of fighting back women went a long way toward destroying the longstanding rightwing caricature of feminists. Not that hard to understand, if you've been paying attention

Oh, but I have been paying attention. My understanding is that feminists prostituted their principles on sexual harassment in the workplace in exchange for a Clinton veto of a partial birth abortion ban, ie. they got down on their knees and swallowed.

No one should take them seriously. They don't really believe in the things they lecture the rest of us about.

Methadras said...

so what's a "sex-averse succubus"?

A killjoy?

Ern said...

It makes no difference whether feminists are (heterosexual) sex-averse. We men are averse to sex with feminists.

Der Hahn said...

ndspinelli said...
Crack didn't take the bait. He's wily, like trout.


I figure 'hirsute' would be a call for ole iron rails to come around again.

Comanche Voter said...

Ms. Traister is simply incoherent. But she's selling books--or something.

Unknown said...

In honor of "The Avengers" ...

Me hope someday talk pretty like Washington Post She-Hulk.

sort of runic rhyme said...

"Succubus" got used because it sounds like "suck a bus," and that's how large those modern women presumably think Republican self-deluded pig men think they are and want to have done to them (nevermind the passivity imputed to such men.)

Also, the Democratic talking points du jour relate to vampirism and such, as in Bain and Romney bloodsuckers. Funny that the Dems don't get it-- their demographic, popular culture, loves the bizarre demons.

Meanwhile, "incubus" wasn't woven into the narrative, because it's a silly hipster band that surely is in bed with Obamanistas. Only Nugent rails against the totalitarian socialist Man as a good rocker should.

Alan said...

Don't like the mirthless, hirsute, sex-averse stereotype? Blame Norman Lear. That describes Bea Arthur's "Maude" character to a tee.

Heh, blame him for perpetuating the joyless liberal stereotype. Who was the other unabashed leftist in his retinue? Mike Stivic. Did you ever see him enjoy life, except for the times he was getting it on with Gloria? No. Did he have conservative friends? No. Archie had prejudices against blacks, Jews and the like, but he could get along with them. Heck, he got along with George Jefferson than he did with Meathead.

JorgXMcKie said...

Near as I can tell, the best thing about being on the Left is that you don't have to actually believe a damn thing that you say.

Nate Whilk said...

Offered without further comment, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Succubus#Ability_to_reproduce

According to the Malleus Maleficarum, or "Witches' Hammer", written by Heinrich Kramer (Insitoris) in 1486, a succubus collects semen from the men she seduces. The incubi or male demons then use the semen to impregnate human females,[7] thus explaining how demons could apparently sire children despite the traditional belief that they were incapable of reproduction. Children so begotten – cambions – were supposed to be those that were born deformed, or more susceptible to supernatural influences.[8]

Steve said...

"But Traister is using the word "conscribe" in the sense of "circumscribe." It's really bizarre to choose the less common word "conscribe" over "circumscribe" precisely when you're working the military analogy and the alternate meaning of conscription is likely to suggest itself."

I was wondering if she meant "proscribe" as in to denounce or condemn. But it's not the words that matter, only emotions, and her error if at all, is directly due to the anger and pain she feels that is aimed at her as a womyn.

Martin said...

A really good effort, Ann, but you still didn't explain why teh phrase "war on women" was put in scare quotes---as if whatever teh Repubilicans were doing wasn't a REAL war on women but some other thing called (by whom?) a "war on women."

That whole quote is just incoherent, illiterate blather.