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Twisty

"Twisty can't tell you what to do, but she can say, "Look at what you are doing," and we would be wise to do so. "

Finally, somebody gets it! Tears spring to my clouded eyes. Gawd bless you, Happy Feminist. Gawd bless you.

belledame222

Except for, you know: it's really rather annoying to assume that those of us of the femmier persuasion have NOT examined our choices, looked at what we are doing; the implication is that if we -had- of -course- we would all go and do likewise.

What was annoying about that earlier post (not this one, DGAS about BUST, I've never much caed for it; and yes, it would be nice to find some way to not commodify one's dissent -quite- so much) was the bit where the heel-totterers are essentially told (and who says they all totter? ffs, ever seen any actual femmes? Any -drag queens?-) that they/we are making "the rest of us" look bad. Which, well: you know what. "Look bad" to whom? Joe Patriarch? How about this: fuck Joe Patriarch; if he doesn't like what I'm wearing, I will kick him in the 'nads. Why not speak for your damn self, for once? Why is it that this kind of "radical feminism" ends up sounding suspiciously like dear old Mom and Auntie Pearl cluck-clucking at that girl in the too-tight T-shirt, doesn't she look at herself before she goes out her door?

I don't know. Either way: seriously, is it THIS big a deal for THIS many people? Makeup? Heels? Sports corsets? Because, I'll be honest, I do not get it. Goddam, wear whatever the fuck you want. Yeah, great, cultural critique, that'd be swell, if it were, you know, serious; but it's like watching someone reinvent the fucking wheel every other damn -week.- Really! Womens' clothing can reflect a sexualization that in turn reflects an institutionalized set of ideas about gender roles that a number of women find stifling? Fuck me with a Fuller Brush, I had -no idea.- I may need to hear it a few billion more times before it sinks in; along with the message that -everybody- has contempt for femmes/sexbots/bimbos/sluts/what you will, apparently, even people self-styling as 'feminists."

And Twisty, you know: whatever else, I truly do not believe that sufficient numbers of people do not sufficiently get your deal; you have a whole damn amen chorus in there telling you otherwise. You do know this, I assume.

As far as looking at what we are doing: ever looked at that predilection for singling out particular women for ridicule and letting said amen chorus flock all over them? What is that about, do you suppose? Patriarchy?

evil_fizz

I can appreciate Twisty's take on things, but frankly, I've stopped reading her blog since she decided to troll it herself. To a certain extent, I think this is the same thing: willfully ignoring the fact that we've all got to live in the patriarchy and negotiate our lives within it. I spent far too much time at her blog thinking "Look, I have to live in this world, and while I can work on changing it some of the time, I have other shit going on." My desire for change doesn't mean that I have to buck the system all day, everyday. (At leat, I don't think it does.)

Maybe I see this as the difference between an internal versus an external critique. Bust is trying (sometimes more successfully than others) to blame the patriarchy from within it. Twisty's doing so from outside it.

belledame222

And you know, I've always loathed that Dworkin quote. Yeah, expensive tampon cases do not the revolution make; on the other hand, being constantly overwrought and/or dour=! automatically must be taken More Seriously. There's a lot of that belief about, tho' Goes right back to our Patriarchal (tm) roots, point o' fact: Calvinist branch. "Idle hands," painted hussies, frivolities, vanity, yadda.

Yeah. You know: for me, face painting was a way to get AWAY from the oppression as -I- experienced it. In my case: theatre. Rocky Horror. It's not everything; but goddam, it's still something. And it was my entry into the world of Queer, although I did not realize this until much, much later.

anyway I thought Valerie Solanas was loads of fun. Crazier than a shithouse rat, true, but--fun!

I mean, fuck me, if you're gonna overthrow the patriarchy, then OVERTHROW the PATRIARCHY.

i mean, one might have picked a better target than Andy Warhol to start with, but, hey: points for effort! Or, well, something.

belledame222

Okay, but see, in fact, NO, with all due respect, evil fizz: the whole point as -I- understand it from TF's POV, is that you -cannot- escape the Patriarchy (tm); there -is- no "outside of it."

Which a) is pretty fucking nihilistic when you get right down to it and b) so who says your particular way of capitulation is better than mine? What, we're all trapped, but some of us are less trapped than others? And even if I say till I'm blue in the face that in fact my path may be different but I experience it as LESS oppressive than yours, you're still gonna keep right on insisting that I must needs be deluded? Yeah, OBVIOUSLY you "can't tell me what to do;" that doesn't make it any less frigging annoying.

("you" being general and/or TF herself, not that she's ever directly responded to a single damn thing I've ever said before, which is probably a good part of the reason why my tone has gotten increasingly hostile over the months, there. Not all, but a part).

As per the Socrates thing, I thought I caught that somewhere: you know what it said on his epitaph, right?

"Look, you self-absorbed old fuck, we TOLD you if you didn't stop MONOLOGUING at us we'd cram hemlock down your throat. -And- you never even gave any of us so much as a reach-around."

belledame222

I always liked Bitch better than Bust. I'm not saying I've never liked a single thing in Bust; or that I don't in fact believe that it's still an improvement over Cosmo Teen or whatever the fuck. at least last I read it it was; perhaps it's gone downhill. shrug.

evil_fizz

Okay, but see, in fact, NO, with all due respect, evil fizz: the whole point as -I- understand it from TF's POV, is that you -cannot- escape the Patriarchy (tm); there -is- no "outside of it."

So we can't escape, we can just blame? How empowering.

I have no pretensions whatsoever that most (all?) of my choices aren't completely socially constructed. And I still like heels, blowjobs, and aerobic activity that involves something other than running without pretending that those things define me, make me a real woman, or empower me in of themselves. I can take pleasure in losing weight, wearing eyeliner, and getting married in a white dress, all the while knowing that I am buying into some seriously fucked up traditions and ways of thinking about women. But I am not sure how to do otherwise. I can blame, but since I can't get out, what is the alternative?

evil_fizz

P.S. None of that is actually a disagreement with you belledame, just my frustrations with how Twisty's position frequently gets articulated.

belledame222

>I can blame, but since I can't get out, what is the alternative?

well, exactly. You see how this worldview gets translated into real-world action, right?

-crickets crickets crickets-

In this case, the best I can make of it is that somehow we snark the patriarchy to death. Which, I'd be all for, I mean I'm real good at snarking; but somehow i have a feeling it might take a while.

Or you could do what some of the Sheila Jeffreys/Janice Raymond/ and company followers have done (without, I am sure, their endorsement): launch attacks, sometimes physical ones, on such entities as lesbian BDSM nightclubs and transsexual employees of feminist record labels. That's always fun.

Evil fizz, you're Christian, right? Do you know of an author named Angela West? "Deadly Innocence?" Feminist Catholic (I think; perhaps Episcopalian, I need to reread the intro) thealogian who participated in the anti-nuke movement in the early 80's. She talks about how the radical feminist (at least the Dworkin/Daly interpretation that was big in the early 80's) position is in fact in many ways a simple inversion of the "Original Sin" myth. You know: Eve bit the apple; everything's the bitch's fault. Whew. So now we turn it around: nonono, it's the menfolk who INVENTED that myth! WE gave birth, not Adam; YOU committed the sin (original sin=rape, more or less, crudely and simplistically), not us: YOU are guilty. WE are innocent. (unless of course we enable the patriarchs; which makes us, well, not -as- bad, perhaps, but complicit, certainly).

and what she talks about in a lot of detail are the ways in which this ends up coming back to bite us in the ass: because -the myth of innocence itself is part of the tradition we have been trying to reject.- It is, in short, a HUGE-ass blind spot.

In another context, I found a couple of quotes yesterday that feel just as at home here:

"n fairness to the PC-haters and other erstwhile champions of controversial imagery, I should note that on one level they're right: cultural expression should not be policed in any way. I don't mean to suggest that offensive imagery should be censored. As far as I'm concerned, you should say and publish any damn thing you choose. And then I'll say and publish any damn thing I choose about what you said. Don't blame me if your own foolishness sticks to you. Free speech means freedom to speak like an idiot, I suppose. Free speech isn't at issue in this discussion; the substantive meaning and value of a specific image is."

(from zuky's blog; link's at my spot, i'm too lazy to repaste)

and also:

"But it is not enough to stand on the opposite river bank, shouting questions, challenging patriarchal, white conventions. A counterstance locks one into a duel of oppressor and oppressed; locked in mortal combat, like the cop and the criminal, both are reduced to a common denominator of violence. The counterstance refutes the dominant culture’s views and beliefs, and, for this, it is proudly defiant. All reaction is limited by, and dependent on, what it is reacting against. Because the counterstance stems from a problem with authority–outer as well as inner–it’s a step towards liberation from cultural domination. But it is not a way of life. At some point, on our way to a new consciousness, we will have to leave the opposite bank, the split between the two mortal combatants somehow healed so that we are on both shores at once and, at once, see through serpent and eagle eyes. or perhaps we will decide to disengage from the dominant culture, write it off altogether as a lost cause, and cross the border into a wholly new and seperate territory. Or we might go another route. The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react."

--Gloria Anzaldua, via Slant Truth.

belledame222

anyway, whatever conclusion you end up with--I think West ends up reaffirming her faith, but I still haven't finished the book--I also think that -if- one is going to engage the "Patriarchy," one needs to -seriously- take on the -specific- form of patriarchy to which one is most accustomed. To understand that, at least wrt pretty much most of the bloggers I've been talking to who more or less take TF's line, that this is a very specific cultural perspective: you got your Reformation, you got your Enlightenment, you got your whatever-version-of-the Big Monotheism you're best familiar with, personally; you also got your Industrial Revolution and-post, and your overall Calvinist heritage which heavily influences American "mainstream" culture, such as it is. Among other things, sure, and it's taken some weird-ass twists and turns along the way. But Calvinist it is.

And among the tenets of (very fucking patriarchal) Calvinism is: sex is not -fun.- Sex has very specific Purposes. And honestly I do not see this type of feminism as having engaged this very seriously at all, much less the bigger notion of everything needing to have a -function,- and everything needing to be aiming "up," more or less (the "sublime," okay). Those assumptions are not questioned in TF's worldview, that I've seen; nor in most of the radical (white, Dworkin-influenced) feminist thinking/writing I've been encountering. Perhaps I've missed some subtlety; and sure, one can point to non-U.S. radical feminists who take an even starchier line than Dworkin--Jeffreys, say; even I expect some non-Anglo ones.

Ultimately though: this is very very far from universally applicable, this sort of critique; and it is annoying when it is presented as such, over and over and over again, without any real attempt to engage any other POV.

"Jeffreys said it, I believe it, that settles it."

shrug. or something, I don't know. But the general lack of curiousity also grates.

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