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The working title for this post was accurate, but a bit wordy: Dude Superciliously Imagines What Females Think then Blames Females for His Imagining of their Problems. We tightened things up a bit and figured we’d add more verbosity in the introduction.
The Dude over at Talonrest is a master of erecting stupid assertions (go there now for the bullshite-in-the-raw), applying them to the group he hates (feminists, women, double-XXers, etc.) and then castigating feminists for acting (as he portrayed them to act) so damn shallow and stupid. Talon’s glaring problem is that his argumentation only briefly entertains connections to reality.
Talon DudeMcDudinstein is all about abandoning any semblance of rationality preferring to sashay headlong into meandering fields of straw arguments and butt-cogitations that manage to both besot and flagellate the reader not only with their insipidness, but astonishing lack of grounding in anything resembling fact.
Different format time folks, let’s deal in paragraph sized chunks to see if we can really appreciate what dear Talon is trying to say.
“Behind all the feminist posturing about being independent and empowered a big fear for many millennial young women still remains the impending big 30. That’s when the facade starts to crack and they realise that they didn’t have this all figured out.
You will see signs of it start to happen in the late 20s as the strong independent millennial woman who has been living it up in the years of her prime attractiveness starts to realise that the party won’t last forever and that she is no longer the center of the universe for the high-quality male attention that she used to take for granted.”
This is really a grand example of what happens when dudes ‘analyze’ the experience of females through the fucked up lens of patriarchal expectations. Those expectations are:
1. A female’s worth in society is directly correlated to the physical attributes men find attractive.
2. Male ‘attention’ is a valuable resource because, implicitly speaking, females cannot achieve in society without male help/attention.
Both points are the kind of nefarious bullshit women struggle against everyday. The grand quest to be though of as human, rather than desirable fuck-object starts here.
The fight to be a subject that is capable of action, rather than a object to be acted upon is fundamental to the feminist movement and happens to be one of the tenets many radical feminists organize around. (The radical notion that women are people too – et cetera)
“It happens gradually, but one day she suddenly realises she has been receiving a lot less attention from men. The waiter at Starbucks is no longer extra-friendly to her. People start expecting her to pull her weight at work and no longer cut her as slack despite her pulling the usual charm offensives. She looks at that new young pretty intern that just joined her workplace getting attention from everyone and suddenly realises that she can no longer compete.”
Misogyny comes in so many flavours, here we see the restated notion that female worth is derived from male attention. Female people have the same extrinsic and intrinsic value as human beings – and this is the key truth that Talon, our shit-nozzle of the day cannot comprehend.
“It is telling that most of the social media posts worrying about the impending big 30 come from my empowered, independent female acquaintances, along with the usual self-assuring polemics about how they “still got it” and are wiser and stronger with age. But you get the distinct impression that they are just posturing and attempting to make sense of a very confusing situation.”
Women are not confused about the situation as they have been socialized from the beginning to be pleasing objects of desire for men, and are also aware of the penalties for non-compliance. Aging-out or fatting-out of the prime attention of zone of dudes can be bitter celebration for many women as it marks the transition from constantly creeped on fuck-toilet to mostly ignored invisible non-person. Choosing your patriarchal shit sandwich has never been so empowering…
“What’s more interesting is that my female acquaintances who have settled down in their 20s and have gotten on with life in starting a family and working on building a functioning, fruitful and healthy marriage don’t exhibit any sort of the same angst on social media.”
The Second Shift doesn’t leave much time for facebook. Raising a family mirrors of the inequality women face in society, as women are responsible for most of the work that goes into rearing children and the domestic hell that goes along with said task.
“Meanwhile their strong, empowered counterparts are trying to get into fad yoga, getting cats and hopping onto the next fashionable frivolous activity that comes along in an attempt to prolong their party years. But it’s clear for all to see that their best years are behind them, and they are just trying to relive the heady days of their early 20s, except without the devoted male attention and valuation that they used to take for granted.”
Because the male-gaze is awesome.
“This is the brutal reality of female nature that many millennial women don’t realise- they time they have in the sun is actually quite limited. Young women who keep themselves even passably attractive enjoy a lot of social leverage based upon their biological youth. This, along with modern pop-culture feminism that encourages “empowered” behaviours without caveats that leads to them having a distorted idea of their own value.”
I’m pretty sure this ‘social leverage’ is what douche-canoe misogynists like Talon bang-on about all the time. All the submissive beauty rituals that differentiate females from the accepted standard of ‘normal’ (male) must be lauded and elevated so that somehow they become desirable to perform. Hey ladies, perform all these pointless rituals to appease the male gaze, but on the same time we’re going to shit on you your for doing all these frivolous time-wasting things. Patriarchal double standards for women are the norm in this society, and this is just one of many.
Striving to be valued as full human being is society is hardly a ‘distortion’. Ass-hat.
“They assume they will always be attractive and that the red carpet from men will always be out for them. They don’t realise a lot of the “you’re beautiful” polemics will actually be coming from themselves after they pass the big 30. There are always thirsty Beta men who are willing to snap up the leftovers after the party stops for our “empowered” woman when she ages out of the market, but she is unlikely to find this men very appealing.
The “empowered” woman stuck with lower tier dating options. Cue a lot of self-convincing that they are not snag a Beta they can’t feel attracted to because they are trying to cash in before all of their attractive fade and eventual resentment that the “empowered” lifestyle didn’t deliver them Mr. Big at the end of the day.”
*sigh* – Because all women are about snagging the ‘prime’ ‘alpha’ male. One of the neat things about making arguments is that one cannot arrive at truth when one of the premises you’re basing your arguments on is false. In this case, patently false – classifying men, like wolf packs, into Alpha and Beta males – is based on discredited shit research that got almost everything wrong about wolf society. I’ve talked about this before on the DWR before so I’ll quote myself to on how wrong the MRA classification system is:
“Schenkel’s observations of captive wolf behavior were erroneously extrapolated to wild wolf behavior, and then to domestic dogs. It was postulated that wolves were in constant competition for higher rank in the hierarchy, and only the aggressive actions of the alpha male and female held the contenders in check. Other behaviorists following Schenkel’s lead also studied captive wolves and confirmed his findings: groups of unrelated wolves brought together in artificial captive environments do, indeed, engage in often-violent and bloody social struggles.
The problem is, that’s not normal wolf behavior. As David Mech stated in the introduction to his study of wild wolves (Mech, 2000), “Attempting to apply information about the behavior of assemblages of unrelated captive wolves to the familial structure of natural packs has resulted in considerable confusion. Such an approach is analogous to trying to draw inferences about human family dynamics by studying humans in refugee camps. The concept of the alpha wolf as a ‘top dog’ ruling a group of similar-aged compatriots (Schenkel 1947; Rabb et al. 1967; Fox 1971a; Zimen 1975, 1982; Lockwood 1979; van Hooff et al. 1987) is particularly misleading.”
So, as the studies cited indicated, these assertions have been shown to be erroneous for over twenty years. It is known that accuracy (wit, intelligence, charity, …) and MRA’s don’t mix. If you can stomach the manosphere you will see this error perpetuated with metronomic regularity.
“A Red Pill masculine man worth his salt will know that these “empowered” women in full on approaching or post-30 panic will not be good prospects for a relationship. Their years of “empowered” feminist living would have stuffed their minds full of ideas that give them an entitlement mindset to commitment that is way beyond their value proposition. In addition, it is highly likely these “empowered” women would also not be having any maternal feminine aspects that are considered desirable wife material.”
Yes, having their minds stuffed with ideas that they are full human beings and not just objects of male of desire, the nerve of 30+ women. Oh, and keep in mind when you hear ‘maternal feminine aspects’ please read ‘patriarchally approved ritualized submission to men’.
[…] – Skipping repetitious meandering prose.
“Meanwhile, the Masculine man who has been focused on improving himself would find that his options in the dating marketplace would have opened up dramatically. While the early years can be tough for a man, the later years will only get better if he has spend the intervening years improving himself.
The Masculine man is shaped through adversity and develops the important life skills and experience that allows him to have a true value proposition in the Dating Marketplace.”
Masculinity is about exercising your will over others. Masculinity is toxic.
“The “empowered” woman on the other hand, has coasted through her life based on her youthful biological attractiveness and feminist “empowerment” ideology that made her overestimate how valuable she was just for having a vagina. She is less likely to have gone through the same adversity and rejection that a young man has in his struggle to be valued and hence is out at sea with a clue on what to do once she can no longer rely on her looks.”
Oh my goodness. Pro-Tip: Being Born with a vagina means a ticket to second class status in society. Not being heard, not being seen (other than as a sex object to be possessed), not being represented. These are all part of the female experience. Fuck-Nugget is trying to compare males facing rejection to the shit-show that is living life as female, as it appears to him to be a valid comparison (fml).”
“They are the ones that become the true matriarchs- the women who contribute their valuable life experience and maternal instincts towards nurturing the next generation of functional, fruitful adults, not the aging feminist spinster taking fad yoga and adopting multiple cats trying to live in a real life parody of Sex and the City.”
Yes ladies, if you adopt the submissive patriarchal ideal things will be right with the world, negating your personhood will payoff huge dividends as you’ll be expected to raise the next generation of patriarchally screwed up women and men.
This is why it’s important to have a long game mindset in your Masculine journey, don’t be like the thirsty Beta who can’t think 5 years ahead and is always clamouring for female attention, making him the prime target of the panicking “empowered” woman seeking a chump willing to take any woman to settle down with. Focus on improving yourself and success, along with high quality feminine women worth your investment will naturally come.
*sigh* – Stupid ‘sage’ advice for the conclusion. Avoid those females with notions of personhood and wait to attract the perfect slave befitting your station. :(
This shit makes me tired. The amount of horrible is off the scale, and yet it dribbles forth with disquieting regularity from dudes who think they have the great game of life down and are grasping the bull by the horns.
I hope, by quietly pointing out that our MRA friends are not grasping the horns, but rather are elbow deep into the rectal fissures of said bull, that people can see how the societal system known as patriarchy fucks with people on an individual level, leading them to the dehumanizing conclusions we see on display here today.
“Women aren’t hated for being feminine, femininity is forced on us because we are hated. we don’t naturally apply make up, wear constricting clothing, shave our natural body hair and stay quiet even when we are upset with something. we are conditioned to do this because women are supposed to take up as little space as possible and erase traces of our growth both physically and mentally. women who refuse to perform femininity demand their space and they demand to be heard. they cannot be neutral in a highly gendered society; they are punished for not conforming.”
Femininity literally is weakness forced upon us. Being quiet, serving and submissive is not anything that can be reformed into some good, new kind of gender. We literally modify our bodies. We are trained to serve and be available. We are trained to hate ourselves and not strive too far, lest our oppressors may be displeased.
Femininity is the socialization of the oppressed class.
I’m at a loss as to what I can add to this. The least I can do is share this important video from my longtime hero, Vihart.
That was the quotable bit from a conversation I had with a female student I happened to be teaching at an elementary school this week. We were walking in from recess and Jaina brought this to my attention. I couldn’t detect any hate or malice in her statement, as she had just been playing convivially with Dakota (Male to Trans) minutes before. I told her that she had every right to feel uncomfortable as the situation she described was not appropriate in terms of what was happening in the bathroom… Jaina was surprised that a teacher agreed with her and her feelings of discomfort. I was going to suggest that she remind Dakota to shut the door but the conversation ended as we entered the school.
I hope that by listening to Jaina and supporting her statement she will talk with her teacher and her Dakota to sort that issue out.
The conversation caught me by surprise (as with most occurrences while teaching behaviour classes) and in the moment I had to negotiate between the child’s feelings and the official school board policy on gender and washrooms.
Review of the policy in question came down to these points –
Indicators of this best practice in action (pg.9)
• Students are able to access washrooms that are congruent with their gender identity.
• A student who objects to sharing a washroom or change-room with a student who is trans or gender-diverse is offered an alternative facility (this scenario also applies when a parent or other caregiver objects to shared washroom or change-room facilities on behalf of their child).
I certainly hope that Jaina’s concerns are heard and action is taken as traditionally the concerns of girls, and females in general, are all to often thrown under the bus.
The debate over respecting the boundaries of females has spilled over the border and has galvanized protests at the Alberta legislature.
“Both were there as participants in two similar, yet very different, rallies scheduled only an hour apart. The crux of both protests was the controversial Bill 10. The first one took place to support trans rights while the second was organized to give displeased parents a voice against the bill. The bill, originally passed by the Progressive Conservative government in March 2015, focuses on students having access to gay-straight alliances.”
No problem with GSA’s, but what the protesters are objecting to is this from the guidelines sent to the public schools. This quote from page 6 of that document:
“Some students have not disclosed their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression beyond the school community for a variety of reasons, including safety. In keeping with the principles of self-identification, it is important to:
• inform students of limitations regarding their chosen name and gender identity or gender expression in relation to official school records that require legal name designation; and
• protect a student’s personal information and privacy, including, where possible, having a student’s explicit permission before disclosing information related to the student’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression to peers, parents, guardians or other adults in their lives.
Wherever possible, before contacting the parents or other adults involved in the care (such as social workers or caregivers) of a student who is trans or gender-diverse, consult with the student to determine an appropriate way to reference the student’s gender identity, gender expression, name and related pronouns.”
One can see where parents might be concerned as schools have been directed to withhold information regarding their children. Keeping parents out of the loop with critical information regarding their children isn’t a good policy as parents or one’s family is responsible for the child’s well being for all the time the child is outside of school.
Conversely, a child from a family holding traditional views on gender or sexuality would be placed in a tenuous position, facing a bevy of negative consequences at home for going against her or his family’s values.
The legislation as worded has the very distinct possibility of creating a culture of distrust between the school and the parents. Open discourse and communication are key in maintaining the school/home relationship that is vital for student success in the academic environment.
Adequate supports must be in place for students whose values differ from their parents, and schools should be facilitating the dialogue between children and their parents. Withholding pertinent information from parents only places schools in opposition to families thus removing a foundational connective bridge in educational process – and that benefits no one.
Did you miss part 1 here?
“To make sense of these ideas [conceptions of gender] and decide what you think of them, it’s helpful to understand a bit of history—the history of feminist and sexual radical ideas. There are three main questions we think it’s worth pursuing in more detail:
- Is it true that radical feminism is/was ‘essentialist’ in its view of gender?
- What is, and what was, the relationship between the politics of gender and sexuality?
- What do radical feminism and queer or ‘genderqueer’ politics have in common, and what are the key differences, and what are their respective political goals?
Is/was radical feminism essentialist?
Let’s get one thing out of the way: there are essentialist varieties of feminism, currents of thought in which, for instance, mystical powers are ascribed to the female body or men are believed to be naturally evil, and some of the women who subscribe to these ideas might use or be given the label ‘radical feminist’. But if we consider radical feminism as a political tradition which has produced, among other things, a body of feminist texts which have come to be regarded as ‘classics’, it’s surprising (given how often the accusation of essentialism has been made) how consistently un-essentialist their view of gender has been.
As a way of illustrating the point, I’ve put together a few quotations from the writing of women who are generally considered as archetypal radical feminists—along with Simone de Beauvoir, often thought of as the founding foremother of modern ‘second wave’ feminism, which her book The Second Sex (first published in French in 1949) pre-dated by 20 years. Beauvoir was no essentialist, and though she did not use a term equivalent to gender (this still isn’t common in French), she makes many comments which depend on distinguishing the biological from the social aspects of being a woman. One of my favourites, because of its dryly sarcastic tone, is this: ‘Every female human being is not necessarily a woman; to be so considered she must share in that mysterious and threatened reality known as femininity’.
One early second wave feminist who has often been castigated for essentialism (because she suggested that the subordination of women must originally have been due to their role in reproduction and nurturance) is Shulamith Firestone, author of The Dialectic of Sex (1970). Yet in fact Firestone did not see a social hierarchy built on sex-difference as natural and inevitable. On the contrary, she states in Dialectic that
“just as the end goal of socialist revolution was not only the elimination of the economic class privilege but of the economic class distinction itself, so the end goal of feminist revolution must be… not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself: genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally.”
In the slightly later writing of the French radical materialist feminist Christine Delphy, gender is theorised as nothing but the product of hierarchical power relations; it is not a pre-existing difference on which those relations are then superimposed. Delphy’s is a view which less radical thinkers find extreme, but whatever else anyone thinks of it, it could hardly be less essentialist. As Delphy herself says:
“We do not know what the values, individual personality traits or culture of a non-hierarchical society would be like, and we have great difficulty imagining it. ….perhaps we will only be able to think about gender on the day when we can imagine non-gender.”
All the writers I have just quoted are women who ‘can (and do) imagine non-gender’. This willingness to think seriously about what for most people, including many feminists, is the unthinkable—that a truly feminist world would not just operate without gender inequalities but actually without gender distinctions—is, we would argue, one of the hallmarks of radical feminism, one of the ways it stands out as ‘radical’.
Another thing that makes radical feminism stand out is the way it connects gender to sexuality and both to power. Catharine MacKinnon’s writings make the connection particularly strongly, as in the following passage taken from Feminism Unmodified (1987):
“The feminist theory of power is that sexuality is gendered as gender is sexualised. In other words, feminism is a theory of how the eroticization of dominance and submission creates gender, creates women and man in the social form in which we know them. Thus the sex difference and dominance-submission dynamic define each other. The erotic is what defines sex as inequality, hence as meaningful difference. This is, in my view, the social meaning of sexuality, and the distinctly feminist account of gender inequality.”
This shows that some well-known radical feminists have taken a non-essentialist view of sexuality as well as gender. Indeed, one of the most radically un- or anti-essentialist accounts of sexuality we can think of—as radical as any queer theorist’s work in rejecting the idea of fixed and finite sexual identities—comes from the radical feminist Susanne Kappeler in her book The Pornography of Representation (1986):
“In a political perspective, sexuality, like language, might fall into the category of intersubjective relations: exchange and communication. Sexual relations – the dialogue between two subjects – would determine, articulate, a sexuality of the subjects as speech interaction generates communicative roles in the interlocutors. Sexuality would thus not so much be a question of identity, of a fixed role in the absence of a praxis, but a possibility with the potential of diversity and interchangeability, and a possibility crucially depending on and codetermined by an interlocutor, another subject.”
Later on we will explain why we think these radical feminist ideas about gender, sexuality, identity and power actually pose a far more radical challenge to the status quo than the ideas of queer politics.
Joan Scanlon: As Debbie said earlier, I was completely bewildered when the two young women in Edinburgh asked why The Trouble & Strife Reader (2009) didn’t have more in it about gender. I rang Su Kappeler (see the quotation from her above) and she said: “The thing is Joan: it’s like what Roland Barthes wrote somewhere, that if you have a guide book to Italy you won’t find Italy in the index – you’ll find Milan, Naples or the Vatican…” So I thought about this, and realised that while this was certainly true, there was something else going on: it was as if the map of Italy had disappeared (quite useful as a way of connecting Milan, Naples and the Vatican), and instead, the geographical, political and economic reality of Italy had been replaced by a virtual space in which Italy could be a masked ball, a tricolour flag, an ice-cream parlour – or any combination of free floating signifiers. And so, returning to the concept of gender, I realised that we need reconstruct that map, and that we needed to look at the question historically to make sense of this shift in meaning.
Of course maps change, as political boundaries change – but you won’t get far without one. We need therefore to look at why feminists adopted the term gender to describe a material reality – the systematic enforcement of male power – and as a tool for political change. I am going to start with a few definitions, then talk briefly about the history of sexuality, the relationship between gender and sexuality, and how the relationship between those two constructions has changed since the beginning of the last century. I am also going to look briefly at what feminism has in common with queer politics, and at where the key differences lie.
Definitions: feminism, gender, sexuality
When I was writing something with Liz Kelly in the late 1980s, we decided that with the proliferation of ‘feminisms’ we needed to assert that the term feminism was meaningless if it just meant whatever any individual wanted it to mean. In other words: You can’t have a plural without a singular – so we defined feminism simply as “a recognition that women are oppressed, and a commitment to changing that”. Beyond this, you can have any number of differences of opinion about why women are oppressed and any number of differences about strategies for changing that.
In our 1993 tenth anniversary issue of T&S we then asked several women to define radical feminism and the definitions all have this in common: they take as central that gender is a system of oppression, and that men and women are two socially constructed groups which exist precisely because of the unequal power relationship between them. Also, they all assert that radical feminism is radical because it challenges all relationships of power, including extreme forms such as male violence and the sex industry (which has always been extremely controversial within the women’s movement and an extremely unpopular issue to campaign against). Instead of tinkering around the edges of the question of gender, radical feminism addresses the structural problem which underlies it.
To define gender, therefore, seems a necessary step in understanding the proliferation of meanings which have come about in its now plural usage. Gender, as radical feminists have always understood it, is a term which describes the systematic oppression of women, as a subordinate group, for the advantage of the dominant group, men. This is not an abstract concept – it describes the material circumstances of oppression, including institutionalised male power and power within personal relationships – for example, the unequal division of labour, the criminal justice system, motherhood, the family, sexual violence… and so on. I should say here that very few feminists would argue that gender is not socially constructed; I think radical feminism is only accused of biological essentialism because it has been so central in the campaign against male violence, and for some reason we are therefore accused of thinking that all men are innately violent – which I have never understood. If you are involved in a politics of change, it would be fairly pointless to think that anything you were seeking to change was innate or immutable.
If gender is seen, under patriarchy, as emanating from biological sex – sexuality is essentialised if anything even more – as it is seen to emanate from our very nature, from desires and feelings which are quite outside of our control, even if our sexual behaviour can be regulated by moral and social codes. And so to conclude with definitions, I will borrow Catherine MacKinnon’s definition of sexuality as ‘a social process which creates, organises, directs, and expresses desire’. Apart from pointing out that this clearly indicates that radical feminists understand sexuality to be socially constructed, I won’t unpick this further here, as I hope it will become clear from what I go on to say.”