I like it when people talk about breast cancer without trying to make it “sexy.” On the kitchen counter.

7 Oct

I was bewildered yesterday when several women I know began posting updates about where they “like it.” As in, “I like it on the floor,” or “I like it on the coat rack.” Wait, I thought, is it possible that all of my female friends have lost their senses of decorum and dignity on the same day? Then I saw an update from a dude that said, “I like it with her own money in it.” I asked him what he was talking about and he told me he was making fun of “some chick thing.”

Exactly.

I was still bewildered and decided to figure it out by making use of my stellar Google skills, and it turns out that it’s an attempt to raise breast cancer awareness by means of a boring, annoying internet meme: women post Facebook updates about where they like “it” — “it” being their purse — which is supposed to pique men’s interest and get them to think about donating money to breast cancer research.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I see a few holes in this plan. First off, that train of thought skips an awful lot of stations. We’re banking on the general Facebooking public being far smarter and far less lazy than I am, and that seems like a bad bet to me (I am a highly motivated genius, after all). Second, every single one of the updates I saw on Facebook yesterday was followed with about ten lascivious comments from dudes who had neither made any effort to figure out on their own why so many women were all of a sudden posting suggestive updates on Facebook nor bothered to ask those women why they were doing so. Instead, they responded with shit like “Me too!” or “Can I come over?” You know, because they’re men, and men tend to be oversexed, clueless jags, especially when confronted with women who appear to be inviting sexual attention. I have yet to see a single discussion erupt in which breast cancer is mentioned at all. Way to raise awareness.

But let’s pretend for a second that it was working, that men all over the country were donating money they could otherwise spend on micro-brews and new Xbox controllers to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Why weren’t they doing so last week? Why isn’t the existence of breast cancer awareness month enough to get them to part with $5? Why isn’t the thought of protecting their mothers, sisters, wives, or friends from breast cancer motivation enough to get these guys in the donatin’ spirit? Why, ONCE AGAIN, do women have to flatter men’s ridiculously swollen egos with weak, nonsensical innuendo in order to cajole them into acting like human beings? Sorry, but I fail to see how breast cancer is sexy, or why we need to use sex to sell men on the idea that breast cancer matters.

Has anyone else noticed the direction that campaigns to raise money for breast cancer research are moving in? I’ve seen at least ten “Save the Tatas” bumper stickers this week, and every time I do I consider keying the car it’s affixed to. I mean, really. Are we seriously incapable of conceiving of breasts as anything but sex objects even when discussing a potentially fatal disease? And what does “Save the Tatas” even mean? I have one guess, and here’s my translation: “Men, if you love tits, donate money to breast cancer research so there will be less mastectomies and hence more tits around for you to ogle.” That’d be great and all, but what we need to save is women’s lives, not their tits.

Just to make sure, I’m going to apply the ol’ switcheroo here. Let’s say that the Red Cross decided they needed to step up their effort to encourage people to donate to relief efforts in Haiti and decided to sex the campaign up by asking us to donate money to Haitian women’s breasts or Haitian men’s penises, complete with photos of breasts and penises (or at least photos suggestive of breasts and penises). Yep, that’s completely insane. One more try: how about we raise awareness of the prevalence of prostate cancer with a “Save the Boners” sticker campaign? Or by asking men to post cryptic Facebook ads about where they like to leave their wallets, as in “I like it in the back pocket of my pants until the morning, when I like it in my other pants”? Also insane, if only because no one pays attention when men post seemingly sexual Facebook updates because they do it all fucking day anyway.

If men don’t give a shit about breast cancer, we can’t make them, even if we hold a topless awareness rally. First because they’re already aware that breast cancer exists (who isn’t?), and second because all they’ll see is a bunch of tits, not the human beings they’re attached to, which might be where the root of the problem lies anyway, know what I’m saying?

93 Responses to “I like it when people talk about breast cancer without trying to make it “sexy.” On the kitchen counter.”

  1. fannie October 7, 2010 at 7:59 AM #

    Maybe a link to this post will be my Facebook status update.

  2. mscitrus October 7, 2010 at 8:20 AM #

    Oh yes, I hate this too. My university had a “Save Second Base” campaign last year. Because obviously all sex leads to intercourse, which is the “goal.” As if that weren’t bad enough, they sold t-shirts. With two baseballs where breasts would be. Hurhur.

    FCM, yours wins. This is why I don’t bother with facebook anymore (tho I still have one, for some reason).

  3. OutsideLookingOver October 7, 2010 at 10:13 AM #

    I thought it was me that had an issue with “save the t…”. As a nurse I know what the outcome is with breast cancer, it only *starts* in the breast. It’s the HUMAN that is ultimately affected, not just some adipose tissue.

    Haven’t seen that bumper sticker here in Oz, though: at least, not yet. And it’s not because Aussie men are less phallocratic…

  4. B October 7, 2010 at 10:14 AM #

    THANK YOU! Also, I was in the loop before this happened due to a well-meaning fried, but the messages sent between women to encourage participation in this event just reinforce your points. They seem to have a conspiratorial battle of the sexes “game” tone to them, rather than saying much about breast cancer. The message I got didn’t provide any information about breast cancer the disease or about ways you can combat it that you could share once you’ve got people’s attention.

    Just FYI, full text of the message I got so you can see for yourself:
    “Where do you keep your purse??
    Okay ladies here’s a game, like the bra color game which was a total success and we had men wondering for days what was with the colors and it made it to the News.

    Well this game has to do with your handbag, where we put our handbag the moment we get home for example “I like it on the couch”, “I like it on the kitchen counter”, “I like it on the dresser” well…you get the idea.

    Just put your answer as your Status with nothing more than that and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox.

    The bra game made it to the news. Let’s see how powerful we women really are!!! REMEMBER – DO NOT PUT YOUR ANSWER AS A REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE!”

  5. kristina October 7, 2010 at 10:38 AM #

    Surprisingly my husband feels the same way about those stupid status updates, but he still fell victim to making fun of it by saying he likes it everywhere…we are talking about fucking, right…even though he KNEW it wasn’t about that…he was purposely making fun of what it sounded like, in a crude way…but I guess it got the point across.

  6. factcheckme October 7, 2010 at 10:47 AM #

    “I like it in the back pocket of my pants until the morning, when I like it in my other pants”?

    HA! and yes, this is really gross. the “save the boners” idea actually hit this one home for me. when anyone thinks of prostate cancer, they think of a human being with cancer in his rectum. you know, its unfortunate. “save the tatas” not so much about the human element, is it? god, its so obvious once its pointed out.

    also, i imagine you have noticed that the NFL players and coaches are wearing pink this month to raise awareness of…manly men being secure enough in their manhoods to wear pink. or something. all the while of course, professional athletes have a TERRIBLE track record with women. i guess giving money to a DV-awareness campaign would be such an obvious confict of interest that it would kill their boners AND their interest in tatas. so it kind of is a “save the boners” campaign afterall. like…oh everything else, always.

  7. kristina October 7, 2010 at 10:58 AM #

    You know what else I realized…I don’t have a purse…so even if I wanted to how the HELL am I supposed to participate??? Do I not want to “save the ta-ta’s”…I guess not, I’d much rather save the person anyway.

  8. factcheckme October 7, 2010 at 11:11 AM #

    i like it with a brick in it, so i can knock those motherfuckers out.

    heh. totes scintillating, ay?

  9. Eden October 7, 2010 at 3:37 PM #

    Word. Also, from the Facebook message “Let’s see how powerful we women really are!!!” Seriously? Run for public office, make money, raise awesome kids, all wonderful/ powerful things. A few Facebook updates? Not really an expression of power, especially when it doesn’t achieve anything. So tired of semi-feminist sentiments used to market stupid shit /end rant

    So glad you’re writing again ND.

    @factcheckme Rofl. Totally want to steal that for my Facebook update.

  10. Eliza October 7, 2010 at 3:38 PM #

    Thank you for articulating this, I’ve been annoyed about this for a while and no one else understands why. I’m an 11th grader in high school and I kid you not, there is not a single class I have that doesn’t have at least 5 people with bracelets that say “I love boobies!” Because it’s breast cancer awareness, duh! Also, tits!

    The worst part is how all these douchy boy types wear them now. They don’t know it’s related to breast cancer (although it wouldn’t matter if they knew because the campaign is stupid anyway). Spencer’s gifts sells a shirt that says “I love vaginas.” This is our culture. If I went to school with a bracelet that said “I love balls” (which I would never do because I’m not a moron) people would bombard me with “what the hell is wrong with you” ‘s, and I’d get sent to the main office for being too suggestive. “What, it’s for testicular cancer awareness week?”

    I’ve also heard a lot of people say how the fact that it was for breast cancer awareness is the main reason they wear those bracelets. It’s like “ha, I get to wear something about what turns me on, but I can use the excuse that it’s for breast cancer awareness so people will actually think I didn’t notice it!” Fuckin’ A.

  11. Rpotts October 7, 2010 at 3:38 PM #

    But, people are talking about it, and that is the point right? This campaign isn’t targeted to women who are already aware of the real dangers. Its to get the knob heads who don’t think about it to at least have some sort of discourse.
    I agree it is slightly patronizing but i appreciate that it’s spreading worldwide and the conversations are happening

  12. Rainbow Riot October 7, 2010 at 3:38 PM #

    This isn’t surprising, unfortunately. How did something so real , so human, that touches so many womens’ lives become a joke? I hate that people think that the only way to get men to donate money for breast cancer research is to make up games or objectifying, irrelevant slogans like “Save the Tatas.” I also hate how even that doesn’t make men think, or act, at all. They just see the joke, the game, the lulz, the tits. Yay, they get to think more about big jiggling tits to pacify themselves with while more women die because their cancer spreads to non-sexy body parts. No one thinks, “Save these women because they are human beings.” It’s, “Save these sexualized body parts so you can use them for your own enjoyment.” Also the pinkness of the breast cancer campaigns gets to me, because it reeks of infantilization. Women are adults, dammit.

    If someone started a massive campaign to support prostate cancer research, who wants to bet that their commercials would be in black, white, and gray tones, with serious music in the background, while some older dude talks somberly about how his life has been effected by prostate cancer, and implores you to learn more about it and help? Tune into anything related to breast cancer, though, and it’s a frickin’ 5 year old’s birthday party – pink ribbon, teddy bears, and all. Except with tits. We’re, like, totally fun and stuff, so, like, donate some money, and like, get this pink teddy bear! Women are totally, like, girls, but, like, with boobs!!!1 Then there is the occasional one that is more serious, but there are still pink bandannas everywhere.

  13. Owl Eyes October 7, 2010 at 3:38 PM #

    I seriously just realized wtf this was a few days ago. I was asking some of the womyn on my channel why they “liked it on the floor” or rather why facebook had to know…since everyone was putting it down for their status. I hate how womyn’s cancers seem to sexualized, there has to be awareness raised, but the way they do it so fucking male-centered.

  14. sneeky bunny October 7, 2010 at 3:38 PM #

    Amen, amen, AMEN! As a survivor, this, and the bra thing last year, just skeeve me the fuck out.

  15. Rachael October 7, 2010 at 8:13 PM #

    I hate those stupid games and childish ads. To me, the most offensive were this one:

    http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2008/07/28/men-want-boobs-breast-cancer-awareness-psa/

    and another one that has a bird’s-eye view of two hairless (from chemotherapy?) heads so that they look like breasts. I’m fucking seriously. Fortunately, I can’t seem to locate it on the ‘net.

    And the video is like…”Oh, if men had breasts we’d do a much better job at taking care of them than you women!” No, you wouldn’t. They’d be part of you–it would be normal for you to have breasts, so you probably would just go about your business instead of ogling them all day.

    What depresses me is how popular this crap is with not only men, but women as well.

  16. berryblade October 7, 2010 at 8:13 PM #

    “Sorry, but I fail to see how breast cancer is sexy, or why we need to use sex to sell men on the idea that breast cancer matters.”

    The first thing that sprung to mind was the Poe quote Dworkin appropriated, about there being nothing more attractive than a beautiful, DEAD womon.

  17. Butters October 8, 2010 at 8:40 AM #

    Good post. There are two problems with this sort of thing, and with our culture in general: it is oversexed (and yes I am in fact sex-negative, which will hopefully bother a lot of people) and it is misogynistic. The misogyny in this part of the world manifests in a particularly sexually explicit way, because that’s the channel available to it here (owing to the hedonism, liberalism and consumerism that is prevalent here, and to the ‘sexual revolution’).

  18. fuzzwah October 8, 2010 at 8:41 AM #

    Please forgive the typos. I have a head full of interferon and tylenol. “We’re should be encouraged?” Ugh. So sorry.

  19. Rainbow Riot October 8, 2010 at 8:41 AM #

    And the video is like…”Oh, if men had breasts we’d do a much better job at taking care of them than you women!” No, you wouldn’t. They’d be part of you–it would be normal for you to have breasts, so you probably would just go about your business instead of ogling them all day.

    Exactly. It’d be the same as women tend to see their own breasts – as a body part that is part of their being. Why dudes can’t understand this, I don’t know. Oh wait, I do. Because they’re obsessed with reducing a woman’s entire life experience to their visible body parts. It’s like men see us in a dismembered way already… which is scary considering how many women are actually dismembered/killed by men. Indeed, nothing is sexier than a beautiful dead woman. With her body chopped up, because we’re totally a vagina and two floating tits. Quickest way to crush any possibility of equal human status for a certain group? Convince everyone else that the “other” is inhuman.

  20. fuzzwah October 8, 2010 at 8:43 AM #

    You might consider, that the sex and humour they’re trying to bring to the topic of breast cancer is more for the women who have it than for the men who like to look at ‘the tatas’. Constant sympathy and pity get cloying very, very quickly. What helps you through your day when dealing with cancer, or any potentially fatal illness, is being able to feel normal and lighthearted, if only for a moment. That’s what helps me. Cancer patient talking.

    Also: Prostrate cancer being treated with grave respect? Surely you’re joking. Do you know what the primary awareness and fundraising movement for prostrate cancer is? Movember. Which is where we all grow whatever degree of moustache we can during the month of november, and collect donations from friends and family. Last year, I raised $150, and you would not believe how terrible my facial hair is.

    We’re should be encouraged to have a sense of humour about death. The alternative is unrelenting grief, and how does that improve anyone’s life?

  21. Julian October 8, 2010 at 2:32 PM #

    “I like it inside the flaming trash compactor with acid-coated spikes that are tearing my skin to little flaking tissues while Big Bird sits near me, wheezing horribly and dying of leprosy, and watches us make sweet beautiful music, showing his approval by vomiting cannibalized dead baby guts all over us.”

    “My murse, that is.”

    That’s my contribution to the direction of the phenomenon, for what its worth.

    -Julian

  22. Ben October 8, 2010 at 3:13 PM #

    I see a lot of good things happening in this blog. I would like to play devil’s advocate where and I can and point out some things about topics and questions that I see.

    Re: Save the Ta-Ta’s.
    Why would this bumper sticker be effective? Think of it in the context of other bumper stickers. To be effective in a medium, it is advisable to match the style of that medium. Many bumper stickers are funny, so being slightly funny is appropriate. “Save the dolphins/whales/polarbears” stickers have been around forever, so the ta-ta stickers use that social background to introduce their own goal (breast cancer awareness). If I saw a sticker that said “Save the women”, I would not know what it meant; “Save the ta-ta’s” is funny and therefore memorable, and it gets the point across in a bumper-sticker sized sentence. If this is not your style, use something more serious, but I do not see this sticker as offensive.

    Re: reducing a woman’s entire life experience to their visible body parts
    I haven’t seen the video, but I think I can respond anyway. Penises are in very close premises to testicles, which are very sensitive body parts. From the time men are kids, we learn to defend our genital area very carefully or suffer several minutes to several days of pain. Given that the penis/testes are men’s only generally-recognized sexual area, they associate their feelings about the groin area to women and their breasts. Often this is done jokingly, because to do so, though tempting, is clearly a logical fallacy.

    Re: This campaign is male centered
    I think that this campaign is trying to accomplish it’s goal by creating a personalizable “code word” (like in clubs that little kids create, fraternities, sororities, your email account, among other ubiquitous elements of US life) to help people feel personally a part of a large movement, while doing it in a memorable, public way that draws the attention of outsiders. Innuendo is one way to do that, and I think it is important to point out that this is innuendo, not sex or sexual imagery. Innuendo gets the attention of both men and women, arguably for different reasons, and this campaign is also available for men to participate in, not exclusive to women’s facebook statuses.

    Re: no one thinks of prostate cancer this way
    When I hear about prostate cancer, I think of penises, the risk to life, and nerve endings being cut. Pretty similar to my thoughts when I hear breast cancer: breasts, risk to life, and surgery reaching as far as mastectomy.

    Re: showing pictures of Haitian breasts
    This idea does sound pretty silly, because there is nothing in the Haitian disaster that would suggest the use of breast imagery. What about the food crisis? In that situation, we regularly see images of abdomens in various stages of starvation, even though there is human life at stake, not just abdomens. I think that this, and the use of breast imagery in the breast cancer awareness front, are each: vulgar, appropriate, memorable, sad, useful.

    Re: getting people to part with money
    Why isn’t the existence of Breast Cancer Awareness Month enough to get people to part with money? Money is only one goal of this month. Another earlier step in that process is helping people to become aware of the problem. If no one talked about breast cancer, then the awareness month would be less of a success. So, it is important to talk about it. Why use all these strange (and offensive to some) ways to do it? There is plenty of information to chase these days; people have options: they can choose what to look into, and how far to look. When trying to push breast cancer awareness to someone not yet involved in the subject, if your first words are doom-and-gloom, they are likely to look elsewhere immediately. Advertising.

    It hurts my feelings when people say things like, “Because they’re obsessed with reducing a woman’s entire life experience to their visible body parts.” Please at least try to qualify this to be less than sexist.

    Looking forward to further comments!
    Ben

  23. OutsideLookingOver October 8, 2010 at 3:24 PM #

    “If I saw a sticker that said ‘Save the women’, I would not know what it meant; ‘Save the ta-tas’ is funny and therefore memorable”

    Read the thread on male entitlement and *perhaps* you might understand just how ridiculously phallocratic, how entitled, how typically thick-male you sound saying that.

    Why is it men bury themselves so quickly with their words? Entitlement Blinds, that is why.

    “It hurts my feelings when people say things like, ‘Because they’re obsessed with reducing a woman’s entire life experience to their visible body parts.'”

    Same suggestion as above.

    Ben, this is a site for women, about women’s reality in a male-entitled world. You must have missed that. If you did, please stand informed. If you didn’t and still posted this… sheesh, you’re lame, mate. Who the fuck cares about your feelings? I don’t, and I’m male.

  24. pisaquaririse October 8, 2010 at 9:39 PM #

    So as I’m waiting to board a plane today, the woman at the Delta kiosk announces to passengers (something like): “And remember folks, today we are donating $2 from every *pink cocktail* to breast awareness research.”
    And she messed it up a couple of times, forgetting “cancer”: ” breast awareness research.”
    But then I thought: no she’s right (by mistake, I’m sure). All this shit about pink and boobs doesn’t suddenly happen in post-patriarchal times. Now men can sanitize their objectification by assigning it to a health crisis.
    And because it’s pink we can rally women without them feeling they are marching too far from the line: it’s gendered and the men are behind it.

  25. Rainbow Riot October 8, 2010 at 11:07 PM #

    Ben – I was not being sexist. I never said that men are inherently inferior to women. I said what my experience, as a woman, talking to men has been. They dismember women in their minds. WE are tits and a hole to most men. I frankly don’t care if that hurts your feewings. I know that men have feewings, too, but this is a space for women. This is about OUR perspective. And yet you had to be typical and turn it into an attack against you personally. This is about all womens’ oppression at the hands of all men, not you and your feewings.

  26. Dee October 8, 2010 at 11:43 PM #

    Not to hate on all the girls, but let’s face it, the primary reason they put up this status is for attention…if they really wanted to spread awareness of breast cancer, they’d post an informative note (you can do that on Faceboook and even tag your whole list of friends so they MUST notice it)…

  27. gare October 9, 2010 at 5:21 AM #

    So if this compaign results in increased donations to the cause, 92 would give it back because it was raised in a way she disapproves of? Doubt THAT

    • Nine Deuce October 9, 2010 at 11:20 AM #

      gare – Should this result in increased donations, we will have that discussion. It won’t.

  28. lizor October 9, 2010 at 5:36 AM #

    Thank you so much for this fantastic post. I was grossed out by that FB request and the subsequent postings, but I felt conflicted, like I was not “joining the fight”.

    Barbara Ehrenreich has written extensively about the infantalization of women in the breast cancer awareness and fundraising campaigns. There’s a transcript of a talk that makes an excellent companion piece to ND’s post here:

    http://www.annieappleseedproject.org/barehar.html

    I remember hearing Ehrenreich interviewed when she was speaking about this spin and her own experience of breast cancer. She said something to the effect of “If I am going down because of this disease, I won’t be clutching a goddamn pink teddybear.”

  29. factcheckme October 9, 2010 at 6:45 AM #

    Lol @ Ben. Srsly.

  30. kristina October 9, 2010 at 9:02 AM #

    Ben, when Rainbow Riot says she doesn’t care about your feelings this is what she means…we as women live in a world where NOBODY cares about our feelings…sometimes not even other women…really you made an example of that by coming in here and making it about your feelings…this isn’t a game of who has it worse…this is where most men fail…they take the situation and say well what you’re saying hurts my feelings…Most of the time when women voice their feelings they don’t want a competition of who has it worse…why is it so hard for men to just sympathize and say…yeah you’re right, that does suck!? I go through this with my hubby all the time, he’s learning but it’s because his feelings are more important in his eyes…

  31. gare October 9, 2010 at 12:17 PM #

    gare – Should this result in increased donations, we will have that discussion. It won’t.

    But surely FB’s 500 million users should be tapped in some fashion for cures to humanity’s ailments, failed attempts like this may lead to successes down the road?

  32. Ben October 9, 2010 at 12:17 PM #

    Does anyone have any links or suggested reading on how things got this way (as in, where did entrenched sexism come from)? Long- or medium-term historical perspective?

  33. Ben October 9, 2010 at 12:18 PM #

    RainbowRiot: Thank you for the clarification of “sexism” meaning. I should have more accurately said that I don’t like to be grouped in “all men …” statements, because such statements assume there is no hope for any men (including me) to learn/improve/understand. Also, thank you for qualifying your statement in your more recent post as “most men…”; I can accept, and probably agree with that.

    Kristina and OutsideLookingOver: I am well aware that I have it easier than many, many people, and I attempt (sometimes by reading blogs like this) to remove those blinders, of which I am also aware. This was the wrong forum to complain about a small, well-meaning comment.

    Kristina specifically: I feel terrible that you feel no one cares about your – or women’s in general – feelings. Personally: though I may fail in your eyes, I do try.

  34. YellowYarn October 9, 2010 at 12:23 PM #

    From the original post:
    Facebook updates about where they like “it” — “it” being their purse — which is supposed to pique men’s interest and get them to think about donating money to breast cancer research.

    What gets me is that EVERY person that I have seen post this refuses to say why when someone comments. So where is it even following that it is making people think about breast cancer research at all, let alone donating money? I have seen guys comment on the posts inquiring about what they mean only to have the girls say something along the lines of “I can’t/won’t tell you”. I have seen girls comment asking what the status meant and then the reply comment has been, “oh check your messages”, not an explanation on the existing thread which everyone can see. Inevitably the inquiring girl changes her status and a few minutes later the same secrecy/inside joke comment conversation begins again. So people are talking, but, at least in my realm of Facebook friends, not about breast cancer at all.

  35. Miss Andrist October 9, 2010 at 8:47 PM #

    9/2 has once again nailed it; not much I can say (I don’t gush praise, I graffiti the link), other than I suppose waxing about how I used this as an experiment to test the effectiveness of my one-woman Facebook campaign against misogyny.

    —-

    @YellowYarn:

    Was I the only person in fact amazed by the solidarity, the united wall of women’s silence?

    What women cooperatively, collectively did not say, says something vastly more important about womens’ shared situation.

    Too bad men are numb to that, huh?

    -Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

  36. Miss Andrist October 9, 2010 at 9:11 PM #

    @OLO –

    —“Who the fuck cares about your feelings? I don’t, and I’m male.”

    Check out male privilege. Ben thoroughly expects us (meaning everyone here, because it’s doubtful he considered he’s not the only d00d present) to care about his fee-fees, because we’re all women (of course we are, everybody here must be) and that’s what men believe women are for: to nurture, and coddle, and tend to men’s, especially his, fee-fees.

    Remarkable demonstration of the objectionable behavior. I mean, it’s seriously like they all went to the same school, or they all got the same script, because every single one of them sounds pretty much exactly alike. They all want to “play devil’s advocate” – oblivious to the disrespect inherent with playing games with someone else’s LIFE. They arrogantly presume they possess the “objective” perspective, as if there is such a thing – and further that it is their place to observe us, as if from on high, particularly to try to tell us why we are wrong when reality is -> women are dying and men think it’s funny.

    As Twisty would say, Ben is a Grade A hanging chad. Tell me I’m wrong.

    -Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

  37. -B October 9, 2010 at 9:44 PM #

    I see a lot of things happening in this coment. I would like to call bullshit where I can and point out some of the crap I see.

    Re: Bumper Stickers.
    “Save the dolphins/whales/polarbears” is not funny, nor is it a failed attempt at humor. If you find it amusing, wtf? Following the same logic of it being appropriate to be slightly funny because many bumper stickers are funny; many people are bigots, does this makes somewhat racist comments approperiate? I thought not. You admit you wouldn’t know what was meant by a sticker saying “Save the women.” Mind telling me from what we’re saving polarbears? Actually, please don’t – I’m a person that is capable of educating myself with this glorious thing we call the internet. If you aren’t curious enough to go find out you probaly wouldn’t have cared in the first place.

    Re: Breasts == Testis; Breasts != Testis; I just want to talk about the importance of my balls.
    Thanks for the anatomy lesson. We’re all well aware of of how important they are to you.

    Re: Nuh-Uh, this is so everyone can be involved.
    If the campaign was attempting to make things personal, they would have focused on saving your mother, your sister, your daughter, your wife, your friend – not two paired mounds of tissue.

    Re: How you think about different forms of cancer.
    What you’re saying:
    Prostate cancer – I think of penises, the risk to life, and nerve endings being cut.
    Breast cancer – breasts, risk to life, and surgery reaching as far as mastectomy.
    What you’ve said:
    Male parts – I think of penises, the risk to life, and nerve endings being cut.
    Female parts – mmm, boobies…

    Re: Why I should be shown breasts
    Cancer affects the entire person. How about we show an entire person? Just like they do when looking for food relief aid – we see starvation eposed ribs, sunken hungry eyes, everything. Lets see how an entire person is ravaged by both disease and treatment. Would you expose yourself in an effort to raise prostate cancer awareness, or would you focus on the risk to life?

    Re: Ask a question and then worm around answering it
    Here, I’ll answer your question for you. “Why isn’t the existence of Breast Cancer Awareness Month enough to get people to part with money?” Because the people holding onto the pocket books don’t care. They don’t care about the lives that it will save, only the bouncy bits of which they may be deprived the opportunity to drool at, unwelcome.

    ‘It hurts my feelings when people say things like, “Because they’re obsessed with reducing a woman’s entire life experience to their visible body parts.”’ Poor baby, your feelings aren’t relevant to this topic.
    “Please at least try to qualify this to be less than sexist.”
    -No. Instead, how about you please at least try to not see this as being sexist.

  38. m Andrea October 9, 2010 at 11:05 PM #

    The only reason some dood thinks it’s important that “some” men aren’t sexist (yeah, right) is because he’s too busy counting the men who aren’t sexist (yeah right) rather than counting the gross amount of harm which accrues to women. Because if said non-sexist dood (yeah right) was really as non sexist as he claimed, then he’d be too busy examining the harm which accrues to women to care about the five non-sexist men (yeah right).

    Women aren’t harmed by one man being sexist on one occasion, for that is merely one woman being harmed by one unfair incident in an otherwise just world. As opposed to a woman being harmed by sexism, which is a systematic pattern of harm endured consistently throughout her entire life. Basically, non-sexist dood (yeah right) is trying to say that his one act of egalatarianism (yeah right) is equal to her lifetime of constant harrassment. Basically, he’s an utter freaking asshole who doesn’t understand the first freaking thing about sexism.

    Nothing is stopping you from “growing, learning, or understanding” how sexism harms women, Ben. You are not HARMED or PREVENTED from “growing, learning or understanding” anything at all about sexism, no matter how many freaking times somebody says that men suck. Men sucking is the entire goddamn point of sexism. If you personally suspect that you might lack the ability to improve your own sad sexist self, it is not because some stranger on a message board whispers bad things about men in general — and your attempt to blame others for your own inability to improve is duly noted.

    That is an enormous guilt trippy manipulation tactic, considering how badly women are already brainwashed and guilt-tripped into compliance. “Make me feel great about myself or I won’t bother noticing how other people are harmed by my own actions and I’ll just continue harming others”. FUCK OFF.

  39. Rainbow Riot October 9, 2010 at 11:32 PM #

    The comment thread here lead me to make a related post about men who want to try to be not part of the problem, yet fail a lot because of the approach we have seen here (“But my feewings hurt and stuff!”)

    @Ben – I encourage you to read more about what you as a man can do to learn and grow so as to lessen his negative impact on women. Start here for an introduction: No Status Quo’s Andrea Dworkin Online Library. Read the speech “I Want a 24 Hour Truce During Which There is No Rape.” Secondly, read Robert Jenson’s work. Like you, he is more sensitive than a lot of men to his impact as a born agent of patriarchy, and tries to lessen that impact by being an ally to us. I wish you well, despite my rage at the fact that no one’s guilt does anything to change things for women or men. The statistics, the discourse – all that is mere fuel. Don’t stop at reading.

  40. OutsideLookingOver October 10, 2010 at 1:55 AM #

    “Check out male privilege…
    As Twisty would say, Ben is a Grade A hanging chad. Tell me I’m wrong.”

    You’re not wrong, Miss Andrist. Unfortunately, chads are in the majority. And I’m *living* the reason why.

    As I told my dear friend m, I see selfishness as a major component of entitlement… one of the main reasons that it is so difficult for men to perceive how dangerous this state of mind is for the ones they profess to love (and recognise/acknowledge that it *IS* a horrible mind-set) is because they *are* blinded by selfishness. Ben eloquently demonstrated this, didn’t he? it was all about him and his feelings. The fact that he couldn’t even see that expressing this in a thread dealing with an inappropriate approach to breast cancer awareness made him appear (well, he was only showing what he really *was*) ludicrously self-absorbed and insensitive to the extreme. Even to me, he seemed ridiculous.

    I say “even to me” because *I* cannot throw stones: *I* have those tendencies too. As much as Nine-Deuce may have queries about gender-confused folk, I do see things about maleness because of this gender dysphoria which I have been dealing with since I was little. The mindset developed because I saw those traits in males around me, traits and behaviours that *were* wrong and I sensed they were wrong and this knowledge gave rise to not wanting to have anything to do with this sort of behaviour. And so little by little it developed into this intense disaffection for anything male.

    But, those traits were there. I was being that which I despised. Those traits are based on selfishness. Which is what entitlement is based on, as I see it.

    Yes, now I am aware of these traits *IN* *ME* and yes, I am doing something about them – dismantling pebble-by-pebble. That is the irony of it. You would think that because I found this aspect of maleness repugnant I wouldn’t have allowed any aspect of it into my psyche.
    But no.

    I hated who my father was with us kids, and who he was with my mum. Didn’t matter, just because I hated it and *SWORE* up-down-and-sideways I was *never* going to be *anything* like him, I saw myself at my worst being *exactly* like what I hated the most.

    I feel like I want to chew my arm off.

    I see it still at work, and I see it still at home: this, *after* having read and assimilated the words and concepts on this blog. It is an ongoing fight.

    But the fewest men will fight it. The fewest will acknowledge just how heinous, how villainous this characteristic/status is. And so women suffer and doubt themselves because the majority rules, so something must be wrong with them.

    How wrong is this.

    I’m sorry this appears to have became a monologue about me: because it truly is not. It is not about me at all: it’s about the need for men to fight male privilege as a social cancer and the fact (as I see it) that few men will see the need. And so we will see self-absorbed jerks show up periodically to whinge about their feelings being hurt. Sheesh.

    Speaking of breast-cancer research (back on-topic, finally): some of the women at work have decided it would be a good idea to raise funds by having a ‘decorate-a-bra’ contest. My ambivalence with this idea is: is this contest once again objectifying the origin-site of the disease (like those bumper-stickers) and taking the attention away from what breast cancer is really about… a life-and-death condition?

    The contest *is* generating funds because all the contestants are donating $5.00 with their entry, and I believe there will be bidding for the winning entry as well. And it is generating awareness more than pink pens and pins. But somehow… bra decorating? How does one tie this in with an awareness about how urgently this needs to be dealt with?

    I ask your opinions on this because I highly value the perspectives I’ve gained from you. Thank you for reading and considering my question.

  41. isme October 10, 2010 at 5:36 AM #

    “I mean, it’s seriously like they all went to the same school, or they all got the same script, because every single one of them sounds pretty much exactly alike”

    It’s something I’ve often marveled at, the way men of all colours, races and creed can all get together and stand united against women.

  42. Ben October 10, 2010 at 9:33 AM #

    Responding to -B:

    Re: Bumper Stickers.
    “Save the dolphins/whales/polarbears” is not funny, but a pun on a commonly known phrase, such as that one, is funny.
    The meaning of saving polar bears is obvious because their plight is generally perceived to be putting the entire notion of polar bear at risk. Breast cancer puts individual women at risk, not the entire notion of women.

    Re: Breasts == Testis; Breasts != Testis; I just want to talk about the importance of my balls.
    Why would you want to talk about the importance of your balls? Someone complained about people relating balls to breasts, on the specific topic of protecting them. I proposed a possible reason why.

    Re: Nuh-Uh, this is so everyone can be involved.
    Campaigns don’t have to be made personal to be effective. They might be more effective if they were made personal, but this blog seemed to be about inappropriateness, not effectiveness.

    Re: How you think about different forms of cancer.
    I take it you mean that while my text says one thing, my underlying point means another.

    Re: Why I should be shown breasts
    You are absolutely right here. It would be more effective and more appropriate to show the entire effects of breast cancer on all the people it can effect.
    If I was seriously asked by an recognized agency to expose myself, because they thought it would help cure prostate cancer, I would do it, reluctantly. On a more likely and more reasonable note, I would support use of phallic imagery in a similar campaign. Again, however, I agree with your point; showing the whole person would be more effective. Very good argument made by you and others here.

    Re: please at least try to not see this as being sexist
    Already done; note my previous response to RainbowRiot.

  43. Ben October 10, 2010 at 10:51 AM #

    In response to anyone commenting on my feelings, I think -B hit it squarely on the nose: my feelings aren’t relevant to this topic. It was a poor, misplaced attempt at using pathos.

    On the main point I was trying to get at: does it ever help a cause for someone promoting that cause to use phrases like, “All [group] are (unchangeably) [some way]“? It garners negative attention from the group being discussed, and it can help rally people of similar opinions, I suppose. But I have rarely seen a case where opinions stated this way are reasonable, or properly further an argument. I targeted the phrase, “they’re obsessed with reducing a woman’s entire life experience to their visible body parts,” in this case, but even in normal (non-message board) conversation I tend to contest phrases beginning with “All women…,” “All [any race],” “All [any religion],” etc., just as strongly. I also apply this thought process to opinions starting simply with, “Women are … ,” “Men are … ,” etc., as they imply “all” to my ears.

    Is it ever helpful to a cause to make statements like this? It seems to me that blanket statements of this sort strengthen people’s tendency to judge individuals by preconceptions (and sadly, in many situations, misconceptions) about the groups of which they are a member. Could that be called, in short, strengthening the tendency toward prejudice?

    To those who say that it is improper to buck prejudicial statements against men in this forum (only my opinion that the statement was prejudicial; please feel free to argue that point as well): does it or does it not further the feminist cause to promote prejudice based on sex, when that prejudice would handicap an unduly privileged group? I do not mean this as a rhetorical question; I have never heard a debate on that point.

    I would also like to know if you think I am misconstruing this whole thing. If I am, I will stop bothering people when they make blanket statements!

    My apologies to the author that this has veered off-topic for the thread.

  44. Dylan .Stafne October 10, 2010 at 12:27 PM #

    Ben,

    Practically all men in our culture DO behave in certain misogynistic ways, but not because of any inherent flaw in men. It’s because we’re socialized in a misogynist culture. Sexism can be unlearned to a degree, and one day hopefully it won’t be taught at all.

    Also be careful about not concern trolling–giving unwanted “advice” to a movement from the outside. Feminists already know how to do feminism, and they’ve heard “watch your tone” arguments before.

  45. m Andrea October 10, 2010 at 5:32 PM #

    Well I’m a little surprised (and pleased, thank you) that Duce approved my comment, since it *was* rude and there were other ways the point could have been made. Yet it’s incredibly frustrating to see the exact same stupid refrain over and over without most men appearing to ever get the point, and this frustration is both normal and expected under the circumstances.

    Ben, you’re asking if there is a distinction between saying “some men suck” and just “hey men suck”. Yes there is, an enormous distinction, and I personally don’t use that phrase for men but for the benefit of other women. Skip to the last paragraph if anybody’s bored.

    One of the primary means by which sexism is perpetuated and allowed to flourish is through the gigantic lie which assumes that MOST MEN DON’T SUCK. Women are encouraged to believe that most men if not all men are safe to be around, that we should give most men if not all men the benefit of the doubt long before men have ever earned our trust. Yet, sexism could not logically exist if the majority of men were truly egalatarian.

    To live in a sexist environement where random assholes do indeed make one attempt after another to manipulate and coerce women into internalizing second class and fucktoy status, is to live in a environment of constant harm. And let us observe your suggestion that women should give “some” men the benefit of the doubt.

    Lest we prefer to forget, many women find the concept of most-men-only-pretending-to-view-women-as-equals to be an extremely uncomfortable way to view our relationships with men while we are busy interacting with those we love and with those who claim to love us; and as a result of this uncomfortable dictonomy women tend to use all sorts of denial mechanisms so they don’t have to think about what it really means when MOST MEN FIGHT SO HARD TO RESIST VIEWING WOMEN AS EQUALS.

    Giving every man the benefit of the doubt without ever requiring that trust to be earned, is just asking to be taken advantage of, when one does indeed reside in an environment where harm is commonplace. And, logic again: it is not possible to give “some” men the benefit of the doubt without also giving “all” men the benefit of the doubt.

    I’m taking a long time to say this, but the whole purpose of focusing on “some men are nice” is to draw attention away from “most men aren’t”. What REASON are you using which explains your suggestion that we not focus on the fact that most men are sexist? Well, your first excuse was that it hurt your fweelings, and now your excuse is “focusing on sexist men detracts from focusing on sexism”. For bonus points, you threw out more excuses, “focusing on sexist men detracts from logical arguments about sexism and causes women to view sexist men with prejudice”.

    • Nine Deuce October 10, 2010 at 8:11 PM #

      m Andrea – Don’t you know I allow radfems to be as rude as they want, but chastise and delete men for failing in the smallest of ways to be perfect? Oh, wait…

  46. m Andrea October 10, 2010 at 10:03 PM #

    Well I am pretty rude Duce, but always “practicing to be better” sounds like an excuse especially when conversation is preferred. But gah, the stupidity as they say, burns.

    Anyway, that last line in my comment would make more sense if it said “focusing on sexist men detracts from logical arguments about sexism and causes women to view [all] men with prejudice”.

    Viewing all men with suspicion is the only valid conclusion as soon as we acknowledge that we do indeed reside within in a system which attempts to marginalize women while hiding behind a mask of subterfuge. Anybody who doesn’t understand that, misses the entire methodology of sexism at square one.

    Hateful people who want to exploit you never just come right out and say how disgusting they think you are, they just smile real nice and act real friendly while they’re stabbing you in the back and stealing whatever they want. Honestly, the Feminist Lite Brigade are some of the most gullible people around… always making excuses for why men can’t possibly be as assholish as they are.

  47. Sargassosea October 11, 2010 at 4:01 AM #

    Yay! ND lives & rocks!

    re Ben: I’ve just realized that I’ve managed to stay away from *well reasoned arguments against anti-male sexism* for so long that it seems like a really, really lame joke. “…nerve endings being cut?!” Yeah, that’s just exactly the same as a mastectomy.

  48. OutsideLookingOver October 11, 2010 at 4:01 AM #

    M Andrea, you echo my thoughts completely. What *you* said so eloquently was what I was trying to say (fairly awkwardly) whilst trying to give a possible reason why no man can be trusted. I’m quite certain it’s not the only reason, but I feel it plays a role why men refuse to even try to detect it in themselves: this entitled status… and all that status implies.

    I’m seeing this from inside the ranks: and I agree wholeheartedly with you.

    Is it just me, or does Ben only answer those who coddle him and his hurt fweelings? Can’t answer hard truths. But then, he’s a *real* man, unlike me.

  49. isme October 11, 2010 at 4:02 AM #

    Ben, do you really think that nobody has thought of that before? If you will read any thread on this blog, for example, you will generally find at least one guy who has decided to enlighten the poor deluded feminists with the revelation that not quite 100% of men are out to get them. Actually, an awful lot of points get constantly raised, the idea of writing up a bunch of stock answers to copy and paste was raised a while back, and it seems like a good way of stopping other posting destroying their keyboards with their foreheads.

    Now, assuming that you’re not just here because the uppity women threaten your sense of entitlement, and that you are in fact interested in the issues, but find yourself a stranger and a strange land (and, from the PoV of someone who has been brought up in 10k + years of patriarchy, the idea of anything else is very strange, you’re not alone there), I’d suggest having a roam through the rest of the blog for a while. Actually, that’s always a good idea before getting involved in arguments on a new site, but in this case, alot of the arguments have already been done with at least once.

  50. Ben October 11, 2010 at 1:58 PM #

    isme – I have read the blog entries themselves, but only the thread related to one other entry. I’ll take a look and see what I can find. As for this case, if my opinion is reasonable, and it has been gone over before, then I have to wonder why blanket statements are still being made. If there is a good argument for making blanket statements (in addition to m Andrea’s), a link pointing to the same topic is as good as 30 minutes-worth of your time typing. Regarding the “devil’s advocate” bit, I used that language to denote that I agree with the general tone, and many points in this blog entry, but am unsure of some bits in it; call it varying degrees of agreement – disagreement. I doubt I went to the same schools as anyone else who has commented on this blog.

    Sargassosea – put that way, it seems silly to bother with “well-reasoned arguments against anti-male sexism.” Part of what I was wondering about as I typed was whether one sort of blanket statement encourages others, even (or maybe especially) those used for contrary or unrelated purposes, relating grammatical racism, sexism, etc. Nerve endings being cut does sound a lot like a mastectomy; my point was to say that I have very similar immediate reaction to both diseases, in response to factcheckme’s suggestion that people think more about the human involved in prostate cancer than they do about the human involved in breast cancer. I can only speak for myself on that one.

    OutsideLookingOver – I have been attempting — unsuccessfully, looking at my word count — to avoid word bloat, respond to people who present solid statements related to my own, and ignore things like opinions about my character. You can assume that if I don’t respond to something, I don’t (or don’t yet) have a meaningful response to give.

    m Andrea – Thanks for taking the time to explain this. I was nowhere near bored while I read it, and you’ve given me something worth thinking about and (to include RainbowRiot in this) to act upon. Also, I appreciate a healthy “fuck off” now and again.

    Dylan – My intention was not to tell anyone how to do their thing, though the well-combed-through poor composition of the 7th point in my original post makes it seem so. Thanks for the general message board advice; I don’t often pay attention to or post to boards.

    Back to the library, k thx.

  51. Fede October 11, 2010 at 4:15 PM #

    Ben, will you do me a personal favour and either relate your comments to the topic at hand or shut up already? Nobody is saying what you think they are saying, you are reading with your male-privilege blinders on, even as you protest that you try not to. Blanket statements are not being made. The assertion “men do this to women” does not equal “all men do this to all women all the time” as you seem to think. You need better reading skills and a firm grip on the basic principles of logic.

    One more time: your feelings, as well as your ‘immediate reactions’ to the idea of ‘nerve endings being cut’, as interesting as these issues might be in another context, are utterly immaterial to this discussion. We are talking about the problematics of cancer awareness campaigns inappropriately sexualising breasts.

  52. Fede October 11, 2010 at 4:15 PM #

    Ben is indeed a hanging chad. Have you folks seen his “if my opinion is reasonable, and it has been gone over before, then I have to wonder why blanket statements are still being made”? I wonder what on earth gave him the idea that his opinion is reasonable. The whole point everyone who has bothered to respond to him has been making is that his and every other asshole’s insistence on derailing the thread to talk about the five non-sexist men in the world is NOT reasonable.

    And again with the ‘blanket statement’ ploy. If he knew how many of the other assholes have tried that one, he would surely realise how squarely he himself belongs under just such a blanket that no one has actually thrown. Oh, wait – no he wouldn’t. Because no amount of evidence is going to cramp the style of the chad. He is dudeifically entitled to seeing the world through his rose-tinted glasses, come hell or high water.

  53. Miss Andrist October 11, 2010 at 9:08 PM #

    @Fede:

    It’s getting to the point where I’m considering taking a crack, the privilege is dangling like a fucking pinata. I was working on a lengthy reply as requested by OLO covering the salient points he raised with emphasis on the topics of the sex-neutral nature of all human characteristics such as selfishness versus socialization, expectations and learned behaviors, and of course, the importance in distinguishing the unmistakable difference between SEX and GENDER. But it’s getting very complex and lengthy (even for me) and I’m considering posting at least part of it elsewhere.

    For now, I’ll just throw this perennial favorite out there:

    Hi, Ben.

    You asked for links? Start with this one; see if you can find where it talks about stuff you’re doing.

    http://www.derailingfordummies.com/

    -Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

    • Nine Deuce October 12, 2010 at 1:50 AM #

      Miss Andrist – Would you ever consider moving to Atlanta and being my roommate/best friend?

  54. OutsideLookingOver October 12, 2010 at 3:09 AM #

    Thank you for the link (for Ben), Miss Andrist. Had a careful read: this information actually put a very important, *clarifying* perspective on the origin-of-privilege question I was attempting to give a possible reason for.

    I’m not really in the ball-park, am I?

    I’m quite seriously:
    1. reconfirming my determination to not permit privilege any influence in relationships with humans around me
    2. looking for means to deal with/eradicate any aspects of privilege still in me

    Sometimes it feels like it’s impossible, but I can’t believe it is. I refuse to.

  55. Fede October 12, 2010 at 4:56 AM #

    @Miss Andrist:
    You do everything right, you know that? If you have doubts about going to live in Atlanta, please consider Denmark!

    @OutsideLO:
    I never thought I’d be saying this to a male, but you can be a bit too hard on yourself, in my opinion. You say you sometimes feel like eradicating your privilege is impossible, but I would say shunning privilege is an ongoing process, don’t you agree? Our culture will keep bestowing it upon you to some extent – although to a somewhat lesser extent than would be the case if you had not already made great strides away from being a ‘real man’. At the same time, you will keep fighting it and get better at that. So you find there is still room for improvement? That’s all right, as long as you keep caring about closing the gap.
    I have to believe that; I’m white in a society that grows increasingly racist these days.

  56. Miss Andrist October 12, 2010 at 8:17 AM #

    @9/2:

    Yes. That would rock and be made of win. I hope you like bunnies. Alternatively, you could come to Austin and we could go to Eeyore’s Birthday. ^_^

    @OLO:

    The origin of privilege? Privilege is simple. It exists in the void created by infringing on someone else’s rights. It occupies the space where someone else’s rights are supposed to be.

    Rejection of privilege is a noble goal but the systemic, institutional nature of privilege makes doing a non-option. Somewhere else on this blog, I wrote a response to somebody about white privilege, specifically my white privilege, which coincides with my social status (there is a special category in society for little white girls with big eyes and curly blonde hair.) Most of the privileges conferred to me happen passively, in the way people (particularly those in positions of power – cops, bankers, doctors, employers, teachers, judges, etc) respond to me reflexively. The only reason I am privileged is, other people are disadvantaged by not being me. I am treated favorably for no real reason; for example, I’ll probably get a better interest rate than a black girl of the same background and income. Why? Because blacks are lazy, or because white girls marry rich husbands? Avoiding this privilege is impossible – it’s not my decision, it doesn’t happen in a place where I can affect it directly.

    The most immediate thing I can do is check my sense of entitlement: it’s really easy to get used to receiving special treatment, so used to it that it becomes presumed. Loss of privilege is always perceived as infringement of right by the entitled. Entitlement would be if I thought I DESERVED a lower interest rate for being a little white girl – or if I thought the black girl DESERVED a higher interest rate for not being white.

    The next, and ultimately more important thing I can do – since I can’t avoid my privilege, or my social status (none of us can, realistically) – is use my privilege and status to equalize the situation of others. I can object to unfairness; I can demand white people listen. If I call out racism in other white people, I can’t be dismissed as “being a victim,” I’m a lot harder to repudiate. I can speak up to cops in ways my black neighbors can’t; I can ask questions of authority figures and expect answers – complete, honest, respectful answers. I’m not afraid to call the government. I can use my advantages to enforce the rights of others, to prevent access to privilege, and to shame and condemn what I can’t prevent. I can say the right words and have them matter – which, in most cases, is nothing more than “Hey, you can’t do that!” It’s not about saving these poor, disadvantaged peasants – it’s about forcing the door open long enough for them to access their fair share.

    -Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

  57. isme October 12, 2010 at 2:08 PM #

    “I can say the right words and have them matter”

    Um…not wanting to contradict you, and I’m only able to speak from my own experience, but when people decide that the THEM aren’t the same as US, they find ways of relabelling any of the US that disagree. The man doesn’t count because he’s probably a fag, the white person has been tricked into white guilt be political correctness gone mad, etc.

    Ultimately (again, only in my own experience) viewpoints which aren’t based on logic don’t seem to be countered by logic at all.

  58. OutsideLookingOver October 12, 2010 at 2:44 PM #

    Thank you, Fede and Miss Andrist. You have given me perspective not only on what privilege actually is (not so much an attitude as something a social system confers/bestows on us, or doesn’t) but more importantly ideas on how to most appropriate deal with this, both in myself (be ever vigilant on not usurping this status) but also addressing it in our daily lives.

    Well, I’ve undermined my effectiveness, perhaps, with years of hormones and decades of hating what I am, but I do still have many things I can do, and many things I can do from a professional perspective (RN) as well as from a personal side. Marginalising myself may attract fire, but in doing so it will draw fire away from those who cop it every day, just for nothing. I *see* it more now.

    Vigilance and awareness is incompatible with apathy.

  59. Andrew October 12, 2010 at 2:54 PM #

    I think Viagra and Cialis have done a great job of saving men’s boners, so there’s no need to worry about that. I especially liked the part about men’s wallet’s though.

    “I like it in the restroom of the bar where I got shit-faced the night before.”

    On a more serious note, I would generally agree that this kind of stuff is counter-productive, at least from the supposed perspective of the charities that endorse it. Unfortunately, breast cancer charities are probably willing to sacrifice the sexual integrity of women over the long term in order to raise short term capital. As far as breast cancer awareness organizations claim to be feminist, however, the above logic puts the cart before the horse. They should not (have to) hyper-sexualize women in order to pique men’s interest. Where they do, and it’s successful, I would agree that the issue is one of men failing to see/treat/understand women as human beings (as opposed to sex objects).

  60. Ben October 12, 2010 at 2:56 PM #

    Miss Andrist – HOLY SHIT thank you for that link. Easy reading and clear. Gonna go read it again now.

  61. Miss Andrist October 12, 2010 at 8:55 PM #

    @isme:

    Yeah, I know. Like I said, I’m -harder- to repudiate. I’ll very probably be repudiated anyway, and I know it, and I can argue (and I do) but I know that the conversation at that point is less valuable than the cognitive dissonance created by my identity. What I’m doing is taking advantage of the fact that the people I argue with identify much more closely with me, often emotionally – othering me becomes a conscious decision, and the seed of thought, the uncomfortable question, is planted whether I lose the argument or not. I can’t count the number of times people have come back to me after “winning” those arguments having “thought about it” only to realize I’m not wrong. As far as capitalizing on my advantage of emotional identification, I have no compunctions about altering my behavior to make it as difficult to make it stick as possible whenever the harmful stereotypes I reinforce by doing so are less harmful than the violations I’m trying to interfere with. It’s a lot like OLO describes: drawing flack, absorbing some of the heat. Saying the right words: “You’re harassing her.” “Do you grab all the women in this place, or just the brown ones?” “You can’t do that.”

    Many moons ago, a friend of mine started going off about hating queers and spouting homophobic bigotry and immediate, overt threats of violence – in the middle of a college campus event. Aside from the fact that half of my friends present were gay, I was acutely aware that this particular college was something of a gay mecca due to its very public policies of tolerance (something like 80% of the population of that school is gay.) So I looked him straight in the eye and told him to kick my ass, because I’m gay. Hit me. Beat me up. Cmon. His stammering response was it was only gay MEN – and I instantly demanded, “Why? They’re even less interested in you than I am.” And I called him a queer-basher who couldn’t just mind his own fucking business. Did I get through his homophobia? Eventually. The important part is that the queer-bashing stopped right there. The gay people present got to enjoy the situation without being threatened or feeling hostility targeting them.

    At a certain point, the probability of failure doesn’t get me off the hook. SOMEBODY has to say SOMETHING. It’s not about the people I’m arguing with, it’s about the people I’m arguing for – win or lose, the fact that SOMEBODY tried – just tried to make it right, to stop it, makes the difference to those people. Shifting consciousness so those people become the important people in the situation can win these battles outright. And what else can I do?

    And fwiw, half the time, I discover most of the people around me agree, they were just waiting for somebody to do exactly that.

    @Ben:

    I don’t think anybody’s ever thanked me for that link before. You’re welcome. :)

    -Miss Andrist
    Lover of Men

  62. isme October 13, 2010 at 6:17 AM #

    “At a certain point, the probability of failure doesn’t get me off the hook. SOMEBODY has to say SOMETHING.”

    Oh, I agree, absolutely. It’s just that, IMHO, it’s not something one does because one expects it’ll make any difference at all, it’s something one is obliged to do regardless.

  63. joy October 13, 2010 at 6:17 AM #

    Miss Andrist, as you may know and should if you don’t:

    You are far braver than I.

    Sometimes, particularly these days, I’m just trying to survive.

    Your comrade,

    – joy

  64. m Andrea October 14, 2010 at 10:15 AM #

    @Ben. Half the reason I was so rude to you the first time is that every time I’m here, a person going by the name of “Ben” is acting like an asshole and spouting drivel. Nice to know there’s more then one, but my patience with that name is non-existent. You might want to consider changing it slightly.

    @Miss Andrist this is probably the best def of privilege I’ve ever read, thank you!

    The origin of privilege? Privilege is simple. It exists in the void created by infringing on someone else’s rights. It occupies the space where someone else’s rights are supposed to be.

  65. Benny October 14, 2010 at 11:33 AM #

    @m Andrea – There, I’ve changed my display name to differentiate me from whatever other Ben there is lurking around here.

  66. polly October 15, 2010 at 1:18 PM #

    Am I the only person who doesn’t see the point of breast cancer awareness campaigns AT ALL? I mean we’re aware of breast cancer, surely, the media goes on about nothing else (usually how eating, drinking, not having children or other heinous acts cause it).

    So what is the point of an awareness campaign? I once saw (and I am not lying, I wish I were) a breast cancer ‘lifestyle’ magazine. Breast cancer as lifestyle? it’s a fucking LIFE THREATENING DISEASE.

    Really the whole thing pees me off no end. YES raise money for research (if you must). The only cancer related thing I will give money to though is Macmillan nurses, cos at least they do something practical and allow people who are dying to do it in their own home, properly cared for and take the strain off relatives.

  67. isme October 16, 2010 at 3:22 AM #

    “I mean we’re aware of breast cancer, surely”

    I dunno. People have to be forever reminded that smoking is bad for you, that driving while drunk is a bad idea and that life jackets exist for a reason.

    On the other hand, yeah, a “raising awareness” campaign is something people to so they feel like they are doing something, not because it’ll actually help, same as most “National _____ Day” s.

  68. kristina October 16, 2010 at 11:28 AM #

    Polly…that’s a great point actually…I think it’s less awareness that it exists, and more awareness of how serious it is..which is exactly why this campaign is retarded and missing the point entirely.

  69. maria October 16, 2010 at 6:02 PM #

    I love that you’re back Nine Deuce, and I also love the new look of the blog.

  70. FelixtheCat October 21, 2010 at 4:49 PM #

    Oh, so THAT’S what that was about. I thought all of my female friends had some kind of inside joke going.

    Seriously though, all anyone had to say is “Donate to end breast cancer!”

  71. m Andrea October 23, 2010 at 8:50 AM #

    Off topic again, sorry.

    Miss Andrist, I voted for your def of privilege here:

    http://undercoverpunk.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/feminist-terminology-chart-draft-1/

    @Benny, thanks!

  72. Bean October 23, 2010 at 3:28 PM #

    Oh, so THAT’S what’s going on. I was totally bewildered by those Facebook updates, so I elected to simply ignore them.

    Four people I know have had cancer – only two of those people even survived (although one survived BOTH breast cancer and brain cancer, incredibly). I don’t recall it being sexy.

    I anticipate efforts to make cervical, ovarian, and uterine cancers sexy so people will give a shit about them.

    • Nine Deuce October 23, 2010 at 10:56 PM #

      God, Bean, I hadn’t even thought of that. I don’t even want to contemplate what the cervical cancer campaign would be like.

  73. polly October 23, 2010 at 5:17 PM #

    Some interesting facts here.

    Let’s look at the salient facts. Twelve thousand women die of breast cancer every year.

    Yet lung cancer kills 15,000 women, but that receives a microscopic proportion of the attention. What’s more, it seems to suggest women with breast cancer are innocent victims, while those with lung cancer are blameworthy because it carries the connection to smoking.

    Seven thousand women die of bowel cancer every year, but where is the coverage of this disease?

    Quite apart from the inherent perceived ugliness of bowels, lungs and other internal organs, there isn’t an emotional pull like there is to the breast. Breasts are attractive and they are nurturing.

    But I suspect if a woman is told she has terminal cancer, is she really going to care whether it’s breast cancer or liver cancer or bladder cancer? Why would it get more notice, except that we understand breasts in a very particular way; they are the symbol of femininity.

    If you were to ask women, ‘Which do you fear more – breast cancer or heart disease?’, the majority would answer breast cancer, even though three times as many women die of heart disease than breast cancer each year in the UK.

    Women primarily think of heart disease as a man’s disease, even though it affects men and women very similarly. Disproportionate awareness of breast cancer brings another risk.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1322339/Breast-Cancer-Awareness-Month-Is-charity-bandwagon-control.html

    And you know what else kills women in their thousands and gets hardly any publicity at all? Hip fracture. You know why it doesn’t get any publicity? Because it’s largely elderly women (with osteoporosis) who die of it. Not sexxayyy at all.

  74. Nine Deuce October 23, 2010 at 11:34 PM #

    I’d just like to report that Davetavius saw a group of female CHILDREN walking around the other day with t-shirts that read, “Walkers for Knockers.” Yeah.

  75. lizor October 25, 2010 at 6:45 AM #

    Not to derail, but we recently had a murder here of a woman who attempted to break up with her partner. She was beaten to death and there is now some question about whether the evidence is strong enough to convict this guy.

    I have to wonder house the spousal murder stats stack up against breast cancer mortality?

    I know that there are more prove-able murders by male spouses of female partners in North America than North American soldiers lost in Iran/Afghanistan.

  76. kristina October 25, 2010 at 8:02 AM #

    What about ovarian cancer…it’s not recognized until too late most of the time because of the lack of severe symptoms…but by that point even though it’s mild discomfort…think of ovarian cysts…it’s still too late… I went to the hospital from ovarian cysts, and was basically told to suck it up it’s normal and sent home…yet one of these cysts could possibly be cancerous..I haven’t heard of studies linking the two for women, yet the symptoms are similar..if you’re not over a certain age, haven’t had children or had kids late in life they aren’t going to check your cysts to see if it’s cancerous…they wait until your ovaries are swollen, and again by then its too late and has probably spread to your lymph nodes or bloodstream… asshole doctors… so once every month I deal with “mild discomfort” in my pelvic area scared shitless that it could be cancer, the same cancer that killed my mom…

  77. Kevin October 25, 2010 at 4:49 PM #

    I would just like to point out that women, not men, are the ones posting the statuses. I completely don’t agree with the whole idea of it, but its not some sexist group of men forcing women to post the statuses.

    • Nine Deuce October 25, 2010 at 5:15 PM #

      No, it’s a society in which women have been told all their lives that all that matters about them is their appeal to men that leads them to post these statuses. Think a little bigger here, Kev.

  78. kristina October 25, 2010 at 6:18 PM #

    Yes kevin way to set up a strawman argument…it’s all a conspiracy… *rolls eyes* Thank you for educating us you smart man you…. LAWD!!!

  79. lizor October 26, 2010 at 7:09 AM #

    There is less concern about other forms of cancer because the survivor is not necessarily marked in the same way a breast cancer survivor is.

    The “Save the Tatas” campaign is not about saving lives or concern that women are dying, it’s really a concern that women will be walking around ALIVE without the requisite Fun Pillows to ogle, grab and of course, judge. Because a woman without Boobies may as well be dead, right?

  80. polly October 26, 2010 at 12:07 PM #

    And if you asked me which do I fear more, breast cancer or heart disease, I’d say heart disease. It’s the reason I go to the gym and endure half an hours boredom on a cross trainer, certainly. Cos I have a very strong family history of heart disease and I know that(or stroke) is far more likely to kill me. That’s awareness. A realistic grasp of the facts.

  81. polly October 26, 2010 at 12:08 PM #

    Ok, I don’t want to get any form of cancer, it’s a horrible disease and I know far too many people who have died from it/currently have it (including family members).

    But losing my breast against losing my colon? No contest really. Liver cancer? Even less contest. Once you’re liver’s gone, you’re dead – bye bye. You can live without breasts. Really very easily. One of the most disposable body parts. And also one of the easiest to examine. Not so easy to examine your colon.

  82. kristina October 26, 2010 at 12:08 PM #

    I don’t think I’d mind losing my ovaries and stopping reproduction of the human population in such a disgusting environment, but again by the time they would realize I have cancer it would be too late…You’d think men would want to save their future drones..I guess it’s because they forget that sex results in…a baby!!! Hell, maybe it’s even a mercy kill (die from cancer, or reproduce)…but I doubt that, probably more like a biological reductionists argument…you can’t have babies so you deserve to die.

  83. Muhammad November 21, 2010 at 4:52 PM #

    Lol yeah, that was a bad idea, if you use such a crass technique to help your cause (something as serious as cancer), what do you expect? You’re only going to attract idiots. If you use a stupid technique to catch people’s attention then you’re only going to bag the morons haha…I don’t know the stats but I’m sure there are plenty of men who contribute to charities focused on breast cancer, I dunno, I hope there are.

    Lol I think it’s kinda unfair to call men “oversexed, clueless jags” and say we got massive egos and whatnot, I dunno…I just think name-calling is a bit counter-productive…but I get what you’re saying.

    Salaam :)

  84. Chel November 21, 2010 at 6:06 PM #

    Just wanted to share the Canadian “Movember” website with you all (http://ca.movember.com/about/). I somehow (somehow? I think I wasn’t on Facebook in October) missed the Breast Cancer Awareness nonsense that you’ve been referring to but I’ve unfortunately been present for the analogous men’s health/November thing.

    Actually come to think of it, I’m really uncomfortable with the super-heteronorm language and direction of both of these campaigns. I was kindly informed by a friend’s Facebook wall post the other day that “November 18th has been declared: “Have Sex With a Guy With a Mustache Day”,” where women could “support “Movember” by making love to a man with a glorious, woolly mustache.”

    Okay, first short-circuit “Movember” with “prostate-cancer awareness month” because that’s what it’s ostensibly for here in Canada.

    My immediate response to reading the above Facebook post was incredulous sarcasm; after spending many months caring alongside my ex-partner for his father who was dying of prostate cancer, I know that there are many things that people do to survive and support one another through the experience of terminal cancer, no matter what the kind. So immediately Movember turned into something strangely aggressive, exclusive, and objectifying. I was kept out of participating in awareness of “men’s health” because it’s a “man’s” issue; but my fun-bits can’t be ignored for long, so if I’d like to sign them up for the Good Fight, then I’m welcome to participate. (Hey hey! Another awesome militarised sex-and-health metaphor.)

    Barftacular.

    I’m not down with the fact that these campaigns are hyper-sexualized — and hyper-HETEROsexualized. It seems like it’s so much less about health issues than it is about reasserting patriarchal gender identities. I mean, how else am I supposed to feel about a “health campaign” that takes its aesthetic cues from creepy 1970s gonzo porn? Is the fact that I feel skeezed out by a dude with a ‘stache so uncommon a sentiment? (Nobody else feels this way?) Movember conveys a message that the only way that men can participate in awareness of a “men’s health issue” is by appropriating a symbol of aggressive masculine virility. Is the experience of the vulnerability that may accompany terminal illness so feminizing or emasculating that only a campaign with this kind of hyper-masculine overtone the only way that men feel comfortable engaging with issues of men’s health? Can it be any more ironic that, given that loss of sexual function is something that often accompanies prostate cancer, women’s participation in this awareness campaign reasserts ‘real’ masculinity through the heterosexual act of drawing the “passive” on-looking woman into coitus at the man’s command?

    Oh, wow, I am pretty far afield from any of the underlying health messages that I was supposed to get.

    I think that this is so politically dangerous for so many reasons, and a lot of these reasons relate to what Polly’s mentioned. They’re onto something when they talks about the way in which the distribution of other types of cancer (lung, colon, etc) — and most importantly, the common etiological factors that underlie most of those – are made completely invisible by these campaigns. The simplistic sloganeering that comes out of a movement like Movember suggests that getting prostate cancer is something that happens -because- you’re a guy, rather than prostate cancer being the result of maldivision of cells -that happen to be in your prostate- (which you only have if you have one, true.) Like it’s something private, that only happens to men. Okay… Yeah. But cancer doesn’t just happen to men. It happens to a lot of people, and men with prostate cancer may have had (or may eventually have!) cancer elsewhere in their bodies. The same with women (and men!) who have breast cancer.

    Focusing on various cancers as if they’re gender-specific health issue takes the political impetus out of addressing the underlying causes for cancer. It’s not just genetics, as genes aren’t a sufficient causal variable when it comes to people having cancer. Campaigns like Movember focus on monetary contributions that focus on researching these diseases. But where does the money come from, for environmental cleanup sites near schools and residential neighbourhoods, for instance? Does it generate political clout and commitment to changing manufacturing processes to avoid the use of carcinogenic chemicals around unprotected workers? Or for addressing the insane substances that are put into food that’s sold in this country? So on, so on, so on?

    How am I supposed to get to those -political- problems from seeing a moustache on some hipster shitbag biking by on a fixie some afternoon in mid-November, who may grow one to be anti-style like all the other cool kids, or then again who might have an uncle dying of prostate cancer?

    To sum up: Dear Movember, what the fuck are you trying to talk about? And why do you think you can only talk about it by trying to get the guys around me that I love and care about to adopt an aggressive, hetero-masculine, misogynist aesthetic?

  85. Kyle November 26, 2010 at 10:57 AM #

    Even though I think most of these breast cancer campaigns you’re addressing like “save the tata’s” are all in good fun and are for a good cause, I see where you are coming from and you bring up a good point. It’s unfortunate that breast cancer gets the attention it does because of the nature of breasts and their connection to femininity and societies tendency to want to protect women, rather than the fact that breast cancer is a serious health problem.

  86. Fede November 26, 2010 at 4:07 PM #

    LOL! Awwww. Isn’t that sweet? Someone who thinks society tends to want to protect women!

  87. Lyra November 5, 2012 at 8:40 PM #

    Oh yeah, lets trivialize a life threatening disease. Lets joke about it. And what happens to those women who loose their breasts, eh? They’re not sexy anymore are they? Sheesh.

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