You’re doing X in spite of Y. Right on. Now how about we remove Y so we can all do A through Z?

30 Dec

One cannot spend eight years reading books on historical esoterica and four years in graduate seminars on the subject of historiography without being forced to train oneself to maintain equanimity of facial expression no matter how many times one is confronted with the trendiest topic in contemporary social science: agency. It’s a trendy topic because it’s obvious and simple, and it allows graduate students who are short on time (and, often, motivation) to pretend they’ve thought carefully about a reading assignment by raising the objection that the historian has not given enough consideration to the “agency” of this or that group of people or has overstated the amount of agency that group of people was able to exercise. So, I’ll admit, of all of the feminist bloggers on the internet, I probably have the lowest tolerance for discussions of the concept of agency, both because I feel sorry for the dead horse and because there’s almost always an element of delusion, dishonesty, or intentional relativism in any agency argument.

The discussion of agency might make more sense in the realm of writing about history than it does in terms of feminism, mainly because there’s no real agreement on the role of the historian in society. Is a historian supposed to tell us how things got the way they are now? How things were at a given moment? Which things led to which other things? Are historians supposed to use the past to warn us about the present or the future? Offer moral judgments? As the belief that the scientific method is the only true means by which one can know anything has come to dominate western (and — at this point — global) epistemology, and as the belief that only “experts” with expensive and standardized training have the cultural and social authority to tell us anything (and even then, experts are only allowed to have opinions about the very narrow subject areas that they’re experts on), historians have moved away from making grand claims and toward attempting to explain “what it was like” at a given time in a given location while avoiding mention of what came before and after out of fear of being accused of teleological thinking or, even worse, stepping beyond the boundaries of their areas of expertise. They can be excused for that. The academy sets up false divisions between disciplines, geographical regions, time periods, and subjects of inquiry that one must tolerate in order to get the funding needed to read for a living. But what that has done to the field of history is fairly dismal. The world looks fragmented, patterns of oppression and violence seem incoherent and quite possibly unreal, economic exploitation appears disconnected from politics, women look like one percent of the population because that’s how much text ends up devoted to telling their story.

Unfortunately, those who write women’s history are often the worst culprits and are frequently guilty of focusing on agency to the exclusion of reality, telling us these women transcended the limits placed on women as a whole, these women resisted male oppression, or these women made lemonade when men gave them a truckload of horseshit and abuse. Usually, these women end up being an infinitesimal portion of the female elites of a given society who were able to exercise a small measure of freedom and write about it, leaving us with evidence that it happened. I’m all for celebrating women who break out of molds and resist, but not when the celebration covers up a reality that warrants mourning, a covering up that often occurs despite the fact that the broader, oppressive reality is cursorily acknowledged in the introduction to the book.

There’s a balance that has yet to be struck; how do we recover and acknowledge the voices and perspectives that patriarchy, plutocracy, and global capitalism have suppressed and silenced without losing sight of the overarching systems of oppression that left us with that dearth of competing perspectives in the first place? Is it more important to recover those perspectives, or is it more important to call attention to the systems of oppression in order that we might move toward taking them down? Do we focus in on individuals exercising agency in a system that’s fucked, or analyze and critique the system itself?

I’m going with the latter, both as a historian and as a feminist, not because I don’t think the former is important, but because the former, while it might make me feel warm and/or fuzzy, distracts me from the work that has to be done. And because, as a feminist, I’m not beholden to the same set of rules I am as a historian. Feminism needs totalizing theories, not micro-histories or anecdotes of individual agency. The fragmentation of knowledge and the emphasis on detail over systematizing theory is a key component in the continuation of capitalism, patriarchy, and human misery. Marx didn’t care whether one factory worker in Berlin said, “Hey, your theory doesn’t ring true for me. My life fucking rules!”

I’m often told that I rob people of agency by making statements that porn is bad, that rape is an epidemic, that stripping isn’t transgressive, that breast implants aren’t a form of empowerment. I’m tired of making those incredibly obvious statements anyway, but how exactly am I robbing anyone of their agency? I know it’s hard to face the idea that one’s agency is limited in a world in which we’re told we are all individuals with unlimited potential, but please have a look around. We operate within fields, as Bordieu would say, and within those fields, our agency is, in fact, limited. Not by radical feminists, but by those with enough social and cultural capital to set the terms of the field itself (which radical feminists do not have). I might ignore what agency you exercise within a fucked system and choose to focus my energies on the system itself, but I can’t rob you of agency or the ability to exercise it, only the system can. What does agency mean when it’s so limited by pre-existing boundaries? Why focus our energy on congratulating people for agency exercised within a limiting, oppressive social formation instead of calling attention to systemic oppression? Why allow seven women’s agency, especially when it plays into patriarchal oppression, overshadow three billion women’s reality?

104 Responses to “You’re doing X in spite of Y. Right on. Now how about we remove Y so we can all do A through Z?”

  1. Boner Killer December 30, 2010 at 11:16 AM #

    As usual, your writing is brilliant and i always find myself highlighted quotes from your blog posts! This one in particular struck a chord with me: “Do we focus in on individuals exercising agency in a system that’s fucked, or analyze and critique the system itself?”

    I believe this is exactly what seperates radicals/socialists/etc and liberals/poMos and libertarians when it comes to feminism and well, most things. This idea that we should accept the fucked up system and try and find some form of happiness within it. Privilege plays a role in what happieness can be found in such a system, for example, people living comfortably somewhere in Canada or wherever else in the “west” can find happiness in such a fucked up system. On the other hand, someone in a bangladesh sweat shop likely isn’t living in such happiness under the fucked up system.
    It gives the illusion of choice, i guess.
    Anyway, this is a fantastic post.

  2. OutsideLookingOver December 30, 2010 at 12:24 PM #

    For those of us not versed in social science, may I offer this quick little read to make “agency” a working concept?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structure_and_agency

    And, for those who want to see this concept at work, I offer this thread on TechRepublic:

    http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/programming-and-development/?p=2386&tag=rbxccnbtr1

    What I saw in that article and the ensuing discussion was this: a man trying to write about the “women leaving the workforce” issue without having a grasp of the key factor affecting this issue …
    and
    women citing their own success (as well as challenges) in that work environment as proof that things are changing for the positive for women, when clearly (statistically) they are not.

    I really hope I’m not derailing this discussion by 1. not really understanding agency and then 2. citing a poor example, but reading this article and ensuing discussion left me with a bad feeling for the future of women in the workforce, because despite all the work done by feminists to enlighten society, no one seems to be listening. Or wants to listen.

  3. EDB December 30, 2010 at 1:11 PM #

    Agreed on all points. Just leaving a manual pingback in case the automatic one didn’t take when I edited my post.

  4. Fede December 30, 2010 at 1:11 PM #

    I would highlight my favourite passages in this post, but then I’d end up quoting the whole thing. As usual you are eloquent, level-headed, and right on the money.

    No more unicorns!

  5. Mary Tracy December 30, 2010 at 1:30 PM #

    OMG!!! What an excellent post!!! I know I always say this, but this time it’s… just amazing.

    I so have to go deeper into this topic. For quite some time I have been seriously stuck in my personal life because I felt the oppresion of patriarchy and capitalism directly on my self. I still don’t know how to solve this. While it is true that the system sucks, it’s also true that this is the only life we have and that we have to be happy.. somehow.
    I would really appreciate some direction into this. I don’t want to accept the delusion of infinite individual agency that the New Age movement seems to believe in, but I don’t want to descend into depression and paralysis because the system is so nasty and horrible.

    Sorry if I’m derailing here. Once again, great post.

  6. Bluecat December 30, 2010 at 4:17 PM #

    I’m often told that I rob people of agency by making statements that porn is bad, that rape is an epidemic, that stripping isn’t transgressive, that breast implants aren’t a form of empowerment.

    My theory for this terribly annoying break-down in logic (i.e., confusing criticism with oppression) is that the cognitive dissonance load generated in the brain of a person with feminist/anti-feminist beliefs gets to a critical point whenever that incongruity is pointed out to them, rendering their brains incapable of rational thought until the threat has passed and the cog-dis load diminishes somewhat.

    It’s not their fault…it’s the inevitable outcome of trying to conform and rebel at the same damn time. It never works.

    Or it works so long as you aren’t trying to justify anti-feminist behavior as “empowerment”. Or trying to justify anti-feminist behavior at all.

    Another excellent post, btw. You wouldn’t believe the number of men I’ve met who honestly believe women are largely absent from history books because we actually prefer staying home and having babies/aren’t inherently ambitious/more evo-psych B.S. I blame that forest-for-the-trees version of history you mention that conveniently leaves out cause/effect.

  7. No Sugarcoating December 30, 2010 at 11:53 PM #

    Every word of this rings true. Whenever I hear a sex-poz or pseudo-feminist try to pull out the agency argument, or slut shaming, a little part of my faith in humanity jumps out the window to its untimely death. I cannot think of another movement that has an equivalent of sex-positive feminists. If a man went onto an MRA site and tried to tell them about how he was empowering them by freeing them from pornography or becoming a stay at home dad, they would tell him to get the fuck out of there. Why do so many people of completely opposing beliefs get to call themselves feminists? According to what criteria is a sex-positive feminist even a feminist? You cannot believe that getting breast implants is empowering for a woman in our society and be a feminist. I avoid absolutes like the plague, but this seems like a pretty fucking obvious one. If you truly were sex-positive, you would oppose the butchering of women’s bodies to fulfill a very narrow body type ideal for the average heterosexual man in the US of America. No sugarcoating, the plastic surgery industry makes money off telling women they’re not good enough.

  8. Miska December 31, 2010 at 1:28 AM #

    Feminism needs totalizing theories, not micro-histories or anecdotes of individual agency. The fragmentation of knowledge and the emphasis on detail over systematizing theory is a key component in the continuation of capitalism, patriarchy, and human misery.

    True, that.

    It’s the main problem I see with funfeminism, or “choice feminism”, where anyone is only ever allowed to talk about individual women and their individual made-in-a-vacuum-apparently choices. The idea that women make up A CLASS does not exist in funfeminism. Well, great. But without the idea that women exist as a class, feminism becomes meaningless. And indeed, feminism has become meaningless over the past few decades – at least as far as the mainstream is concerned – because it’s been watered down into this whole I AM CHOOOOOSING MY CHOICES business.

  9. Feminist Avatar December 31, 2010 at 9:18 AM #

    While agency may well be the latest historical fad, I think it is important to remember that it came about in response to historical narratives that emphasised structure- particularly as Marxist history dominated social and women’s history for many years (so the structure under scrutiny was capitalism or class, with early gender studies directly exploring women as a ‘class’). The concept of agency was developed to try and provide nuance to discussions of the importance of structure. Indeed, the very idea of agency is predicated on the notion that there is a structure within which agency is exercised. They are complementary and related concepts- and it is the relationship between the two that most historians of agency are interested in. The extent to which they emphasise one over the other is where the historical debate lies.

    The importance of structure is also why there is an interest in women (and others) who write or have social and cultural capital (the elite minority)- it is because they have power to shape or effect social structures- including patriarchy and capitalism- that they are worth studying (even if their impact is limited). Some go further and argue that even in everyday life, the resistance made by women to patriarchal structures- their exercise of agency, however limited- can impact on the shape of the patriarchal system, even if it cannot overturn it (indeed Foucault would argue that resistance by engaging with the system, continues its existance). And, this is important, because patriarchy is not static- it is a cultural phenomenon which has particular facets in particular times and places. Understanding why it takes the shape it does and how interaction within and with the system works is a central part of understanding why patriarchy exists and to helping develop effective challenges to its operation. In otherwords, agency is part of the system and has to be understood as part of its operation- perhaps especially for feminists who want to overthrow it.

  10. Feminist Avatar December 31, 2010 at 9:23 AM #

    Which I should add is why agency as used by historians is not the same as ‘choice’ as sold by libertarians who imagine that structure doesn’t exist. While there are certainly historians who deny gender inequality, I genuinely doubt whether there are any that deny the existance of social structure (although maybe that’s just me being optimistic!!).

  11. factcheckme December 31, 2010 at 11:37 AM #

    yes, apparently radical feminists are capable of removing womens agency, but men and patriarchy arent. radical feminists oppress people against their will…but men and patriarchy can only oppress those willing to “let themselves be oppressed.” radical femininsts (all 12 of us) are pervasive, persuasive and all-powerful! men and patriarchy are not. come on! do people and systems have the power to oppress people, and remove/affect their “agency” or dont they? start making some fucking sense please.

    but doesnt make any fucking sense, at all. cognitive dissonace is these peoples normal operating frequency. i suspect this is why transwomen were initially allowed in the door actually, and why the concept of “cis” has been so widely and unquestioningly accepted. its completely normal for pomos to have 2 tracks running in their heads at the same time. i guess we all do, but they are trying to make them both make sense, at the same time. which is impossible. thus, we have “women have sexual agency” being reconciled with “women are regularly raped by men.” hmmm. BDSM to the rescue! violent porn to the rescue! reframing “sex” to include most to all acts of rape is the solution. it dulls the continuous screaming inside the dissonant brain to a dull roar. without solving the problem of rape at all, obviously.

  12. factcheckme December 31, 2010 at 11:59 AM #

    also, thinking about “no other movement has the equivelent of fun-fems.” i agree. i think other movements DO have the equivalent of “let the most self-hating and compliant lead the charge.” it makes the message more palatable, more mainstream. AND where this occurs in other movements, the message, which has always been a message of legal protection and legal equality (and perhaps social “tolerance”), gets through anyway. change, happens. BUT. i dont think this is what fun-fems are to feminism. sheila jeffreys notes that sex-positivism arose twice before (the alleged “third-wave” makes 3) lead by male sexologists to squash radical feminist work, and to DESTROY the progress they made, to ERASE IT. THIS is what the fucking fun-fems are to feminism. and no, there is no other movement in which this has taken place. can you imagine?

  13. skeptifem December 31, 2010 at 3:41 PM #

    “Do we focus in on individuals exercising agency in a system that’s fucked, or analyze and critique the system itself?”

    Those women are part of the system, we all are, and leaving them out of the analysis is as dishonest as leaving out people with more common experiences. If you don’t have any focus left for alternative ways of living then it makes revolution much harder; unless this whole focus thing is a false dichotomy, and theres enough focus to go around. I have seen an awful lot of this focus talk within activist groups, everyone saying what *they* chose to do is obviously the most important thing, and it strikes me as total bullshit. Everyone works on their own piece of something important, thats all any of us can really do. I see the privileged women who overcame circumstances to be part of the practical solutions that will have to be thought up eventually, if nothing else. Power abhors a vacuum, and without alternative models for living people are extremely likely to replicate the oppressive shit they grew up in.

  14. Nelle December 31, 2010 at 4:43 PM #

    The last line was pretty much perfect. I probably would’ve spent 9000 paragraphs trying to explain myself about this , but you summed it up pretty well and in a quick,swift manner. The thing about funfeminism is that they believe they are not open for critique,while radfeminism is most certainly up for grabs,meant to be torn up,and picked apart. Many hendonistic Liberals (and people in general) love the idea of doing what every the hell you want to and not being questioned for it-and funfems are camp members in this category. Choosing a choice that was given to you before you were already bron isn’t progressive or,”free-thinking”.It’s a complete submission to the hive-mind mentality by settling for what’s presented to you instead of making something all for yourself.
    I feel that all women (Feminist or not) need to try to build something that’s our own. No “Pornography,For US!”, none of that. To redefine sexuality means that you have to drop out the old,and build the definition up from scratch again-and many funfems are too busy being so darn cool and sexaaay,relishing in their bastardization of Feminism to give up any part of the patriarchy that objectifies,dehumanizes,and hypersexualizes women.

    I need to bookmark this entry.

  15. Pisaquari December 31, 2010 at 4:50 PM #

    “Why allow seven women’s agency, especially when it plays into patriarchal oppression, overshadow three billion women’s reality? ”

    :) Twinkle, twinkle.

    In an oppressive system, privileged agency (those 7 people) does more than overshadow the 3 billion–it does, in fact, *take away* the agency of those unprivileged masses. This is the missed caveat of hierarchal societies: agency is MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. It’s a zero sum game. Oppressive societies have a fixed amount of power. Sure, we can rearrange it (in fact, we have to to make people think we are *progressing*) but that’s the smokescreen from Puppet-Masters’ fat cigars. Don’t inhale.

    (And, no, I’m not blaming women for taking each others’ agency directly. We are within the confines of a fucked system as Nine says).

  16. m Andrea December 31, 2010 at 5:19 PM #

    What a beautiful position statement, brought a tear to my eye it did. The state of feminism can move forward only because of women like you — you are just a gift, thank you so much.

    But strangely enough, it just occured to me that if prostitutes are so “empowered” then why do they keep getting beat up by their own clients? Is there any other “empowerful” job where the workers have so little influence that they are unable to prevent their customers from beating the holy crap out of them? Or having their employment contract sold to a manager in another country without their consent and forced to travel in a shipping container without having a chance to say goodbye to their friends?

    Any peon at McDonalds has better working conditions than the average prostitute — so does this mean the Micky D employees are “super-sized empowered” or just “super-sized Lite”? I mean, what is it precisely about renting your vagina out by the hour that is supposed to be so “empowering”? Is it the STD’s, is that what makes the job so wonderful? Perhaps it’s the need for weekly AIDS testing? Really, I’m trying to figure out what’s “empowering” about prostitution and I’m coming up blank. Oh I know, it’s the extreme skill required to apply lube on cue — gosh that’s gotta be tricky and of course how could we overlook the horrendous stress of remembering to shave their pubes. The unwanted pregnancies are just a perk I suppose.

    Perhaps I wouldn’t be tempted to insult the hell out them if the people who claim to speak for them were a tad more connected to reality. If prostitution is empowering, then naturally all the incremental environmental factors which encourage and support prositition are empowering as well. Being called a slut is empowering, being raped is empowering, being a drug addict is empowering, wearing Barbie Doll slutwear is empowering, the list goes on. These people who claim that prostitution is empowering are OBLIVIOUS to reality and there is not enough compassion in the world for me to feel sorry for idiots who continually promote, encourage, and defend harmful choices as somehow being “helpful to women”. Up is down in their mind, only because they can’t cope with the idea that maybe men aren’t as wonderful as they want to believe, and then they demand that everyone else go along with their wacked-out delusion. Sorry, I’m not buying it. rant over! :)

  17. m Andrea January 1, 2011 at 6:48 AM #

    Nobody wanted to tell me how mean I was? If it matters, I’d just come from here: http://feministing.com/2010/12/17/their-words-are-killing-us-violent-language-of-anti-sex-work-groups/#more-28153

    Apparently, the NEW worst thing about prostitution is how radical feminists keep denying the “agency” of all those millions of prosititues who went into it entirely free of coercion. If we would just be nicer to them, then surely men would stop raping them. or something. Men rape because radical feminists are rude, woo. Men first began to rape because radical feminists were rude. It’s rudeness which causes rape. Honestly, my head exploded.

  18. lizor January 1, 2011 at 6:48 AM #

    “If prostitution is empowering, then naturally all the incremental environmental factors which encourage and support prositition are empowering as well. Being called a slut is empowering, being raped is empowering, being a drug addict is empowering, wearing Barbie Doll slutwear is empowering, the list goes on. ”

    Yup.

  19. isme January 1, 2011 at 6:49 AM #

    “These people who claim that prostitution is empowering are OBLIVIOUS to reality”

    Well, either that or they hope whoever they are talking to is. Not neccesarily the same thing.

  20. Hecate January 1, 2011 at 6:49 AM #

    Well no, m Andrea, you may not buy it. But the women supporting and going along with the patriarchy far outnumber us, unfortunately. We are supposed to smile while being shat upon, because ‘the culture’ says so.

    I can’t tell you how many women have cussed me out for just saying I felt that child abuse was wrong, for example. Really, that was all I said. Now you’d think that women would stand up for the rights of children, being the ones who birth them, right? But no, they feel a much stronger imperative to defend babyish, whimpering male egos. It’s incredibly sick.

    And so the same goes for prostitution. You are not allowed to even say it is wrong, because there are just too many females out there who defend men to death, even men who are murderers, serial rapists, child abusers and/ or God only knows what else. This is where (non-feminist) women become a huge part of the problem. Men don’t act in a vacuum. Don’t even get me started on the clueless bimbos who write lover letters to men in prison… gives me the willies!

  21. Jilla January 1, 2011 at 12:32 PM #

    And this is what passes for scholarship? I’m not even going to find out where, but taxes pay for this “education”. What would this be; a degree in “women’s” studies?

    The one good thing is they congregate at F**’sting. That means they aren’t here.

    But if we are going to counter this idiocy, I would say, don’t start where the one poster who calls it out starts, agreeing there are women who like it. There aren’t. There are women threatened and coerced into saying they do, women who are experiencing the “honeymoon”, women who are desperate to eat and be warm, feed their children, women who think if they aren’t enjoying it they are dong it wrong (don’t the feminists on F’sting say it’s great?) women selling something who are never going to say or do anything to lose a sale or make the potential client turn away.

    The woman who says it’s great is lying to protect herself and her job, even if she’s clean, swathed in silk and H’Post ink. Even if no-one ever hit her or performed violent sex on her. She does not enjoy it. Is there no one else who does not see, in those F’sting posters, an 11 year old having a tantrum over her parent’s house rules?

  22. No Sugarcoating January 1, 2011 at 12:44 PM #

    m Andrea, I just can’t even at that link. What. the. Fuck? I have only read the first paragraph so far, and I can tell this is truly insane. I was wondering what my first blog post could be, something to set the stage that is the insanity we are living in, and this is perfect. Thank you. I mean…I actually showed that first paragraph to a male friend of mine (who doesn’t know my anti-pornography views) and he agreed that it was crazy. This kind of shit needs to put on BLAST. Calling radical feminists man-haters is not enough anymore..they have to be women-haters too!

  23. whats_with_all_the_XYZs? January 1, 2011 at 12:55 PM #

    @ m Andrea — what’s interesting are the comments, that are actually respectfully handing lori’s ass back to her. so nice to see! (not the ass-handing per se, i mean, but the critiques of that awful sex-pos pov on piv/paid-rape)

  24. m Andrea January 1, 2011 at 1:10 PM #

    I regret going off on the prostituted women themselves, and yet, hello they’re not empowered. That’s the whole problem, they’re disenpowered. If they had all this “empowerment” as the pro-sex-coercion freaks claim, then there isn’t any reason for anyone to be concerned about prostituted women. Prostituted women can cope just fine all by themselves because hey they’re “empowered”. And if these prostituted women are “empowered” then why exactly are the pro-sex-coercion people concerned at all? Why are they sticking their nose into the business of people who can take care of themselves?

    Oh. They’re mad that John Q. Rapist refers to prostitutes in a derogatory manner. If calling the prostitutes rude names is wrong then it’s wrong to call the sexpozzies rude names (since they perform similar work for no pay) and radical feminists are wrong for calling sexpozzies rude names. Eureka, that’s how their “logic” works. Rudeness is a terrrible sin yanno. Selling rape, not so much.

  25. Hecate January 1, 2011 at 1:10 PM #

    You gotta love this quote:

    “The scary thing is that much anti-sex work rhetoric seems as though it is ripped wholesale out of the SCUM Manifesto.”

    :D Ah, the SCUM Manifesto! Such a work of daring and intellect, it’s still threatening to all the darlings of the ‘sex positive’ movement after all this time. Valerie knew what she was doing and I admire her no end. It’s been a long, long time since any woman, anywhere had the ‘balls’ to say what she did, without regret, apologies or smiles.

  26. lizor January 1, 2011 at 1:10 PM #

    That article at Feministing is unbelievable – literally, given that there are no citations to back up statements such as:

    “Abolitionists often use a language of war, and their hatred towards sex workers, which does not show remorse, can almost be tasted. For example, it could be argued that their descriptions of sex workers’ vaginas are more women-hating than those in any mainstream pornography. ”

    and then assets;

    “Taken together, the consequences of this verbal violence by abolitionist groups makes a major contribution to the abuse of sex workers globally, who are paying the ‘psychic tax’. These people are no different from the client who does not want to pay, the corrupt police officer who rapes, or the members of the public who throw bottles and rotten eggs at street workers. In fact they are worse, because they justify their violence as an act of caring.”

    Radfems are WORSE than rapist cops…. yah-hunh…

    Maybe their site got hacked by MRAs???

  27. Jilla January 1, 2011 at 1:22 PM #

    Sisters, I challenge you to post here. The readers of this blog need you. http://bigthink.com/ideas/17882

  28. Jilla January 1, 2011 at 1:26 PM #

    But especially, here.

    http://bigthink.com/ideas/26272#comments

  29. Hecate January 1, 2011 at 2:49 PM #

    Thanks for the links, Jilla.

    I think that what both of them have in common, is that they are trying to respond to sexism and the unreasonable demands of prostituion in far too genteel a manner.

    Also I don’t like this Jessica Valenti character. No wonder the ‘old school’ feminists hate her! She seems to think a woman can stand there looking cute in her stilettos while preaching feminist values. She sidesteps women’s issues in such a diplomatic manner, it’s truly amazing she can still walk straight. She’s not going to change a damn thing, that I know for sure. She’s too much of a milquetoast to understand the value of a radical approach to anything.

  30. Miska January 1, 2011 at 9:19 PM #

    Nobody wanted to tell me how mean I was? If it matters, I’d just come from here: http://feministing.com/2010/12/17/their-words-are-killing-us-violent-language-of-anti-sex-work-groups/#more-28153

    Good lawd. That article is so bad it’s embarrassing. “Their words are killing us”? Seriously? Someone actually posted this piece of crap with a straight face?

  31. Jilla January 1, 2011 at 9:50 PM #

    Hecate, I cheered when I saw that one. I just whooped. Good! They’re reading Solanas!

  32. Hecate January 2, 2011 at 1:35 AM #

    I know it is indeed good news Jilla :) Even young or so-called ‘third wave’ feminists have to concede that being ‘radical’ is about getting to the ‘root’ of an issue. If they don’t agree with someone like Solanas, fine. But they have to give her credit for doing her homework and speaking her truth about reality as she perceives it. So few people around like that any more…

  33. Aileen Wuornos January 2, 2011 at 3:11 AM #

    The fragmentation of knowledge and the emphasis on detail over systematizing theory is a key component in the continuation of capitalism, patriarchy, and human misery. Marx didn’t care whether one factory worker in Berlin said, “Hey, your theory doesn’t ring true for me. My life fucking rules!”

    Agreed.

    Hecate:

    :D Ah, the SCUM Manifesto! Such a work of daring and intellect, it’s still threatening to all the darlings of the ‘sex positive’ movement after all this time. Valerie knew what she was doing and I admire her no end. It’s been a long, long time since any woman, anywhere had the ‘balls’ to say what she did, without regret, apologies or smiles.

    Me too. That feministing article reminded me why I stopped reading there (that and my account was banned.) Valerie Solana’s SCUM manifesto is still fucking brilliant and true today, some thirty years after it was written. BTW, I think she had a lot of ovaries/high balls rather than testicles ;) either way valerie solanas rocks la labia.

    Thanks for the links Jilla.

    Can you be conservative and be feminist? And I think that yeah, maybe personally you can be those things.

    (from the first link)

    Dude, what the actual fuck? Conservatism and feminism are not ideologically compatible at all. Hell, I even wrote a whole entry about it!

    Also I don’t like this Jessica Valenti character. No wonder the ‘old school’ feminists hate her! She seems to think a woman can stand there looking cute in her stilettos while preaching feminist values. She sidesteps women’s issues in such a diplomatic manner, it’s truly amazing she can still walk straight. She’s not going to change a damn thing, that I know for sure. She’s too much of a milquetoast to understand the value of a radical approach to anything.

    Oh my goddess, this is brilliant!

  34. lizor January 2, 2011 at 7:16 AM #

    “Good lawd. That article is so bad it’s embarrassing. “Their words are killing us”? Seriously? Someone actually posted this piece of crap with a straight face?”

    Yeah, the authors and Valenti should look up “Robert Pickton trial” – our Great Canadian serial rapist and murderer who owes his extraordinarily high success rate to the Vancouver Police Department’s utter disregard for the well being of prostitutes – and THEN say this shit with a straight face.

  35. FCM January 2, 2011 at 7:17 AM #

    and YES, this “radical feminist criticism is worse than rape!” meme just reeks of ballsweat. i mean really. the fact that transwomen think this and say it all the time should be a huge red flag, but NO, these pomos are so used to double-thinking everything and seeing things through MENS EYES, this one doesnt even seem incongruous to them, at all. JUST LIKE oh say PIV = sex = PIV as a matter of fact. or that non-PIV-centric sex is ABSTINENCE, or sex-negative. its a male-centric discourse, thats all. its so obvious, once that particular veil has been lifted isnt it?

    MEN read anything that interferes with their autonomy (usually to rape, abuse, murder and colonize women) as VIOLENT, even when its not. and they minimize womens physical suffering, at the hands of men, because it benefits THEM to do so. men do this, and transwomen do it. THEREFORE pomo feminists do it too. they may as well be men.

    http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/is-eminem-a-transwoman/

  36. Jilla January 2, 2011 at 7:17 AM #

    Valenti: Her modus operandi is endemic, in feminism, politics, healthcare. Smile, shine people on, and anything you say is therefore true and good. This is the age of the reign of marketing and public relations. It used to have borders, so you knew it was an ad, a lie. Now, you’re just being negative and pushing conspiracy theories if you don’t swallow it whole. Truth is whatever you say it is.

  37. FCM January 2, 2011 at 7:17 AM #

    if jessica valenti said “feminism” one more time with that stupid shit-eating dick-sucking grin on her face…omg. that was awful. also, i used to have on my FAQ that i thought that people who held the “feminists are ugs” stereotype were assholes…and i eventually changed it to say that *i* am in fact incredibly ugly, fat, bitter, smell bad, have a bunch of cats etc, and that *therefore* everything i have to say is false. you know, just to get it out of the way. funnily enough, people are still reading, and realizing that what i am saying is actually true. even though i say i am ugly! imagine that.

    also, did anyone believe her when she said her biggest influence was bell hooks? please. i think its clear that her biggest influence is actually heterosexuality, and getting cookies from men. DUH.

  38. Jilla January 2, 2011 at 6:25 PM #

    It’s very fashionable among FFs to site a Black woman or other woman of colour as your greatest influence. When I was that age, it was Malcolm X or MLK you cited. Racism trumps sexism with this group. Always.

    (Disclaimer: no cats, smell good, cook too).

  39. Jilla January 3, 2011 at 9:47 AM #

    A bit of a tangent but relevant I think, about why FFs see racism but not sexism. Of course because race includes males. I said “when I was that age”…I hope that doesn’t prejudice me here. Anyway, it occurred to me to look up Malcolm Xs biography on Dickipedia. See anything different in tone, language, and content in the bio of a rebel, rights activist, leader from the Black civil rights movement, to the Dickipedia bios of feminist rebels, rights activists, leaders, such as Melissa Farley? See any white rights people writing Malcolm’s bio and giving us all the contra?

  40. lizor January 3, 2011 at 11:10 AM #

    I have tried four times to register on the Feministing site to leave a comment on that offensive article, but my registration won’t go through.

    WTF? Maybe it’s cross-referncing posters here??

  41. Jenna January 3, 2011 at 11:25 AM #

    Wow, thanks for this, ND.
    I often find myself wondering why it doesn’t particularly appeal to me to work four times as hard as any white man to succeed professionally as a woman despite the rampant institutionalized misogyny. It doesn’t particularly appeal to me because I have no desire to be part of the system at all, and attempting to succeed in it would focus the attention on my individual efforts/agency instead of the oppressive system that made such effort necessary.
    Great perspective.

  42. Andrew January 5, 2011 at 6:32 AM #

    I think this is correct. There is a difference between challenging the logic of a sociological meta-theory and objecting because the implications of such may limit one’s agency.

  43. Jilla January 5, 2011 at 6:32 AM #

    Some notes on words that hurt, but you’ll get over it.

    New epithet for women: women

    http://www.herizons.ca/node/315

    Revisionist history?

    http://www.vancouversun.com/Huckleberry+Finn+edition+replaces+word+with+slave/4059209/story.html

  44. polly January 7, 2011 at 8:20 AM #

    What does agency mean when it’s so limited by pre-existing boundaries?

    I have an answer, though I’m not sure if anyone will like it.

    What I mean by agency is when you have two or more options, which will have varying degrees of repercussions on you.

    And you sometimes choose the one that will more negative repercussions, or the most negative repercussions, because you think it is the right thing to do and/or it is the one that challenges the status quo.

    The example I always use is cotton workers in Manchester, who campaigned against slavery and went on strike, even though it meant possible death for them and their families.

    Options are limited frequently, but there are still options.

    The whole history of worker’s resistance is an example of agency – which is not the same as having a complete free choice. It is saying that out of a limited number of choices, human beings, even oppressed ones, can decide to act in certain ways. Or decide not to.

    Because of course ‘agency’ can also mean taking the most advantageous/easy route for you personally.

    Unfortunately the concept of ‘agency’ has been distorted by the cult of individualism to imply that our choices are not in any way affected by any of our external circumstances and that we should all just pull up ourselves up by our own bootstraps and every choice is 100% free. Which is bollocks.

    And the antithesis of that is the type of feminism (sorry but it usually is feminism) that says women are all victims of circumstance and should in no circumstances ever, ever be held accountable for their actions.

    The truth, as always lies somewhere in the middle. We have choices and they have moral implications.

  45. Alex January 13, 2011 at 8:26 AM #

    Brilliant write up. However, the term redneck is just as derogatory as the term slut.

  46. isme January 13, 2011 at 4:26 PM #

    “Brilliant write up. However, the term redneck is just as derogatory as the term slut.”

    Not really. “The redneck deserved it” isn’t used as commonly as a justification for sexual assault, for example.

  47. Jilla January 16, 2011 at 2:26 PM #

    The term “slut” can and will be applied to every woman sometime in her life, no matter what her beliefs and behaviour, just because she’s a woman. And usually because she said “no” to some man.

  48. joy January 16, 2011 at 11:31 PM #

    What I meant to write on another post, but couldn’t:

    Understand the PIV “debate” by substituting ‘PIV’ with ‘high heels’, ‘shaving’, ‘BDSM’, or what have you.

    You can still “do it” and “be feminist.” No one is trying to take your feminist card away from you (those meeeanies!)

    But you can’t call it a feminist choice. In this culture as it stands, you cannot even call it a choice at all. There is a blogger named Jill, who once wrote under the pseudonym Twisty, who has written about this a few times.

    Being penetrated causes demonstratable harm to women. If you can’t figure that out, it’s probably because you’re rich and white and have access to birth control and abortion.

    Plenty of women don’t have those options. For example:

    Abortion is not covered under insurance in the United States. (Most poor women don’t have insurance anyway, but people fail to think about poor women pretty much 98 percent of the time.)

    An abortion costs about $100-$500. More if the pregnancy is advanced. The procedure requires at least one day off of work. Many women cannot afford this at all. Sure, pregnancy and the resulting child are expensive as well, more expensive in fact, but that’s too bad so sad if you can’t afford an abortion in the first place. Guess you’re fucked. Oh! What else does the word ‘fucked’ mean? Consider that.

    And if you’re too poor to buy an abortion, the odds are pretty good you can’t afford even routine prenatal care. Good luck if you develop a complication, which are more or less the exception rather than the rule. Fucked again! Twice. Or more. Was that consentually? Who cares, when you’re suffering from gestational diabetes and can’t afford insulin.

    Women still die from childbirth. In the first world. In America and the US. Look it up.

    A lot fewer women have ever died from shaving their legs. (Although you can get nasty infections and even lose limbs or possibly die from from that, too.)

    This isn’t even getting into the discussion of rape or “consent.” This is just the purest and simplest fact:

    Getting dicked can mean death for a woman. Even an insured, wealthy, white woman, in fact. But especially a lower class, uninsured, possibly disabled or already ill or addicted woman. (Who may also be a WOC and/or an undocumented immigrant. Bonus fucked-over points! Maybe she’s a trafficked woman or mail-order bride as well. The fun PIV parade just never stops, does it.)

    Getting dicked isn’t a colloquialism to describe a terrible unfortunance, by accident.

    Consider these facts. Continue to get dicked if you want to. That’s great for you, and yes, you can still be a feminist.

    But remember that by calling the anti-dicking argument “quaint,” or denying the harms that other women face, you are looking like a total fucking unread fool. And a rich asshole.
    Also, you may wish to back off the whole ‘radical feminist’ thing, or at least read some Dworkin. She wrote this book called ‘Intercourse’ in … what year was that again? Right.

  49. Aileen Wuornos January 17, 2011 at 1:30 AM #

    The term “slut” can and will be applied to every woman sometime in her life, no matter what her beliefs and behaviour, just because she’s a woman. And usually because she said “no” to some man.

    This.

  50. Fede January 17, 2011 at 4:10 AM #

    Awesome, joy. That’s exactly it. People – particularly privileged people – often get too caught up in whether or not some critique applies to them personally, and they will concentrate on being defensive about how it’s okay for them personally to continue getting dicked, for example, instead of considering the bigger picture.

    We must all learn to forget about ourselves and our particular circumstances and our personal excuses, just once in a while. Focus on the larger issue.

  51. d. January 18, 2011 at 12:17 PM #

    FYI:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/review-finds-disturbingly-higher-incidence-of-child-sex-abuse-in-defence-community/article1873910/

    For the vast majority of crime categories, the DND (Department of National Defense aka military) community has a significantly lower incidence rate than the Canadian population, the report found.

    Several glaring exceptions stood out, however – including sexual violations against children and child pornography.

  52. sehkmet January 23, 2011 at 5:45 AM #

    I really don’t like the way Jessica Valenti does that lilty voice. You know the kind of voice that portrays a woman as child like with her eyes all wide in order not to scare the men. Kind of like val-speak without the slang. Is she trying to attract men? Does she normally talk like that or is it just when men can hear?

  53. joy January 24, 2011 at 1:27 PM #

    Also, re, the dicking:

    I’m not sure why “some of us aren’t fertile” is a refutation of the argument against dicking. Yeah, some of us aren’t, but a lot of us are, and that’s only a privilege if you’re white and rich enough to afford babies, and if you even want babies in the first place.

    Plenty of us ARE fertile, and we often find out by becoming pregnant when we don’t want to be. Social narratives about fucking assume women to be infertile (ie, “we can do this and it totes won’t make anyone pregnant!”), and thus a pregnancy often comes as a kind of betrayal — a sense that your own body just slapped you in the face.

    If the other person responsible for this, ie, the man, is equally confused as to where babies come from, and/or hates and resents you for being pregnant, and/or has no practical idea about what children and pregnancy entail … you have a great big problem.

    In short, this is all a great big problem that “here, take a pill to dangerously alter your body chemistry and possibly but not definitely prevent pregnancy while also upping your chances of cancer later in life”
    or “here, use an uncomfortable and/or dangerous device to possibly but not definitely prevent pregnancy, possibly only if you can persuade your partner to use it or let you use it in the first place”
    or “here, have an incredibly painful, expensive, socially reviled, and potentially lethal surgery to act as damage control for when shit goes horribly wrong” …
    cannot even remotely begin to solve.

    It’s like sticking a band-aid on a gunshot wound.

    And reminding us that, “Well, not all of us even have to worry about it!” is like flipping a giant middle finger while covering your ears and screaming “LA LA LA, I CAN’T HEAR YOU.”

  54. Hecate January 24, 2011 at 11:43 PM #

    That’s so true, sehkmet! I have to admit, I am a bit soft-spoken myself. However, that doesn’t prevent me from telling men to fuck off when I’ve had enough of them. I don’t imagine Jessica ever doing that under any circumstance.

    And joy, you’re so right regarding the pain a woman faces in the reproductive/ contraceptive department. I’m probably fertile – I’m such a nerd, I have the app that tells me when I’m ovulating (and of course tracks the whole cycle overall). It’s for no particular reason, other than my noticing my skin seems to look nicer on any given day said ovulation occurs. But that could well be my imagination! I’m now 38, and the idea of little feet pattering around my even tinier apartment does not appeal in the slightest. I know a lot of people would consider that selfish, as after all, the woman is just a ‘vessel,’ there for birthing the next generation of little corporate soldiers and nothing more. But I beg to differ. My life has many levels of meaning outside of the social obsession with baby making. And I am also being very responsible, because the funds are simply not there, even if I were thinking of motherhood.

  55. Jilla January 28, 2011 at 2:06 PM #

    I think the love a woman receives from her child(ren) may be the only true love she will ever know. I would never not have had children, but I wish I’d had a career first. So, do that. And then that. The things that make having a child hard are all related to the strictures pat society puts on us, and child care et al. IMO. If you have a good career, and can afford *safe* child care (children of single mothers are prey for abuse, not only from pediphiles) and the things a child needs to grow whole and well, don’t deprive yourself of joy.

  56. joy January 28, 2011 at 10:03 PM #

    I fail to see how procreation is a joy.

    Especially if one is NOT rich and white enough to afford having and raising babies.

    As well as a number of other reasons, such as overpopulation, and perpetuating the patriarchy.

    One can also receive unconditional love from an animal, or from oneself. Save the babyist arguments for the Christians, please.

  57. joy January 29, 2011 at 3:43 AM #

    In retrospect, that was hideously offensive and toolish of me to say.

    However, in a patriarchy, women who don’t have children are faulted for being deficient. Women who do, naturally can’t get it right either. Any choice a woman makes is criticized, especially if she’s a mother.

    Children are often used as tools against women, in custody disputes and other legal matters. It’s harder if not outright impossible to escape a bad relationship when children are involved. Prolonged contact with the abuser is always inevitable, unless the mother takes the child and runs, which is a prosecutable offense (kidnapping, interfering with custodial process, etc).

    Even in an ‘ideal’ situation, the problems start at conception, continue through pregnancy, and don’t end until you die. Sure, in ideal terms, it’s great and lovely to have a baby. In practice, you are placed under a social microscope. Everything from whether you gain any weight, to how and where and why you give birth, to how and where and why you breastfeed or don’t breastfeed, to how and where and why you clothe and feed and educate and raise your child, will be placed under scrutiny and your feedback WILL be critical.

    Couple this with social expectations of motherhood (read about that “Selfless Mothers” facebook meme recently? I’ll link to it if you wish), economic pressures, and very real pressures within the relationship that spawned the child, and there are hundreds of reasons why motherhood is not that great. BEFORE we even get to sustainability and overpopulation.

    Plus — if you get a girl, you have created another victim. If you get a boy, you have created another perpetrator. Even if you didn’t want to or you try not to.

    (Again, this isn’t about what I personally do or don’t want. I’d be theoretically all right with having a child under the ‘right’ circumstances. However, it just doesn’t seem like those exist, at all, and “not having children, ever” is not really seen as an option. As much as people think it is. Pets seem like a better idea. Pets or houseplants.)

  58. Hecate January 29, 2011 at 2:42 PM #

    Yes absolutely joy. Of course, there’s also this:

    http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html

    We are well on our way to a world population of 9 billion. It wouldn’t be ‘antisocial’ to point out that a statistic like that is a natural catastrophe. And the only thing that could roll those stats back would be a natural catastrophe of similar proportions. I would be so tired of us if I were the earth!

    By the way, the ‘boy or girl’ question is a very unsettling issue for me too. In our family, we had a child rapist grandfather who clearly was overjoyed when he heard my Mom had a girl. Ah! What a wonderful world!

  59. Jilla January 29, 2011 at 7:09 PM #

    Well I wasn’t really telling you that you have to have one or some. Just wanting to say that I think the balance is good. Also don’t see much in your list of awfuls that women without children don’t experience equally as bad if somewhat different.

    Yup. Animals are good.

  60. EDB January 31, 2011 at 6:18 AM #

    “Plus — if you get a girl, you have created another victim. If you get a boy, you have created another perpetrator. Even if you didn’t want to or you try not to.”
    -joy

    Thanks for bringing up this particular point. It’s something I think about often, but don’t usually see discussed. I’ve never wanted children (for a lot of reasons), but if I ever reconsidered the possibility, I would have to ask this question as a sort of litmus test for whether it’s a good time for myself and in society. If I couldn’t imagine explaining my reasoning to an older child or teenager asking, “how could you bring me into this world knowing what you know about it?” then I should not have that child. And I can’t imagine how I’d answer that question as long as there’s sexism, homophobia, poverty, racism, religious supremacy, discouragement of curiosity and learning, and environmental degradation in our world.

  61. Jilla January 31, 2011 at 6:18 AM #

    Hecate I don’t think population is as much a problem as the consumerist lifestyle of the west and the burden that puts on third-world countries.

  62. joy January 31, 2011 at 12:04 PM #

    Exactly, Jilla, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t in society.

    Just, if we have a kid along, then the kid gets damned too.

    If it’s a boy child watching the world pick on his mother relentlessly, he might think, “OH, sweet, pile-on!” Or at the very least, decide that she can’t do a goddamn thing right, and blame her — and women — for any problems he might have.

    A girl might internalize all the hatred. Wait, scratch that. A girl WILL internalize all that hatred. It’s how the patriarchy perpetuates, isn’t it? How she deals with the hatred is up to her, but it will seep into her soul and she’ll have to live with it.

    Of course I know you weren’t trying to tell us what to do, and I do see your point. I really worry whenever people advocate for doing something the P reinforces in us all the time, though, and “Make a baby, it’s good for you” is one of them.

    The P views all of us as either ‘pre-pregnant’ or ‘pregnant’, like we’re all broodmares, or cows who are bred for veal calves. It’s disturbing in and of itself.

  63. Jane January 31, 2011 at 4:38 PM #

    Excellent points, especially on agency, and concur, the whole pro-sex feminist [and I find the same to be true in the feminist within religion setting to be identical on many points, with the cognitive dissonance, etc–I work some within religion challenging fundamentalist bdsm type of internalizations, same with goddess/occult religions [ritual abuse, etc], to me the have similar lies/Stockholm Syndrome/male violence apologetics and glorification of the submissive female as a twisted ‘empowerment’ that is in no way empowering, and know from personal experience],

    and concur with the poverty/agency and the 7% etc., while millions of others do NOT have that same agency, and on the Mother issue,

    true, true, true, not only that, to not only raise a daughter in a patriarchal society/with limited agency due to boundaries of society, to Then see that same daughter resist the resistance to patriarchy by the mother Because her peers/society and influences have put Mother’s into this scrutiny on Every aspect of her choices

    therefore the daughter in her ‘liberation’ sees no wrong with the system as it is, mother is undermined by both liberal and conservative, the generation gap and husband [who pro-feminist in speech but patriarchal asshole to boot in action/behavior] and then Seeing daughter,

    with this resentment towards the crazy Medusa snake head mother yet demanding her autonomy from patriarchal ‘controls’ over sexuality only to then have to deal with the turmoil her choices continue to cause her, her own cognitive dissonance With the whole rape/pro-sex it’s cute to be a willing divine union for young men because it’s Choice,

    and any mentioning of radical feminist consciousness renders one to be labeled unstable, a man hater, yada yada…because SHE knows better, why they’ve Evolved,

    and I just shake my head in disbelief, disgust and frustration, and I can almost hear the Men laughing in my head,

    it’s a double edged sword that cuts deeper than all the abuse I’ve known at the hands of men in my life, I just don’t get it, really don’t,

    [my daughter is going on 19] so yea, to the whole it’s a Joy to be a mother thing, yes it is,

    but it’s a death to watch the influences, no matter HOW much you discuss with your daughter empowerment and resisting restrictions and not complying with outdated and patriarchal constructs to see that the influence of society, peers, economics [class system, region and race] hold far more sway in spite of harms that result,

    in this day and age [I’m 48 now and can’t have any more children] but If I could, no way would I,

    not in this misogynist rape culture/pro-sex feminist apologetic s for male violence, no way,

    it almost makes mercy killing/female infanticide in some countries, make perfect sense, in other words, I can Understand WHY those mothers make the choices they do,

    and can’t say I blame them, not one bit. This is where the rubber meets the road, and it has everything to do with the

    illusion of ‘agency’.

    Great blog btw, will be reading a lot here.

    Jane

  64. Jilla February 2, 2011 at 7:57 PM #

    I was stating what I think to be fact. The love between mother and child (may be the only love a woman will ever know. She can’t count on patriarchy, she can’t count on her adult children, her male kin, or society as you’ve so eloquently said.

    I still say if you would like to have a child, do. Don’t set the “society sucks” argument deter you. Your child will have a better chance of happiness, normalcy, and knowing, than theirs.

  65. jane February 3, 2011 at 3:45 PM #

    “I was stating what I think to be fact. The love between mother and child (may be the only love a woman will ever know. She can’t count on patriarchy, she can’t count on her adult children, her male kin, or society as you’ve so eloquently said.”

    and this is Exactly the Creation of male-ruled and male-inspired Patriarchy, a woman’s only love often comes from the children she bears [Judaic and the ‘son’] because in Male favored patriarchal [and esp Sons of God rhetoric] the Only value/joy/a tiny reprieve though not for long of the suffering of male violence will be through her birth of a Son/not so much for Daughter, a woman has. Therefore, further isolating her from Any chance of normalicy or happiness OUTSIDE the ‘chattel’ confines.

    Not only that, notice, this part: [because it’s HOW we’ve been indoctrinated since beginning of time] “”she can’t count on her adult children, her male kin, or society””

    notice, WHERE is the Sisterhood in this list? It’s NOT even a THOUGHT, we are So indoctrinated into this MYTH that joy for females is through child bearing, that we don’t even Begin to think, that we can get joy from a Sisterhood,

    Because we’ve been created by the Frankenstein of male-god indoctrinations [via religion, science, politics or philosophy] that OUR whole role in life is as Sex Class and Baby machine [forget nurture, IF the male Frankenstein Sons of God/gods class Truly cared for Nurture they wouldn’t have spent Centuries slaughtering our children and our wombs/bodies so Their pro-mother shit FAILS, 7000+ years of their murdering fruit speaks louder than any of their b.s. doctrines and lying promises]. [not to neglect Mentioning their own abuse OF our ‘joy’, those children, through their Raping them, Torturing them, Using them for their dirty work via warfare, etc]

    “”I still say if you would like to have a child, do. Don’t set the “society sucks” argument deter you. Your child will have a better chance of happiness, normalcy, and knowing, than theirs.””

    This depends on Where you sit in society and Where you sit in the world,

    to say your child will have a better chance, Tell that to the women in Africa, India, South America, Asia, Islamic nations, Mexico!

    BOY children through out 75% of the globe may have [operative word May] a better future,

    Girls, forget it, in fact, not only are their chances slim to none, the Suicide rates [that ARE successful] for Females, young girls/women is GOING UP,

    not down, and That’s not including, the Holocaust against women in Numerous places through out the globe.

    no, this I’m afraid to say, is simply the ‘illusion of the reality of privilege’, and Look NOT that there is Anything Wrong with that reality, it would be nice if it were Everyone’s reality,

    but the horrible truth is, it IS NOT, it is for the RARE FEW of this world.

    As for Joy, isn’t it Time, that young women, learn that one can Get JOY from fighting for a Better world for yes Women, that it’s Noble to lay down our life/sacrifice for OH MY GOD

    WOMEN,

    and not just for de manz, de brotherhood, de Christian brethren, the Nation state, de Race, de Caliph, de Science godbag, de Marxist revolution,

    and all the REST of the Phallic [let’s procreate more of our phallic Seed] garbage while they stand with their iron fisted feet on our backs!!!

    We were told via religion that one day the Son would save the Menz, [the woman was all but Erased], and Here it is, 2011, and we are Still falling for this crock rhetoric,

    and the Sad thing is, we BELIEVE IT, we actually BELIEVE that it’s our Children, our only Joy, rather than our Sisters, [in our nuclear ‘phallic Sons of God center of worship and even better if we bear his seed’] while WE continue to be

    raped, beaten, impaled, and while Millions and I do mean MILLIONS OF WOMEN through out our world, sit and Watch helplessly,

    while their so called Precious ‘from the Sons of God seed’ die Slow horrible deaths from disease, malnutrition, rape/torture, famines, and being used as War fodder,

    for the Fertility goddess.

    Being sold the same damn lie, it’s a Joy to have a child for the God of WAR, machine,

    9 billion? people later, we still holding on to this crock dream lie….HOW many more of our Sisters, have to DIE

    for this lie? How many more?

    I look forward to the Day when Women say, rather than it’s the only love a woman might ever get, when She says,

    OUR LOVE, IS OUR SISTERS, LOVE THY SISTER AS THYSELF…

    and then HER children, will be OUR joy, not just our own, and vice versa.

    In solidarity,

    Jane

  66. joy February 3, 2011 at 5:09 PM #

    Damn, Jane, that is basically all of that right there in a nutshell.

    If for example I had a daughter, say because I wanted to raise another radical feminist, teach her from Day One to be her own person, that her body was for HER and that she could love other women, etc. …

    and let’s just pretend that I succeeded, and she was never raped or molested and she resisted all the bullshit brainwashing and proceeded into adulthood as a full and complete human being identified with other women and ready to embrace sisterhood —

    the fact remains that, even living an austere semiprimitivist lifestyle, I barely make enough money to support myself. If I didn’t have food stamps and other government benefits, I’d be screwed.

    The odds are good that my little girl would be malnourished and suffer from chronic health issues. (From experience growing up on welfare, I can tell you that even a common cold is a big deal if you don’t have health care or a GP and your mother doesn’t believe in naturopathy and she’s at work just trying to make enough money to keep the heat on anyway.)

    Unless I found a sisterhood of other radical feminists who wished to join in a childrearing collective (which then begs the question, why couldn’t I just find emotional fulfillment through them to begin with?), I couldn’t work outside the home without exposing my daughter to the potential of rape, even kidnapping, trafficking, murder.
    Nor could I work at home or on private contract like I do now, not with an infant or toddler in tow. It’s hard to write and research when baby is crying … again … and it’s hard to train a horse for 3-5 hours with a baby getting underfoot or needing a juice or wondering where Mama is.

    So my radical feminist daughter and I would be completely at the mercy of the government, or a man. We would starve, and suffer, and die.
    Unless I could find other women to help, and again, if that were the case, why procreate anyway? (Which isn’t to say I “hate children.” I could always hang out with their budding radical feminist children, and in fact I’d love to, in a situation like that.)

    Plenty of other women in America and the UK are in the same position as I am. And many of them don’t have a radical feminist consciousness, and many of them are trafficked/prostituted women, and so on.

  67. jilla February 3, 2011 at 9:03 PM #

    Our feminist child would have a better chance I might have thought. You’ve snapped me right back into reality: Feminists will rain shit on a woman like any other misogynist.

    You talk about showing love to your sisters? Here I am and what did you do, without any attempt to understand or see what I’m talking about or where I’m coming from. You replace my words with some doctrinaire canon.

  68. jilla February 3, 2011 at 9:08 PM #

    I’m at the end of my life now, and filled with sorrow, celebration, pain and retrospective thought. I can look back almost 70 years and know, the only love I ever experienced was from my child. Certainly, none from so-called feminists who think the measure of their feminism is how vicously hard you can hurt another woman.

    Please. Don’t procreate.

  69. lizor February 4, 2011 at 11:03 AM #

    Great link jilla. Thanks.

  70. Jane February 4, 2011 at 3:33 PM #

    Jilla, one I too am of older age, and my best friend is a bit older than you, about ten years…so allow me if I may, to interject some wisdom here, that is, wisdom from another lens/perspective,

    which was Only what I was attempting to do, in relaying different views, Because our Experiences as you well know, are not homogeneous, no matter how much patriarchy has conceived them to be for the benefit of perpetuating the male domination system.

    Yes Jilla, for numerous women in a PATRIARCHAL society the only love they may ever receive/and know is from their child/children. However,
    in All fairness, and I speak this voice from having Grown up in an ultra Religious patriarchal community [six years after growing up in an occult-government-family in D.C., which is why I do not hesitate to go after the Secular lies rampant today], I am well acquainted with the social constructs of influence including how Women themselves, assist in the belief that only and only by children can they know love,

    it’s the Other side of the coin so to speak…Somewhere there needs to be a meeting in the middle. Reason I bring up the occult influences that I sadly, am aware of as well as the religious, is that they Both are opposite sides of the same coin, and no where is this more manifest than in the lives of women and the myths that have influenced women through out time.

    There Was a time in this society [will refer to Western society, though we must also be aware that Prior to western colonization/Europe, the communal women central/spiritual beliefs had Already been hijacked and colonized therefore there was already corruption in the thinking of women community, in other words, the harms of power politics via religion, progress, war and conquest] but anyhow,

    you blame feminism [and a lot of religious and no so religious women do], but feminism like numerous other reactionary or revolutionary movements is not the root, it is the Symptom of systems that ARE FAILING. AGE TO AGE…that repeats in cycles, but with Each cycle of death-rebirth it expands and the impact is worse with each passing age [what in religion is called Iniquity],

    there was a Time in society, prior to Industrialization, that even in an all male dominated society Women did rely on the Sisterhood for love, not just in families, but in whole communities, and Women who live in rural farming regions [such as my friend] Know this,

    via industrialization and Especially technology [which started with the Chaldean age/of America, those STARS, a.k.a. Hollywood/Wormwood, oh yes, it’s connected] women were more isolated under the nuclear family [nuclear/atoms/electrons/protons, yes there IS a connection and relationship] and therefore Yes,

    it became More of the reality for numerous women that the only relationship/love they had Was in fact, their children. No argument from me there,

    BUT, let’s be fair, here, brutal truth, the influx of consumerist coveting of the 50s brought the Replacement of not only Sisterhood [among the privileged, not so much among the marginalized, fact] and granted Yes that rush of appliance utopia Was a stratification to Pacify the native restless, of that age, Woman, because She was not going to return to the age of serfdom housewife slavery, oh no, not in the West, at the same time however, she [as Charlotte Perkins warned years prior AS did our ancestors of Women what would become of the Victorian a spoiled child-woman, the perfect Doll within the man’s castle and They were right, just as numerous Activist Christian women in that day, also warned], so THEREFORE,

    women replaced Sister and community with objects, so it’s an Illusion to only place blame on either feminism or even men, because women via consumption [regardless of whether it’s construct or not, our Ancestors knew the dangers and they did so warn], so she filled her time and space in the only way she could due to what Man would allow her especially since Man wanted his ‘domain’ back…

    well you know after a while, those objects scream like Yellow Wallpaper [as Perkins warned] and women Revolted…the age of the post-war Feminist, ah yes…the age of Medusa, the meds began to take effect, barbs and uppers and her electrons were imploding in every direction…Because Women are more than simply vagina’s and wombs…our Labia’s Shocking as this may be to Men, do not think or speak or reason for us and it wasn’t going to last forever,

    this numbing of the brain waves that begged for more than goo goo ga ga and spit up and white walls and damn those gawd awful avocado fridges and mustard floors! Sisterhood was diminishing over cocktail hour and the Babylon box, that thing called T.V., coffee with tears was slowly being replaced with game shows [divination–can we say Which door] and living vicariously through Soap operas yet no amount of that soap could clean off the grime of guilt, dismay, and emptiness,

    What was missing? But hey, women competed with other women, why after all, those Starlets were the icons replacing the icons of religion for many and it was the new age of modern man…and by golly woman had better keep up, because Her measure of worth was not as a member of the agrarian community or even the small town farm-industrial community, in which neighbors relied and even Depended on each other for survival, and in Those days,

    a woman’s Love was her Friends, because they were near and dear to her and her sisters, those Friends, were her touch with the outside world…through two wars, Women in Spite of the social problems and prejudices uplifted other Women,

    but you see like with other human species women became more free and individualistic and by golly, they wanted more. Why not, Men had it,

    but in the process, friends became replaced with competition, measurement…why She bought that new car who does she think she is…why Steven, you know we should too move up, you see coveting wasn’t and still isn’t just a ‘man thing’, with knowledge/freedom comes responsibility, ownership–this is One area, where women yes, need to take ownership,

    All of us….so to Blame feminism, for seeing through the lens of a mosaic of numerous walks of life through this maze of finding ourselves, our voice,through years of catching up to the freedom that MEN have taken for granted, is missing it, in a big way, [same goes for Only blaming patriarchy]

    so as to Us only having children to love us, that is Just as much as our fault as it’s a reality….because our Ancestors beg to differ,

    female ancestors that is.

    And they warned us, they warned us, and warned us, through journals [from the socialist feminist who at That time yes was also often Christian, to the radical non-religious feminist, to the industrial labor rights woman to the Calvinist prior to the cotton gin age who wrote numerous diaries detailing the lives of women and the vast amount of labor they had and so on…]

    So were they wrong? I don’t believe so, and today in our technical borg cubical isolationist and Very friendly to totalitarianism age, we don’t even have the Love of our Children anymore,

    society speaking that is,

    but we have those damn malls and mega spending and mega churches and mega movements and by golly,

    we blame feminism!

    Wrong, did we in This age not think, that one day, the piper would come a calling and WE would have to answer?

    And speaking to ourselves here, many of us Yes Jilla Privileged, in a world where millions of women do NOT have the mega luxury but the mega suffering and oppression,

    do WE not have a responsibility to see and try to understand from Their lens? From Their reality? IF our ancestors, could do this,

    why cannot we? Have we become so indulged as Charlotte warned that we can only see in our micro cosmic space?

    I know, my friend, has fought struggles that I can only imagine, and She was of the privileged ‘white’, rural America, raised six children on her own, in HER day women where she was at weren’t even Allowed to divorce,

    married at young age, husband a truck driver who was screwing around on her, She working on a farm, in rural Nebraska, with two burnt arm [due to lighting a fire-device to cook], often smacked around by him and he was HER love, and she Luckily was allowed a divorce, raised those children on her own, working and putting up with men and their advances including deacons and the children somewhat watching themselves, the OLDEST girls having to take on the Mother role,

    granddad the family secret who liked to mess with her and her sisters when she was a child–growing up through wars, the secrets all knew but No one told,

    and the Women, drank…oh they drank, to dull the pain, their reality of adjusting to this new age of progress and rural going urban and sisterhood more and more going Out the window and replaced with the ‘man’ and the ‘children’ and work and things,

    the running joke being NO woman called a man a son of a bitch, bar or work or church, a sure way for even a Stranger man to knock the shit out of a woman,

    but some Dared to anyway–she did.

    A woman who has more Feminism in her pinkie than many young radicals today…more strength than many who are in the military even,

    this frail older woman who has More wisdom, who if the grid went down tomorrow, SHE WOULD SURVIVE, alone,

    and you know the Saddest thing, is HER children, minus one, rarely see her, do NOT respect her, children of the 60s age [the revolution] and the 70s-80s [who are grandparents themselves] and these children are WOMEN,

    whose priority is money and things and they none of them are Feminist,

    all co-dependent on men and spoiling children [and one taking horrid abuse from her husband] and one that her husband IS her job/paycheck…and none of them have any notion as to what Sisterhood is,

    perfect patriarchal wives and nuclear consumers who I don’t think, have a clue sometimes,

    and I can tell you, my friend would strongly disagree with you, that the only love she had was her children…and she’s 12 years older than you.

    Does this mean your experience is wrong NO, nor is her’s wrong,

    what it Does mean, is that one experience does NOT speak for All experiences, we do not suffer the effects of patriarchy in a vacuum no matter HOW similar male oppression might be,

    which IS why, for a centralized one course feminism to map out for All women will not work, at least I don’t think so, this however does not mean I agree with the all over the place feminism either, which isn’t feminism, it’s just the same ole same ole, individual women adapting to male rule the best they can,

    but this I do know, we will Never begin to unravel the cords of bondage to male superiority and male rule as long as we continue to enforce our experience as THE rule for all,

    no matter what the age or region or race or class.

    That much, I do know, and I do believe, that we, because we are human beings Do have a responsibility towards not just ourselves but to one another, as unpopular as that ideal might be to many, so while Yes, having children for Many women is the only love they may know,

    it’s not the solution for all women, nor does it guarantee Love either, sadly we live in an age where parenting is undermined, children are subjected more to the influences of media and the State, the corporate nanny of consumption Disney World Merry go round and those that are marginalized,

    the juvenile systems are full…of course, like always we can just blame the mothers, society need not bother to see Their contribution [lack of community/Sisterhood],

    and hey, if it gets too much, there is always Starbucks, Walmart, Gap and well you know…

    the Other ‘loves’ that fill up our lives, that line our children, while Millions slave away while their children Waste away…

    I will stick my neck out, concur with Perkins and our Ancestors, those women, and say, We need to go back to the values of Sisterhood, stop relying on Just our children, our micro space and ‘goodies’ to fulfill us, to STand up to the Patriarchy,

    and stand UP for our sisters, other women, because SHE is US, for each one oppressed we ALL suffer,

    no nice house or things or children can wipe that truth away, Not only that,

    we Owe it to our future WOMEN, YES THOSE DAUGHTERS,

    whom we vow to love. My friend, was busy trying to Survive, the feminist movement, good though NOT perfect, did fail in many ways, I blame the hijacking of via MEN who were more concerned with their ‘not moving up’ rather than on the women themselves,

    and she was surviving with fewer and fewer Sisters because they Too, were just trying to survive, raise those children, day to day…in pain that alcohol couldn’t dull away, nor can the prozac do today,

    not much as changed, in many ways. I believe we need MORE City’s of Refuge for women and NOT after they’ve all been gang raped like in the Congo,

    I believe we need more support for women With children as well as support for women who Choose NOT to have children,

    I believe we need to end the pandering to male entitlements to sex [and using ‘children’ as a means to that end] and not to say I support the other extreme, I don’t, but so much today is paraded around as Choice when it’s really not Choice,

    it’s just simply, survival…When do WE women, stop just surviving,

    and start Living?

    and not through our children or man or consumption? In our world today, Women are dying, in the thousands,

    so are female children, and the yellow wallpaper is screaming louder than it’s Ever been,

    that was the point, I was trying to relay, children yes are a joy, but they are not our entire Lifespan,

    and they do grow up…I know numerous older women, who sit alone, in houses full of ‘things’ and grieve over their children,

    and yet, we have a society that is rotting around us, Women that is, because we have no Sisterhood,

    we suffer alone.

    And as unpopular as this may sound, this is One area, I don’t think, we can blame the men on…not just men,

    no, this is one area, that WE, must take some ownership, move out of our micro bubble, and reach out, to Sisters, not just on these damn computers [which is just yellow wallpaper screaming]

    but in our own neighborhoods,

    I did…and she [my friend] has taught me wisdom and survival skills and a wealth of treasure, and Love,

    that no, Children are not the only love we receive, not even…they Are a huge part, yes, Concur,

    but I wouldn’t give up the older women friends/Sisters for All the wealth and goods and men in the World,

    no way.

    And I have a Respect, for our ancestors, those women, who Without them,

    we wouldn’t even KNOW what emancipation was, much less, Feminism.

    In solidarity,

    Jane

  71. joy February 4, 2011 at 6:44 PM #

    I’m sorry we hurt you, Jilla.

    There’s nothing wrong with loving your child. That wasn’t my argument at all. I’m glad you had that bit of happiness.

    I just hope other women in the present and future can have something more to hope for. Like a sisterhood.

    Because I see too many of my sisters getting trapped with babies they care about but don’t really want, and Nigels who hurt and manipulate and abuse them, and then they can’t get out. Even though they really wish they could. Because then Nigel threatens to put an ax pick through her head or drown their toddler, or at the very least make them suffer financially for the rest of their lives — and then what?

    There HAS to be something better than this.

  72. Jane February 5, 2011 at 11:44 AM #

    “”Because I see too many of my sisters getting trapped with babies they care about but don’t really want, and Nigels who hurt and manipulate and abuse them, and then they can’t get out. Even though they really wish they could. Because then Nigel threatens to put an ax pick through her head or drown their toddler, or at the very least make them suffer financially for the rest of their lives — and then what?

    There HAS to be something better than this.””

    EXACTLY, and not only that, we know, that for MILLIONS of women through out time that those confines with raising children,

    often has come with the price of ‘submission’ to the male rule, that Same male that is often,

    ABUSING THOSE SAME CHILDREN.

    and yet it’s the MOTHER’S who get the blame and demonization. [not saying there Aren’t women who on their own abuse, know this all to well and write on this reality often] However, all in all the dynamic works in a way that having children though yes lovely, serves to work as a trap/snare,

    and MEN know this…why they are so determined to KEEP women in that place. And the economic powers to be Know this, have since beginning of time [I conclude that religions/occult, monotheist, pantheon are All about this as well, slavery/sex slavery/women as property] because how else to condition society into creating a willing laying down on the altar to slavery,

    do so through the creation of labor via children.

    In Every single pro-children ideology/bent on social engineering women’s minds into accepting this role as THE definition of woman,

    there is always the denial of impoverishment, child rape/abuse that is Huge in pro-family patriarchal societies in every single one of them, low status of women, etc., and well, it seems odd to me, that for those ideologies/beliefs that are So adamant about the glories of motherhood,

    they sure as hell don’t take Care of the mothers, women or Children for that fact. And yet, yes Jilla is correct, for thousands of women that IS the only joy they know,

    but point being, it was DELIBERATELY STRATIFIED TO BE THIS WAY,

    not for the benefit of women, or CHILDREN, but for the benefit of Men, and Male Systems.

    Womb sacrificed [willing herself often] to the male gods of war and goddesses of fertility, with child next

    and the eye and it’s elite, laugh their asses off….forget the father taking the child to the altar,

    they got us So brainwashed with patriarchal internalizations that most, just walk up the steps and lay down and hearts are taken out, bit by bit, vein by vein…or we just jump in the pit to honor the gods,

    leaving the children to carry on one more generation, to work the straw through fire.

    the creation of the Sex Class, the womb incubator to produce yet another child,

    to be devoured, female child especially, yet they claim to do this for our own good and because they just so luv us.

    If we fight against, we pay with our blood, if we submit, we pay with our blood and children’s blood,

    and in both,

    our souls are split, racked, and then, to top it all WE are trained to ‘blame ourselves’ and ‘each other’ for our hellish lives, or turn to some inward illusion of joy from this slavery, from those tiny bits in our life that yes Were joyful and diminishing/rationalizing the horrors as just some freak of nature, bad luck or our own fault, etc.,

    while covering our eyes [for our sanity] from the piles of female bodies and child bodies sacrificed world over, through rituals of violence, rape, and other sacrificial rites,

    the gods feed us, they say, they created all that is for us they say, we OWE them children, and we are Evil to boot, let’s not forget That little gem, after all that’s what we are created for, the goddesses say to relish in this, Never mind the rapes, poverty, gangs, violence, and IF we just obey, why we too, can have the luxuries and mental peace,

    of course, reconciling that the luxury is on the backs of Millions of other women/children. [heaven, and forget hell next door and the cognitive dissonance goes away with the magic wand]

    I agree, there Needs to come a day that there is More to our lives and soul health, than just the bits of joy from our children [who Do grow up and leave home eventually].

    Jane

  73. Jilla February 5, 2011 at 1:53 PM #

    You haven’t read my posts at all. You’re just responding to some track in your head.

  74. Jane February 6, 2011 at 1:55 PM #

    Sorry you see it that way Jilla, because that’s not true,

    but this is the Problem with communication over some damn electrical tech box, isn’t it?

    No, for your information I’ve been thinking about several points you wrote about, yesterday, last night, day prior to that, because That is what I DO

    I listen to what people write on this tech snare box and I pay attention and I then THINK ABOUT IT, maybe I learn something, I often do,
    this may not be norm since it appears this tech snare box is more about people spewing opinion [and nothing wrong with that, Everyone wants to be ‘dear Abbey’] rather than Inter-communicating, just my opinion on this,

    you know Sometimes, oh my gosh, I can read something and totally not agree then a Year later, something will happen and I will remember and think, Uh huh, yea, that’s why they said that,
    and I may not Totally concur with what that person said but I arrive at a Deeper understanding AND appreciation for other people’s views,

    because WE aren’t in a vacuum, our souls are made UP of thousands of words from Others, that we hear or see, whether we Like to admit that or not, so,

    yea, Maybe I’m running from a ‘track’ in my head Jilla, but here’s the deal,

    that track is sorting out what you say, other’s say here and what I come to the table with, which means,

    I FUCKING HEAR YOU, LISTEN TO YOU,

    and it THAT doesn’t count for anything,

    then Why bother discussing at all? What pisses me off, if I can be blunt,

    is that YOU don’t seem interested in seeing it from any lens, other than your own, you won’t even THINK to even consider, that door closed, and so Yea, I can See why, you think that children are the Only way a woman can know love, Children don’t have a choice, but to go,

    yep, you’re right, Adults, that isn’t so easy, now is it?

    sad.

    But then, That’s YOUR prerogative…

    Jane

  75. Jilla February 9, 2011 at 5:34 PM #

    “Because I see too many of my sisters getting trapped with babies they care about but don’t really want, and Nigels who hurt and manipulate and abuse them, and then they can’t get out. Even though they really wish they could. Because then Nigel threatens to put an ax pick through her head or drown their toddler, or at the very least make them suffer financially for the rest of their lives — and then what?

    There HAS to be something better than this.”

    Yes. Thanks. You get it. All you said, that’s why, “the love of a child may be the only love a woman may ever know.”

    I’m looking back. If I were looking forward…? (Sorry for the belated comment. I missed yours).

    I refuse to diss the womanly things (for lack of a better word). Men, if it was a much better world, the one we want, would learn the value of those things too.

  76. Eric February 12, 2011 at 5:13 AM #

    To ND:

    I’m sure I’m the billionth person to ask you this, but: are you published anywhere? I know in some post you mentioned the ‘blogosphere’ as a meaningful medium in the 21st century, but I’m wondering if you ever submit anything to serious journals. You could run laps around half the people making a cushy living in academe today.

    You are fucking brilliant. Like Marx/Hegel/Baudrillard brilliant.

    • Nine Deuce February 12, 2011 at 6:43 AM #

      I’m only interested in being “MacKinnon” brilliant.

      • Nine Deuce February 13, 2011 at 12:02 AM #

        OK, I guess that was a somewhat dickish response to a nice compliment, so I apologize. As for being published, yeah, but under my real name and on a very boring subject. I suppose when I grow up I plan to change that.

  77. joy February 12, 2011 at 2:42 PM #

    Thanks, Jilla — and by the way, when I first responded to you way upthread, I hadn’t read your login name and recognized you as the jilla who writes excellent commentary all over the internecine radical-femisphere.

    I’d initially thought you were one of the baby-advocates who randomly arrives here from time to time. It was only when I reread your comment that I realized, “D’oh!” and added to the reply.

    Looking forward … I’m still at, “We HAVE to be able to improve upon this. We HAVE to.”

  78. Jane February 13, 2011 at 11:13 AM #

    In the news update, OK, so to NOT clog-spam-go on and on with my diatribe here, and so I can network with many of you here,

    I’ll simply post in the news updates on issues I am researching/covering that are related to porn-issues covered here, so IF you want to expand on this, look into or read about, this way, I’m not writing mega paragraphs and shouting out other voices,

    ok, first thing was the herbal ban in UK and Euro, that will be taking place here in US, as of April 2011, herbs will be banned from sale without high end corporate pharma testing in EU-UK, Being that Numerous feminists-women Use herbals, many would be interested in this issue, adding a couple of links here as this is not a alarm piece, this is Really happening, and under Agenda 21 I believe of the UN, the same will be happening in both Canada and USA, this will have negative impacts on women using herbals-homeopathic for healing, for midwifery, for alternative therapies, etc., etc., etc. I should add that in history there was a Huge crack down on women herbalists, via a process called Witch Hunts,

    why I am posting this here, forgive the several links, but many do not think this is possible so I added so the reader can do own research, and if they want to pass the info forward.

    so, http://www.pranapositive.com/shm/

    ANH SET TO CHALLENGE EU HERB LAW
    [link to http://www.anh-europe.org

    EUR-Lex Access to European Union law
    [link to eur-lex.europa.eu]

    Big Pharma Scores Big Win: Medicinal Herbs Will Disappear in EU
    It’s almost a done deal. We are about to see herbal preparations disappear, and the ability of herbalists to prescribe them will also be lost.
    [link to http://www.gaia-health.com

    UK Moves to Cripple Homeopathy & Eliminate non-Allopathic Homeopaths
    [link to http://www.gaia-health.com

    EU Declares Peppermint a Controllable Herb
    [link to http://www.gaia-health.com

    next, saw something on GLP [a crazy board but quite often good news through the grapevine that often skips notice] about the ‘fat policing’ of overweight children in Pima AZ. Ok, sure enough, sounds like another Big Brother Nanny State, but My concern wasn’t so much over the debates going on between right-left on this issue, but I thought, “who defines what Fat is and when does this reach over into racism, such as the authorities of schools telling Latina girls they are not ‘thin’ enough, or what about the subtle messages being sent to Already self conscious young girls who will be under More pressure, to starve themselves,

    on GLP http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1359858/pg1

    this policy sounds more to me as just another attempt for the PTB to enforce some twisted aesthetic using ‘health’ as a means to do so, and what bothers me about this is that authorities who may have their own perceived prejudices can define what They believe is thin, or not, as one poster stated, I am using it because she points out to something that we should All be on the look out for,

    “”This goes on in our school district also. They received some of this grant money. The kids in 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th grades are tracked. The info is then reported to a nearby university for analysis and gov’t reports.

    As a parent, you can opt out of the study but they sent the paperwork home with the kids…therefor many of us didn’t get it in our hands. :/

    My boy got tagged obese too…at age 14, 5’9″ and 165 lbs. He is not a fatty. He rides dirt bikes, does track shot and discus. He’s pretty muscular. Not Fat!

    I think it kinda funny they are going after Tucson, AZ. A large majority of the pop is Hispanic. Are they going to ban the lard they make re-fried beans with. Please ban Meneudo!!! It is just wrong to have a pig face staring out of the soup pot at you!!!””

    So, gov grants to schools who may have already racist, sexist authorities will NOW be doing ‘body inspections’ and IF those inspections do not pass according to Their definition, of proper weight, such as girls with curves,

    the parents are then targeted for reprimand, even possible Child Protective Services,

    what is So disturbing about this, is the high possibility of Abuse, abuse of young women is already High in schools,

    now This? I included this, because of the discussions on porn-the body self harm, i.e. bleaching rectums, so forth,

    thought many of you would want to explore this topic in more depth.

    OK, well that’s it,

    Peace,

    Jane

  79. Jilla February 15, 2011 at 7:45 PM #

    Joy! I’m neither of those women you described. Just me, presently reading mostly but some interjecting at Miska’s and FCM. With several of my old homies.

    See ya there.

  80. Z February 16, 2011 at 10:26 PM #

    This is a great post.

    I am old, so I remember the times when agency was not discussed. I remember writing papers in school, saying, but what this writer and others like him/her is claiming, is agency. And it was a new idea, and the professors didn’t get it, but I was right.

    Now, however, things are as you say.

  81. madi March 2, 2011 at 11:37 AM #

    …the work that needs to be done. What should I be doing? Is gettin’ myself some book learnin’ enough, or should I be making a point to put all this knowledge out into the world?

    Also: utopia. Myth?

  82. m Andrea March 11, 2011 at 12:34 PM #

    Was gonna quote the enormous paragraph, but this one is shorter:

    Why focus our energy on congratulating people for agency exercised within a limiting, oppressive social formation instead of calling attention to systemic oppression? Why allow seven women’s agency, especially when it plays into patriarchal oppression, overshadow three billion women’s reality?

    Woot, the future bodes well with feminist historians like you!! It drives me nuts the way teachers will ignore the systematic harms experienced by the average woman of previous eras while teaching Woman’s History Month; preferring instead to only focus on the accomplishmenst of three women. They end up giving the students the impression (especially the boys) that women’s liberation begins and ends with the right to vote.

    It’s especially galling because these same teachers will make a deliberate effort to emphasize all the various racist dehumanizations suffered by previous generations during Black History Month. It’s like the teachers have blinders on. I think it’s denial, they just don’t want to think too hard about the bullshit men have inflicted onto the women who men claimed to have loved as equals.

    I’m only interested in being “MacKinnon” brilliant.

    Holy shit, you’re almost there now. (And sorry for derailing earlier…)

  83. pisaquari March 12, 2011 at 10:55 AM #

    “Also: utopia. Myth?”

    No. That’s what the boys tell us so we won’t arrive at logical conclusions–and logical conclusions never render their continued existence.

  84. Jane March 12, 2011 at 10:15 PM #

    Off topic [actually way off but important], in light of the nuclear meltdown in Japan , not sure how many of you read up on alternative news sites, green sites, even what is known as conspiracy sites, but I do, and I’ve been keeping up with the potential and very real dangers of fallout. There are safety measures, not fail proof but some that can save lives, the local media downplays the dangers, of course to prevent panic. I also think because of just how society/media/gov is, in MHO.

    Anyway, the dangers are worse for mothers who are pregnant and for small children, therefore I am posting some links here to a site, for your information, it’s good to have on hand…

    years and years ago, in my younger days, I did some work researching nuclear plants, when I worked some with the Peace Farm, TX, near Pantex. I didn’t get very involved as it wasn’t one of the issues I was passionate about–human rights and women’s rights was my issue, But I remember, the numerous things I read so that is why I’ve been keeping up with the science side of things [that are NOT being told on media until After the fact], anyway, as a Sister, I am sharing this,

    if you live on West Coast/or in South-to Midwest, stock up on iodine, potassium IF you can find it [some of the places are sold out], if not, get iodine [outward bodily use Only, it’s poisonous to ingest] for you/family, etc. Also sea kelp tablets help, there is on GLP, if you can tolerate some of the more ‘outthere’ politically comments, some really good info by serious engineers, scientists, environmentalists, on what is going on with the nuclear plants in Japan–go to God Like Productions, it’s one of the best Because of the one, numerous Different opinions with empirical data though you have to do your OWN research and weed through, but it’s good reference point,

    and also, http://www.ki4u.com/illwind.htm

    these are nuclear experts. Look I post this, asking you all to Pass this info forward, even if many think it’s over-reacting or not necessary, Even if one doesn’t respond, Having the information, is better than no information at all, especially in case the Level goes to a 7, it’s now at a 4. What many don’t understand is that the use of Mox Fuel, which is uranium/plutonium from broken down nuclear weapons, is at the core of these reactors, we do not have the experience with one of These melting down, so we are on uncharted waters here, one of the reactors in Japan is using Mox fuel, this is what is concerning many in the science fields. [nuclear, physics, etc]

    This is not a subject you would find on numerous women’s blogs, why I think it Should be posted, so I am doing so,

    I will also be posting on my blog, what I can find, for women and survival, recent updates including weather jet stream maps, so forth.

    I will immediately begin to post a series on this, for Women, surviving a nuclear emergency, radioactive fallout.

    In solidarity,

    Jane

  85. Jane March 13, 2011 at 12:26 PM #

    just updating you all to let you know I have added some things to blog for Women and Survival–will be working on these series for some time, Maybe even adding a Sister blog on this,

    so, one thing, that I did think of that I didn’t see on most emerg prep sites, IF you live around water, coastal or Flood areas, Do me a favor,

    Before you purchase a new computer or Ipad or what have you, BUY A LIFE PRESERVER, HEAD GEAR AND even a LIFE RAFT. I was thinking on this while watching the many videos, of the one thing that stood out the most, was how many filmed [you tube] their t.v.’s and cell-camara phones and new bikes and cars, but NO LIFE PRESERVERS near water ways????????

    You know our ancestors [Women] wise women would be shaking their heads, I think This is the type of knowledge, that we women Need to go back to learning–

    these things should NOT just be for Men and para-military groups.

    OUR LIVES ARE WORTH THAT! Female Lives that is!!!

    In solidarity, Peace

    Jane

  86. isme March 14, 2011 at 6:00 AM #

    “the local media downplays the dangers, of course to prevent panic”

    Not really, it seems they are exagerating the dangers because bad news sells better. Scientists are saying rather different things than journalists.

    The “dangers” of nuclear plants shown in Japan has got people in Russia up in arms…they seem to have forgotten which nation has the greatest arsenal of nuclear devices.

    “Before you purchase a new computer or Ipad or what have you, BUY A LIFE PRESERVER, HEAD GEAR AND even a LIFE RAFT. I was thinking on this while watching the many videos, of the one thing that stood out the most, was how many filmed [you tube] their t.v.’s and cell-camara phones and new bikes and cars, but NO LIFE PRESERVERS near water ways????????”

    People were filming from mobile phones, which they would tend to have on them…people aren’t going to go about their business on dry land, in their own homes, wearing life jackets.

    Having said that, at least in my country, 90% of deaths due to boating accidents happen when the person is too stupid to be wearing a life jacket in the boat. Any number of accidents are caused by being drunk on the water as well.

  87. Jane March 14, 2011 at 12:48 PM #

    Well I live near a once destructive [and the land Still poisoned] nuclear facility, I trust the gov and media about as much as a cobra in my bed…enough said there, [we have high MS and Cancer rates here]

    the MOX fuel rods used in #reactor 3 is nothing to trivialize, we’re talking mega times Chernobyl. And we’re talking not one reactor partial meltdown, but three going on who Knows how many reactors and complete meltdown or ‘China Syndrome’, that and one reactor was Already scheduled for shut down due to problems and age, that and Japan has in past, not to long ago had issues with their reactors and known to lie, even putting out ‘Pluto, anime, plutonium is your friend’ to offset the public scare, to assure that nuclear energy is safe, etc.’

    I beg to differ–the Record History of gov testing and the illness of tested subjects, have in of themselves enough proof [and not just nuclear, other toxins dumped into rivers, landfills, etc that have slowly Killed residents near by] to Show, that our reliance and trust of the big boy apparatus is pre-mature and dangerous. This also, I will add, is due to the FACT that many who have died horrible deaths, ARE people in areas where they are marginalized and I do count this, as a result of geopolitical racism…I’m not afraid to say it either.

    When push comes to shove, Science Elites have proven without shadow of a doubt, that when it comes to technical and scientific ‘progress’, humans don’t matter that much–it’s all for the benefit of human progress to them–THEIR progress. And when SHTF, the common masses are then expected to take in in stride–and SAD thing is, most of the Sheeple do.

    This isn’t conspiracy, this is just how it is…but WE’VE allowed it to be, for YEARS we’ve had the Warnings, they are scoffed at, All media has to do is say, ‘oh it’s all under control’ and Bobby and Susie go back to business as usual.

    So, NO, I don’t go by what media or ‘experts’ Paid by corporate interests say, and I think it’s suicidal to do so—However, that being said,

    there is the Other extreme in over-reacting and panic, which in light of the severity of the situation is understood, but Education is knowledge, and I don’t mean education being SPOON FED by MASS MEDIA, but doing one’s OWN research and CROSS EXAMINATION. We tend to as humans I think look for what WE want to hear–and then stick to that, to alleviate fear. Not wise,

    I suggest cross examine and then pull out the common threads between the two…and from what I’ve done on this reactor/nuclear disaster happening, we are in no way Safe, but we are not in some immediate nuclear holocaust either, Yet–and emphasis on Yet,

    1. we simply do not know what MOX [plutonium] melt down IS going to do, so we don’t have past record of measurement, we also don’t know the amounts of radiation in the reactors, what has been released, etc., so we’re really in a quagmire right now. I don’t think it’s good for Japan, will say that much.

    2. we do not know HOW long the plutonium will radiate, it has a life redistribution that is just unreal, so it’s not like uranium, which is bad enough–WE simply don’t know, we are on uncharted waters here so to assume all is well is just asinine, to say the least.

    3. this isn’t going to be over, not by a long shot…we are now going to be dealing with this, for a very, very long time, and IF any more reactors go off or into meltdown I can’t even begin to say just what we are looking at, but I can say this, IT’S NOT GOOD.

    4. as for radioactive fall out, I suggest people look at the weather jet stream, keep eye on the noted radioactive measurements, rems, rads, etc., and then take appropriate measures with what they can, that’s all we really can do, the EPA in CA I know, hasn’t confirmed but are discussing evacuation if necessary, the fact they are Doing this, shows me, to Ignore the dangers, is downright Stupid. IF you don’t have iodine or potassium iodine [sic], get some. It’s NOT a cure all, it only protects from thyroid but it’s better than nothing. And take other measures such as safe spot in home, materials to block outer air IF necessary for the allotted time needed and stored food and water. This is in worse case scenario–the problem with plutonium and what we are looking at here, is the radiation elements could be released for years on end, again, we simply do not know-

    but I think it would be wise to do as much prep as one can, without getting all freaked out–Look it’s kind of like this, IF it gets bad, like really bad, not much we can do about it anyway, one has a choice, bunker down and live in darkness and isolation and fear

    or, just live and well, die sooner. WE all die anyway, eventually, what IS horrific is the children, that I well, that just sucks, no way around it, but This is what our ‘toys’ and ‘convenience’ has done, sad to say, we take things that are not Natural out of earth, for convenience, and then we wonder why it reacts in negative ways, I mean, it’s to be expected eh? IF we were meant to Have and Live by nuclear energy then it would be abundant without us having to dig for it and put it in all kinds of containment and having to risk human lives in experimentation to see what doses kill [all through 50s OUR gov did this shit] and all that that Goes with it,

    because all in all, the bombs made, with materials that cannot be just ‘disposed of’, those materials had to be used, justified, it’s all Super Power and SECURITY,ah yes, so we can send penis injected poisons back and forth, or penis injected poisons in containment so we can Light up Neon signs for Red Light Districts!

    And now Mother Nature says, Enough, I want This Shit off of my skin,
    and

    her Children wonder?!!!

    Don’t we Ever learn? Of all the animals and plant life and micro-organisms, human species are the Only ones who feel entitled to the point where They pollute and pillage and kill, for Convenience. To defy nature–

    it’s Wisdom, actually, knowledge, human expert knowledge doesn’t mean shit, in Comparison to Nature’s Wisdom

    and if This EQ and Tsunami and Volcanoes and Solar Flares and Dwarf Planet don’t show us that

    then, you know something, we kind of deserve what we get–Look at the DAMAGE we have done to this planet, to the animals, TO EACH OTHER.

    so media experts, go blow me

    building nuclear toxins on EQ zones, is foolish and eventual murder–suicide, just like with other toxins, trivializing the WARNINGS of those deemed a bit odd or eccentric or ‘not with de program’

    is downright idiocy.

    IF we were meant to live like Lost in Space, we would have been Born with the physiology to do so–we were not,

    all there is to it.

    As for the life preserver and so forth, that I wrote about on the blog, they wouldn’t be Guarantees, of safety, in water ways [along rivers that the ocean can back pour into they would help better than having none, that’s in Any flood scenario] and it’s highly unlikely they would have prevented the deaths, HOWEVER,

    they would have prevented Some deaths, they would give people a fighting chance, and that was my point really, we have all these gadgets and toys and things we are bombarded with in that WE JUST HAVE TO HAVE on advertising and marketing, but NOT life preservation that Could yes, save lives,

    it’s irony really. And so what if one is in office or car, in blizzard zones we know to carry a blanket and things in car just in case [smart businesses would have similar just in case, IF they cared], it should be the same in areas near water, just saying,

    it’s the Fact that WE don’t live in harmony with nature anymore, but are So disconnected and will say it, kind of Arrogant, that we just think we’re invincible, and yes pictures taken with mobile phones,

    yes mobile phones can take pictures, Great,

    pictures tell After the fact, if a flood water or tsunami is headed my way, Fck pictures, I’m grabbing the preserver, rope, doing what I can to up my chances, though Slim, to survive, and then to help others,

    I can worry about pictures some other time.

    But then, I’m kind of weird like that, I don’t even USE a cell phone, I hate the things…internet is bad enough, t.v. idiot box worse, it has it’s Uses, SURE,

    but when it replaces Humans, and Nature,

    and relationships [and don’t think This isn’t connected to male violence, indifference to suffering of women, bdsm and all of the beige cubicle isolationism fascist nihilism, it sure as hell is]

    all it does, is wrap us nicely in plastic coffins with pretty Neon lights. Kind of like, a spiritual pace maker, it’s no wonder, so many are soul dead today.

    just saying

    Jane

  88. Jane March 14, 2011 at 1:10 PM #

    just thought of this,

    you know you mention the mobile phones and being on dry land, etc., well True, one wouldn’t go around packing a preserver, granted,

    but, it’s kind of like this, The Titanic, you know [and Japan darn well knew, even had EQ drills] that there is possibility of catastrophe, and yet you only put a few life boats. Let’s not forget, they didn’t have the life rafts on the Titanic because of their arrogance in believing that man’s engineering was super empowered and could withstand anything.

    Kind of like those nuclear plants, [maybe the People will take it upon themselves to monitor now rather than just assume it’s all taken care of]

    anyway, it wouldn’t take anything to have preservers in trunks of cars..all I’m saying, or to like what I said on blog, to build in flood zones with materials that aren’t noted for impaling people in flood waters OR

    to take that ingenuity, and rather than build military lasers that fry people from the inside out–take that and build flotation devices that can stay intact in tsunami or dam break/rivers, etc.,

    changing How we think and How we live. Like the ancients did, they planned for the future, WE today, generally speaking, Live for the pleasure of today, and then we just are not Ready mentally or in numerous other ways when Repeated and KNOWN historical natural events take place. There are yes, some catastrophes that we can’t do much about, GRANTED,

    but for those that Can be worked with and around, it just seems to me, My opinion here, that there is just this attitude, of ‘yea so what’,

    and it kind of makes me wonder really, you know I read experts going On and On about just how Evolved mankind is [emphasis on Man] and yet,

    LOL, I don’t know, I see more De-evolving, and like, when I see these types of bats, who normally don’t swim near water, Evolve into diving into streams and evolving to where they live and adapt to the shortage of food,

    I think, hmmmm, I’m not so Sure man is at the Top of the evolution chain,

    but that’s my opinion, not expert science or anything. And I have to say, I think a lot of this IS due to the mass consumerism and the De-Value of Human Life as a result of, being replaced with Things,

    something precious has been lost, and the Sad thing is, it seems that it Takes sometimes a natural disaster to wake us zombie humans OUT of our complacency, and actually begin to SEE one another,

    breathing

    and knowing there is a hell of a lot more to our Life, our Existence

    than just the pleasure of the moment.

    yea, we should begin to Think ahead, and work ahead, not just for the instant gratification moment, living in a surreal world of fantasy and vicariously through images that WE can’t touch anyhow.

    Jane

  89. sneeky bunny March 14, 2011 at 2:00 PM #

    For the love of Maude, Jane would you please just stop. You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about and frankly, I can get all the fear mongering misinformation on this topic from the mainstream media. I don’t need to see it here as well. Maybe our energy would be better put to use doing something to actually help those in Japan that are in such dire need. Here are some links:
    http://www.worldvision.org/HelpJapan
    http://www.habitat.org

    https://american.redcross.org/site/Donation2?5052.donation=form1&df_id=5052&idb=0

  90. Jane March 14, 2011 at 2:40 PM #

    Yes because knowledge is fear mongering, Ok, Sure

    readers can decide for themselves

    Japan’s two reactors, click image for larger detail

    http://www.ryocentral.info/2011/03/picture-of-fukushima-1-shows.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    Chernobyl one reactor [if you Don’t know about the fallout, etc. of Chernobyl and basic physics I won’t bother, if one can’t be bothered to do some actual research of numerous journals, etc.]

    MOX Fuel info

    http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/basicmoxinfo.htm

    FROM THE NUCLEAR SCHOLAR
    EXPERTS MS BUNNY

    http://www.rrjournal.org/doi/abs/10.2307/3576102?journalCode=rare

    toxicity of plutonium aka MOX fuels, more Physics experts Ms bunny

    http://journals.lww.com/health-physics/Abstract/1977/05000/Hazards_from_Plutonium_Toxicity.3.aspx

    that’s just for starters,

    you want to Accuse me of fear mongering when I am simply putting out info so readers can make their OWN informed decisions,

    then YOU bring it, debate based on Science, not your cheesy accusations against my person or otherwise

    GOT IT

    this is Too serious

    for me to deal with deniers and those who simply chalk up any information that could possibly Save lives as we simply do not KNOW for sure, Do we [you have no fcking idea of What I am educated in, or how long, nada, who the Fck are you to say anything about I don’t know what I’m talking about, Just because I don’t plaster my degrees and write in academic means and go all on about MY anything, doesn’t mean Shit, GOT IT]

    Usually I would just blow dumb ass comments like this off,

    NOT THIS TIME

    this is just too damn serious, to just leave to OPINION

    if you Have scientific information that Proves Any point I made to be wrong

    BRING IT

    or shut the hell up with your ‘it’s fear mongering’

    LET the readers decide, I put the info, it’s on my blog, they can do their OWN research into MOX fuels, Gov testing -in 50s, I’ll include the list- For themselves

    they can look into Accuweather’s charts and a whole host of other things, THAT’S THEIR RIGHT

    what Pisses me off, is the likes of you and others who take it upon themselves to Guilt people into Wanting to maybe KNOW something other than what mass media tells them

    ESPECIALLY WHEN PEOPLE’S LIVES ARE IMPACTED

    and YES, don’t insult me with we need to focus on AID

    when I have an entire Humanitarian Aid Alert for Japan on my blog

    you can kiss my Bunny white ass

    Jane

    for the List of testing–Anyone can research Each and Every one of these testing results/experiments/disasters, go to the Library, want to blindly trust media NOW?

    http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/chrono3.htm

    BTW,

    I didn’t Attack any one here, I simply wrote on women,emergency prep, from a different from mainstream view,

    YOU attacked me,

    so damn right, I will call you on it. ON a matter such as this, Damn right I will.

  91. Ylva March 26, 2011 at 10:23 PM #

    Hi ND and everybody else in here!

    I just wanted to stop to thank you for your great work. I came across your site out of pure fluke, and literally spent two whole days reading through almost all your posts. (Still some saved for later!) It was so overwhelming finding someone who finally sufficiently could put into words so many of my own thoughts and observations. Sadly this is a much too rare experience. What I would give to have known about your writing at an earlier stage in my life.. I could go on and on about what this means to me, as both a woman, and as a human being. But I’ll keep it simple and just say thank you so much, again. Love from all the way up in Norway

  92. Sarah March 27, 2011 at 9:41 PM #

    “Getting dicked can mean death for a woman.” Joy, I keep finding you on the internet, and you keep on being awesome.

  93. FemmeForever March 30, 2011 at 6:48 AM #

    Joy,

    There you are. I’ve been missing you on the other blogs and wondering where you’d gone. Glad to know you’re OK.

  94. joy April 14, 2011 at 10:39 AM #

    Ah, in rereading this, I see where I got the term “social capital.” I was pretty sure that was A Thing, but I used it in conversation the other day (I often have the best conversations) and the other person said with a confused look, “What’s ‘social capital’?” I started to wonder if I’d made it up (and if that made me the ultimate hipster.)

    Anyway. Maybe a lot of this whitewashing of history and constant search for agency has to do with the relentless and pervasive positivism in this culture.
    (Funny to think of as such, because the media is saturated with neverending morbidity, death, sadness — basic propaganda. Even the mainstream coverage of the tsunami in Japan was propaganda designed to keep the average viewer confused, depressed but not too depressed, and ultimately glad that -THEY- didn’t have it so bad.)

    The cultural message to us is: Keep it happy! If you’re sad, or sick, or poor, then you did it to yourself. It’s just your attitude! Change your attitude, keep trying to do the same thing you’ve been trying to do all along, and Never Give Up [TM]. See, look, some isolated, exceptional individual in the annals of history managed to bootstrap him (or rarely her) self up out of a quagmire, so thus you can too. Remember, Abraham Lincoln took four tries to get elected to Congress (or something)!”

    This positivism keeps people focused on themselves instead of on systems of oppression. “Well, the reason I don’t like porn must be because I don’t have a good enough attitude.” “The reason I was raped was that I carried myself as a victim; the reason I feel traumatized now is because I just won’t let myself get over it.”
    Basically some version of ‘The Secret’ seems to play 24/7 in people’s heads. Some people can get so distracted that they never even notice systems of oppression. It’s all so very libertarian and distressing.

    Pointing out ways in which people have been fucked over, historically and currently, is not “negative thinking.” Allowing the fucking-over to continue, due to willful or forced ignorance, is actually the more damn negative option.

  95. Hecate April 14, 2011 at 6:48 PM #

    You hit the nail right on the head yet again, joy. I think it’s just easier for people to label others as victims – it makes it that much easier to not take responsibility, either collectively or individually.

    The cult of positivism is especially dangerous now, as your average person is being blamed for the current epic fail of an economy we now are forced to deal with. But any sane person knows that is simply not true. The 1% have a real and dangerous interest in keeping us all down, and are doing it with panache and zest, with a manic smile on their faces. That is not optimism. Just grimacing greed. The same goes for the position of privilege males find themselves in. Blame the rape victim, and ride off into the sunset with a smirking smile.

    Don’t even get me started on ‘The Secret’…

  96. sneeky bunny April 19, 2011 at 5:29 PM #

    Joy, you make an excellent point. Oh! And dear god, the Secret! That boook makes me stabby.

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