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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 09:18 PM
Number of posts: 39,902

About Me

Whiteness is a scourge on humanity. Voting for Obama that one time is not a get out of being a racist card

Journal Archives

Good Fun With Bad Words: Five Familiar Woman-Specific Slang Terms

Good Fun With Bad Words: Five Familiar Woman-Specific Slang Terms And Their Lesser-Known Historical Origibs

And so, let's start with something soft and nonthreatening.


Ah, pussy. Good old reliable pussy. Like many of the words on this list, "pussy" has layers of meaning and connotation. In a concrete sense, "pussy" refers to a vulva and vagina. In a slang sense, it’s often used against men as a term of derision, usually to indicate that the dude in question is an ineffectual wimp.

Because supposedly nothing is more offensive to men than being told they are like women in any way whatsoever.

Pussy’s precise origins are unclear; what we do know is that it’s a very old word. It has evidently been used as an affectionate term for women (and possibly “effeminate” men) since the 1580s, and is thought to be originally connected to “puss” as a call-word for cats.

Most etymology sources seem to agree that the connection with genitalia specifically, rather than women in general, came later. Once upon a time, you might call a sweet girl a "pussy" like you would call her a doll today. (Alternatively, some argue it may have stemmed from the Old Norse word for “pocket,” which apparently provides the origins for the Low German word for vulva, “puse.”)


It's also homophobic.


As a society, we (mostly) acknowledge that corrosive, potentially deadly racism, as an abstract concept, exists. But of course, everyone worth mentioning abhors it! How can you call this a racist society, when we have a 50-year-old Civil Rights Act and a Black president and everything? Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, were all killed in unfortunate individual misunderstandings. Or, if you insist on finding a pattern here, the unfortunate result of the victim’s bad choices.

Same goes for rape—we believe it’s a horrible thing that definitely happens, and to be sure, no one is in favor of it. So when feminists talk about “rape culture,” they’re just being their usual, hysterical selves, exaggerating to the point that reasonable people can’t take them seriously. But as soon as someone says they were raped—whether it’s a woman in college, a male celebrity, or an 11-year-old girl, we react with disbelief, immediately trying to reframe the story as an unfortunate individual misunderstanding. Or, if you insist on finding a pattern here, the unfortunate result of the victim’s bad choices.

We live in a country full of racism, but no racists; rape, but no rapists. And the common denominator is power. To believe a rape survivor’s word over that of her male classmate, colleague, teacher, or superior officer is to upset the natural order of things, privileging the voice with less cultural authority over the one we expect to have all the answers. Likewise, believing Dorian Johnson’s testimony over Darren Wilson’s means rejecting lessons we’ve been taught from childhood, both explicitly (the police are there to help you) and implicitly (White people are more trustworthy than Black people).

We will go to truly amazing lengths to stick to this pattern of individualizing the problem and/or finding ways to blame the victim. As Katherine wrote recently, in piece that also connected these victim-blaming dots, that’s because to do otherwise would challenge our belief in the “just world hypothesis” — the fantasy that we live in a fundamentally just world in which terrible things must happen for a reason — which serves as a security blanket we wrap tightly around our eyes.


The Real Lolita

(Very long article, but an interesting one)

Sally Horner walked into the Woolworth’s on Broadway and Federal to steal a five-cent notebook. She had to, if the girls’ club she desperately wanted to join were to accept her into its ranks. She’d never stolen anything in her life; usually she went to that particular five-and-dime for school supplies and her favorite candy. But with days to go before the end of fifth grade, Sally was looking for a ticket to the ruling class, far removed from the babies below her at Northeast School in Camden, New Jersey.

It would be easy, the girls told her. Nobody would suspect a girl like Sally as a thief. Despite her mounting dread at breaking the law, she believed them. On the afternoon of June 13, 1948, she had no idea a simple act of shoplifting would destroy her life.

Once inside, she reached for the first notebook she could find on the gleaming white nickel counter. She stuffed it into her bag and sprinted away, careful to look straight ahead to the exit door. Then, right before the getaway, came a hard tug on her arm.

Sally looked up. A slender, hawk-faced man loomed above her, iron-gray hair peeking out from underneath a wide-brimmed fedora. His eyes, set directly upon Sally’s, blazed a mix of steel blue and gray. A scar sliced across his cheek by the right side of his nose, while his shirt collar shrouded another mark on his throat. The hand gripping Sally’s arm bore the traces of an even older, half-moon stamp forged by fire. Any adult would have sized him up as well past 50, but he looked positively ancient to Sally, who had turned 11 just two months before. Sally’s initial nerves dissipated, replaced by the terror of being caught.


In 1911, Albert Einstein Told Marie Curie To Ignore The Trolls


Who knew they would proliferate?

Women in heels have more power over men, study finds

(File under "Dumbass Study of the Week"
tively small cross-section, this study is very significant since the results are clear and consistent," said Paris-based sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann, who was not involved in the study. "In a relation of seduction, men are very attracted by a woman in heels as she looks taller, more sexually confident, sure of herself, with a lengthened silhouette and sensual jutting buttocks."

Gueguen's study had 19-year-old female volunteers wearing black shoes with heels that were 0.5cm (0.2 inches) or 5cm (2 inches) or 9cm (3 1/2 inches) high. Then they asked men between the ages of 25-50 for help in various circumstances.

One situation involved a woman asking passers-by: "Excuse me, sir. We are currently conducting a survey on gender equality. Would you agree to answer our questionnaire?" Flat heels got a 46.7% answer rate, medium heels a 63% rate and the highest heels a whopping 83% success rate from the men.

Nowadays, the most fashionable heels on the runways and in nightclubs are higher still - with spiked heels commonly measuring 10 cm (4 inches) and extreme heels, dangerously, above 13 cm (5 inches).


Too easy to pick this apart, but frigging CBS picks it up as though it has actual validity. In Actuality, a larger study using a wider age range, color, shapes and sizes of women, my guess is the results would be different.

On Rolling Stone, lessons from fact-checking, and the limits of Journalism

It was as both a feminist and former fact-checker that I watched with rage on Friday as Rolling Stone distanced themselves from the account of a gang rape at UVA they published last month, covering for their own journalistic missteps by throwing Jackie, the rape survivor at the center of the piece, under the bus. And the rage is only growing as many of the journalists now rushing to condemn Rolling Stone are starting to spin a tale of how a “Believe the Victims” mentality got in the way of good journalism in this case. Feminism’s to blame, as always.

This weekend, I wrote 3,000 words about this debacle from my perspective as a feminist and fact-checker. About everything Rolling Stone did wrong and everything that’s wrong with the conversation we’re having about it now. In the end, I looked at them, all these fucking words about journalistic standards and the purpose of fact-checking and blah blah blah, and realized that to say what I had to say about what is wrong here I would need thousands more because here I was writing about journalism, while Jackie was getting doxxed and on some college campus — or off some college campus — somewhere in this country another girl was being raped.

So instead of saying the million things, I’ll try to say just one. Or a couple.

In their statement, Rolling Stone admits to just one mistake: agreeing to honor Jackie’s request that they not contact the accused men because she feared retaliation. They write, “We should have not made this agreement with Jackie and we should have worked harder to convince her that the truth would have been better served by getting the other side of the story.” That’s not actually a full accounting of their failure here. In reality, Rolling Stone not only didn’t contact the men, as Jackie requested, but also seems to have not done anything else to verify the most basic factual details of Jackie’s account and also wasn’t transparent about what they had and hadn’t been able to independently verify. In doing so, they failed to uncover the discrepancies in Jackie’s account before it was published — discrepancies, mind you, that are the kind of discrepancies you’d expect to find when fact-checking a first-person account of a traumatic rape survivor and that in no way offer damning evidence that her whole account is not true. In doing so, they left Jackie without the primary benefit — the tremendous gift — that the fact-checking process gives to journalists and their sources: the assurance that if the story is challenged — and Rolling Stone had to have anticipated it would be because rape survivors are always, always doubted — an institution has your back. It was as much a feminist failure as it was a journalistic one that they didn’t do their due diligence to ensure they were ready to stand by Jackie when the inevitable happened.

But what I really want to talk about is the explanation that is emerging in the media world for this royal fuckup. Rolling Stone themselves offered up an appealing scapegoat: Jackie. Especially in their original statement, which has now been edited, Rolling Stone shamefully tried to lay their journalistic failures on their source, saying they had “trusted” Jackie’s account and found their “trust in her was misplaced.” (They’ve now edited the statement to acknowledge that their mistakes were their own, not Jackie’s.) I’d argue they also implicitly scapegoat feminism — with its “sensitivity” to survivor’s needs and tendency to “believe survivors” as the default. After all, as anyone who has worked in journalism knows, your “trust” in a source doesn’t actually have anything at all do with how you go about fact-checking a piece. The first rule of fact-checking is never “trust” anything — not your reporters, not the spelling of your own name, not whether the sky is blue. No, the problem was that Rolling Stone decided to “make a judgement” to ditch their normal — and, by all accounts, normally very rigorous — fact-checking process because they were “trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault.”


The Feminist Killjoy Gift Guide

Shopping for that special feminist someone in your life? Or maybe just looking to gift something to yourself because no one else is going to get you what you really want? Or maybe you’re just looking to support some awesome indie artists this holiday season. Whatever it is you’re here for, we’ve got you covered!

American Racial Incident Bingo

(These things tend to be facile, but I thought this hit the high notes)

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