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Gender: Do not display
Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 40,144

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

Some people are just perceptive

A family member, on a moments introduction, somehow knew I like to read, and I'm interested I'm obscure history. How did he know?

"I have a book you'll really like" they said, pulling it out. I made a mental groan--it's title is "Chastity"-- but I put my game face on and smiled.

And was completely surprised.

He says,

"This is a story about a women back in, you know the Victorian era, well she, she was--raped--he says lowering voice respectfully, and the rapist came to trial, but it was all men back on those days, women couldn't be on juries, and her rapist was released out on bail. Well she saw him in the field, you know, bothering her and she thinks no one was ever going to believe her, because it was such a shameful thing, you know and he had a couple of buddies to back him up, so you know what she did?"

He leans back, gleam in eye. "What did she do" I asked, recognizing my cue.

"Why, she went in that courtroom at the trial and shot him five times! And THEN she had to go on trial for murder. And you know what happened at that trial?" I shake my head.

The WHOLE courtroom was filled with women!! They came out to support her. And she was exonerated.

I thank him, and gently hand him the book back and thought "how did he know?"

The trial of Lunney and two male relatives who were tried as accomplices was heavily covered by the two Norton newspapers. Women from Norton jammed the courtroom, taking most of the seats. The women didn't understand how a woman could be tried for murder in the death of her attacker, Yocom said. At the time, a woman couldn't serve as a juror and could vote only in a school or municipal election.

Witness after witness testified to seeing Lunney shoot McEnroe, 26, but Lunney told jurors McEnroe earlier had raped her. After 17 hours of deliberation, the all-male jury acquitted her.

"It's a case of a woman being raped, and she just decided that he had taken the most valuable thing she had -- her chastity," Yocom said.

Lunney, who had seen McEnroe in a field several days after he had been arrested for raping her, felt threatened by him, Yocom said.

"She believed she needed to take (matters) into her own hands," he said. "I think the jury didn't have any question that he was the rapist. The jury didn't like to send a woman to prison and certainly didn't want to put her to death."

After learning of the story, Yocom traveled to Norton several times to unearth the details from Norton County Court records and newspaper stories from the Norton County Library. The newspaper stories about the trial ran on Page 1 each day and covered most of that page.

"It was just something that was crying to be written," Yocom said of his decision to write "Chastity."


I Am Not Oppressed

I am a proud Muslim-American woman, and I am tired. I am tired of being told that I am oppressed. That I have no voice. That I need to be liberated.

I am tired, and I am speaking out for the rights of my and other fellow Muslim sisters to be able to dress and be how they wish to be.

When I first heard about the 'titslamism' campaign that the radical feminist organization FEMEN was undertaking, I regarded it with apathy. Their original mission seemed to be intended to raise awareness around the Tunisian activist Amina Tyler, a woman who posted a photo of her bare breasts to the FEMEN Tunisia Facebook page and received backlash from the Tunisian government for doing so. As a result, FEMEN opted to begin protesting in front of Islamic centers around the world, baring their breasts in an effort to deal with Islamism.

Or so they purported.

In actuality, however, their campaign is not aligned with what they supposedly intended. FEMEN and its supporters have banked on what they feel is 'politically correct' these days to tap into: a healthy dose of Islamophobia with a heavy dash of sex appeal. Inna Shevchenko, the leader of FEMEN, backs up these allegations in a response she wrote addressing the very Muslim women who protested the efforts of her campaign to 'free' them:

So, sisters, (I prefer to talk to women anyway, even knowing that behind them are bearded men with knives). You say to us that you are against Femen, but we are here for you and for all of us, as women are the modern slaves and it's never a question of colour of skin. ... And you can put as many scarves as you want if you are free tomorrow to take it off and to put it back the next day but don't deny millions of your sisters who have fear behind their scarves, don't deny that there are million of your sisters who have been raped and killed because they are not following the wish of Allah!"

As the very woman who is supposedly being 'freed' by these protests, I am offended and disgusted. As a covered Muslim woman, I am greeted on a daily basis with passersby who tell me that I no longer need to wear the headscarf because I am in America. In this exact statement supposedly freeing Muslim women from the clothes they seem 'forced' to don, there is a level of oppression being expressed, as though there is only one way to be 'free.' The same beliefs are employed in FEMEN's offensive and ultimately pointless protests.


This topic continues to interest me because of its complexity--which was not apparent at first. I support the right to protest, naked or otherwise. It was never about breasts so much to me as the attention those breasts garnered, and why. Anyway, I have a Muslim friend who is both devout and liberal (he's from The Gambia--you should hear HIM on the topic of Margret Thatcher, he couldn't believe the American press was defending her record) I tease him and ask him when he's getting his 'second' wife. We have several co-workers from Israel, so there's a lot of good natured teasing that has developed---he dishes it out as well as takes it.

Anyway, he and I have had many talks, in his family, it's a responsibility to represent Islam accurately. One of the things we agree on is there are different forms of oppression, taking your clothes off can be as oppressive as covering up, depending on reasons and circumstance.

He said, when women from Iran fled after the fall of the Shah, women were not wearing the Hijab, but many of their daughters voluntarily DID when they grew up. He said this has happened in other Islamic cultures as well. His own wife does not cover. He said it is a sign of modesty, but in the sense of being humble, a spiritual modesty. (I forgot to ask him why men didn't cover their hair as well) Modesty is considered a virtue males and females in the Islamic religion.

FEMEN breaks my heart, they try so hard, risked so much in what will be an ultimately futile movement.

I am not religious, I find something I dislike in all religions. An Islamic fundamentalist state is a dangerous place for women. But that doesn't represent all Islamic women.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Look at the picture of North Korean women soldiers. Their shoes, my God. I know Kim Jong un is a nut job, and I admit shoes aren't my first or even 30th concern here-certainly not why I was reading the article---but WTF?

The Three Tragedies of Shulamith Firestone

Shulamith Firestone’s death last year was tragic for several reasons. According to Susan Faludi’s sensitive profile of the pioneering radical feminist in this week’s New Yorker, Firestone died alone and impoverished, with no food in her apartment, after decades of struggle with schizophrenia. That’s one tragedy. Another is that she was rejected by both her biological family—very religious Jews who did not accept her—and her self-created family—the '70s-era New York Radical Feminist group she’d co-founded.

But the thing I found saddest about that New Yorker piece is that Firestone’s brand of truly renegade feminism was once considered mainstream and has since fallen out of fashion. Her 1970 polemic, The Dialectic of Sex, was a best-seller. In it, Firestone advocated for a total overthrow of the family structure and for babies grown in artificial wombs. She also reinterpreted Karl Marx through a feminist lens. It was a deeply intellectual—and, sometimes, thoroughly bonkers—book. Millions of women bought it, discussed it, and were changed by it.

Contrast that with the feminist manual that’s currently No. 1 on the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list: The ubiquitous Lean In. Yes, I know, I know, you’re all sick of reading about it. But Sheryl Sandberg’s book is undeniably a phenomenon, and the phrase “lean in” has become part of the culture in just a few months—no small feat. Instead of encouraging women to overthrow or revolutionize or even really change any existing structures, Lean In tells young women the path to parity is buying into a conservative, corporate world.

This is not to say that I believe Firestone was always right. Faludi quotes a New York Times reviewer, who calls Dialectic both “brilliant” and “preposterous,” which sounds about right. But there’s something heartrending about the fact that what’s now called “radical” is a book advising women to play the corporate game the same way that men always have. It’s all pretty bland and boring in comparison to a book that compared childbirth to “shitting a pumpkin.”


I love the 'Dialectic of Sex', even if it leans on Freud a bit too much for my taste. When I first read it, I thought it an incredible vision, almost Science fiction like. I like this article because we are seeing this, this---acquiescence---for lack of a better word of a number of American women. So many are placid and content in their privilege; Stepford like in choices. This isn't restricted to gender or even sexual orientation. True revolutionaries are far and few between, and it's debatable ala FEMEN, how women can even find a way toward revolution that doesn't, at heart acquiesce to the demands of patriarchy.

Others agonize over not being sexually attractive enough, thin enough, have the right kind of hair or makeup. I haven't read 'Lean in' I will eventually.

On the other hand, young feminist movements like Hollaback are awesome. There's a lot of awareness being raised out here and around the world. The Internet, for all it's faults allows, at least voices to be heard.

Research Blog: Teaching Men Rape Prevention Actually Works

**Trigger warning. This blog is about sexual violence.**

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been thinking about the Steubenville rapes for a while now. You’ve seen the horrific details of the crime, the multiple sad excuses for journalism, and the even more disturbing public outrage when the rapists got what they had coming. You’ve tried to boost your ever-depleting faith in humanity by clinging to superfab feminist responses like this one that cringes over the sickening media coverage of the trial, this one addressing rape culture, or this one about teaching our sons not to rape. But possibly my favorite feminist response to this atrocity came from political analyst Zerlina Maxwell.

In case you missed it, on March 5th, Zerlina Maxwell, a rape survivor herself, appeared on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News. The segment was centered around the idea that the solution to rape is simple – just give women guns! *Facepalm* Maxwell disagreed, and instead made one of the most obvious (and brilliant) arguments about the kind of rape prevention we really need in this country. Here’s what she said:

“I think that the entire conversation is wrong. I don’t want anybody to be telling women anything. I don’t want men to be telling me what to wear and how to act, not to drink. And I don’t, honestly, want you to tell me that I needed a gun in order to prevent my rape. … I think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation there with prevention.”

This is what I like to call a “duh” moment – you mean we should direct rape prevention toward rapists? Who would’ve thought! (Obviously not Sean Hannity, if you watch his response, or the droves of people who sent Maxwell rape and death threats after the show).


A feminist guide to celebrating Thatcher’s demise

(While in not a fan of grave dancing, I understand, as much a an American can, the depths of loathing so many British have for here, I loathe her from an American point of view.)

I’ll start from the premise that anybody who’s got as far as reading this had no particular love for Margaret Thatcher. If this doesn’t apply to you, this article will not help. You’re on the wrong blog. Go away now. Bye bye.

Yesterday, today and probably for the next week or so, people are sharing the glad tidings around TwitFace in succinct missives ranging from jubilant celebration to wary reminders that this doesn’t change the way things are and we must keep up the fight against Thatcher’s legacy. There’s nothing wrong with either of these sentiments. While we must not forget that the wheels she put in motion are still driving the cogs that grind us into submission on a daily basis, we’re also entitled to blow off a little steam, and even to celebrate the presence of one less architect of our oppression wasting our oxygen with their vile presence on this planet. However, unusually for a such a potent symbol of rampant destructive capital, and especially for one in a position to wield so much power against the working class, she was a woman. What does this mean for the conscientious Thatcher-basher? Let’s try out a few suppositions that are making their presence felt throughout that amorphous confusion of privilege, oppression, liberal denial, radical indignation and occasional hope that our newspapers refer to as “The Left”.

Does it mean you can’t say anything these days cos feminists and political correctness has gone mad innit?
Does it mean that we have to acknowledge her as a feminist icon because being in power was harder for women and she raised women’s political status and all that?
No. That is, it probably was harder for her than it would have been for a man, because patriarchy etc., but it’s not as if she was pursuing a feminist goal or fighting oppression. Her ambitions were quintessentially individualist. She wasn’t raising the status of women, in fact she used every feminine stereotype she could to promote herself while reinforcing working class women’s oppression. You don’t get to claim any feminist kudos for breaking glass ceilings when you rain down shattered glass on the women below in the process. Feminism (which Thatcher loathed) wasn’t, and isn’t, about getting to the top and playing with the big boys, it’s about bringing the big boys down, along with all the structures maintained by patriarchy and capitalism. Let’s get one thing entirely clear: Thatcher was no feminist, and she did shit all for women.

Does it mean that we can’t vilify her because we wouldn’t be vilifying a man in the same way?
No, we can definitely vilify her. But we should be careful about how we vilify her, because patriarchy does make it so much easier to vilify women as women, in ways that are harmful to all women rather than just the villains. That said, give her credit: she was vilified for far more than just her gender, and there are many very good reasons why Thatcher holds such a special place in the nation’s gallbladders. She was the one who turned on the tap for all the neoliberal free market shit we’ve been wading through for the past three decades. Why vilify her for being a woman when there’s her role in privatising services, destroying industries, breaking unions, starting wars, atomising communities and, lest we forget, stealing milk from babies.

It’s true that any other Prime Minister at that time would have done similar things, and that every one since has continued the job, and it’s also true that a man might have got away with much of it with less flack from the press. Doesn’t make Thatcher any less of a villain. If we want to be fair and break down the gendered vilification, let’s get ready to blow the roof off when Blair carks it.



Tom Matlack, who I’d pretty much forgotten about because, well, because he’s irrelevant, is at it again. And by “at it” I mean, of course, whining about the mean, mean feminists. It’s his thing.

Some history on me and Tom: Back in January, Matlack, who is the co-founder of MRA-lite site, The Good Men Project, wrote a blog post for The Times as part of an incredibly inane “debate” about whether or not makeup “helps or hinders a woman’s self-esteem.” I responded to his post, entitled “Women Should Do What They Want” (oh gee, thanks for the green light on that, Tom!), by saying, basically, that nobody cares about what Tom thinks about what women should or should not do with their faces. Tom got super choked that I would DARE criticize his nice-guy stance but claimed that “personal attacks bounce right off [him]” and that what he’s really upset about are “the attacks on The Good Men Project as a whole,” which are, according to Tom, “unfair and unjustified.” But the thing is that they’re not “unfair and unjustified.” Not in the least.

Tom Matlack is white dude with tons of cash. The Good Men Project is profitable. That he continues to obsess about being victimized by the evil feminists doesn’t make much sense as feminism, and what feminists think about him, very clearly have had little impact on his life (aside from maybe the amount of time he spends instigating and engaging in Twitter wars with feminists). Unless, of course, you place his whines within a Men’s Rights context. Because what Matlack is doing is what all MRAs do — Pretending that white men, who are the single most powerful group of people on the planet (which is different than saying that individual men can’t experience oppression or be victimized — they can — but AS A GROUP white men are not discriminated against on a systemic level) are actually victims of feminism — a movement to end the oppression of women, as a group.

He goes about this in a super-sneaky way; reminding us over and over again that he’s on OUR SIDE you guys! He’s a “good man,” after all. If we would just stop “attacking” poor Tom, the feminist movement would actually be able to get somewhere. He says things like: “I am all for equality. I am all for women’s rights. What I am not for is making this one giant zero sum fight in which men get bashed.” He pulls the classic “we’re just being honest,” card, as though “being honest” is an excuse for being a sexist mansplainy moron. He thinks feminists are getting in the way of feminism, which is something he is an expert on.


Misogyny, Sexism, and Why RPS Isn't Shutting up

This is excellent.

Part one-- It Matters

Many women are mistreated and misrepresented within the games industry. It’s not a matter of opinion, a political position, or claim made to reinforce previous bias. It’s the demonstrable, sad truth. Ask women in the games industry – find out. That you may not perceive it does not mean it doesn’t exist. That you may not perpetuate it doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant to you. Whether you are male or female or identify anywhere between does not exclude you nor repudiate you from the matter. The amount to which you think it doesn’t exist is directly proportional to the amount to which you do not care that it exists. If you don’t care that it exists, I hope you are willing to be open-minded enough to try to empathise with others that do – at least give that a go. And if you care passionately about it, and feel offended by the tone of this piece as if it doesn’t acknowledge you, then I apologise, and hope you understand why.

I want to try to break down why people object to the discussion, why there is a concerted effort to deny the need for the discussion, and to explain how my own tangential role in it all has affected me. I want to do this because I want to dispel myths, raise awareness, and encourage others to speak out. For those who think such articles are “preaching to the choir”, were that true, I certainly want that choir to be bolstered, encouraged to sing louder and truer. Sadly it’s not entirely true, as is evidenced by the responses any such article receives on RPS. I want to speak to those people too.

There’s the ludicrously overt. Like a video from the 4th April by Machinima (this mirror now deleted due to “copyright”), featuring two women in skimpy outfits being electrocuted and spanked as they play Rock Band, described by a lecheroineineus narrator as “girl on girl action”, and showing their pink ass cheeks at the end. No, really. After outcry it was taken down by Machinima, but that doesn’t change that this is an industry in which such a video can be conceived, scripted, filmed, edited and produced, then uploaded, without anyone effectively challenging it. These extremes are not rare, not particularly unusual.

Then less in-your-face, arguably more insidious, is an article like Complex Tech’s “The 40 Hottest Women In Tech“. It is the most peculiar of pieces, seeming to want to appear as if it’s all a big misunderstanding, that by “hottest” they just meant, “ones to watch” or similar. Its introduction presents a straight-faced façade of how the technology industry has been a “boy’s club” for so long, thanks to an “unfortunate repercussion of the patriarchy”. “Here are,” they explain, “40 women we admire doing work in the field of innovation.” Oh, so the title was just a misunderstanding?! First entry, picture of Marina Orlova in a bra. Third, a shot looking down Courtney Boyd Myer’s bikini top. Jessica Chobot is described as “daringly beautiful”, whatever the crapping fuck that means. And the sum total of her achievements described are that she’s “proof that gamer girls are just as sexy we envision.” Jade Raymond is “The Canadian gaming beauty.” It’s language that would of course never be used when writing about men in tech. No man in the field is called “daringly handsome”. None is ever introduced based on their aesthetic appeal, but rather their personal achievements. This is the very patriarchy the article pretends to lament.


Anti-Capitalist Meetup: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Women’s Liberation

From Daily Kos

(Yes, I'm looking at different political sites to be active at, I've about had it, and no it's not the overt sexism, or the anti-feminists the 'word police' whining or their groupies--they're idiots and don't actually bother me.

It's not even the the site owners disinclination to change the SOP, I actually understand how hard that would be to enforce and how much pushback they would receive given what they have to work with. (See sentence number #1)

It's the general political tone. DemocraticUnderground has the most user friendly format around; but the truly great posters seem to be gone. Perhaps they're in sub-groups. I'm looking for something a tad more intellectual than 6 grade snark exchanges. No I'm not leaving; DU is a habit, and in spite everything, there are things to enjoy. So cruising other politically active sites I found this, thought I'd share, it's an interesting perspective)

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Women’s Liberation

When I started to write this blog about the sex vs. gender debate, I was going to write a nice, intellectual piece, fully referenced, stating my position. But as I sat down to write it, I realized there is no clear-cut solution and presumably, most of the discussion has been decided in favor of the gender ideology, ranging from post-modern feminists in the academy, to the queer community, to the communist left.

In a recent antiwar speech in Washington, D.C., Angela Davis, while giving a laundry list of oppressions, mentioned both gender and LGBT, but failed to mention the word "women." Sonia Sanchez, in the same event, left out categories having to deal with women’s liberation altogether (although in her poetry she did make the pronoun gender neutral).

At the same time, mainstream feminists (what is generally referred to as the white middle class women’s movement) seem content to deal with reproductive issues such as abortion and contraception, rape and wife battering in a piecemeal fashion, with little overriding ideology or causal framework. (One positive note: there is a new coalition of young women, WORD [Women Organized to Resist and Defend] which seems to be trying to fuse the concepts of sex and gender back together - along with race, class and imperialism. I look forward to seeing what their analysis will be since so far they seem to be mainly an activist group).

So what, if anything, do I have to contribute to this discussion? As a second wave socialist/ lesbian/ feminist born to a first wave socialist feminist, I have worked on projects with third wave feminists and raised a son who is active in the gay-rights movement. I believe that my long history in these communities might give me a perspective worth sharing. I also hope younger third wave feminists will not write me off as one of those smug old second wave feminists who thinks she knows everything.

By the rambling nature of this blog, you can probably tell that I am writing in a stream of consciousness "consciousness raising" style, true to my second wave “the personal is political” roots; although I believe this form is also regaining popularity among third wave feminists.

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