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Louise Mensch and the grotesque spectacle of white privilege

I have been trying to keep quiet on the ongoing schisms within feminism, and in particular the flare-ups between mainstream or ‘white’ feminism and those broadly grouped under the intersectional banner on social media. I’ve actually written and abandoned a couple of posts, realising they were going to help nobody and risked further hurting some who are already hurting.

Tonight a line was crossed and I can bite my tongue no longer.

On New Year’s Eve, Reni Eddo-Lodge and Caroline Criado-Perez appeared on BBC Women’s Hour as part of a review of the year. Along the way there was an exchange about intersectionality, transcribed here. Reni blogged her account of the experience. Caroline offered an apology. I declined to comment.

In the messy aftermath of the programme, Professor Liz Kelly, whom we might call a doyenne of British radical feminism, tweeted the most ill-advised hashtag I’ve ever seen in support of CCP – #reclaimintersectionalityin2014. I declined to comment.

Tonight, just as I sensed the passions and fury beginning to wane on both sides, Louise Mensch decided to march in with her hobnailed Christian Louboutin stilettos. In an astonishing series of tweets, the former Tory MP firstly accused Reni of bullying:

Reni was wrong and Caroline was wrong to give into her bullying. I wouldn’t have. #feminism

She then went on to describe Reni’s arguments as “rubbish” and “disgraceful” and accused her of trying to ‘silence’ other women.
I make it a personal policy these days to try not to march into debates between feminists, as it generally doesn’t help either side and it certainly doesn’t win me any friends. But this is not about feminism. This is about an embarrassingly privileged white person with wealth, fame, influence and platform on her side, stomping all over a young black person for having the temerity to offer ideas above her station.

The first point to make is that of all the people I know on the broad media left, Reni Eddo-Lodge is about the least prone to bullying and silencing others you could imagine. It is simply not her style. She does not smear others or troll opponents, she does not pick personal fights or call on people to check their privilege. Her blogs and tweets, though politically radical, are measured, studious and impeccably temperate. For what it is worth (and it is not especially relevant) they each contain more wisdom, insight and intelligence than Mensch could summon in a lifetime. I can only conclude that Mensch believes that simply by calling attention to racial dynamics within feminism, Reni is bullying and silencing… who? Well, racists, I guess. The alternative explanation is less flattering but perhaps more credible – that Mensch cannot be bothered distinguishing between one ‘intersectional’ woman and the next, and she was mixing up Reni Eddo-Lodge with some other woman. Do they all look the same to Louise?

We should bear in mind that Mensch has form on this. A few months ago, there was a polite exchange between Laurie Penny and Ava Vidal on Twitter. Laurie had advised ignoring a racist troll, Ava suggested that it wasn’t a white person’s place to decide how we should respond to racism. Laurie agreed, apologised and retracted. All would have been fine until Mensch decided this was some craven submission and wrote an article attacking intersectional feminism that was so ill-informed, ill-advised and ignorant it made your cortex bleed.

Many people are unsure how white privilege looks and is played out in modern society. This is it. This insistence that the racial dynamics structuring our society are the natural order of things and must be beyond challenge. This belief that any black person who does challenge existing systems is a disgraceful bully – however polite, educated and articulate she may be – and must be stamped on at the first opportunity. This is a grotesque spectacle of white privilege raised to an artform.

This week I’ve seen others within feminism ask why intersectional feminists and women of colour must be so mean, so intemperate, so rude. When we see how some in the white establishment treats those who are impeccably polite and mannered, I’m astonished they remain so restrained.

Comments

  1. David Marjanović says

    *blink*

    …sorry for being so far off topic… Her surname is “Human”?

    Really?

  2. Siane says

    Ally- you wear you ‘declined to comment’ like a badge. I wish to God you’d held the line.
    1) What you would have seen this week is some feminists asking why some people, and mainly white people *appropriate* intersectionality to abuse them. There isn’t a huge swathe of mythical, Aryan feminists berating WOC for being uppity. Rather, there are feminists outing a certain minority section of predominantly white people to refrain from using words like bigot, racist, white supremacist, transphobe, whorephobe everytime a white feminist says something on virtually any topic they disagree with, or even when she doesn’t, but just because the mood takes them or they’ve caught half a rumour floating on the Twitter breeze.
    2) In completely separate events, Reni and CCP were on the radio where Reni wanted to talk about her intersectionality, which as you say is thoughtful, informed, important and hers to own. CCP wanted to talk about these other abusers who have a fraction of Reni’s vision for change and are only interested in winning cookies in front of their jeering mates.
    3) Mensch has waded in and conflated the two, thus insulting Reni and not doing CCP any favours whatsoever by pinning her colours to her (ideologically) very different mast.

    The trouble with this post is that you are doing the same.

  3. Claire says

    I notice you haven’t included the apology from Liz Kelly? The apology she issued immediately to the WoC who challenged her? As soon as she saw her twitter feed and realised she’d misunderstood the conversation, having no knowledge of the context or backstory? No. Very misleading and highly unnecessary inclusion in your post.
    This is extremely inflammatory and makes me wonder why you, as a white man, feel the need to comment on feminism by promoting further hurt and anger….

  4. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Your link to the transcription is missing.

  5. says

    It’s rare for the majority of difficulties faced by a stigmatised group to stem from the actions of persons deliberately berating them. Rather, problems tend to emerge due to false interpretations of what is ordinary, default, and fairly balanced. This doesn’t require a conspiracy or an army of haters, just everyday laziness and failure to exercise the imagination.

  6. Ally Fogg says

    Siane [3]

    There isn’t a huge swathe of mythical, Aryan feminists berating WOC for being uppity. Rather, there are feminists outing a certain minority section of predominantly white people to refrain from using words like bigot, racist, white supremacist, transphobe, whorephobe everytime a white feminist says something on virtually any topic they disagree with, or even when she doesn’t, but just because the mood takes them or they’ve caught half a rumour floating on the Twitter breeze

    I don’t accept either of these characterisations of events. There is not the huge swathe of mythical Aryan feminists, nor is there the mythical bloc of hair-trigger intersectional feminists yelling bigot etc everytime a white feminist says something. Both of those are equally sensationalised interpretations of a very complex, messy blend of political, structural and personal dynamics, IMO.

    Reni wanted to talk about her intersectionality… CCP wanted to talk about these other abusers who have a fraction of Reni’s vision for change”

    Indeed, but the problem was the way she piggybacked the issue of the marginalisation of women of colour within feminism and turned it into a completely different issue of greater concern to her – which is a pretty strong example of the exact kind of problems people have with CCP and other prominent white mainstream feminists.

  7. Ally Fogg says

    Claire (4)

    I notice you haven’t included the apology from Liz Kelly? The apology she issued immediately to the WoC who challenged her?

    True, but nor did I include her response the first time she was challenged, at the time, when she had the opportunity to clarify her intent. Someone asked:

    No irony in white women reclaiming Intersectionality?

    LK replied:

    if you want to interpret it that way, but I teach it every year. Should we ignore it?

    The apology came after she’d been off Twitter and returned to find herself at the centre of an almighty shitstorm.

  8. Ally Fogg says

    At this point I might mention that I’ve already taken a few angry tweets in defence of Liz Kelly, I have no personal grudge against her and fully accept that her apology was in good faith and she fully regrets what she said – but it would be kind of ironic if this thread and related discussions ended up focussing on “OMG but but but he said something mean about a white woman!”

  9. carnation says

    @ Ally

    Regarding Louise Mensch – do you believe that her idenfication as a feminist is sincere? And accurate?

  10. Ally Fogg says

    carnation (11)

    Oh I don’t doubt it is sincere.

    As I think I’ve said before, I really don’t think it’s for me to define who is or is not a feminist, but there are aspects of right wing / libertarian / individualist politics that I find hard to reconcile with any definition of feminism that I find meaningful.

    Is that cagey enough?

    ;-)

  11. Robert B. says

    I tried to read Mensch’s article, but I couldn’t get through it. She had a list of sayings and phrases that were supposed to imply a negative characterization of the people who use them, and one of them was just “Cis.” As if just naming the majority group is unacceptably radical. That’s not conservatism, that’s intellectual cowardice and blazing dipshittery.

  12. carnation says

    @ Ally

    With your caginess you are spoiling us, Ambassador Fogg!

    I don’t think she’s sincere or accurate. I think Geri Halliwell has a deeper understanding of feminist theorising than Louise Mensch. The party Mensch was an MP for has as it’s raison d’être the continuation of patriarchal class privilege.

  13. AndrewV69, Visiting MRA, Purveyor of Piffle & Woo says

    @Ally,

    Have you considered that the “racism” may actually be more of a “class” issue? That is the subtext I am getting at any rate. Also reminds me of this old saw:

    “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”
    ― Voltaire

    Within that context we may be witnessing a difference of opinion on who is naturally supposed to rule over who.

  14. Robert B. says

    It’s probably both, Andrew. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen either racism or classism appear without the other.

  15. Paul says

    I try not to make generalizations but i feel an exception can be made for those who make up what i call the Feminist Establisment in this country.These being the overwhelmingly White middle class academics,politicians ,journalists and activists who dominate the feminist movement in this country.

    Putting my cards firmly on the table i don’t believe the ”Feminist Establishment” -irrespective of the diversity of opinion that exists within it- really and wholeheartedly cares about the issues that disproportionately and sometimes exclusively affect Black and Asian women and to be fair White working class women as well.Although there are also some middle class Black and Asian women and some working class made good White women who also don’t seem to care either. For they too have willingly ingratiated themselves in the ”Feminist Establishment ” and like the White middle class women who dominate it they too also seem more interested in ingratiating themselves with the White middle class men who control most of the levers of real power in this country.In other words their primary goal is to share real power with those White middle class men who already have it.

    In the overall scheme of things Louise Mensch is an side show to what for me is the real issue.And that is Black and Asian men and women as well as working class White men and women having their voices heard in this country.And when Black and Asian women and White working class women don’t get the support they need from the men in their communities with regard to issues that primarily affect them what’s needed is a inclusive ”Feminist Establisment ” which doesn’t use either cultural relativism or class based arrogance/ignorance as it’s excuse for failing to support them.

  16. Thil says

    @12 @Ally Fogg

    “As I think I’ve said before, I really don’t think it’s for me to define who is or is not a feminist” why not?

    “Ava suggested that it wasn’t a white person’s place to decide how we should respond to racism” why not?

  17. Siane says

    Ally – there is a very real bloc of ‘feminists’ on an ‘offence’ hair-trigger as well you know.. Certain white feminists repeatedly call other white feminists snide cunts, say they’d like to punch them, cast them as Trotskey and Stalin, describe them as racists in rants lasting 25 tweets and place it in their bio, change the feminist’s twitter name to include the word prick, routinely call them bigots, transphobes, idiots and mental. These are all words and phrases directed at a handful of prominent white feminists who you follow, by other women, who you also follow. You choose to ignore it which may be because you rationalise that any marginalised group is right to feel angry and so they have rights over and above others as regards behaviours or it could be because you move in similar circles and have chosen not to call them out on it because that would cost you 16,000 cookies.

    I will decline to comment.

  18. Robert B. says

    @ Thil: For essentially the same reason that it is not your mother’s place to decide who you should date.

    In each case, the person who is a) most directly affected, and b) has the clearest perspective on the relevant problems and goals, is in the best position to make decisions.

    Also, and not by coincidence, unsolicited advice from others in not so good a position is very irritating – for one thing, flaws in such advice tend to be much more obvious to the advised than the adviser. The term for this varies by situation, but in my analogy it might be called “momsplaining.”

  19. bugmaster says

    Louise Mensch writes:

    “Check your privilege”, for example, is a profoundly stupid trope that states that only those with personal experience of something should comment, or that if a person is making an argument, they should immediately give way if their view is contradicted by somebody with a different life story.

    Could someone point me to an example of “check your privilege” that does not fit this description ? In my experience, the difference between this and a legitimate call to check one’s privilege can be quite subtle, and often beyound the point of diminishing returns.

    On the other hand, LM also writes:

    American feminism gets organised. It sees where power lies, and it mobilises to achieve it. It gets its candidates elected. Feminism here is about running for office, founding a company, becoming COO of Facebook or Yahoo.

    Is that really true ? Do female politicians and CEOs get into power primarily because of the support given to them by feminist organizations ? IMO LM is vastly overestimating the power American feminists managed to achieve, but maybe I’m wrong ?

  20. Gjenganger says

    @Rogert 20

    For essentially the same reason that it is not your mother’s place to decide who you should date.
    In each case, the person who is a) most directly affected, and b) has the clearest perspective on the relevant problems and goals, is in the best position to make decisions.

    That analogy does not really hold. Your mother does not have to live with your girlfriend, but “how we should respond to racism” affects everybody, in the specific case everybody who participates in feminist debate.

    There does seem to be the idea in progressive debate generally that whoever is most oppressed should have the right to impose their views and decisions while other people defer to them, but that is in itself problematic. To start with it is probably one thing that adds venom to the debate, with established, white feminists suddenly finding that they are being out-victimmed and have to abide by other people’s law instead of laying it down themselves.

  21. LittleLeaguer says

    What do you mean Ally, you declined to comment? Who asked you to?

    I mean, the irony of a man writing to tell women they shouldn’t tell women how to do feminism! How has your head not exploded yet, mate?

  22. Ally Fogg says

    Thil (18)

    In both cases, feminism and anti-racism are largely about women or people of colour freeing themselves from having men / white telling them what they can or cannot do, think, or feel.

    Which makes it rather self defeating when men tell women how to do feminism or white people tell black people how to react to racism.

  23. Ally Fogg says

    bugmaster (21)

    Could someone point me to an example of “check your privilege” that does not fit this description ? In my experience, the difference between this and a legitimate call to check one’s privilege can be quite subtle, and often beyound the point of diminishing returns.

    I’d throw that back to you. Point me to and example of someone saying “check your privilege” without irony and I’ll tell you whether I think it is justified or not.

    It’s something that I see people complaining about all the time, but I’m sure I’ve seen a hundred complaints about being told to check your privilege for every instance of someone actually being told to check their privilege.

  24. bugmaster says

    I’d throw that back to you. Point me to and example of someone saying “check your privilege” without irony and I’ll tell you whether I think it is justified or not.

    To be fair, I haven’t seen any examples on this blog specifically; if I do see some, I’ll let you know. LM does bring one example in her article, one that I’d seen before elsewhere:

    Everybody with a blog knows what “don’t feed the trolls” means. However, she was angrily contradicted by the black comedian @AvaVidal who told her that people of colour were striking back and they should rise to it. Instead of defending her position, Penny caved, recanted, and commented mournfully that “having your privilege checked” was painful.

    I haven’t read the article in question, but I’d heard it said before that only a privileged straight white man would follow the principle of “not feeding the trolls”, and therefore the principle is wrong, end of story.

    In general, is there something to “check your privilege” besides “I come from a less fortunate background than you and therefore you’re wrong” ? As far as I understand, the phrase can sometimes be used to mean, “I come from a less fortunate background than you and therefore you cannot possibly understand my personal feelings on the matter”. This is a perfectly reasonable thing to say, and, having experienced privilege from both sides in my life, I fully agree. That said, though, “I feel strongly about this” is not, and IMO should not, be synonymous with “I’m right” (though, of course, one does not preclude the other).

  25. Thil says

    @Ally Fogg

    But they can take or leave your advice based on whether it makes sense in it’s own right. Your not a general making a executive decision that underlings have to live go along with whether they think it makes sense to them or not

    @Robert B.

    the person who “has the clearest perspective on the relevant problems and goals”

    I would have thought that would not be the person who is “most directly affected” as they would have a total lack of objectivity

  26. flaneuse says

    >>I would have thought that would not be the person who is “most directly affected” as they would have a total
    lack of objectivity

    Wait – does that mean that you do think your mother has the right to tell you who to date, because unlike you she can comment objectively?

    I’m half being facetious, but no, white people aren’t objective on racism, any more than white South Africans were objective about apartheid. Even in less overtly and formalised racial structures than apartheid, white people are benefitting. Seeing racism as “black people’s problem” – regarding white society and white people as normal and “free” of the effects of racism, and black people as disqualified from talking about racism because they (and only they) are affected by racism is a way of perpetuating racism.

    To get this, try thinking about any specific racist struggle which is now “won” (even though in every case the effects are ongoing), like the battle against apartheid, India’s fight for independence or the abolition of black slavery in the West Indies or America. Picture yourself telling the black or Asian leaders of those struggles that they can’t be objective because they are affected, and that white people are more “neutral” and “objective”. Hopefully you will see how wrong that looks.

  27. says

    Happy New Year, Ally et al.

    Once upon a time..once upon a magical time… there was a sacred principle that the only thing that mattered was the strength of your argument. It didn’t matter if you were Socrates or Aesop – if you were right, you were right. As Sandra Bullock might observe, once you let go of that, you’re endlessly spinning in space with nothing to hold on to.

    Of course privilege exists but it’s never ever an argument-swinger either way. If argument from authority is a logical fallacy, then so is argument from victimhood.

    I’ll admit to being two-parts-baffled-to-three-parts-disturbed by much of this debate around race vs sex. Let’s start with this neologism “people of colour.” As I understand it, the term’s newness is designed to distinguish it from the rather Windrush-era-sounding “coloured people”. Hmmm – that seems a rather slender distinction to me, but there’s a much bigger problem : skin tone is not a binary. It might have been, fifty years ago, but not in the age of Jessica Ennis-Hill and Antonia Thomas. So the term “people of colour” seems fundamentally flawed to me.

    Maybe I’m wrong. If so, please tell me. Just don’t tell me I’m wrong because I don’t know how it feels, yes?

  28. Steve Smith says

    Hi Ally – I think you missed the most important point of Mensch’s troll intervention.

    She spotted a chance to drive a wedge between two progressive feminists who were having a dialogue. Alas, it appears to me that this Tory trolling has worked. You are right that Reni Eddo-Lodge is a very thoughtful and vital voice in the current debate – but sadly looking at her tweets today she seems to fallen hook line and sinker for Mensch’s slimy opportunism, blaming campaigners like CCP and those close to her for all kinds of things.

    I’m afraid Mensch will be sitting at home in New York and laughing her head off at Reni’s tweets. I think Mensch and her ilk hate the campaiging feminism of CCP even more than WoC feminism, because they don’t see the former as marginalised as much as the latter. Mensch wants these two strands of feminism at war with each other so they are all marginalised. Reni and her well-wishers should consider very carefully giving comfort to the likes of Tory troll merchants.

  29. Thil says

    @flaneuse

    I think that being effected by an issue on a personal level is something you have to overcome if you want to try and understand it (whether positively or negatively effected), and I like to believe anyone is capable of that.

  30. Ally Fogg says

    Thil (28)

    But they can take or leave your advice based on whether it makes sense in it’s own right. Your not a general making a executive decision that underlings have to live go along with whether they think it makes sense to them or not

    I wholeheartedly agree with that. As I say in the link above, any kind of call to check privilege (however it is expressed) can only ever be a time-out for reflection, it is can never be a trump card.

  31. devilsadvocate says

    I’ve never made more than minimum wage in my life. I grew up under the poverty line. I have lived at home for 28/30 years of my life. I cannot get the police or a lawyer who will do a decent job in the case of a pedophile ring that raped me as a kid. I am a white man. Explain to me again how I am privileged? Because I’m not in Palestine? You people are racists and sexists, and believing that simply because the TV shows you that mostly white men run society that all people of that race or sex are somehow endowed with a single quality that ought subject them to bullying is precisely that. It’s no different than if I said all Muslims are terrorists because 99% of all terrorists are Muslims. Well, not all white men are CEOs because 80% (or whatever it actually is) of CEO’s are white men.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m severely opposed to racism and sexism, even the covert kind. But attributing qualities to individuals by saying things like “check your privilege” is pure sexism and racism. And only someone incapable of thinking would say otherwise.

  32. Ally Fogg says

    Norman (30)

    Happy New Year to you too!

    Once upon a time..once upon a magical time… there was a sacred principle that the only thing that mattered was the strength of your argument. It didn’t matter if you were Socrates or Aesop – if you were right, you were right

    If we are talking about issues of objective truth – pure mathematics, falsifiable scientific hypotheses etc, then that remains true.

    On the other hand, I seem to recall Socrates and Plato tied themselves in enormous knots trying to define what was meant by justice – about half the Republic is devoted to it. And invariably it ran aground on the issue that one person’s justice was another person’s oppression. Jump forward 3000 years and Foucault was still wresting with the same problems.

    In this precise debate, I do not claim to be an avatar of righteous truth descending from above to cast definitive judgement. I’m just offering my opinion and my perspective on events.

    Others are, of course, entitled to see it differently and we’re all entitled to argue about it. That’s how it works.

    But one important development that has grown out of awareness of social privilege is the recognition that some perspectives tend to be afforded more weight and authority simply because they chime with the values of more powerful or normative social groups, not necessarily because they are more true.

    In that sense, post-structural analysis, critical race theory, gender theory etc are not very good at telling us who is right. It’s much better at telling us that what we assume to be right might not necessarily be so.

  33. Elettaria says

    Louise Mensch has a history of saying appalling things on the topic of racism. Sadly, I’m not at all surprised to hear of her latest behaviour.

    Can you call Mensch a feminist? In my view, no. A woman’s right to say no to sex is one of the core tenets of feminism, and it appears that this is not a right Mensch thinks women should have. To quote her directly,

    Of course no woman must feel obligated to have sex with her man on any given night – but she is obligated to not only have sex with him regularly, but to actively desire to do so, over the course of the relationship, unless there are significant emotional or physical blockages.

    On the specific topic of disabled women, when asked what should happen if a disabled woman is in too much pain on one night to have sex, and not in the mood on another night, she said,

    “Not in the mood”, you see, I think confers on her an obligation to sleep with him because in a true relationship both partners regularly have to sacrifice their wants and wishes for that of the other.

    She proceeded to make quite a number of unpleasant remarks about disabled women. You can read more of what she said, and my analysis of it, here.

    “Is Mensch racist?” is a different question to “Is she a feminist?” and “Is she disablist?” but I think you can work out the answers I’d give to each of them. Her attitudes towards all three subjects should be far more widely known.

  34. lelapaletute says

    As to the issue in hand, it sounds like CCP did wrong and acknowledges that she did, and the Reni has accepted that apology whilst holding her ground that it WAS wrong. Obviously Louise Mensch just needs to stoppit – a shallower, more disingenuous, attention-grabbing, inept strirrer of the shit you will struggle to find, and her continuing poisonous presence in the feminist discussion makes me tired, tired, tired. However, on the issue at large, I am conflicted in the extreme.

    Cue a privileged whine – as a disclaimer, the troubles I delineate here are in now way supposed to be set up as equal to or even in the same field as those experienced by black feminists at the hands of the unconscious or explicit racism of the dominant feminist discourse, nor am I attempting to imply that my difficulty is the fault of these black feminists. This is just my personal perspective on the issue.

    As a middle-class white feminist, I find this issue almost intractably difficult. Even discussing it becomes almost impossible, because language – usually my best friend and companion, the tool by which I define myself and the world around me – becomes a minefield of ill-defined no-go areas.

    The sincere desire to be respectful and attentive to those experiences and views that are different from my own, and to acknowledge and examine the privilege that has constructed my instinctive views as they are – to be, as I have understood it, an intersectional feminist – is hamstrung by the defensiveness I feel when I am then told from certain quarters that I shouldn’t even have access to the word – either to apply it to myself, or to employ it in my theoretical and political discussions – and that no matter how much I listen and attend and privilege check, no matter how much intersectional theory I read up on and attempt to apply, I never will have that right, because intersectionality is “a black women’s word”, or “a concept for black women through which to understand and evoke their experience”. This makes me feel (note, feel) excluded from the discourse, which is basically my nightmare – to accept that I cannot speak; to have to accept that I cannot/must not attempt to explore or resolve an issue with my words.

    There are those who will perceive this as equivalent to the whine of the unreconstructed racist, disingenuously ‘wondering’ why they can’t use the N-word – “after all, Chris Rock/Reg D Hunter do and nobody minds!” It really isn’t that; I just feel that racial dynamics within feminism DO concern me, even if I am not the one negatively affected by them (although to my mind, I AM negatively affected by them if they stand between me and a more mutually beneficial fellowship between myself and black feminists). Because these dynamics concern me, I want to be able to talk about them; I want to do this without causing offence or being seen as attempting to dominate the discussion; I just don’t know how. And the idea that because I am white, I will simply have to watch this one from the sidelines, seems both personally unbearable (I am, after all, an opinionated baggage) and actually counterproductive – surely nothing can be achieved without dialogue?

    Essentially, in spite of knowing that this is far from mature or accurate, I feel defensive and excluded. I’m NOT a racist; I can’t HELP being white; how can I join in the discussion without being berated as a “white feminist”?

  35. Gjenganger says

    @Lela 37
    Would it be breaking my promise to say that that is a very good and interesting post?

  36. lelapaletute says

    @Gjenganger – Um, yeah, hi there *blush* I have been feeling more than a little embarassed about my past flouncing. Please accept my apologies and disregard! And thanks for the compliment @38..

  37. Thil says

    @35 @Ally Fogg

    when I hold an opinion on an issue I have in my mind a subjective supposition that I believe is the most likely thing to be the objective truth. If I didn’t believe there was an objective truth about the issue I don’t see how it would be possible for me to hold any opinion about it.

    “I don’t believe punishment should be an end in it’s self” I don’t see how I could say that statement without being a dishonest if I didn’t also believe that it’s possible for the statement “punishment should be an end in it’s self” to be an objective truth.

    also 3000 years after Socrates and Plato would be the 27th century AD

  38. devilsadvocate says

    http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/aea/cfm/doc.cfm?id=L17740916ja&mode=popupsm&pop=L17740916ja_1

    lelapalete:

    “Essentially, in spite of knowing that this is far from mature or accurate, I feel defensive and excluded. I’m NOT a racist; I can’t HELP being white; how can I join in the discussion without being berated as a “white feminist”?”

    You can’t, there’s a very good reason for this. Many feminists who are not white feel the need to deflect blame of other actions onto allegedly “privileged” groups of people. I was very openly infuriated by the government’s handling of the Treyvon Martin case and there was a discussion on CNN by a white man discussing how he will never have to deal with being racially profiled. This, apparently, constitutes “privilege” on his part. It is a way of deflecting blame from people who do not treat others equally onto the race. Instead of “why are the police profiling based on race?” the question becomes “why as a white do I deserve privilege?” The fact is, you don’t. Unfortunately, many social justice movements do themselves disfavor by deflecting actual problems onto the entire race of people. White people feel excluded from wanting to do what is clearly right because they are told as a result of their immutable characteristics that they are, in fact, evil.

    The fact that some police are racists and racially does not constitute a “privilege”‘ for a white person – it represents incompetence and corruption in the police force. But, when the social justice movement turns around and says “how dare you be white and clearly superior” – the message is clear – they are not after equality – they are after racist and sexist revenge.

    It is absolutely no different than racially profiling: after all, blacks commit the most crimes, therefore all blacks have a criminal instinct. Most CEO’s are white males, so all whites have privilege.

    You could make the argument that someone stating you have “privilege” is a compliment, but it’s an epithet.

    Social justice groups are deflecting the bad actions of some people based on their immutable characteristics onto the whole. I don’t believe, as a white man, there’s a single point in my life where I ever believed that racial profiling was acceptable. On the contrary, I think I have always stated it is unequivocally wrong. Regardless, the assertion that I, by extension, being less likely to be the target of it (not wholly true as I am partially Native American and there a large controlling group of conservatives in my town that believe I intrinsically have “demon” blood in me due to being partially Cherokee) must be endowed with privilege is wholly false. In reality, I’m being blamed for someone elses wrong actions on account of my immutable characteristics.

    And, yes, I agree with Mench: most men will expect their romantic partners to be sexually reciprocal. If you’re not mature enough to participate in an openly reciprocal sexual relationship and leave the political science at the door of the bedroom, then you’re not worth the risk of a relationship. Human romantic relationships are not meant to be built on dogmatism and I can’t think of anything more sociopathic in the course of a normal relationship than for a woman to say she loves and is attracted to a man and regularly turn him down for sex. I’m not afraid to state as a man that I would dump any woman, no matter how much I loved her, if she was unwilling to engage in sexual activity on a relatively regular basis.

    I don’t think any man should be expected to stay in such a relationship where his partner has made it overwhelmingly clear that he is unwanted and I think it’s both somewhat moronic and extremely childish for a woman to feel entitled to enter into a relationship and withhold whatever she wants at any particular time for any particular reason over a long period of time. That’s simply not what loving another person consists of. Neither is forcing yourself on your partner a loving thing – which is why I think it’s fully acceptable for a man to leave such a situation as his partner in the situation that his partner has made it clear that he is not particularly welcomed or trusted by her.

    I don’t agree with Mench’s bullet-point definitions of what men and women want as they certainly don’t apply to all people. I would place 3 of her “5 things women want” on my personal list of “top 5 things I as a male want.”

  39. flaneuse says

    Thil, unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. I am not able to opt out or overcome people acting homophobically towards me, or making sexist assumptions about me. Similarly, I am not able to overcome people giving me the benefit of the doubt because I’m white. Nor can I go back and overcome the advantages I had growing up as a white middle-class English child. I can absolutely do my best not to act in ways which are detrimental to black and Asian people, but I grew up in a society where there were a huge number of stereotypes about black and Asian people and where various advantages acrued to me. I am no more able to simply change that any more than I can change the fact that English is my first language.

    lelapaletute, I feel exactly the same dilemmas, and here are my thinking-through answers:

    1. When I see “white feminists”, stop and feel the brief sense of indignation and outrage. Hey, it’s shit. I hate that people who look like me are saying awful, awful things and tramping all over really important stuff. But, as you say, seeing someone refer to “white feminists” is a rare one-off, almost always in sources that I can totally choose to ignore if I want to (and I always have the option of stepping away when I find it is getting too much for me.) The jerk of discomfort is the usual sense of complacency I have being shaken, not someone attacking me personally, and not something that hugely threatens anything else in my life.

    2. So what is the particular behaviour of White Feminists that’s being attacked here? Is it throwing around the word intersectionality without really knowing much about where it comes from? Is it claiming that there is something wrong (elitist!) with the word intersectionality, and trying to appropriate a woman of colour’s work? Is it demanding that a WoC provides a transcript of a discussion that’s freely available online, by someone who doesn’t provide exact words of discussions she’s written about herself? Is it treating women of colour like a “collect the set” toy, or asking them to educate me? Whatever it is, am I implicated? Sometimes I can genuinely go, “holy shit, that’s awful, I honestly cannot believe someone thought that was OK”. Other times I go, “Ohhh… OK, I do kind of do that. Shit. OK.”

    3. This is my big one: if I’ve got a comment to make, if I feel I want to share, who am I talking to? Am I talking to other white women or WoC? If I’m talking to other white women, am I doing that as if they were the most important audience (and ignoring women of colour), or am I trying to pushback or do some of the tedious basic-level work that most feminists of colour are probably bored of? If I’m addressing women of colour, am I asking for education, am I expressing solidarity, am I trying to share a great Original Thought that’s probably really old news to most women who’ve been thinking this stuff for years? Am I respecting the distance that a woman of colour might very well feel from me if she’s angry about racism, even if it’s not about me personally? I’m gay, so I tend to turn it around and ask myself what I’d want a straight friend to do in a analogous circumstance, and then dial it up or down depending. And sometimes the answer is “shut up, not needed”. I’ve got a lot, lot quieter from when I was in my twenties, mostly just because I actually think the situations where another white woman’s opinion of feminism is required are … not as common as I thought they were when I was 23!

    I do think there is often a conflict between the injunction “WoC should not be doing all this ourselves! We need white feminists to step up and clean out their own rubbish” and “White feminists need to shut up and let us talk! This is not their time!” I also think there are conflicts around trying to improve white feminism by visibly confronting racism, wanting to be seen to be supportive, looking for validation that I’m on the right track and not pissing people off too much, and the whole vibe of “check me out, I am visibly doing the right thing!” (I was actually thinking about an irregular verb last night: “I am taking a brave stand, you are performing support to get ally cookies, she is bullying.)

    I think you’ve got to make some sort of uneasy peace with those conflicts. If you’re living without privilege, you’re going to be in the wrong a lot of the time, and I think it’s kind of a function of privilege to feel like you want a set of Right Answers that mean you can do it right all the time and effectively transcend privilege. Racism sucks, and there is no way of operating within the system as a person with privilege where you get to put a foot right all the time. I know that I can’t opt out of being subject to sexism by being the perfect woman that patriarchy wants me to be, because that woman doesn’t exist. It follows that I can’t opt out of racism by being the perfect ally. So I try and be sensitive to the criticism that I’m hearing, I try and learn from it, I try and send support or confront people where I think there’s a way of doing it that will be heard and felt positively, I try and amplify voices and link to good blogposts or articles, and I shut up about 50% of the time even though I am bursting to say something because I can’t actually convince myself that it’s useful to anyone except me. Hard to do, but sometimes I frame it to myself as preserving my energy for a situation where speaking up might have more impact, and that works pretty well for me.

  40. Thil says

    @flaneuse

    I was talking about trying to detach your self from your perspective when you consider things in the solitude of your head. Not literally trying to jump out of your life somehow

  41. Elettaria says

    So you’re saying that once a woman is in a relationship, she must always say yes to sex with her partner?

  42. says

    Hi Ally

    But one important development that has grown out of awareness of social privilege is the recognition that some perspectives tend to be afforded more weight and authority simply because they chime with the values of more powerful or normative social groups, not necessarily because they are more true.

    I agree, the Officer class aren’t always right – no reminder needed there on the centenary of WW1. But, having rejected “I am right because I am Officer class” as a total non-argument, we should give equally short shrift to “I am right because you don’t know how it feels to be little old me.” They are both arguments from authority – only the nature of the “authority” has changed.

    Hi Lelapaletute.

    That’s a very heartfelt post at #37. But your biological position on the intersectional chequerboard puts you in a good (dare I say “privileged”?) position to not just extend forbearance to black feminists but the other way, too. To paraphrase, how many men feel “defensive and excluded” in feminist discussions? How many are inwardly thinking “I’m NOT a misogynist; I can’t HELP being male; how can I join in the discussion without being berated for mansplaining? [As it happens, I’ve found you personally to be unusually adept at that bidirectional tolerance. But, I stress, unusually so.]

  43. flaneuse says

    Thil, by this:

    “I would have thought that would not be the person who is “most directly affected” as they would have a total lack of objectivity”

    Do you mean that the person who is most directly affected has a duty to try and view the situation objectively, or that they will be unable to view it objectively because they would have a total lack of objectivity?

    To be honest, I think the only way to view a situation “objectively” is to view it scientifically – that is, to educate yourself about a problem and existing theories, set up a hypothesis, test it, publish your results and allow others to repeat, criticise and refine them. I don’t think an individual can view a situation objectively – you’re always coming from a subject position.

    So, I don’t think “objectivity” is a goal for either the person on the sharp end of racism, or the person who believes they are unaffected by it. I believe there are such things as structural inequalities, and the only way to challenge them is to let the people who are historically discriminated against take the lead in describing and dismantling them.

  44. Elettaria says

    Sorry, here’s a clarification.

    @devilsadvocate #42 So you’re saying that once a woman is in a relationship, she must always say yes to sex with her partner?

  45. Ally Fogg says

    lelapaletute

    that was an interesting post.

    Essentially, in spite of knowing that this is far from mature or accurate, I feel defensive and excluded. I’m NOT a racist; I can’t HELP being white; how can I join in the discussion without being berated as a “white feminist”?

    I can’t offer any magic wand solution, but the position you describe is very familiar to me, particularly if I do a quick switch of issues:

    Essentially, in spite of knowing that this is far from mature or accurate, I feel defensive and excluded. I’m NOT a sexist; I can’t HELP being male; how can I join in the discussion without being berated as a “mansplainer”?

    Sound familiar?

    I’m not generally a fan of those gender / race analogies, they can often offer a deceptively simple but misleading map, but in this instance I think it is quite accurate.

    In the case of sexism, I ask myself what it is that a feminist is trying to achieve, whether I agree with that, and if so what I can do to help.

    If the specific issue is women being able to define and describe their own experiences and prescribe their own solutions, then the best thing I can do is step out of the way.

    And the idea that because I am white, I will simply have to watch this one from the sidelines, seems both personally unbearable (I am, after all, an opinionated baggage) and actually counterproductive – surely nothing can be achieved without dialogue?

    My advice for what it is worth: Amplify voices. Listen. Engage other white women in the issues. Above all, make sure you’re not adding to the oppression. If someone tells you that you are adding to the oppression, shut up and take a good hard look at yourself. Ask whether she might have a point. If she does, accept it, don’t get too defensive. If she doesn’t have a point, shut up and change the subject, because if you start digging your heels in too deep you soon will be part of the problem.

    Mostly works for me anyway.

  46. Thil says

    @36 @45 @Elettaria

    it depends whether or not she thinks he’ll leave if she refuses, and whether or not she thinks doing it anyway is worth keeping relationship going. In other words it’s a personal choice that’s going to different from one women to the next

  47. Mr Supertypo says

    @42 Devils

    ” I don’t think any man should be expected to stay in such a relationship where his partner has made it overwhelmingly clear that he is unwanted and I think it’s both somewhat moronic and extremely childish for a woman to feel entitled to enter into a relationship and withhold whatever she wants at any particular time for any particular reason over a long period of time. That’s simply not what loving another person consists of. Neither is forcing yourself on your partner a loving thing – which is why I think it’s fully acceptable for a man to leave such a situation as his partner in the situation that his partner has made it clear that he is not particularly welcomed or trusted by her. ”

    We can easily reverse the genders, the stereotype that women are not interested or they control sex is a stupid myth. Women enjoy so much sex as anybody else and sometimes men also withhold sex or general affection. Its not a exclusively female behavior.

  48. Mr Supertypo says

    @49 Electra

    “Sorry, here’s a clarification.

    @devilsadvocate #42 So you’re saying that once a woman is in a relationship, she must always say yes to sex with her partner? ”

    I dont think Devil is saying ALWAYS, but if she ALWAYS refuse then there is something wrong. Beside can you live with a person who refuses you sex? maybe you can but not the xxxxxx% of women/men outhere.

  49. Elettaria says

    #53 @Mr Supertypo

    Please note the situation being described was when a disabled woman (and I specifically discussed the much higher risk of partner rape for disabled women) chose not to have sex on two separate nights, on one due to not being in the mood, and on the other due to fatigue. It was not about rejecting her partner in any way. If someone says, “Sorry, darling, I’d love to but I’m just in too much pain/too exhausted to turn over/woozy as hell from medication tonight,” it is not about you, just as it wouldn’t be about you if your partner needed to use a wheelchair to get about. It is not a rejection. Saying, “I don’t want to have sex with you because I don’t find you attractive,” would be a rejection, and that’s not at all what is being discussed here.

    Anyone has the right to say no to sex at any time and for any reason. It’s Mensch and Devilsadvocate who have decided that someone choosing not to have sex on two separate occasions, for reasons to do with them rather than with their partner, is a massive wholesale rejection of their partner, shows that they don’t love or trust them, and so forth. To tell someone that they are not mature enough for a relationship if they bring their social politics into the bedroom, which as far as I can tell means “stop being such a silly woman by worrying about consent and the problem of partner rape”, is mind-boggling. To tell someone disabled that if she ever refuses sex, even for reasons of disability or illness, that she is “sociopathic”, while denying her the right to consent or not to sex (which sounds pretty damned sociopathic to me)? I don’t even know where to start.

  50. Elettaria says

    @51 @Thil it depends whether or not she thinks he’ll leave if she refuses, and whether or not she thinks doing it anyway is worth keeping relationship going. In other words it’s a personal choice that’s going to different from one women to the next

    I’m not quite sure what you’re saying here. Do you mean that if a woman doesn’t want to have sex with her male partner, but is afraid that he will leave if he refuses, it would be a good decision for her to have sex with him?

  51. lelapaletute says

    @devilsadvocate 42: I think you have misunderstood my feelings on being labelled a “White Feminist” – I certainly don’t fancy that I am being in some way persecuted. And I think you have got the wrong end of the stick about Mensch’s (unrelated) post about sex within relationships. You are saying that if someone is not having their sexual needs met in a relationship, they should leave the relationship – this is all well and good. Mensch is saying that if you are in a relationship, you are obliged to have sex with your partner whether you want to or not. This is definitely not all well and good, this is rape culture. To be clear: it is alright to want sex – any amount of it you like. It is alright not to want sex. It is alright to refuse to have sex. It is alright to end a relationship because you are not getting as much sex as you want. It is alright to consent to sex when you’re less than keen because you want to please your partner. It is NOT alright to bully your partner into sex they don’t want to have or that they have not consented to.

    @flaneuse 43: This was a really helpful post for me to read – thanks for that. I will try and bear your points in mind. I have learned, over time, that it is not necessary or desirable for me to ‘win’ every argument I have (still learning that one, some days!); it is probably time to take that a step further and acknowledge, as you suggest, that not every argument needs or wants my input at all. Tough one. I like your strategy of looking at this as conserving energy for the issues that I can make a unique or useful contribution on.

    @Norman Hadley 47: I very much agree with what I think you’re saying (although I’m not sure what you mean by my showing ‘forbearance’ to black feminists, as they aren’t really doing anything I need to show forbearance for).

    It has long been my belief that western feminism’s current front line is between the critical mass of women who value and insist on their (relatively newly minted) rights, and determined to free themselves further from gender shackles, and the growing number of men who are engaging with these issues, whether they are coming to the discussion from the perspective of wanting to be liberated from their own rigid gender paradigm, or from the perspective of being unnerved by the ongoing collapse of the patriarchal structure within which that paradigm is situated.

    And while the patriarchy still owns us all, it is by and large women who have forged and currently dominate the radical gender space – it is important to feminism to welcome in and engage with the men who want to participate in it, and to give encouragement and support to those who do so in good faith. And that is what I try to do. I pretty much hate the word ‘mansplain’, because I think it is an unnecessarily hostile, gender-specific way of saying something quite simple, which is ‘you know not whereof you speak’, something which we can all do with hearing from time to time – and probably what I need to really take on board in the context of the race and feminism discussion, even if it comes packaged in the (to my mind) uncivil epithet “White feminist!”

  52. Thil says

    @Elettaria

    “Do you mean that if a woman doesn’t want to have sex with her male partner, but is afraid that he will leave if he refuses, it would be a good decision for her to have sex with him?”

    If she wants to stay with him more than she doesn’t want to have sex.

    do you see sex as some sacrosanct thing a person should never enter into for any other reason than that they want to experience pleasure and intimacy for their own sakes?

  53. lelapaletute says

    @Ally and Norman – hahaha, is there an echo in here? :P Ally’s further advice also chimes pretty closely with Flaneuse’s above – I am clearly getting all the good advice today :)

  54. Elettaria says

    @Thil You were talking about fear being used in this context, and if someone is afraid of their partner, it’s pretty bad. Making someone have sex with you against their will under threat of leaving them is abuse. Pressuring someone into doing it is also abuse. Sometimes people literally cannot afford to break up with a partner, for instance for financial reasons, parenting reasons, or if they are disabled and reliant on them for care. This is nothing whatsoever to do with how a couple deals with sexual incompatibility issues. It’s about power and control.

    Anyway, who on earth would want sex with an unwilling partner? Quite apart from being unethical, how is that even enjoyable?

    Do I think sex is sacrosanct? If you mean sexual consent, which is what we’re discussing here, then yes, absolutely. There is a difference between natural variations in libido, energy and so forth, and working around these (as I discussed in the article I linked to, if you’ve read it), and being actively unwilling to have sex. To quote a friend of mine, there is a huge difference between doing it when you’re not really in the mood because you love that person and you’ll probably enjoy it when you get into it (and knowing that if you don’t happen to get warmed up, then you simply stop), and doing it because you think there will be consequences if you don’t… One is a choice, the other is some rather nasty coercion. And as well as being highly unpleasant psychologically, it can become physically painful surprisingly easily. We’re not just talking about making your partner a cup of tea when you’d rather not get up from watching TV. Go and look at the examples from people I know, which I quoted in my article, of what it’s like when this happens. Don’t worry, it’s not explicit, I’ve spared you a description of the physical pain.

    The thing that really strikes me here is that I gave a very specific example of a disabled woman choosing not to have sex on only two occasions, one of them disability-related, both of them about her rather than her partner, and this scenario has become completely distorted by Mensch and some of the commenters here, becoming this idea that the woman is rudely rejecting the man and everything he stands for, never ever having sex with him, mistrusting him and so forth. The overriding fear seems to be the idea that a man might not get sex every time he demands it. (As if men are the only ones with desires, or as if everyone got partnered sex every single time they wanted it.) The mere idea of this is stronger than any other consideration, including extremely serious considerations such as violation and physical harm. And the disability factor has magically been removed from the discussion. Of course, who knows why I’d want to discuss the issue of consent when 40% or so of disabled women are raped or sexually abused, often by their partners. Not relevant to real life at all, is it.

  55. lelapaletute says

    @Elettaria 62

    Sometimes people literally cannot afford to break up with a partner, for instance for financial reasons, parenting reasons, or if they are disabled and reliant on them for care.

    I think you’re on pretty shaky ground here tbh. Difficulties notwithstanding, I don’t think it is reasonable to put the onus on the partner upon whom one is dependent to stay in a relationship in which they are not happy, simply because the dependent partner does not have the financial or otherwise wherewithal to get along without them. I also think it is pretty unethical to maintain a relationship with someone purely because they fulfil your requirements as regards finances, childcare, disability support etc. One of the reasons I support the welfare state and am keen to defend it from the assaults of the conservative government is that it (theoretically) removes this as the motivation for people being stuck in fundamentally dysfunctional and unhappy relationships.

    Anyway, who on earth would want sex with an unwilling partner? Quite apart from being unethical, how is that even enjoyable?

    This, however, is absolutely spot on and fundamental. I will never understand how someone can enjoy sex with their partner, or even a casual one night stand, if the other person is unwilling. It is just…. totally incomprehensible to me. And I read your article on the Mensch piece and agreed with every word.

  56. says

    Hi lelapaletute (#59). I only meant forbearance in the sense of patience and understanding. The principle of charity, really. As I say, I’ve always found you strong at that stuff.

  57. Thil says

    @Elettaria

    “Making someone have sex with you against their will under threat of leaving them is abuse”

    “abuse” has become way too broadly defined

    The man doesn’t have to stay just because she needs him for money or care. If that’s not the case I don’t see how you can argue he’s doing something wrong by making those things conditional on something, I mean he’d be will within his rights to leave for absolutely no reason.

    Arguing that the sex is unconsensual because the women needs something from the man is like arguing that my mum is a slave because she can’t live without her salary.

    I’m not really interested in how the women feel about the sex. Is a subjective thing and only she can know whether they’re worth it or not.

  58. bugmaster says

    @Ally #35:

    f we are talking about issues of objective truth – pure mathematics, falsifiable scientific hypotheses etc, then that remains true.

    If you want to effect any kind of a meaningful, positive change in the world; then your only option is to go with “objective truth”. Otherwise, you’re flailing in the dark.

    The only reliable way to produce a real effect on anything outside of your own head is to set yourself some tangible goals; figure out a way to measure progress toward those goals; then implement one or more strategies aimed at achieving the goals. You can then get a realistic estimate regarding the effectiveness of these strategies; and, perhaps just as importantly, you can also detect when your goal has been more or less achieved, and move on to the next one.

    Naturally, you don’t need to be 100% mathematically certain about anything in order to do these things, but there are still a lot of numbers between 0% and 100%.

    Thus, for example, if your only goal is something like “achieve social justice” or “fight the patriarchy”, then you will fail, because no one, not even you, knows what that means. If, on the other hand, your goal is something like “increase the average income of women relative to men to at least 95%”, then you may succeed, and you have a ready-made tool to check which of your policies are effective.

  59. bugmaster says

    @Thil #67:

    If it’s so hard to define, how do you know if you’re achieving it ? That’s kind of my entire point.

  60. Lucy says

    Ally Fogg: “There is not the huge swathe of mythical Aryan feminists, nor is there the mythical bloc of hair-trigger intersectional feminists yelling bigot etc everytime a white feminist says something. ”

    No, but there is a huge swathe of men patrolling the feminist conversation and using racist smear tactics to divide and rule.

  61. Lucy says

    “So I was shocked, to say the least, when Caroline Criado Perez used my point about racism in feminism to derail and talk about abuse she’d received, treading a line that closely linked intersectionality to abuse against white women. ”
    Reni Eddo-Lodge

    Intersectionality is linked to abuse of white women. That is an actual thing.

    Perez wasn’t making it up when she said during this program that people didn’t consider her a valid victim because she was white and privileged.

    White feminists aren’t making it up when they tell people they are frequently verbally abused online and sometimes offline, with their race as well as their gender being a significant factor in that.

    White women more generally aren’t making it up when they say they are being demeaned and sexualised by the media and used as an international effigy by various factions.

    Perez was perhaps wrong to derail the conversation and rob Eddo-Lodge of her rarely available national platform, but she wasn’t wrong to link intersectionality and its amateur fanboys with the denigration of white feminists.

  62. Lucy says

    Thil

    “I’d like to think people like that are more likely to be ignored”

    I don’t think that’s a particularly good solution to propaganda.

  63. Lucy says

    Here are some gems from Ginkgo on the Natsal blog which show what happens when intersectionality filters down from the gender course to the man in the comments section/street:

    “Surely there must be some white feminists somewhere who are not racist filth, who do not immediately revert to racist stereotypes and racist blindness to the oppression they inflict. Surely they must exist somewhere.”

    “Way to completely miss the point, whitewoman. The point was that cultural values around free will and agency shape these judgements, and not everyone shares your cultural values or asumptions, whitewoman. You might try coming out of your monocultural bubble for some air sometime.”

    I commend Ally for declining to comment.

  64. Lucy says

    “This belief that any black person who does challenge existing systems is a disgraceful bully – however polite, educated and articulate she may be – and must be stamped on at the first opportunity. This is a grotesque spectacle of white privilege raised to an artform.”

    It’s not the black person who is the bully, it is the white digital media factions that coalesces around the black person which is the bully, or rather the fear of them. Mensch may do it clumsily, but she is identifying a phenomenon that many white women recognise.

    I’m not sure what her sexy, expensive shoes have to do with it. What’s the angle?

  65. Lucy says

    Paul

    “Putting my cards firmly on the table i don’t believe the ”Feminist Establishment” -irrespective of the diversity of opinion that exists within it- really and wholeheartedly cares about the issues that disproportionately and sometimes exclusively affect Black and Asian women and to be fair White working class women as well.”

    Putting my cards on the table, I don’t think you can name who’s in the “Feminist Establishment” and therefore have any idea what they whole or half heatedly care about.

    I would suggest that your concept of the “Feminist Establishment” is a many-headed hydra of interchangeable white women that drift vaguely into media view from time to time.

  66. WhineyMalone says

    To be honest I’m convinced that white, middle-class ‘career woman’ style feminism is a major obstacle to genuine ‘intersectional equality’ for society in general.

    For instance, take the plight of the disabled at the moment at a time of government cutbacks.

    How can it be that the government is throwing so much money aimed at the white middle class career women demographic (35,000 p.a. Athena Swan ‘gender parity coordinators’ at all the Russell group universities; 15,000 p.a. ‘bonus’ grants to post-grad female engineering students, simply on account of their gender), when at the same time the state authorities are taking away the most meagre and basic support seriously disabled people require to live on? Is this not surely a case of horrendously skewed priorities? Yes, the state is deeply in debt, yet it is clearly not the case that large quantities of cash aren’t being sloshed around in certain areas.

    This is why I think Ally gets it wrong when he often implies that the best way to approach this brand of careerist feminism is complete appeasement and reconciliation (an approach which, as a Guardian journalist, I guess he has to take a lot of the time, but I still think is wrong). If genuine social justice is to be achieved, then such vested interests surely need to be challenged and taken on.

  67. David Jones says

    ‘Which makes it rather self defeating when men tell women how to do feminism or white people tell black people how to react to racism’

    Not ‘tell’, but enter the discussion. Not all people nominally belonging to some historically disadvantaged group or other are either more disadvantaged personally than every individual from a majority group and nor do they necessarily and solely have all the answers.

  68. Paul says

    Putting my cards on the table, I don’t think you can name who’s in the “Feminist Establishment” and therefore have any idea what they whole or half heatedly care about.

    Lucy- you’ve completely missed the point i was making.That point being that the mainstream feminist movement in this country is dominated by white middle class women who don’t all sing from the same hymn sheet but who are white middle class women nevertheless.Black and asian women as well as white working class women also don’t all sing from the same hymn sheet.However many feel that the white middle class women who dominate the mainstream feminist movement in this country don’t represent them.

    I would suggest that your concept of the “Feminist Establishment” is a many-headed hydra of interchangeable white women that drift vaguely into media view from time to time.

    See my above reply.

  69. says

    Those who encourage others to check their privilege have to be careful that those words are not ever used against them. And so the thing to remember here is that everything is relative. A woman may be lower down the food chain than a man for example but if she is white then she is higher up it than one who is black. Complaining about the inequality of society is therefore a tad unhelpful if one
    is only referencing it from their own particular viewpoint. Unless you are at the very bottom there is always someone beneath you

    I am a white male. Now given that it would be very unwise for me to go waxing lyrical on racism or misogyny, Why ? Because I am never going to experience either. I may very well empathise with those that do but that is not the same thing. And so the natural default position is for me to shut up and sit down and take out my pen and pad and start taking notes. And it is not always easy because even with the best intention in the world one can be blinded by ones own privilege. But one has to learn the undeniable
    fact that although we are all supposed to be equal some are more equal than others. Which is something that Louise Mensch
    seems oblivious to unfortunately. Hopefully she will learn. As indeed should we all

    But there are times however when it is pushed to absolute breaking point and normal rules do not apply. Phoebe Kwons twitter is a fine example of this. Pheobe does not believe white women can ever be raped. Why ? Because society is racist. One should point out here that it is also misogynistic too. And which of course invalidates her argument. It may be more accurate to suggest that the rape of black women is not regarded as serious as that of white women. But I am glad that Pheobe tweeted that for it references a point of view so outside of my own that unless I heard or saw it I may not believe such views existed [ in point of fact I no longer am surprised at anything human beings think about each other and rightly so too ]

    But as a general rule one should always defer to the group that is being victimised [ unless you happen to belong to that group yourself ] and not seek to impose your views on it. Because your frame of reference and their frame of reference are not the same Now it is a wonderful thing of course to debate these issues on the web and I am all for it. But let us just remember that it is not about us. We are not the ones being victimised here. Someone who is black or female has every right to tell me to shut the fuck up if I ever open my white male mouth to express a view on racism or misogyny. And I should not or shall not ever feel they are wrong to do so either. I do not of course but unfortunately there are many who do. Until that is resolved then racism and misogyny will still very
    much exist in society [ as well as all the other prejudices too ]

  70. summerblues says

    Paul @ 78

    The following, yes:
    “That point being that the mainstream feminist movement in this country is dominated by white middle class women who don’t all sing from the same hymn sheet but who are white middle class women nevertheless.Black and asian women as well as white working class women also don’t all sing from the same hymn sheet.However many feel that the white middle class women who dominate the mainstream feminist movement in this country don’t represent them.”

    I’m a lousy feminist. I am not a victim. I don’t feel oppressed by anyone except myself (try to get in my way when I’ve decided to do something.) I don’t use the word “mysogyny” lightly; It takes a lot before I say it. Just this seems to put me at odds with the vocal fems. Now, I guess maybe I can add: I see human first, then women (biological or not), then skin color. The latter two cross. As a white woman I’ve no damn business saying anything about the experiences of WoC. Sigh, I don’t get it. Aren’t we all women regardless?

  71. David Jones says

    @surreptitious57:

    Someone who is black or female has every right to tell me to shut the fuck up if I ever open my white male mouth to express a view on racism or misogyny.

    I hope this is just a bit of baiting hyperbole. You should be free to express your views on racism or misogyny, even in the intemperate, top-trumps, balkanised world of intersectionality – because an intersectional analysis would refer only to groups, not individuals. Any individual black person and / or a woman wouldn’t necessarily have a better understanding or a more cogent analysis or a more potentially successful plan of action than you. We’d have to listen to your views to decide that, and discuss them. Being told to ‘shut the fuck up’ would be most unhelpful. Happens a lot, of course.

  72. Ally Fogg says

    surreptitious57 (79)

    Had never heard of Phoebe Kwon, so had to look her up. Seems that Twitterfeed only existed for 3 days while the #solidarityisforwhitepeople thing was running, then vanished again, which makes me wonder if it was a troll creation.

    On the other hand, some people do believe some completely batty, bizarre and offensive things and that’s not restricted to white men! Some opinions, such as the one quoted, are so off the wall I’d question whether much is to be gained from engaging with them. But fundamentally you’re right – just because you’re a woman, black, gay, whatever does not necessarily mean you are right about everything or that your opinions are beyond challenge. However it is true that those challenges are likely to have more weight and effectiveness if (in this case) coming from another Asian or black woman rather than you or me. Nobody is obliged to pay attention to what we think.

  73. Thil says

    surreptitious57 (79)

    “Because I am never going to experience either”

    you think white men never ever experience racism and/or sexism?

  74. Schala says

    “you think white men never ever experience racism and/or sexism?”

    White men likely experience more sexism than racism, at least in the West. But some people have taken to semantic twists to define sexism against men as not-sexism. And misandry as lol-patriarchy and lol-not-real.

    I doubt white men will personally experience misogyny though.

  75. David Jones says

    We don’t need to get into an argument about who experiences some sort of ism, and how often, to support the pretty incontestable notion that direct experience of prejudice doesn’t automatically provide you with all the answers, any more than direct experience of the flu provides you with a vaccine; or that less direct or no experience of such disadvantage doesn’t prevent you from coming up with some wise and sensible ideas. The ideas themselves are the thing.

  76. Lucy says

    “Lucy- you’ve completely missed the point i was making.”

    I don’t think I did. Your point was that white feminists are all the same. So similar that you don’t need to name
    any or differentiate between them. So similar in fact that you don’t even need to know who they are.

    “That point being that the mainstream feminist movement in this country is dominated by white middle class women who don’t all sing from the same hymn sheet but who are white middle class women nevertheless.”

    What is the mainstream feminist movement? The feminist movement isn’t mainstream. Dominated by which white middle class women? Who do you mean? What hymn sheet are they singing from then? What’s on it?


    “Black and asian women as well as white working class women also don’t all sing from the same hymn sheet.However many feel that the white middle class women who dominate the mainstream feminist movement in this country don’t represent them.”

    Who? Which black and Asian women? Which white women? Which representatives are you talking about? Just some generic white, middle-class feminist with heels above her station? Representatives of black and Asian women?

    Representatives like say, the 6 British Muslim women who set up a social media campaign, in order to speak on behalf of Muslim women worldwide, to undermine Femen and western white women as imperialists for criticising Islam and said Muslim women’s claims of being feminist representatives? Supported by Laurie Penny on the grounds that only Muslim women should have an opinion on Islam and western white women should stay quiet?

  77. Lucy says

    WhineyMalone

    “To be honest I’m convinced that white, middle-class ‘career woman’ style feminism is a major obstacle to genuine ‘intersectional equality’ for society in general.”

    I’m convinced that of all the obstacles to genuine intersectional equality for society in general that exist, feminism is the least important of them, but the one that gets the most attention and criticism for it. Wonder why.

    I’m also convinced that feminists, versed in feminist theory, who attend feminist conferences, and read feminist literature are more likely to be aware of the issue than almost anyone, and yet they are the ones who are criticised for being blind to it. Wonder why.

    How often do you get two white men and one black man on Radio 4 discussing the progress of say, socialist class politics in the last year, where half of the conversation and all of the follow up blogs and comments are devoted to racial bias within the socialist movement? That would be a never. Though I’m sure that Labour and the Socialist a Workers’ Party must be every bit as racially biased as feminism is, more.

    Why are women’s political movements being held up for greater scrutiny and to higher standards than male ones? And why are women being encouraged to fight one another rather than the men? And why is there a tendency for some in the media to hold up women who are by no stretch of the imagination feminists as its representatives, be they white and privileged or minority and unprivileged, secular or religious.

    I smell a greater privilege at work.

  78. Lucy says

    “direct experience of prejudice doesn’t automatically provide you with all the answers,”

    If it did, black and minority men and women wouldn’t ever be racist or sexist. And there’s a danger that intersectionality can give ground to apologia for both of those.

    How else do you explain certain white feminists welcoming nonwhite, female advocates for patriarchal systems into the feminist club (on behalf of us all)?

    Feminism gets compromised and demeaned by that, we should have the courage to say it stands for more than easing injustices towards women.

  79. Lucy says

    “That point being that the mainstream feminist movement in this country is dominated by white middle class women ”

    Feminist theory has always been dominated by academics. It originated specifically in Christian theological theory over a century ago and has grown into a complex field in its own right.

    In that regard it is no different to other political and social theories, including those others concerned with social theory and justice such as law, political philosophy, social science and economics. And yet I think it unlikely that Drs and professors in those other fields would be so berated for their provenance and expertise as feminists are. Nor would they be encouraged to give way to anecdote and amateurism. The fact that this phenomenon blights feminists in particular suggests sexism: as if female expertise is not valuable or hard to acquire.

    Not that I’m suggesting that intersectionality as a field is anecdote and amateurism, because it certainly isn’t, but a fair few of its advocates, as well as “feminist campaigners” trumpeted by the left wing media in particular are. I can’t find any evidence of Reni Eddo-Lodge’s background beyond her being a journalist based in London who is interested in social justice, how representative or knowledgeable that makes her I’m not sure; probably about as representative and knowledgable as Caroline Criado-Perez, who does as least have a women’s studies masters from Oxford and a non-journalist job. But if that is the level the Radio 4 annual roundup of feminism conversation is going to be pitched at then it’s going to be an amateur and clumsy affair with people peddling media and career agendas over the top of one another,

    Some of the fault in this case lies with the BBC for not aiming higher with their guests, but constantly recycling their journalistic colleagues.

  80. Schala says

    If it did, black and minority men and women wouldn’t ever be racist or sexist. And there’s a danger that intersectionality can give ground to apologia for both of those.

    Where it gets the most damning to me is when someone applies what is ostensibly the same oppression they tasted. For example, biphobia and transphobia as applied by the gay and lesbian communities.

    Consider that most of the homophobia is from people being perceived (rightly or wrongly) as not ‘performing’ their gender role right, to a point where any visible departure by heterosexual people from gender roles is perceived as indicating probable homosexuality. Gender-conforming gay men and lesbian women are all but forgotten because they counter that claim.

    Similarly, most of the biphobia is from people being perceived as too-sexual and have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too. It’s similar because much of the homophobia directed at gay men comes from imagining them having sex, and that without having to “beg women for consent” it’s sex all the time, because men always want it (full of those assumptions in J Michael Bailey’s book). It touches bisexual women as well as bisexual men, and it’s an example of a male trope (super sexual) affecting women. The same can be said for prostitutes, when they’re not unilaterally considered as victims lacking agency.

    And the transphobia is often from people being perceived as not performing their roles, being seen as aberrations (actually more than homosexuality in some parts of the world) religiously. Being seen as fakes, and for trans women, being seen as usurpers of status they didn’t “earn” by being born with a uterus, hence not worthy of benefiting from what feminism calls benevolent sexism.

    Much of those 3 are tied to perceptions of failure to perform gender ‘according to plan’. Yet the gay and lesbian community has no trouble shitting on the bisexual community and the transgender and transsexual community. The transsexual community shitting on the transgender community, and much infighting about being “visibly trans” vs safety vs being perceived as freaks (much of the transsexual vs transgender thing seems to come from transsexual women who had surgery not wanting to be associated with “those guys in a dress over there”, and wanting to be seen as normal and conservative in lifestyle, they’re at least a vocal minority).

    TL;DR, being shat on, even for very similar reasons, doesn’t prevent someone not doing it again on someone lower on the totem pole. In fact, it probably helps provoke it. In a dog eats dog world, the smaller dogs will attack puppies rather than be pacifists, it seems.

  81. TMK says

    @84 Schala

    Lately, i pass for a woman sometime, so, i guess, technically it could be possible, too…

    (but yes, i agree)

  82. says

    Although everyone is entitled to an opinion not all opinions are of equal value. Those informed by knowledge and experience are obviously of greater merit than those not informed by them. And which is why I would need to check my white male privilege when discussing racism or misogyny for example. Apart from the fact that I am never going to experience either it also comes across as ignorant and patronising when I do offer my opinion because I am assuming that it actually matters. Someone who is black and has experienced racism is far better placed to understand it than someone who is white and has not. Ditto someone who is female and has experienced misogyny over someone who is male and has not. The problem here is that a white male may subconsciously reference negative micro aggressions that to them are harmless. But to someone who is black or female that may not be the case

    Crommunist has made the excellent point that we all are subconsciously prejudiced. and there is nothing wrong in that. Not because it is universal but because it is automatic and so cannot be avoided. It only becomes a problem when those prejudices are freely and openly referenced without any attempt to contain them. No one is a paragon of virtue and as that is an impossible ideal we should not beat ourselves up over it anyway. So my goal in life from that perspective is not to be perfect but less imperfect instead

    Very often those who are immune from prejudice cannot see how it permeates at a more subtle level. I have visited the everyday sexism project by laura bates in which ordinary women give account of misogyny they have experienced. Now all of the high level stuff is self explanatory and needs no embellishing. But the more low level stuff is not something a white liberal male like myself might spot straight away. It could be something like referring to a woman as a girl for example [ though I am actually aware of this but use it to illustrate my point because it is rather ubiquitous as men do it all the time ] Now this is never going to happen to me as a male. But for many women it does and more so is unacceptable because it is patronising and condescending. And if after the man has been politely informed of his faux pas he then thinks she is making a mountain out of a mole hill then the problem escalates. For she may then be subject to even worse name calling. So she is damned if she speaks out and damned if she does not. This is not something men will ever have to confront in the same everyday casual way so they may find it hard to empathise with

    That is just one example but there are many more and many men who do this may not be hard core misogynists. But it still grates when they do it. I am not making myself out to be perfect here as I am far from it. But showing some basic respect to fellow human beings should not be that hard. So when I said that I should shut the fuck up when wanting to discuss misogyny I meant it. One has to learn the value of listening over talking. Not easy of course but when the subject matter being discussed is outside of your own experience it would be unwise not to however

  83. Lucy says

    Ally Fogg: “the problem was the way she piggybacked the issue of the marginalisation of women of colour within feminism and turned it into a completely different issue of greater concern to her”

    Criado-Perez let Reni Eddo-Lodge entirely finish her point and stop talking; waited for Jenni Murray to ask her a new, unrelated question which moved the conversation on to a completely different issue, and said “before I answer that, I’d just like to come back on the previous point.”, made her point briefly, then answered the next question. How is that piggy backing? And how did she have the power to turn it into anything, Murray was controlling the conversation. She didn’t turn the conversation incidentally, it continued on exactly as planned.

    And her point was that intersectionality is a double-edged sword with certain negative consequences for white feminists and women. A point of view that is gaining traction in feminist circles, and a point experienced very powerfully by Criado-Perez in 2013.

    Sure she could have made it more graciously and humbly by acknowledging Reni’s point first, expanding on it, or leaving more of a gap in the conversation to let it settle, or she could have stayed silent or made it at a different time completely, she could have made it clearer that she wasn’t blaming Reni for the abuse she’s suffered and she did slip into genericising intersectionists as one group. Generally “checked her privilege”.

    But the attention this exchange has garnered, the fact that it grated for listeners (including me) for her to make it, the fact that this upset Reni, and that she went on to apologise and others are so interested in the outcome of that is really kind of bizarre. A similar, or much more robust and less polite exchange between men wouldn’t have even registered with participants or listeners, and they happen all the time. We expect something different of women, they need to show humility and grace. An unreasonable expectation of people who’s career depends on maintaining a media profile and perhaps an unreasonable expectation altogether when people fundamentally disagree on something or have been exposed to the kind of terrifying ordeal and institutional indifference Criado-Perez has been for months.


    “which is a pretty strong example of the exact kind of problems people have with CCP and other prominent white mainstream feminists.”

    The fact that Perez disagrees with Reni and said so is strong evidence that Reni is right?

  84. Thil says

    @surreptitious57@93

    1) It is not a fact that white men do not experience any form prejudice
    2) If you expressing your opinion comes across as “ignorant and patronising” then that’s something both you and the listener need to get over. No matter how upsetting, the opinion should be considered objectively and it should be kept in mind that it’s opinion & not an order
    3) What you are describing is not attempting to over come prejudices. What you are describing is throwing up your hands at the prospect of attempting to overcome prejudice and deciding to just defer to people who’s prejudices are …..somehow better than your own
    4) The fact that you are capable of understanding why being called a “girl” might upset a women, sort of defeats your argument. It proves that a white cis man is capable of acquiring an at least intellectual understanding of something they don’t experience
    5) Although it’s arguably always patronising I don’t think calling a women “girl” is anything to do with sexism or misogyny. I’ve seen men called “boy” in the same sort of situations that women are called “girl”
    6) If being respectful requires me to keep all my opinions to my self, then to hell with respect!

  85. WhineyMalone says

    Mind you I will concede that it was probably a bit naughty to suggest that Ally tends towards appeasement of white-middle class feminists, when challenging some of their hypocrisies is exactly what he’s doing in this contribution (and copping quite a lot of flak for it in the process!)

    Some of the brickbats hurled by the rad-fems on his Twitter feed I find a bit evocative of this scene here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM9uFaGGVwk

    :-)

  86. WhineyMalone says

    Lucy, it’s quite fitting that (white) middle-class, feminism should be held up to greater scrutiny than other aspects of (identity) politics, because of the power and influence it wields. It’s a matter of record that senior members of the cabinet have held meetings with the Fawcett Society half a dozen times since coming to office, Compare and contrast that with the DWP refusing point blank to hold face-to-face discussions with certain disability charities. What a world of difference in outlook there is there. And then in Parliament we have the regular spectacle of ‘Women and Equality Questions.’ Read for that: middle-class, (white) career-women come first, and then all other considerations take a low-profile back seat.

  87. Jacob Schmidt says

    Schala

    I doubt white men will personally experience misogyny though.

    I think a substantial amount of sexism men experience is rooted in misogyny. Men use misogynistic language to impose gender roles on other men all the time.

  88. carnation says

    @ Schala

    Males, mainly young males, are horrifically affected by misogynistic domestic violence directed at their mothers. This is something that should be shouted from the rafters,.

  89. says

    98, Schimdt:

    I think a substantial amount of sexism men experience is rooted in misogyny. Men use misogynistic language to impose gender roles on other men all the time.

    I am not sure what you mean. Is it something like the following example:

    “A: Come jump over the railway, it is quicker this way.

    B: No, I better take the stairs, see you in 50 secs.

    A: Dont be such a girl!”

    If you had a scenario like this in mind, I have a hard time working not how this is rooted in misogyny, i.e. the hatred of or hostility towards women. It is far more like A expects more risky behavior from B since B is a boy, without any intrinsic value judgement other than not behaving along your gender role is bad. Similarly woman who are discouraged from stereotypically masculine behaviors and activities are not discouraged because of misandry, but because of gender expectations for them. Your choice of words, namely that MEN use such discouragement is of course exclusionary nonsense as I can bet that women do it often enough and gender neutral speech should be preferred.

  90. Lucy says

    WhineyMalone

    “Lucy, it’s quite fitting that (white) middle-class, feminism should be held up to greater scrutiny than other aspects of (identity) politics, because of the power and influence it wields. ”

    It doesn’t just get held up to greater scrutiny than other aspects of identity politics, it gets held up for greater scrutiny than other aspects of non-identity politic too.

    Sticking with the identity theme, feminism has greater power and influence than class politics, race politics, sexuality politics, age politics, religious politics? Are you sure?

    “It’s a matter of record that senior members of the cabinet have held meetings with the Fawcett Society half a dozen times since coming to office, Compare and contrast that with the DWP refusing point blank to hold face-to-face discussions with certain disability charities. What a world of difference in outlook there is there. And then in Parliament we have the regular spectacle of ‘Women and Equality Questions.’ Read for that: middle-class, (white) career-women come first, and then all other considerations take a low-profile back seat.”

    But then there is the fact that there was an actual socialist Government. Where’re the intersectionalist twitter storms and blogs on that?

    Ps. In disability right you’ve picked perhaps the only political movement that has less power and influence than feminism. No doubt that predicament inclines it towards intersectionalism too.

  91. Lucy says

    Sheaf

    “I am not sure what you mean. Is it something like the following example:

    “A: Come jump over the railway, it is quicker this way.

    B: No, I better take the stairs, see you in 50 secs.

    A: Dont be such a girl!”

    If you had a scenario like this in mind, I have a hard time working not how this is rooted in misogyny, i.e. the hatred of or hostility towards women. It is far more like A expects more risky behavior from B since B is a boy, without any intrinsic value judgement other than not behaving along your gender role is bad.”

    It definitely implies that behaving like a girl is a bad thing. A degrading thing for a man. See “women’s work”.

    “Similarly woman who are discouraged from stereotypically masculine behaviors and activities are not discouraged because of misandry, but because of gender expectations for them.”

    But this is because for a woman to behave like a man means she is getting above her station. See “man’s job”.

  92. says

    In disability right you’ve picked perhaps the only political movement that has less power and influence than feminism.

    I think Lucy is a troll. From nambla over the movement for marihuana legalisation to libertarian transhumanism, movements that are less powerful than feminism are legion.

  93. says

    But this is because for a woman to behave like a man means she is getting above her station. See “man’s job”.

    I dont think this is the case. It was often suggested to me when I was small that I was less suited for female activities and jobs than females (Eg boys are often believed to be less dextrous, something whch is in concordance with my own experience). The hypothesis: “Gender roles are strictly constrained” beats up the hypothesis of “misandry or misogyny” so hard it is not even funny.

  94. Schala says

    But this is because for a woman to behave like a man means she is getting above her station. See “man’s job”.

    I think the opposite is very much true in regards to allowances for expression, and transphobia towards trans women. Being seen as female is seen as valuable in itself (without having to prove it through a feat or anything – just the presumption that you have a womb, regardless of truth).

    So a man portraying himself as female convincingly is seen as getting unearned advantages, but its funny given they’re like princess-privileges, inborn.

    A woman doing something coded ‘manly’, not demanding special consideration for being a woman, and being just as able as others, will get respect from many – except the trolls, who might target her. Trolls can be disciplined in many lines of work and schools though. And in gaming, they’re avoidable in all non-lobby gaming.

    Note that trolls select whoever stands out, they’re bullies, there to anger and provoke a reaction.

    Trolls will select the small, the fat, the glass-wearing, the lisping, the stuttering, etc, anything that stands out. And they’re not all male, contrary to popular conception. In a very male-coded domain, being female can make you stand out. It’s a good idea to not make anything of it for that reason (most people with a brain don’t care about what sex someone is in gaming, especially online).

  95. Lucy says

    Schala

    “So a man portraying himself as female convincingly is seen as getting unearned advantages, (princess-privileges)”

    “A woman doing something coded ‘manly’, will get respect from many”

    Which is another way of saying what I said.

  96. Lucy says

    Sheaf

    “I think Lucy is a troll. From nambla over the movement for marihuana legalisation to libertarian transhumanism, movements that are less powerful than feminism are legion.”

    I’m getting heartily sick of being called a troll for expressing my opinions round here. Change the god-damn record.

  97. Lucy says

    Sheaf

    “I:ont think this is the case. It was often suggested to me when I was small that I was less suited for female activities and jobs than females (Eg boys are often believed to be less dextrous, something whch is in concordance with my own experience). The hypothesis: “Gender roles are strictly constrained” beats up the hypothesis of “misandry or misogyny” so hard it is not even funny.”

    Example?

  98. Lucy says

    Sheaf

    “marihuana legalisation to libertarian transhumanism”

    I thought you said identity politics. Don’t change the goal posts.

  99. Lucy says

    WhineyMalone

    “Lucy, it’s quite fitting that (white) middle-class, feminism should be held up to greater scrutiny than other aspects of (identity) politics, because of the power and influence it wields.”

    As compared to race-politics, gender politics wields less power and influence in Britain. In any conflict of interest between the two, race will trump sex.

    Take multicultural policy for example:
    1) religious courts operating which deliver prejudiced decisions against females
    2) lack of legislation against forced marriage
    3) lack of prosecution for FGM and sex-selected abortions
    4) the Guardian fawning over sexist popular black music culture
    5) Or a very powerful example came with the prosecution of on-street grooming of white girls by Pakistani, Somali, Afghan and Iraqi men. What was actually a case of cultural sexism, prejudice and discrimination against women and girls as well as institutional sexism leading to collusion within the police and social services and media, morphed within days into a case of potential racial and religious prejudice against men, this manifested itself as a concentration on negative female behaviour (being outside and being sexual) and parental neglect. That agenda dominated all the following proceedings.

    Or take the BBCs relative policies on racism and sexism in its broadcasts: zero tolerance as opposed to considerable tolerance.
    The international political response to racial and gender apartheid.
    Or take the UK anti-hate crime legislation which includes race, nationality,ethnicity, religion, sexuality, age, disability. But not sex.

    Take the example of the the campaign against prejudice in sport: while kick racism out of football is a high-profile and well funded enterprise, the corresponding one against sexism has been slow to take off, for a long time sex wasn’t even included in the list of possible prejudices in sport on the website or the posters in stadia, and the link on the website was broken.

    Feminism (because it concerns women) plays second fiddle to any identity politics that includes males.

  100. Schala says

    Which is another way of saying what I said.

    Sure sounds like male privilege to me:

    1) Men cannot do what women can do regarding appearance without being seen as usurpers.
    2) Women can do what men can do as long as they prove their worth. (and you know why? Because unless we act with overprotectionism over someone, we value their contribution)

    1) is not an example of oppression of women, anymore than people not being able to pass off for look-alike celebrities (and spend the celebrity’s money, use their fame and influence etc) is oppression of celebrities.

    Having more options is a privilege. Having less options is a disadvantage. And yes, it’s easy for a woman to not take her extra options (and dress like a man can, in jeans + t-shirts with sneakers, no tights, no skitrs, no make-up, no up-do), without compromising her ability to earn money, get a place to live, etc. A cross-dressing man can be fired even in places with employment protection (nothing like this “at will” shit you have in the US), because most won’t sue their employer back unless they’re lawyers themselves (I know of one such case). Very easy to refuse him housing too.

    Over 65% of the time, I go around in androgynous clothing, and this % is so low only because I wear skirts about 1/3 of the time. I wear make-up 1-2% of the time. I style my hair in something salon worthy 0.00% of the time (literally never). I wear heels (not stilettos) 5% of the time (only for fancy going out), I wear stilettos 0% of the time (never gonna wear, impractical, not worth the hassle). I can wear a larger variety of colors, sizes, fabrics, with or without a bra (this is “small breasts privilege” I guess), and I don’t spend much on my clothing, given my budget is nearly zero. Following fashion would be pricy. Fortunately, no one really cares if I do.

    Even not taking most avenues open to me (high fashion, super girly, femme salon or butch styles), just my androgynous style is way more flexible, without any consequences, compared to pre-transition. This is not an example of my having it worse than before. I let my (very long) hair down, and brush it, not any more maintenance than before. Less maintenance than short hair.

  101. says

    Lucy 107-109:

    The reason you are called a troll is that people have a hard time elieving that you are for real. E.g. you make the following claim: “In disability right you’ve picked perhaps the only political movement that has less power and influence than feminism. ”

    This is demonstrably untrue something which I do. You then change the goalpost and claim: “I thought you said identity politics. Don’t change the goal posts.” Amusingly I did not say anything on this thread before. I only used your abstruse claim about political movements and refuted it directly.

    as for why: “people outside gender roles are picked upon” is a powerful hypothesis compared to “misogyny”? A good way to evaluate a hypothesis is to check a few asic criteria, like the plausility of the mechanism. The mechanism in the first hypothesis is a well known universal human phenomenon: The mechanism is therefore very plausible, whereas in the second case, the hatred or hostility towards women is an unlikely prospect to be so common, given the social status average women enjoy. The next basic check would be scope: Misogyny explains these actions when directed towards males but fails when they are directed towards females, whereas the other explanation is more powerful in this regard. Again hypothesis one wins.

  102. JT says

    Males, mainly young males, are horrifically affected by misogynistic domestic violence directed at their mothers. This is something that should be shouted from the rafters,.(Carnation)

    It would be nice if once in a while someone shouted at those mothers who coninually go back with the fathers who beat them. Afterall, it shouldnt be the job of the young male to protect the adult female.

  103. lelapaletute says

    JT

    It would be nice if once in a while someone shouted at those mothers who coninually go back with the fathers who beat them. Afterall, it shouldnt be the job of the young male to protect the adult female.

    And this would help, you think? Shouting at them? No-one thinks it is the job of a son to protect his mother from his violent father/her violent partner. it is the job of the violent person not to be violent. Blaming and castigating the victim for being so strikes me as the opposite of useful.

  104. jesse says

    Sorry, off-topic but I have a question for you Brits. From Lucy (#110):

    “Take multicultural policy for example:
    1) religious courts operating which deliver prejudiced decisions against females
    2) lack of legislation against forced marriage
    3) lack of prosecution for FGM and sex-selected abortions”

    Is there an actual example of a religious court having real force of law? For example British law has an age of consent and minimum age for marriage, as far as I am aware, does this get waived if a couple of people from a Mormon Church or Islamic country want to marry a girl below that age? Do alimony payments get waived if a Jewish rabbinical court doesn’t grant a get?

    Here in the US we have religious courts in the Jewish community in Brooklyn. As a matter of law they are basically irrelevant, since any ruling they make that conflicts with the laws of the state of New York simply has no force (legally, this is nothing to do with social pressure from peers and family). So even though the Torah says you can get married pretty young, if anyone actually tried that the cops would be all over them. The religious courts are there to resolve religious disputes and no matter what they say, if you go to civil court the civil ruling applies, full stop.

    Granted, some judges will give a lot of leeway to certain communities, but the courts will often ask two questions: 1. Is the settlement agreeable to all parties? 2. Does it directly violate the law in some way? If the answer to #2 is yes, then the religious court has nothing to say in the matter. So a Muslim can’t simply say “I divorce you” three times and have it carry any legal weight, the man’s paychecks will still get deducted if he owes child support and there’s nothing a religious court can do. Essentially religious courts are private dispute mechanisms — no different than when you handshake on a deal: accepted culturally but with no real standing.

    I bring this up because I hear this all the time and nobody seems to be able to say “Yes, here’s a case where the UK waived its civil/ criminal law because a religious court said X”

    Just curious. Thanks.

  105. lelapaletute says

    @Jesse – to the best of my knowledge, the same thing applies here – religious court judgments don’t have any legal force, the idea is that people voluntarily submit to their arbitration as a matter of their faith, in the same way they might come to an agreement between themselves and not pursue the matter in (for example) the family courts. If someone is unhappy with the ruling of the religious court, they aren’t under any obligation to adhere to it, and can put their case to the secular courts.

    The problem, of course, is that women in very devout communities, in which they enjoy no standing, may find themselves bullied or pressured into accepting the rule of courts that are biased against them as a matter of course, and shamed or forcibly prevented from seeking redress in the conventional court. However, the problem there isn’t the existence of (theoretically completely voluntary) religious courts, it is the bullying and intimidation.

  106. JT says

    @lela

    No, sometimes its the responsibility of the adult parent to leave the hostile environment. Not all victims are created equal. Some are just fucked up individuals who shouldn’t have kids, especially the ones who continually expose their innocent young children to abusive violent situations. They have agency, they are just unwilling to use it. Its more convient and rewarding(twisted) to be the victim.

  107. lelapaletute says

    @JT – I think we’ll have to agree to disagree here – people can love their kids very much and still put them in bad or dangerous situations. This is, objectively, wicked behaviour, but to condemn it out of hand dismisses a host of context and misunderstands the dynamics of abuse.

    As an analogy, surely it is intensely wicked for anyone living in poverty in a third world country, or in a war zone, to have children at all – they know they will be bringing their child into a world of hardship, pain, and in all likelihood an early, horrible death. However, do we blame the parents for having the children – they have agency, after all – or do we blame the global capitalism that results in horrific inequality, the corrupt politician who ensures the wealth of the country stays in the hands of the elite, the armies, terrorists or militias who brutalise civilian populations? Do we insist that parents in these situations do not love their children, or they would not put them in dangerous situations like these? What about parents who knowingly have children with severe incurable disabilities, condemning them to a life of pain and an early death? Do they do this because they find it ‘convenient and rewarding’?

    In the same vein, do we blame the abused woman for (a) submitting to an abusive relationship, (b) having children within that abusive relationship, (c) returning to the abusive relationship or others like it time and time again, despite opportunities provided for escape? Or do we blame the abuser, the system of confidence demolition and psychological degradation and fear he builds around his victim, the withdrawal of funds from counselling and refuge services, the cultural environment that tells a woman she is nothing without a man, or that true love involves eternal sacrifice, the cultural condemnation of ‘single mums on benefits’ that makes striking out on your own into poverty so terrifying that even abuse seems better, not to mention the constant barrage from the right that ‘children need fathers’, even when the father is abusive to the mother?

    Contrary to what you believe, no-one stays in an abusive relationship because they find it ‘convenient’ and ‘rewarding’. Yes, women who return to an abusive partner again and again are fucked up; they are damaged; these are not voluntary states entered into for a kick – they are the result of experience and environment that can be overcome, but it is not as simple as waking up one morning and deciding to ignore all your conditioning and all the practical obstacles in your way, and all the serious dangers inherent, and just ‘Leave him’.

    Do you think you have the capacity to tell the difference between an alcoholic who genuinely cannot quit the booze, and one who is just ruining their health and their life because they find it ‘convenient and rewarding’? Yes it is the responsibility of the adult to leave the hostile environment, just as it is the responsibility of the OTHER adult not to create the hostile environment in the first place. But just as beating an addiction is not as simple as just ‘stopping doing it’, leaving an abusive relationship (which by its very nature impairs the victims ability to make good decisions for themselves and their dependents) is not as simple as simply ‘taking responsibility’. To pretend it is is the reaction of people who want to make the complicated seem easy, and to retreat into easy condemnation rather than tackling the complex sets of circumstances that feed into every such case.

  108. Ginkgo says

    Lucy @ 73 – Thank yoyu very much for proving my point. Someoeen refuses to show you the deference your ladyship thinks she is entitled to, has the temerity to speak bluntly and without the usual; chivalrous tact you demand, and you are outraged. Misogyny!!!!!

    This is white female privilege on parade. This is what it looks like. This is of a piece with all the squealing and howling defensiveness around a white feminist who steps on her tit and says something racist and then bursts into tears at being called out on it and then has swarms of defenders rise up in outrage. because they are all so powerless like that.

    There is a specific term for this kind of thing: White Lady Tears. This was an issue when that Privilege Princess at UCLA, Alexandra Wallace, was called out over her racist rant and answered with tears and psuedo-apologies.

    Andrea Plaid at Racialicious called it what it was and the commentariat over at Feministe went into full circle-the-wagons mode to defend the sanctity fo white feminists’ hurt feelings:
    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/03/24/read-this-afterthoughts-on-alexandra-wallace-and-white-female-privilege/

    Womanist Musing’s thoughts on the matter: http://www.womanist-musings.com/2011/03/stop-denying-white-female-privilege.htmlAndrea Plaid was not alone then or when she said the same thing about the debacle of that odious sign at New York Occupy. This WOC made the same point about the cultural license white women have to squueze some tears out and avoid a confrontation because they can count on white emn to fly to their rescue:
    http://www.somethingwithin.com/blog/?p=104

    Andrea Plaid was not alone then or when she said the same thing about the debacle of that odious sign at New York Occupy. This WOC made the same point about the cultural license white women have to squueze some tears out and avoid a confrontation because they can count on white emn to fly to their rescue:
    http://www.somethingwithin.com/blog/?p=104

    And note the dishonesty of your Dowdification of that quotation; it was in respeonse to a white woman insisting on imposing her Eurocentric interpetation on a situation where it did nothing but obscure the facts, all to serve her own emotional agenda.

    Lucy @ 71 – “Perez wasn’t making it up when she said during this program that people didn’t consider her a valid victim because she was white and privileged. ”

    The way men aren’t considered valid victims because of male privilege?

    I understand the agony this all causes you because your gender role is built on getting the protection of men and the victim status that requires. Slaus lays this out quite well:
    http://ohnblog.com/newohnblog/2013/12/30/the-anidifranco-debacle-white-feminists-vs-feminist-women-of-color-and-digital-black-face/

    And yes, this Ani Difranco mess is just one more example of a very weel-established tendency.

    It is agony because the world is changing. It won’t be much longer that it revolves around veneration of your white womanhood. But in the end it will be better for you.

  109. JT says

    @lela

    Youre right, we will agree to disagree. But think of it from this perspective. Most abused individuals learned to be comfortable with it from an early age. In other words they probably watched the scenario play out time and time again. They were victims. Victims of their parents behavior, both parents behavior. Now here’s the thing, the abusive people in this world typically come from exactly the same place. Why is it that we only hold one of these two types of individuals accountable for their actions that affect other innocent people, as in, their children?

  110. lelapaletute says

    @JT, I’m really sorry, but I don’t understand the question above, could you clarify? Thanks.

  111. lelapaletute says

    OK, have reread a few times and I think I see what you’re getting at – is the substance of it that both abusers and theor victims both tend to have come from backgrounds where abusive relationships have been normalised, and both, by enacting abusive relationship models in front of their children, are continuing this brutalising cycle, so why do we blame the abuser but not the victim?

    TBH, I think ‘blaming’ either party is unhelpful – both are damaged, and are responding to that damage in different ways. However, assault and violence are crimes and can (and must) be prosecuted, in order to ensure the safety of their victims (and, ideally, treatment for the abuser to help try and repair the damage that prompts their violent behaviour). Thus it is the abuser who is prosecuted.

    Child neglect is also a crime, so a victim of abuse who puts her child recklessly in danger to pursue her abusive relationship (e.g. the mother of Baby P) can also prosecuted. But you can’t make hope (however misguided) a crime, so how do you police, for example, the mother who returns to the abusive father of her children in the hope (or on the promise) that this time “things will be different, he can change”? Or out of fear because he has threatened that if she doesn’t come back, he will kill her and her children (family destruction is a far from unknown tactic used by rejected abusers, and women are killed by their rejected ex-partners at a truly appalling rate in this country).

    Obviously, if a child is in danger or at risk, social services should be involved at every stage, and if necessary, they should be taken into care if their parents are not providing a safe and nurturing environment (although the outcomes for children placed in care long term are not generally fantastic either). But how do you want to punish/blame the victim of abuse, and what positive effect do you imagine this punishment/blame might achieve? I can’t imagine that yet more social opprobrium is going to do anything to change the self-destructive behaviour of someone who already clearly has a catastrophically low sense of self worth.

    I understand the frustration, I truly do – the only time my thinking goes a bit fascist is when I hear about the appalling things people do to the children in their charge, and I feel a cold rage and hatred rising in me, and I start wanting people to have to get licenses to breed. But in practice, what is needed is more support and help (for the victims of abuse, children from abusive environments, and even for the abusers themselves), not more condemnation and blame. They won’t help anything.

    Apologies if I misunderstood your @121 – if I did, please ignore this rant!

  112. Superficially Anonymous says

    @Ginkgo (120)

    Having read most of those sources I found the discussion interesting but I couldn’t help noticing how vacuous a lot of it was. It seemed like everyone is desperate to reach a single mutually satisfying conclusion and thus are afraid of throwing out any theories, regardless of how useless they may appear to be.

  113. Superficially Anonymous says

    @Ginkgo (120)

    Also it warms my cockles to see so much speculation about male privilege and benevolent sexism (which are surely the same thing) without recourse to any kind of evidence. It seems like the idea of white female oppression by white men is an article of faith.

  114. JT says

    @lela

    Youre almost there, thanks for taking the time trying to get my point. Both the adult abuser and abused are flipsides of the same coin. They are in essence exactly the same(generally, there are exceptions), victims of violence perpetrated by their parents. The difference is how they end up expressing their victimhood. Many times the peer parents behavior will be the behavior the child models. The problem(as I see it) is that we are not holding the now adult individuals accountable for that modeled behavior. Remember its not blame, its accountability for your adult behavior regardless of how and why you do it. To only hold one accountable for that behavior ends up infantilizing the one that you don’t. Continually putting your children at risk because of your learned dysfunction is a crime. To allow it to continue just because it may hurt that offending parent is ridiculous and a crime.They are just as liable for their actions as the abusive parent is, though their crime has different aspects to it and dealt with differently from a legal perspective. To big a big boy or a big girl means taking responsibility for your adult behavior that ensures you from continuing your modeled childhood behavior, however you choose to express it. You would do well to remind yourself when you look at both female and male children of abusive parents that they are BOTH INNOCENT victims learning dysfunctional ways to cope with their abuse. Its not pretty when they grow up and continue the cycle and it doesn’t help when we allow one to stay the child and tell the other to grow up.

  115. lelapaletute says

    @JT – but what you are implying is that the victim of abuse must take responsibility not just for their own behaviour, but for the behaviour of their abuser. You are expecting her (femlae pronoun used for sake of argument) not only to overcome her own conditioning, but to anticipate his, and to take responsibility for both by leaving the relationship (however practically difficult or dangerous this may be to her and her children).

    While I agree with you that the abuser and the serially abused (generally) come from the same place of victimhood, I don’t think when they have assumed their present roles in the cycle they remain equally ‘innocent’ – the person who commits acts of abuse is the only person who can be held responsible for that abuse. If a victim of abuse continues to expose herself to the abuser, the abuser is STILL THE ONE RESPONSIBLE for acts of abuse they commit. You could argue that BOTH parents are equally liable for continuing to expose their children to a hostile environment; but the abuser is the one who CREATES that hostile environment, so is still the more culpable in the final analysis. Although as I say, talking about this in the context of blame is pretty unhelpful.

    You haven’t actually addressed any of my points as to why it is not always so simple for the abused person to ‘just leave’ their abuser. In many cases, they may feel they are enduring the abuse in order to PROTECT their child – from poverty, social ostracism, growing up without one of their parents, becoming a target of their rejected partner’s resentful anger (however misguided this perception may – MAY – be). You want this to be simple – “just leave him” – when it simply isn’t.

    Also, you are playing pretty fast and loose with the word ‘crime’ in your last post – if “Continually putting your children at risk because of your learned dysfunction is a crime. To allow it to continue just because it may hurt that offending parent is ridiculous and a crime.” then why can these criminal acts not be prosecuted as such? I have no problem with neglectful parents being procecuted for neglect, or with at-risk children being taken into care. But your original proposition that we as a society ‘shout at’ serially abused women if they have children was something else again, as was your bizarre assertion that such women are fecklessly indulging in abusive relationships because they find them ‘convenient and rewarding’.

  116. JT says

    You want this to be simple – “just leave him” – when it simply isn’t.(lela)

    I want it to be simple when children are involved. If after abuse happens you continually return even after you have made a clean departure you should be held accountable for those actions. The other instances you talk about should be dealt with on a case by case instance. I am not implying this as an automatic response to all cases of abuse. There are obviously a multitude of scenario’s that can and do happen. In regards to who creates the hostile environment it is rarely just one individual, usually the dysfunction is a joint effort. Though it is many times one who dominates in the hitting department they both dance the dance of dysfunction. You keep wanting one adult to always be the victim and never be accountable for their behaviors. I am not using the word blame, you are. As far as the word shout goes I was using that from a comment made by carnation, their word not mine. In the above scenario lets use the term victims for the children and accountability for the adults regardless of their gender because you do realize that this sometimes goes both ways.

  117. JT says

    Here is a little insight into how some people act when they are really fucked up. My friends and I used to frequent bars many decades ago. We had a buddy who was of slight build and physically non threatening. For whatever reason he would get picked on and beat up. We would usually end up defending him against his “abusers”. It wasn’t until after numerous instances we realized he was the one who provoked his attacks from bigger, stronger individuals. As I said, pretty fucked up. After we learned to let him be accountable for his actions he slowly started changing his ways. I once attempted to “save” a woman from her boyfriend as he was punching and kicking her. I was 15 at the time and the man threatened to beat me to a pulp so I went around the corner and got the police. And you know what, she jumped on the police and started beating them to “protect” her boyfriend. Again, some people are just really fucked up. Those are the ones I want to protect children from. They are no longer victims but victimizers of a different sort.

  118. lelapaletute says

    JT

    I want it to be simple when children are involved.

    Don’t we all. But it isn’t.

    If after abuse happens you continually return even after you have made a clean departure you should be held accountable for those actions.

    And you think you are in a position to judge when an exit has been ‘clean’ enough that returning warrants your censure? Really? FYI, leaving an abusive relationship is never ‘clean’, particularly if you have children.

    In regards to who creates the hostile environment it is rarely just one individual, usually the dysfunction is a joint effort.

    And here we have it. You think victims of abuse are responsible for their own abuse, as responsible as their abuser. I know this one. “She made me hit her, she nags me all the time, it’s the only way to shut her up, if she didn’t drive me so crazy I wouldn’t do these things, if she wasn’t so lazy/stupid/critical etc etc etc.” What was it that arsehole Dennis Waterman said? “A clever woman knows how to make a man hit her”? This is definitely the point where we part ways. Assaulting someone is unacceptable behaviour, no matter how much you think they’re ‘asking for it’.

    You keep wanting one adult to always be the victim and never be accountable for their behaviors.

    I don’t. I just want people to acknowledge that the word ‘accountability’ is not some magic bullet that suddenly makes incapable people capable, or damaged people whole. People are accountable for their actions; but some people need help to change. No-one has ever needed condemnation from people they don’t even know to help them leave an abusive relationship.

    Re shouting, you used that word. If you had wanted to use a different one, then you could have.

    As for your anecdotes, it’s one thing to aggressively go looking for fights with strangers – this is not remotely comparable to the dynamics of an abusive relationship. In the second situation, you have made a judgment based on a single incident from these people’s lives, with not the first idea why the woman behaved the way she did. You seem confident in your ability to divine people’s motives based on very little evidence or investigation.

  119. JT says

    @lela

    Sorry I dont know the operations of an abusive relationship as well as you do. I will bow to your expertise and just acknowledge that youre right and Im wrong. No need for anymore discussion on the intricacies of abusive relationships as you have now corrected all my viewpoints and experiences as they were so obviously wrong. Thanks. And the wheel in the sky keeps on turning, dont know where I’ll be tomorrow. ;)

  120. lelapaletute says

    It’s suddenly occurred to me that when you talk about an abusive relationship being ‘rewarding’, you are referencing Game Theory – the idea that people engage in apparently destructive or harmful behaviours because those behaviours feed a subconscious need and provide a ‘payoff’ to some unacknowledged drive. This much I would agree with, it is often the case that people repeat destructive patterns of behaviour because there is a subconscious reward – in the case we are currently discussing, the performing a role/dynamic which is familiar to the subject, allowing them to inhabit a role which makes sense to their dysfunctional understanding of how relationships work. This model, though painful, dangerous and destructive to the subject, is returned to as a familiar alternative to the unknown challenges of re-inventing the subject’s conception of how to have a relationship from scratch. Is this the reward element you are talking about?

  121. JT says

    @lela

    And there is hope!

    I see it like this. When we have dysfunction in our early lives we many times find ways to cope with them. Unfortunately for many of us that is usually in a destructive way. Some drink, snort, smoke, others overeat and undereat. There is one subset that is very unusual in that they “cut” themselves to deal with their deep emotional scars. I am as equally puzzled by the ones who prefer a fist.
    Unlike driving, parenting does not require a license.

  122. says

    Dear JT and lelapaletute, I have been following your theorizing about abusive relationships in this thread and feel I need to comment about how it feels from the inside.

    When I was 6 or 7 my mother started a relationship with a man who although he never hit her and rarely raised his voice, was controlling and emotionally abusive towards her. He also showed a lot of interest in my sexual development and was very “creepy” around me.

    Because of my reaction to him, often screaming and demanding to be let out of a room that he had entered, my extended family came together and demanded that my mother call off the relationship, which ostensibly she appeared to do.

    However, when I was 10 she announced out of the blue that she had carried on seeing this man and she was moving him in with us, I immediately turned into a screaming frantic mess but she wouldn’t change her mind. He would be good for her and therefor good for me i suppose was the rationalization (if there was one). It got pretty bad for me from then on.

    To her, he did the classic abuser routine , isolated her from her friends, controlling her money even though he was unemployed and she worked, splitting her from her family. For me there were regular “sex education sessions” , that’s what he called them when he removed me from the living room to the dining room, to discuss with me my masturbatory practices and give me advice on the best ways to do it. I fucking kid you not, that’s what he told my mother was going on and that she should stay in the living room for the next hour or so, which she did.

    You can imagine that I changed from a quite happy child to a seriously maladjusted one. My withdrawal from the family to my bedroom and frequent temper outbursts were put down by him to my inability to adjust to his authority, and my mother agreed. She would guilt trip me by saying that he was making her life miserable because I wouldn’t be a good boy. When I was 14 I left and moved in with my grandparents for a short time, but she not he came around and, while crying, told me that her life was being made horrible because he was so angry with me and the only thing that would make her life bearable was for me to move back in. Happily/luckily (wtf) the abuse had actually tailed off around this time as I think I was getting a little old for him.

    At 16 on the afternoon of my very last O level I left home. My late teens and twenties became one long party of class A self medication, short term employment and failed relationships. At the age of 30 i narrowly avoided a long prison spell, this managed to shake me out of the spiral and now I’m doing OK. I have managed to hold down a job for over a decade and on the very odd occasion that drugs rear their head, they are purely recreational . However, relationships are completely beyond me. My last relationship broke down with the phrase “because of my father I’m usually attracted to distant men, but you are fucking ridiculous”.

    That “distance” is the problem. When I look back at the horror of my child hood, its not the abuse by my father that has affected my up until now, but the complicity of my mother. I now understand that my mother was probably a masochist and she gained a lot personally from the controlling nature of my stepfather, that she was “in her comfort zone”.

    For me the thing that really caused the long term problems I have with forming relationships is the complete lack of trust I have, the expectation that others will ultimately let me down. Im 42 now and have left the abuse a long way behind me, but I still don’t trust people who should have my interest at heart. Why should I? the one person who should have protected me let me down time after time. My mother had a number of opportunities to stop the abuse, but over and over dragged me back into it.

    So who do I blame? well for the abuse itself it must be my stepfather. For the long term damage that I have and my inability to let anyone in, no doubt I blame my mother.

    I understand that there is a an on going case in Ireland (but Im having trouble finding a link) where a girl is trying to have her mother arrested for complicity in her abuse by her father. I wish her all the best because being a victim yourself doesn’t excuse you victimizing others.

  123. JT says

    @Danny

    My sympathies, unfortunately I know several people with eerily similar experiences. Being a victim doesn’t negate shitty parenting either.

  124. says

    I just feel the need to add something to the above.

    5 years ago, out of the blue my mother phoned to ask if she could stay with my then GF and me for a long weekend.

    I didnt know it at the time or for a few months after, that she had been diagnosed with a virulent and fatal cancer.

    During the weekend, two significant things happened.

    First, when I told her that although we were still living together, my girlfriend and I were actually in the process of breaking up my mother burst into tears. I found it strange because I had had quite a few relationship break-ups before that which didnt have that kind of effect on her. I think that then she realized that I was irretrievably damaged.

    The second was when she had me alone she asked if she could ask me a personal question. I’l paraphrase…”was all that trouble you had with drugs and stuff to do with when XXX moved in? because sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing”.

    I don’t know why at the time I decided to save her the hurt but I said that it was nothing to do with it, and that it was just my personality I suppose. I dont think I had made her as happy in the preceding 20 years.

    Its now obvious to me that she was looking for absolution (she was actually quite religious in a non practicing way), and that if she had the self awareness to look for forgiveness after the fact, then she should have had the ability to stop the abuse while it was happening.

  125. says

    Thanks JT. I think the disagreement you are having is over whether someone like my mother although a victim should fact some sort of consequences for her actions?

    Personally I think they should.

    My mother was prepared to allow my abuse so that she could stay in the controlling abusive relationship that she psychologically needed. She was still with this man when she died so she was obviously “happy” with it, often explaining to the wider family (as she had to on occasion) that she loved him despite his funny ways. “Funny ways” that to other people were disgusting perversions.

    There are legal consequences for people who continually go back to drugs even though they psychologically need them and are victims of them but are only damaging themselves.

  126. JT says

    @Danny

    Ah yes, consequences for your actions. Unfortunately for some reason people think you lose your agency just because you have been victimized. They fail to understand the difference victim and victimized. The latter understand they dont get a free pass just because they have been abused.

  127. lelapaletute says

    Hi Danny, I apologise if anything I said appears insensitive to or an exoneration of the kind of abuse you suffered. I certainly meant nothing of the kind.

  128. JT says

    @lela

    Fascinating. If I tell you my story will you apologize and become more sensitive to my viewpoint?

  129. lelapaletute says

    JT – I will certainly apologise to anyone who feels I have been insensitive to them personally and hurt them. I thought you and I were having a debate on a subject you were happy to talk about (having brought it up), and as both our styles tend to be pretty robust that is how I have proceeded. If, however, you feel I have been insensitive towards you, I would indeed apologise and amend my style of debate as best I can to accomodate your sensitivities. There is no need for you to ‘tell your story’, I’m not some kind of voyeur who demands people spill their guts before I accept they have a right to request extra sensitivity on certain issues.

  130. JT says

    @lela

    Offended wouldn’t be the word. Frustrated is sometimes more like it. When you say things like….

    “As for your anecdotes, it’s one thing to aggressively go looking for fights with strangers – this is not remotely comparable to the dynamics of an abusive relationship. In the second situation, you have made a judgment based on a single incident from these people’s lives, with not the first idea why the woman behaved the way she did. You seem confident in your ability to divine people’s motives based on very little evidence or investigation.”

    I get somewhat frustrated because it seems you are assuming I don’t know what im talking about. Its not divine ability, it is life experience as in I have watched family members, friends family members and strangers act in exactly some of the ways I have described. You called it “game theory”, I think your theories description is very apt to what I have witnessed. Not all abusive relationships follow the same pattern. In fact, many are dissimilar. I will give you this, I have witnessed many dysfunctional, violent relationships and Im sure that several of them follow your pattern.

  131. Paul says

    @137 Danny Butts

    My father was an extremely violent man and if anyone upset my mother she used to threaten to get him to sort them out.And if either me.my brother or my two sisters misbehaved she would also threaten us with his violence .And when he did beat the living crap out of us she did nothing to stop it.She also used to encourage all of us to beat up anyone who upset us.And from a very young age both my brother and i in particular were mocked, taunted and knocked about by both parents if we cried.So from a very young age we learned not to cry.

    My mother was clearly complicit in the culture of violence and abuse in our family and as i’ve got older i’ve realized my experience of growing up wasn’t uncommon.Which is why i feel so strongly that if we’re ever to become a less violent society we have to be much more vigourous in the way we challenge women not only about their own behaviour but also about the behaviour they encourage and reward in males.Simply challenging males about their violent behaviour isn’t dealing with the whole problem.

    Most men and women are inter-dependent on each other albeit in varying degrees.And women can and do wield an enormous amount of power and influence -albeit often covert- in their relationships with both men and children.Yet it seems to me that even today there’s a reluctance to recognize not only how much power and influence women can wield in their relationships but also the extent to which they can be involved as both the perpetrators aand instigators of violence and abuse.

    This isn’t a misogynistic rant because i’ve reached a stage in my life where i can honestly say i think the majority of men and women are basically non-abusive.But it seems to me that traditionally chivalrous attititudes towards women have prevented any real recognition of the extent to which some women can and do encourage and participate in a culture of violence,abuse and oppression irrespective of where it takes places.And feminists also largely refuse to acknowledge it because it doesn’t fit in with their narrative.Much easier it seems for them to focus on males as primarily being the problem.

  132. Lucy says

    Schala

    “1) Men cannot do what women can do regarding appearance without being seen as usurpers.
    2) Women can do what men can do as long as they prove their worth. (and you know why? Because unless we act with overprotectionism over someone, we value their contribution)”

    Women can do what men do so long as they prove their *worth*?!?
    Men are more worthy than men and women can behave like men, do men’s jobs as long as they raise themselves up from their inferior state and prove they are as good?!?

    Men meanwhile can do what women do when… Never because what man in his right mind would want to degrade himself and do that? All this usurping business is bollocks isn’t it. People don’t say to the man in the dress, looking after kids, nursing or cleaning up after people: “there goes a man usurping women’s position” or “he hasn’t earned this celebrity clothing” and certainly not: “well we don’t mind him doing it as long as he can prove his worth.”.

    So, according to lore, women have to get better to be like men, men have to get worse to be like women.

    ——-

    “Having more options is a privilege. “Having less options is a disadvantage. And yes, it’s easy for a woman to not take her extra options (and dress like a man can, in jeans + t-shirts with sneakers, no tights, no skitrs, no make-up, no up-do), without compromising her ability to earn money, get a place to live, etc. ”

    Err, that’s because dressing like a man isn’t seen as a degrading thing to do. Dressing like a woman is. Once again women improve their social status if they dress more like men. Hence the jeans and tee-shirt, business suit and uniform phenomenon (women would never naturally wear uniforms, they are a guy thing to show hierarchy, btw).

    For both men and women incidentally. And to be frank, wearing flimsy clothes that sexualise you, covering your face in paint and dangling baubles off many of your surfaces to look pretty is degrading and desperate. We’re just immune to the fact that women are expected to do it.

  133. Lucy says

    Sheaf

    “The reason you are called a troll is that people have a hard time elieving that you are for real. E.g. you make the following claim: “In disability right you’ve picked perhaps the only political movement that has less power and influence than feminism”

    Yes, one which I believe. Hardly “out there” is it.

    Hardly the kind of thing a troll says.

    The reason I am called a troll is that men (it’s always men) have a hard time dealing with a female commenter and resort to playground tactics and bullying.

  134. Lucy says

    Ginkgo

    “Lucy @ 73 – Thank yoyu very much for proving my point. Someoeen refuses to show you the deference your ladyship thinks she is entitled to, has the temerity to speak bluntly and without the usual; chivalrous tact you demand, and you are outraged. Misogyny!!!!!”

    Well that’s an interesting way of describing racism and sexism. 10 out of 10 for self-belief.

    You called white feminists “racist filth”. And referred to another female commenter (not me by the way, but it’s great you don’t need to remember that). as “hey whitewoman”


    “This is white female privilege on parade. This is what it looks like. ”

    No, This is what Ginkgo looks like on parade. This is what Ally Fogg looks like when he declines to comment. Ain’t pretty is it.

    “This is of a piece with all the squealing and howling defensiveness around a white feminist who steps on her tit and says something racist and then bursts into tears at being called out on it and then has swarms of defenders rise up in outrage. because they are all so powerless like that.”

    Calm down love, you’re not Nelson Mandella making your long walk to freedom speech.

    —-

    “There is a specific term for this kind of thing: White Lady Tears. This was an issue when that Privilege Princess at UCLA, Alexandra Wallace, was called out over her racist rant and answered with tears and psuedo-apologies.””

    Of course there’s a specific term for this, isn’t there always? You can’t accuse men of ever skimping on their specific misogynist insults.

  135. Lucy says

    So as predicted, much of this blog and comment section has descended into an anti-white woman fest. A great opportunity for sexists of various shades to vent their spleen with permission, “I’m not a misogynist, I’m an anti-racist, that’s why I’m calling women princesses, white women entitled crybabies, feminists filth and making fun of Louise Mench’s shoes, honest” of the “I’m not an Islampahobe, I’m just a bitter, obnoxious atheist” variety.

    I’d just like to point out, that there is not a single social inequality experienced by black people that hasn’t been experienced by women (including the dreaded white woman) too: slavery, deprivation of the vote, inequality before the law, social inequality, degrading insults, fear of using public spaces in case of harassment and attack, discrimination at work, economic inequality, immunity of persecutors, propaganda, exploitation as a resource, apartheid, you name it.

    So quite why we deserve all this derision, I’m not sure. Except it’s not that we deserve it is it, it’s that we can carry it for white men who are busy buck-passing.

  136. Lucy says

    Contin: colonisation of our culture, eradication of our religions, genocide, loss of identity by taking the name of our master, lack of autonomy over our bodies, corporal punishment for non-compliance, caste system with defined roles, promotion of compliant, docile, weak, degrading, characteristics.

    Tbc.

  137. Lucy says

    Jesse

    “Is there an actual example of a religious court having real force of law?”

    Does that matter? Is it okay for sexism to be a guiding principle in civil situations rather than legal ones?

    Especially when to all intents and purposes civil decisions are the legal decisions for the people who use the Sharia court system. Muslim women are hit by the triple-whammy of having a religious duty to use the religious court and a religious duty to comply with her husband or father’s decision to use it and frequently an incapacity to do otherwise.

    The result being that women are deprived of equal financial and inheritance rights, equal marriage and divorce rights. The head of the Sharia court system in the UK recently admitted that in 20 years of practise and contrary to English common law he had never once referred a report of marital rape he’d received to the police, because the crime did not exist in Sharia law. Instead, he sent couples home to resolve their differences. Despite the flurry of media interest, I see absolutely nothing being done to rectify this situation or to prosecute him.

  138. Lucy says

    Another example of race trumping gender is the support for the Burquh, nicaab and hijab. Including the extremely unedifying spectacle of feminists supporting it under the guise of supporting female choice, while without blushing signing the “no more page 3″ petition.

    Yet there cannot be a greater example of slut-shaming clothing for those to choose it. Or of clothing that is (despite all the hype by its apologists to the contrary) enforced on some girls and women to the detriment of their autonomy, education, economic activity, free movement, health, etc.

    Ukranian white feminists such as Femen who don’t suffer from this malaise and call it out are then accused of white privilege and colonialism by self-styled Muslim Western colonialist feminists who want to impose their version of the debate.

    All screwed up if you ask me. This is where lack of intellectual rigour and integrity leads.

  139. Lucy says

    I think all this anti white woman propaganda is leading to hatred and then to harassment, rapes and even murders of white girls and women.

    We know that has already happened in 100s of cases across the Midlands and in Oxford only because The Times essentially invented and defined a new form of crime called on-street grooming by gangs. But I think there are many more situations where that factor isn’t captured: as gender-hatred in general isn’t a crime, the sexist-racist intersection in harassment, domestic violence, sexual and violent public crime is never recorded and so that intersectionality is lost to crime figures. I’ve seen white women being singled out for verbal abuse, and occasionally physical abuse by white men and women, black men and women, Asian men and women. I’ve experienced it personally. So what goes on that I don’t see is no doubt worse. That’s not to say that black and Asian men and women don’t get singled out too/more in different scenarios for different reasons. But the reason white women get picked is because of the messages being propagated about white women, some of which have been on display in this blog and comment section.

    Any quick perusal of male popular culture: pornography, films, horror films, death metal music, comics, novels, computer games, online behaviour, animation and children’s stories, the press, reveals a deep cultural malaise about white women. I think the whole serial killer “genre” is the culmination of this.

    More temperate language is needed because the negative stuff is having real negative consequences. Carnival words like “grotesque” and references to witchy stilettos probably don’t help undermine stereotypes. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from panto dames and Mike Buchanan’s self-published book covers.

  140. Schala says

    Women can do what men do so long as they prove their *worth*?!?
    Men are more worthy than men and women can behave like men, do men’s jobs as long as they raise themselves up from their inferior state and prove they are as good?!?

    Bzzt WRONG.

    Men also have to prove their worth. In fact, it’s THEIR ENTIRE GENDER ROLE. Nothing about women being inferior or men being superior. Only that EVERYONE has to prove their worth, that “they can do it”, if they try to get as much respect as men in business/trades etc. If someone makes other people do the dirty/boring parts, the others could lose respect, for at least their ability to do it (as it was never demonstrated).

    Men meanwhile can do what women do when… Never because what man in his right mind would want to degrade himself and do that?

    Degrade? How in fuck is looking good degrading? Ask the aristocracy and the kings and barons, why they wanted lavish and frilly clothing with powdered wigs. To degrade themselves??? Because that’s what you imply there. You also imply that EVERY PARENT SENDING THEIR LITTLE GIRL IN TIGHTS AND A SKIRT (to school, daycare, etc) IS INTENDING TO DEGRADE HER. And people (many parents included) are doing the policing work of being SURE boys can’t do the same too…because it would be so degrading to him, better beat him up.

    All this usurping business is bollocks isn’t it. People don’t say to the man in the dress, looking after kids, nursing or cleaning up after people: “there goes a man usurping women’s position” or “he hasn’t earned this celebrity clothing” and certainly not: “well we don’t mind him doing it as long as he can prove his worth.”.

    No, instead they say he is stealing her spot at home, that he is a deadbeat, lazy, doing nothing but eating bonbons, while those same people would have an entirely different opinion of her at home. Basically, they’re chastising him for not fulfilling his role, and saying that his alternative isn’t actually productive because he couldn’t be competent, but also that he isn’t worth being supported by someone else’s income (one wage home, her’s, or welfare), due to not having inherent value (unlike her, by simply being alive).

    So, according to lore, women have to get better to be like men, men have to get worse to be like women.

    Only in your Bizzaro World mind. In the real world, women are considered worthy of protection, freebies, deference and appreciation, for simply being average. Ask the average guy what he’s had lately for just showing up?

    Err, that’s because dressing like a man isn’t seen as a degrading thing to do. Dressing like a woman is.

    Bzzt wrong. And I refer to my answer above:

    Degrade? How in fuck is looking good degrading? Ask the aristocracy and the kings and barons, why they wanted lavish and frilly clothing with powdered wigs. To degrade themselves??? Because that’s what you imply there. You also imply that EVERY PARENT SENDING THEIR LITTLE GIRL IN TIGHTS AND A SKIRT (to school, daycare, etc) IS INTENDING TO DEGRADE HER.

    Men’s fashion is functional, useful…and that’s pretty much it. Who else has ONLY functional and useful clothing? Fungible, replaceable robots, slaves, workers, laborers, etc. Ergo, people you care zero about as people, but only for what they can give you. Employers see employees that way in a capitalist society. Society sees men that way. Takes the most possible, gives the least back, doesn’t care if many fall in the cracks.

    Once again women improve their social status if they dress more like men. Hence the jeans and tee-shirt, business suit and uniform phenomenon (women would never naturally wear uniforms, they are a guy thing to show hierarchy, btw).

    WRONG again! Women gain something when they dress like men in business. They become more invisible so their substance gets above their form. In short, what they say/do matters more than who they are, then. The clothing can be distracting to the goal, if the goal needs any concentration. If you’re seen as mostly clothing and little competence in ratio, you’ll lose respect yes. Like politicians who promise tons but do nothing. Expression is mostly important in everyday life, not in business life, unless your job is about expression I guess (like a stylist). Though I’m not in favor of uniforms, and dress code restrictions (which are extremely tight for men – long pants year round, short hair, no jewelry, tie, long sleevs, etc).

    and uniform phenomenon (women would never naturally wear uniforms, they are a guy thing to show hierarchy, btw).

    Ah yes…men naturally wear uniforms. It’s not like every other options is barred from them under the threat of being unemployed, or seen as a slob by most (including potential romantic interests).

    For both men and women incidentally. And to be frank, wearing flimsy clothes that sexualise you, covering your face in paint and dangling baubles off many of your surfaces to look pretty is degrading and desperate. We’re just immune to the fact that women are expected to do it.

    Yes, because the mark of aristocracy is super degrading. Historically, the aristocracy were THE ONLY ONES able to afford decorative and not-only-functional clothing. And their passtime was apparently to one-up each other in who was proving the most lavish. Who could handicap themselves the most to prove “they had people to do that kind of stuff”, meaning they could have super long nails, because they didn’t need to use their hands for hands-on labor. This includes aristocratic men btw.

    Have you seen the movie The Forbidden Kingdom, with Jackie Chan and Jet Li? Happens in ancient China, a bit romanticized. And the Jade Emperor wears make-up (pretty obvious too) and pretty regal and frilly clothing, while his female slaves are make-up less and wearing much cheaper clothing. But hey, keep telling me he’s the one being degraded.

  141. Ginkgo says

    Lucy,

    “Of course there’s a specific term for this, isn’t there always? You can’t accuse men of ever skimping on their specific misogynist insults.”
    Except that the examples I gave were from black WOMEN. Do you just lie for a living?
    “You called white feminists “racist filth”. Do you just lie for a living? I specifically asked if there were any that weren’t. That is verbatim. So apparently what infuriates you is the implication that any white feminists might be racist, which is basically a racist reaction. Well done. You seem set on the idea that white feminists are definitionally some kind of Pure Vessel. What a Victorian.
    “This is what Ally Fogg looks like when he declines to comment.”
    So now you presume to read Ally’s mind and why he didn’t comment. This is veering straight into full-blown objectification. This form is called ownership.
    “And referred to another female commenter(…as “hey whitewoman”
    And it offends you so horribly to have white women called white women apparently, and offending your feelings is the heinous, it is misogyny, it is sin. What a swollen sense of entitlement you have.
    “I’d just like to point out, that there is not a single social inequality experienced by black people that hasn’t been experienced by women (including the dreaded white woman) too: slavery, deprivation of the vote, inequality before the law, social inequality, degrading insults, fear of using public spaces in case of harassment and attack, discrimination at work, economic inequality, immunity of persecutors, propaganda, exploitation as a resource, apartheid, you name it.”
    You talk later about what a lack of intellectual rigor leads to, well here it is. Would you also just like to point out that white men have suffered all those same things at various times? Of course not the kind of white men you would ever be found with, but all the same….

    And wait for it, here it comes:
    “I think all this anti white woman propaganda is leading to hatred and then to harassment, rapes and even murders of white girls and women. “
    Oh of course, the “threatened white woman”! take it to Stormfront, why don’t you? This is exactly the mentality of the KKK and the WKKK.

    Well done. You started out whining about certain white feminists being called racists, an accusation that has a long and well-established history within feminism, and go on to show exactly how valid it can be. Well done.

    As you say, it isn’t pretty.

  142. says

    lucy

    “In disability right you’ve picked perhaps the only political movement that has less power and influence than feminism”

    Yes, one which I believe. Hardly “out there” is it.

    You may elieve it. The feminist movement is a goliath of a political movement, with a good chunk of the population identifying as feminist, massive spending for feminist causes, and people of enormous influence identifying as feminist. There are large subsections of academia dedicated to feminist ideas and major newsoutlets supporting feminist views. Compare this to other movements like the MRM or the transacceptance movement: They are hardly noticeable. I cannot believe how someone can be as deluded as you pretend to be. Therefore my best bet is that you are a troll. But the biggest turd in your verbal arsenal comes next:

    The reason I am called a troll is that men (it’s always men) have a hard time dealing with a female commenter and resort to playground tactics and bullying.

    First, no, it is not always men. Statements like this are just idiotic. E. g. Karen Straughan would treat you with more disgust than I believe to be capable of. I have not problem “dealing” with you. Insinuating the contrary is just bullshit.

    [EDITED FOR ABUSE BY AF]

  143. Lucy says

    Sheaf

    “First, no, it is not always men. Statements like this are just idiotic. ”
    I’ve never been called a troll by a woman. I’ve been called a troll three times on this blog by men.

    “E. g. Karen Straughan would treat you with more disgust than I believe to be capable of.”

    Good for her. She wouldn’t call me a troll though I’m betting.

    ” I have not problem “dealing” with you. ”
    I beg to differ. You need to work on your communication skills. A facilitation course wouldn’t go a miss.

    “Insinuating the contrary is just bullshit. The reason why you are treated like a raving lunatic are more parsimonious than you would like to admit.”

    Now that’s just rude and unnecessarily aggressive isn’t it. I’m not treated as a raving lunatic and I’m not one. And I certainly don’t deserve to be called one. We’re talking about the relative influence of different lobbying groups, quite why you feel the need to get so personal and aggressive I’m not sure, but school yard and bully seem appropriate punts.

  144. Lucy says

    Ginkgo

    First few paras

    Boring

    “You talk later about what a lack of intellectual rigor leads to, well here it is. Would you also just like to point out that white men have suffered all those same things at various times? Of course not the kind of white men you would ever be found with, but all the same….”

    Not on a universal scale, not because they *are* men. Because of a consequence of another factor such as nationality, class, etc. Not so women.

  145. Lucy says

    Ally Fogg

    Is it okay on your blog for posters to call feminists, all white feminists, “racist filth”
    And other posters “raving lunatics”, who are “off their meds”, “trolls” and laying “turds” ?

    Is this the good men project in action? Or just another reddit?

    Is it really any wonder there are hardly any women commenting on this blog?

  146. Lucy says

    Schala

    “Bzzt WRONG.

    Men also have to prove their worth. In fact, it’s THEIR ENTIRE GENDER ROLE. Nothing about women being inferior or men being superior. Only that EVERYONE has to prove their worth, that “they can do it”,”

    The point is that women have to prove their worth by ACTING MORE LIKE MEN. Men don’t prove their worth by acting more like women. Men who act like women are seen as less valuable, not more.

    “Degrade? How in fuck is looking good degrading? ”

    Looking good isn’t degrading. But when looking good entails dressing like an ornament it is. Looking good hen it entails wearing impractical clothing and spending hours in the bathroom before you can be seen in public or wearing shoes that cripple your feet, or having surgery is. It degrades your human dignity.

    But that wasn’t my point, my point was that for men looking like, being like, sounding like, working like, a woman is degrading not enobling (according to our cultural values).

    “No, instead they say he is stealing her spot at home, that he is a deadbeat, lazy, doing nothing but eating bonbons, while those same people would have an entirely different opinion of her at home. ”

    I have literally never heard anyone call a man a bonbon stealer. I’ve heard sports coaches tell their male teams they’re “ladies” or “girls” when they perform badly, I’ve heard people call men “a bunch of women” if they show weakness. I’ve heard men call one another “bitches” when they want to really insult them and imply they will get fucked. I’ve heard fathers tell their sons not to “whine/cry/scream like a little girl”. I’ve heard people make fun of boys for getting “beaten by a girl”. But bonbon stealer, that’s a new one.

    “Only in your Bizzaro World mind.”
    Yes that’s right, only in my bizarro world has anyone ever thought men are superior to women. Bingo!

    ” In the real world, women are considered worthy of protection,”
    Protection from what? By whom?

    “freebies, deference and appreciation, for simply being average. ”
    Are you referring to benign, aka patronising sexism?

    “Ask the average guy what he’s had lately for just showing up?”
    Hmm, higher salary? Bigger promotion? Access to places women are barred from?

    “WRONG again! Women gain something when they dress like men in business. They become more invisible so their substance gets above their form. ”

    Men have form too. They aren’t invisible. Not to women. Not to gay men. Not even to other men. Didn’t you realise? Thanks for confirming my point.

  147. Ally Fogg says

    Is it okay on your blog for posters to call feminists, all white feminists, “racist filth”

    It wouldn’t be encouraged but since the only person to do so was you, quoting someone from another site without a link so I cannot even check the context, I’d say you’re on pretty thin ice. If you think a phrase or an opinion is grossly offensive, I don’t see why you would go copying and pasting it all over the internet. You’re welcome to argue with people about what they say here, but please don’t drag across arguments from other sites. If you want to argue about what is said there, argue over there.

    And other posters “raving lunatics”, who are “off their meds”,

    Absolutely not, which is why I had previously deleted the ‘meds’ comment and have now deleted the ‘raving lunatics’ comment.

    I hope sheaf will take note. Repeated offences may lead to a ban,

    “trolls” and laying “turds” ?

    I think those are just about within limits of acceptability in the ways in which they were used here. I accept that exchanges here are sometimes robust and I’m happy with that.

    However any time you think a specific comment is personally abusive or intimidatory do please continue to let me know and I will continue to try to arbitrate as best I can.

  148. says

    Lucy,

    I’ve never been called a troll by a woman. I’ve been called a troll three times on this blog by men.

    You are aware of the existence of base rates? When the majority of people you disagree with are men, the probability that you are called a troll by men goes up. This is an utterly trivial fact about the nature of discourse and says nothing per se about men, only about who you argue with the most.

    Good for her. She wouldn’t call me a troll though I’m betting.

    You could conceivably lose this bet. Her close cooperator for hoeny badger radia, going by the youtube nick “Feminism LOL” has made videos like this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDDsesJgVdM

    I beg to differ. You need to work on your communication skills. A facilitation course wouldn’t go a miss.

    An assessment by the person who answers every point and would never descend away from factual evaluation into pointless personal insinuations. /s

    Now that’s just rude and unnecessarily aggressive isn’t it.

    I only got as rude after you made extremely unflattering insinuations about me. If you cannot take it, dont deal it.

    Ally

    I strongly disagree with the editing of my post. Behaving like a lunatic is what trolls do to get attention. I did not call her a lunatic , but wanted to insinuate that she purposely uses outragous statements and debating tactics. I did not want to insinuate actual mental disability.

  149. says

    Btw, Lucy

    people who called me troll were overwhelmingly male. Do you think this is because they cannot deal with the opinions of a women? Because I am a white heterosexual cis male in his twenties.

  150. Schala says

    Looking good isn’t degrading. But when looking good entails dressing like an ornament it is. Looking good hen it entails wearing impractical clothing and spending hours in the bathroom before you can be seen in public or wearing shoes that cripple your feet, or having surgery is. It degrades your human dignity.

    See my argument by aristocracy. Looking good might have involved pain, weird stuff, and sometimes potentially lethal chemicals (guess they didn’t know). All in the name of one-upping the next aristocrat.

    But you know what? No one will fucking care if you DON’T PARTICIPATE. So don’t presume participation is mandatory to live, have a romantic life, or be employed. It’s only “necessary” if you want to one-up other women.

    I take my bath more in the late afternoon than morning. But let’s say I did it in the morning before going out. Then brushed my hair, shaved my face (yes electrolysis costs too much), got dressed and went out to work.

    Total time needed: maybe 20 minutes, including time to draw the water for the bath (consider I do nothing in that time). Sure is oppressive there. I could also take 5 more minutes to make and appreciate coffee. And I manage to look presentable. OMG how do I do it? And I have 100x more options than men even then, and I can outright discard the painful, stupid options, because you know what, I have a brain, and I value pragmatic stuff over one-upmanship.

    I can still decide to wear more than 5 types of bottoms, 5 types of tops, in various colors, fabrics, shapes. But we’re gonna call this and the vastly superior amounts of shops catering only to women’s fashion as being oppressive, evil, and there to keep women down, and not at all about responding to a demand.

    For example, no one would ask me to cut my hair short for any kind of work, even though it’s 36 inches long. Many white collar jobs will demand men to have short hair (blue collar and warehouse-type tend to not care). And don’t get out “short hair is superior”, long hair is more aesthetic even when you don’t do anything with it, it’s also LESS maintenance than short hair.

    But that wasn’t my point, my point was that for men looking like, being like, sounding like, working like, a woman is degrading not enobling (according to our cultural values).

    In all cases, men looking like, sounding like, working like a woman is seen as him trying to desert his role. It’s not seen as him trying to fulfill another role, but only as him not pulling his weight. And society sees men who don’t pull their weight exactly like the republicans see the poor who don’t pay income taxes. “Let them die off” is probably not something they’d say, but it’s probably what they’d like.

    So it’s not degrading, it’s considered either pathetic, like a slave trying to breach his cage unsuccessfully, or insulting, like a slave actually possibly succeeding (trans women and convincing transvestite men are of that one). The Bible command about not dressing like a woman is probably to prevent men deserting their cannon fodder role, not to prevent degradation. But keep thinking there’s laws/rules about preventing the degradation of men, but none against becoming homeless (which is millions of times more degrading).

    I have literally never heard anyone call a man a bonbon stealer. I’ve heard sports coaches tell their male teams they’re “ladies” or “girls” when they perform badly, I’ve heard people call men “a bunch of women” if they show weakness. I’ve heard men call one another “bitches” when they want to really insult them and imply they will get fucked. I’ve heard fathers tell their sons not to “whine/cry/scream like a little girl”. I’ve heard people make fun of boys for getting “beaten by a girl”. But bonbon stealer, that’s a new one.

    By your logic, when I call a woman “mannish”, “brutish”, “boyish”, I’m actually complimenting her. Because “you look like a man”, told to a non-trans woman, is not considered just as offensive as when told to a trans woman, right? It’s simple, call someone the other sex or not-their-sex, and you’re attempting to shame them into conforming. It’s pure manipulation. It’s not because men are better, or women are better. It’s because many are uncomfortable with people who are not easily catalogued, and would rather than those people change than acknowledge that life is not so black and white as their categorization allows.

    Trans people are offensive to people on this level. Trans men are offensive ONLY on this level. Trans women are also considered more offensive, because they transcend the expendable role into a valuable role. Becoming more valuable without “earning it” by being born with an uterus, will be considered offensive to men and women, much like in that story:

    There was a village. A shepherd in this village found a genie and made a wish. He wished for a golden sheep, that would give wool made of gold. The other villagers could also each have their wish. Know what they wished for? Their own golden sheep? Nope. To kill the man’s sheep, so no one has one.

    Men would be the have-nots being jealous someone gets to have one (ie someone else they might spend resources on to woo them – that they see as a fake). Women would be the haves, being angry about someone else reaching their own level (ie more competition – and they can attack their legitimacy as it’s probably the biggest button to push).

    Yes that’s right, only in my bizarro world has anyone ever thought men are superior to women. Bingo!

    Apparently YOU think men are superior to women. Most people don’t. Children as young as 4~7 think girls are better – more intelligent, more studious, more likely to succeed in school. Girls think girls are better at 4. Boys also think girls are better at 7. Why? That’s all they hear from society, teachers, parents, and other kids.

    Protection from what? By whom?

    Violence, anyone. And before you say “men doing it to themselves, so who cares” – I care about the victims of violence, not the perpetrators. Crime is not “black men doing it to themselves” right? So why would the perpetrators of violence matter, especially when we KNOW that violence is a method to communicate abuse (ie most abusers have been victims of tons of abuse before – as such, chances are the overwhelming majority of violent men have been abused, told their abuse was irrelevant or even desirable, and are only paying to the next).

    The method to stop violence is to take violence against men seriously, and protect them from it, not try to shame people who are long-gone into stopping. You educate about hard drugs as kids, don’t try to sever meth addicts cold turkey and hope they stay ‘sober’. Do it at the root, not just the symptoms.

    Are you referring to benign, aka patronising sexism?

    Male privilege would be that then.

    Hmm, higher salary? Bigger promotion? Access to places women are barred from?

    Are you referring to benign, aka patronising sexism?

    Take THAT!

    Men have form too. They aren’t invisible. Not to women. Not to gay men. Not even to other men. Didn’t you realise? Thanks for confirming my point.

    Then why is their clothing made from Clones Are Us? All the fucking same, just about no distinction unless you’re a connaisseur about button placement and that kind of crap, on suits.

    And yes, most men are invisible, to other men, to women. Nobody cares, gives them a hug, and they’ll get a “hi” only from people they’ve met before (acquaintances, friends), or people who chat with you as part of their business (the guy selling you your newspaper). Being invisible, and having no means to become visible, except flamboyance (and this can get you killed), is problematic, yes.

    Being invisible is positive in business, because only your ideas will matter. The rest is almost muted, you have almost zero, and extremely sober, clothing options. And very little expressive allowances for hair (facial and top of head both), jewelry, nails.

    Don’t say men are just as visible as women. Women complain all the time about having too much attention. Which is a sign of being highly visible. Dress extremely soberly, and your attention will dwindle too. Too bad its the only options for men.

    Also, you can use blockquote with smaller-than and bigger-than brackets to quote. Looks better.

  151. Schala says

    Hmm, higher salary? Bigger promotion? Access to places women are barred from?

    I liked my “Take THAT” above, but I can still respond to this.

    Higher salary:

    Men are responding to pressures and incentives to be the main breadwinner. The main breadwinner has a higher salary than the secondary breadwinner, the part-time worker, or the stay-at-home spouse.

    Men are told from almost birth that their role is in providing money, working until they’re too old to do it, and giving pretty much all their awake time to their job and career. They’re also told that if unemployed, or in a low-paying or low-status job, women will be uninterested, or much less interested (while men generally don’t care for the employment status or wage of women – simply not a consideration).

    Don’t you think this alone would result in the vast majority of men at least SEEKING higher salary, even if the job sucks? Negotiating harder too, because the bonus is being more attractive. It’s like women rationalizing their make-up usage.

    Bigger promotion:

    See above, and also, men are more prone to be told to focus 100% on their job/career, to the point of not taking breaks for births, even if they could. And taking breaks would affect their career negatively. Working longer hours and in overtime, would affect their career positively. It’s what employers want. And whaddaya know, it’s what men have been conditioned to see as their role – beasts of burden.

    Most women, even those who are childless, consider work/life balance and quality of life, a LOT more, in their plans. And they can rely on their male partner earning the lion’s share of what their family would need, so why would they? Necessity is the mother of invention…but if the status quo is good, why would women want to work more? Some might, but they don’t have the incentive (women working, or having a successful career doesn’t make them more attractive to men) or their whole identity built on the premise of being useful by doing paid work (men considered useless if they don’t work outside the home – considered a burden even, the antithesis of masculinity, since masculinity is based on men being useful).

    Access to places women are barred for:

    Historically taverns and golf clubs.

    Today? I can’t see any except male changing rooms and male bathrooms (and lots of women don’t mind going there anyways).

    Women have access to places men are barred for though. Women-only colleges, while men-only colleges are either only religious+private or all closed. Women-only gyms, ironically after closing down men-only golf clubs, good work… Women-only trains, women-only hotel floors, and more. With no men-only counterparts for any of those.

    The female privilege is strong.

    And so strong that many women-only college will allow trans men but not trans women to attend their college. Thus someone who no longer qualifies for the mission statement is allowed to stay, and someone who is newly-qualified is not allowed to attend. I wonder if there is some TERF under that policy. They probably require surgery, if they allow trans women at all. Consider people who attend there are 17-21, not 35, normally. Few 17 yo can afford surgery, and many don’t want it at all.

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