Today the sixth-largest stadium in the Big Ten conference was soundchecking with Sarah McLachlan songs.
There was a men-only space at Take Back the Night but no women-only space.
“uterus” is an anagram of “suture”
Of all the criticisms to make of Lady Gaga, that she is making a patriarchal bargain is not a legitimate one. They seriously screencapped a frame from “Bad Romance” IN WHICH SHE IS PLAYING A SEX SLAVE, MERE MINUTES BEFORE SETTING A PATRIARCH ON FIRE, in order to argue that her relative lack of clothing (AGAIN: PLAYING A SEX SLAVE) means that she is submitting to the male gaze to get ahead. I mean, if nothing else, didn’t we well establish that she stopped submitting to the male gaze in order to get ahead in 2010?
Of course I agree that Gaga’s purported subversive markers just serve to mask that she’s “a skinny white woman gyrating in underwear,” but that does not a patriarchal bargain make. They’re trying to argue that Gaga submits to some sexist standards (according to them: having boobs) in order to slip some sort of radical message into the mainstream, but a) that’s not necessarily what the patriarchal bargain refers to and b) she isn’t doing any of those things c) you are rendering the concept of the gaze entirely useless when you reduce it to a synonym for “a woman who is naked.”
“Upholding [white] standards of beauty” is not the same thing as making a patriarchal bargain. Upholding white standards of beauty is a function of white supremacist capitalist patriarchal culture in which some people are given the opportunity to submit in certain ways and others aren’t. Lady Gaga did not choose to be a skinny white lady as a “bargain” with the Celebrity Powers That Be in exchange for a platform to spread her Magical Gay Rights Agenda across America. If that’s how you’re going to define the patriarchal bargain, then you should also specify that you don’t think black women or fat women can make the patriarchal bargain. I don’t think that’s what Kandiyoti argued.
This has been Stupid.
see also: upping the coven, bullying, internet gangs
stuff you should read
*Again, I’m not so into witch vibes but I’m into W.I.T.C.H. vibes
A reader submitted this knife sharpener from Fark to us and said it promotes violence against women.
I’m sure we can argue for years and years over whether or not the concept of the Beautiful Assistant is sexist or not, and I’m sure we can all agree that at some point some sexist arsehole is going to see this knife sharpener and think to themselves, “Yes! Stabbing women with knives! I love it!”, but do either of these things make the item itself sexist?
Personally, I’m not sure. So far as I can see it’s just a knife sharpener modeled on an old magic trick. I don’t think it’s any more sexist than ThinkGeek’s pizza cutter shaped like the USS Enterprise, or, perhaps more appropriately, that knife set with a stand shaped like an abstract, genderless human body.
That said, I’m a male, and that means I have male privilege, which may very well be preventing me from seeing this as something other than an innocent and humorous bit of kitchenware. I’d love to hear your feedback.
WHERE DOES THE INTERNET FIND THESE PEOPLE??
The responses to this doofus picture compel me to post about the concept of feminists hating men. Within those notes, there are a number of comments about how real feminists don’t hate men, or how everything on the left is okay except hating men, or how the picture is wrong because it doesn’t acknowledge that men can be feminists too (and therefore, presumably, are not worthy of hate).
I often say that I hate men. It’s false in the sense that there are men I love and care for dearly. Men as a group, however, antagonize me, and I do hate a lot of what falls under masculinity and manhood. When women say they hate men, it is not a simple statement. Women hate men because they are abused by men, because they are raped by men, because they are marginalized by men, because they are murdered by men, because they must live their lives constantly being judged by men. Moreover, it is male-dominated society that teaches us that all of this can be avoided by becoming submissive to men, by being nice and quiet, by letting them into our spaces, by giving them access to our bodies, by making ourselves attractive, by giving due consideration to their opinions no matter what they are. It is exhausting and overwhelming. I do not blame any woman who reacts with hatred, because such reactions are often the product of years of exhaustion. No woman is rewarded for airing her hatred of men. She only invites more judgment upon herself.
Many women reject the idea of hating men as valid for two reasons; one, because the patriarchy itself tells us only ugly, hopeless dykes do that (and they have taught us that being an ugly dyke is a horrible thing), and two, because we fear it is like hatred of women. Consider, however, why men hate women. They hate women for not being sexually available. They hate women for not being attractive to them, or inaccessible to them if they are. They hate women for not dressing the way they would have them dress. They hate women for being smarter or more successful than them. They hate women who have authority over them. They hate women who challenge them. They hate women who have no intentions of yielding to them. They hate women who have no interest in men. They hate women for not handing over full control of their bodies and minds. They are conditioned to do this from childhood. It is socialized behavior that is regularly rewarded. It is not the product of suffering, and it is not comparable.
Finally, I would add that I do not believe men can be feminists. Men can most assuredly be loving and considerate supporters of women who challenge misogyny and sexism. However, allowing them to assume the title of feminist is dangerous. It places any woman who challenges or disagrees with them in the absurd position of looking anti-woman. It allows them to air their opinions side-by-side with women, and asserts that their opinions on sexism and the needs of women are just as valid. It also undermines a very important factor critical to the success of women; i.e., it deprives them of a space in which they can fumble and grow without the judgment of, or competition from, men. Men who truly understand sexism understand the need not to interfere, and recognize that they will never fully understand what it is to be the target of it. Feminist ends cannot be achieved if men are not willing to surrender space, power and their egos. A man who is truly acting out of love for women accepts this, and does not require a special title or recognition to maintain his commitment.
In short: stop having kneejerk reactions to women who openly and unreservedly air their anger about how they and the women they love have suffered at the hands of men, because what the hell do you think sexism is, when you get right down to it? Consider why your first reaction is one that works to appease and protect the feelings of men, rather than recognizing the validity and origin of some women’s emotions and reactions.
ONE HUNDRED PERCENT
Bolding one bit because 1. I have actually thought, “If a guy I’m dating/potentially might date read my tumblr, would he, to use a loaded word, be intimidated?” It’s something both shameful and realistic to worry about, I guess. 2. Someone with similar concerns said to me, “I am a straight woman who hates heterosexual men. What am I going to do?” No wonder bisexual men are so hot right now.
I know some women roll their eyes at this worry and accuse some feminists of pandering to men in order to avoid the “man-hating” epithet but this is different, I think.*
And where do our trans* friends locate themselves in this double binary? In a movie I can’t remember the name of but will soon, a documentary about transition, one of the people being profiled said, echoing the above with wonder, glee, and rueful acknowledgement of the quandary, says, “I can’t believe I am going to be a straight white man! I hate straight white men! I can’t wait!” I want to figure out how to respect their bodies in this conversation.
Social constructions of masculinity and femininity—white masculinity and femininity—are imposed on WOC and POC in ways that this white lady does not want to presume to articulate. Imposed, even, kind of reeks of privilege. I don’t want to say forced, although it is violent. I am just going to shut up. It’s more important to listen.
*SCHYWZER, Yes Means Yes, Slutwalk, etc., etc.
I told Emily I would make her a list of “Stephen King’s weird feminist novel phase in the early nineties,” but I decided to make a more complete one.
Here’s a short bibliography of Stephen King’s writings of particular feminist interest. Feel free to add more.
- Carrie, 1974
- The Shining, 1975, included for its depiction of abuse. It’s also one of the earliest instances of King writing male writer subjects, a pattern which has created a wide variety of comments on the relationship between authorship and masculinity, the relationship between men and their wives. Plus, it’s an interesting comparison to Kubrick’s film adaptation.
- Firestarter, 1980
- The Running Man, 1982, (as Richard Bachman) is a book from the pre-reality tv era about a man who participates in a game show (not unlike The Hunger Games.)
- Misery, 1987
- Needful Things, 1991, is about a demonic antique shop and features quite a few women characters and deals with abuse, sexuality, consumption, etc.
- Bag of Bones, 1998, is kind of about a male writer’s relationship with a lot of different women, including a few dead ones.
- The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, 1999, follows a nine year old girl who gets lost in the woods.
- Hearts in Atlantis, 1999, is my favorite Stephen King work. It’s got about five novellas and short stories which exist roughly in the same universe. It includes heavy Lord of the Flies themes, crazy-mean mothers who are abused and assaulted, pre-teen girl and boy subjects, stories about war, allegories about consumption and the Reagan era, and a college woman who is a violent protester.
- Lisey’s Story, 2006, might be the first of King’s books that features the wife of a writer as a protagonist and the main voice. In this book, she reflects on his death, in contrast to the countless King stories which are about men talking about women who have died.
- Duma Key, 2007. I haven’t actually read this, but I know that it’s another of King’s pieces about a male auteur—this time, a painter. In it, of course, there is a paranormal aspect to the subject’s art, and it seems like this book deals a lot with a male author’s manipulation of female objects.
The Weird Early 1990s Period When He Was Trying to Write About Feminism
- Gerald’s Game, 1992, is about a woman whose husband handcuffs her to the bed during sex (even though she’s not into it), and subsequently dies. Leaving her handcuffed to the bed. For the whole novel.
- Dolores Claiborne, 1992, is the confession of a woman who killed her abusive husband.
- Rose Madder, 1995, is about a woman who escapes her abusive husband and tries to be empowered in a new life while still running from him.
- “Strawberry Spring,” in Night Shift, 1978, a story about memories of a serial killer (of women, natch) on a college campus.
- “I Know What You Need,” in Night Shift, 1978, has a female protagonist and is about a manipulative relationship (kind of).
- “Children of the Corn,” in Night Shift, 1978. I included this for many reasons, not the least of which being that The Lord of the Flies’ (as well as Children of the Damned’s) influence on King shows up in his work in interesting and gendered ways, especially in regards to concepts of childhood.
- “The Last Rung on the Ladder,” in Night Shift, 1978, wherein a man reflects on memories of his sister after she commits suicide.
- “The Man Who Loved Flowers,” in Night Shift, 1978, which is also about men talking about a serial killer of women.
- “The Woman in the Room,” in Night Shift, 1978, is about a man and his terminally ill mother.
- “The Wedding Gig,” in Skeleton Crew, 1985, which is about a woman (and some men) in a mob family.
- “Word Processor of the Gods,” in Skeleton Crew, 1985 is more or less about a dude who has a insufferable wife.
- “Nona,” in Skeleton Crew, 1985, which is kind of about a succubus, or something.
- “Gramma,” in Skeleton Crew, 1985, is about a witchy gramma (told, as is standard in these earlier works, from the perspective of a man).
- “The Reach,” in Skeleton Crew, 1985, is also about an elderly woman, this time one coming to grips with death.
- “Dedication,” in Nightmares and Dreamscapes, 1993, is about a hotel maid who has to work for a misogynistic, racist, alcoholic writer who is staying there. (This story makes me think of Cixous’s voler, for sure.)
- “Home Delivery,” in Nightmares and Dreamscapes, 1993, is about a pregnant woman during a zombie apocalypse.
- “My Pretty Pony,” in Nightmares and Dreamscapes, 1993, is more or less a story about a grandfather telling his grandson about how time works; it has also been adapted and illustrated by Barbara Kruger.
- “The Death of Jack Hamilton,” in Everything is Eventual, 2001, includes a lot of interesting gendered scenarios and a few compelling women, but it’s mostly a reflection on masculinities. It’s a fictionalized account of members of John Dillinger’s gang. It’s probably my favorite of King’s short stories.
- “The Little Sisters of Eluria,” in Everything is Eventual, 2001, I’m including even though it’s part of the Gunslinger (Dark Tower) universe, and I’m not including anything else from those pieces (except for Hearts in Atlantis, kind of). I’m adding this story because of vampire nuns. That’s pretty much it. Vampire nuns.
- “L.T.’s Theory of Pets,” in Everything is Eventual, 2001, is another story in which a man talks about women who aren’t there. Specifically, this man tells about his tenuous relationship with his ex-wife, especially through their pets.
- “Lunch at Gotham Cafe,” in Everything is Eventual, 2001, is another entry in King’s Crazy Marriages canon. It’s a story about a lunch date with a newly-ex-wife who is crazy. It’s about how women are crazy. I can’t imagine how it could possibly be about anything else.
- “That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is In French,” in Everything is Eventual, 2001, is kind of a bookend to “Lunch at the Gotham Cafe.” It’s sort of like Groundhog Day—a woman experiences the same things over and over again but while she does, she thinks about her marriage.
- “Luckey Quarter,” in Everything is Eventual, 2001, is about a hotel maid who gets tipped a quarter. By the 90s, King was writing more and more stories with single women as protagonists, and a lot of them really dealt with labor and ideas about what constitutes “domesticity.”
- “The Gingerbread Girl,” in Just After Sunset, 2007. The main character in this story is a woman who is recovering from the death of a child and takes up running as a way to cope. (Then there are things which she has to outrun.)
- “Rest Stop,” in in Just After Sunset, 2007, is about a man who intervenes in an incident of domestic abuse.
- Danse Macabre, 1981, which is King’s book about the craft of horror and also contains some reflections on women in his books.
I haven’t read Different Seasons (which includes “The Body” and “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”), The Stand or any of the Dark Tower series, which I know are glaring omissions here. Unfortunately I can’t speak to their gendered aspects.
There are lots of other notable moments that I’ve left off—I think, specifically, of the couple that married right out of high school in ‘Salem’s Lot—but I didn’t think they all warranted their own mention. I’ve also not included every example of a male-writer-subject-with-woman-who-bothers-him-or-inspires-him-and-probably-dies, although there are many. I also didn’t add every example of horrible marriages as depicted by King, although there are many. A lot of books I omitted not because they aren’t gendered, but because they feature almost no women. A lot of his earlier works especially feature a lot of missing women, voiceless women, and fridged women.
This is the kind of focused work we should all be supporting.
Reminder of things you should be DONE with
So in relation of things folks are done with here
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