Archive for the ‘feminism’ Category

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Yes, I’d Rather Read Books

January 19, 2007

than read the output of most bloggerati, including the dude who wrote this:

Here’s my take on the whole matter — “intellectuals” who’d rather read books and measure purity are next-to-useless. I prefer people of action, not of [sic] elitist academics.

The best I can say about that statement is that it has a certain “Lost Boy” charm to it – We don’t need none o’ that there “sivilization”!  Those Lost Boys are so cute: Peter Pan, Huck Finn, Stalin…

This is what I call the “Year Zero” mentality: “We are young, we are bloggers, we are coming in to sweep away all the old nonfunctioning paradigms and reinvent the world!”  The problem with that idea is that if you’re insufficiently educated and insufficiently aware, as most of these bloggers are, you’ll be reinventing the wheel.  And you’ll probably be doing it wrong.

“Action” is essential, but only when the action is intelligently focused.  And you can’t focus intelligently when you’re unaware and you’re victimized by propaganda.

When the issue is feminism, the stakes are high.  There’s far too much misinformation, distortion, and general ignorance about feminism to allow any slacking-off in this department.  There’s an active campaign to criticize and silence feminist voices – and this hostility is not only coming from the right wing, but from some people who are ostensibly “progressives”.

I’ve noticed on a few occasions, when someone says something clueless about feminism and I advise the person to read certain important books, this tends to result in an indignant uproar, along the lines of: “How dare you say I’m not a good enough feminist because I haven’t read the right books!” 

Well, sorry, but that’s how it is.  Really. 

There’s no sin in being ill-informed.  The sin is in not taking steps to rectify that situation.

Here on Supervixens we’ll be talking about important feminist writers and activists, covering some people even your “women’s studies” class didn’t include.  The idea is to provide a jumping-off point so you can read more and learn more about feminism.

There’s a huge history of women and women’s accomplishments that is largely unknown.  The only way to find out about this is through reading and study.  The puerile punditocracy won’t be telling you about it.  We will.

Dreadful/Dreadless Woman (noun): Terrible Woman/Fearless Woman, who is ineffably frightening to the ruling fools.  Example: Bessie Smith (1894-1937), who was threatened by members of the ku klux klan during one of her shows (Concord, North Carolina, July 1927).  Bessie asked some stagemen to help her get rid of the hooded hoods, but the stagemen were terrified and fled:

Not Bessie.  She ran toward the intruders, stopped within ten feet of them, placed one hand on her hip, and shook a clenched fist at the Klansmen.  “What the fuck you think you’re doin’?” she shouted above the sound of the band.  “I’ll get the whole damn tent out here if I have to.  You just pick up them sheets and run!”

The Klansmen, apparently too surprised to move, just stood there and gawked.  Bessie hurled obscenities at them until they finally turned and disappeared quietly into the darkness. [Chris Albertson, Bessie]

Definition from Mary Daly’s Wickedary.  I’ll be writing more about Daly soon.

H. R. H. Supervixen

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“Snools” and “Daddy’s Little Titterers”

January 9, 2007

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Mary Daly, with her labrys

One of the best writers I’ve encountered -both  in feminist philosophy, and in the world outside that “ghetto” – is Mary Daly, radical lesbian feminist theologian and activist.  She hits the nail on the head on so many issues, and does it with fiery eloquence.  She’s a true Supervixen.  I’ll provide a couple of quotes from her works today.   The passages in bold are my emphasis.

The first quote introduces the word “snool”, a marvelously useful word:

As Wanderlusty/Wonderlusty women weave our way Weirdward into the Realms of Pure Lust we find we must fight off the Fixers/Tricksters, those poisonous presences whose program is to freeze/frustrate our Movement.  These are the sovereigns of the sadostate, which can also be called the State of Boredom.  For it is infinitely boring to be blocked from the movement of/toward one’s innately ordained happiness.[…]

The compulsion to bore everywhere bores Lusty women.  The institutions of Boredom – its media, its schools, its industries, its amusements, its religion, its governments, its culture – are programmed to control Viragos, to keep us within the confines of bore-ocracy, using bore-ocratic details and mazes.  Weird women snore at the brothers’ Bored Meetings, seeing through the lecherous leaders as Chairmen of the Bored. […]

Given these conditions of Stag-Nation, Elemental Shrews and Furies urgently experience the need for Re-Naming/Re-Claiming our stolen Flames, undoing the promethean theft of Fire, retrieving our ravaged desire.

The would-be preventers of this retrieval of gynergy, the ghosts/ghouls that want our movement dead, are snools.  The noun snool (Scottish) means “a cringing person”.  It means also “a tame, abject, or mean-spirited person” (OED).  In sadosociety, snools rule, and snools are the rule.  The dual personalities of these personae – the cast of characters governing and legitimizing bore-ocracy – are unmasked by definitions of the verb snool.  This means, on the one hand, “to reduce to submission: COW, BULLY,” and on the other hand, “CRINGE, COWER.”  Snools are sadism and masochism combined, the stereotypic saints and heroes of the sadostate.

[…]

Snools appear and re-appear in various forms. […] Among the henchmen required for the smooth operation of fixocracy are the cocks, danglers, pricks, and flashers who keep girls and women intimidated.  Necessary also are the fakes, framers, frauds and hucksters whose job is to manufacture and spread delusions.  Heavier work is assumed by rakes, hacks, rippers and plug-uglies.  Plug-uglies are among the grosser snoolish incarnations.  Plug-ugly is defined as “a member of a gang of disorderly ruffians often active in political pressure and intimidation.” […] Plug-uglies, while creating the illusion that they are always giving something, are in fact drainers of energy whose plugged-in fittings close women’s circuits, sapping the flow of gynergetic currents so that these cannot circulate within/among women.

Such, then, are the rulers/snoolers of snooldom, the place/time where the air is filled with the crowing of cocks, the joking of jocks, the droning of clones, the sniveling of snookers and snudges, the noisy parades and processions of prickers.  Such is cockocracy/jockocracy, the State of supranational, supernatural erections.  This is a world made to the image of its makers, a chip off the old blocks/cocks, who are worshipped by the fraternal faithless as god the flasher, god the stud, and god the wholly hoax.

Wayward, wanton women, having been warned of the snoolish snares, proceed forthwith on our Wonderlusting/Wisdomweaving Quest.

From Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy.

She also addresses the problem of all those women in society who are programmed to obey and cater to men, and to attack any women who challenge the Snoolish Status Quo.  I call them the “Little Sisters in the Frat House”.  Daly writes about this problem at length in her books, but here’s a brief quote that gives the gist:

Hag-ographers perceive the hilarious hypocrisy of “his” history.  At first this may be difficult, for when the whole is hypocrisy, the parts may not initially appear untrue.  To put it another way, when everything is bizarre, nothing seems bizarre.  Hags are women who struggle to see connections.  Hags risk a great deal – if necessary, everything – knowing that there is only Nothing to lose.  Hags may rage and roar, but they do not titter.

Webster’s defines titter as follows: “to give vent to laughter one is seeking to suppress: laugh lightly or in a subdued manner: laugh in a nervous, affected, or restrained manner, especially at a high pitch and with short catches of the voice [emphasis Daly’s].”  Self-loathing ladies titter; Hags and Harpies roar.  Fembots titter at themselves when Daddy turns the switch.  They totter when he pulls the string.  They titter especially at the spinning of Spinsters, whom they have been trained to see as dizzy dames.  Daddy’s Little Titterers try to intimidate women struggling for greatness.  This is what they are made for and paid for.  There is only one taboo for titterers: they must never laugh seriously at Father – only at his jokes.

from Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism.

The aware Supervixen will learn to recognize these Snools and Titterers in her life.  She will stay away from them as much as possible.  She will fend them off and build up her shields against them.  They are “psychic vampires” intent on sucking her energies and destroying her.  And they are all over – especially on the Internet. 

A word to the wise is sufficient.

Be careful out there.

H.R.H. Supervixen

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What Every Supervixen Needs….

January 9, 2007

…a bulletproof bra.  In gold, yet. 

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The “Little Sister” in the Frat House

January 3, 2007

Here’s the diary I wrote at Daily Kos that sparked such frantic reactions from the Frat Boys, including the Mighty Kos himself, and their loyal female “support staff”.   It was so controversial that it was deemed a “troll diary” and I was eventually banned from the site. 

I post it here in the hopes that we can have a more reasonable, intelligent discussion of the issues.

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When my husband was in surgical residency, I met many wives of doctors.  One who became a friend was a charming, talkative young woman who enjoyed throwing parties.  They were always great parties.  She was very intelligent and had a witty, wisecracky sense of humor.  She was also physically attractive – small, but athletic and at the same time curvaceous.  In a previous era, she might have been on a calendar.  Her husband was Dullsville.  The only subject he liked to talk about was the new toys he had just acquired, or was thinking of acquiring: stereo systems, cars, motorbikes, etc.  But his wife (I’ll call her Sally) had more interests.  She read a fair amount and had a degree in literature from a big Midwestern university.  She was interested in art, foreign films, and fashion photography, so she and I had a lot to talk about.

One night at one of her parties, after we had all had a few martinis, Sally told me that she had been a stripper.  She said she had done it for a lark after college.  She said it was fun having such power over men.  Many of them wanted to talk with her after she came off stage and tell her all their problems, and she would listen.  They’d tell her how beautiful she was, and then give her big tips.  So she looked at it as a kind of therapy for them, and nice for her.  I said, well, OK, that makes some sense.  It reminded me a bit of Carl Hiaasen’s novel Strip Tease, except that this woman’s family was quite well-off and she certainly wasn’t doing it for the money.

Later, at a different gathering, I heard her telling someone else this story.  And then, over time, I heard it recycled back to me by others – “Did you know that Sally was a stripper??”  So I came to realize that this was, to Sally, such an important part of her identity that she had to tell a lot of people about it.  Somehow the fact that she had had a job where men paid her for being beautiful and “sexy” validated her beauty, and hence her being.  I guess it wasn’t surprising that she ended up marrying a guy who was so obsessed with toys.

None of that bothered me much, in a feminist context, until she told me about her experiences being a “Little Sister” in a frat house at the big university.  I had never heard of such a thing – I went to a women’s college where we didn’t even have sororities.  She explained to me how the Little Sisters would help with the social agenda for the frat, setting up the parties and cleaning up after them, etc.  Then she told me about how one day she decided that the frat house bathrooms were too incredibly filthy, so she went out and got a bunch of cleaning products, put on her rubber gloves, and went in and started scrubbing away.  Nobody had cleaned them in years so there was quite an accumulation of, well, what accumulates in frathouse bathrooms.  She worked and worked and worked until she started feeling a little strange, and then she got up and staggered out of the bathroom and fainted and fell down the stairs.

Apparently she had been overcome by the fumes of all the different types of cleansers she had been using.

She told me how wonderful the frat boys were while reviving her and taking her to the infirmary, and how grateful they were that she had taken on the job of cleaning the bathrooms.

The British have a good word, “gobsmacked”, that describes my reaction to this story.  In American terms: I was completely stunned.  My jaw dropped.  I was speechless.

It was an epiphany for me.  I began to think about why women would choose that identity of being second-class citizens in a male power structure when they had an alternative.  I also thought of it in relation to the stripper story.  Is getting attention from, and catering to, men really the most important thing for some women?  If so, can they truly be feminists?

The “Little Sister in the Frat House” image has come to me often while reading DKos.  Since last year, when I suggested women’s issues to Gina as a topic for Yearly Kos and heard vague and conflicting responses from her – and then, after YKos, when there was a panel of some sort about feminism, but it hardly rated a mention afterwards, and none at all from the Front Pagers – I’ve been worried that feminists here are backing off and allowing their concerns to be subsumed into the “Bigger Picture”.  I’m worried that feminists are yet again – as many of them were in the ’60s – allowing themselves to be the watercarriers, the coffee-makers, the toilet-scrubbers, the “support staff”, the cheerleaders, the strippers and sex toys to the Big Boys who are really the movers and shakers and the ones getting their ideas across.  Time and again I hear responses to the effect of: “Yes, yes, we’re going to pay attention to your ideas and your issues when we get in power, but right now we have to focus on getting our people elected.”  Can you get me another coffee, and by the way – nice tits!

How much are we women willing to give up in order to get attention from the Big Boys in power?  How much of our identity is connected to our sense of our attractiveness to men?  Do we even have a real identity separate from men and the way they perceive us?  Are we tools/toys for them, or do they think of us as equals and fight on our side for our acceptance as equals in society?  These are all questions that come up when I think about the Little Sister in the frat house.

* * *

Another story about my friend:

She and a few other wives of MDs had a “book group”.  She invited me to it once.  I can’t remember what book we were supposed to be discussing (I think it was something by Michael Chabon).  I said I couldn’t go because I hadn’t read the book.  She said, “Oh, that doesn’t matter!”  

When I showed up, the ladies were energetically cocktailing.  Eventually someone brought up the book.  Nobody had read more than 100 pages of it.  So they quickly segued into gossip.  This was boring because I didn’t know anyone they were discussing.  Then they went on to discuss things they would have done to themselves as soon as they had enough money to get cosmetic surgery.  They went around the circle getting everyone’s contributions in turn.  Instead of a book discussion club, it had become a “cosmetic surgery discussion club”.  When they got to me, I said I didn’t want to have anything done.  I received a barrage of glares.  My friend said, “What do you mean – do you think you’re perfect?”

That, too, was an eye-opener for me.

H.R.H. Supervixen