I am the subject of two threads at Feminist Critics.
Am I important or what?
I'll bet that never happens to you!
Well, okay, it's actually the same thread... but there is a restricted-posting version, and a regular free-for-all version, wherein the insults come fast and furious and the regular commentariat makes jokes about suddenly needing to buy guns. (I guess I make them mad.)
From the Original Poster, comes this:
Please acknowledge female privilege. Alternatively address the question set forth above. You will not get a good response on FCB [Feminist Critics Blog] if you demand that men acknowledge male privilege until you do one of these two things satisfactorily.And I think my regular readers know that will happen (as we say here in the south) on the second Tuesday after the third week hell freezes over.
The genesis of this argument was a post I was writing for this blog, actually, which I described on FCB some time ago. I was going to write about not being permitted to play the drums as a girl, and how I think that influenced my personality. Just as many women wish they had learned to participate in sports and compete, I think it would have very good for me. Drums would have been a way to control my aggression, or perhaps (as people like Mickey Hart have said) it would have increased my concentration and meditation capabilities. I consider the fact that I never grew up unselfconsciously drumming (as a method of relaxation or as a way of having fun--a HOBBY, okay?), one of the great losses of my life.
No, I do not think I would be some star drummer like John Bonham. (As a girl, I would not have even thought of such a thing, since I had never even seen a woman drummer before.) I was merely expressing sadness, and incidentally, giving this as an example of my earliest feminist consciousness. When I grew up, in the radical feminist 70s, I met women who had been denied other supposedly "male" activities: scientific careers, knowledge of car mechanics, the chance to play on sports teams with men, etc.--and I instantly identified. I offered this as an example of male privilege, the fact that my untalented brother was encouraged to do something that I even seemed to have an aptitude for and he did not.
Needless to say, I was savaged.
No, I don't think I would have been a star. Yes, I know I could have learned as an adult, but that is not the unselfconsciousness I am discussing here--I wanted this to be second nature, as is singing or dancing (for me). Yes, I know other girls in other places learned to play, and I have even mentioned them here on this blog. Yes, I know that other families did not think playing drums was too butch, and allowed their daughters to play, but that is not the family I came from. (I probably would have been allowed to play sports, if I'd been interested. However, other girls in other families I grew up with were never allowed to wear pants; hence, no sports.)
And no, I don't think my family was necessarily "worse" than others regarding sexism ... I think sexual stereotyping is very idiosyncratic, depending upon race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, class and overall general background. I knew girls forced to wear mantillas to church, who were allowed to play very rough-and-tumble sports... I knew girls allowed to do science experiments but never allowed to wear pants... I knew girls (like me) allowed to beat up harassing, nasty boys (and it was a lot of fun!) but not play drums. Go figure. I don't know why, or pretend to know why.
Actually, I do know: life is complex. Get a fucking clue.
It seems these guys on FCB do not understand this, although they love to continuously bellyache about whatever THEY were never allowed to do... surely they understand the dynamics I describe are very similar for boys? Some boys were allowed to play with dolls, but never permitted to cry. Other boys were allowed to cry, but never wear dresses; yet certain boys could wear dresses if they called them kilts. Etc. I knew boys not allowed to play violin (the instrument forced on me) since it was considered frou-frou and girlie, but were forced to play properly manly brass instruments. Again, go figure. (Cultural note: For this reason, I've always found it fascinating that BRASS is often used as a euphemism for boldness and/or high-ranking military status.)
One of the basic truths about sexual stereotyping and gendering is how arbitrary and ridiculous it is. OF COURSE it makes no sense and is not consistent! That's how feminists first discovered it was a crock!
I am glad a lot of these things seem bizarre now, but that IS the way I grew up. It is a shining testament to the fact that feminists have made so many improvements in life for boys and girls, that all of this seems so distant and strange now. But I grew up never wearing pants to school, ever, amen. It was against the rules, and it is still against the rules at places like Bob Jones University. These anti-feminists don't want to face these facts, since they would have to admit that FEMINISM HAS DONE GOOD THINGS, and they are, as their blog name proudly proclaims, FEMINIST CRITICS. In any event, the thread in which I stated these things was my last participation on FCB.
Unfortunately, I realize I made the mistake of trying to compare my experience to other women, and since NOT EVERY SINGLE WOMAN IN THE WORLD experienced what I did, well, obviously, sexism had NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. Even though I was explicitly told that GIRLS DIDN'T PLAY DRUMS (and since I could not find one in 1964 to point to and say "What about her?"--it seemed true enough to me), obviously, I must have been imagining things, since you know, sexism doesn't really exist, or something. I was informed "my assertions were unconvincing"--and since I don't take accusations of lying well, I went off on several arrogant FCB participants. (And no, not a bit sorry.)
I tried to explain that in working class, industrial Ohio in the 60s, this is the way it was. And again, I was savaged. Know why I must be wrong? Because ELLY MAY CLAMPETT (yes, Donna Douglas, ex-girlfriend of ELVIS) was a tomboy and much-beloved by America. This proves that gender stereotyping for women/girls/tomboys was not a big deal in the 60s.
Yes, you heard it right. The BEVERLY HILLBILLIES was used as proof that I am wrong about my life. A fucking TV show!
This individual repeated this inane and bizarre statement a number of times.
And see, at this point, I whistle to the intersectionalists in my readership--YO! Hey yall, over here!
At left: Elly May Clampett (Donna Douglas) of the 60s TV show The Beverly Hillbillies churns butter with her pet possum. (With that hair, it's pretty obvious that she is hard-core tomboy, yes?)
I did not consider Elly May a tomboy, but a redneck. To an upper-middle-class Canadian like my critic, Elly May was a tomboy. (Isn't it interesting that poverty/hardscrabble existence is regarded as masculinizing to the upper-classes?) They really didn't get it that Elly May was a stereotype of a backwoods girl, albeit one who was played by a former beauty queen. But what did she do (besides wear dungarees tied with a rope) that was tomboy or butch, besides have a multitude of "critters"? Actually, nurturing animals in the style of Elly May, is traditional feminine behavior. (?) (But maybe if you think tending animals is low-class farm-work, you don't know that?)
As I said, that was it. I left FCB, since I was too livid to continue.
And I put the drumming post on the shelf, since I was too confused, at that point, to even attempt writing it. And a good thing too.
At the city swimming pool I attended as a girl, there were segregated swimming periods designated "boys swim" and "girls swim." The boys swim was known for people getting held underwater and nearly killed, while of course, ours was civil, except for girls making fun of each other's swimsuits and boob-size.
Feminist Critics blog is "boys swim."
And thus, I hereby name the threads currently frying my ass, BOYS SWIM.
Here are some of the highlights of Boys Swim (spelling and grammar remains intact):
I get sick of hearing about it, frankly. If she wants to play the drums, get a job and buy some drums. And then play them. If her parents sucked, she should yell at them (or whatever). America is going to fall apart with these spoiled princesses and the enabling male chivalrist idiots.This marks a first: I've been called a lot of things by men in my life, but "princess" is most assuredly not one of them.
Women are the big victims in war, because the men die and then no longer support them (paraphrased from a statement by Hilary Clinton).I think my regular readers can probably guess that I have done such work...but doncha love how they make assumptions that I have NOT, without coming over here to read and find out what kind of person I am?
It’s kind of like … I don’t care if he got drafted and then shot at and then killed, I BROKE A NAIL. Everyone pay attention to me.
And all the chivalrous males DO pay attention to her. No one cares about men. That’s why these princesses can still be complaining when they’re the most entitled, privileged, spoiled group to ever walk the earth. Maybe Daisy ought to work for a few months in a rescue mission for homeless men (and they are mostly men, don’t kid yourself). Maybe she will get a different attitude.
[...] I do think there’s a problem in the reactionary, aggressive and confrontational way Daisy deals with these misunderstandings. It doesn’t invalidate her opinions or arguments but it does tend to inhibit the coherent and productive discussion I see as the goal of (at least) this blog.Misunderstandings? I think I understand them just fine.
I don’t know if I should really address this because there’s a need for my rage to be put under intensive care for the moment.Privileged! Nyah- nyah! Yes you are!
Thing is, DaisyDeadHead isn’t the only one who experiences hard times due to gender. I’ve been bullied by both men and women, had been betrayed by someone I thought cared about me.
Her comments about male priveledge set me off due to the fact that I’ve never had the “Luxary” of priveledge while both genders were slinging arrows at me left and right.
It’s unfortunate we got off on more than the wrong foot.
My opinion is strictly based on the fallacy of male priveledge. Because I’m not priveledged. Period. I’m a human being who’s had his fair share of hardships. Calling me priveledged due to my sex is a surefire way to negate those experiences. That’s why those types of discussions make me explode and I haven’t participated in a gender debate for a while.
And if she has a problem with that, then whatever her opinions are strictly her opinions. But don’t go calling me priveledged.
This one is from typhonblue, internet circumcision crank, mentioned in my last post:
By not being circumcised a girl can experience something a circumcised man never can: sexual pleasure from an intact set of genitals.Doncha love when people say exactly what you predict they will?
At this point, the thread threatens to totally melt down into still another male circumcision discussion. (See what I mean? PENISES UBER ALLES!)
Oh wait, they get back to the subject eventually:
And assuming that you [women] didn’t fill-out the [Selective Service] form when you turned 17, I assume you’ll now be *voluntarily* placing all of the appropriate restrictions upon yourself out of principle.I had no idea I had such a reputation over there! No wonder they address posts to me.
Failing to do so would show that you tacitly agree with the notion that you, weak woman, are poor solider material.
Maybe it’s not as fun as smashing the patriarchy by getting stinking drunk and having kinky sex all over the place, but I know you’re serious about walking the walk in addition to merely talking the talk.
When women get drunk and have kinky sex, they are smashing the patriarchy. When men do the same, they are *reinforcing* the patriarchy. It is therefore vital that women go full-scale hedonistic without restraint while men refrain from doing the same. Go ask the denizens of Feministing, and they’ll assure you that this is absolutely correct.As one who has discussed alcohol and alcoholism very personally and critically on this blog many times, I'm not sure where this fella is getting this, but obviously, he has issues with some female who is not me.
True, it seems to involve a double-standard, but that only ignores the *real* double-standards inherent in phallocentric hermenuetic power systems of dominance and control blah-de-blah blah patriarchy racism.
But then, I guess we all look alike in the dark, right?
More from the brawl:
It’s fine with me really. I can’t say if DDH will understand my reasons for thinking the way I do, though I hope she does. I do believe that now, in the present, in 2009, male privilege and female privilege are about equal (different things in different areas), all it comes down to is what you seek and if you’re encouraged or prevented from doing it (not why I transitioned, and I certainly don’t recommend transitioning to solve this). This will affect one’s perspective.And I am sure there will be plenty more... the restricted thread is about to be "opened up" so that people can pile on me even MORE!
A woman who wishes to be a construction worker versus one who wishes to be a mother and housewife. One will feel more wronged than the other or more blocked in her choices. The same for a man who wants to be a stay-at-home dad.
It is less anti-woman bias than plain categorization bias. That is, people generalize traits of a category to all instances of that category. If they don’t fit, we’ll make it fit… This applies to both men and women. Don’t want to be a provider? You better be really lucky, handsome and find the very very few women who would like to provide for you, if you’re a man…or there’s always suicide. I hear there’s a high rate in men.
Let this be a cautionary tale to any feminist who seeks to discuss anything with the Men's Rights crowd: Don't. They just want to put you down. They just want to generalize about you without knowing anything about your personal history. They don't CARE about anything but reducing all arguments to FORESKINS.
And if this is how they are when they are heavily moderated, imagine how they REALLY are.