Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On feminist collaboration with the state

As a veteran of the Watergate era, which I obsessively studied as a young pup, I am so deeply cynical and skeptical of our government, that I initially did not even believe these alleged rape-victims of Julian Assange truly existed. I am still profoundly skeptical, until I see an interview with Barbara Walters or equivalent. (I'll settle for a big blue dot over their faces, as was necessary for Patricia Bowman.)

As I have written before: Deja Vu all over again. The disintegration of the leftist/liberal coalition is in full swing. Obama is a one-termer, as was Jimmy Carter. History repeats itself, almost to the letter, but I can't quite figure out if this is the tragedy or the farce?

When I get confused, I flash back to 1979 and the disintegration of the 70s coalition. And then, it all makes sense.

Feminism was wild, woolly, crazy, brash, overbearing. The refrain was: I am woman, hear me ROAR. Not purr. Not blink our waterproofed-mascaraed eyes and meow nicely. ROAR. As the 80s dawned and Reaganism took over, roaring not only rated patriarchal punishment, but outright banishment. Get with the program, bitches, was the new refrain. 70s feminism became an embarrassment to the new careerist women of the 80s, who bleated incessantly, I'm a feminist but I love men! I love men! I don't hate men! I'm a feminist, but... and then finally FEMINISM as a term, as a philosophy, as a politics, was banished, too.

And something happened.

This phenomenon was first controversially chronicled by a woman I have since been told is "anti-feminist"--which is odd, since she was one of the few women who seemed to understand what the hell was going on. I refer to Katie Roiphe.

From The Morning After: Sex, Fear and Feminism by Katie Roiphe:

The image that emerges from feminist preoccupations with rape and sexual harassment is that of women as victims, offended by a professor's dirty joke, verbally pressured into sex by peers. This image of a delicate woman bears a striking resemblance to that fifties ideal my mother and the other women of her generation fought so hard to get away from. They didn't like her passivity, her wide-eyed innocence. They didn't like the fact that she was perpetually offended by sexual innuendo. They didn't like her excessive need for protection. She represented personal, social and psychological possibilities collapsed, and they worked and marched, shouted and wrote, to make her irrelevant for their daughters. But here she is again, with her pure intentions and her wide eyes. Only this time it is feminists themselves who are breathing new life into her.
Self-described feminists ran to the state, to the patriarchy itself, to local police forces and courts that had never given a shit about women, to punish other men. Without apology. In fact, quite proudly. No political equivocations or similar excuses were given, i.e. we need mean guys to police other mean guys. Battered-women's shelters became beneficent arms of the therapeutic culture; police were suddenly seen as the good guys, keeping an eye on those other dangerous, brutal men. (The most horrific suffering in these situations came from battered women married to police officers, since those particular men had easy access to locations of safe-houses.) Radical volunteers at these shelters, even women who had initially organized them (such as Sue Urbas, R.I.P.) were suddenly persona non grata in the places they had started themselves. The experts and the social workers, acting as arms of the state, stepped in. (You can almost hear John Wayne: We'll take over now, little lady.) And they did. By the end of the 80s, they were in the process of doing the same thing to Alcoholics Anonymous and various other self-help organizations. The state, massive apparatus that it is, does not take well to being left out. And men, in particular, were NOT going to be left out of the project, any project.

By 1999 and the advent of LAW AND ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, the whole concept was solidified. The law is Our Friend. The state will bring sympathetic justice to raped women. We can trust them. This pro-state, pro-government propaganda has never abated.

If you grew up during that time, you don't know any different. You believe the government is there to help women. You do not believe that the government has its own agenda regarding feminism and women. If you say such things to young women, they will furrow their brows: but there are women police officers, they say. (Mariska Hargitay is popular for a reason, you know.) The concept of the state as an agent of repression, is utterly foreign to them. To say otherwise renders you some kind of lefty/anarchist nut, or worse, a conspiracy theorist. Not a realist.

As a result, the entire invasion of Afghanistan was given a properly feminist spin: Women are being abused by the Taliban! Of course, we must invade. Mavis Leno and other billionaire Hollywood feminists unabashedly called for military intervention.

~*~

To review: The US government is a repressive, carnivorous force.

Ask the women of: Japan, Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Angola, Nicaragua, Panama, Grenada, Iraq and Afghanistan. (I'm sure I'm missing a few interventions; how could we possibly keep track of them all?) And that is only a half-century's worth of military meddling. As I have written here before, the US government has had its fingers in the business of so many countries, only God knows the extent of it. And by giving our blessing to the state, by running to the state to settle our conflicts and making sure Mariska Hargitay and company have jobs and plenty of work to do, we collaborate. As US residents, we can't help some collaboration (if you don't pay the IRS and fund their wars, they will put you in jail for tax evasion), but other, more insidious forms of collaboration CAN be directly avoided.

Yes, the word for today is COLLABORATION.

The feminists who are currently mouthing well-intentioned variations of: Yes, we know Julian Assange has a big red target on his back placed there by the US government for exposing war crimes against unnamed dark women in Asia with (waving impatiently) smart bombs and stuff, but we must hear out the complaints of these (Daisy first believed nonexistent) Swedish white women who are accusing him, because, well... what would Mariska Hargitay do? What have we been TAUGHT to do?

Listen to the women!

Well, I do listen to women. I listen to the victims of US repression and violence. I listen to the victims of rape in other countries, women who claim their country and governments have been totally destroyed by an advanced, high-tech military campaign financed by MY money, MY government, without MY consent. Have you written about that, American feminists? Have you denounced war, made in your name? Have you profiled THOSE rape victims? Have you believed those victims and made them the centerpiece of your political campaigns? And why haven't you?

Certain feminists have actually written more about Michael Moore declaring the rape allegations are "hooey" --than they have against the war(s) and US imperialism against the unnamed dark women of the world, which is certainly NOT hooey. They seem far more upset over Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann saying predictable and stupid guy-shit on TV, than they are about the wholesale rape and assault of entire fucking countries. Because you know, American feminists should have the right to watch TV without being offended! (Since when?) The fact that these feminists are going after two erstwhile progressives, is pretty gross. Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly trash women and feminism every single day, but somehow, that isn't quite as upsetting.

This disgusting state of affairs has made DEAD AIR almost too nauseated to continue. And then, yes, dear readers, Daisy rallied.

What made me rally? I saw a picture. I decided to share it here. The photo above is of one Dorothy Wetzel Hunt.

Speaking of conspiracy theories, does anyone remember Dorothy Hunt, the wife of E. Howard Hunt?

Dorothy Hunt died. Dorothy Hunt was expendable. Just like all those women in Afghanistan are considered expendable. And the women of all the countries I listed above, were also expendable. American women deserve to live in comfort, and goddamn anybody, male or female, Michael Moore or Dorothy Hunt, who stand in the way.

I can only remember one feminist, Robin Morgan, mentioning Dorothy in a poem. Period. No other feminists gave a shit. She was probably a Republican, after all. No question, she was a CIA agent:
Just before Hunt boarded the aircraft she purchased $250,000 in flight insurance payable to E. Howard Hunt. In his book Undercover (1974), Hunt claims he was unaware that his wife planned to do this. In the book he also tried to explain what his wife was doing with $10,000 in her purse. According to Hunt it was money to be invested with Hal Carlstead in "two already-built Holiday Inns in the Chicago area".

Nixon administration figure Chuck Colson told TIME magazine that "I don't say this to my people. They'd think I'm nuts. I think they [the CIA] killed Dorothy Hunt."[2]Also killed in the December 1972 plane crash was CBS News Correspondent Michele Clark and Illinois Congressman George W. Collins.

"This was probably the most investigated airplane crash in history" said Deputy Cook County Coroner John Haigh. [3] National Transportation Safety Board ruled it to be pilot error.
[4]
Sure it was. (Holiday Inns! Ohhh, that is perfect.)

And how thoughtful of Dorothy to purchase all that life insurance just in the nick of time to pay her husband's lawyers! What a nice lady.

I have often imagined how Dorothy felt, boarding that plane and suddenly GETTING IT. What was it was like to know you had that giant red target on your back (the same one now on Julian's back) placed there by the US government? This was the entity she had worked for, sacrificed for, and thoroughly believed in. A lot like The Mafia. It's your life, and then, finally, it is your death.

And so, I write this for Dorothy Hunt. We will never know the truth about your death, Dorothy. And I apologize for all the feminists who didn't bother to investigate. Mariska Hargitay-on-the-trail does not apply to everyone.

This is for all the feminists who believed in ((cough)) "pilot error"; all the feminists who shrugged because you had the wrong politics and the wrong husband.

Similarly, we see that liberal white US feminists are currently picking and choosing which victims are more important than others. Millions of victims of US carnage should rightly rate a few more blog posts than Michael Moore acting like Michael Moore, you know?

My question to all of you is: why haven't they?

As I said, I am profoundly skeptical. I see the hundreds of probably-astroturfed blog post replies with all of the not-linked commenters predictably stating RIGHT ON, we are glad you are standing up to Assange the bully-rapist! How many of these posts are by government plants or right-wing apologists? Are you absolutely certain you are pursuing the right course of action? Do you see that you are (coincidentally!) weakening the individual who has exposed the war crimes of the government? Do these war crimes bother you at all; have you READ the Wikileaks documents? Women's bodies are littered throughout. Do you care about them? (And if you do, why have you not written about them and said so?) Julian's organization, Wikileaks, has exposed horrific war crimes. Why are you going after him, with the blessings of your repressive government? Is your attack on Julian ultimately going to endear you to the women of the world, women unfortunate to have been born on the wrong side, women who have been left without running water and whose children have been blown up?

Oh, please.

They are using you.

And they will continue to use you with aplomb and make sure you get lots of attention, blog links and air time. They will flatter your ego and put you on radio and TV. In fact, you can work for the government right up until the moment of your elimination, when you are no longer useful. Ask Dorothy. Ask her as she was standing at that airline desk, her heart pounding, purchasing all that life insurance.

I'm sure Julian has purchased his.

66 comments:

Ann O'Dyne said...

WONDERFUL BRILLIANT post dear Daisy. BRAVO I salute you.

speaking of Watergate, when Martha Mitchell started saying "there's something strange going on" she was reviled and suddenly died 'of cancer'. I have always thought she was an unknown martyr.

sheila said...

*applause!!!!*
Daisy, you are so dead on. I wasn't born until the 60's but grew up in the 70's and 80's. But I see things like you do, although I don't know as many gory details. Maybe that's because I too understand that the gov't has it's own agenda on all fronts...and what's made public is nowhere close to the truth. A bit of that is finally coming out, but we'll never know it all.

thene said...

I don't believe Assange cares about those Afghan women either. Michael Moore, Keither Olbermann, Bruce Stirling et al certainly don't.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Thene, probably not. But information belongs to everyone; truth is its own reward. Anyone can use truth in any way possible, to prove or disprove anything. What will happen to Wikileaks if (when) Assange is assassinated? I hope it will carry on, but we don't know that it will.

Don't believe the hype.

I think the only way this will hit home for many young activists is after Assange dies of "suicide" or some shady like that. (Even then, many of these
American feminists will say "good" and then wonder why the rest of the women in the world still hate them.)

PS: Actually, Olbermann and Moore have gone on record opposing the war in Afghanistan several times. Are you saying they only care about the men of Afghanistan? As I said, the treatment of women by the Taliban was one of the main reasons constantly cited for invasion, remember? It's the whole reason feminists like Hillary Clinton backed the war in the first place.

JoJo said...

That's quite a rant! lol I am bummed that Obama will be a one-term President though.

I grew up in the 70's and 80's too. I remember never being quite sure what my role in life was supposed to be. Was I supposed to marry out of high school or college and become a housewife like my mom? Was I expected to have a career like my older cousins? I do know that I was woefully unprepared for adulthood.

Another thing about the 80's, remember how women chopped their hair off and wore those power suits with the giant shoulderpads?

Finally, that's quite interesting about the plane crash in 1972. I had never heard of this, this woman, or any facts of the incident. Was this a commercial flight? Was it brought down on purpose or something?

Ted said...

Yeah yeah Dorothy Hunt. What about how neither of Assange's victims realized they'd been raped til they found out he been messin' with that other bitch? And I use the word in a colloquial sense appropriate to the context. But for Assange's imprisonment the incident would be laughable. Apparently this is what happens when you let women become prosecutors, roar roar. Maybe write about that.

But so when to progressives/feminists/liberals/whatever stop trying to give the machine more power?

DaisyDeadhead said...

Ted, well, good question...

Maybe write about that.

Nah, I never write about women prosecutors or women soldiers or women cops. Well wait, I did write about them a couple of times, but that's it. Oh, and Abu Ghraib, where some women soldiers took some amazing photos, remember that?

This post is as close as I've come to denouncing all of that, and it took every single bit of nerve I have!

DaisyDeadhead said...

Jojo, check out the link at "I saw a picture" for the whole story of United Flight 553. Or rather, the non-story, the only story we have. It's incredible.

Yes, I believe Dorothy Hunt was a deliberate hit. By whom, is the question. The CIA is the obvious answer, but don't *ever* underestimate the reach of the Nixonoids. I know an anti-war activist who unknowingly married an agent/informer during the Nixon/G. Gordon Liddy era, and that was my personal wake-up call.

Danny said...

Self-described feminists ran to the state, to the patriarchy itself, to local police forces and courts that had never given a shit about women, to punish other men.
Which pretty much gave The System (damned if I'm gonna call it patriarchy considering how much damage this f'd up system does to men) the idea of, "Hey if we pretend to care about women and crush other men under our heels we can get them to support us even more, even as we crush them under our heels."

(The most horrific suffering in these situations came from battered women married to police officers, since those particular men had easy access to locations of safe-houses.)
Them plus pretty much any man who has been abused by a woman.

The concept of the state as an agent of repression, is utterly foreign to them.
I call bullshit on the idea that such an idea is foreign to them considering a good number of them can't form whole sentences without complaining that the state is out to oppress women.

Ted said...

I can't clearly discern the thread of your reasoning, possibly because I don't particularly identify with someone in an occupational context by virtue of common gender, but the prosecutor in the Assange matter should probably at least be disbarred.

Just scanned the NTSB accident report for Hunt's flight. I've aborted landings and executed stall recoveries and my impression is the crew basically got too complacent.

thene said...

Are you saying they only care about the men of Afghanistan?

Pretty much. Denouncing wars (especially the stupidity of Iraq) is a pretty low bar for men on the left - even the right seem to dig war a lot less now Bush is out of office and the jingoistic throwing around of money is no longer of benefit to their team. I don't see why their anti-war views would be necessarily pro-woman given that, when faced with a specific case in which rape has been alleged, they make knee-jerk rape apologist remarks.

(The one I'm specifically pissed off with today is Bruce Stirling, who says rape is just another kind of political sex scandal, like Clinton's affairs, that's been caused by too much transparency! No one who believes that is supporting women, whatever other low bars they manage to clamber over.)

As I said, the treatment of women by the Taliban was one of the main reasons constantly cited for invasion, remember?

Was it? It seemed more like, at best, a side issue to the pressing need for revenge for 9/11, given that the Taliban's treatment of women had existed unchallenged for so many years before that, with neither the pro-interventionist right or the anti-interventionist left showing much evidence of caring about women.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Thene: I don't see why their anti-war views would be necessarily pro-woman

Here is where we differ; I consider "anti-war" to be pro-woman, in most cases (yes, yes, haul out that tired old Godwin if you must, but I won't do it.) Returning whole populations to the state of nature (nasty, brutish and short) is always bad for women, and that is what war does. Reducing countries to rubble means people are unavoidably regressing back to the living standard of, say, 1900. Not a real feminist time-frame, not a lot of accessible birth control and/or abortion... and much of Iraq and Afghanistan have been reduced to just that.

War is also about brute strength, putting (most of) us at a distinct disadvantage. War is ALWAYS bad for women.

It seemed more like, at best, a side issue to the pressing need for revenge for 9/11

There is NO connection between 9/11and Afghanistan. Didn't you wonder what the missing link was? Remember those documentaries on CNN about the Taliban, right before the invasion? Paul Wolfowitz drew the connect-the-dots with Iraq, while Hollywood feminists and others loudly approved. Did you live here during all of this? If not, you might have missed the anti-Taliban hysteria; I even got duly dosed with it at AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL meetings. Lots of talk about saving the wimminz, who of course were then promptly forgotten about until... ohhh, that recent Time magazine cover featuring the woman with her nose cut off by the Taliban... just when they needed women's support to win the Republican/Tea Party midterm elections, which incidentally, they did win.

thene said...

Still mulling over thoughts here; I guess my problem is that being simply for or against the US government is too simplistic, especially when it comes to feminism, especially when it comes to rape. You can be against the US government and its crimes and still be full of shit; the Taliban manage it splendidly. The reverse is also true - you can say all the right things about rape and still be full of shit - but that some men on the left will happily meet the low, low bar of being against war but will not meet the similarly low bar of not being rape apologists is not something that makes me inclined to regard them as natural allies.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Danny, I don't agree with you, but I will clarify about this "agent of repression"--I was referring to repressing other countries, the substance of the Wikileaks documents. (Also, I meant white women usually don't understand about, say, racial profiling, etc.)

Which third-wave feminist has even mentioned the state in a negative way, let alone accused the state of actually oppressing women? Most contemporary feminists seem statist in the extreme (apologies for Randian term, can't think of a better one right now, sorry). I can't think of a single one. Most prominent young feminists online are very eager to JOIN the state and the system as it is, and you can't join it if you are criticizing it.

thene said...

Not a real feminist time-frame, not a lot of accessible birth control and/or abortion... and much of Iraq and Afghanistan have been reduced to just that.

Afghanistan never had it in the first place; before the invasion, it was among the poorest countries in the world. And nobody cared!

War is also about brute strength, putting (most of) us at a distinct disadvantage. War is ALWAYS bad for women.

While I take your point, I think it's mostly equivalent to saying that war is ALWAYS bad for people?

There is NO connection between 9/11and Afghanistan.

Or between 9/11 and Iraq, and yet! I still think the Taliban's meanness to women was an overall side issue to the KILL SOMEONE, ANYONE, DOESN'T MATTER WHO mentality.

Did you live here during all of this?

No. I gather the public mood in the UK was different; pro-invasion when it came to Afghanistan, very much anti-invasion when it came to Iraq. I don't know why the distinction was constructed that way, but it was.

If not, you might have missed the anti-Taliban hysteria; I even got duly dosed with it at AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL meetings. Lots of talk about saving the wimminz, who of course were then promptly forgotten about until... ohhh, that recent Time magazine cover featuring the woman with her nose cut off by the Taliban... just when they needed women's support to win the Republican/Tea Party midterm elections, which incidentally, they did win.

That one was particularly precious; cite something that happened under American occupation as an example of what might happen if America ended its occupation. Do Time have no shame? :/

That said; there's the pattern, and then there's the fact that the Taliban is something Amnesty International should have been concerned about all along - much like rape and rape apologism. These things are left to sit idle until they're needed by the state. That doesn't mean they should be, or that every push against the relentless silence is evidence of conspiracy - or that when the apologists come out of the woodwork, we should regard them as allies.

BD said...

Thanks so much for writing this, Daisy. It's a subject I've often pondered--as late as last night in fact. Feminism 1st and 2nd wave was never about state protection. It was about getting the state dare I say, "off our backs" and accessing rights.

I don't remember any moment I saw victim feminism kick in. It was just there one day. But it fist in to larger theraeupocracy we live in, the oh-so American method of "solving" problems. It's never about systemic and structural rot--it's always about our personal problems/our fault/our bad way with dealing with things/blah blah.

Victimhoodery with its statist sugar daddy certainly goes beyond feminism. (It's all over AdoptionLand). We live in the midst of the therapeutic state--the land of the experts--because we are supposed to be too damned dumb to seek our own solutions. It's all part of the larger managerial state, which nobody today seems to be be aware of. No Virginia, our lives weren't always an extension of the government.

I've got more to say, but no room. This is an important topic, Daisy, and I'm glad you wrote about it. I, too, think Dorothy Hunt was iced, and certainly Martha Mitchell, as obnoxious as she was about many things, was shut up by the government.

BTW, don't forget that Gloria Steinem was CIA for a while and dated Henry Kissinger. I don't want to push that too far, but it's always bothered me.

Whatever, the movement was co-opted by the state a long time ago. Emma and Voltairine must be spinning.

thene said...


Which third-wave feminist has even mentioned the state in a negative way, let alone accused the state of actually oppressing women?


I wonder if this may be parallel to what you said about the brute state of war being bad for women; both the state and the lack of it are bad for women, and places in the world which are nominally better for women tend to have 'strong' states (see Assange's claim that "Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of feminism. I fell into a hornets’ nest of revolutionary feminism." Again, not sure why I should have positive feelings towards someone who regards feminism as an evil on a par with theocratic Islamic fundamentalism.) Just speaking personally, reproductive healthcare being provided for free by the state is an aspect of state power that I feel furthers women's freedom.

It's also their own lack of marginalisation speaking; it's easy to be naive about state power because the state doesn't want it to attract mainstream attention. Last time I flew anywhere, I was asked why I wasn't travelling with my husband - I guess immigrants are fair game in a way that middle-class white citizens are not.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Thene: You can be against the US government and its crimes and still be full of shit; the Taliban manage it splendidly.

Well, sure, but the Taliban is over there. I am talking about Americans OVER HERE, NOW.

How have we been culpable in this state of affairs? If we really believed the govt was guilty, we would ACT ON IT. And we don't. In truth, only a few people truly subscribe to this view, the rest want to equivocate and dodge the truth.

They will even threaten to assassinate the person who brings the truth, rather than change their minds.

The reverse is also true - you can say all the right things about rape and still be full of shit - but that some men on the left will happily meet the low, low bar of being against war but will not meet the similarly low bar of not being rape apologists is not something that makes me inclined to regard them as natural allies.

Ron Paul is also anti-war, so of course, I get what you mean. But my point stands. I actually voted (in the primary) for Ron Paul, you know? I am anti-war first, it is a primal thing for me. It was the first political thought I ever had when I was--what? 9 years old? And it turned out to be the purest "political" thought I ever had since it was clean and compassionate and had no ulterior or political motives at all.

Killing people is wrong. Period. Half of the people you drop bombs on will be women; if you drop them on hospitals and schools, that number climbs to about 75%.

It simply isn't a negotiable point for me.

And as you stay longer and longer in this country, I hope you will start to find the goddamn "superpower status" as intolerable as I do.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Thene: see Assange's claim

Thene, I believe very little of what is attributed to Assange, unless I see him saying it myself... and even then, they can manipulate all that shit now, can't they? ;) You are talking to a survivor of G. Gordon Liddy's Amerikkka! Seriously, though... I believe only a fraction of what gets through to us is accurate, and we have to fill in the blanks.

both the state and the lack of it are bad for women

I disagree. There were so-called primitive tribes (Seneca, Cherokee, Hopi) that were doing pretty good for women (by comparison to cultures/states that forced women to wear corsets and/or bind their feet whilst working in the fields!), until we got here and fucked it all up. They used pennyroyal abortifacients and all that herbal stuff. Not first class abortions, but not Christian terrorism either.

Just speaking personally, reproductive healthcare being provided for free by the state is an aspect of state power that I feel furthers women's freedom.

But not necessarily... the average Soviet woman had something like 4-6 abortions in her lifetime. The way shit was all messed up over there, abortions were easier to access than birth control! The state gone berserk is also a nightmare. And war is exactly that. (Not coincidentally, they also invaded as many places as we did.)

It's also their own lack of marginalisation speaking; it's easy to be naive about state power because the state doesn't want it to attract mainstream attention. Last time I flew anywhere, I was asked why I wasn't travelling with my husband - I guess immigrants are fair game in a way that middle-class white citizens are not.

Quite so.

They also wanted to see what your husband looked like. I told you that your surname was dubious!

BD and Ann, I always believed MM was neutralized by Rx drugs, which was the Liddy plan/modus operandi. (destabilizing and trashing leftist leaders, could work on Martha too) And yeah, BD, I remember Dana Beal (of the Yippies) going on about Gloria Steinem being CIA before anyone else. I was unaware that it was actually true, but not surprised. I was very disappointed in the Kissinger affair!

Danny said...

Danny, I don't agree with you, but I will clarify about this "agent of repression"--I was referring to repressing other countries, the substance of the Wikileaks documents. (Also, I meant white women usually don't understand about, say, racial profiling, etc.)
Ah with that clarification I can see what you're saying I think, However...

Which third-wave feminist has even mentioned the state in a negative way, let alone accused the state of actually oppressing women? Most contemporary feminists seem statist in the extreme (apologies for Randian term, can't think of a better one right now, sorry). I can't think of a single one. Most prominent young feminists online are very eager to JOIN the state and the system as it is, and you can't join it if you are criticizing it.
I admit I don't get caught up in who is part of what wave but if we are talking about today's young feminists then I would say that the ones that go on and on about how we (in the States at least, which may not be what you mean since you seem to be talking internationally) live in a patriarchy this, women are oppressed that, men (lumping us altogether that seems to be only valid with men) benefiting from women's pain, etc... are talking about the state in a negative way on a regular basis.

The ones that I see (and I won't try to claim they are "most" of them or anything like that) talking about joining the state or supporting women joining the state talk about doing so with the purpose of helping women. (I think a some of them have confused with equal outcome with equal opportunity in thinking that if seats of power are not at a 50/50 gender split, or at the least women make up 50%m then something must be wrong

Glenna said...

Danny - the entire third wave (are we still on the third wave?) feminist approach to countering sexual violence is state-based.* Activism centers so, so much on passing laws, training court advocates, educating about legal rights, maintaining access to free rape kits, **convincing women in the U.S. that the best way to fight sexual violence is to go through the American criminal justice system after we are attacked**.

(* INCITE! and similar orgs are strong critics of this and I don't mean to ignore their amazing work--but the members of the local INCITE! branch I've worked with emphatically do not consider themselves feminists. YMMV.)

I saw this *especially* strongly during the couple of years I was involved in a college-based sexual health education group. And don't think for ONE SECOND it's a coincidence that the state-based approach is marketed especially to college women. Where does the Feminist Movement (TM) get its anointed leaders? These are the people who have to be convinced.

Meanwhile, poor and/or immigrant women get to experience exactly how much white middle class feminism works for them when they (a) are raped and (b) are terrified that if they report it, their entire family will be deported, or they'll be separated from their children, lose their jobs, etc. How, for example, is a woman whose green card expired three years ago supposed to feel safe at a women's shelter when there are cops prowling around? (And how long are shelters going to accept undocmented immigrant women and children before widespread legal action against them for providing sanctuary?)

Glenna said...

Returning to add, b/c I'm not sure if this quite came across ~ what I find *creepiest* about the whole Assange affair is how black helicopter theories aren't even necessary to explain the Official Feminist reaction. (I don't doubt that blog comments/Twitters/etc *could* be supplied by right-wingers and govt agents; what gets to me is that I don't think it is even necessary. The state can count on feminism to do its wetwork). This is textbook reaping-what-we-sow.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Glenna, I agree. Just trying to cover all the bases!

This post is being linked in a variety of places, including a couple of email lists (apparently private). I wish people would comment here publicly. It's interesting that many feminists probably agree w/me but won't go on the record and say so.

Ideological lockstep = bad.

thene said...

Glenna - what's interesting to me is that we don't need conspiracy theories to explain the knee-jerk rape apologism either. Daisy is questioning the veracity of Assange's reported comments on feminism; what about all the other pro-left rape apologists coming out of the woodwork right now? Are they all hapless fakes? Or are they the same rape apologists we meet all the time, speak to all the time irl? Because I'm not seeing any reason to give them the benefit of the doubt here; I hesitate to label the state as 'the patriarchy' given these displays from people who (in whatever way) oppose the state. I think they could still be bad for women without a state.

Btw, if you're looking for young feminists online who oppose state power - Maia is stellar, not least for pointing out that the criminal justice system does not help victims of rape.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Thene: what about all the other pro-left rape apologists coming out of the woodwork right now?

Are you referring only to Bruce Stirling? Who else?

thene said...

You mentioned Moore and Olbermann; there's a lot more on the internet, but I am trying to avoid reading them.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Well, good news. Not to worry! Sady Doyle finally got an answer directly from Michael Moore and got a name-drop from Rachel Maddow!!! Whew, I guess it's all over now. What a relief... for awhile I thought it wasn't going to happen and we would be subjected to this self-involved bullshit FROM NOW ON.

I think the hashtag #MooreandMe said it all though. It was definitely all about Michael and Sady. Wikileaks, shmikileaks! Because you know, if Jill Filipovic and Amanda Marcotte get to be on important radio shows, Sady deserves the same!

I hope Michael Moore has learned that.

(/snark)

PS: See reference about flashing back to Reaganism and careerism. Tragedy or farce? You decide!

Glenna said...

thene ~ I don't disagree, which is what I mean by 'feminism has been deputized by the state.' By going with a messages "If you are raped, you can get Justice after the fact through the criminal justice system"/"If he hits you, call the police", the mainstream feminist movement has made it the case that the, yes, feminist response to Assange and Wikileaks must be one that is first and foremost against rape apologism. We in a lot of senses don't have a choice but to pursue this.

The point is that if we (feminists) had been pushing the argument that doing violence, including sexual, environmental and war-related violence, to women and children is never, EVER acceptable no matter who the perpetrator is or where the women live, perhaps we would not be having to make this 'choice' right now.

I guess a short way to put it would be: we thought we could get the state to work for us, but the use of rape accusations (real or not) to tarnish Assange reveals that we now work for the state.

Anonymous said...

daisy in comments:
"I believe only a fraction of what gets through to us is accurate, and we have to fill in the blanks."

the greatest lines are always in the margins!

you'd think more eyebrows would've been raised by the fact that assange is being destroyed BY THE MEDIA, but most americans seem completely defenseless against television.

this was a very, very brave post on many fronts. generally speaking, my praise isn't too highly valued, but in any event i'm consistently thrilled by your writing. be well, and keep it coming please.

D. said...

I've linked to this.

Belated Merry Christmas, Daisy!

Ted said...

I think I'm grappling with a cold but factoring in "rape apologism", which phrase I'm new to, seems to put the discourse a bit beyond my immediate capacity for casual reasoning. Assange is plainly not guilty of rape, people are being manipulated over it, and the US government should stop waging aggressive war against or using both or either genders.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Ted, rape apologism used to mean something very simple. The litany you've always heard: she asked for it/ she wore a short skirt, skimpy top, no bra (etc) /she was out too late/in the wrong place, wrong time/she shoulda known that guy was shit/she was flirting/but she went to Mike Tyson's room at 3am! What did she expect?! etc etc etc.

In short, giving excuses. If something is MORALLY WRONG and a violation of another person's autonomy and will, there is NO excuse for it, period. The End. No matter what she wore, where she was, whether Mike Tyson claimed he wanted to chat into the late hours, etc.

But the term "rape apologism" has since morphed into something else more theoretical and cultural; see my quote from Katie Roiphe. I have to be honest and say I often do not know exactly what young feminists mean by the term these days either.... I do know the term came into popular feminist usage at the same time date-rape became a commonly-used term/concept.

Just like the term "fat shaming" (which I was accused of here some time ago) is strange to me (dude, you know me personally, and you know I am not a thin gal!) and I don't quite understand what is meant by it (and no one can readily explain, it seems, but they sure can accuse!), I don't quite understand the 'new' definition(s) of rape apologism. Particularly as applied to Moore and Olbermann (Stirling, yes, as Thene has described his comments). Proclaiming criminal charges (ANY charges) "hooey" because one suspects they've been trumped up for political reasons, was standard (even from radical feminists), back in the days of the Black Panthers. (Possibly because it was so freaking obvious, and we were all raised on TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD?) To me, this is the same thing now happening to Assange. To these young feminists, it isn't. The more I read their comments, the more confused I am.

I have also been concerned with the new meme cropping up, that Assange is a "creep" (?)--which is very similar to "slut" in my opinion. (Admittedly, the guys at Feminist Critics blog have influenced me here; I now see it as a sexist insult applied to men and never applied to women.) I work with a guy whom young women call a "creep" and I don't think he's a creep at all, just somewhat strange and clueless. (I like him) So I think there is more going on. Again, it's my age that seems to be a barrier to understanding; I just don't share their sensibility at all.

But the young/third wave feminists SHOULD be able to articulate their definitions. Unfortunately, I don't see them doing it, but just operating on their assumptions, and assuming every feminist must share them.

Ann O'Dyne said...

Thank you for
"To me, this is the same thing now happening to Assange. To these young feminists, it isn't. The more I read their comments, the more confused I am. "
which is how I feel also.
I have been raped.
Those girls were not raped.

(remember all the trouble Wh**pie got into for her "not rape rape" comment).

One swedish girl is well documented, right from the start, as saying the c*ndom 'split' and i have been intrigued by this - what form was the sex taking for her to SEE a split in latex during the act. Something very Swedish I guess. The nation is well known for sexual liberation, well before the rest of us (I am 62 years old).
Come to my blog for a funny photo of Julian A.

thene said...

I think Maia's post on this topic provided a good working example of rape apologism:

"There is scant public evidence of rape or sexual molestation." As opposed to what? Is the person who stated this really arguing that usually there is an abundance of public evidence of rape? It's a ludicrous statement, but a damaging one. Because while the antithesis of 'scant public evidence' sounds ridiculous when it is spelled out, it has a lot of power when it's implied: women's statements about their experiences cannot be public evidence and cannot be relied upon. "No-one will believe you" - rapists say that to women and women say that to themselves. So many of the repsonses to Assange's case give that statement more weight, more power - they tell women all over the world "No-one will believe you." ... Added to this we get a re-run of the Polanski trial and an argument that what happened to these women isn't 'rape-rape'. People were running these lines, before they even knew what the charges are. The charges are actually really clear cut: he had sex with one woman while she was asleep, and he didn't stop when another woman said stop. It doesn't require a very in depth and complex understanding of consent to understand that that is rape.

...and also a baseline for what we ought to be able to expect from men on the left, but can't:

It is states and companies that are attacking Wikileaks and Julian Assange, not two women. It is perfectly possible to criticise the actions of prosecuters, interpol, judges and government's without invoking rape myths.

Believing the women, or at least not disbelieving the women, does not mean that you have to stop criticising the way the (in)justice system operates or decide that that wikileaks is a bad project.

thene said...

Glenna: I guess a short way to put it would be: we thought we could get the state to work for us, but the use of rape accusations (real or not) to tarnish Assange reveals that we now work for the state. <---yeah.


I've been mulling over the topic of young feminists who want to join the state all day, and I think this is how I've most often seen it play out;

-they grow up in conditions of enough privilege to ensure that they rarely encounter state power. Daddy (why yes, I am invoking Solanas today) tells them that the state is good.

-they experience sexual assault or rape (or perhaps a friend of theirs does), and take it upon themselves to be brave and stand up for themselves by involving the state, as they've been taught to. They do know the odds, but they think they can beat them by trying hard enough.

-they discover that even if it's a really clear-cut case (I'm thinking of one friend who was assaulted in public, in front of witnesses), the state doesn't give a shit. Daddy lied to them.

-the only way to reconcile this with the teaching is to take it upon themselves to make the state work properly. Because it has to be the method that's flawed, not anything more fundamental to what a state is. And they can only fix it from the inside!


I also wondered, sometime in the little hours of last night, if they think that by joining the state that will turn rape into a crime against the state, and therefore the state will begin to take it seriously? Just little-hours insomnia running away there.

thene said...

I think the hashtag #MooreandMe said it all though. It was definitely all about Michael and Sady.

NGL, there was one particularline in her righteous post about this that made me cringe: "These people fucking need me. It’s Twitter."

...*sigh*

Especially given that the medium she was using - the hashtag itself - was revealing its inherent flaws right there; anyone can use it, anyone can append a hashtag to anything, therefore in a hostile environment it's not a good tool for activism. Why not stop using it and find - or make - something better instead? Because "These people fucking need me. It’s Twitter." *SIGH*

But, at the same time, the troll comments she was getting?

"Every time I look away there are twenty new comments and most of them are calling me a cunt or telling me to make them a sandwich or calling me a whore or naming the accusers or calling all of us whores for protesting."

Are these comments coming from rightful lefty non-collaborators who stand firm against the state? If so, no wonder the left is falling apart.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Thene, thanks for links and quotes. Interesting.

Believing the women, or at least not disbelieving the women, does not mean that you have to stop criticising the way the (in)justice system operates or decide that that wikileaks is a bad project.

Of course, it doesn't mean you HAVE to. That goes without saying. But in a right-wing political climate/culture, it usually works out that way. That's what they're counting on by covering this to a fare-thee-well. And we really should take into account the way things play out in the real world.

In the real world, Interpol doesn't go after a man for having sex with a woman who is asleep or one who tells him to stop. They just don't. So, people are thinking, how does Julian rate this kind of manhunt? To most people, this means he MUST be a violent Silence-of-the-Lambs rapist on the loose; some ("creep") rapist right out of LAW AND ORDER: SVU.

Keeping this in mind, how will his project, Wikileaks, be received, if he is a lunatic rapist? Here in the south, some people will refuse to even look at it. Some already are refusing, now they have a reason APPROVED BY THE MEDIA. See?

A friend said offhandedly today that Assange was a bad guy and a rapist, so "what he says about the war" is probably wrong. (this person doesn't know much about Wikileaks and what it is, how it works, etc) THIS is how smears succeed so well with most people, who aren't into nuance and who don't follow news closely... which is unfortunately most of the people, most of the time.

And yes, political people who regard themselves as radicals, MUST keep this in mind.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Thene: I've been mulling over the topic of young feminists who want to join the state all day, and I think this is how I've most often seen it play out;

-they grow up in conditions of enough privilege to ensure that they rarely encounter state power. Daddy (why yes, I am invoking Solanas today) tells them that the state is good.

-they experience sexual assault or rape (or perhaps a friend of theirs does), and take it upon themselves to be brave and stand up for themselves by involving the state, as they've been taught to. They do know the odds, but they think they can beat them by trying hard enough.

-they discover that even if it's a really clear-cut case (I'm thinking of one friend who was assaulted in public, in front of witnesses), the state doesn't give a shit. Daddy lied to them.

-the only way to reconcile this with the teaching is to take it upon themselves to make the state work properly. Because it has to be the method that's flawed, not anything more fundamental to what a state is. And they can only fix it from the inside!


I also wondered, sometime in the little hours of last night, if they think that by joining the state that will turn rape into a crime against the state, and therefore the state will begin to take it seriously? Just little-hours insomnia running away there.


I have to say, that is a brilliant analysis. You get my DEAD AIR brilliant feminist award for 2010! THENE RULES!

This makes sense about it being an AGE THING also, since I first encountered state power as a very young Yippie, when I tried to pass out leaflets, "No, you aren't going in there"--why not? Well, because you aren't, and we said so, thats why! (Free speech, ha! "Freedom of the press, for those who own the press"--Abbie Hoffman) I think those of us who grew up as radicals in Gordon Liddy's Amerikkka have no illusions.

PS: Solanas! Did you see the movie "I shot Andy Warhol"? Go get it and watch; it's fabulous, and Yo La Tengo plays the Velvet Underground in the background scenes! (((fangirl swoon)))

DaisyDeadhead said...

I re-read one of my own links, the one about Patricia Bowman/William Kennedy Smith. I remember the outrage when the previous complaints by women were ruled inadmissable.

Good example. That was the power of the state, and it is standard to disallow such evidence. If you break into a convenience store and you were ACCUSED (not convicted) of it 5 times before, it will likely be ruled inadmissable. Maybe that isn't fair, or maybe it is, but that is usually the way it works. Why would feminists think this is a fair thing in a situation like sexual assault or rape? Why would you *trust* a court system with such a stacked deck (in a patriarchy) and expect justice? I expect INjustice, and that is exactly what Patricia Bowman got.

Two women have accused Smith since. I didn't know that, but not surprised; they gave him a fucking free pass. But his defense is that the trial made him "vulnerable to these sorts of charges"... see how it works when you are a FUCKING KENNEDY? Poor thing, women are throwing themselves at him left and right!

"A Kennedy doesn't need to rape anybody!"--actual remark I heard during the trial.

Anyone who had any faith in the state/system being on the side of women? (I confess, I had a wee bit) They should have NONE after that fiasco.

Ted said...

1. I've been politically slimed and I can tell you that's how the game is played.

2. If I'm a prosecutor and I have to ask someone when they first noticed they were raped, my target just shifted. Plus don't have breakfast with your attacker.

3. Revenge, victimhood, notoriety, and maybe even some lucre ... what's not to love? Except putting somebody in a cell is a big fucking deal.

4. This is all a diversion and has nothing to do with Wikileaks, which is genuinely important.

5. If somebody crossed the line with a significant female I knew I might let the police have a go but my first inclination would be to discreetly turn him off.

6. I personally would never go to Mike Tyson's room no matter what time it was. Dude bites stuff off.

7. Not apologizing for 1-6.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

absolutely wonderful post...I'm so proud to know you...

Glenna said...

Re: state power and young feminists...I wonder if the idea that the state can be a friend to women is related to missing white woman syndrome?

My (not very indepth, I'll admit) understanding of this is that it is a post-1990 phenomenon, which means that people of my age (late 20s) and younger have been exposed to it for pretty much our entire media-attentive lives. We get to see the police and the media take a full-court press to instances of pretty, white, upper/middle class cis women going missing or murdered--in other words, genuinely seeming to be concerned, even if it's dripping with paternalism and limited in practice to a very, very narrow range of women (although obviously--"pretty, white, upper/middle class, cis" is a decent description of a good chunk of third wave feminists, especially those thought of as leaders).

I could be way off about this, of course. ;)

Ted said...

Do cises have apologism?

DaisyDeadhead said...

Ted, cis means non-trans.

When a trans person (man or woman) is the subject of a crime (sex crime or murder), the media re-assigns them the gender on their birth certificate and makes their transness the subject, instead of the crime itself.

It is understood that they upset the murderer simply TO DEATH and well, they lost control! The trans person then magically becomes culpable for their own victimization, i.e. rape apologism in extremis.

A good example of how blame-the-victim works, and why everyone doesn't feel okay rushing to the cops in a split second.

Ted said...

I figured cis was an acronym, probably something to do with white women. Clearly "non-trans" is the opposite of "trans", but I've never been entirely clear on "trans" either, though I'm confident trans aren't like me so as I understand it I don't have to care about them. If "trans" means someone who's had a "sex change" operation then that's really freaky but certainly no reason for violence.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Ted, oh come on, no more freaky than any other cosmetic surgery. Botox is especially freaky to me, since it involved botulism toxin being injected into the body, but most people seem okay with it these days.

Now, if you are fair about it and think ALL elective cosmetic surgery is freaky, well then you are being consistent. (as you know, I work with a parcel of nature freaks who don't even believe in getting vaccinated)

ted said...

Oh please. Come up with a definition of freaky that wouldn't encompass having your genitals removed and/or mutilated. That's so far past piercing it's over the horizon. I personally would drink botulism toxin, and lots of it, before I would even look at pictures of a so called "sex change" operation, which phrase just illustrates the power of words because the operation doesn't change your gender it simply makes you a mutilated version of whatever gender you certainly remain. That having been said, as long as I'm not paying for it or having to watch the process then have your neck lengthened and call yourself a giraffe for all the business it is of mine.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Ted, you're sounding like a Ron Paul supporter again. I'll overlook it (as I overlook most of what I hear about politics in Greenville County these days) because I personally like you, but what you are saying is very offensive. To someone who identifies as trans, the surgery is not "mutilation"--as it would be to you or me. You are ascribing (correct word? PREscribing? I get those confused...) your own definition of mutilation to other people. To someone who identifies as trans, it is a correction, like anyone born with a problem they have surgically corrected.

Do you consider breast augmentation to be "mutilation"? (men love boobs and tend to make exceptions for that, I've noticed!) I used to say that stuff myself and then realized I was offending people needlessly. And you know, you are offending people you don't realize you are offending, and then you never know why they don't trust or like you. Trans people are everywhere, and they don't usually tell you who they are. No, you can't *tell*. I couldn't tell I worked with a trans woman for 5 1/2 years... and she even went into the restroom with me during out break times and used the stall next door. So, since you don't KNOW who you might be offending, best not to do it, don't you agree with that?

Please try not to use that language, even if you don't "agree" -- okay? Just like certain other words you have learned not to say, even if you don't entirely "agree". It isn't about you, it's about them, and not making life harder for people who already have it very difficult.

Note to readership: This is my problem with so many Ron Paul people...they are wonderful on peace and war and weed... not so progressive ((cough)) in other respects.

No offense, Ted... still wish you had won the election! :D

Ted said...

Propagating the notion of tolerance is hacking at the branches instead of the root. As long as I'm not materially impeding your freedom to be or do something then the only weight my opinion has is what you give it. I've always been somewhat baffled at the need others have for acceptance or whatever by people they don't know, and suppose the trait to be substantially genetic. And unless you want me to use society's definition of freaky then my own is the only other one I have. Besides which you say it like it's a bad thing. But let's agree that there is such a word and it has at least one definition.

Breast augmentation is probably more of the f word than botox, but not as much as a sex change. But that's just my opinion. I don't even like piercing.

Don't know Ron Paul's opinion on all this but suspect it's similar.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Ted, you misunderstand... I just want you to be polite on MY blog and not offend MY readers. If you intend to offend people elsewhere, that is your decision. But please, take responsibility for it like a good libertarian.

Why is it necessary to call anybody's bodily choices "freaky"--what exactly is the importance of making pronouncements on the intimate decisions of others? (And tangentially, why is it important to you to be able to make these judgments unimpeded?)

Bottom line: You don't care if you offend certain people; those particular people's opinion/feelings simply aren't important to you. I know for a fact that you DO care about some people's opinions, so it isn't like you can say "I don't care what people think of me!" You ran for office, dude.

It has nothing to do with TOLERANCE and everything to do with compassion. And I think compassion is good. We need more of it, not less.

Okay, end of derail please!

Ted said...

I don't think I would have run for office if I cared a whole lot about what people thought of me, which is just as well since I got heavily slimed, but anyway compassion yeah. Seems like anybody who wants to surgically change their gender would know they're more than a standard deviation off the mean, which I've never been a big champion of anyway, but I agree the point doesn't need belaboring.

Danny said...

Gleena: Danny - the entire third wave (are we still on the third wave?) feminist approach to countering sexual violence is state-based.* Activism centers so, so much on passing laws, training court advocates, educating about legal rights, maintaining access to free rape kits, **convincing women in the U.S. that the best way to fight sexual violence is to go through the American criminal justice system after we are attacked**.

After reading this I think I was suffering a bit of disconnection on something while reading this post.

thene said...

Ted: my best friend is a trans woman. While this is not true of all trans women by a long shot, you can tell to look at her that she's a trans woman.

I'm going to go ahead and assume that you're the same kind of person who harasses her in the street, who stares at her, who talks about her as if she's not there, who yells insults at her while she's buying her fucking groceries. I mean, it's just your opinion, the only weight it has is what we give it even when you're one voice out of an abusive, semi-violent mob that is present on the streets every day out of the life of any person who's visibly trans.

I'm not offended by your precious gold-plated opinion, I'm offended because you're trashing my best friend. And she's a radical, she's an organiser, she runs squats and builds bicycles and takes asylum seekers into her home and breaks into foreclosed houses to help other people start reusing them, and she never leaves her hometown because too many other radicals rely on her.

And you're sat there trashing her and calling her a freak.

Go to hell.

Ted said...

Down, thene!

All I wrote, on a tangent I didn't make, was that so called sex change operations are freaky, which was actually something of a euphemism for me since "viscerally horrifying" would be closer to the truth, and besides which if that doesn't qualify as freaky then we can just go ahead and drop the word from the language, but suffice it to say I have absolutely no plans to round your friend up and ship him to a death camp or anything. That having been said, what precisely is a "trans woman"? Is this post slice?

Really, I'm not entirely sure about compassion but I can definitely manage sympathy in such cases, and past that I really don't get why anybody needs my approval, unless you just want to get all pissy.

thene said...

1. She.

2. I'm not here for your semantic bullshit about which words you should or shouldn't have used.

3. I don't have either sympathy or compassion for people who trash my best friend. End of.

Ted said...

Oh thene. If you think playing musical pronouns is going to change someone's gender then your universe is clearly bigger than mine. And so your big claim to shrilldom is that you personally know someone you think might bother to be offended by my passing opinion of an operation they may or may not have had? Not to sound insensitive but cry me a fucking river, fruitloop.

Mostly just wanted to use that last sentence.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Yall settle down for the New Year please!

HAPPY NEW YEAR and back on topic. Auld Lang Syne, etc.

LarryE said...

So much to say, so many things here meriting comment, some other things - such as Ted on how the concept of common courtesy does not apply to him - unworthy of serious response.

More than I can do. So I'll limit myself to what I intended to say when I opened the comments:

I don't know if Julian Assange is guilty or innocent of any of the sexual wrongs alleged against him. I do know it's entirely irrelevant to WikiLeaks and the importance of what has been revealed and may yet be revealed.

We learned or at least should have learned some time ago that one can without contradiction be an angel in one way and a demon in another; that Newton was a real prick does not dilute his scientific genius, that Gandhi had serious hangups about sex does not deny the importance of satyagraha, that Ezra Pound was a Nazi sympathizer does not diminish the grace of his poetry.

As Joan Baez put it, "Idols are best when they're made of stone/A savior's a nuisance to live with at home."

It is true - we have to say it - that it's possible that Julian Assange committed rape. It is at least equally true that while that may be of great importance to the people directly involved, in terms of WikiLeaks it doesn't count for squat.

RVCBard said...

Thanks for posting this. It's what I'd hope to discuss when I posted this, but as you can see, it didn't exactly go very well.

Mary Locke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sara said...

"I personally would drink botulism toxin, and lots of it, before I would even look at pictures of a so called "sex change" operation, which phrase just illustrates the power of words because the operation doesn't change your gender it simply makes you a mutilated version of whatever gender you certainly remain."

1. Botulism toxin as used in Botox injections are lethal for a person of 200 lbs in quantities of only 90-270 nanograms.

It also says on the wiki site that 4 kilograms spread evenly on the world's population would be enough to kill everyone on the planet.

4 kg of toxin is not heavy (though it certainly is a lot of poison).

2. The term "sex change" was invented by sensationalist papers, in the 1950/60s. It's not a term that most trans people adopt.

Now the 'in' term is sex affirmation surgery. Because it doesn't change anything about your sex - my sex was always female, getting a neo-vagina only affirms it (in the eyes of the state I guess, but it seems to also matter a lot to many heterosexual men - and the person concerned no doubt).

"whatever gender you certainly remain"

Well, I don't buy into the "born a woman" thing. You can be born male, female, intersex, but not a gender. I was born female, but wrongly labeled male. So whatever I do, I remain a female, but at some point in my life, I get legal and social recognition for that fact. This being what transition (not necessarily surgery, but here it is required for legal recognition) is about.

Sara said...

"That having been said, what precisely is a "trans woman"? Is this post slice?"

A trans woman, as usually used, is a transsexual woman, someone who intends to, or has, transition(ed). This could include surgery or not, hormones or not, but usually does include socially transitioning.

Now, wether it includes being feminine is the same deal as wether it does for cis women (it doesn't necessarily).

"If you think playing musical pronouns is going to change someone's gender then your universe is clearly bigger than mine."

In social perception it does. You know, since I'm called Sara, feminine pronouns are easier to come by to refer to me. Nobody seems to think they're "doing me a favor" by doing so, either.

But using male pronouns to refer to me, in front of someone else I have to deal with - could out me, or at least bring doubt to this person that they otherwise wouldn't have (I'm not visibly trans, but I know how it happens - and can happen even if not visibly trans). Outing me is inviting violence towards me.

Zoe Brain said...

ted wrote:
the operation doesn't change your gender it simply makes you a mutilated version of whatever gender you certainly remain.

Hmmm.. how to explain... OK, try this. Supposing you had a nasty car accident, your genitals severed.

But they can be re-attached, and with if not quite full functionality, mostly so.

Is that re-attachment "mutilation"? "Cosmetic"?

Would your sex change if you didn't have the re-attachment surgery, or would you be the same sex you always were, just devastated and depressed?

Transsexuality is a form of Intersex. You get born with a "congenital anomaly" (to be PC) or "birth defect" (to be non-PC). Parts of your body anatomically female, other parts anatomically male.

To be "classically" Transsexual, only the brain must be cross-sexed compared with the rest, though there are often other areas cross-sexed too, if you look carefully.

You can see the objectively measurable anatomical differences on PET and MRI scans, and in autopsies.

As to why a brain feminised in certain areas leads to a female "gender identity" (more properly "sex identity"), we can't prove our theories, just observe that it universally does.

See
A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality by Zhou et al Nature (1995) 378:68–70.

Our study is the first to show a female brain structure in genetically male transsexuals and supports the hypothesis that gender identity develops as a result of an interaction between the developing brain and sex hormones

If the words "men" and "women" are to mean anything, then Trans women were women since about week 26 of gestation, when the first neuro-anatomical differences appear. Even if they get born with apparently male bodies.

If you believe that appearance and genitalia at birth defines your sex... please have a look here.

just a person said...

excellent

David Crowe said...

Daisy, I'd love to interview you for my weekly internet radio show on PRN.FM: http://infectiousmyth.podbean.com (but I don't know how to get ahold of you, nor do I even know who you are).

Please email me at: David.Crowe@theinfectiousmyth.com

I have had exactly the same thought, is feminism treating women as delicate, victorian beings who are only sexual when a man persuades them to satisfy his needs. Where is the equality and strength in that?

Fidelbogen said...

That certainly is a lot of words.

I wonder if I can boil it down? Let's give it a go. . .

Feminism had the seeds of corruption planted within it from the earliest days. Everything about feminism that purports to be noble, righteous, revolutionary, and so on. . . is nothing but a cover story for the "real" feminism,

And the real feminism may be defined simply as "the project to increase the power of women with no stipulated endpoint."

If you take THAT definition as your starting point, you soon realize that feminism is little more than a cancer that can only grow, and grow, and grow until it finally consumes the host body - at which point it will die because it can no longer sustain its own life by sucking the life out of something else.

Feminism is in trouble now because it has gotten into a public image disaster. The facade of righteousness is getting harder to sustain when there is nothing better to rally around than "manspreading", or "ban bossy", or foisting one false rape fiasco after another onto an increasingly jaded world in the name of a phony idea such as "rape culture'.

Yeah... feminism has a credibility problem. And its own proponents aren't helping at all when they continue to pile the wood upon the fire of man-hating, and heap poisonous abuse upon non-feminist women while they're at it.

That's where feminism is at, now.

Growing legions of people hate feminism with a passion, and they are gathering around to sharpen their (metaphorical) spears in preparation for the (metaphorical) kill.

Bring on the popcorn, its gonna be an interesting show.