Real feminism

Friday, September 5th, 2008 · 62 Comments »

I’m going to post here what I said over at Apostate’s:

I see Sarah Palin as an ordinary modern Republican woman with feminist leanings — about as feminist as Republicans get.

I do not think she’s evil, anymore than I think most ordinary Republicans are evil. I believe she — and they — are mistaken about many things. I do believe to some extent they are tools, because they’re misled.

To go beyond that, and paint all Republicans as fascists with black hearts of evil, is a mistake. I know it’s a mistake, because I — like most Americans — have Republicans in my family. Lots of them. I know these people. I know women like Sarah Palin. In fact, every time I see or hear Palin I think of a cousin of mine, who’s that same kind of conservative Republican go-getter woman.

We gain nothing for the cause of liberalism when we fail to see the humanity of everyone, including our political opponents.

Meanwhile, Erica Jong has a piece up in Huff Post in which she refers to Sarah Palin as “white trash” and a “redneck.”

If you really can’t figure out what’s wrong there, then you need to go back to remedial feminist class.

Some of Apostate’s commenters are saying things like “feminism doesn’t mean we support women just because they’re women.”

Actually, here’s what feminism means: it means we stick up for women against sexism no matter what, even when the women aren’t on our side politically.

All these soi-disant feminists who think that because they disagree with Palin politically, it’s okay to revile her and call her trash and attack her with misogyny and sexism — nope. Wrong. Sorry. That’s not how feminism works.

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62 Responses to “Real feminism”

  1. Mike J. says:

    I read the article and my reaction to it was not nearly as restrained. I doubt it will be cleared by the moderators.

    This is absolutely the craziest political year ever. The Clintons being accused of racism. Conservative base of the GOP rallied by a woman. Republicans rallying against sexism in the media. Feminists telling women they should stay home and raise babies, not run for office.

    If I were into the Book of Revelations stuff, this would definitely look like End Times to me.

  2. PhilosopherP says:

    You are so, so, so right — Feminism isn’t about requring women to agree about everything — rather, it is about working so that women can get past being limited because of their gender.

    I think Sara Palin is wrong about a lot of stuff. I also respect her right to be wrong and hope she’ll see the error in her positions.

  3. Sheelzebub says:

    Violet, there’s a huge difference between criticizing Palin’s positions and feeding her to the wolves. I’ve certainly called people out on their sexist attacks on Palin, but I ALSO remember the rank misogyny coming from the GOP. McCain said NOTHING when a GOP crony founded Citizens United Not Timid. He giggled at the beat the bitch comments. Remembering that, and calling them on it, isn’t calling your Republican family and friends evil.

    I’ve seen more anger from you regarding the sexism towards HRC in the Obama campaign than the sexism flung at her from the GOP. None of them have acknowledged this, and the high praise your giving Guiliani and the GOP is giving them cred they don’t deserve. You and I know damn well they’ll revert back to woman-bashing as soon as the election’s over, if not sooner.

  4. Violet says:

    the high praise your giving Guiliani and the GOP is giving them cred they don’t deserve.

    What on earth are you talking about? I feel like you must be reading some parallel universe version of my blog.

    I’ve never praised Guiliani or the GOP. Yesterday I snarked at the absurdity of Guiliani talking about sexism.

    Where have I EVER praised the GOP? I admire Sarah Palin for standing up and being tough. That’s all I’ve said.

    Of course the people like Karl Rove who have suddenly discovered sexism — of course they’re being hypocrites and don’t mean a word of it. And the sky is blue.

  5. merciless says:

    Sheelzebub, of course you haven’t heard anyone complain about the GOP’s sexism. That’s because it’s expected, and we’re used to it by now. That’s why we’re democrats.

    We screamed bloody murder at the demboys’ misogyny because we didn’t expect it. Dems are supposed to be better than that. And Since the casual woman-hating got so bad that even Chris Matthews had to apologize for his remarks on-air, the Rs can use it against the pundits and against the democrats. Does this mean that the Rs have suddenly awakened to feminism? Of course not. It just means that democrats have given them a powerful weapon to innoculate Sarah Palin against ANY criticism. It’s maddening. And they still don’t see the trap.

    The pundits will fall all over themselves to show us that they’re really not woman-haters after all, and Obama and Biden will have to tread much, much more carefully than they would if Palin were a man.

    It’s brilliant, really.

  6. Sis says:

    Your just too much with the nuance again Vi.

    Here. Write like this. (Snark, people. Snark!)

    This is so cool. I can’t stop laughing.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=abZ1DZXuoarU&refer=home

  7. Sis says:

    More surreal, anyone? Oh go on, take some for the road.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=abZ1DZXuoarU&refer=home

    “Qaddafi wore a white robe with a green and yellow sash patterned in outlines of the African continent as he welcomed Rice for the highest-level visit by an American official in his 39 years in power.

    The two met in the heavily fortified complex of buildings and roads surrounded by a 15-foot-high wall, the same compound the U.S. bombed in 1986 in retaliation for a Libyan-linked attack on a Berlin nightclub in which two U.S. soldiers died.

    With reporters allowed into the incense-fragranced room to witness the encounter, Qaddafi put his hand to his heart in greeting and asked how Rice was. “I’m very well, thank you,” she answered.”

  8. octogalore says:

    Agree.

  9. Yanni Znaio says:

    You’re right on target, ma’am.

    Well said.

  10. P. Ingemi says:

    Well said I have the same reaction concerning family and friends on the left.

    I have a question. Apparently Sen Obama is sending Sen Clinton to campaign for him to counter Gov Palin, there has been speculation on the right that Sen Biden will find himself dropped (or come down with an illness etc) to allow himself to be replaced by Sen Clinton.

    I don’t think this will happen but lets stipulate that Sen Obama is reconsidering putting Sen Clinton on the ticket.

    Would you as a person of the left support such a move to aid in the election of a person of the left or do you think that for her to accept such an offer would be demeaning her?

    I would be very interested in your opinion

  11. Ciccina says:

    @ Mike J

    LOL!

    Couldn’t agree more. Thanks for the laugh!

  12. Violet says:

    P. Ingemi:

    That is not going to happen. But if it did, I’d vote for an Obama-Clinton ticket.

  13. M.W.Paules says:

    Dropping Biden for Clinton would be viewed as an act of desperation, an admission of weakness. Won’t fly, Orville.

  14. marirebel says:

    I am amazed that we teach courses in transnational feminisms, encouraging sensitivity to feminist expressions in transnational contexts, but we can’t even respectfully engage with our conservative feminist neighbors who live across the street. It is O.K. to disparage our neighbors as “rednecks” and “white trash.” It O.K. to say “I am right” and “You are wrong.” Isn’t it nice to see that Erica Jong and George W. Bush share the same philosophy of the world! I don’t hope that Sarah Palin admits that she is wrong, WRONG, I say. I just hope that I am a more effective advocate for my position.

  15. Violet says:

    I am amazed that we teach courses in transnational feminisms, encouraging sensitivity to feminist expressions in transnational contexts, but we can’t even respectfully engage with our conservative feminist neighbors who live across the street.

    Thank you.

  16. Mike J. says:

    I think it would have been much more constructive for the Democrats to tactfully point out the degree to which Gov. Palin’s success was aided by the Democratic Party’s efforts in the 1960s to reduce the level of discrimination against women.

    Instead, these days the Democrats come across as a party regretting having passed any of these laws…

  17. AC says:

    It’s just a fight over labels. That’s what has left us in a stalemate for the last 40 years.

    If feminists really want change, change parties. Bring a moderating voice into the Republican party.

    I’ve switched and intend to bring my pro-feminist, pro-choice, and social compassionate ideals to the party. Heaven knows the Democrats have demonstrated they’re not interested in my voice.

  18. Alex Curylo says:

    @P. Ingemi:

    “Would you as a person of the left support such a move to aid in the election of a person of the left or do you think that for her to accept such an offer would be demeaning her?”

    Don’t bother wondering, there’s not a chance she’d take it.

    If Obama wins with her as VP, she can’t plausibly mount a primary challenge in 2012 then, and by 2016 it’s pretty likely people will see her time as past.

    If he wins without her, she can do a Kennedy vs. Carter thing in 2012 with a great deal of plausibility because I think we can take it as pretty much self-evident that an Obama administration would be an utter disaster.

    And if he LOSES, well THEN we get to see Sarah vs. Hillary in 2012. Woo-hoo! Break out the popcorn!

  19. Huan says:

    there was already rumor that even before the Biden selection Hillary turned down overture from Obama. At that time, there was already a buzz on why Obama was not leading more in the polls. I am sure that Hillary calculated that Obama could lose 08,l thus allowing her to run in 12. if Obama/Clinton wins, she could not run till 16, and she certainly recognize how difficult it would be for a VP of 8 years to run for PotUS. if Obama/Biden wins,, she would actually have a better chance of winning in 16 from outside the administration.

    This calculus even more obvious now with Palin.
    i would say no chance in hell would Hillary join Obama now.

  20. cellocat says:

    It’s amazing how polarizing this election season (I started to mistype, and was halfway through “selection season” before I realized and corrected, heh heh) has been. I have a dear, dear friend who says she’ll be personally offended if I vote for McCain, and that she doesn’t understand the lingering anger of Hillary supporters. She says, “Being picked on by fellow Democrats is never fun, but …” She’s managed in her mind to reduce our feelings and outlook to pique over being picked on.

    When we can redefine core principles like feminism to suit our current political needs, then we box ourselves into corners from which we can neither understand nor validate another person’s perspective. My friend accuses me of compromising my principles, but in my view she’s redefining feminism so that she can characterize events in the way which supports her goals, desires, viewpoint, etc. From that place, she cannot understand me or my actions.

    It’s sad. Feminism IS a principle, a philosophy, and a right. Like everything else, it’s understood differently by different people, but it shouldn’t get tossed aside when inconvenient.

    *sigh*

  21. Randall Shake says:

    I’m LMAO at this spectacle. Obama cannot deal with Sarah Palin so what does this Moral Coward do? Why he sends out the Women folk to deal with Sarah Cuda. This is great theater, we are Officially in the Twilight Zone folks. I have it on good inside information. That the GOP intends to run Sarah Palin for President at some point with a Black Female VP.

    Expect business as usual the Good Ole Boy Republicans to run two Men. Lets see the GOP has the Log Cabin Republicans. Where is the Conservative Religious faction of the Democrats? The Dems are the party of insiders and the GOP the party of the Big Tent today.

    Women are useful only as Foot Soldiers in the Democratic Party. Or to wear Pink Clothes and rant at Conventions and in Hearings. The fact is Oprah is refusing to allow Sarah Palin on her show. Why? Are the Democrats that afraid of her? Apparently you know the answer to that question.

    This is the Lady who admitted she smoked Pot and she inhaled. Compare that to Bubba Clinton. If you watched both conventions and I did. The Men of the GOP were awe struck with Palin. One Married Man told me she is beautiful and inspiring. A very Conservative business associate.

    The attacks on her Daughter, her Down’s syndrome Baby are over the top. It means the Dailykos Hilliary and Women haters and unhinged Lunatics are running the Democratic Party and the media. What a sad day for our Nation, when Adults who disagree on Policy cannot discuss Policy or the issues but must sling mud in the gutter.

  22. Janis says:

    Erica Jong has a piece up in Huff Post in which she refers to Sarah Palin as “white trash” and as a “redneck.”

    *sigh*

    Not only is this evil, but are these people aware of how many of what they think are their sushi-loving, white-collar, balsamic-vinaigrette fans friends started out as hicks, rednecks, and bunkers?

    This country has at least a bit of what we like to call class mobility. I’m tired of having a Master’s degree in physics, a white-collar management job in a high-tech educational nonprofit, and speaking three languages (more or less), and having people blink and act like I snuck in where I should be because I come from a family where every single man has worked in trades and every woman has been in the pink collar ghetto.

    All the men on my mother’s entire family were stonemasons. Not because it was cute and picturesque to whitebread bigots, but because that was how you fed your family. My grandmother was a seamstress; she was invited to work in a big fashion house in New York and her husband nixed the idea completely because he had to have his ass taken care of. My mother worked as a receptionist for decades. My father was an office machine repairman. My oldest brother repairs airplanes (for a damned pretty penny; he’s another major point of confusion for people like this). My older brother has worked as a union member for a major airline for decades and has been a volunteer firefighter since he was 16. One worked in a forge until he got his airframe and power plant certificate; that’s a job where you are required by law to take salt tablets while at work to keep from dying of heat exhaustion. The other worked at a meat-packing plant before being hired by Piedmont.

    I’m the first member of my family to get a four-year degree much less graduate education; my father worked multiple odd jobs to bring it about. This fucking horseshit about whether women “should” work and raise kids is a goddamned joke to us! Should?! Since when is it a FUCKING CHOICE for women to work with kids at home?!

    Who the FUCK do these shitstains think they are talking to when they talk to me? They hear my voice, see my business card and my degrees, and think I’m “one of them.” We go to the Asian fusion restaurant, and I pick the good wines, and they think I’m “one of them.”

    I’M NOT ONE OF YOU, ASSHOLE. Those hicks and bunkers are MY KIND. And I’m not in the mood to hear you badmouth them, nor am I won over by your beady-eyed, suspicious faces when I tell you about my upbringing and see you sit back and ask yourself what you may have said in the past ten minutes that exposed your assholetry, nor that you sit back and think about everything I said in the past ten minutes and try to run it through your new working-class filter.

  23. Tabby Lavalamp says:

    Alex Curylo wrote:

    I think we can take it as pretty much self-evident that an Obama administration would be an utter disaster.

    And if he LOSES, well THEN we get to see Sarah vs. Hillary in 2012. Woo-hoo! Break out the popcorn!

    The thing is, a McCain administration will be an utter disaster too because except for a couple of changes, it’s likely going to be a continuation of the past eight years. Think Bush the First following the last disastrous two-term president, the very overrated (by conservatives and libertarians) Reagan.
    The idea of Palin vs. Clinton in 2012 rests on the preconception that McCain/Palin are going to be able to pull of two terms. Unless they do a complete reversal on many of the current administration’s policies and work hard to repair the tattered economy, that’s not likely to happen.
    Unless the Democrats can’t get their act together. This election has always been theirs to lose, as will be the next one no matter who wins this year. The fact that they’re pushing disaffected feminists to join the friggin’ Republican ranks is mindboggling! So far they haven’t learned a thing from the PUMA movement!
    Personally I’m torn over this. The world can’t afford McCain/Palin, but the Dems need to learn a lesson and, as I’ve argued elsewhere, if not now, when?

    On thing I’m curious about and haven’t heard for a while is if his supporters still think Obama is going to unite the country. For the longest time, they kept making that claim with a dreamy wistfulness but no evidence that he could do that without compromising supposed Democratic ideals (and the way he’s been pandering to evangelicals and other conservatives shows that he can’t).
    He has shown so far that he can’t even bring his own party together in unity. If he can’t do that with people who should be on his side already, he certainly can’t do it with a nation.

  24. Ciccina says:

    Certain feminist organizations are bipartisan – or nonpartisan – precisely because of the situation we find ourselves in now. Or at least they used to be. I have no idea what Planned Parenthood is up to lately, but for years they would support a pro-choice Republican candidate running in a primary, and would support a pro-choice Republican over a mixed- or anti-choice Democrat in a general election. Examples were Rep. Jim Greenwood (R) of Pennyslvania, Rep. Connie Morella (R) of Maryland, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) of Maine, Sen. Jim Jeffords (then-R) of Vermont and Sens. Chafee (pere et fils, then-R) of Rhode Island.

    It was understood that the issue came first. It was understood that both parties, all parties, needed to integrate feminist principles, and people brave enough to do that in hostile environments deserved – were owed, really – support. It might still be like that, I don’t know.

    NARAL used to be sort of the same way, but they started manipulating their ratings of elected officials and finding excuses to always support the Democrat some time ago. Nancy Keenan’s bullshite was the culmination of a slide down the slippery slope than began years ago.

    Emily’s List is explicitly Democratic, so they never had the partisan problem, but they didn’t hesitate to drop electeds like Sen. Mary Landrieu of Lousiana from their endorsement list when Sen. Landrieu voted for the “partial birth” abortion ban.

    My point is that holding Democrats accountable for their actions, and taking concrete, meaningful steps to back it up, isn’t some kind of radical principle in the women’s movement.

    So I don’t understand why some feminists are acting like accountability is such an outrageous concept. The only answer I can imagine is but this time its important.

    You can’t detach feminism from other principles. There is no such thing as choosing between feminism and anti-imperialism, or feminism and universal health care, or feminism and racism. You can’t be anti-imperialism, anti-racist, or for universal health care if you are not also a feminist.

    The real choice feminists are facing is between short-term and long-term progress. Its between winning the battle or winning the war.

    Oy, I’m feeling all pontificatey today.

  25. Greenconsciousness says:

    And while we are at it, I was reading another thread on this blog and found comments trashing Palin for being an NRA member. WTF?

    Is anyone here familiar with the number of women who are killed by men while they are on the phone calling 911?

    Are you really suggesting women should leave their personal protection to the police and courts? Many of whom who are batterers and murders and child abusers.

    Any woman under serious threat should buy a gun and learn how to use it. She should get a concealed carry permit and keep the gun with her. Just this last month a woman would be alive if she or her neighbor had a gun.

    When they take the guns away we are all sitting ducks. Because the abusers will have guns and knives and the enjoyment they get from killing us.

  26. Yanni Znaio says:

    Ms. Violet:

    A good book on this topic would be “Who Stole Feminism”, by Christina Hoff Summers.

    At the risk of sounding redundant with earlier conversations, feminism is not monolithic, either.

    Aside: Bill Whittle said nice things about y’all (Hillary supporters) in a couple of paragraphs in an article he wrote over at National Review Online:

    Oh, and it’s his first one there.

    Congratulations, Bill on “Making The Big Time”, ‘cuz I’m pretty darn sure you’re still lurking on this site, hehehehe.

    And, Violet, if you haven’t read his article about Forty-Second Boyd And The Big Picture, then you don’t really know how well he does write.

    McCain’s inside of Obama’s OODA loop (fighter pilot strategy which is also applicable to politics and business- this is a Good Thing, read the article)

    And I see that Hillary is *not* attacking Sarah Palin.

    Good for her. She’s been a class act the whole time.

    I don’t know if the party apparatchiks have sufficient stonage to dump O at this point, but I wouldn’t put it outside the area of remote possibility.

    Best regards,

    YZ

  27. Janis says:

    “feminism doesn’t mean we support women just because they’re women.”

    No, in fact, feminism means we go out of our way to trash other women to prove to the guyz that we’re not threatening and will stand up for the status quo!

    Cool how that works, innit?

  28. Mike J. says:

    I am doubtful about Hillary’s ability to run in 2012 if Obama wins. The party apparatus will be entirely in the hands of Obama loyalists, they will do their darnedest to ensure no effective challenge is launched. You will see the same appeals to party unity we saw this year. It would take an intra-party rebellion of unprecedented proportions to make that possible, since Obama will not follow the example of Johnson in 1968 no matter how unpopular he is.

    In 2016 Hillary will be 68 years of age, only four years less than McCain’s current age.

  29. Violet says:

    A good book on this topic would be “Who Stole Feminism”, by Christina Hoff Summers.

    Actually that is not a good book. Summers is a shill for the right-wing and her book is full of shit.

    I remember when she was contacting professors on an academic listserv asking for stories of feminist bullying, and everybody wrote her back saying, “what the hell are you talking about? No such thing.” Several male professors wrote to the list talking about how they’d been treated equally and graciously in Womens Studies depts by the female faculty, etc. And people tried to tell Summers that the real problem in academia was the residual sexism of men, with hiring and tenure decisions still being slanted against women.

    Did any of that show up in Summers’ book? No. Instead she cooked up a bunch of complete fictions to match the pre-determined theme of the book (which was funded by a right-wing organization).

    Summers is a joke.

  30. samanthasmom says:

    I believe it was Madeleine Albright who said, “There is a special place in hell for women who refuse to help other women.” If you can’t bring yourself to vote for the next woman poised to break through the highest glass ceiling in the land, at least say nothing that would trash her. They’re holding a spot for you, Erica, sweetie, and unfortunately you’re going to have lots of company.
    Sarah 08

  31. Brian says:

    “Actually that is not a good book. Summers is a shill for the right-wing and her book is full of shit.”

    You are correct it is a horrendous book, but any money Summers is supporting McCain/Palin and do you wonder why?

  32. Charity says:

    “Some of Apostate’s commenters are saying things like “feminism doesn’t mean we support women just because they’re women.”” – Violet

    Former (and forever) ARDENT Hillary Clinton supporter here. I am disappointed by this post and find it disingenous…I could only find one comment at Apostate’s that references “support” and it clearly meant “vote for,” not “defend against sexist attacks” or “support the rights and dignity of”. As in, we don’t VOTE FOR a woman candidate simply because she is a woman, when her policy positions put women in danger and deny women’s agency.

    There are numerous conversations on feminist blogs, that I have witnessed and participated in, decrying sexist attacks against Palin and taking other bloggers to task for questioning her choices, criticizing her personal attributes, etc. Please don’t cast this as Reclusive Leftist versus the rest of the feminist blogosphere. I think you are conflating groups here; there are plenty of us who are damning the Kos crowd but still not willing to go as far as to say, *Sarah is a star* or some of the other glowing characterizations you have engaged in (or even characterizations that she is *as feminist as Republicans get*).

    Thanks.

  33. Charity says:

    *disingenuous*, even. Sigh.

  34. Violet says:

    Please don’t cast this as Reclusive Leftist versus the rest of the feminist blogosphere.

    By all means please show me the place where I characterized my stance as “Reclusive Leftist versus the rest of the feminist blogosphere.” I do not have as much time as I would like to read other blogs, but I would hope that most feminist bloggers would also be defending Palin from sexist attacks.

    Sarah is a star or some of the other glowing characterizations you have engaged in (or even characterizations that she is as feminist as Republicans get).

    Sarah is a star. This is a fact. The woman has charisma, she has charm, she can wow a crowd. I was impressed.

    By the way, I also acknowledge that Possum is a star, though I loathe the man profoundly.

    “About as feminist as Republicans get” is my assessment, not my endorsement. There may be some Republican women who are more feminist than Sarah Palin; maybe Condi Rice? But my impression is that the Republican brand of feminism is almost always compromised by something: being anti-choice, a refusal to challenge the patriarchy, a commitment to godbagism, or all of those things.

  35. Sis says:

    What a stupid, uninformed comment about women and guns. Canadian women back gun registration and laws. Statistically, we have an alarmingly high risk of being killed by the same gun that brought in dinner, held by someone who professes to love us. In a home filled with guns.

  36. Yanni Znaio says:

    Would either Brian or Violet care to explain to my benighted self in detail why “Who Stole Feminism” is an awful book?

    It’s one thing to just say that, but specific illustrations of why this is so would be, well, illustrative.

    Best regards,

    YZ

  37. Violet says:

    Would either Brian or Violet care to explain to my benighted self in detail why “Who Stole Feminism” is an awful book?

    Astonishing. I took a few moments out of my incredible schedule yesterday to write a comment explaining some of the dishonesty of Summers’ book, and you act as if my comment isn’t even there.

  38. Alex Curylo says:

    @Sis:

    “What a stupid, uninformed comment about women and guns. Canadian women back gun registration and laws.”

    Well, they’re backing guns more all the time, anyways!

    http://www.canada.com/theprovince/story.html?id=108e370d-b9f1-46c4-a185-17b1ca003573

    “Statistically, we have an alarmingly high risk of being killed by the same gun that brought in dinner, held by someone who professes to love us. In a home filled with guns.”

    Source, please? About three CFRA newsletters ago they dissected this myth and it turns out that spousal assault is less than half and spousal homicide is less than a fifth in gun owning households compared to the overall population. So it seems that if you actually have your opinions informed by reality, what you should be advocating is handing out guns to women who can’t afford their own.

    Always glad to consider whatever opposing statistical evidence you have to present for your point of view, of course!

  39. Yanni Znaio says:

    Violet, Brian:

    It’s been a LONG time since I read Summers’ book.

    I mainly recall that she posited that there are ‘equity feminists’ and ‘gender feminists’ and described, particularly by means of quoting various people who had self-described themselves as feminists to delineate the differences between the two schools of thought.

    Tell you what. It doesn’t seem to be on my bookshelves, which means one of two things: either I checked it out of the library or else I loaned it to somebody and it never made its way back to me.

    That happens- books tend to migrate to people who should own them- I can’t tell you, for example, how many copies of “The Road to Serfdom” I’ve had to pick up in used bookstores to replenish the empty slot on my shelves.

    My daughter’s got two library books that are overdue (I consider that to be a Good Thing, as we pay a little for the privilege of reading on the public dime), so I’m going there tomorrow.

    I’ll check WSF out, and if either or both of you care to take the time to go into specific details as to why she’s full of it, (And I mean in with more specific examples than you put forth, Ms. V)

    I’ll take your thoughts into account when I re-read the book.

    Actually I remember more details from “The War Against Boys” than I do WSF.

    Best regards,

    YZ

  40. Yanni Znaio says:

    cellocat #20:

    When we can redefine core principles like feminism to suit our current political needs, then we box ourselves into corners from which we can neither understand nor validate another person’s perspective.

    Nicely said. In other words, Words Mean Things.

    And a closed mind is, well, a closed mind.

    YZ

  41. Nomobama says:

    Some of Apostate’s commenters are saying things like “feminism doesn’t mean we support women just because they’re women.”

    I am a male. When I read the above comment in your post, I couldn’t fathom why a female would actually write something like that. It’s no wonder that misogyny and sexism has been so prevalent. You can’t even get females to agree on such a simple goal of supporting all females, regardless of political leanings. I dislike calling people “stupid”, so I’ll use the euphemism “uninformed”. It’s scary sometimes.

    The way I look at it is that I wouldn’t want my mother or sisters exposed to the vitriol that I have witnessed these past few months. My mom, who passed away five years ago, was a born-again Christian who was strong in her beliefs, but very kindhearted nonetheless. I think that Sarah Palin would have made her very happy. I know that she was not a big fan of Hillary Clinton, and other than my mom’s strong pro-life stance, I never quite understood her antipathy toward Hillary. The fact the my mom did not agree with many of my opinions did not make her evil. It made her someone with an opposing viewpoint that I could listen to without feeling the need to be judgmental. It was a means of hearing, and better understanding opposing viewpoints which allowed me to be a little more accepting of people’s differences.

    Although I miss her very much, I am happy that she did not witness the ugliness directed at females during this campaign season. I wonder though, what her reaction would have been to Keith Olberman’s nastiness toward Hillary Clinton. Maybe she’ll tell me in a dream!

  42. Nomobama says:

    Ooops, my blockquote didn’t work for me. The quote that my previous comments refer to in your blogpost is…

    Some of Apostate’s commenters are saying things like “feminism doesn’t mean we support women just because they’re women.”

  43. Nomobama says:

    Sorry, but I guess the blockquote did work! I didn’t see it attached to my comments in moderation.

  44. Violet says:

    Actually it didn’t work, but I fixed it for you in my secret workshop.

  45. Nomobama says:

    being anti-choice, a refusal to challenge the patriarchy, a commitment to godbagism, or all of those things.

    Hmmmm. Now this is a comment that would have better been left unwritten if you were trying to indicate that women should support women regardless of political belief. Females are capable of making up their own minds when it comes to what they believe. Females make their own choices, and that is called empowerment which I believe is a primary goal of feminism. If a female chooses to be pro-life, subservient to your husband, or committed to “godbagism”, then she is no less a feminist than a female who makes the opposite choices. Being respectful of other’s choices, which I understand could be difficult when this choices are in oppositon to one’s own beliefs, is something that most of us need to work on. That pro-life, patriarchal loving, god fearing woman may be a solid supporter of equal pay for equal work. In other words, there is still a gender connection that forever binds.

  46. Violet says:

    You’re not doing the blockquotes right; I have to keep fixing them. So I suggest you not try to do them anymore.

    If a female chooses to be pro-life, subservient to your husband, or committed to “godbagism”, then she is no less a feminist than a female who makes the opposite choices.

    No. Women who believe that wives should be subservient to husbands are fundamentally in opposition to feminism in that respect. They may have some feminist beliefs in other respects, but they are not fully feminist by any stretch of the imagination. And it is meaningless to talk of female subservience as a valid “choice” made by free agents, when we know (feminism 101) that patriarchy brainwashes women into believing that they are destined for an inferior status, as codifed by whatever godbaggism the particular flavor of patriarchy employs.

    Also, the primary goal of feminism is not “empowerment.” That’s a rather silly lie created by the backlash.

  47. Nomobama says:

    For blockquote, you would use the , correct?

    I would like to know how to use them because when responding to something, it is a good way to offset what is being responded to.

  48. Violet says:

    You have to enclose the text with the tags, like this:

    <blockquote>This is a comment I wish to set off as a blockquote.</blockquote>

  49. Nomobama says:

    Violet,

    Although I have always thought females to be as equals, I have to admit that when trying to understand the Bible, my conclusion is that females were looked at as subservient to their husbands, and men in general. We’re taught to believe that the Bible is the word of God. Did men write the Bible to keep women subservient? I don’t think so. It is a difficult thing to reconcile when I support equality for women, but believe in the God of the Bible.

  50. Nomobama says:

    Thanks for the explanation on blockquote, Violet. It is the same way that I have done blockquotes on some other blogs that I have visited. For some reason, when I read the XHTML instructions just above the comment box, I thought that it was a different way of doing them since it does not seem to mirror your instructions, which are the instructions that I am familiar with.

    Have a good night.

  51. Nomobama says:

    That is “”…

  52. Charity says:

    OK. “All these soi-disant feminists”…who are they “all”, then, Violet? Erica Jong and some commenters at Apostate’s – except the latter didn’t actually write what you imply they did? This entire post is based on a false premise.

    A while ago you observed how strange it was that a longtime reader deciding not to read anymore bothered to say so on their way out the door. I think I understand exactly the frustration and incredulity they must have been feeling.

  53. Violet says:

    I’ve seen constant references in the past few days on media sites and a steady stream of comments on the Obamabot blogs from women identifying themselves as feminists, but saying that Sarah Palin is “trash” or that she has no business running for VP with a baby, or giving credence to the disgusting DailyKos rumors, or what have you.

    I am so busy I hardly have time to go to the bathroom, and I’m not going to play bullshit games about what’s happening in the media. Where are you, in the UK? So you have no fucking clue what the media storm is over here? Fine then. And you’re demanding I give you a fucking precis of the entire situation.

  54. grasshopper says:

    Did men write the Bible to keep women subservient?

    Bingo. Which is why a woman who ‘chooses’ to be

    pro-life, subservient to your husband, or committed to “godbagism”

    is not and cannot be a feminist. A slave may ‘choose’ allegiance to a master over punishment, starvation or death, but it is a ‘choice’ a person makes only because they perceive it to be the better, or possibly only, option. As some song says, “every form of refuge is a prison”. For some women, patriarchy seems like the safer option. But they’re still prisoners. The only way out of this particular cage is to begin to perceive the bars . . .

  55. grasshopper says:

    The last few comments here remind me of “I don’t agree with what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it” (hope I haven’t mangled the paraphrase too badly).

    I’m torn – part of me resents that Palin makes it to ‘the top’ by conforming to the P in ways I personally can’t stomach. At the same time I admire her ability to do the ‘high-heels-and-backwards’ dance with such grace and aplomb. Could I do what she does? No. Would I want to if I could? Probably not. But still, she’s an example of an amazing species of being. I admire her in the way I’d admire an Olympic athlete who’s perfected her craft. I might not believe in other choices that person makes in her personal life, but I can still appreciate the focus, attention and skill required to pull off what she’s doing. She has, by some combination of chance and hard work, the right set of skills to negotiate that mind-numbing obstacle course that is patriarchy, and win the respect of some men who could never be won over by the likes of Hillary Clinton.

    And lest you misunderstand me, I STILL want to vote for Hillary. I am beyond heartbroken that she is not our candidate, that she sits on the bench and has to kiss the backside of that Republican shill, the Possum.

    When I say ‘the likes of’, I’m taking on (for argument’s sake) the male persona that finds all non-conformist women to be shrill, etc. etc. Men like women like Palin because she sugar-coats everything by being beautiful. I’ve become convinced that men don’t listen to women with their ears – they listen with their eyes. That is, a woman who is ‘fuckable’ (as Twisty so elegantly puts it) is eminently worth listening to. Notice how the only women who are ‘allowed’ to be angry in public are the pretty ones? Men will ‘put up with’ a lot from a woman who pleases them in other ways. But from a woman who’s not ‘attractive’? Not a chance. Hillary didn’t, doesn’t, can’t play their game – she’s too old, and not conventionally beautiful. (Though I have to say, the photo of her on your sidebar, violet, I personally find breathtakingly beautiful, because she is so REAL, so powerful, so much fully and completely herself, her own woman. That, to me, is what true beauty is about. A woman who smiles that gorgeous smile not to say, “Look at me, aren’t I pretty and harmless and complacent” but rather to say, “I’m on top of the world and I feel damn good about that!”)

  56. Violet says:

    I agree with you on Palin. She’s largely patriarchy-compliant, as are most Republican feminist types. As we said in one of my secret radfem underground cabals, she exemplifies a certain brand of “right-wing femininity.” As did Margaret Thatcher, though hers was of a different order. But in both cases it’s a question of negotiating patirarchy while staying with certain prescribed bounds.

  57. jvp says:

    “No self respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her” -Susan B Anthony, 1872.

    ..wonder if that informs the conversation…

  58. K.A. says:

    “Females.” Yeah, he sure believes “females” are equals.

    And no wonder feminism sucks and misogyny exists, you stupid bitches, I mean females, can’t agree on things, you catty things!

    This is almost funny, but I guess it’s sadder than it is funny.

  59. Greenconsciousness says:

    Grasshopper I have enjoyed reading you

    jvp
    It is so great you wrote that quote — yesterday my last male friend – well i guess he wasn’t a friend as I had hoped, told me never to write him again because I said;

    ” But there is no way any feminist will vote for BO. There was not just sexism in his campaign but in not appointing Hillary VP there was misogyny. Hatred probably from his mother abandoning him although his father did the same thing yet BO loved him. I don’t know how any self respecting woman could vote for BO after his VP choice. And all the corruption in the process by the DNC.”

    My ex friend said; “Obama hates women?
    Most of the women I know, my mother, my sister, my partner and most every one of my female friends are not self respecting?
    Please stop sending me political stuff, women’s rights, animal rights, any of it.”

    I only said I didn’t understand and I don’t. His response made me sad. The break from a female friend over BO only made me angry whereas losing this male made me sad. Maybe because I acted with her the way he acted with me, arrogantly and closed. I really don’t want to dialog with women who call themself feminists and were with Obama from Day 1. Things are different now. At this stage I don’t care who people vote for because it doesn’t matter. I am writing Hill in but I can see where a woman would vote BO because at this stage there is only a worse alternative thanks to his choices and the DNC’s.

    It is a life lesson but for what? I am sick of lessons the ultimate one seemingly being as Paris Hilton said “Tell people what they want to hear and then do what you want”. But that would mean we would eventually lose all of our rights I think. Who knows.

    Anyway SBA said what I meant — Thanks!

  60. Yanni Znaio says:

    Ms. Violet:

    I apologize for the way you took #39, I should have thought it out better before putting it the way I did.

    I was under the impression that the publication date for WSF was about a decade older than it actually was and that online research with respect to the quite valid points you raised would yield scant results. At least you had the courtesy to not call me a troll.

    The library is closed on Sunday, but I *will* get a copy of it on Monday.

    I did not intend to be dismissive of your thoughtful response. I will read with the concept of “agenda-driven” in mind; what I was fishing for was commentary on the concept of “agenda feminists” and “equity feminists” and so forth, as IMHO we’re seeing a lot of verbal sparring between the two, dare I say factions?– concerning whether Palin deserves feminist support or not.

    (Gee- did I just go back on topic? Hehehehe.)

    Best regards,

    YZ

  61. julia says:

    About Erica Jong: I like her books, and her sexism often offends me. She mixes sexism and feminism together, especially in “Fear of Fifty”.
    Some might call her a patriarchal feminist!

  62. Jamie W. says:

    I’m so glad I found your blog, Violet. I don’t agree with everything you say, but damn, I really respect the way you say it. Color me a conservative libertarian woman (who votes and registers republican because libertarians get along like cats in bags) who is learning a lot from you about tolerance, thinking before I speak, and real feminism — which I thought had died decades ago.