When misogyny masquerades as feminism

Friday, September 19th, 2008 · 70 Comments »

One of my favorite Onion headlines from recent years was, “Women now empowered by everything a woman does.”

A similar headline could be written as the summary (and, I hope, the epitaph) of the Third Wave: “Feminism is anything a woman says, thinks, or feels.”

I hate to break it to the Third Wavers out there, and really this topic deserves a post or twenty of its own, but for me, as an Old Bat, the most stunning thing about the Third Wave of feminism has always been how unfeminist it is. There are some wonderful feminists in the Third Wave, but they are the exceptions. For the most part, it’s been a return to the pre-feminist, patriarchal snakepit: women tear each other down, accuse each other of being jealous schemers, stab each other in the back. It’s more like the 1950s than the 1970s. Young women of the backlash — and that’s what the Third Wave is, basically — have internalized the misogyny of the age. Other women aren’t sisters to be embraced, but threats to be feared and despised.

But because they know they’re supposed to be feminists, they tie themselves in knots trying to justify their misogyny as political enlightenment.

Over at Jezebel, a young feminist is explaining why she wants to kill Sarah Palin:

What I’ve written on this site about Palin so far has been pretty restrained, considering what I feel for her privately could be described as violent, nay, murderous, rage. When Palin spoke on Wednesday night, my head almost exploded from the incandescent anger boiling in my skull. And I’m not the only one! I had simultaneous IM conversations with many friends, who said things like, “she seems like a fucking monster” and “this feminist wants to murk that idiotic cunt.”

Then, in classic Third Wave form, she goes on to try to justify her rage on feminist grounds. Sarah Palin reminds her of the homecoming queen, you see, and…and…it’s not that she’s jealous, it’s that…uh…the homecoming queen is a tool of the patriarchy and…uh…therefore, as the embodiment of patriarchal toolishness, Sarah Palin is holding women down! Yeah, that’s it! Kill the bitch!

Of course none of these young women has any idea what the real Sarah Palin is about. I suspect that even if you sat them down and read aloud the many pro-woman, thoroughly down-to-earth things Sarah Palin has said, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. If you tried to reason with them, it wouldn’t matter. They can’t hear. Their ears are buzzing from all the hate-blood in their heads. They’ve been trained all their lives to loathe other women, and now they can’t help themselves.

Is it any surprise that this is the same generation that supported Barack “99 Problems But A Bitch Ain’t One” Obama, the same generation that rejected Hillary Clinton as an irrelevant dinosaur? It was after Clinton’s victory in the New Hampshire primary that another blogger at Jezebel wrote simply, “Women suck.”

*****
Hat tip to Sarah Palin Sexism Watch.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton · Tags:

70 Responses to “When misogyny masquerades as feminism”

  1. Crystal says:

    God help us if there is a Squeaky Fromme or Sara Jane Moore among these people.

  2. Justin says:

    Despite everything you say being true, the policies that Sarah Palin advocates are not “pro-women.” Need proof? Ask Hillary Clinton.

  3. tinfoil hattie says:

    Good goddess, the commenters on that site hate women.

    I don’t trust Sarah Palin’s politics, and I don’t agree she’s a feminist.

    Then again, she’s not running for president. People keep screaming that ZOMG McCain is old and he’s gonna DIE SOON AND THEN SHE’LL BE PRESIDENT OH NOES!!! but that’s a stupid threat.

    Also, Barack Obama is not a feminist either.

    I have to say, if Hillary Clinton were the nominee, she would be getting the same kinds of nasty, misogynist treatment (why stop now?), but the “left” would be sputteringly outraged by it. At least the feminists on the left would.

    But Palin? Fair sexist game.

    I wasn’t shocked by the misogyny from the MEN on the left against Hillary Clinton. I am shocked at so-called feminists on the left resorting to such hatefulness.

  4. kenoshaMarge says:

    In my humble opinion the “young feminist” over at Jezebel is no feminist. She’s a ranting lunatic.

    Of all the misogyny I’ve seen in my life, and I like most older women have seen a lot, the women hating women is the worst. They, like the young women referenced above are as despicable as that which they pretend to fight.

    Reminds me of a comment I read this morning about the young man who hacked Governor Palin’s email account. “She deserves it, she’s a fucking Republican.”

    So I guess base acts are acceptable so long as they are done to the “right” people and feminism is only about thos whose opinions and issues we share.

    Not liberalism or feminism as I know or will support.

  5. ElleR says:

    The female rage against Palin is really shocking. And, it isn’t just young women. I’m over 60 and not one of my liberal feminist friends can stand Palin — they “hate” her — send unfounded emails around, etc. and superciliously condemn her for her ignorance and stupidity. Every so often I point out that she was elected governor of a state and that should count for something, but … apparently not. I also bring up Romney, who IMHO would really have been a disaster as VP, but who elicited no such rage.

    It’s a mystery. I have been trying to figure it out, because these supremely rational women are behaving so irrationally. The package Sarah Palin comes in just couldn’t contain anything worth while. Is it jealousy? Here is a woman who isn’t following the liberal feminist playbook, yet has achieved success in the male world. She didn’t focus her whole teen years on getting into an ivy league school. She college hopped, but did get a degree. She was a beauty queen. She married and had four (and now five) children. And, she lives in Alaska! So far away from the centers of power it isn’t even flyover country. She has broken every rule — and yet look where she is. Outrageous!

    Although SP does not espouse the liberal feminist positions regarding reproductive choice, to me she embodies a feminist in that she is proving that a woman can flourish in the male world without sacrificing her desire to have children. And perhaps her presence makes that male world a little more woman friendly. I guess what I like the most is that she is totally unapologetic for being a woman. She doesn’t buy into the patriarchal script that says that when women have children their brains turn to mush.

  6. octogalore says:

    Yup.

    I saw something on a left-vs-right debate show earlier this year where the right-winger said NOW was the “National Organization of Liberal Women.” At the time I didn’t really remark on that and probably dismissed it. Now I’m thinking that’s pretty much the case, wrt NOW and wrt the Third Wave.

    And you’re right. It’s not just that (some) third-wavers have such strongly-held, principled views that they feel are fundamental to being a feminist. It’s also the tendency to see other women as a threat, that’s being masked with appropriate verbiage, as you said.

    It’s pretty clear when you see energetic young feminists devoting 5x more airspace and webspace to anti-Palin vs anti-McCain on issues where Palin’s views are the same as those of McCain. Why, pray tell? If you’re upset about the substance, then direct your venom towards the person on the top of the ticket. If you’re not doing that, something else is in play.

  7. InsightAnalytical-GRL says:

    Something to ponder….

    “While Clinton and Hillary Get Trashed in the U.S., Muslim Women in Britain Get Sharia Law”

    This is a meaty, well-researched piece about the latest on Sharia Law…(with a mention about a case in Texas, of all places)

    Remember “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood?

  8. donna darko says:

    I have to say, if Hillary Clinton were the nominee, she would be getting the same kinds of nasty, misogynist treatment (why stop now?), but the “left” would be sputteringly outraged by it. At least the feminists on the left would.

    No, leftist feminists would be just as misogynist towards Clinton as they were during the primary.

  9. donna darko says:

    I hate to break it to the Third Wavers out there, and really this topic deserves a post or twenty of its own, but for me, as an Old Bat, the most stunning thing about the Third Wave of feminism has always been how unfeminist it is.

    Let’s have twenty posts about this! Let’s have a Carnival!

  10. donna darko says:

    The first installment should be called The Fourth Wave or How Unfeminist the Third Wave Is.

  11. tinfoil hattie says:

    Donna, I saw lots of feminists defending Hillary Clinton against sexist attacks in the primary. Those who did not defend her, or joined in, or hedged — I don’t consider them feminists. I consider them misogynists.

  12. donna darko says:

    Well, that’s 90%. Let’s call them out as misogynists instead of feminists.

  13. Happenstance says:

    The Anybody-But-Clinton attitude drilled into pseudoprogressives by their fellow pseudos over the years trumps any trace of feminism (see: Rhodes, Randi).

  14. lisas says:

    I’m a regular Jezebel reader, and to be fair when Moe posted her anti-women rant (the “women suck” post) she was called on it for MONTHS afterwards by commenters. “Women suck” was not at all the last word on the subject. Not even a little. I have no idea what “murking a cunt” means, but I do know that there’s a difference between articulating a white-hot murderous rage, and calling for someone to be killed.

    I don’t see what’s unfair about being so angry with Sarah Palin, it’s immensely galling to see Hillary’s hard work, endurance, and grace being used to serve Republican interests. I’m not even American and it makes me crazy annoyed.

  15. Sis says:

    You don’t know about the Carnival of Radical Feminists?

    carnivalofradicalfeminists.wordpress.com

  16. Lori says:

    Feminism has embraced the “everyone’s opinion is equal” meme that the right has worked so hard to instill in our national discourse. The consider themselves feminists and therefore whatever they think is naturally feminist as well – even if what they think is the Palin is a grasping bitch who couldn’t do her job without her husband’s guidance, and that’s why she’s so eager for Levi to join the family as Todd is overworked. Or if they think Hillary never did anything that Bill didn’t give her to do.

    In the modern news media, truth has no intrinsic value. It’s sounds like a throw away line, but it’s at the essence of what is destroying our national discourse. Opinion has value – a notion most notably validated by the amount of money we pay to people to deliver their opinions. But newspaper are cutting back on the numbers of writers and bureaus that they have. Genuine journalism, as practiced by people like Murray Waas, is not renumerated generously. The truth of what happened in the Bush administration has no value (and that’s how Judith Miller kept her gig for so long), but opinions about what did, always do.

    I hate these “tell us what you think” polls and the call-in questions on various radio and television shows. i don’t give two hoots what people want to ask Bill or Hillary, when they’re visiting Larry King or whomever it is they’re sitting down with. Or we finally get Juan Cole on some news show, and fifteen conservative Christians have to call in and ask him why he wants to nuke Israel and buy OBL a new Cadillac and a box of Krispy Kremes. Grrrrrrrr…

    So, that culture, where everyone’s opinion is regarded as well-informed and valid, and worthy of public airing, has infected feminism as well. You don’t have to be a feminist to be a feminist. Heck, this is America – if we want to be feminists, we’ll be feminists and you other women whom we hate can’t stop us. Now shut up and iron shirts – we have shit to bitch about. Like the fact that you want to point out to freshman girls that getting drunk with frat boys is dangerous while we all know that if they don’t want to be raped, they shouldn’t be getting drunk with frat boys. You’re just coddling the little bitches. Real feminists reject such coddling.

    Ah well, chaos. At least, that’s how our national discourse sounds to me.

  17. Ciccina says:

    @ lisas

    I was going to address the difference between the murk-a-c**t comment and the concern you articulated… and then I realized I don’t understand what you mean. This is probably me being dense.

    “… it’s immensely galling to see Hillary’s hard work, endurance, and grace being used to serve Republican interests.”

    In other words, the Republicans are trying to build on / leverage / use the work Hillary did — to ? — to serve Republican interests by nominating Sarah Palin.

    What hard work would that be? Because the Republicans have not changed their policy positions one whit.

    If you mean her hard work demonstrating that women can be strong, effective leaders, and the GOP took a cue from that and themselves nominated a woman – that is called PROGRESS, my dear.

    We want issues like can-a-woman-be-a-leader, can-a-woman-work-and-still-be-a-good-mother, is-a-woman-tough-enough to become NON-PARTISAN. We want these issues to go away entirely, to be no-brainers. We don’t want only the Democrats to nominate women. We want everyone to nominate women. Because women are just as able to serve as men.

    The fact that so many Republicans are saying that Governor Palin can be a good mother and hold a demanding job is progress. Not all of them are sincere, but believe me, when you repeat something enough times, it will sink into even the hardest head. We want everyone – Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives, greens, and so on – to not debate this anymore. It should be a given, so we can all move on towards making the necessary adjustments (flex-time, maternal and paternal leave, etc). These should not be political issues in the first place.

    Hillary’s achievement through her campaign was not a victory for Democrats. It was a victory for ALL women and men. The Democrats do not get to hoard it for themselves, to be used as a partisan blackjack. Hillary is so great that she convinced Democrats AND Republicans that women can, and should, be considered right along with men for our top leadership positions.

    What the spoiled brats at Jezebel are doing has nothing to do with feminism. It is a “mean girls” swarm in all its sexist, anti-poor, anti-working class hateful glory. Some of these women may have been the “nerd-girl” once upon a time, but they’ve turned into bullies of the lowest order. To quote a particularly disgusting line from the post Violet links to –

    “Sure, she was pretty and popular in high school… but what happened to her after high school? Often, she popped out some kids and ended up toiling in some not particularly impressive job. We can look back and say, we might have been ambitious nerds in high school, but it ultimately paid off.”

    I see. Jezebel writers are better people because they make more money and have cooler jobs.

    Fucking morons.

  18. Violet says:

    If you mean her hard work demonstrating that women can be strong, effective leaders, and the GOP took a cue from that and themselves nominated a woman – that is called PROGRESS, my dear.

    No, ciccina, obviously the only correct way to honor Hillary’s achievement is for no other woman to run for office ever again. Hillary must stand alone in her glory.

  19. Violet says:

    Here is a woman who isn’t following the liberal feminist playbook, yet has achieved success in the male world. She didn’t focus her whole teen years on getting into an ivy league school. She college hopped, but did get a degree. She was a beauty queen. She married and had four (and now five) children. And, she lives in Alaska! So far away from the centers of power it isn’t even flyover country. She has broken every rule — and yet look where she is. Outrageous!

    But is that really it? I’m trying to sort it out myself. All my life we’ve said feminism is for Every Woman. The nurse working night shifts, the married woman who can’t get her husband to do his share of the housework or childcare, the women in factories.

    How did it suddenly become shameful to have the background of a typical American woman, married with kids, college, a job, etc.?

    When Sarah Palin spoke at the convention I instantly recognized her as kin, metaphorically speaking, because she’s so similar to my real blood kin. I’m related to lots of women like her. She reminds me particularly of one of my cousins. And I felt proud of her as a woman, proud for the moment, when she was nominated. Even though I don’t agree with her politically.

    The hatred is just freaky.

  20. Mark Sherman says:

    To understand the violent outpouring of hatred against Ms. Palin, I suggest reading or rereading The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, by Eric Hoffer.

    Amazon has it for about $10

    Powell’s has it for about $9

    Mark

  21. Ciccina says:

    @ Violet

    lol! Hillary would be so proud!

    But seriously, as the daughter of an unwed, then briefly wed, then divorced and thus single late-teens mother in a blue collar family, you can imagine how all this is sticking in my craw.

  22. Anna Belle says:

    Hillary’s achievement through her campaign was not a victory for Democrats. It was a victory for ALL women and men. The Democrats do not get to hoard it for themselves, to be used as a partisan blackjack. Hillary is so great that she convinced Democrats AND Republicans that women can, and should, be considered right along with men for our top leadership positions.

    Hot damn, Ciccina, your whole comment is spot on, but this resonated for me particularly. Wonderful. Thank you.

  23. marirebel says:

    Violet: I do not see misogyny masquerading as feminism as limited to third wave feminists. Certainly Erica Jong’s opinion piece on Huffington Post which characterizes Palin as “white trash” and a “redneck” because she is not “a Harvard educated intellectual of mixed race” is both misogynistic and classist. Likewise, Eve Ensler’s opinion piece, also on Huffington Post, which is riddled with inaccurate statements (Palin doesn’t believe in evolution, birth control or sex education, Palin has an Austrian hunting rifle, she kills 40 Caribou at a clip, she has shot hundreds of wolves from the air, etc.), as well as mean-spirited statements that Ensler has no way of knowing (nothing changes in Palin’s world, she cannot tolerate ambiguity or difference, Palin does not believe in thinking, “I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence. . .”, she believes pollution and the rise of cancers are part of God’s plan, etc.) is also misogynistic to the core. Though Ensler could have investigated the many false claims she was making, she chose not to. She even goes so far as to claim that “ everything Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to feminism . . .” Whose feminism?

    Recently, I was involved in a heated debate with a well-known second wave feminist theologian who advised that Ensler’s inaccuracies were perfectly acceptable because she was raising a call of alarm based on the “media image” of Palin. In a patriarchal society, the media will always develop negative images of powerful women. If it is okay to use inaccurate/distorted and negative images without regard to truth (the media image), women will always lose. This same feminist theologian went on to further justify Ensler’s piece on the basis of other unsubstantiated claims that Palin has abused her position in office to accumulate wealth, and to enforce her religious beliefs and personal vendettas. An analysis of Palin’s finances by Tim Middleton at Sypatico/MSN Finance places Palin in the middle class, and says, if elected, Palin will be one of the poorest VPs in years. Middletown found no evidence that Palin has used a public office for personal gain.

    I find the positions of second wave feminists as morally and intellectually bankrupt as the positions of the third wave feminists about which you have written.

  24. soopermouse says:

    I agree. Shows yet again how completely off kilter the Palin hatred is. We should rejoice! Every fucking woman in the western world who thinks herself a feminist should have had a jig on the street and a glass of cognac over the fact that a woman is getting mighty close to being the most powerful person in the world. But no, that woman has to be in our own mold otherwise she isn’t good enough.

    You know, I wonder if one of the reasons behind this hatred isn’t insecurity. Anglaches has pointed out that Palin with her not upper middle class life and standards is a kick in the face to all the people who thought that they are better and will always be better than the “lower classes”. Maybe all this shit thrown at her comes from people for whom the idea that a “lower class” woman getting so close to the top means that they wery wrong all along and that you can be worthwile without being a citizen of teh Whole Foods Nation ( TM Anglachel).

  25. octogalore says:

    Marirebel: “I find the positions of second wave feminists as morally and intellectually bankrupt as the positions of the third wave feminists about which you have written.”

    Agree. I think themes of capitulation to patriarchal notions of women’s place run through Jong’s work. I had always read these gender themes as ruefully self-abnegating, but I’m now thinking there may be less self knowledge there than I’d credited her with.

  26. donna darko says:

    I don’t understand all the fuss about Palin. If McCain has the same policies, go after the top of the ticket instead and Romney would have been a worse VP pick for women.

    If you can’t talk about McCain or Romney with the same venom, the problem is you.

    Palin also seems pro-woman and stays out of women’s business. She’s supportive of Clinton and gender equality and is pro-life but doesn’t want to change the law for women whereas Obama obviously hates women and wants to control women or at least have them serve him.

    I changed my mind. Palin is a conservative feminist and Obama is not a feminist at all.

  27. donna darko says:

    soopermouse,

    Classism is the same reason the Third Wave and Obama Movement hate the Clintons. They hate that he came from lower class roots and climbed to the top while having the gall to be successful with women.

    Sis,

    I’ll relook at the Carnival of Radical Feminists but don’t recall them addressing the misogyny of the Third Wave.

  28. Lori says:

    I think that much of what passes for feminism now is simple narcissism. there are a lot of people who seem to have conflated being a diva with being a feminist. Whether they’re been through women’s studies or not, they seem to have little awareness that feminism is about something larger than getting what they want in the short term – everbody else be damned. Well, except their girlfriends.

  29. Violet says:

    Now we have Sandra Bernhardt fantasizing in her stand-up show about Sarah Palin being gang-raped by “black brothers” in New York. And the critics rave.

    As someone said, it’s the kind of thing that makes you want to put 50 McCain-Palin signs in your yard.

  30. Ciccina says:

    Sandra Bernhardt too? And Margaret Cho?

    It’s like Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    I’m on a listserve for people who work on international sexual and reproductive health issues. Yesterday a very well-known person posted a partisan piece of crap about Palin contained lies, exaggerations, and stupidity. On a professional listserve! An international listserve! The sheer irresponsibility stunned me.

    I might as well share the email here – it was just a re-posting of what I assume is some viral thing going around. I particularly loved the reference to Palin as a former “weather girl.” Who talks like that?

    When I responded, off-list, to the perpetrator, she replied that it was meant as sarcasm, sort of like Saturday Night Live.

    —————–

    *Now* I understand McCain and Palin

    I’m a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight…..(hope I’m not offending anyone)

    * If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you’re “exotic, different.”

    * If you grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, you’re a quintessential American story.

    * If your name is Barack, you’re a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

    * If you name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you’re a maverick.

    * If you graduate from Harvard law School, you are unstable.

    * If you attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you’re well grounded.

    * If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate’s Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran’s Affairs committees, you don’t have any real leadership experience.

    * If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you’re qualified to become the country’s second highest ranking executive.

    * If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you’re not a real Christian.

    * If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you’re a Christian.

    * If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

    * If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state’s school system, while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant , you’re very responsible.

    * If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family’s values don’t represent America’s.

    * If you’re husband is nicknamed “First Dude”, with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn’t register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

    OK, *much* clearer now.

    By Roger Freedman

    .

  31. Sis says:

    Hi donna

    I’m honoured you would address me.

    look for any posts about pornography, prostitution, or ‘pornstitution’, or sex work (sic) authored by Sam, or Heart. Those are the topics of contention between radical feminists and pro-pornography (aka third wave) feminists.

    Also search women’sspace/the margins phpbb2 for those topics.

  32. Kat says:

    Over at Jezebel, a young feminist is explaining why she wants to kill Sarah Palin:

    What I’ve written on this site about Palin so far has been pretty restrained, considering what I feel for her privately could be described as violent, nay, murderous, rage. When Palin spoke on Wednesday night, my head almost exploded from the incandescent anger boiling in my skull. And I’m not the only one! I had simultaneous IM conversations with many friends, who said things like, “she seems like a fucking monster” and “this feminist wants to murk that idiotic cunt.”

    I find myself at a loss for words, except to say: my understanding of the verb “murk” is to beat someone until they are dead.

    Lately, I feel very, very alone.

  33. Violet says:

    You’re not alone. (the music swells and Dr. Socks begins to sing:) No one is alone. Truly. No one is alone.

    In all seriousness, tonight I did a radio show and the host and I were both saying the same things about Sarah Palin, both of us sickened by the venom and hypocrisy coming from so many self-described feminists.

    So, we’re not alone.

  34. donna darko says:

    Sis, I’m honored you’re honored. I stay out of the porn, prostitution, beauty and blow job wars maybe because they’re Third Wave topics. We haven’t reached the Second Wave’s goals of equal pay, reproductive rights and affordable childcare yet!

  35. Sis says:

    “Walk on, through the rain though your dreams be tossed and blown, walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart…”

    I’ll choke back my tears to give donna (and anyone else) this thread link.

    I hope you don’t think I’m abusing my reader privileges here by redirecting your traffic Vi. Just that you and Heart are the only two feminists bloggers dealing with *radical* feminists issues.

    Second and third wave feminists ‘discuss’ pornstitution. One of dozens of such threads on that blog.

    Voices of Survivors of the Sex Trade

  36. sister of ye says:

    I’ve been thinking back to 2004 when Elizabeth Dole and Carol Mosely Brown were running in their respective parties. I don’t recall Dole being trashed as being a c*nt or a b*itch or any of the many worse insults out there this year. There were some hints of irregular financial dealings with Mosely Brown, but show me a Chicago pol who doesn’t have something similar.

    The difference between then and now is that in 2004 Dole and Mosely Brown were viewed as fringe candidates without a remote chance of actually getting the nom. Clinton and Palin terrify people because they actually got/are close.

    The dumbfounding thing is that the so-called progressives on the blogs and in the media are frothing at the mouth at least as badly as the most rabid rightwingers.

    Yet the rank-and-file Republicans seem to have accepted Palin, much as Democrats voted for Clinton in droves in (especially) the later primaries. Could it be that the “hicks,” “rubes” and “working slobs” are actually farther evolved than the pontiffs of bloviation?

    BTW, I based my feminism on what I experienced and saw in life and read in literature, history and even sciencce. I never needed Erica Jong to guide my path, and never read her or any of the second-wave gurus. It wasn’t dislike, just the notion that they’d have little to say that would be relevant to my very working class life.

  37. DYB says:

    I actually think that the misogyny can be explained quite easily: Palin is running against Obama. It’s not that she’s running, it’s that she’s running against Obama. This was Hillary’s great sin. She challenged Obama until the end of the primaries. Why didn’t she drop out on February 4th? That’s why they hate Hillary and Palin. It’s not rational, no. But I’m convinced THAT’S the reason for the hatred that’s being thrown at Palin, just as it is (still) at Clinton. I fail to understand this VIOLENT devotion to a candidate. But there it is, one of the great mysteries of our time.

  38. reader says:

    Who exactly is “Aunt Millie” at the end of this column:

    Bloated Head

    Just a rhetorical question, of course she represents DUMB OLD LADIES, WHO ARE HOLDING EVERYBODY ELSE BACK WITH THEIR IGNORANCE. Thanks a lot, Digby.

  39. donna darko says:

    Sis,

    Carousel! Great tunes (If I Loved You, You’ll Never Walk Alone) though Carousel is about wife beating.

    Porn and prostitution topics upset me too much. I couldn’t read that.

  40. Bob Harrison says:

    “I wasn’t shocked by the misogyny from the MEN on the left against Hillary Clinton. I am shocked at so-called feminists on the left resorting to such hatefulness.”

    I am still shocked by it and I still reject it– especially coming from my fellow Leftists whom I thought believed everyone was equal– apparently if you’re the right pigmentation you’re more equal but if you’re the wrong gender you are not only less equal but something to be owned, used, and then exterminated. Fellow Humans, this is God Awful Thinking from any so-called enlightened human being.

    I agree with a commenter above– it seems us lo-fi male dullards of the working class persuasion are more accepting of gender equality than the latte organic food snobs of the creative class.

    Sorry. I’m spewing.

  41. qaz says:

    We live in a society where it is acceptable to bully women publically. I noticed it before this election, but this election just showed the level of bullying women deal with.

    Also I experienced bullying at work a few years ago where the guys were allowed to get away with extremely bad behavior. The women were skewered by management if they stepped out of line even a little.

    What made me think of this is a yahoo story I just saw stating ‘protesting katie holmes’. I didn’t read it because I am not really into celebrities, but what crossed my mind is how often we ‘protest’ women.

  42. ThirtyPercent says:

    Thanks for the great post.

    Apparently “rabid and reactionary” never goes out of style.

    Just look at NOW making its second ever endorsement in a Presidential campaign – AGAINST a ticket with a woman. Mind-boggling. They cant sit it out. They act against a woman.

    These women at Jezebel remind me of the anti-suffragettes of the past, campaigning their hearts out against women getting the vote.

    I feel this strongly after 40 years of being a feminist, and just typing it makes me sad: sisterhood is a myth. Women are our own worst enemies.

  43. Kal says:

    Thanks for spelling this out. I was getting trapped by the term ‘feminist’ when left-wing ‘feminist economists’ were attacking Hillary really viciously about her gas tax holiday plan. I know, I know, academics are not necessarily more thoughtful in their political speech than everyone else, but I still felt intimidated by their claims.

    I think Palin is empowering women left, right, and center in the US, and we are all the better for it.

  44. Stray Yellar Dawg says:

    I honestly think that the rage these women feel is really toward themselves. For being so gullible as to follow the pied puper of Harvard of the edge of his woman hating cliff.

    It can’t be that hard for them to realize that… they COULD HAVE had Hillary, and now they are going to get Sarah instead.

    They have noone to blame but themselves.

  45. Violet says:

    By the way, does no one realize that while Sis was singing Rodgers & Hammerstein, I was singing Sondheim?

  46. Sis says:

    Donna there is such a good sequence of comemnts in there, between Heart and a couple pro-pornstitution women (whose comments she doesn’t actually post heh heh). In a few deft phrases, Heart puts paid to the ‘choice’ claptrap. Really worth going after it, with one eye closed maybe if that helps.

  47. Suzie says:

    Without blogs, I’d think I was alone in my thinking during this election. Anyway … I’m sure NOW felt pressured to endorse Obama because so many people continue to describe white feminists as racist. Of course, the people who bash NOW will continue to do so. I can’t imagine this endorsement will change anyone’s mind.

  48. donna darko says:

    a yahoo story I just saw stating ‘protesting katie holmes’. I didn’t read it because I am not really into celebrities, but what crossed my mind is how often we ‘protest’ women.

    Sexism makes women either good girls or bad girls. Magazines protest women who are too skinny or too fat. Who’s just right? A tiny minority. This extends to feminism. Who’s a good feminist and who’s a bad feminist? HRC and SP are too wealthy, centrist or conservative to be good feminists. Both are feminists in their own way.

    latte organic food snobs of the creative class

    Bob, you put me in the mood for another coffee. Oh, and I’m creative class too. Knowledge worker? Please. Does that make me an acceptable Democrat and feminist now?

  49. donna darko says:

    Sis, even the post was too upsetting.

  50. Sis says:

    I know. I think I said there how hard it was to read. I do really thank Heart for the courage to do it because it’s out there then, for the third wave reader, and for the women who say they are making a choice to be sex slaves. They really are just Stockholmed women.

  51. Sis says:

    Rodgers and Hammerstein? Is that horribly declasse?

    “This is us, down at the Mardi Gras…too long in the sun…you and me we were meant to be, this is us.”

  52. Tim J. says:

    DYB,

    One tiny detail: technically, McCain is running against Obama. Palin’s a major part of that, granted, but you’d think the hate would focus more on the top of the ticket.

    I just have a hard time imagining this kind of bile being directed towards (for example) Pawlenty if he had been selected. I think another explanation is required.

  53. roofingbird says:

    yep!

  54. LadyVetinari says:

    Here’s hoping this comment doesn’t get stuck in moderation queue…

    Young women of the backlash — and that’s what the Third Wave is, basically — have internalized the misogyny of the age. Other women aren’t sisters to be embraced, but threats to be feared and despised.

    I think this is an overstatement, but you do have a point. I think part of it is because of the Reagan years and the successful demonization of “victims.” If you say you feel discriminated against, if you try for solidarity and unity with others who feel discriminated against, you’re a “victim.” And there’s nothing so unhip and so whiny and so un-glam as that.

  55. Leisa says:

    Are these the same “young feminists” who think that being on a “Girls Gone Wild” video is a progressive and liberating thing to do?

  56. Yanni Znaio says:

    Violet:

    Don’t call yourself an “old bat”.

    You may, like myself, been subject to the mellowing influences of time, but trust me, you not only have all your wits about you, but they’re pretty doggone sharp.

    Keep writing, it’s good stuff- piercing and accurate.

    Best regards,

    YZ

  57. Renee says:

    You do realize that repeatedly using Jezebel as your sole source of third wave feminism in action is completely one sided and discriminatory. You cannot point to one blog and then say all third wave feminists think like this. It ignores the efforts of blogs like Womanist Musings, Shakesville, Feministing,and Feministe that regularly speak out against the sexism faced by Palin despite disliking her politics. This is not a very well thought out post at all and it further silences the work of may third wave feminists.

  58. donna darko says:

    A similar headline could be written as the summary (and, I hope, the epitaph) of the Third Wave: “Feminism is anything a woman says, thinks, or feels.” The most stunning thing about the Third Wave of feminism has always been how unfeminist it is. There are some wonderful feminists in the Third Wave, but they are the exceptions. Young women of the backlash — and that’s what the Third Wave is, basically — have internalized the misogyny of the age. Other women aren’t sisters to be embraced, but threats to be feared and despised.

    The Third Wave, especially its apologism of men of color and blame of white women, lead to the unelectable Obama, the Fourth Wave, the Palin nomination and the McCain-Palin 2008 victory. Perhaps there isn’t a direct connection but there weren’t enough speaking up against the sexism of the primary which lead to all these problems (and solutions).

  59. simply wondered says:

    VS – ‘You’re not alone. (the music swells and Dr. Socks begins to sing:) No one is alone. Truly. No one is alone.’

    ah yes – that’s another reason i love you. not many musicals i really like but you went and quoted the one at the top of the list. and some pertinent themes to this debate.

    (i’m reading all this but have very little to put in by way of comment so hope you’ll forgive this marginal comment – it fills me with hope to see the power of the debate between feminists of all sorts – and sometimes fills me with dread when it becomes a fight between those you desperately want to be allies against the whole patriarchy shit. i’m personally very happy to attack palin on what i see of her policies and happier to hear your defence of her personally from ridiculous and irrelevant sexist attacks. i would not describe thatcher in such terms either. drawing a lot of fire that might otherwise be directed at mccain, i note. stick the woman’s head over the parapet…)

  60. simply wondered says:

    having said i had nothing to add, here i go spamming…

    kenoshamarge @4 ‘Reminds me of a comment I read this morning about the young man who hacked Governor Palin’s email account. “She deserves it, she’s a fucking Republican.”’

    i felt very similarly about the means necessary to combat the right in 80s britain and i think i feel the same about the comment above. if you believe they are that wrong then why not fuck up their email? that’s a whole different ball-game for me from sexist abuse, indeed personal abuse of any sort – tho i’m sure i threw plenty of it thatcher’s way – it’s hard for people to understand that for instance the miners’ strike was a war. the police were riding down unarmed men who wanted to exercise their democratic right to picket (there were others on ‘our’ side who committed illegal acts for which they were rightly punished); they were arresting four men in a car on major roads because they just had to be flying pickets. never in that was it important to me that thatcher was a woman, but i wanted to use all means to combat her and her regime. the throwing of sexist abuce would merely have demeaned what we wanted to achieve and (as you all point out better than me) contribute to the weight of sexism bringing woemn down generally. hacking her email would be quite low down on the list of acceptable tactics for me. i shocked myself when i realised after the ira brighton bombing that i would have been happy for her to have been killed (i’m older now and maybe have sorted that out with myself…) because it seemed the only possible way out of the destruction she wreaked on the lives of millions of british people. even now there are many who say there will still be a party when she dies. i fear i will raise a glass to the departure of one who did untold harm to the lives of people in britain, chile by supporting pinochet, south africa by propping up apartheid and on and on. that she was a woman in power was secondary – more to the point, any young woman who wanted her as a role model would be the type of woman i would fight endlessly to keep out of power. i was inspired to find she influenced many women in britain to get involved in the struggle precisely because the regime was so awful – the women of greenham common who made a statement to the world about peace and power that no group of men would have made, the women of mining communities who found their power to fight the attack on their lives and families, the women leading the peace movement in northern ireland. and many we don’t even hear about who reflected those values in their own lives.
    a male view, a privileged view, even a blinkered view, but i believed then and still believe now that it is about what a person will do with power that influences my support or otherwise.

    sorry – it’s said now…

  61. Violet says:

    Renee: that’s not a very well thought-out comment, nor do you appear to be even remotely familiar with my blog. My guess is that you’re here to advertise your own blog, which is fine, though I must say that insulting the host is a strange way to do it. I’d say more but I’m too busy silencing the work of third wave feminists.

  62. Reader says:

    Renee, you are way out of line, in a variety of ways. Violet is definitely well acquainted with many feminist blogs, and Jezebel is far from the only one she has written about, critically or positively. I happen to think she’s pretty smart and fair minded.

    You wrote: “When we consider Palin’s positions from a feminist lens, she is clearly not a feminist.” Well guess what, I am a feminist, but I am not part of your “we.” McCain is clearly not a feminist, but Palin says she is and I believe her, even as I disagree with about many things.

    I don’t always agree with Violet but I’ve never seen her be aggressive and nasty on somebody else’s blog. She sets an good example many of us should follow, and I’ll include myself there.

  63. Renee says:

    I will admit that I discovered your blog through stumble upon, which is how I usually come across new feminist blogs. My commentary was in response to what you wrote and not an advertisement. To say that an argument is poorly laid out is not a personal attack, it is an attack on the post itself. You may very well have a point to make about third wave feminism however an argument that is based on the writings produced on Jezebel unfairly characterizes a large group of women. I simply pointed out 4 blogs that could certainly be considered third wave that have repeatedly defended Palin. I have yet to see you respond to this.
    I am interested in hearing your point of view. This is why I am commenting again. As a third wave anti racist womanist/feminists I believe that it is important to listen to and evaluate critique. Feminism becomes stale once it resorts to echo chamber politics. I am therefore asking again what do you say to the fact that I have presented you with 4 third wave blogs that have defended and continue to defend Palin despite her anti-woman policies?

  64. Violet says:

    I’m familiar with a wide range of Third Wave feminists, some of whom I respect. I in no way think Jezebel represents the sum total of Third Wave feminism, though it is representative of the misogynistic young women of the current generation who certainly infest Third Wave feminism, which is what the post was about.

    I am quite familiar with the blogs you mention and with the bloggers, most of whom are known personally to me. I am not going to engage in a detailed criticism of their blogs; as a rule I don’t do that.

    I will remind you that I said there are some fine feminists in the Third Wave, and I’ll leave it at that.

    If you want to know the breadth of my thinking about where and how the Third Wave went off track and why it needs to die, I suggest you dive into the archives. It’s a theme I’ve been touching on since February at least. In short I see the Third Wave as the hopelessly compromised product of the backlash. That’s not the fault of the women; it’s the fault of patriarchy. That’s how it works.

  65. Reader says:

    Yeah, this is just so feminist:

    http://www.feministing.com/archives/011147.html
    and this
    http://www.feministing.com/archives/011132.html
    and this
    http://www.feministing.com/archives/011082.html
    (“It has become painfully clear that not only is Sarah Palin not an advocate for rape victims, she is not an advocate for women. But Palin doesn’t hate women; she just doesn’t care about them.”)

    Oh come on Violet, why won’t you help Renee start a blog war? (/sarcasm)

    Renee, start here:

    The difference between the height of women’s lib and today

  66. CoolAunt says:

    Violet, maybe you or your readers can answer this question for me.

    When a black American says that he or she is voting for Obama because he’s black, that’s totally cool; it can be expected. When a woman says she’s going to vote for Palin because she’s a woman, that woman is stupid because she’s doing exactly what the Republican party wanted her to do when their powers that be choose Palin to run as McCain’s candidate for vp.

    Can anyone tell me why that is?

  67. leis says:

    -CoolAunt

    I’ve given that question a lot of thought too. African Americans that vote for Obama because of his color aren’t seen as voting against their interest because they vote overwhelmingly Democratic anyways. The time to ask this question was when Hillary was running. We would have been crucified for saying we were voting for her because of gender identity. Now of course these same people can demand to know why a woman would vote gender and they completely miss the delicious irony.

  68. donna darko says:

    There’s no difference except Palin is a conservative feminist not a liberal one. What people don’t understand is there’s such a hunger for a woman in the White House especially after the misogynist primary.

  69. donna darko says:

    Check out this comment from The New Agenda:

    Clinton was too old, too wide hipped, too saggy, too naggy.
    Palin is too young, too sexy, too perky, too hot.

    Clinton was mocked and judged for her dowdy pantsuits.
    Palin’s skirts are too tight and short.

    Clinton wasn’t much of a homemaker.
    Palin wastes taxpayers money cooking her family dinner.

    Clinton’s hair was too short, too frumpy.
    Palin’s hair is too high, too beauty pageant contestent.

    Clinton only got where she is because of her husband.
    Palin only got where she is because she’s a woman.

    Clinton is inexperienced compared to Obama. She may have 8 years in the Senate and 8 years of full time First Lady but that’s not enough and it’s the wrong kind of experience.

    Palin is inexperienced compared to Obama. She may have the only executive experience on either ticket (2 years as Governor, 6 as mayor, and Chairman of Alaska’s Oil and Gas Conservation Committee) but it’s not enough and it’s the wrong kind of experience.

    But none of this is because their women, their just the wrong women.

    Well, who the hell would be the right woman?

    If old is bad, then why isn’t young good?
    If saggy is bad, you would think they wouldn’t mock perky.
    If pantsuits are bad, skirts must be in… right?

    But it’s not. Why?

    Because in America, no woman is the right woman for President.

  70. ea says:

    Please support the women running for the White House who are being ignored instead of attacked: Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente

    Your financial contribution will be greatly appreciated.

    http://votetruth08.com