“Stone her”

Friday, October 17th, 2008 · 86 Comments »

That was the cry when Sarah Palin appeared at a campaign stop in Philadelphia. “Let’s stone her, old school!” yelled a man in the crowd.

Maybe that’s next.

Over at The New Agenda, Amy Siskind raises the spectre of Kitty Genovese and asks, “Are Democratic women the new bystanders?”

What started as “MILF” has taken a slippery slope right into a cesspool. The next noxious installment was a Huffington Post story titled “Sarah Palin Naked”, in which the author writes: “Basically, I want to have sex with her on my Barack Obama sheets while my wife reads aloud from the Constitution. (My wife is cool with this if I promise to ‘first wipe off Palin’s tranny makeup.’ I married well)”. The article itself is repulsive; but the comments posted on the article were mostly men and women cheering this notion on—and none in the Democratic Party spoke out to condemn this careful and deliberate fantasy of Palin’s degradation.

Unchecked, the misogyny feast has intensified. Over this past weekend, Senator Obama’s supporters proudly wore shirts printed in giant neon green letters that said, “Sarah Palin is a Cunt”. One female supporter was so proud of this t-shirt that she posted a picture of it on Senator Obama’s website (it was quickly taken down, however). Not to be outdone, the Huffington Post ran a story on Monday titled: “’Nailin’ Paylin’ Photos: Pictures from the Set of The Palin Inspired Porn”. Did the Democratic women who frequent this website speak out about HuffPo’s promotion of this revolting attack? No.

As if the porn weren’t insult enough, yesterday a 25 year-old rapper posted a Youtube video (now removed from YouTube, but still available here) in which he raps about raping Sarah Palin, Barbara Bush, and Tipper Gore, amongst others. The reaction this time: deafening silence. As Dr. Lynette Long comments: “It saddens me that not only are women not outraged by this video but participate in this. Again I feel frustrated by the silence that envelopes the women’s groups that are supposed to protect all women not just Democratic women.”

Women of the Democratic Party, beware. Will you sit at the sidelines because she doesn’t agree with you on policy? Will you excuse your silence because Governor Palin does not share your political beliefs? What are you teaching your daughters? What are you teaching your granddaughters? Are you telling them that it’s okay for a woman to be vilified? That it’s okay for a woman to be degraded, belittled and raped in prose? And you will cheer this on, because she’s not your candidate, or sit on the sidelines, because of some notion of solidarity? Will you let the murderer return to the scene again and again before you finally call the police and end the attack?

The answer, in a word, is yes. Yes, women will stand by. They’ll watch Sarah Palin be stoned. They’ll even throw rocks themselves.

That’s how woman-hating societies work, and lord knows, if we’ve learned anything this election season, it’s that we still live in one. It’s tempting to say Barack Obama’s campaign has set women back by 30 years, but I suppose all that’s really happened is that the mask has been ripped away.

Patriarchal domination of women is at least 50% brainwashing, as any feminist who knows her chops will tell you. It’s not enough to simply create laws limiting women’s rights and freedoms; you have to get inside their heads. Make them believe the whole patriarchal line about good women and bad women. Encourage them to identify with the “good” women — the ones who follow the patriarchy-approved rules — and give them pats on the head when they obey. Convince them that “bad” women deserve to be raped/beaten/stoned because, after all, those dangerous “bad” women didn’t play by the rules. Above all, don’t ever let them figure out that the whole goddamn thing is a system designed to keep all women under the boot.

If you get it right, you can take the legal restrictions away and women will still carry on as before, eagerly trying to be “good” girls to earn those pats on the head, and just as eagerly throwing stones at the “bad” women. Just like right now, right here in the United States.

The American women who are acquiescing in the virtual stoning of Sarah Palin are obeying the same sick dynamic that animates every patriarchal society on earth. It’s why women in tribal hellholes nod approvingly when their menfolk stone the local adulterer. It’s why women cheer when other women, uppity women, are publicly shamed and abused. It’s why women at sites like Jezebel spend most of their energy vilifying other women as sluts, skanks, bitches, cum-dumpsters, whores, and whatever other names they’ve borrowed from the masculine vocabulary.

The absolutely crucial thing in making this nightmare work is the strong mental demarcation that each woman must maintain between “us” — herself and other “good” women — and “them”: the “bad” women, the sluts and bitches. For some women, the only “good” woman is herself. Women like this nurture a belief in personal exceptionalism: that they themselves are somehow exempt from the general misogyny that pervades society. This is the “honorary man” syndrome. “I’m not like those other women! I’m special! Men like ME! They respect ME!”

The other day Sam posted a comment about how this dynamic works in pornography, but it’s the same dynamic that undergirds all patriarchal degradation of women:

Right now where I’m at with it is there’s a social caste called Women which individual women separate themselves from psychologically. They see what men think of women and few want to believe men think the same about them. My adolescence was spent mistakenly believing I was the exception to the rule, but this did not mean I able to identify the rule as “Women are stupid whores who get what they deserve” until later.

I’ve been calling the phenomena “The AnonyWhore Principle” the past few weeks. By that I mean the psychological splitting that occurs when individual women see the anonymous women in pornography abused, belittled or treated inhumanely by men but reassure themselves they are not the target of the misogyny, that the misogyny begins and ends with the anonywhore only and is no reflection of what men think of her existence as a woman.

When men put pictures of twenty anonymous women on a website titled “Dumb Cum Dumpster Whores” it is ignored by women and feminists as just another day in the life o’ web porn, just the way porn is so no point in calling attention to it. Replace those twenty fake names (there is no woman really named Yeasty McTwat) with the names of twenty non-anonymous women- say Sarah Palin or Jade Raymond or Jessica Valenti – and suddenly it’s not just another day in pornville but a newsworthy Issue, a terrible sexist attack that demands redress. Pornographic sexism directed at game producer Jade Raymond is considered a wholly different beast than sexism directed at dumb cum dumpster whore Jade no-last-name.

The recent creation of the term “revenge porn” is meant to distinguish pornography in which men seek to ‘get revenge on’ one woman individually as opposed to regular pornography in which men use anonywhores to ‘get revenge on’ women as a social class. It’s not you to most women until it’s their first and last names explicitly said.

I transplanted from third wave to second wave when it finally sunk into my head that the way men treated anonywhores in pornography was really disgust and contempt aimed at femininity, and as a woman I am a bodily form of the generic femaleness men get off on reviling as weak, wet, and inferior.

What Sam is talking about is nothing less than the linchpin of patriarchy. As long as women cannot see that there is a class “woman,” and that when men hate women it really means they hate women, all women, not just some other women whose names you don’t know or some stupid bitch in a porn video, but all women — as long as women cannot or will not see that, then patriarchy is safe.

“‘Sarah Palin is a Cunt’ (just like you and me)” is the title of a post by Dawn C. over at The New Agenda. There’s a lesson in that title. A very simple lesson — but one that still eludes us.

The other day I was talking to a young woman, a self-described feminist, who could not understand why defending Sarah Palin from sexist attacks was a feminist act. She really, truly could not understand that. Her argument was that because Sarah Palin is a Republican (a “bad” woman), the correct feminist response is to use any means necessary to destroy her. Why not stone the bitch? Why not call her a cunt? Why not make jokes about raping her? She’s one of those bad women! Bad!

As if that weren’t derangement enough, when I pointed out to the young woman that none of what she’d heard about Sarah Palin was true — and it was these lies that she was using as her justification for why Palin needed to be stoned/raped/destroyed — she became even more angry. Enraged, actually. Instead of being relieved to learn that Sarah Palin wasn’t quite the foam-dripping monster she’d been made out to be, the woman was furious. How dare I introduce the truth? How dare I?

She then accused me of betraying feminism.

You know, when people start telling me that “true” feminism requires some godawful nightmare of woman-bashing, I know the wheels are off. The very concept of feminism — the very meaning of the word — has been corrupted, degraded, stolen from us. I haven’t seen a boondoggle like this since patriarchy persuaded a generation of naifs that Hustler magazine represented pro-feminist empowerment.

Maybe when all is said and done, 2008 will turn out to be the final flourish of the anti-feminist backlash that’s been rumbling through our culture for 30 years. Perhaps Hillary Clinton’s near-miss for the Presidency unleashed the beast. Maybe this is its last gasp.

I hope it is. I hope we haven’t lost completely. I hope we can start feminism all over again.

I hope.

Filed under: Feminist Theory, Second Wave Squared · Tags:

86 Responses to ““Stone her””

  1. anna says:

    Off Topic: I hope everyone able to do so will vote against Prop 8 in California, and Prop 2 in Florida, and against Prop 102 in Arizona, all of which would ban gay marriage. Everyone deserves a chance to marry the person they love, and we don’t want the government dictating who you can and can’t marry. Maybe you could post about that?

  2. creeper says:

    It has always amazed me that female genital mutilation in Africa is performed by women. Why do we hate each other so much?

  3. yttik says:

    Let’s hope this is the year that the spark of feminism is re-ignited. Ironically, it was the strange combination of idealism and rampant misogyny that triggered the women’s movement in the 1960′s. There were all these beautiful “progressive” ideas floating around, except when it came to women’s equality. And women got real tired of this abuse at the hands of “progressive” men. In all these dreams of new utopias, women were still expected to simply serve, including sexually.

  4. Kiuku says:

    It’s interesting how Hillary Clinton was one of the bad woman for completely opposite reasons for why now Palin is the bad woman. I was getting men telling me how I was supposed to behave as the good woman, the smart woman, the approved woman and hate Clinton and now hate Palin. I love and think that it is a Feminist act in itself to show these men that I, atleast I get it, and won’t be their good woman.

  5. Kiuku says:

    I won’t hate another woman for the crime of being a woman. I feel a lot of the time, women, mostly young women, are going around wearing Patriarchy Approved tea shirts or buttons. it’s sickening how men, even in what is supposed to be a freedom loving progressive society, would love to stone a woman as much as they vigorously consume torture porn to satiate the desire to destroy women, a woman, any woman, especially one in a position of power. I love it in the “Sexism Sells, but We’re not Buying it the guy asks “Where are all the big state women governors. Where do they are”

    Women in positions of power are truly invisible to men, and when they aren’t, it infuriates them.

  6. madamab says:

    And this, my friend, is why I call you amazing.

    Keep telling the truth, no matter how angry it makes people. You are doing an incredible thing here.

  7. votermom says:

    It is an abusive relationship, isn’t it? The person being abused tries to act in ways that will keep forestall abuse. “If I follow all the rules, if I keep the powerful one happy, I will not be punished. If the powerful one is angry, I will deflect that anger by finding another powerless target for that anger who is not me.”

  8. Alwaysthinking says:

    I hope for the best, but my son tells me that the young women he knows do not see sexism/misogyny in the words and gestures that my generation considers offensive. Some apparently have routinely adopted such language and actions as acceptable, good-humored usage.

    If too many younger women speak in self-demeaning terms and display them on t-shirts, how long will it take for them to recognize the harm they are doing to themselves and their gender? How long will we keep stoning one another? Why can’t women, of all people, feel another’s pain? (But then, I say “ouch!” when someone else runs into a door or gets a finger pinched in it.)

  9. Kiuku says:

    Exactly. And you gotta pay attention to the vocabulary being used against Governor Palin, as opposed to vocabulary that would be applied to any man. Chevy Chase earlier on wanted Fey to “Decimate” Governor Palin, and the media is now hailing Porn flicks of Sarah Palin, joking about how when this election is through, atleast she has some other fall back jobs.

  10. Kiuku says:

    Women bash other women for two reasons. When they do it, they temporarily feel like a man in the Patriarchy, and they get approval from men, which makes them feel like the exception to women. Men hate women so badly, and they oppress them so much, that women do not want to be women…and try instead, to gain power, mistakenly thinking that by acting like men in the Patriarchy they can attain the same privileges. It doesn’t work.

    Just wait til they try to run for president, or actually step outside the vagina sphere run by the men in their own circles.

  11. sam says:

    A perfect place to quote one of my heroines.

    “I’d rather go down in history as one lone Negro who dared to tell the government that it had done a dastardly thing than to save my skin by taking back what I have said. I would consider it an honor to spend whatever years are necessary in prison as the one member of the race who protested, rather than be with all the 11,999,999 Negros who didn’t have to go to prison because they kept their mouths shut.”

    -Ida B. Wells-Barnett

  12. Lisa says:

    Another quote that is appropriate right now:

    An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Mohandas Gandhi

    Kiuku, I thought the same thing- it was “okay” to hate Hillary- who could stand a woman like that- right? So we get presented with a woman (Sarah Palin) that is practically her opposite in many ways- and it is “okay” to hate Sarah- who could stand a woman like that? So…. what kind of woman is it okay to support???

  13. myiq2xu says:

    Every time I think this election has finally hit bottom I am proven wrong.

    How much more disgusting will it get?

  14. sister of ye says:

    I used to hang out at Eschaton where the comments sections got pretty wild and wooly. In discussing the hope that the Bush admin would be brought to justice, some of the more tactless would make jokes about Karl Rove not wanting to drop the soap. Always others would chime in about how, as good liberals, we shouldn’t joke about prison rape of anyone, no matter how bad.

    Since I don’t hang there anymore, I’ve sometimes wondered if that concern about rape jokes has been extended to H. Clinton and Palin. Or if rape jokes are only out-of-bounds when they’re targeted at powerful if corrupt men.

    I quit reading FDL when Jane Hamsher couldn’t see any offense in the infamous pimping-out comment about Chelsea Clinton. One-by-one I crossed other “liberal” and/or “feminist” blogs off my must-read list. Thank Whoever-May-Be for this place and the others like it.

  15. samanthasmom says:

    What an ugly place the world is becoming. The feeding frenzy mentality is overtaking everything. As a scientist and engineer, I find it interesting to try to figure out ahead of time what the unintended consequences of a new product or technology might be. Years ago, when we were sitting around discussing how expanding the internet into the public domain might change people’s lives, I never considered that it would become such a vehicle for hate. Words and actions that might only be seen or heard by the few people standing nearby now travel worldwide seconds after they happen. In the past we had mechanisms for making our media outlets retract statements made that just weren’t true whether they hurt someone or not. Now people can put things out there that are outright smears and scrub them away into oblivion, but not until they’ve done their harm.
    Like many things that run amok, the benefits of the internet far outweigh its harms, but our society has certainly shown lately that we are not as civilized as we once thought we were. I am not for regulating the internet in the way that most people worry about, but I do think that we need to give some thought to what recourse people should have when they are bullied, smeared, and threatened online. Women need to speak out against “hate speech” that is directed at us and find ways to make it costly for people to engage in it whether in $$$ or in social ostracism. If we sit around waiting for men to act on our behalf, we’re going to turn into stone first. We have to do it now before another generation of young women see no harm in being abused.

  16. octogalore says:

    Great post as per usual.

    In a way this reminds me of the saying by Pastor Martin Niemöller:

    In Germany they first came for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Catholics,
    and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

    Then they came for me —
    and by that time no one was left to speak up.

    That’s why we need to speak up for Palin, or other Republican women. Well, it’s one reason: the main one is that it’s the right thing to do. But for various third-wavers who need a rationale that goes to their self interest: if they convey to men or non feminists that it’s OK to direct sexist speech to a woman if she’s, say, a Republican, or a capitalist, or a CEO, or whatever, then is it going to be a big leap for them to feel we are communicating that we are indeed OK with sexist speech when they come around to directing it our way? I think: not.

  17. TheOtherDelphyne says:

    Stoning. Disgusting. Do people like the idiot who uttered “Let’s stone her, old school” really understand what happens during the stoning?

    How It Works: The prisoner is buried either up to his waist (if male) or up to her shoulders (if female) and then pelted with stones by a crowd of volunteers until obviously battered to death. Under the terms of most fundamentalist courts, the stones must be small enough that death cannot reasonably be expected to result from only one or two blows, but large enough to cause physical harm. The average execution by stoning is extremely painful, lasting at least 10 to 20 minutes.

    (The above was taken from the civilliberty site)

    Violet, this sentence of yours bears repeating and repeating and repeating until the women who think that they are the exception to the rule, get it.

    “As long as women cannot see that there is a class “woman,” and that when men hate women it really means they hate women, all women, not just some other women whose names you don’t know or some stupid bitch in a porn video, but all women — as long as women cannot or will not see that, then patriarchy is safe.”

    (Violet – I posted this with a link to a site from which I quoted and it’s in moderation. I’m taking out the link, so you can delete the one in moderation. Sorry that I put the link in – promise I won’t do it again.)

  18. soopermouse says:

    you know, abotu that MCCain calling his wife a cunt? I don’t know, but some couples have certain dynamics to which most of us aren’t privvy. Some people exchange insults as a familiar/affectionate thing- I know I do it with my partner and I am not the only one. Just saying.

  19. NJW says:

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/obama-supporter-assaults-female-mccain-volunteer-in-new-york/

    Where was the news coverage on this, clearly the wrong sort of victim. To quote one of the saner commentators to this article (and there are some):

    “First, they came for Sarah Palin, and I said nothing because I was pro-choice. Then they came for Joe the Plumber, and I said nothing because plumbers cost too much anyway. Then they came for…”

  20. Mary Tracy9 says:

    Dearest Dr Socks

    I imagine it must be quite painful for a fervient second wave feminist to witness the current state of feminist discourse and the disintegration of its core values amongst the youngest generation.
    I, as a member of such generation, wanted to let you and all second wavers know that I do “get it”.
    And I also want to thank you all for showing me and others like me, how patriarchy works.

    Yours sincerey

    Mary Tracy9

  21. myiq2xu says:

    When I was younger, getting stoned was a good thing.

  22. Anna Belle says:

    votermom says:

    It is an abusive relationship, isn’t it? The person being abused tries to act in ways that will keep forestall abuse. “If I follow all the rules, if I keep the powerful one happy, I will not be punished. If the powerful one is angry, I will deflect that anger by finding another powerless target for that anger who is not me.”

    Kinda like traditional notions of god, eh? Funny how that frame slips around so much of what we do and are. And we are trained from childhood to revere it.

  23. slythwolf says:

    soopermouse, thank you for completely missing the blatantly obvious point of the entire post.

  24. MysteryBouffe says:

    It is both frightening and sad that women will use these misogynistic tactics without smelling a whiff of irony.

    However, not all Democratic women are silent on this issue: both Feministing (http://feministing.com) and Shakesville (http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com) have been running “Sarah Palin Sexism Watches” since she was named veep candidate – not to mention the Obama Racism Watch, and Hillary Clinton Sexism Watch. They’re excellent deconstructions of the tactics used in this election, from both the Right and the Left, that have seriously shown the sexist and racist underbelly of politics.

    Great article. I’m glad the internet machine brought me here.

  25. Violet says:

    Unfortunately, Jessica Valenti at Feministing has been guilty of spreading false rumors about Sarah Palin. Shortly after Palin was nominated, Valenti sent out a media blast informing the world that Palin was not a feminist and in fact was opposed to “everything feminism stands for.” You can read Palin’s own statements and judge for yourself the veracity (or rather lack thereof) of Valenti’s remarks.

    Shakesville is usually a great site, but the last time I was there they were repeating uncritically the rape kit lie — which, I note, has been debunked thoroughly but lives on in the internet rumor mill.

  26. Kat says:

    You know, I’ve been trying to comment on this post all day, but I keep deleting what I write. I just can’t come up with words on this. Plus, someone forwarded me a graphic of the “drill baby drill” t-shirt last night. As a *joke*.

  27. Kiuku says:

    I also disagree with Valenti’s approach regarding women in the media, and celebrity women like Paris Hilton. She is still very much a neo-Feminist but I’m glad that she does have some Radical Feminist leanings.

  28. Suzie says:

    Creeper said: “It has always amazed me that female genital mutilation in Africa is performed by women.”

    First, it happens elsewhere, too. Second, I don’t think that’s an example of women hating women. I think mothers are doing what they think they have to do to make their daughters have a decent life. They fear their daughters will not find a husband otherwise, and that has real economic repercussions.

    But about the post in general … sometimes I want to hide out from my friends, who keep sending me stuff bashing Palin. This election year has been the most demoralizing of my political life.

  29. Pat Johnson says:

    If “the hand that rocks the cradle” is responsible for the way these people think and behave it gives pause to question just what goes on in some households when it comes to raising the types of people who would utter and condone the spread of this hate.

  30. street_parade says:

    In trying to find the positive in this whole awful year, I’m with you Dr. Socks…I think that feminism may be starting all over again.

    For too long it has been overwhelmingly dominated by abortion and has come to mean practically nothing else. Yet there is SO MUCH ELSE. If you look around the world the reality of women’s lives is THE central human rights issue on the planet – there is none bigger. Yet in this country feminism never steps far beyond this single issue.

    Sarah Palin is one of the few women to loudly and unapologetically describe herself as a feminist in a long time. So many tap dance around it as something to be ashamed of….not Palin though, she is a proud feminist.

    I’m glad she’s arrived, if for no other reason than her ascendance let the mask slip from the face of the Democratic Party and mainstream “feminist” groups. I can see the face beneath the mask and it is very ugly.

    But a new, stronger movement may be emerging. Fingers crossed at least.

  31. Kiuku says:

    Well..Pat Johnson..you simply can’t raise the Patriarchy out of men, especially when the nuclear family is a Patriarchal construct designed to socially isolate women and enslave them to men. Most families are abusive to all involved. When given the choice, women simply will choose to not live with men. Granted they still get married because they are brainwashed, but those who can and who can freely choose will leave men.

  32. Phoenix says:

    Andrea Dworkin was right.

  33. Kat says:

    I just visited some sites that I thought were supposed to be feminist. They seem to be trying so hard to be hip and cool, to formulate all political expressions in the precise ironic way, that they came off trite, forced, and trivial.

    Trivial, let me say that again. More concerned with image — with looking cool — than saying anything of substance. Toss out a link and a sarcastic one-liner, say something vitriolic about Sarah Palin for cred. It’s all image, without substance.

    It’s like they only want to look at themselves in a mirror, saying terrible clever things, congratulating each other for saying such terribly clever things. Reflection after reflection, back on itself, staring at itself, unable to see beyond itself.

    Violet, with each passing day, I appreciate your site more and more.

  34. atheist woman says:

    “Most families are abusive to all involved”
    You can say that again.

  35. Ivory Bill Woodpecker says:

    OFF-TOPIC: Once again, the state of Georgia is preparing to execute a man whose guilt is very doubtful.

    Appeals can still be made to the state board of Pardons and Paroles via

    http://action.aclu.org/savetroy

  36. Lori says:

    I watched the original Stepford Wives tonight. I’d never seen it but understood it to be a schlocky bad film. I, alone, loved the remake though Oz, the director, was tweaking Republicans.

    Not being an academic, I’m way in over my head discussing what I want to say – bear with me. I’m a filmmaker.

    What i saw in the film was the novelist Ira Levin wading in the same waters that Euripides frequented – exploring the treachery that women unleash upon each other. There is a great deal of The Bacchae and Trojan Women that considers the cost to women of treachery by other women, and deplores what we do to each other. Insightful that the town which is pithing its women considers itself the most liberal in the area. For me, the viewing of the film was timely. A female Obama supporter chirped to me the other day, “after Obama has served eight years, Hillary can run and win. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a female president? ” Today, she greeted the news that a female McCain supporter was attacked and beaten by an Obama supporter, by posting a link to a story about how the SS keeps the press from talking to Palin’s audience, and posed this as reporters being attacked – or some such nonsense.

    I feel exactly like Katherine Ross talking to my female Obama supporter friends. One of my oldest, dearest and most elegant and well-spoken friends referred to me as a “dumb bitch” the other day for not supporting Obama. Not surprisingly, her big beef with both Clinton and Palin is that she can’t stand their voice. how better to shut women up than make them feel self-conscious when they speak?

    Dr. Socks – thank you for this post, and for holding the fort. You are a valuable and beloved voice in this unstable day and age.

  37. Briar says:

    “Women bash other women for two reasons. When they do it, they temporarily feel like a man in the Patriarchy…” Darn right. Which is why so many female “heroes” behave like men, sometimes wear uniforms like male uniforms, and always carry and use weapons like men. Swords, guns, machine guns, whips and chakrums, whatever, they are empowered like men to behave like men with these lethal (but “sexy”)symbols of penile potency. And, unsurprisingly, their victims are often other women. I was appalled the first time I read women applauding another woman for trying to murder her partner (by dragging her behind a horse in that instance) and declaring they would do the same. It was a shocking enlightenment, but one which has proved useful in understanding the outpourings of sexism now poisoning not just society in general but female society in particular. Some women hate being women and want to feel like men – behaving like a man is their passport to empowerment. However, whatever they do they will always be women and ultimately, since they weaken all women by their “heroism” they themselves will end up weakened by it too.

  38. lobogris says:

    Kiuku, that’s a pretty big brush you’re using. I am in no way, shape, or form, perfect, but I like to think my wife stays with me because she actually wants to, not because she’s afraid of me. If I misread your statement, I apologize.

    I deal with intolerance, hate, and misogynistic bullshit on a daily basis. I have fought this all of my life. Even at my age and experience I am still baffled by the level of willful ignorance that I see and hear. I thought I was alone. I don’t know how many men come to this site, but I’m glad I do. Thank you, Dr. Socks.

  39. soopermouse says:

    It sure looks like Kiuku is saying that women who choose to live with men do it out of stupidity or lack of agency. Which, fuck you very much

  40. Kiuku says:

    There is something ironic about men telling women anything about the patriarchy, whether those women are still oppressed or coming out of oppression, neo feminist or radical feminist. I’ll not have for it. No one in particular, but before this forum becomes a woman blaming frenzy, we all seem to understand a great deal about how MEN and the PATRIARCHY makes women behave toward other women. It’s unfortunate, really.

  41. Violet says:

    Yes, please let’s not get into a fight over this. Kiuku has a theory that marriage is purely a patriarchal construct. While I agree that marriage as we know it, in most cultures, is very much a patriarchal construct, I also believe that men and women will pair up as lovers even in the absence of patriarchy, since they do that in all known human cultures (including non-patriarchal ones). The difference is that in the absence of patriarchy, divorce is extremely easy and people part when they’re tired of each other.

    But, having said that, let’s not get off an a whole big topic derailment.

  42. Kiuku says:

    Briar I completely disagree. wow. Moving on.

    Sooper, women as a general rule don’t have agency in the Patriarchy. Those who do manage some, won’t choose to live with men, in my opinion.

    Lobo, I don’t know where you read the word “afraid” though fear is absolutely one of the agencies the Patriarchy operates through. And maybe I read you wrong, but no one is going to give you cookies for being a man who comes to this site.

  43. Kiuku says:

    Violet, there could even be something said about seeing one of the few left standing Matriarchal cultures through a Patriarchal lens. For instance, here, it may be more useful for me to discuss mainly the nuclear family structure, rather than marriage to avoid confusion. The pairing of lovers in a Matriarchal culture may look like marriage, and may indeed have elements of marriage like exclusivity, but the fundamental differences warrant a second assessment.

    In Patriarchy, there are many things compelling women to marry men. Brainwashing is one of them and you really don’t have to look any further than Disney and the “Pink Ghetto” at any toy store. But Patriarchy and the rulership of men is structured around maximum benefit for men, and benefit for women who enslave themselves to men appropriately. For instance, the whole artificially developed and enforced system of Economy is designed to enslave women to men such that there is an actual tangible benefit, and a real compulsion for women to subject themselves to marriage, social isolation, and exclusivity to men. You have to deconstruct Patriarchal institutions when they go so obviously against the grain, when it obviously there is more benefit for women, and indeed all of humanity, to work together with women, with their maternal grandmothers, with other women in the community sharing, for instance, the rearing of children.

    Marriage in the Patriarchy almost always socially isolates a woman, creating an -unnatural- child rearing burden, and creating an unnatural Economy wherein women perceive dependence on men.

    In the absence of patriarchal structures like economy, I doubt that women would choose to marry men, and in fact, if there were pairing of lovers, the fundamental differences would be so much to speak of that we could no longer, in fact, even term it marriage.

    The reason I get into this is because the nuclear family itself is a reinforcing of patriarchal doctrine, it would be nearly impossible to raise the Patriarchy out of anyone.

  44. octogalore says:

    Re what Suzie said: “sometimes I want to hide out from my friends, who keep sending me stuff bashing Palin.” Yes! Somehow these same friends in my case don’t seem to feel the need to bash republican men. It is definitely this sense of “guys, see how cool I am? I’m not one of those SCARY feminists.” I guess the kid saying the Emperor had no clothes was scary, too.

  45. lobogris says:

    No cookies!!! That sucks. Condescension doesn’t taste nearly as good.

    I agree with how Violet and Kiuku feel about marriage. Please continue.

  46. Kiuku says:

    LOL Octogalore EXACTLY. I sat down to dinner with one of my friends the other day. I asked who she was voting for: Obama. She then thusly said with an enthusiastic grin: “Palin scares me.” and that was the end of that conversation.

  47. Kiuku says:

    Oh by the way I found out that the alleged cries of “kill him” etc at Obama rallies was completely made up by Obama supporters. It was debunked by Secret Service agents.

  48. creeper says:

    Suzie said:

    “I think mothers are doing what they think they have to do to make their daughters have a decent life. They fear their daughters will not find a husband otherwise, and that has real economic repercussions.”

    I can’t believe I’m reading this here. Repeating the specious justification for this process, however “logically” phrased, only furthers the acceptance of the practice.

    Some things demand total condemnation, not rationalization. This is one of them.

    http://www.fgmnetwork.org/intro/fgmintro.php

  49. soopermouse says:

    and btw- you do realize that “women’s choices are OK only if I approve of them” is the exact sort of thinking that is behind, amongst other things, the “feminist” attacks on Palin?

  50. julia says:

    This year has been worse than I ever could have imagined. I don’t think the woman-hatred would have been this bad in the 1970s. Any woman attempting power is a target. Any woman not hiding is a target.

    Violet and Sam, thank you both for your work! This is one of the few places I can find respite, which means that most of the women I know do not get it. I have had to explain to women
    in their thirties and even one who is 70, why bashing Sarah Palin is bashing yourself.

    I’m tired. But I don’t feel like hiding.

  51. charms says:

    Goodness….

    I had no idea there was this much thoughtfulness on the web.

    Thank you to an acquaintance who sent an article written by Violet to me.

    You all are stating feelings which I have expressed in forums and met badly via the readers! Wish I were alone in that experience, though recognize here, it is rampant.

    We’re finding it in our family members, strangers, and acquaintances. And I do see how it is not only “hurtful” but also “confusing” within the (D)Party.

    And, a bit on the “trite” note… Seems to me, after the introduction of Sarah Palin, the women newscasters sat a bit higher, coifed their hair with a bit more “fluff”, and wore brighter, figure-complementing attire. All of a sudden somehow, it seemed they were GIVEN PERMISSION to be BOTH intelligent and VERY PRETTY!

    I’m a far cry from years of personal growth to cater to another for a “favor”, though I can recall a time, so I can understand the young women of today, but our world needs their self-esteem for themselves, us, and for male benefit also!

    Humbled by the “intelligence” of the posters, I’ll slip aside and look forward to more postings!

    -charms-

  52. Suzie says:

    Creeper, I’m not trying to justify FGM. I, too, want it stopped. But I think that people can more effectively fight something if they understand origins, motivations, etc. Personally, I don’t think the mothers who do it hate their daughters. Although this is not the same as irreversible cutting … there are U.S. mothers who get their daughters “training bras” and get them a razor to shave their legs and buy them makeup … not because they hate their daughters, but because they think they will be happier if they fit in and get a boyfriend.

  53. Violet says:

    If the motivations for FGM are the same as they were for Chinese footbinding, then mothers do it in order to make their daughters marriageable.

    It was the mothers who bound their daughters’ feet in China. Which of course meant breaking the feet, subjecting the child to excruciating pain and crippling her for life. But read The Good Earth to understand why mothers felt it was the best thing they could do for their daughters. Chinese men would not marry women with “big clown feet,” or if they did marry them would pay smaller bride-prices and treat them like third-class citizens (as opposed to second-class citizens, which is how the women with bound feet were treated).

    All patriarchal abuse of women exists within a system.

    In parts of Africa today men demand that their wives stuff their vaginas with sawdust because of some weird preference they have for “dry sex.” And the women are very much at the mercy of their menfolk, since a wife is subject to beating and abandonment. An abandoned wife becomes a pariah with no resources, perhaps having to turn to prostitution or begging. So there are African women who teach other women, including their daughters, how to stuff themselves with sawdust.

    It’s all a system.

    *Note: By sawdust I mean the whole range of treatments: sawdust, dried grass, astringent herbs. Or sitting in a basin of bleach.

  54. Kiuku says:

    Well put, Violet.

  55. Kiuku says:

    Creeper Suzie is putting the blame where the blame belongs: the men/the patriarchy.

  56. Little Isis says:

    I have been reading all the comments on this thread and have to say that I am amazed by Dr Violet Socks. You, Dr V, are an example. Please don’t stop doing what you’re doing.
    Perhaps I feel alienated wherever I go. I agree with Dr Socks completely. I am eighteen, the age of a third waver, but I don’t describe myself that way. I often think of an earlier post, the “Yes, you are” article that put tears in my eyes.
    Yes, I consider myself a feminist. But I think the labels should stop. If Feminism is going to change, it will be my generation that changes it. I freely admit that we are not doing well at it so far, but I like to consider myself an odd duck out in almost everything I do.
    If feminism is truly going to be just that, feminism, then events like the ones happening now must wake women up.

  57. creeper says:

    OK. Let me get this straight. In order to put an end to slavery we were supposed to study it first?

    Dr. Socks, I note your reference, in the para on foot-binding in China, to “bride price.” How is paying for a bride different from paying for a slave?

    No amount of cultural history can justify enslaving or maiming another human being. Some things are simply wrong. They demand blanket condemnation, not thoughtful consideration.

    Whether you know it or not, what you’re doing here supports perfectly what the Obama camp is asking…that women be “reasonable” and wait their turn.

    Well, I’m sorry. Being “reasonable” has gotten us a candidate for President who is even worse than the worst-president-ever who occupies the White House now.

    You go ahead and be reasonable. I’ll nurse my anger. See you on November 4.

  58. TheOtherDelphyne says:

    Violet said: It was the mothers who bound their daughters’ feet in China. Which of course meant breaking the feet, subjecting the child to excruciating pain and crippling her for life. But read The Good Earth to understand why mothers felt it was the best thing they could do for their daughters. Chinese men would not marry women with “big clown feet,” or if they did marry them would pay smaller bride-prices and treat them like third-class citizens (as opposed to second-class citizens, which is how the women with bound feet were treated).

    And that is part of the patriarchal plan – if one’s own mother is willing to torture her daughters, then the daughters will continue the “tradition.” If one’s own mother is not strong enough to resist the brainwashing of patriarchy, then I think that mother will attempt to try to find a reason for doing the abominable – foot binding, genital mutilation, bride burning, etc. Is it a case of Stockholm syndrome on the part of the mother and then the daughter becoming the mother who then tortures her daughter, ad nauseum?

    In my opinion, this is what patriarchy depends on – that women will never rebel because their children are being held hostage to their system of insanity and women don’t have the confidence in their own power to openly defy and overthrow the system.

    The mistake that patriarchy makes is in thinking it is omnipotent – it is not. And it makes the mistake in thinking that ALL women buy into their fantasy of omnipotence. They don’t.

  59. Annie Oakley says:

    Dr. Violet Socks, you are just fabulous. My own mother and daughter have thrown a few rocks themselves, and I was at a loss until I read this. Kitty Genovese, indeed. Democratic women and the Democratic Party have stood by and said/done nothing to stop it, and even worse, they have taken part.

  60. Laurie says:

    Thank you for this post. As a lifetime feminist and the mother of a preschool daughter I am horrified and outraged by how this election has set women back at least 30 years. I could expect it from the patriachial Left and their attendant Blogger Boyz intent on coronating their hero. No surprises there. But the complicit, downright eager participation from so many women — many women who actualy call themselves feminists — has floored me and broken my heart. And that those same women will fight for and in fact reward the new power brokers of that party — the ones who have shown them the least respect and the most disdain — reminds me of the abused wives/girlfriends who rationalize, “well, he didn’t actually HIT me, he just shoved me into the wall a few times. I need to understand him better. I mean, he’s very stressed out right now and he REALLY loves me…”

    For me, the biggest stories of this election are 1.) how the Left lost its moral compass and started playing just as dirty as the Right, (all while huffing in mock outrage at the same sort of lying behavior on the Right) and 2.) how the powers that be on the Left gleefully embraced sexism as a legitimate tool of political war. Against Hillary, against Palin, against anyone who dared raise her voice in protest. That so many of those stoking the sexist flames are actually women… well, that’s the most upsetting to me. I actually heard a young woman the other day (wearing the Cunt T-shirt, no less) that she was “Happily, proudly post-feminism. I don’t need to ever stand up for this bitch Sarah Palin. Someone should just stick a big dick in her mouth to shut her up.”

    And this from someone who without the slightest hint of irony calls herself “progressive.” This is progress? I don’t even know where to begin.

    Anyway, thanks with all my heart for this great post.

  61. CoolAunt says:

    Creeper, no one said anything about women waiting our turn. What they said was, more or less, know your enemy. The enemy is not the mother who performs the mutilation. The enemy is the society of men who tells the mother that mutilating her daughter is what needs to be done for her daughter’s good.

    The truth is that the comments you’ve posted here are much closer to the Palin-hating of mostly Democrat women that is the subject of this blog post than those who’ve responded to you. You want to go after the women – the mothers – rather than the patriarchal society that they are following just as Democrat women are going after Palin rather than the institution of the Republican party and its policies.

    Dr Violet Socks, I have hope, too, that the escalation of woman-hating and woman-bashing by women – by so-called feminist women! – that Palin’s run for VP has brought about will help us all to see and learn what I was taught by a radfem (Delphyne, if you must know) just a few years ago: It’s not feminist to speak poorly of other women. It’s a hard lesson to learn and an even harder one to live, but it’s the truth and it’s necessary for the success of feminism.

  62. TheOtherDelphyne says:

    The You Tube that Riverdaughter just posted on her site under the thread – “And “people think this is funny? – goes along with the “Stone her” sentiment. It is shocking and horrifying. That is was made for the election is even more shocking. Obama really needs to get these kind of supporters under control before some woman gets seriously injured or killed.

  63. Gayle says:

    TheOtherDelphyne,

    I just watched it: Holy shit!

  64. TheOtherDelphyne says:

    Gayle, that video is just awful. I feel like crying thinking about the absolute hatred of women that went into it, It was so visceral to me because I wasn’t expecting it – I was going to comment about Katie Couric’s condescending expression when Terry Tate came on.

    Sigh. Too much adrenaline with that You Tube – I now have a headache after watching it.

  65. TheOtherDelphyne says:

    Violet, may I be released from moderation? I promise I wasn’t insulting or anything.

  66. Kiuku says:

    Let’s take a spin on Obama’s own words to describe this situation:

    “That’s just how men will do you. It wasn’t merely the cruelty involved; I was learning that women could be mean and then some. It was a particular brand of arrogance, an obtuseness in otherwise sane people that brought forth our bitter laughter. It was as if men didn’t know they were being cruel in the first place. Or atleast thought you deserving of their scorn. Men”

  67. Kiuku says:

    Delphyne I just checked out that video. Oh man. It’s the Obama supporters inciting violence. They’ve been doing it since the beginning. The reactions of the Democrats to this horrid vid reminds me of the teenager who was stoned and then all the men laughed came around with their phone cameras to take pictures.

    At the Democratic underground one Dem’s reaction to the video is thus:

    “That looked so real and painful. My favorite part is at the end – you can hear her say “Oh!” from the floor.”

    Get these people out of my country.

  68. Kiuku says:

    Here is another:

    ” I wish that cunt got tackled like that for real”

  69. kenoshaMarge says:

    And here via youtube is another instance of what the rampant misogngy in the Obama campaign and the media has unleashed.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07kO9TtHYzQ

    Violence against one women is violence against all women. This is sick.

  70. Kat says:

    On that DU thread, where everyone was laughing at the video? One poster called it “a much-needed cathartic outlet.”

    Seeing violence against a woman is…cathartic.

    Who are these people? Where will the outraged special comment be on this?

  71. thebewilderness says:

    Today John McCain admitted that Sarah Palin was selected as his running mate because “She is a direct counterpoint to the liberal feminist agenda for America.”

    The hatred that has been celebrated by the corporate media is directed at women and blacks.

    The theocrats that a McCain/Palin victory will bring to power will in all probability take us back to the days of lynching blacks and stoning women.
    You have fallen into the trap of believing that women who do not agree with you are as unreasonable as men say they are. I am tired of reading you blame women for men’s behavior. Good day.

  72. Kiuku says:

    Kat seeing violence against women is cathartic to men who really really really want it done badly. Men hate women.

  73. Kiuku says:

    These men fantasize everyday about rape and brutalizing women. They bottle up their hatred for women everyday, because inside they feel that women shouldn’t even open their mouths. So everyday they see women doing things like speaking their minds, and running for office and it infuriates them to the core. When they finally get to see a woman violated, it is a cathartic release for them, especially depicted happening to one running for office. You don’t think it would be that cathartic if it happened to a man, and they wouldn’t be saying “I want to see that happen for real”, or talking about how it is the expression of real pain being what turns them on in this.

    Sick.

  74. Kiuku says:

    Also on a deeper level there are elements within this video that separate it from the other videos. It is not just comedy, someone getting tackled out of the blue. There is a depiction of real consequence and pain absent from the other comedy vids. There is also a clear message and a clear depiction of punishing the bad woman and rewarding the good woman (Couric). What is simply disgusting is the men who will dismiss this as comedy yet at the same time admit it is the pain which they like in this video, and the idea of a woman getting what’s coming to her.

    No one will denounce this as racism, because women are not human.

  75. Violet says:

    TheOtherDelphyne, I cannot figure out why your comments keep going into moderation. I’m not doing it on purpose, believe me. My filters have gotten the better of me.

  76. Kat says:

    Kiuku, here’s the thing: the comment was by someone whose screen name suggested she was a “grrl.” One of the very dynamics this thread has been trying to unravel…

  77. vbonnaire says:

    I’m glad you said this, Violet. Today, the Confluence has this:

    http://riverdaughter.wordpress.com/2008/10/19/and-people-think-this-is-funny/

  78. Gayle says:

    “Seeing violence against a woman is…cathartic.”

    That explains why porn is a billion dollar industry. Of course, the men who are into it say they really don’t like the violence at all. They watch porn only for the sex.

    Liars.

  79. julia says:

    How do American mothers prepare their daughters to survive? Not too long ago, it looked like this: ‘Don’t read too much, boys don’t like that.” “If you play sports and get muscular, nobody will take you to the prom” “Don’t even think about getting your Phd. Do you want to be an Old Maid?”.
    I know this is different from footbinding, but it is important to look at how patriarchy affects us where we live. The above commments were told to my older sisters, who grew up during the 1960s. Feminism changed some of that.

    We need a tidal wave of feminism right now, to wash over the backlash.

  80. AM says:

    “Maybe when all is said and done, 2008 will turn out to be the final flourish of the anti-feminist backlash that’s been rumbling through our culture for 30 years. Perhaps Hillary Clinton’s near-miss for the Presidency unleashed the beast. Maybe this is its last gasp.”

    “I hope it is. I hope we haven’t lost completely. I hope we can start feminism all over again.”

    Could be, Violet, could be. If for no other reason than that they have been awful enough to thoroughly enrage us, and the situation now has our full attention. When that happens, things happen. Things shift.

    My last post here was just before total hip replacement operation on September 16 (successful, and thanks for the good wishes from this site!). I got home eight days later and just about the first thing I did was get on this site to find the 30-percent solution and “Yes you are” staring me in the eye. As a now 30 percenter, I don’t have to dither anymore about who to vote for: Palin gets my vote. Do we have 30-percent solution buttons yet?

    I couldn’t get through “Yes you are” without crying. (I’m tearing up right now.) This powerful statement/listing needs to be amplified. An opera? A song? A video? I can hear it swelling. I’m hearing Sweet Honey in the Rock doing it. It has the power to break through the glass ceiling constructed by the exclusionary Official Feminists.

  81. Yanni Znaio says:

    Kat says:

    You know, I’ve been trying to comment on this post all day, but I keep deleting what I write. I just can’t come up with words on this. Plus, someone forwarded me a graphic of the “drill baby drill” t-shirt last night. As a *joke*.

    Great. I just HAD to Google it.

    Such style. Such class.

    Reminds me of when *I* was a college student in the mid-Seventies and knew everything…

  82. DancingOpossum says:

    Lori, not to wander too O/T, but I loved the “Stepford” remake, too. It had a subversive feminist subtext couched in really funny lines–remember when Nicole Kidman’s husband asks her if what she really wants is to be a super-powerful, castrating bitch and she says with all her heart, “Ever since I was a little girl.” Or when Bette Midler’s husband asks her why she never bakes cookies and she snaps “Why don’t you?” I loved it. I also liked the twist of adding a gay couple into the mix. And of course the ending, which completely upended the original story. Anyway, I loved it and think anyone who turned it down after reading the bad reviews should give it another look.

  83. Yanni Znaio says:

    julia says:

    How do American mothers prepare their daughters to survive? Not too long ago, it looked like this: ‘Don’t read too much, boys don’t like that.” “If you play sports and get muscular, nobody will take you to the prom” “Don’t even think about getting your Phd. Do you want to be an Old Maid?”.
    I know this is different from footbinding, but it is important to look at how patriarchy affects us where we live. The above commments were told to my older sisters, who grew up during the 1960s. Feminism changed some of that.

    We need a tidal wave of feminism right now, to wash over the backlash.

    I agree with you completely. And I’m a dad who’s raising a very feminist fourteen year-old daughter.

    As for what you described, I’d call it brainbinding.

    And that’s probably worse than footbinding, but I’d have to really think about it for a while before deciding one way or the other…

    Best regards,

    YZ

  84. greyhorse says:

    Waking up to the ways of the left are we? It’s been obvious to us women on the right that the women issue with the left has been for nothing but manipulation and vote buying.

    If Sarah has done nothing else, she sure has proved this to be the case. Somethings are not worth compromising all you should believe in to elect a person.

    I wondered why women didn’t come to Hillary’s defense.

  85. Violet says:

    AM, glad to see you back and glad you’ve got a new hip! Your comment above was accidentally in the Akismet spam filter, and I just now caught it and liberated it to the world. Sorry.

  86. Melissa says:

    Well put! Even though I dislike the way she seems to tow the patriarchal line, it is never ok to attack her based on her gender and condone such horribly sexist attacks.
    This election is bittersweet for me. I am a democrat, and I am glad that Obama won even though I was a Hillary supporter. Now, I am distressed that all over the media, I am hearing people say (and even Obama himself said in his speech) that this election has proven that in America, no matter what you beginnings or background or race, you can achieve anything. I think what was meant is “as long as you are male.” Having an African-American elected as president is a great step forward, but it still feels like it is the same “boy’s club” just with a change in color.