A year later, world suddenly gets what PUMAs were talking about

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 · 241 Comments »

So it turns out that the Democratic-sponsored health care reform bill will officially treat women as unpersons: freakish beings whose bizarre, non-human needs cannot possibly be considered part of basic health care. Perhaps we’re extra-terrestrials:

None of the bills emerging from the House and Senate require insurers to cover all the elements of a standard gynecological “well visit,” leaving essential care such as pelvic exams, domestic violence screening, counseling about sexually transmitted diseases, and, perhaps most startlingly, the provision of birth control off the list of basic benefits all insurers must cover. Nor are these services protected from “cost sharing,” which means that, depending on what’s in the bill that emerges from the Senate, and, later, the contents of a final bill, women could wind up having to pay for some of these services out of their own pockets.

As for abortion, no fucking way, Jose:

The bill also prevents affordability credits from being used to pay for abortion coverage; the credits would help middle-class and working-class Americans purchase insurance coverage on the private market. Eighty-seven percent of existing private insurance plans cover abortion, which is significantly cheaper and less medically risky than pregnancy and childbirth. After reform, if insurers want to continue to provide such care, the House bill would require them to segregate all government funding from the co-pays individuals pay into the plans. Abortions could only be paid for out of the “private” side of the ledger.

Feminist and progressive bloggers are tearing their hair out in appropriately angst-size chunks:

But what, you ask, does this have to do with PUMAs?

Everything. This is what PUMA was all about. As I said in June 2008:

A Democratic party that has lost the women’s vote will be a Democratic party bending over backwards to win it back.

I wrote that when the PUMA movement was only a few days old. PUMA was about women asserting their power as voters, refusing to be taken for granted anymore. It was about women pushing back against a Democratic Party that exploited our votes, our money, and our time, while blackmailing us with Roe v. Wade. It was about women putting the fear of God into the Democrats so they would have to earn our support for a change.

Don’t believe me? Fine: get in the time machine and read this post from June 2008, where I laid it all out — no really, don’t just skip down; stop and read the fucking post: Archimedes’ Lever.

“But Violet!” you say. “PUMAs weren’t feminists! PUMAs were just hysterical bitches/batshit crazy racists/secret Republicans! The Obama supporters said so!”

Ah, no.

Look: whenever women start getting feministy and making demands, the patriarchy’s number one line of defense is to undermine their credibility. That’s what Rush Limbaugh was doing when he said feminism was just ugly women’s sour grapes. That’s what Sir Almroth Wright was doing when he argued that suffragists were mentally ill. That’s what the Republicans in the 70s were doing when they claimed feminism was a front for communism; and it’s what the communists were doing in the 20s when they claimed feminism was a front for bourgeois capitalism.

The object, in all cases, is to dismiss women’s real grievances as non-existent or absurd, and to paint the women themselves as deranged enemies of the good. Those silly suffragists weren’t chaining themselves to the gates because they actually wanted the right to vote — what normal woman would want or need such a thing? — but because they were bitter spinsters driven mad with sexual frustration.

And that, precisely, was the rhetorical strategy adopted by the anti-PUMA contingent last year. Remember? PUMAs were bitter, PUMAs were hysterical, PUMAs were racists, PUMAs were really a front for the GOP. (Though not, I think, a front for the communists this time; I believe the Republicans — the real Republicans — had already reserved that one for the Obama camp. So difficult to keep all the propaganda straight.) No attention was paid to what the women were actually saying; no credence was given to their very real frustration with the Democratic Party. All that was simply ignored.

The charge that PUMAs were “really” just racists was particularly interesting, since it capitalized on one of the woman-belittling themes already at work: that the only real issue in the race last year was race. According to this reckoning, Barack Obama’s campaign was historic and dramatic, but Hillary Clinton’s was just some boring-ass politics-as-usual by a “conventional candidate” (or, as an Obama supporter put it, “some dude’s wife”). All those millions of women who experienced Hillary’s run for president as a huge, even life-changing event? Actually, they were just racists who were scared to death of having a black man in the White House. The millions of women who were appalled by the sexism that derailed Hillary’s candidacy, the millions who were stunned to realize that the Democratic Party was playing them for fools? Actually, here again: just racists who hated Obama. Crazy hysterical bitter bitches.

See how it’s done?

The PUMA movement alarmed the Democrats (briefly) because it threatened to disrupt the party’s blackmail-hold on women’s votes. You know the deal: the Democrats pretend to be pro-choice, and in exchange women let them get away with anything. The problem, obviously, is that the Democrats really aren’t pro-choice anymore, not in any reliable, consistent way. Any woman who votes Democrat “because they’re pro-choice” is basically running on muscle memory. It’s more like a rumor now, or a legend from the past.

But the blackmail still works, amazingly enough. Last year: apocalyptic warnings that if John McCain were elected, then Sarah Palin — his vice-president — would magically assume dictatorial powers over all the nation’s uteruses. Only Obama could save us! ‘Cause, you know, the Democrats are pro-choice. So Obama gets elected, and what does he do? Appoints the pro-life Palinesque Tim Kaine as head of the DNC. Appoints another pro-life Palin clone to Health & Human Services. Cuts women’s reproductive health from the stimulus bill. Retains the Hyde Amendment. Promises that health care reform won’t cover abortion. Psych!

**********

Addendum, November 5, 2009: The comment thread appended to this post developed into a rather interesting discussion of what happened to the PUMA movement after the initial Summer of Love. Kind of a Paul Harvey, Page Two thing. And now, for the rest of the story…

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241 Responses to “A year later, world suddenly gets what PUMAs were talking about”

  1. quixote says:

    As I said in June 2008:

    When it was some use!

    (Given Palin’s actions as Governor of Alaska, I doubt very much she would have appointed Kaine to head DNC….)

    I keep wondering what the young women who thought Big O was so cooool, think now.

  2. sherry says:

    According to this reckoning, Barack Obama’s campaign was historic and dramatic, but Hillary Clinton’s was just some boring-ass politics-as-usual by a “conventional candidate”

    exactly

  3. anna says:

    “Appoints another pro-life Palin clone to Health & Human Services.”

    Isn’t Kathleen Sebelius (Secretary of Health and Human Services) pro-choice?

  4. anna says:

    Also: What do you think of Terry O’Neill as the new president of NOW? I know you were pulling for her, but do you think she’s living up to what you hoped for?

  5. Violet says:

    Anna, I’m referring to Alexia Kelley:

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/06/08/obamas-poor-choice-faith-leader

  6. vastleft says:

    I was cheered by the advent of the PUMAs but was increasingly put off by some of the behavior of the leadership, in particular unduly positive statements about the McCain-Palin ticket and some rather odd abusiveness toward likeminded disgruntled Democrats.

    As I see it, misogyny was one of eight issues that warranted a serious rethinking (which, of course, has never happened) about the Obama Movement and the party and “progressive” infrastructure that supported it. Which is to say that PUMAs and other disappointed Democrats had sexism and several other legitimate grievances with the 2008 Democratic primaries.

    These recent developments on women’s health suggest that perhaps the entire list of eight issues from the primaries is in play on health-care deform, and in the blinkered and bullying rush to pass any kind of bill that makes insider “progressives” feel accomplished without regard to consequences nor the legitimacy of the process (remember the promises of an open and transparent process that considered all options?).

    Disregard for women is part of the problem and part of the pattern, but there’s a broader whole of unsavory process and motives that seemingly will never be called out in any meaningful way.

  7. vastleft says:

    Here is the list of 8 issues that I referred to:

    http://www.correntewire.com/whats_damage

    a) Truthiness
    b) Groupthink
    c) Bullying
    d) Instrumentalism
    e) Sexism
    f) Ageism
    g) Classism
    h) Squandering

  8. Violet says:

    I was cheered by the advent of the PUMAs but was increasingly put off by some of the behavior of the leadership

    I just want to point out that the PUMA movement didn’t really have a leadership. It was a genuine grassroots uprising — spontaneous, disorganized, and largely chaotic.

  9. Alison says:

    Oh, this is good news! I was just talking about this with husband in the car last week. I said to him, are you noticing that people are beginning to talk about VAW, sexism, etc. in the media and they are actually taking the conversation seriously? And then I said, do you remember how I was demonized and ostracized by all my friends for talking this way during the election? And then I said, PUMA’s all over the country were bravely doing this, and now, years later, it’s just starting to sink in. Our words, our fight planted a seed in our societies consciousness.

    Who ever is the first to stand against an -ism during anytime period will surely be ostracized but without the courage of all the PUMAs we would not be where we are today!

    Yeah, I know we have a crap health care plan but AT LEAST people are STARTING to talk….

    I am happy and I am feeling very optimistic.

  10. madamab says:

    I do agree that the PUMA movement started off exactly as you state, Violet. And of course, we were easily dismissed because, let’s face it, we are only girls after all. What the h*ll do we know?

    Now, too many PUMAs appear to be apologists for the Republican Party. I don’t think either Party is intrinsically good for women, frankly. I thought that’s what PUMA meant – that we would stop concentrating on political parties and start standing up for our rights.

    Turns out I was mistaken.

    That’s why I’m no longer PUMA. I’m just a liberal feminist who wants to pass the ERA and see enough women in office to make real change happen.

  11. Adrienne in CA says:

    I just want to point out that the PUMA movement didn’t really have a leadership. It was a genuine grassroots uprising — spontaneous, disorganized, and largely chaotic.

    Yes, and because of that, they were vulnerable to deliberate infiltration. I agree that PUMA started as a women’s rebellion against decades of being used for our votes by the Dem Party (much the way black voters have been, btw). But as a participant on many PUMA blogs and listserves, I watched as new members flooded in and turned the conversations away from our legitimate and principled grievances, and toward hyperbole about the socialist agenda and other extremely right-wing views — and NOTHING about feminism. When they started attacking Hillary, I had to leave.

    PUMA was right, so it was destroyed.

    *****A

  12. madamab says:

    What Adrienne @11 said.

  13. Violet says:

    I also agree, Adrienne. You’re exactly right. Though some of the original PUMAs are still keeping the faith, and I salute them. But a lot of what now calls itself “PUMA” is just Republicanism. The most extreme wingnut shit.

    It’s ironic: the original charge that PUMAs were really Republicans was ludicrously false. Ludicrous because PUMAs were actually heavy-duty Democrats, including major donors, committee members, etc. Yet it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. The name “PUMA” became so ostracized that most of the original people finally had to disassociate themselves from it. And so PUMA was left to be infiltrated for real by Republicans.

  14. vastleft says:

    I just want to point out that the PUMA movement didn’t really have a leadership. It was a genuine grassroots uprising — spontaneous, disorganized, and largely chaotic.

    IIRC, Riverdaughter/Goldberry (whom I believe coined the term “PUMA,” though I could be wrong) at The Confluence blog and Darragh Murphy at PUMAPAC were recognized as leaders pretty early on, no?

    [T]hey were vulnerable to deliberate infiltration

    I don’t think “infiltration” covers it (though it’s hard to know if such a thing occurred — I don’t have enough info to rule that in or out). There were people who were leading figures early on who seemed all-to-willing to prop up McCain and Palin on policy and character (which is different from defending them against unfair attacks, which I did on occasion, in particular criticizing ageism against McCain and sexism and numerous lies and distortions against Palin, as well as the generally creepy and distracting [from real issues] ongoing fixation many lefties have about her).

  15. slythwolf says:

    If only I could believe people would actually learn something from this, that maybe it would be different next time (whenever that finally comes). Sadly, no.

  16. It’s fun to read old blog posts « Donna Darko says:

    [...] Violet Is The Best: A year later, world suddenly gets what PUMAs were talking about [...]

  17. Violet says:

    IIRC, Riverdaughter/Goldberry (whom I believe coined the term “PUMA,” though I could be wrong) at The Confluence blog and Darragh Murphy at PUMAPAC were recognized as leaders pretty early on, no?

    The name was coined by SM in a comment at The Confluence. Riverdaughter and Darragh quickly became highly visible, but calling them leaders implies that they were calling the shots or setting the direction. They weren’t. Nor was Will Bower or Diane or anybody else. Nobody was!

    Here’s a post I wrote when PUMA was about a month old, recounting some of what had happened:

    http://www.reclusiveleftist.com/2008/07/03/pumas-versus-possums-this-is-what-a-grassroots-movement-looks-like/

    The interesting thing about PUMA was just how spontaneous and grassroots it really was. It was like dozens of different little wildfires that had all started independently. These were not people who had known each other before. All over the country, you had Democrats (mostly women) who were suddenly writing letters or showing up on TV or starting blogs or founding groups or what have you, all on the same theme. That was PUMA.

    And of course it fell apart, and some people tried to take it in other directions, etc.

  18. I am vaguely calling you an idiot « Donna Darko says:

    [...] Violet Is The Best: A year later, world suddenly gets what PUMAs were talking about [...]

  19. Sameol says:

    I am pretty sure that Sebelius is not pro-choice, to the best of my recollection. I’d look it up, but I don’t have time right this minute.

    IMO, the nadir of this phenomenon of which you speak was Tim Wise’s open letter to feminists, which was one long exercise in male privilege in the guise of battling white privilege. Ignoring Asian and Latina and all other women who aren’t Black or white, he ordered white women to vote for Obama in support of WOC who were voting for Obama. completely ignoring any reasons anyone would have for not doing so (except, of course, racism), explained that they had no right at all to ask for anything in exchange for their votes, and pointed out, logically enough that if white women had voted for Kerry, they couldn’t refuse to vote for Obama (I still remember the vicious campaign Kerry’s followers ran against Harriet Dean, don’t you? Exact same situation there).

  20. Sameol says:

    She calls herself a pro life pro choicer or something. She says she’s against outright criminalization, but where she stands on restrictions, not sure. Pro choice people don’t seem to like her much, from a quick glance around, however.

  21. SYD says:

    Violet is correct. There is no “leadership” among PUMAs. We are independent agents. We think and act as we see fit. The fact that we find a loosely knit community at PUMA PAC or Confluence or elsewhere… is simply the result of some of our blogs being higher profile than some others.

    PUMA was (and is) correct in it’s assertion that women need to break from BOTH PARTIES if we are going to make progress. The fact that some folks here actually believe that PUMA is a “Republican movement,” simply points up that many Feminists are pretty damned gullible.

    There are crazy people in every political movement. That includes the farthest Left of Dems, and the farthest Right of the GOP. And… of course…. it includes some of us who are trying to extricate ourselves from our abusers.

    BUT… that doesn’t mean that all Dems are batshit. Nor does it mean that all Repubs are lunatics.

    Within the PUMA movement I have found… get this…. some of the sanest elements from BOTH SIDES. It was a matter of growing up and learning to ignore the programmed Democrat talking points I’d bought in to.

  22. SYD says:

    I’ll add that what I said above, about women, holds true for gays as well. To the extant that gay folk are gonna sit around and wait for a savior like Obama to hand them their rights…. they will be sorely disappointed. Just as with women. Obama never has… and still does not… give a sh** about any of us.

    In fact… I will go as far as to say that Obama cares as much for women’s and gay’s issues as does McCain. “Propping up” either one of them on our issues is pure folly. (Though siding with one or the other on … say… national security can be wholly logical.)

    Palin was/ is conundrum that women must grapple with. But no PUMA I ever met was dull or unaware of the dilemma she presents for Feminists. No matter what the so called “Feminist” talking heads would like us to believe.

  23. vastleft says:

    Violet, thanks for the history on the PUMAs.

    I would love to drum up some interest in a holistic look at what happened in the primary debacle and what is happening today in our ongoing political debacles, such as the health-deform one that’s playing out now.

    I’d appreciate feedback on my eight-points analysis, and I also encourage all to read Arthur Silber’s tribalism series, for which he provides an overview here.

    The problems are bigger than any one issue and any one constituency (which is not at all to shortchange the importance of health care and gender equality). There are precious few places where the right questions are being asked, let alone these problems being solved.

  24. lambert strether says:

    VastLeft, it seems like the “8-Fold Path of ‘progressive’ Thought” is still fully functional, looking at the health insurance/”consumer option” debacle.

  25. angie says:

    (To paraphrase Naomi Wolfe): What do you women want? Obama is Christmas, Hanukkah & New Years all rolled into one!

  26. vastleft says:

    Lambert,

    It does appear that all eight sins are present and accounted for in the “public option” clusterfuck.

    Nice to see Natasha helping blow the whistle on it. It’s been, you may have noticed, a little hard to drum up a proper critique of P.O. at Open Left, so I’m appreciative of the good deed.

  27. lalala says:

    Most PUMAs and former PUMAs are not apologists for the Republican Party. Many voted for McCain/Palin only as a rejection of Obama and the sexism displayed by the media and the Democratic Party. Most continue to defend Palin from the ongoing sexist attacks and are called Republicans because of it. PUMAs got a bad rap because they refused to bow down to Obama last year. Many Obama supporters in California and Maine went to the polls to vote for anti-gay marriage laws and the media doesn’t even question their affiliation as “liberals” and Democrats. But anyone who goes against Obama and they are automatically attacked for being racist Republicans.

    Oh, and a lot of liberals who did not vote for Obama while rejecting the PUMA label also pulled out the race-baiting and sexism against The Confluence. I imagine it was because they bought into the stereotypes of PUMA from the Obamacans and joined the hate bandwagon to somehow prove that they were different. Things got a bit chaotic before November but I have never seen anything that I would deem racist at The Confluence and lately they’ve been pretty consistent about where they stand on the issues. They have also dropped the PUMA label, I’m guessing because they’ve decided to leave behind all the baggage and accusations of last year. The writers and the commenters there are good liberals and they’ve proven themselves to be more progressive than Obama or the mainstream liberal news sites.

  28. Adrienne in CA says:

    (To paraphrase Naomi Wolfe): What do you women want? Obama is Christmas, Hanukkah & New Years all rolled into one!

    To the extent that they both represent a commercialized crapfest that ends in disappointment and increased suicides, I’d say she’s right.

    *****A

  29. Violet says:

    VL, your 8-point analysis was excellent. And, of course, extremely depressing. I just re-read the post and, once again, my heart was filled with gloom.

    Personally, I would add to that list one other thing: anti-feminism. This is in addition to and separate from the sexism you already mentioned. By anti-feminism, I mean that the 2008 blog wars effectively drove feminism — by which I mean full feminism, unapolegetic feminism, feminism as a project for women’s equality — out of the progressive movement. What’s left is a kind of shadow feminism: feminism that is wholly subservient to the male left agenda. In fact, it is the male left agenda. It’s not even about women anymore. It’s just whatever is on the general progressive list of issues.

    If you doubt me, check out some of the feminist Obama blogs. You’ll learn that feminism isn’t “just” about women (how ridiculous!), that Hillary Clinton wasn’t a feminist but Obama is, that a list of feminist issues doesn’t even have to include a single mention of women, that the police shooting of a black man is a feminist issue, etc., etc. Everything, in fact, is a feminist issue: civil rights, gay rights, stem cell research, dolphins, everything. Women’s equality is somewhere on that list — way, way down the list — but subservient to pretty much everything else. Which means that progressive men can happily prioritize women’s stuff at the very bottom of the pile — as they’ve been doing all along — but now they can do so while pointing out that they’re in complete accord with “feminism.” Heh.

    Of course this development has been a long time coming. Ever since the pie fight days, and before, there has been tension between feminists-being-feminists — which sometimes necessitates disagreement with and opposition to the liberal male agenda — and feminism as a domesticated, tame, shewbread accessory that just sits in the sidebar and looks cute.

    But the great Obama v. Clinton war last year was the clincher. Women like PUMAs, who insisted that feminism might actually not be compatible with what the men had decided was important, were ostracized and repudiated. Remember all the talk about head-shaving and French collaborator whores? Oh yes.

  30. maddie says:

    Still a PUMA

    No longer a Democrat

    NOT a Republican

    We are still here, we just don’t post often.

    Not all PUMAs have been “infiltrated”.

    After all, independent thought defines PUMA.

    Rise Hillary, Rise!

  31. Alison says:

    What SYD said, #21 and #22. Well said!

  32. gxm17 says:

    Violet @ 29. Right on!

    I was gonna snarkily say: Hey, but but but but THIS is what a feminist looks like.

    But you said it so much more eloquently, thoughtfully and thoroughly.

  33. SYD says:

    I’m with Maddie.

    Still a PUMA. Not and Dem (anymore.) Never was a Republican.

    I have not been “infiltrated.” I am still thinking for myself as always.

    I will never forget the knife in the back I got for supporting Hillary in 2008. No “progressive” male is gonna tell me now… or ever again …. what matters to me.

    Ef the Obots, and the DNC horse they rode in on.

  34. SYD says:

    Thanks Alison.

    And thanks Dr. Violet.

    This is one of the few places where PUMAs are still respected and given the right of voice.

  35. scott says:

    Just lurking and agreeing with the commentary. I’m convinced. I’m tired of supporting Dems who aren’t really feminists, aren’t really liberals, don’t give a shit about GLBT, and don’t give a shit about imperialism. I live in Virginia and couldn’t pull the lever for Deeds because he spent all his time (like Obama) dumping on all the liberal things I care about. I guess I used to be a yellow-dog Democrat, but the stuff I support is way more important than any label that gets stuck on it. If Dems actually support those things, great. If not, to hell with them and voting for them, and no way am I voting for Obama next time.

  36. Violet says:

    This is one of the few places where PUMAs are still respected and given the right of voice.

    Well, not to rain on the parade, but as a blanket statement that is not true. Original PUMAs, sure. People who were part of the original movement and who have kept to those principles, sure. But the PUMA label really has been devalued and misused. Some people calling themselves PUMAs now just seem to be wingnut Republicans. I was forwarded an email not long ago from a reputedly PUMA, reputedly Hillary-supporting blog (not anyone here), and it was utterly appalling. Just your basic wingnut crap.

  37. SYD says:

    I am not aware of which site you refer to, Dr. Socks. But… lets face it… there are wingnuts out there calling themselves just about anything.

    Doesn’t make it so.

    Just sayin’.

  38. Honora says:

    The DNC’s disregard for democracy in the primaries is what made me a PUMA.

    I now know that the DNC and the RNC are equally immoral. I do not think PUMA has become ‘infiltrated’ by Republicans, the vast majority of PUMAs I see around are liberal, but not stupid enough to wait for the DNC to save us. Women are pawns in the chess game of politics, so I have decided to disengage from the game. I am now a free agent, I vote my brain.

    I’m saddened by the ease with which some have discarded the PUMA identity. I consider myself a Feminist, a Liberal and a PUMA. I know what these terms mean and I will not be forced to abandon them because some astroturfers try to redefine them.

  39. Carmonn says:

    that a list of feminist issues doesn’t even have to include a single mention of women, that the police shooting of a black man is a feminist issue, etc., etc. Everything, in fact, is a feminist issue: civil rights, gay rights, stem cell research, dolphins, everything. Women’s equality is somewhere on that list — way, way down the list — but subservient to pretty much everything else.

    And any woman who doesn’t agree that feminism is merely a catch-all for every issue of concern to liberal men is attacked for being “selfish.” Unable to recognize the universality of men’s concerns and the pettiness of women’s. I very well remember “Sean Bell is a feminist issue,” and the way it was justified when a few women objected to the framing and the pigpiling began. Sean, after all, has a mother, wife, and possibly daughters who love him, ask them if they think it’s a feminist issue!

    Meanwhile, while feminist women are tagged with the responsibility to spend their time on every non-related issue in the universe, if you’re waiting for liberal men to start regularly writing about feminist issues (in a supportive rather than derisive way, I mean), for the most part you’ll be waiting a long, long time. That just may be why the feminist movement got started in the first place.

  40. vastleft says:

    Thanks, Violet.

    Thinking out loud here, but I’ll bet that “anti-feminism” is paralleled with many other “anti-Xes,” with “X” being any of several other constituencies and issues that traditionally matter to actual liberals.

    For example,”post-racialism” is a frame that diminishes awareness of and sensitivity to the persistent issues of race.

    “Health reform,” of course, was co-opted and perverted.

    War protest? Fuggedaboutit in the Age of Obama.

    What traditional concern of liberalism hasn’t been lobotomized in favor of Obamism?

    Given the circumstances of the primary and the truly alarming ability of many “progressives” to slough off gender issues, I don’t doubt that “anti-feminism” may be the most extreme casualty in this regard, but again I’d argue that the scope of the phenomena is even wider-ranging.

  41. lambert strether says:

    I think the “lessons learned” from the primariez are reasonably clear (see VL’s 8 points + possibly 1).

    What’s not clear is the lessons learned from the PUMA phenomenon — which, as one of the genuinely creative, spontaneous, and encouraging movements of 2008 cries out for analysis.

    But I don’t even know how to begin, other than with Violet’s “of course it fell apart” (why “of course”?). On the one hand, we’ve got people strongly identifying as PUMAs; on the other hand, we’ve got the idea of every PUMA acting as an independent agent. But if every PUMA is an independent agent, then where does the identity come from?

    Assume for the sake of argument that there are no leaders (though I’m not clear on the difference between “higher profile” and leadership) and we’ve got a sort of leaderless resistance of the feminist left. Is there anything that holds it all together other than resistance to the two-party system, as experienced in the 2008 primary?

    Anyhow, Violet, thanks for this post.

  42. Adrienne in CA says:

    Violet, your #29 belongs in the “Comments That Should Have Been Posts” category.

    Thanks, too, for new words like “shewbread.”

    *****A

  43. Violet says:

    But I don’t even know how to begin, other than with Violet’s “of course it fell apart” (why “of course”?).

    Why of course? Because of what you mentioned right after that: everyone’s an independent agent. There were no leaders. There was nothing to hold it together, no focus.

    PUMA was born out of the ashes of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and it was fundamentally a resistance movement. Resistance to the DNC, and by extension to the whole sexist system. But who came along to hold that together? No one. Hillary herself didn’t; she’s a party Democrat first and foremost. There was nothing.

    The overwhelming majority of leftist/liberal women decided to do what they always do: make the best of it, take what was offered, decide to be happy about Obama and optimistic about whatever good things might happen. This kind of make-do acceptance is pretty much the existential condition of womankind.

  44. Violet says:

    I’m saddened by the ease with which some have discarded the PUMA identity. I consider myself a Feminist, a Liberal and a PUMA. I know what these terms mean and I will not be forced to abandon them because some astroturfers try to redefine them.

    Look, I was there at the beginning of PUMAdom, I saw how the movement was slandered, and I’m deeply sympathetic to all the shit PUMAs have suffered. But I’ll be blunt. I just clicked through the PUMA blogs on SYD’s blogroll — the first time I’ve surveyed PUMA blogs in well over a year — and I no longer recognize it as the same movement. I see pro-Republican, pro-GOP posts; pro-Rush Limbaugh posts; pro-Fox News posts; anti-healthcare reform posts; anti-Obama-the-Socialist posts; anti-ACORN posts; anti-Saul Alinsky posts; anti-environmentalism posts; etc.

    Is there any common thread with what PUMA originally was? As far as I can tell, the only things that have endured for all PUMAs are 1) a stated affection for Hillary Clinton, and 2) an antipathy to the Democratic Party.* And hey, those are both fine things. But you can see how those two things alone — particularly #2, which seems uppermost — might readily lend themselves to a Republican point of view.

    And that, in fact, is what seems to have happened.

    I’m not saying all PUMAs are conservatives, obviously. But there are enough that it makes the whole PUMA identity look iffy.

    *Edited to add: I wish I could say that opposition to sexism is one of the things that has endured for all PUMAs, but it hasn’t. The blog post that was emailed to me recently was a grotesquely sexist attack on Michelle Obama.

  45. Mec says:

    I’m not a Puma. I’m actually more of a Tea Partier. It’s amazing what readers Dr. Socks attracts with positions like: politicians on the other side are still human beings.

    But I thought the Pumas were one of the best things about the 2008 election: a group of people interested in fulfilling their goals rather than using their rhetoric as a club in the service of either Candidate D or Candidate R. So, may I offer you my respect from across the aisle?

  46. vastleft says:

    Violet @ 44:

    Wait, wait. I’ve seen this before. It’ll come to me… oh, yeah NUANCE! After almost of all of it leaving the blogosphere these last two years, it’s such an unfamiliar sight!

    Bravo!

  47. Sasha, CA says:

    I agree with vastleft @ 6 & 7, madamab @ 10, and violet @ 13 & 29. It wasn’t just Republican infiltrators though that destroyed PUMA. Initially many PUMAs decided to vote for McCain/Palin simply as a form of protest. That wasn’t my choice, but it was one I could understand after everything that went down during the Primary. But once they picked a side — pro-McCain, anti-Obama — all too many seemed to get excited about the Republican Party platform and McCain’s supposedly stellar character while bashing Democrats. I witnessed this on several “PUMA blogs” as well as with a close personal friend of mine. Suddenly lifelong Democrats were saying things like, “did you hear McCain’s speech? He was really telling it like it is!” Republicans spouting wingnut propaganda were welcomed with open arms because they too were pro-McCain and anti-Obama. Some people even tried to rewrite history, defending right-wing misogynists like Rush, claiming that he never made certain misogynistic remarks, and arguing that the Republican party had been no worse on the issue of women’s rights than the Democratic party. And yes, some people who weren’t racist or sexist themselves started aligning themselves with sites that were (such as the noxious “No Quarter”). It also didn’t help that even people who considered themselves PUMAs had very different ideas about what the term meant. Given that this was a true grassroots movement, anyone could adopt the label, and some of the people who did weren’t even remotely feminist. Instead they saw PUMA as a haven for moderate Dems who felt alienated by the supposedly radical left-wing politics of the Obama crowd. This, in turn, alienated PUMA sympathizers like myself whose politics are very far left on the political spectrum.

    Like many others here, I was initially excited about PUMA, but IMO it all started going downhill pretty quickly. And while the right-wing infiltrators certainly had something to do with that, I’ve got to agree with vastleft that they weren’t the only problem.

  48. Sasha, CA says:

    Violet, I hadn’t seen your comment #44 when I wrote and posted my comment. Sorry about the overlap!

  49. myiq2xu says:

    PUMA started as a genuine left-wing, grassroots protest movement.

    The “leadership” of PUMA was the people willing to take some initiative and do more than just talk. I was surprised and disappointed that some people who I expected to be active in PUMA chose to sit on the sidelines and then bad-mouthed the efforts of others.

    Some bloggers talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk.

  50. yttik says:

    After the primary last year, I can no longer look at politics thru the democratic party’s glasses. That means sometimes Republicans are right, sometimes they have good ideas, and sometimes Democrats are simply full of baloney. Yes indeed, that frequently gets me labeled a Republican, but I really don’t care anymore. I won’t be part of a puma movement that won’t let people speak the truth just as I won’t be part of a feminist movement that believes it’s okay to use sexism and misogyny as long as the woman being targeted is the “enemy.”

  51. lambert strether says:

    > Some bloggers talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk.

    Indeed.

  52. lambert strether says:

    Violet @ 44:

    Exactly. Some saw it coming earlier than others, that’s all.

  53. Violet says:

    No overlap, Sasha; I appreciated your comment.

    You said:

    Instead they saw PUMA as a haven for moderate Dems who felt alienated by the supposedly radical left-wing politics of the Obama crowd. This, in turn, alienated PUMA sympathizers like myself whose politics are very far left on the political spectrum.

    I saw that too before the election, and man, you wanna talk about strange bedfellows. I knew that couldn’t hold. The original PUMAs considered Obama too conservative, not progressive enough. And here come these people who think Obama is a pistol-waving radical!

    I had a conversation last year with Rosa Clemente, who of course was the VP candidate on the Green ticket. We were talking about the sexism in politics and the media, and how third parties — or really anything outside the two-party system — is simply railroaded. Last year the PUMA movement looked like a good thing, and Greens were enthused about it too.

    I don’t think Greens would say that now about PUMAs, and it’s because of what we’ve been talking about: the attrition that has removed many of the liberals from PUMA.

    There’s a lesson somewhere in here about third party politics, but I’m not sure what the lesson is beyond “it’s fucking impossible.” The two major parties are like these oxygen-sucking vortices that swallow everything.

  54. vastleft says:

    @yttik:

    How does that follow?

    After the primary last year, I can no longer look at politics thru the democratic party’s glasses. That means sometimes Republicans are right, sometimes they have good ideas…

    How does your disapproval of Dems during the primaries make the Republicans sometimes right and sometimes have good ideas?

    I’ll take a wild guess here: maybe you just like some Republican positions.

  55. yttik says:

    “I’ll take a wild guess here: maybe you just like some Republican positions.”

    I do now, now that I am able to quit viewing the democratic party as if they are the party of all that is good and just and right in the world.

  56. lambert strether says:

    Maybe it isn’t the two party system that’s broken; maybe it’s the party system that’s broken.

    In what I suppose one might label the “after nobody came along to hold it together” phase (hat tip, violet), which occurred well before November 2008, there was pro-Palin content that were just as repellent as any pro-Obama content you ever saw (which is not at all to say that “progressives” didn’t slander Palin in the most vile ways possible; these are not mutually exclusive propositions). I’m thinking VL’s 8 + 1 needs another item: Authoritarian followership.

    I veer between thinking we need a better Democratic party to we need a third party to we need a new something-or-other that’s not a party to thinking it’s all part of the human condition to fall for this cr*p.

    I don’t know where we went wrong. I’m imperfectly happy to surrender testosterone-driven leadership; gawd knows we’ve tried everything else. But where to surrendur to?!

    It’s late; I ramble.

  57. lambert strether says:

    I’ll try again. yttik writes:

    After the primary last year, I can no longer look at politics thru the democratic party’s glasses. That means sometimes Republicans are right, sometimes they have good ideas…

    No. If every single Democratic idea was wrong, that would not make one single Republican idea right. These are completely independent propositions.

    I’m am so, so tired of people who think that because [insert party name here] says it’s raining, it must be sunny — instead of checking out the window.

  58. yttik says:

    We are brainwashed into believing that Democrats are knights in shining armor come to rescue us damsels from the dark and evil Republicans. I don’t buy that crap anymore. Politics is no longer about a battle between good and evil. It’s no longer that simple and clear cut. Republicans gave us the first female congresswoman, it was primarily Republican appointed judged who upheld Roe V Wade, it was Republicans who first put the ERA on their party platform and continued to do so every year until 1972.

    It is a Democratic majority and Dem president who is attempting to ban funding for abortion while also advocating prayer as a legit medical expense.

    Healthcare provision seeks to embrace prayer treatments

    http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-na-health-religion3-2009nov03,0,2239900.story?page=1

    Pumas fractured because they were so busy monitoring the presumed belief systems of their members and attacking anybody they thought was a right winger or an Obot or whatever. Separate, divide, control. Works every time.

  59. Violet says:

    yttik, it sounds like you’re talking about political behavior rather than platform. And yes, in terms of behavior, both parties are craven and opportunistic.

    But that doesn’t mean there is no difference between the parties’ platforms. There is. And the Republican platform sucks.

    As for reaching back into party history, this I admit baffles me. Yeah, the Republicans were the party of Lincoln! Good for them. But they’re not anymore.

  60. Sameol says:

    Well, then you’ll be so, so invigorated to realize that’s pretty much exactly what yttik said, you know, that she’s stopped listening to one party tell her it’s raining and is now looking out the window and judging for herself on a case-by-case basis. And possibly a little silly for being so self-righteous about it. Sheesh.

  61. lalala says:

    I understand where yttik is coming from even if I don’t agree with her decision to “like” Republican positions now that the Democratic Party is being run by Goldman Sachs DINOs. It’s easier once you get out of the partisan mindset that you must vote for any Democrat just because they are running as a Democrat, you become more of an Independent who either leans left or right. Some people will lean right and find it acceptable to vote for Republicans because they run a candidate who is appealing to you in some way that might not have anything to do with politics. Ultimately it was the Democratic Party’s fault for alienating some voters last year and it’s their job to win them back. Partisan Democrats have no right to criticize people who left the party until they get their own act together and fix the mess they made that caused the rift in the first place.

    And yeah, Mandos is a misogynistic asshat. I don’t know much about his history on the blogosphere but this is my conclusion just from reading a few of his comments at Corrente, the Confluence, and a few other sites. And yea, the Confluence isn’t perfect but neither is Corrente. The Confluence took a stand to protest Obama even if it meant voting for McCain and Corrente focuses more on single payer advocacy. The 2008 election aside, the two blogs have similar positions on everything else.

  62. Sameol says:

    Yes, but what about cases where a horrible conservative Democrat is challenged by a more liberal Republican? In the past, I would not have considered voting for the Republican. I might have refused to vote for the Democrat, but even knowing he was more liberal, I wouldn’t have voted for the Republican. Now I’ll consider it. That’s what changed for me. Most of my votes will be going Green, but it’s no longer inconceivable to vote for a Republican.

  63. lambert strether says:

    Violet @58: Love your guarantee! Yep, Mandos committed seppuku awhile back. He wasn’t missed.

  64. lambert strether says:

    Sameol @63:

    Most of my votes will be going Green, but it’s no longer inconceivable to vote for a Republican.

    Yes. We may see much more Green action, and all to the good. I’m sure that cries of “Naderite!” will fill the air, but 2010 is not 2000.

  65. Violet says:

    You know what? I just read through the Corrente thread that vastleft linked to in comment #6. My amazing spidey sense told me that there was some Confluence v. Corrente angst happening here, and I’ve never understood what the hell that was about (since to me both blogs seem to occupy virtually the same political space). So I decided to read up in the hope of enlightenment.

    Unfortunately, I’m not much more enlightened, because I think I would have to have read every blog post and every comment on both blogs for the past year and a half to know what really happened. And at the end, both blogs are still occupying virtually the same political space, so what the fuck?

    But I will say this: I think the main problem is just that both Corrente and Confluence are group blogs. And with group blogs, some posters are assholes and some posts are shitty and so forth. That’s just how it goes. (As opposed to a sole proprietor outfit like this one, where an asshole blogger and a shitty post is guaranteed every time!)

    It was ironic to me that the thread VL linked to featured much discussion of some allegedly Ungood post at the Confluence (which I didn’t read so I don’t know). Ironic because right there in the Corrente thread is fucking Mandos, an anti-feminist, anti-semitic troll who lives to cause trouble on progressive blogs. He was banned from the feminist blogs for his bullshit a couple of years ago. Then last year he popped up again to make hay during the election. He hangs with the crowd that cheered on the 4chan attacks on the feminist blogs — and shit, even in the Corrente thread he posted a link to an anti-feminist troll site.

    (Not to mention that Corrente also has a couple of regulars whose statements about Hillary Clinton supporters have turned my hair.)

    So, you know, I could get really upset about that and decide that the Corrente Empire is evil, etc. Or I could just decide that it’s a group blog with some people I really like and some others who are assholes, and leave it at that.

  66. bygones says:

    Consider that once in their own way PUMAs were the first “tea partiers” to evolve from the election. They stood back and refused to be bullied into signing onto the Obama bandwagon and judge his inexperience while taking the blows dealt by the Obama supporters who called them “racists”.

    What began as a protest against some unfortunate tactics committed by the DNC on May 31st led to the PUMA label. However, as time went on, it became top heavy with praise for the McCain/Palin ticket which offered little by way of liberal values and thus marginalized those commentators who were pressured to declare the same.

    After the election some liberal and feminist blogs began to insert the GOP talking points simply out of their distaste for Obama himself and the attacks against Michele were becoming obscene. Some PUMAs began to feel uncomfortable with this meme but found their admonishments held little sway. Thus the separation from the PUMA label in some cases.

    It could have been a positive grassroots effort but those “leaders” like Bower and Diane faded from view. Other blogs welcomed any critique of Obama as acceptable and became sounding boards for the GOP by links and quotes. PUMA became diluted because the initial rallying point had lost its meaning after November 4th and was replaced by cheering the GOP who is solidly against Obama.

  67. Violet says:

    Can anyone help me find Riverdaughter’s post from earlier this year when she talked about leaving behind the PUMA name? I didn’t dream it, did I? I seem to remember her mentioning some of the same stuff we’ve been talking about here, but I wanted to re-read to see exactly what she said. But I can’t find it!

  68. Violet says:

    I’m a little too sleepy to post much on this, but I do want to mention that the PUMA movement did have many positive effects. It’s true that I think the original movement has sort of dispersed into some other things, but the children of PUMA, if you will, are alive and well. Many, many new political alliances were forged, a couple of new women’s groups were founded, there was a grassroots infusion of fresh feminism, etc.

  69. Keri says:

    The Confluence- which still do enjoy reading for the most part, (as you said Violet, it’s still a profeminist blog for the most part- and really still moreso than Corrente) there’s certain sexist regular writer. While not an outright misogynist like Mandos, he regularly spouts sexist comments and throws the typical prog dudenation attacks when called on his sexism by the feminist women on the Confluence who refuse to put up with that stuff from anyone. Sadly, a few women there fawn over him just like the fawning other sexist/misogynist so called progressive males get on other blogs.

  70. Sasha, CA says:

    We are brainwashed into believing that Democrats are knights in shining armor come to rescue us damsels from the dark and evil Republicans.

    Speak for yourself. Being appalled by the Republican Party’s platform does not mean we’re brainwashed. I vote based on issues, not political party affiliation, and I think most true progressives do. Most of us have big problems with both of the major parties. Didn’t vote for either one in the last presidential election. Today’s Republican Party is absolutely batshit and the few individuals who aren’t are being drummed out of the party by the crazies. The biggest problem with today’s Democratic Party is that they’re too much like the Republicans. Virtually every problematic Democratic position is an example of Dems sucking up to their corporate donors or to conservative voters. And sure, part of the reason the Dems, particularly this administration, routinely ignore their liberal/progressive base is because they figure we have nowhere else to go. The result is a Democratic Party that is growing steadily more conservative. So yeah, we need to show them that they’re not entitled to our support if they do not fight for our issues, but we don’t do that by supporting Republicans (except in the unlikely event that the Republicans are running a more progressive candidate than the Dems). The only message you’re sending by supporting a conservative Republican over a liberal or moderate Democrat is that the Dems just aren’t conservative enough for you, which will only encourage them to run more Blue Dogs and support more conservative positions (e.g., including prayer but not abortion or birth control in health care provisions).

  71. Violet says:

    Just a note before I go to bed: I am friendly with and well-disposed towards both Corrente and The Confluence. Neither is perfect — what is? aside from my dog’s little wet nose of course — but I classify them both as Generally a Force for Good as opposed to Generally a Force for Evil. Classification scheme copped from a friend on another site.

  72. Adrienne in CA says:

    Can anyone help me find Riverdaughter’s post from earlier this year when she talked about leaving behind the PUMA name?

    Could have sworn it had something like “PUMA No More” in the title, but maybe I also dreamed it. Anyway, while searching I stumbled on this attempt to document PUMA on Wikipedia. Interesting trip down memory lane, and the discussion page is moreso.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_United_Means_Action

    *****A

  73. SYD says:

    Just to be clear…

    Not every blog in my blogroll is PUMA. That is why it says “PUMA and beyond.”

    I rotate blogs in and out of there…. depending on what I, personally, want to read. Right now there are a few GOP bloggers I am following: Log Cabin Republicans, for instance.

    When I say PUMA I mean “Party Unity My Ass.” I have no allegiance to either side at this point. I am waiting and watching BOTH …. and some independents/ third parties as well.

    No political affiliation is perfect. That much is true.

  74. Aspen says:

    What Sasha said in #71. And I don’t think we are in the minority of feminists.

    This thread is really great. Violet’s blog, Corrente, and Madamab’s blog are three of my favorite blogs. I will be presumptuous enough to consider myself part of this movement, even though I technically was not a PUMA. I don’t get a chance to post much, but I do read regularly.

    And on this issue of women enemies: While I don’t trust or respect women who work against women, the poor, and working people, that doesn’t mean I wish them harm. I would just rather they not be in politics or have power, that’s all.

  75. vastleft says:

    Violet,

    The group-blog dynamics were a contributing factor, but the disagreements between Correntians and Confluentians went all the way to each blog’s owners (if “owner” is the right word).

    We got absolutely nowhere in that thread (as you found) figuring out exactly why Riverdaughter decided that we considered PUMAs “crazy aunts” we were embarrassed to be associated with.

    And we were just getting used to being called racists….

  76. vastleft says:

    Sasha,

    Comments like yours and Violet’s in this thread might start restoring my faith in humankind.

    And then where would I be? :v)

  77. quixote says:

    lambert upthread: I’m am so, so tired of people who think that because [insert party name here] says it’s raining, it must be sunny — instead of checking out the window.

    Bwahahaha. Ain’t that the truth!

    The brilliant Historiann is on the same wavelength: Time for a National Women’s Party Again.

  78. yttik says:

    I think people get way too tangled up in labels. It’s as if we want everybody to stay in tidy little boxes. This serves the powers that be very well. We don’t view each other as human beings, we see people as not belonging to our group.

    I don’t think people understand the real definitions of liberal and conservative. We slap those labels on people but the truth of the matter is we’ve never had either kind of president. Bush is called a conservative but I sure didn’t see any small government and fiscal discipline. Obama is called a liberal, while he basically goes on to continue the Bush policies. Even his health care bill is crafted after Mitt Romney’s plan of mandatory privatized health care.

    Bill Clinton was a pretty darn good president but the left complained that he was too conservative and the right complained that he was a flaming liberal. It’s all nonsense and simply used by the two parties to manipulate people.

    And ultimately what happens is that misogyny trumps all political labels anyway. Look at the health care bill, we’ve got Dems quite happy to be agreeing with their conservative counterparts on funding prayer and banning insurance from covering abortion. We’ve got Defense of Marriage voting Biden, pro-life Tim Kaine, and anti-birth control Harry Reid, and the anti-gay marriage Obama, to rescue us from the evil misogynistic Republicans who pretty much run around advocating the exact same thing.

  79. lambert strether says:

    I want to go back to the idea of policy vs. method, what I’ve called the question of method.

    For example, suppose X advocates a policy of the rollback of executive power, but working from birther premises (or, more subtly, from a position of “consider the possibility that….”). I agree with the policy, but accepting the idea of “sides,” could X and I — or any… left? feminist? What? Not “progressive….” — be on the same “side”? I’d argue No, and only because the birther premise is wrong, but because right wing discourse is so virulent in itself that introducing it risks complete destruction of any discourse that is not right wing. This should not be surprising, as many people were paid very well over many years to produce exactly that outcome. (And putting on my moderator’s hat for a minute, this I can moderate for, since having blogged since 2003, I know right wing discourse intimately, as I do not know other forms of discourse, e.g.)

    Or, to pick a second example, “any stick to beat a dog” (one of VL’s 8 takeaways above). Obama forces faked a video and propagated a video before the IN primary that smeared the Clintons as racist. Would it be OK for our “side” to do the same, “because they did the same thing”? I’d argue No, and not only because that’s just wrong; the apparatus of lies and bullshit in which we are enmeshed is extremely expensive — it takes a whole “creative class” to maintain it — and “we” are not going to be able to afford those tactics, literally. We will always be outgunned. (Here again, this is something that can be moderated for, by poking for evidence, provenance, and so forth, as well as checking for the various formal properties that rhetoric has.)

    And yes, the NWP. Gawd knows we’ve tried everything else..

  80. Alison says:

    Yttik,

    I’ve been noticing your comments for some time here at RL and at another blog. You always offer a refreshing perspective – that of a real independent. Actually, if the PUMA movement has been “hijacked” I’d say it has certainly become less far left and more moderate/independent. And like you stated, anyone on the left or the right will be sure to put whatever label they want on it.

  81. m Andrea says:

    I think PUMA fractured because it didn’t adhere to basic strategic procedure. It was too eager to grab any warm body that wondered by, and many of those people were really not PUMA material. A little bit of exclusitivity is good, especially when a new project is just starting out and it is a direct challenge to the status quo — because a far larger group has a vested interest in destroying it from day one. So infiltration is to be expected, and must be guarded against. Division within the ranks (diversity of opinion) is fine, as long as minimum standards are met. That way you get the most warm bodies, but no infiltration. There are entire books written on just those last two sentences alone, so I’m really boiling down the idea.

    But the other thing is something which just blows my mind. If I’m starting a project with the above criteria, and my resources and group membership are small, I do not take aim at the most powerful target of my enemy — unless I can supplant it with one blow. Instead I start small and enlarge my own group by taking over other small enclaves which can be persuaded to my group’s platform. THAT is a time tested strategy which has served world leaders well for over a thousand years; but the folks at PUMA and women in general prefer to ignore it, because the original source material uses uncomfortable sounding words like “enemy” and “kill”. Yet the psychology behind it is sound, and can be applied to absolutely anything.

    A new party should start small, and have candidates running for mayor in medium size cities. Their success establishes legitimacy and creates a base which can then be enlarged. Only then does it becomes a party which must be taken seriously and can deflect ad hominen and appeals to authority which will be the first line of attack. They should never go after POTUS or senator seats until a bigger base has been established.

  82. octogalore says:

    I like what lalala says in #62: “It’s easier once you get out of the partisan mindset that you must vote for any Democrat just because they are running as a Democrat, you become more of an Independent who either leans left or right.”

    I actually see the fact that PUMAs combined progressives and conservatives, both crititiquing the Obama candidate and now President on feminist grounds, but espousing different politics themselves.

    To me, that’s what women should be. Of course, progressives will prefer women to always vote in D and conservatives, R. But both sides should admit that women are people. I have always come down on the side that pro-choice and pro-gay marriage are the only feminist positions on those two issues. But I don’t think there are feminist positions on other issues, such as the economy. Voting comprises a number of issues and everyone weighs them differently.

    To the extent that men aren’t owned by one party or another but women are, that’s not a feminist situation. (And by owned, I don’t mean making a rational decision that the D party is better suited to their beliefs, but that they “have” to vote D because of choice, despite possible disconnects on other issues).

    For me, while I didn’t identify as a PUMA, the general theme of moving away from voting for the D candidate — which I had never previously done — out of a realization that D didn’t necessarily mean “better for feminists” — freed me up to register as Independent. Not to reflexively go over to the other side, but to recognize that my views do correspond with the other side (at their best) on some issues, and that sometimes, not always, that will move me into the R column.

    For progressive femnists, that is not a happy result, but I think for feminists generally, women making decisions as people — who may agree or disagree — rather than wholly owned subsidiaries of one male-run party — is a good thing.

  83. teresainpa says:

    Who ever is the first to stand against an -ism during anytime period will surely be ostracized but without the courage of all the PUMAs we would not be where we are today!

    Yeah, I know we have a crap health care plan but AT LEAST people are STARTING to talk….

    I am happy and I am feeling very optimistic.

    We have been talking for over a hundred years. The secound wave has been talking since the 60 and 70. Talk is useless. Instead of being happy people are talking, you should be in despair that after all these years all we get is lip service.
    Sorry to “should” on ya, but talk is cheap and now is time for action.

  84. teresainpa says:

    vastleft… why do you keep bring up all of these other issues women should care about? Why cant’ we just care about the equality of women and that’s it?

  85. octogalore says:

    Agree with Alison in #80: “Actually, if the PUMA movement has been “hijacked” I’d say it has certainly become less far left and more moderate/independent.”

    This makes perfect sense. Of women voting Democrat and identifying as PUMA out of a feminist reaction to events of the primary, there are various groups. One: progressive women who critique Obama on feminist grounds and from the left on other grounds. Two: women who critique Obama on feminist grounds, who have typically or always voted Democrat, but who are more moderate or conservative on some issues. It’s to be expected that the events of the primary would lead to the latter group becoming more free to voice opinions on these issues. I don’t see this as anything other than expected.

  86. riverdaughter says:

    Thank you, Violet. I have felt vindicated since Obama took his mandate and flushed it in favor of bipartisanship. But it’s nice to hear that we were right all along anyway.
    Nevertheless, PUMA has been compromised. We’ve been evolving. It’s become clear to me since Corzine’s defeat and the Daggett’s candidacy in NJ that we need a viable third party and the time is right for starting one. I propose we call it the American Dream party or something like that. The purpose is to restore the American Dream of prosperity, equality and leadership.

  87. gxm17 says:

    Thank you teresainpa @ 83.

    It’s because the sexist attitude that “good” women put others before themselves permeates our culture, left, right and everything in-between. I doubt you’d find someone who identifies as a left of center advocating AAs to put other issues before their civil rights.

    Enough already. I have one issue, one goal: women’s equality. Something that enhances the lives and civil rights of over 50% of the population demands our complete attention.

  88. bruce nahin says:

    The issue continues to be that for women to gain power they must vote gender..only when therfe is parity will there be equality. And yes that means voting for Sarah over a male…If you look at her Alaska record she appointed pro choice judges, one to the supreme court etc. Although personally opposed to abortion she has not let that stand in the way of appointing a pro choice woman(to the supreme court ) etc. Were she president I do not believe she would let her personal views interfer any more than she did as Governor. Barak is no pro woman and any woman who would vote for him over a woman will do herself a disservice

  89. riverdaughter says:

    Violet: Allow me to clarify what the dispute is with Corrente. Actually, we don’t KNOW what is going through their heads. It’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma. It has to do with Dakinikat’s first post on The Confluence. She wrote her first post on Fanny Mae and the subprime mortgage market. She also posted a pic of the former head of Fanny Mae, Franklin somethingorther. This dude even admitted in the NYTimes that he did nothing to stop predatory lending of the subrpime market especially in poorer, disadvantaged neighborhoods. For some reason that we still can’t fathom, both Lambert, Mandos and Anglachel took this as some kind of racist condemnation of disadvantaged homebuyers. It was not. The problem is that criticizing how Fanny Mae could screw this up so badly was somehow (intentionally?) conflated with criticism of the community reinvestment act. Paul Krugman was cited as having descrined the code words, OOooooo! We were in big trouble because we criticised a liberal program. Of course, we did nothing of the sort. You can be a fan of the CRA and still be mightily PO’d that Fanny Mae let lenders get away with getting a lot of people in over their heads with subprime mortgages instead of safer but harder to qualify for FHA loans. This was lost on some of the posters at Corrente. And Anglachel too. I was completely gobsmacked by the accusations of racism that they hurled at us. But considering the time frame and the massive group dymanics psy ops in play, I am not surprised that they quickly distanced themselves from the PUMAs, if they were ever associated with us in the first place.
    My take on it is that Corrente and Anglachel and some others who spurned the term PUMA, very much lacked the courage to stand up to withering criticism. When push came to shove, they backed down and did a Peter the Apostle on us. They denied ever knowing us lest they be accused of being reactionalry Republican, racist, terrorists or something.
    As for The Confluence’s PUMA presence, as I said before, the movement became fatally compromised when it was infiltrated by Republicans right about the time of the Republican convention. We are not in the least embarrassed by the PUMA activities we did last year and we still support Darragh Murphy’s activities. But we started to concentrate on the future. We have been keeping an eye on the Obama administration and witnessed the collapse of the grassroots left. But there wasn’t anything we could do while the country was in the afterglow of the Obama victory. People just have to figure things out for themselves. You can’t force enlightenment on them. Now that they seem to have woken up from their stupor, it’s time to regroup. I’d like to think that DailyKos and Firedoglake would consider us leaders in this regard but, hey, we’re mostly women. When Ezra Klein finally jumps aboard the bandwagon, he’ll be their leader and we’ll be the forgotten few. I think it’s time to shift that paradigm. Don’t you?

  90. quixote says:

    What yttik (79?) said — and Violet — And ultimately what happens is that misogyny trumps all political labels anyway.

    That’s what this last election taught me.

    And then I couldn’t believe how stupid I’d been that I needed the lesson when the evidence was lying in plain sight the whole time. “Progressives.” Hah.

  91. vastleft says:

    teresainpa,

    Where do I say “what women should care about”? I say nothing of the kind. That’s a straw man, and a corrosive one.

    I’m bringing up other, related issues that people should care about if they’re:

    * Humane
    * Rational
    * Fair

    If that’s not you, or what you aspire to be, please consider yourself exempted from my entreaties.

    Being any or all of the above should make one highly concerned about the treatment of women in society. That the Democratic Party has failed to live up to its traditional expectations in that regard became obvious to me because I do aspire to be all of the above.

    Looking exclusively at the anti-woman aspects of our politicians and their support networks will, I think, will limit your ability to understand what’s really going on, even if you don’t give a rat’s ass about things like ageism, classism, racism, and all manner of mangled and unsavory thinking and behavior, which have manifested themselves even among “progressives.”

  92. RKMK says:

    ? bruce nahin seems caught in a timewarp. bruce, hon, the year is 2009, not 2008.

    But I’ll be blunt. I just clicked through the PUMA blogs on SYD’s blogroll — the first time I’ve surveyed PUMA blogs in well over a year — and I no longer recognize it as the same movement. I see pro-Republican, pro-GOP posts; pro-Rush Limbaugh posts; pro-Fox News posts; anti-healthcare reform posts; anti-Obama-the-Socialist posts; anti-ACORN posts; anti-Saul Alinsky posts; anti-environmentalism posts; etc.

    Is there any common thread with what PUMA originally was? As far as I can tell, the only things that have endured for all PUMAs are 1) a stated affection for Hillary Clinton, and 2) an antipathy to the Democratic Party.* And hey, those are both fine things. But you can see how those two things alone — particularly #2, which seems uppermost — might readily lend themselves to a Republican point of view.

    And that, in fact, is what seems to have happened.

    Violet, you have such a way of breaking down the political ephemera that we’re steeped in. *applauds*

  93. cgeye says:

    Violet,
    The “anti-ACORN posts” on Confluence gave me the proof I needed that the PUMA inflitrators were pushing the Overton Window towards the right, and toward racism.

    Obama’s campaign had a boatload of issues on which it could be legitimately attacked, but asking progressives to attack the one group still out there registering non-GOP voters? Before an election where every vote was needed, for downticket races? Suicidal.

    And Fox’s gaming of overworked and ignorant ACORN workers was the endgame of an approach that focus-group tested that attack through PUMA blogs. It was as bad as Obama’s men characterizing Clinton supporters as racist trailer-trash.

  94. cgeye says:

    “Bill Clinton was a pretty darn good president but the left complained that he was too conservative and the right complained that he was a flaming liberal. It’s all nonsense and simply used by the two parties to manipulate people.”

    Uh, no. Issues matter, policies matter, and political identities are forged from both. Clinton was too conservative once his Democrats in Congress abandoned him and the Republicans shut down the government. (Yes, he started his impeached affair during the shutdown, but he was being constantly attacked before then.) The side who wants us sick and dead wants us to consider political labels as nonsense — that means we’ve abandoned the hard work of thinking through all the changes we see.

    “A pox on both your houses” stops working when either house sees fit to bring the plague to ours, whether we bar the door or not.

  95. lambert strether says:

    I very little interest in relitigating the primaries with RiverDaughter. Personally, I prefer to maintain a live and let live policy.

    My lessons learned from the behavior of all parties in the primaries are contained in #79, above.

  96. lambert strether says:

    To amplify, I’m not agreeing, and I’m not disagreeing with what RiverDaughter says above, in this context. All these issues are amply covered and on the record in the links given above. I’ll add a link from that post to RiverDaughter’s link in this thread. Readers may then judge for themselves.

  97. Riverdaughter says:

    Sure, lambert. We can let bygones be bygones. First, apologize to us for calling us racists and surreptitious right wingers and all is forgiven.
    Your behavior damaged us right when we most needed your support.
    A simple, “sorry, my bad.” would be sufficient. I’m not much interested in your twisted logic.

  98. myiq2xu says:

    The “anti-ACORN posts” on Confluence gave me the proof I needed that the PUMA inflitrators were pushing the Overton Window towards the right, and toward racism.

    Can you be more specific? Since January 2008 there have been over 3500 frontpage posts at The Confluence by about 20 authors. There have also been over 385,000 comments posted by hundreds of commenters.

    If you’re gonna call us racists, show proof.

    Put up or shut up.

    BTW – an organization can have a worthy purpose and do valuable work and still be corrupted and misused.

  99. Sasha, CA says:

    Barak is no pro woman and any woman who would vote for him over a woman will do herself a disservice

    Yes, that’s what we really need — some guy telling us women that we’re doing ourselves a disservice by not voting the way he thinks we should.

    And yes that means voting for Sarah over a male…If you look at her Alaska record she appointed pro choice judges, one to the supreme court etc.

    Not this again. Palin appointed a pro-choice judge only because she was forced to by law. Alaska’s constitution mandates that an independent panel, the Alaska Judicial Council, evaluate judicial appointments and submit a list of potential nominees to the governor when a position on the court needs to be filled. The governor isn’t allowed to select a candidate whose name is not on that list, and in this case the AJC presented Palin with just two nominees — and they were both pro-choice. Palin’s pick for Attorney General, on the other hand, was entirely her choice, and who does she pick? An anti-choice, misogynistic MRA who was so far right that her own party refused to confirm him!

    As far as voting for any woman over any man is concerned, even if women’s rights/women’s equality was the only issue I cared about (and it’s not), the patriarchy is a system, not a matter of “women are good and on our side and men are bad and our enemies.” Some women are actually more heavily invested in the patriarchy than some men and as feminists we are not doing ourselves any favors by voting for these women.

  100. RKMK says:

    The Confluence- which still do enjoy reading for the most part, (as you said Violet, it’s still a profeminist blog for the most part- and really still moreso than Corrente) there’s certain sexist regular writer. While not an outright misogynist like Mandos, he regularly spouts sexist comments and throws the typical prog dudenation attacks when called on his sexism by the feminist women on the Confluence who refuse to put up with that stuff from anyone. Sadly, a few women there fawn over him just like the fawning other sexist/misogynist so called progressive males get on other blogs.

    Unfortunately, Keri, I’m pretty sure that dude shows up here to spout off – unless TC has two of ‘em.

  101. Dakinikat says:

    The “anti-ACORN posts” on Confluence gave me the proof I needed that the PUMA inflitrators were pushing the Overton Window towards the right, and toward racism

    Both MyIq2xu and I took incredible heat from posters on our pieces defending ACORN against the right wing set up by that prostitute/pimp sham. I can’t imagine you’re speaking about any of the front pagers, but still, your comments come off like we led some kind of crusade against ACORN which just isn’t the least bit true.

  102. Alison says:

    teresainpa #83,

    I understand that women have been talking for hundreds of years. I was just trying to make the point that the 4th wave is starting to rise to the point of visibility in the mainstream. That’s what I meant when I said people are talking.

    Action! I’m all for it. One concern that I have in regard to this “action” that you are calling for though, is the fact that feminists somehow have this inability to unite, let alone women in general. If every women who was against rape worked together to try and proactively stop it, I think we could do it. As is, there’s way too much name calling. Compromises need to be made if we want to get things done.

  103. lambert strether says:

    RiverDaughter, let’s work on our cliches.

    1. I advocate a policy of “live and let live” (that is, non-interference).

    2. You claim that I’m advocating a policy of “let bygones be bygones” (that is, forgiveness).

    Since non-interference is not at all the same as forgiveness, you misrepresent what I said.

  104. myiq2xu says:

    Lambert neither agrees nor disagrees. He neither admits nor denies.

    He says nothing, and uses lots of words to do it.

  105. teresainpa says:

    I have always come down on the side that pro-choice and pro-gay marriage are the only feminist positions on those two issues.

    I think you can be pro-life and be a feminist and I do not think feminists have to hold a position on gay marriage. I didn’t see a lot of gay men run out and support Hillary in solidarity with women. They think of their important issues first and we should do the same. I am for gay marriage and always have been, but I will vote for an anti gay marriage woman if her opponent is a male.

    feminism is this: equal rights, equal power, equal pay. It is nothing else.

  106. lambert strether says:

    Quixote writes:

    what happens is that misogyny trumps all political labels anyway

    All other political labels, yes?

    I’m starting to think that blog posts should be anonymized (much like The Economist had no bylines until recently) to prevent labelling and tribalism — much in the same way that auditions for orchestras are now conducted with the player behind a screen so that the judgment is made based on the music alone.

  107. bostonboomer says:

    vastleft #91,

    Oh my, that is one of the most passive-aggressive comments I’ve ever seen. Wow!

  108. Violet says:

    This is turning into a Corrente vs. Confluence throwdown, and I’m not happy about it. Now I’ve got comments in the mod queue from people offering detailed critiques (to put it politely) of individual posters on both blogs. What next? Shall I just re-name the thread “Tell Me What You Think About Corrente And The Confluence”?

    As I said before, both Corrente and Confluence occupy virtually the same political space. Your political DNA is virtually identical. It makes no practical sense to feud.

    Both of you are what I might call dissident Democratic blogs, which means that you’ve both endured terrible slander from the faux-gressive Obamabot machine. Feelings run high and people become very sensitive. Anything that feels like betrayal is hard to take.

    But you know what? Both blogs have made mistakes. I say that in my capacity as Queen of the Universe and Ultimate Blog Arbiter. There has been at least one post on the front page of The Confluence that, I’m sure unwittingly, played into rightwing racist tropes. But you know what? I’ve seen similar arguments from other people who genuinely didn’t know that they were repeating ideas that were originally racist in origin. It happens. Nobody knows everything, no one is completely aware of all the propaganda and dog whistles out there. The ironic thing is that The Confluence post became a cause celebre because Mandos, of all people, worked it. He wrote about it, told Anglachel about it, did everything to make it a huge deal. And who is Mandos? An anti-semite who calls Jews “pigs from hell.” A dedicated troll who gets his kicks from troll attacks on feminist blogs and from starting blog wars and winding up rape victims with faux-analytical “questions.” Some progressive.

    Everybody was played. Everybody.

    As for Corrente, they’ve also made mistakes. I’ve seen blog posts at Corrente that played into the most sexist, misogynistic propaganda afloat. There are people there (or were) who apparently have no clue that 90% of the anti-Hillary, anti-PUMA crap was born in the bowels of wingnut sexist hatred. Yet there it is, right on Corrente’s front page.

    One more time: it happens. Nobody is perfect. No blog is perfect. People make mistakes. Blog owners make mistakes.

  109. bostonboomer says:

    I don’t recall any anti-ACORN posts at TC. I suppose there might have been some mention somewhere on the blog about ACORN members’ behavior at caucuses during the primaries–but in front page posts? I’d like to see links to those “anti-ACORN posts” at The Confluence.

  110. Lori says:

    I’m very proud of what PUMA did and the stand that was taken. The problem, as I see it, is that first, a tactical error was made upfront with PUMA aligning itself with anyone who was anti-Obama and willing to use the name. That resulted in really ghastly statements by the likes of Will Bower on television talking about how, being freed of the need of voting by party, he could now look at the platforms of each candidate and he liked what he saw with McCain. Well, bullshit. If you liked McCain’s platform, then you never would have liked Clinton’s. But that was an initial mis-step understandable in a grass roots movement caught in the tumult of early June.

    The problem grew worse though when genuine lefty leaders began endorsing the idea of a protest vote for McCain – which allowed conservatives to glom on to the anti-Obama movement. From there, we saw pro-Limbaugh posts, anti-ACORN posts and out and out racism being tolerated on PUMA PAC. At the Confluence, we saw flat out trolling and sexism from myiq and even on occasion, a post from Gary and Mawm which was racially insensitive. While Riverdaughter tried to hold the fort, genuine PUMAs were outnumbered and her tolerance of myiq damaged her own credibility. With Darragh having the highest profile because of her PAC, her tolerance of overt racism became the popularly accepted interpretation of the movement.

    I didn’t vote in the November election and that is a public record which is verifiable. I’m not going to help a conservative win whether they are Republicans or Democrats. Sherry Tag started her new blog and she says that she is ashamed of her vote for McCain though that does not translate into support for Obama.

    The opposition to Obama must be rooted in policy and not in personality. I think Obama is the worst Democratic president since Buchanan in the mid-19th century, so I don’t regret in the least my opposition to his nomination. I do regret that the PUMA movement didn’t grab firm hold of liberal principles and not allow them to be violated on our turf.

  111. riverdaughter says:

    Lambert: I don’t think you should be using Violet’s site to spread rumors and innuendos. Anyone who reads our posts can draw their own conclusions and I welcome it. There’s nothing in my posts or that of my co-bloggers that I am ashamed of in the least bit.

    And I think we can see with from last comment what the source of the problem is.

    Thank you, Violet, for acknowledging the PUMAs and allowing me to defend our site. It has been an ongoing battle for some time now, ever since the rest of PB2.0 decided to bail on us. I’m going elsewhere now so that we don’t detract from your excellent post.

  112. teresainpa says:

    Bruce N. @58

    exactly Bruce..without parity there will never be equality. I started to realize that when Schumer shoved Bob Casey down my throat when there were plenty of pro-choice democrats who could have run. He was real nasty about it too saying he wasn’t going to let special interest groups dictate to him who the nominee would be…. over half the population and we are a freakin interest group.
    but of course women went to the polls and voted for the democrat just because.

  113. lambert strether says:

    Re feuding: As I said: “Live and let live.”

  114. lambert strether says:

    Riverdaughter: See my #103 and Violet’s #108.

  115. teresainpa says:

    let me try again…….vast left says:

    Looking exclusively at the anti-woman aspects of our politicians and their support networks will, I think, will limit your ability to understand what’s really going on, even if you don’t give a rat’s ass about things like ageism, classism, racism, and all manner of mangled and unsavory thinking and behavior, which have manifested themselves even among “progressives.”

    I do give a rats ass about those other things but it is really not part of this discussion. I can actually be inhumane, etc.. and still be a feminist. I and other women do not need a lecture about how to be good people. Feminism is one issue in and of it’s self. It is NOT tied in to all those other things.

  116. teresainpa says:

    As far as voting for any woman over any man is concerned, even if women’s rights/women’s equality was the only issue I cared about (and it’s not), the patriarchy is a system, not a matter of “women are good and on our side and men are bad and our enemies.” Some women are actually more heavily invested in the patriarchy than some men and as feminists we are not doing ourselves any favors by voting for these women.

    On balance women of all political stripes are more interested in woman’s rights than men are. When we have equal numbers in office we will have equal numbers in office and in that case we will be much better off with republican women than we will with many democratic party men.

  117. Sasha, CA says:

    I think you can be pro-life and be a feminist and I do not think feminists have to hold a position on gay marriage. I didn’t see a lot of gay men run out and support Hillary in solidarity with women.

    I just love it when people disappear people like me. Newsflash: Gay marriage doesn’t just affect gay men! Ever heard of lesbian and bisexual women? And for what it’s worth, the vast majority of gay voters — both men and women — did support Hillary over Barack.

    As for the abortion issue, no, you can’t be both anti-choice (“pro-life” my ass) and a feminist. You can be opposed to abortion for yourself and decide not to ever have one, but forcing other women to risk their life undergoing a dangerous back alley abortion or bearing a kid they don’t want or is about as far removed from feminism as it gets.

  118. teresainpa says:

    Action! I’m all for it. One concern that I have in regard to this “action” that you are calling for though, is the fact that feminists somehow have this inability to unite, let alone women in general. If every women who was against rape worked together to try and proactively stop it, I think we could do it. As is, there’s way too much name calling. Compromises need to be made if we want to get things done.

    okay, I get ya now.

    The only way to stop rape or to change the world so that it happens less is to have control of the laws and the courts. That means insisting in equal power in politics first. That is how we get equal numbers of female judges etc… and control of the law making process.

  119. lambert strether says:

    myiq, generically: See Violet’s #108.

  120. vastleft says:

    teresainpa,

    Who appointed you arbiter of what’s in this discussion?

    The PUMA critique was never exclusively about feminism, nor are the factors overarching the Dems’ health-care deform undertaking. Why must this thread be?

  121. Sameol says:

    Teresainpa@34

    There are always larger, deeper, more important issues that deserve more of your attention, donchaknow. I saw several posts from males back when along the lines of “What is this PUMA? I am a moderate Democrat, so I say PUMA should be about moderate Democrats. Stop with the annoying woman stuff, stop caring about what you care about, start caring about what I care about and what I tell you to care about.” And so it goes, and so it goes, as ever with the liberal men also. You can’t be humane, rational, or fair if your focus is on the trivial concerns of the special interest group that comprises half the population. Focus on the larger picture.

    This thread is a great demonstration of why we’re never going to get anywhere. We can never just assume that we’re all intelligent and rational and have reasons for what we do and how we vote, which would become clear if we listened to each other. Instead, we have to tell each other what to think, what to feel, and how to vote. How dare you feel personal admiration for Palin, you right wing, Republican enabling woman hating identity voter! How dare you vote for Obama, you feminist crushing, misogyny enabling, woman hating part of the problem! How dare you stupid, hapless PUMAs not purge this person or try this person in front of the blogger tribunal! How dare you not do any of the brilliant things I would have done if I could have been bothered to get involved instead of sticking to Monday morning quarterbacking a year after the fact!

    It seems like common sense that if you want to create a movement, you’re going to have to listen to people and stop assuming you know what’s motivating them when –what they’re actually saying– is completely at odds with your interpretation. They’ll listen more if you actually reference their beliefs instead of telling them how they do feel and how they should feel.

  122. yttik says:

    “We can never just assume that we’re all intelligent and rational and have reasons for what we do and how we vote, which would become clear if we listened to each other. Instead, we have to tell each other what to think, what to feel, and how to vote.”

    Yes indeed! All these labels and categories we insist on only serve to dismiss and demean people who don’t view things exactly as we do.

    As to feminism, the debate should not be, “do you think a pro-lifer can be a feminist.” The discussion needs to be clear, a pro-life woman deserves to be just as free from rape, assault and abuse and to have the same economic and political power as anyone else. I don’t care if she’s is a bitter knitter or a patriarchal handmaiden, she’s a human being and as such should be afforded the same rights as anyone else. Human rights are not doled out depending on your political or social beliefs. That is not equality.

  123. teresainpa says:

    I just love it when people disappear people like me. Newsflash: Gay marriage doesn’t just affect gay men! Ever heard of lesbian and bisexual women? And for what it’s worth, the vast majority of gay voters — both men and women — did support Hillary over Barack.

    As for the abortion issue, no, you can’t be both anti-choice (”pro-life” my ass) and a feminist. You can be opposed to abortion for yourself and decide not to ever have one, but forcing other women to risk their life undergoing a dangerous back alley abortion or bearing a kid they don’t want or is about as far removed from feminism as it gets.

    I did not disappear you…. If I had meant gay and LESBIAN I would have said gay and LESBIAN.

    And you should get to know me… I am militantly pro-choice. But women who are pro-life, for whatever reason, can too be feminists. It is ridiculous to separate women from each other because of a difference on this issue. Equality means you get to make up your own mind. Do we remove the yoke men have put on us only to place another one on those who disagree with us?

  124. teresainpa says:

    Who appointed you arbiter of what’s in this discussion?

    The PUMA critique was never exclusively about feminism, nor are the factors overarching the Dems’ health-care deform undertaking. Why must this thread be?

    huh? PUMA was a reaction to a woman being denied the nomination even though she was the choice of the people. It was about women being called vagina voters but no one ever calling black people race voters. It was about being called old bitters knitters… a sexist comment if ever there was one. It was about being forced to accept a male nominee who “had a bad habit of calling women sweetie”. LOL, I wonder what would happen if I called black men boy. Could I just explain it away as a cute habit I picked up?
    Yes it is almost exclusively about feminism. Yes, men who are with us got called racist but that was in context of no one objecting to sexism and the rules of polite liberal/moderate behavior which says we give a damn about racism but NOT sexism. Go Iron my shirt and bros before hos. That is what it was about.
    Yes there was ageism… but this is not a blog about middle aged people. It is a feminist blog. Have you read here much?

  125. Sameol says:

    how many times have people posted about the 30% solution, and what they feel they’re accomplishing by voting for women, including conservative women because guess what, there aren’t necessarily a whole hell of a lot of women politicians or candidates out there in general *in great detail* and it still always gets reduced to you’re being irrational, you don’t understand what you’re doing, you don’t understand feminism, you don’t understand patriarchy, you’re just being flaky, vindictive, shortsighted, whatever. Whether you agree or not, many people who aren’t you do tend to have good and valid reasons for what they do.

    I fully understand why feminist women could have chosen to vote for Obama or McCain or McKinney based on a range of pragmatic considerations and good, valid, rational reasons. It’s really not that hard.

  126. Violet says:

    It was about women being called vagina voters but no one ever calling black people race voters.

    Just for the record, lots of people on the right did call African-Americans race voters, meant in very disparaging terms. Republicans ridiculed the AA community and made all kinds of silly remarks about reverse racism and so forth.

    Of course, the black community really did overwhelmingly support Obama, and plenty of people observed that without condemning it. I personally think it was the most natural thing in the world, and I would have been amazed if it had gone any other way. I felt bad for my friends who were Clinton supporters, though, because they took huge grief for that. But you know, that’s another story.

  127. lambert strether says:

    I have never understood how to square this circle: OTOH, the labeling (#122) and “assuming” (or projection) of motivation (#121) leads straight to tribalism and all its destructiveness; OTOH, when people behave as part of a “system,” (#116) as they do, by definition they’re engaging in behavior that can be labeled.

    I don’t think we even have a way to talk about sets of people without thinking about the sets having fuzzy boundaries or exceptions all the way from minorities to individuals. And then any person belongs to many sets.

  128. lambert strether says:

    I prefer tricoteuse to “bitter knitter.”

  129. Violet says:

    how many times have people posted about the 30% solution

    Yeah, let’s talk about that. The 30% solution.

    Here’s the problem: it’s a macro solution that has to be implemented on a micro level. Look at the big picture, and it’s easy: countries with at least 30% female representation in government enact woman-friendly policies, regardless of the political affiliation of the individual female representatives. It’s about creating an overall shift in balance.

    So we say, “Great! We’ll just keep voting for women until we reach 30% (or 50% or whatever).” But what that comes down to is standing in a voting booth, trying to force yourself to vote for some anti-choice conservative woman whose political positions make your hair stand on end. Because we don’t vote for Congress by percentage; we vote in individual electoral races. And it’s fucking hard to vote for somebody whose politics you hate.

  130. Sasha, CA says:

    I did not disappear you…. If I had meant gay and LESBIAN I would have said gay and LESBIAN.

    The topic was gay marriage which you portrayed as an issue affecting only gay men. It isn’t. And please, let’s not call the anti-choice position “pro-life.” If anything, it should be called pro-death. Several studies have shown that abortion rates in countries that outlaw abortion are just as high (and sometimes higher) as abortion rates in countries that don’t. The difference is that when abortion is illegal, thousands of women end up dead, maimed, or in need of emergency medical treatment (often having to make the decision to seek potentially life-saving treatment at the cost of getting themselves or friends/family into serious legal trouble). How can anyone who cares about women be in favor of that?

  131. Alison says:

    I think the 30 percent solution goes beyond inevitable women-friendly policy. I think it’s the only way to end the patriarchy, end rape. Isn’t rape a very rare occurrence in matriarchal societies? Isn’t their a correlation between the percentage of female representation in power positions and the prevalence of VAW?

    So I will vote for the women 85 percent of the time……

  132. Sameol says:

    Of course it is. I’ve actually done it, and it’s not easy. (it’s actually easier to vote for conservative, anti-choice Dems in some ways, because back when I had party loyalty, I could focus on the Dem part and hope for the best). And I would not advocate for anyone to do it if they don’t want to. I actually had friends who intended to vote for Palin break down in tears and hyperventilate. I encouraged them to do whatever they could live with.

    But for those who can go through with it, and want to, why can’t it be seen for what it is, a strategy to try to get where we’re all trying to go, instead of something irrational and harmful? That’s the point. Just because it’s not your choice doesn’t mean it isn’t as likely to pay off as any other voting strategy.

  133. yttik says:

    “And it’s fucking hard to vote for somebody whose politics you hate.”

    This is true. However, it’s easier then voting for some sweet talker who pays you lip service by pretending to be someone he’s not. The problem is, women are held to a higher standard and something damn near perfection is demanded of them.

    Take Washington, we have a woman governor and believe you me, I had to plug my nose to vote for her. Why? Because we hold her accountable for her faults in ways we would never hold a male politician accountable. Boys will be boys, politicians aren’t perfect, they’re fighting the system, it’s not their fault, etc etc. The woman? Forget the rational explanations and excuses, she’s female therefore she is an evil, maniacal, tax raising, liar. Yeah well, she probably is, but how does that make her worst then her male counterparts? It doesn’t, it makes my perceptions of her wrong. When you take the bias and emotional response away, her actual record showed less hypocrisy then most and yet she was judged to be five times as evil.

    It’s a bit like critisizing Palin for her anti-gay marriage stance and giving Obama and Biden a total pass on their exact same stance.

  134. Honora says:

    #128 Maybe we can use a ‘trigger mechanism’ like the Republicans tried in healthcare. The women of America can tell the DNC that in 2020, we will only vote for Democrats if half of the candidates running as Democrats in that year are women. As for Senatorial elections, the DNC can decide that it will only nominate a Senate candidate if he/she is the opposite sex of the state’s sitting senator. We learned that the DNC is just a private entity, they can make whatever rules they like. Primaries don’t have to be fair or democratic or constitutional.

  135. Honora says:

    Sorry, I was responding to Violet’s post 129 rather than 128.

  136. Dakinikat says:

    I give you Michelle Bachman as an example of why the 30 percent solution isn’t a good one. I don’t think all women are actually pro-woman or feminist. She’s totally off world when it comes to nearly any enlightened cause.

  137. Violet says:

    But Dakinikat, you’re missing the key point:

    countries with at least 30% female representation in government enact woman-friendly policies, regardless of the political affiliation of the individual female representatives. It’s about creating an overall shift in balance.

    The 30% doesn’t have to be all liberal women. There can be Republicans in there and full-fledged nutjobs too. Something happens, a critical mass is achieved, when there are enough women in government. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

  138. Violet says:

    On the other hand, Michele Bachmann is an excellent example of why the 30% solution is so hard to implement. I simply cannot imagine voting for her. It is outside the realm of possibility in this universe.

  139. Lori says:

    Voting for Republicans, even as a protest vote, encourages Democrats to move right and justifies the media rhetoric. And let’s face it, the media will never acknowledge a vote for a Republican as a protest vote – it will always be defined as disgust with the Democratic party, and by extension, the liberal movement.

    Staying home opens up exploitable territory for vote-seeking pols. Someone who wants your vote will have to take action to attract you. Someone who wants your vote and sees you voting for Republicans will simply move right to get it. But if you aren’t voting for Republicans, then they have to figure that there is another way to get you to show up. Unless there are some real changes, I’m not voting in ’12.

  140. Sasha, CA says:

    On balance women of all political stripes are more interested in woman’s rights than men are.

    Yes, on balance women are more likely to be concerned about women’s rights than men, but that’s no reason to vote for a woman who has proven again and again — by opposing reproductive choice, birth control, equal pay legislation, family leave provisions, etc., etc. — that she doesn’t care about women’s rights and equality. As for the 30% Solution, I’ve often wondered if the countries where having 30+% female representation in government resulted in the enactment of woman-friendly policies have as many explicitly anti-feminist, religious loons as we do. I don’t know about the African countries in question, but in the European ones, you’d be hard-pressed to find any woman who’s anti-choice. I just don’t see someone like Michele Bachmann suddenly voting in support of woman-friendly legislation just because women’s representation in congress has grown to over 30%.

  141. gxm17 says:

    vastleft said: (snipped) Looking exclusively at the anti-woman aspects of our politicians and their support networks will, I think, will limit your ability to understand what’s really going on, even if you don’t give a rat’s ass about things like ageism, classism, racism, and all manner of mangled and unsavory thinking and behavior, which have manifested themselves even among “progressives.”

    I disagree. Those anti-woman aspects are the foundation of our patriarchal culture. It’s exactly where we should be looking. We need to focus on the root of the problem. This is where the changes must begin because these are the changes that will have the greatest impact.

  142. yttik says:

    Bachmann is a nutcase, but she’s also an example of how sexist biases play tricks on us. Why is Bachmann viewed as more of nutcase then pro-life anti-gay Dem Tim Kaine? Why is Bachman the subject of conversation rather then John Kerry who apparently supports adding Christian Science prayer to the health care bill? Or Bart Stupak who is trying to prevent any health care funding for abortions?

    Women are held to a different standard. We demand perfection of them. Equality is about being able to compete equally on the same playing field. Hold Bachman up next to Newt, DeLay, Bush, eewww or the cat killing Bill Frist, and tell me, is she really the biggest nutcase in politics today? Bigger then David diaper Vitter? How about Governor Don’t Cry for me Argentina? No, she is not. In fact when it comes to competing in the nuttery Olympics, she’s hardly worth an honorable mention.

  143. Violet says:

    yttik, no argument on the existence of double standard, but Michele Bachmann is not a good example. She really is pretty nuts. It’s not even her abortion stance. It’s more the hiding-in-the-bushes, blood-brothers, New-World-Order-is-gonna-get-us stuff. I think she’s possibly ill.

  144. gxm17 says:

    Thank you, yttik @ 142! I voted for that a-hole Kaine just because he had a “D” next to his name; and I feel like a complete fool. If I can vote for that jerk then I can hold my nose and vote for a woman running on the Republican ticket. Honestly, voting for McCain/Palin was one of the most satisfying votes I’ve ever cast.

  145. gxm17 says:

    But, Violet, that’s what they always say about Cynthia McKinney. She’s a “nutjob.” It’s the crazy cat lady meme that’s used to disparage outspoken women. And yttik’s right. These stereotypes stick to women politicians whereas men are allowed to shrug them off.

  146. cellocat says:

    I tend to think that the 30% solution is in fact the way to go, even though in individual cases it can be difficult or even gut-wrenching to implement. That is because once there is a large enough group of one type, the people in it can act quite differently than they would if they were in a very small minority. In a perfect world, perhaps everyone would maintain perfect consistency in thought and action regardless of circumstance, but we don’t live in a perfect world. People vary how they think and what they do depending upon where they are and by whom they are surrounded. The flip side of peer pressure is permission, the kind granted by being surrounded by other people who don’t adhere to strictures of the majority.

    So, I’m not saying necessarily that Michelle Bachmann might behave differently if there was 30% or greater female representation in Congress, but she might. And more the point, the energy and the content would change; there would be different options on the table, and a different feeling about voting for them.

    I’m guessing that if we had 40% female representation in Congress, even if some percentage of that representation was Republican, Single Payer would be on the table, and it wouldn’t be seen as some radical impossible tooty-fruity seeing-life-through-rosy-colored-lenses type of thing.

  147. Violet says:

    It’s the crazy cat lady meme that’s used to disparage outspoken women.

    I know. But as Carl Sagan said, “Yes, they laughed at Galileo. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

    Bachmann is Bozo the Clown.

    I don’t know if she’s really mental. She’s something, though.

  148. cwaltz says:

    I am a former Democrat, now and forever a PUMA(they can wrest the label from my cold, dead hands). There are people here that mention the GOP platform as bad. Well, the Democratic platform is just as bad if not worse because it is a platform in word, not deed. What PUMA means to me is that I reject BOTH parties when it comes to basing them on mere words. I instead chose to weigh candidates on issues and actions. One of those issues is feminism. I, unlike ALOT of progressives, don’t outright reject the idea that Sarah Palin or other women can’t possibly be feminists simply because I disagree with them on choice. Frankly, if Harry Reid, who happens to be pro life is welcomed with open arms by liberals then why shouldn’t I embrace someone who increased funding for Headstart or low income health care even if she does wear the Republican title and there are things I disagree with in the GOP platform? Frankly, I don’t care that someone might confuse me with a Republican. That’s their problem, not mine. PUMA means party unity my backside and that’s exactly how I feel about BOTH of the majort parties at this time. They can both kiss my backside to get my support because I am no longer giving it away on the premise of some platform that isn’t even taken seriously.

  149. Violet says:

    cellocat, I just want to thank you for your comment #146. I was thinking of trying to describe how the political dynamic can change with more women at the table, but was too lazy to write it up. You did a good job.

  150. cwaltz says:

    Sasha in 117

    Let me get this straight, if you are against abortion then it cancels out the fact that you worked on crafting legislation that addresses domestic violence or supported equal pay or crafted legislation that provides a safety net for pregnant women and their children?

    I reject that premise. While I support a woman’s right to choose I reject the idea that supporting women in other aspects besides reproductive choice is unimportant and unworthy of the label “feminism.”

  151. vastleft says:

    teresainpa,

    I apologize for complicating your narrow world view.

    To Riverdaughter’s credit, she is considerably more expansive in her interests and agendas:

    http://riverdaughter.wordpress.com/credo/

    And that goes very much for Dr. Socks and others here who contributed to what started as a very enlightening discussion.

  152. femina says:

    Violet — Thanks for the link to your June 2008 post. I became “unaffliated” that July after being a yellow dog dem for decades and I haven’t wanted a label of any sort since then. Ever since Hillary was cheated out of the party nomination, I’ve become a member of a scary group for the dems to contend with — I’ve lost interest in voting for the nimrods and don’t vote (at least Tuesday I didn’t vote). I’ll vote again, but I remain mad as hell at Hillary’s treatment and will pick whom I vote for carefully.

    By 2010 the dems will be giving away cruises and GM automobiles for our vote!

  153. cwaltz says:

    Sasha in 96

    The law allowed Sarah Palin to outright reject the pro choice justices and send those nominations back. She didn’t.

  154. janicen says:

    I voted for McCain/Palin and I didn’t have to hold my nose. It felt good. I was a yellow dog Dem my whole life. I’d been volunteering for the party since I was eleven years old. As a result of the 2008 Democratic primary, I felt violated. I felt that peoples’ votes were stolen by the Democrats. The entire episode changed me forever. I trust neither political party. I don’t trust politicians and I believe very little of what they say, so pro-choice or anti-choice didn’t even enter my mind when I was in the voting booth. All I wanted to do was vote against the Democratic party because of what they did to me and to all of the other people who got their votes stolen and their voices ignored. From that point forward, I decided to vote for the candidate who represented more of my views, regardless of party. The sad thing is that now, when I vote for a Democrat, I have to hold my nose. I’m still not over 2008.

  155. okasha skatsi says:

    teresainpa–

    See the L, B, and T in LGBT? Anything that concerns women concerns a gay woman, a bisexual woman or a transgender woman. “Gay marriage” does not refer exclusively to the marriage of two men; it applies equally to the marriage of two women.

    And yes, woman hating and gay-hating are connected at the root because powerful women and powerful non-gender-conforming men threaten the hell out of both misogynists and homophobes.

  156. Violet says:

    And yes, woman hating and gay-hating are connected at the root

    Sure, though that varies with the culture. Homosexuality is accepted in some cultures that are still pretty damn anti-woman.

    But I think the point is that feminism isn’t just about everything that concerns women. Because EVERYTHING concerns women. We’re half the species. We’re the human race.

    Feminism as a political movement is specifically about women’s rights and status. It’s about equality, about ending the subjugation and oppression of women qua women.

    Gay rights = equal rights for gays.
    Civil rights = equal rights for minorities.
    Women’s rights = equal rights for women.

    But that breaks down when people insist that “women’s rights” are really about all the other things too. Bullshit. It may sound good on the surface — and it’s designed to — but at bottom it’s about prioritizing away women’s equality. That’s the ulterior motive.

    And the argument that “it’s all connected” doesn’t hold up. Dig it: everything’s connected. But that doesn’t mean that the only way to fix one particular oppression is to try to simultaneously tackle them all. In fact, most people will tell you right off the bat that trying to simultaneously tackle everything is a guaranteed recipe to NOT fix any one thing in particular.

    That’s why specific interest groups target their energies on specific issues — like racism, or homophobia, or anti-Semitism.

    Everybody understands this very well until you get to women’s rights, and then somehow it’s awful and selfish and wrong. Think about why that might be.

  157. proudtohavebeenpuma says:

    PUMA was the single most beautiful thing in a year of ugly. PUMA was hope in a year without a sign of it. PUMA was all types of people joining forces to defeat evil. PUMA was love. PUMA was salvation for those of us unwilling to accept the lies. PUMA was perfection in a very non-perfect world.

    And as such she was killed. But she stood proud and in Denver and beyond we spoke the truth until the end–at least enough of the truth that we can go to our graves knowing we held high the flag of truth, justice and that which is correct.

    I love every single lost soul, every imperfect human being, every single one of us who came together when nothing else mattered and put it all on the line. They know that we were right and that we never NEVER accepted the lies, and because of this we won. They, on the other hand, have won nothing because that taken with might is already lost like the sands of time. Obama and his evilness are already history, and herstory is yet to be written but know this PUMA will be there because she will always be where right rules and good wins in the end.

    PUMA….People United Means Action. LIVE ON!!

  158. yttik says:

    It’s true Violet, women should be allowed to advocate for women’s rights exclusively. I’m disappointed that NOW has decided to advocate for gay marriage. Yes, I support it, but when can we fight for the ERA, for electing a female president, for all the other unfinished business?

    And ultimately, once you achieve that 30% solution, everything else falls into line. From there comes the resolution of all other issues. It’s not a coincidence that Washington has a female governor and two female senators and just became the first state to uphold voter approved, (voter approved!), civil unions.

  159. angie says:

    Thank you yttk for just about everything you’ve posted in this thread, but especially this:

    As to feminism, the debate should not be, “do you think a pro-lifer can be a feminist.” The discussion needs to be clear, a pro-life woman deserves to be just as free from rape, assault and abuse and to have the same economic and political power as anyone else. I don’t care if she’s is a bitter knitter or a patriarchal handmaiden, she’s a human being and as such should be afforded the same rights as anyone else. Human rights are not doled out depending on your political or social beliefs. That is not equality.

    I’m pro-choice, but too often I have found myself in conversations with other pro-choice women who seem to imply (even though they don’t say it in so many words) that only pro-choice women “count.”

    Personally, I’m all for the 30% solution. In my local elections last Tuesday I voted for the woman in every race where a woman was running, which was all but the mayoral race. I voted for Republican women & Democrat women by doing that, and I felt just fine. And I’m going to keep on doing that with the caveat that the candidate at least resembles a decent human being (i.e, felons, neo-Nazis &/or former members of the KKK need not apply, but short of that, she’ll probably get my vote). (I haven’t decided what category Bachman falls in, btw). Having 30% of all elected offices occupied by women will create a sea change in this country that is much more important for advancing women’s rights, imo, than anything else.

    And honestly, I’d rather take my chances with a Republican woman than any Dem. man given their history of telling us one thing to get our votes & then effing us over the second after their sworn in (see the subject of this post). Sure, we can blame the chipping away of Roe v. Wade on the Republicans, but the Dem. men we voted for sat on their hands & allowed it to happen. OTOH, every female Senator (Rep. & Dem) voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Act.

    And Violet — thank you so much for this blog. I truly appreciate your wisdom & have learned so much from you.

  160. lalala says:

    VL, you come off as extremely arrogant and condescending when speaking to some of the people here. Some of us actually DO have the ability to sometimes look exclusively at the anti-woman aspects of our society that permeate everything from politics to family life, business, and religion. And our ability to understand “what’s really going on” is actually expanded from understanding that the hatred of women has a LOT to do with ageism, classicism, and other -isms.

  161. Carmonn says:

    vastleft, do you and myiq hate each other because you had a falling out while attending the same Condescending Ass Liberal Dude Academy? Jesus Christ, I dare both of you, I double dog dare you to go on people of color/anti-racist boards and talk to men there the way you both talk to women. Be sure to share all those helpful insights about narrow world views and broadening focus, I’m sure they’ll be awfully well-received.

    Yes, on balance women are more likely to be concerned about women’s rights than men, but that’s no reason to vote for a woman who has proven again and again — by opposing reproductive choice, birth control, equal pay legislation, family leave provisions, etc., etc. — that she doesn’t care about women’s rights and equality.

    So what would you suggest? Right now, we’re voting for mostly male Democrats who prove again and again they don’t care about women’s rights and equality. That isn’t working. The 30% solution seems to have empirical evidence to back it up, but you might be right, it might not work in an American context. What do we try instead? Anyone? Bueller?

  162. Joanelle says:

    yes, Violet (156) and as Hillary herself said, “women’s rights are human rights”

  163. vastleft says:

    Waiting to hear if anyone thought it was offsides for teresainpa to completely misrepresent my comments thusly: “why do you keep bring up all of these other issues women should care about?”

    *Crickets* so far….

  164. Violet says:

    Vastleft, you and teresainpa seem to me to be talking completely past each other. I’m ignoring it because thread knots like that are impossible to sort out. I really have no idea what you are saying to her.

  165. vastleft says:

    Violet,

    Seemed like we were having a mostly very constructive discussion here, and teresainpa came in and shamed me for weaving in (IMHO) relevant themes that extend beyond feminism per se, and framing it as though I was lecturing women about what they need to be concerned about.

    If she’s correct that connecting topics of interest here to broader political-social phenomena is a violation of house policy, I’ll cease commenting here immediately.

    In any case, for a brief shining moment here, it was really refreshing to hear perspectives like yours, Sasha’s, and others.

  166. Violet says:

    If she’s correct that connecting topics of interest here to broader political-social phenomena is a violation of house policy, I’ll cease commenting here immediately.

    And now you’re talking past me. What?

    I think you and teresainpa crossed signals. I can’t sort out what you two are arguing about because it seems like you’re talking about two different things. And getting indignant about it just makes it even more impossible to sort out. It’s like dialogue from an absurdist play.

  167. lambert strether says:

    #161 Aw come on, Carmonn! People hate me a lot worse than Vast Left! [whines]

    * * *

    #158 yttik writes:

    It’s not a coincidence that Washington has a female governor and two female senators and just became the first state to uphold voter approved, (voter approved!), civil unions.

    Maine has two female Senators and gay marriage went down to defeat. Not the critical mass of 30%? (And is that figure empirically derived, and if so, can I get a link?) Incidentally, as I’ve said upthread, I’d be perfectly happy with an NWP, and less testosterone in finance would be really, really good.

  168. vastleft says:

    Violet,

    I’m confused about where you’re confused.

    1. teresainpa has argued that feminism is the only proper frame for discussion here.

    2. I’m asking if you agree with that.

    In any case, I’ll GBCW here and wish you the best.

  169. Violet says:

    1. teresainpa has argued that feminism is the only proper frame for discussion here.

    Has she? I don’t think so. I’ll have to scroll back again through this fricking thread, but I think she was saying that feminism was what mattered in terms of understanding PUMA. And there was also some stuff about choosing to prioritize that over anything else since patriarchy is the root of all ills or something. At any rate, blog comments aren’t like math equations. Absolute precision is rarely achieved.

    I assure you, if anyone made a comment that I interpreted as being a dictum on what may or may not be discussed here, I would jump on it. Nobody does that here. It’s my blog.

  170. Violet says:

    GBCW is Goodbye Cruel World? Okay, I really don’t know what’s going on. Sometimes I feel like there’s bloodletting offstage that I have no idea about. And then some of it splashes up here on the blog and I’m supposed to understand.

  171. Violet says:

    (And is that figure empirically derived, and if so, can I get a link?)

    There’s a book about it. Rep. Carolyn Maloney wrote the book, MadamaB covered it last year, and it became a big sensation with feminists:

    http://riverdaughter.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/the-30-percent-solution-why-democratic-women-are-voting-for-mccainpalin/

  172. lalala says:

    Wow. Seriously VL? You’re going to leave this blog forever because you got into a petty argument with teresainpa and Violet won’t pick sides? I have a feeling this is exactly what happened between Corrente and the folks at The Confluence earlier this year. If you’re going to officially write off a blog because you’ve talked down to commenters who don’t agree with you and won’t validate your awesomeness by attacking your opponent, then it seems that you choose to have a narrower world view than the people you criticize.

  173. lambert strether says:

    #172 “Have the feeling”? Go ahead. It’s not correct, but go ahead.

  174. lambert strether says:

    #171. From the cited source:

    I had never heard of this [30%] statistic before reading this book (told you I was asleep), but apparently, it is a well-recognized fact that no significant progress is ever made on womens’ issues in any country unless the federal government is made up of at least 30% women.

    I’m looking for the studies that are the basis of the “apparently well-recognized fact.” It seems reasonable, and I remember the talking point from last year, but I still want the evidence. I’ll dig it up at some point. For one thing, it could point to “tipping points” at state level. I buy the argument above, for example, that single payer would be on the table in a “30% solved” environment.

  175. taggles says:

    I’m glad to see this post and comments here, Violet. I agree that PUMA does not resemble what it once was. The prospect to advance principles that we felt the Democratic Party was leaving behind was a huge motivating factor for my participation within PUMA.

    Sadly, PUMA became the antithesis to what it was I would have like to have been a part of. I have been quite vocal about this for many months. I have left PUMA and if people would like to know more they can visit me and other like minded people at http://wiredleft.wordpress.com.

  176. lorac says:

    I agree with TeresainPa. I think women’s rights is about equal rights, power, equality, representation. Whether intentional or not, all the other isms added to the women’s movement only dilute the fight for women’s rights. It’s one of the problems I have with University Women’s Studies programs today – they’ve basically become academic social work programs, and have lost their focus of the issue of women’s equality.

    And I also agree it’s true that if someone were to go on a different ism board and suggest their focus was too narrow, they’d be blasted. People (men?) only try that with feminist boards, because women are supposed to take care of everybody else, not themselves. So – I think that insisting that women need to focus on “everything” is misoygynistic and reinforcing of the patriarchal culture.

    And my own interpretation of PUMA is that it was centrally related to feminism, as it grew out of the cheating of Hillary and the dismissal of female voices. I’ve seen PUMA blogs adding all kinds of liberal causes, which are worthy causes, but IMO, they are not PUMA. PUMA is about women. There are male PUMAs, but PUMA is about women. That’s my take.

  177. Aspen says:

    I don’t buy the premise that keeps being put forth by some that the only way to get 30% women in government is to support batshit jerk anti-feminist women. The presence of batshit jerk anti-feminist men in the Democratic party does absolutely nothing to convince me otherwise. I can’t fathom how that is supposed to pass for a compelling argument.

  178. Violet says:

    I have left PUMA and if people would like to know more they can visit me and other like minded people at http://wiredleft.wordpress.com.

    Hey, Sheri, that’s great. I didn’t even know you’d started a blog.

  179. madamab says:

    Lambert,

    There are plenty of articles about the 30% tipping point. I coined the term “the 30% solution,” but it’s not called that in the studies by WEDO and the UN. It’s better to look for articles about critical mass and 30% women.

    Here is a good one discussing UNIFEM’s findings from 2008. A critical passage:

    The study found a high correlation between the number of elected women and legislation related to women’s issues, including agriculture services, day care and street lighting for security. It also cited British research that women turned out in higher numbers to vote in elections when there was a female candidate.

    Once again, this is not just about voting for women. It’s also about increasing the number of women candidates. Why should we be forced to vote for women who are completely against our beliefs? Men have choices of liberal, conservative, independent, green and whatever else you want to call them. Why can’t we?

    I was hoping PUMA would become an independent voting bloc that would be able to make demands on both parties to increase their percentage of female candidates by 30% every 2 years. Alas, it did not happen. But it’s still early days. Women are still clinging to Obama according to the latest Rasmussen polls. We need our sisters to wake up and smell the misogyny!

  180. Violet says:

    I’m looking for the studies that are the basis of the “apparently well-recognized fact.” It seems reasonable, and I remember the talking point from last year, but I still want the evidence.

    Why don’t you ask MadamaB? She has the book and she even interviewed Carolyn Maloney.

    ETA: oops, posted at the same time as MadamaB just above.

  181. lorac says:

    Aspen 177

    It sounds like you may be using “anti-feminist” to refer to “anti-choice”….? There are many ways a person can be a feminist; the issue of abortion is just one. I would gladly vote for a republican woman who was a feminist in other ways, even if she wasn’t pro-choice.

    Prior to last year’s election I would never have done that. I always heard that an anti-choice woman can’t be a feminist, and so that’s what I always believed. Now that my illusions are shattered about the democratic party and I realize they aren’t the “good guys”, they’re just as corrupt as anyone else, I no longer believe whatever NPR and the dems tell me. Now I think about every issue and look at both sides, and I don’t see everything so black and white.

    Not saying that this should be everyone’s path, but it’s what happened to me and a lot of other lifelong dems. And it’s why I now believe that a woman can be a feminist and be anti-choice – because, as I said, choice is just one issue among many. And those anti-choice women are no less women or Americans than I am. We don’t expect all male politicians to be the same – why do expect that of females?

  182. Sameol says:

    No one said the answer is to go out of our way to support batshit anti-feminist woman. Realistically, however, Some parts of the country are pretty light on feminist politicians and candidates. It would be wonderful if every race had a feminist option. Hell, it would be wonderful if 2% of races had a halfway decent option of either gender. If you live in a state or district where that’s the case, you’re lucky. I don’t.

  183. Sameol says:

    I meant “female” politicians and candidates, not feminist, although, that too.

  184. Nadai says:

    *Crickets* so far….

    vastleft,

    I’ll preface this with two points. First, I’m obviously not teresainpa and I’m not going to attempt to speak for her. Second, I like Corrente and have particularly enjoyed both your and lambert’s posts/comments there. (I also like The Confluence and am not wading into that argument.) Please believe me when I say this response is not meant as a personal attack. I am generally well-disposed towards you.

    However. You are behaving like an ass.

    Look at the last ten posts on this blog. One post ( ARE YOU KIDDING ME????) about Joe Lieberman’s promise to filibuster a health care bill with a public option. One post (Dried fruit?) about the Halloween party at the White House. The most recent one (Sometimes it’s good to pause and remind ourselves that the wingnuts really are fucking batshit insane) which is an open thread with the post mentioning the lunatic rightwing spin on the shooting at Ft. Hood and abortion coverage (as if) in the health care bill.

    And seven posts on specifically women-related issues and events. Gang rape victim brings it on herself, about the horrific gang rape of a fifteen year old girl by gods alone know how many men/boys and how that’s been covered in the news and reacted to by some people who’ve read about it. One of these hate crimes is not like the others, about how the news coverage of the recently signed hate crime bill doesn’t even mention that the bill includes gender as well as sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. Why isn’t the Richmond gang rape being treated as a hate crime?, about how violence against women is virtually never even seen as a hate crime, let alone prosecuted as one. Take back Halloween!, about making non-porn Halloween costumes for women, because you sure as hell can’t find any in the stores. Gang rape as entertainment, about how haunted houses among other forms of “entertainment” are misogynist rape celebrations. Election Results/Cleveland Corpse Nightmare open thread, half about election results and half about the paroled rapist who went on to murder half a dozen women and bury them under his house. And finally, this post, A year later, world suddenly gets what PUMAs were talking about, about (in the post itself) how women’s health needs have been ejected from the health care reform bill written by the frigging Democrats who quite obviously don’t give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut about women any longer and how the PUMA movement prior to the election was aimed at making them earn women’s support and not do shit like write health care bills which don’t cover major bits of women’s health because, after all, the little ladies don’t have anywhere else to go.

    Do you see a unifying theme for most of these posts?

    This is a feminist blog. It is one of the few feminist blogs which is well-written, is reasonably often updated, is moderated to keep the assholes to a minimum, covers topics in some depth, and has a good-sized group of regular commenters capable of discussing some fairly hot-button issues without (usually) devolving into shrieking. This is, for me at least, a precious space, one of the few where I don’t regularly get blindsided by out-and-out misogynists or the even more common derailers wringing their hands over Tibet, or climate change, or Iraq, or any one of a thousand other worthwhile issues no one here was currently discussing.

    So. You come into this space and in your first comment you write that misogyny (you know, what we were discussing) is one of eight issues that need thinking about and suggest that there’s a broader whole than “just” disregarding women. In your next post, you helpfully list those eight issues. In your next comment, you disagree with the assertion several women, including Violet, made that PUMA had no real leadership and point to two women you think could be considered PUMA leaders. One of these women, interestingly, is on the other side of a blog feud with your home blog. In your next comment, you write that you’d like a discussion of your eight issues and Silber’s Tribalism series, and mention that the problems we face are “bigger than any one issue and any one constituency”, softening that some by adding that you’re not trying to shortchange the importance of health care and gender equality. Except, of course, that [women's] health care and gender equality were what we were discussing and it’s a bit hard to talk about something else and not shortchange that discussion. Your next comment is directed at lambert. Your next comment notes that while “anti-feminism” is serious, it’s not the only “anti-traditional-liberal-constituency” thing going and is part of a whole, all of which should be considered.

    Are you seeing a pattern yet?

    You come into a feminist space, occupied largely by women, who are discussing women’s health care and the general screwing over of women by the Democratic party and try to “broaden” the discussion to cover related issues you find important. And you know what? I find them important, too. I liked your eight issues analysis when I read it on Corrente and Arthur Silber’s Tribalism series, and indeed, pretty much everything Arthur Silber writes. I think there’s a good discussion to be had on all of these issues together, and I agree completely that there are broad, overarching themes which stretch beyond what’s considered “just” women’s issues. And you know what I also think? We weren’t discussing that.

    I don’t know if you grasp just how often men come into women’s spaces and try to wrench the conversation around to the topics they think we ought to be discussing instead of the inane and peripheral topics we actually are discussing. Let me tell you, it happens to me every frigging day of my life. After fifty years of this, my patience is, shall we say, limited. I don’t think you mean any harm. I don’t think you’re a misogynist asshat and I’m not collecting stones to heave at you. I don’t even think you’re wrong.

    But holy mother goddess of the abyss, do you think you could join the discussion that’s actually underway instead of trying to change it to one that’s more to your liking? Do you think you could, just for a little while, allow the rest of us to concentrate specifically on women?

  185. Violet says:

    Nadai wins the internet.

  186. lorac says:

    Nadai 184
    Wow, you’re a very good writer and communicate very well, I think. That was a really coherent and well-explained comment.

  187. RKMK says:

    *cheers Nadai*

  188. MojaveWolf says:

    @aspen #177 & sasha_CA in general — ITA. I have a feeling getting 30% where half or more were of the Bachman/Schafly/Roiphe/Rand types would NOT be helpful to anyone but conservatives (tho I never quite got the religious types who were so fond of Ayn Rand, because THIS IS NOT A MATCH!); I think it would be like getting 60 dems in the senate where 10 of them were blue dogs, except worse becauses of the different %’s.

    On the other hand, @madameab — yes! more women candidates of all stripes.

    @Violet on general themes — I’m not sure if we’re all on the same side on everything (heh, I’m very sure some of us are not on the same side of some things), but I suspect everyone here, at Corrente and the Confluence can all agree the Dem health care bill leaving out women’s issues doth suck greatly, and the great masses of liberals who think the Democratic party is, for the most part, “on their side” and the even greater masses of the general public who think the Democratic party is still a party of social and economic progressives are delusional.

    @Vastleft — Having discussed things here other than purely feminist issues myself (and even gotten in lengthy arguments about them) I can assure you Violet doesn’t mind tying feminist concerns in with other issues in the appropriate context,and being both a regular reader of this blog and an admirer of your posts and comments at various places, hope you’ll stick around.

    I read this thread in bits and pieces throughout the day, so didn’t notice the pattern nadai mentioned in your comments and not about read back through 180 of these to see if I agree, but I do think it makes sense for us guys (if you are a guy; I dunno) to tread lightly in feminist spaces. I mean, clearly it does no one any good if the planet dies or the country/world turns into a police state, and environmentalism/civil rights-in-general are equally as important to me as feminism, but not every place has to have the same focus and in fact I think we’re all better off w/a lot of different places having particular focuses, as long as they don’t become overly isolated from other important things. This wouldn’t fall under the heading of tribalism/provincialism so much as it is comparable’ to specializing in the sciences. Not sure that you were complaining about this or not, but I at least enjoy your comments and would like to see you stick around.

    @nadai — “holy mother goddess of the abyss” is a great phrase!

  189. taggles says:

    Thanks so much for the kind words, violet. Yes, we just opened Wired Left this week. The last two years have been quite interesting and I try to explain, in our opening post, what has driven me to the point I am at now.

    Many of the same reasons are outlined here within comments on this post.

    I’ll be adding RL to our blog roll. :-)

  190. Aspen says:

    I want to address the issue that has been brought up here about how other -isms and issues that seem to some to be not exclusively women’s issues should fit in with the resistance movement.
    My take is, I’m not really a “feminism is about equality” feminist. I don’t want women to be “equal” to men – not equal in committing violent crime, not equal as bank profiteers, not equal in white collar crime, not equal in starting wars, none of that. I’m more of a “feminism is about liberating women from patriarchy” feminism. And that’s why I can’t separate socioeconomic issues from feminism. Capitalism works by exploiting the wage slave class, which is created and maintained by restricting access to all methods self-sufficiency. Under this system, the only way for most of us to have food, water, shelter, education, and healthcare is to be a wage slave. One set of wages is usually not enough to afford those necessities I just listed. So what we end up with women who are economically forced into marriage or prostitution just to survive, as well as into jobs where they are bullied or harassed. Those few of us who are fortunate enough to stay in the ever shrinking middle class, those of us lucky enough to live in neighborhoods where there is not rampant crime, we are asked every day to abandon our principles, to comply with this ruthless system.
    I’m certainly in favor of women’s issues such as reproductive rights and equal pay, but that’s not going to make us free.

  191. Joanelle says:

    Thank you, Nadai – perfect!

  192. lalala says:

    Bravo, Nadia. You said what a lot of us were thinking last night.

  193. angie says:

    {applause} Nadia. You can’t see me, but I’m giving you a standing ovation. Brilliant!

  194. Nessum says:

    Great thread! Great comments!

    And it does amuse me seeing pompous, thin skinned male bloggers, of which at least one has time and again proven himself an outright sexist, come here, to a feminist site! pounding their chest, having pissing contests among themselves! Chuckle!

    And now even, when picking a fight with a woman, expecting others to side with them!

  195. murphy says:

    what Nadia said.

  196. Martha says:

    “I was forwarded an email not long ago from a reputedly PUMA, reputedly Hillary-supporting blog (not anyone here), and it was utterly appalling. Just your basic wingnut crap.”
    Such as?
    Forwarded by whom?
    You verified it how?
    The reality is that PUMAs always showed more spirit than most of the blogs many of which veer from one thing to another and most posts are little more than a dish session.
    I thought PUMAs would help change the world. But I care about real issues and rarely find them at most of the PUMA blogs.

  197. gxm17 says:

    Aspen @ 177: It’s really quite simple. If I have a choice between a batshit jerk anti-feminist man and a batshit jerk anti-feminist woman, I’m going to pick the woman.

    I completely agree with yttik. We must break free from the Death by Perfection trap we set for ourselves when we demand perfect women candidates while dutifully accepting (much) less than perfect men candidates.

    ****

    And, Nadai, I’m standing with angie applauding you too.

  198. lambert strether says:

    madamab #179. Thanks. This is the sort of thing I was looking for.

    * * *

    aspen #177 writes:

    I don’t buy the premise that keeps being put forth by some that the only way to get 30% women in government is to support batshit jerk anti-feminist women.

    Maybe so, but if we look at the data (see madamab above), we don’t have to argue about who buys what. We can look at what really happened (depending on how good the studies are, of course) and stop going around in circles. To me, the 30% solution sounds plausible, there’s data to back it up, and also it makes sense to think about applying it to campaigns where the percentages are close to 30.

    * * *

    As for nadia’s comments on vastleft’s comments: I’m all for broadening the conversation in theory, but in practice the same conversation doesn’t need to occur in all places, and in fact shouldn’t (otherwise there would be no diversity, but a monoculture subject to memetic infection). I’d say more, but RL calls.

  199. cellocat says:

    In response to aspen, #177, I’m not suggesting that we HAVE to support people like Michelle Bachmann. Each woman has to make her choices in the privacy of the voting booth according to her own personal comfort level and motivations. I am suggesting that the thoughts, feelings, and actions of women in Congress (and men too) would shift in ways both subtle and obvious if there were at a minimum 30% female representation. It would be a qualitative shift, not just a quantitative one. And in that context, even people you might consider fairly right-wing might make different choices. Look at Palin’s record in Alaska; it seems to be clearly more moderate than her own personal beliefs might dictate. This was the result, at least in part, of the constraints of the situation of her governorship, in which she was governing in the context of a significant Democratic faction in the state congress (a majority, I think, but could be wrong). Context is important, (unless, of course, you’re a Dem in the US Congress, where even a Dem majority doesn’t seem to prevent cowardly action. /snark.) and the weight of opinion of a large group of women in government would affect the actions of the individuals within it. To a certain extent, I think that our attempts to cherry-pick the “perfect” female candiates are really getting in our way. We’re letting the perfect become the enemy of the good, and in the process, not seeing the forest for the trees.

  200. No Blood for Hubris says:

    “Supporting people like Michelle Bachmann”?

    Hunh?

    This tail of this great thread has become like the end of a long game of Telephone?

  201. No Blood for Hubris says:

    “And now even, when picking a fight with a woman, expecting others to side with them!”

    Sorry, I must have missed the part where it’s not ok to pick a fight with a woman. Is that because they’re too weak or too stupid?

    And I guess I missed the part where it’s not ok for me to side with a blogger with whom I agree because he’s male?

    Talk about sexism. Sheesh.

  202. Violet says:

    Such as?
    Forwarded by whom?
    You verified it how?

    Martha, I appreciate your being skeptical. Especially given how PUMAs have been slandered. But give me a little credit. I’m not referring to a spam from Nigeria.

    I know lots of folks and am in touch with lots of people from the Hillary campaign, the women’s groups that emerged from that, etc. The email was on one of those mailing lists and pointed to a post on a prominent PUMA/Hillary blog (not anyone here), which I then visited to read for myself.

  203. observer says:

    It seems both parties doesn’t represent concern of women voters; why not form a political party for women only? Launch your own candidate starting from the local level so you can have an impact. You have women democrats in Congress and Senate, but their concern is lining up their own pockets at your expense.

    What makes women in politics sometimes a hard pill to swallow and received rejection from voters, even when they’re corrupt, other women still vote for them for the simple reason they’re owner of uterus.

    If you want to empower women, start with yourself, which means “self-respect”, look at your body as a temple, do not allow anyone to hurt you physically or verbally. Do not allow men or women to degrade you by calling you names and don’t do the same to other women; it will eventually come back to you.

    If you can’t do that as a woman, whatever crusade PUMA have in mind will never take root.

    I’m a democrat, but I don’t follow blindly. I voted straight GOP ticket last year after my own party treated Hillary Clinton like a criminal; I’m a vindictive democrat, I hold grudges, I don’t get mad, I get even.

  204. Violet says:

    Nadai’s epic post was so perfect that it needs no further comment. Except it probably does, at least from me, the blog owner, so as to make clear where I stand.

    What MojaveWolf said:

    @Vastleft — Having discussed things here other than purely feminist issues myself (and even gotten in lengthy arguments about them) I can assure you Violet doesn’t mind tying feminist concerns in with other issues in the appropriate context,and being both a regular reader of this blog and an admirer of your posts and comments at various places, hope you’ll stick around.

    Absolutely true. This is not a feminism-only blog. Also, I like Vastleft too, enjoy his writing, agree with his politics, and hope he’ll stick around.

    The issue here is most definitely not one of tribalism. It’s about male privilege and about taking feminism seriously. Feminist-friendly behavior should be part of the progressive guy’s mental toolkit. Just as white people need to be aware of white privilege, men need to become aware of how male privilege works, and try to check it at the door. That’s all.

  205. Adrienne in CA says:

    Indulging my let’s-get-practical fetish, below are some links I put together for a (male) colleague who was genuinely surprised when I told him how few women serve in political leadership positions. He thought a moment, then wondered hopefully if percents in western or more liberal states were much better. They’re not really — not when compared to our numbers in the citizenry, and even larger proportion of registered voters.

    I truly believe increasing the number of women in office is the key to expanding women’s power in the world. An important beginning step is communicating the extent of the problem. While the 30% Solution explains the underlying tipping point, a much more easily grasped means of mass marketing this idea to the public at large is Equal Representation. Minorities have successfully used this appeal to expand their numbers in political office. It works because it draws upon an instinctual sense of fairness in most people.

    It’s very hard to argue that if women are half the citizens we shouldn’t also be half the leadership. There are lots and lots of false “explanations” for why this cannot be so in the old boy business world. But reasons against women serving in equal numbers on school boards, city councils, state legislatures and Congress quickly break down. Political appeal depends on the ability to articulate ideas that motivate voters, not on the whim of a corporate network. Many of you here have more than enough smarts and presence to run and win.

    I would encourage all of us to familiarize ourselves with women’s vast under-representation below, and to share these links and find ways to work these startling facts into conversations with others. Mainstream media won’t talk about it, so we must.
    ___________________

    FYI, here’s the ranking of women in national governments that I mentioned, where the US is #71. If you click on the link inside the blog entry, you get to the source site that contains the entire chart (ranking goes up to 135, including ties).
    http://thenewagenda.net/2009/03/25/lots-of-work-to-do/

    Here’s some data on percent of women in state legislatures – 24.2% nationally. Scroll down for a table. CA is 27.5%. Looks like NH is highest at 37.3%. Anyone from NH know whether things are better for women there?
    http://www.ncsl.org/programs/wln/WomenInOffice2009.htm

    There are presently 8 woman governors, of 31 total to date. Lots of other stats and history at this site.
    http://www.ergd.org/Governors.htm

    *****A

  206. Violet says:

    Aspen says:

    My take is, I’m not really a “feminism is about equality” feminist. I don’t want women to be “equal” to men – not equal in committing violent crime, not equal as bank profiteers, not equal in white collar crime, not equal in starting wars, none of that. I’m more of a “feminism is about liberating women from patriarchy” feminism. And that’s why I can’t separate socioeconomic issues from feminism. Capitalism works by exploiting the wage slave class, which is created and maintained by restricting access to all methods self-sufficiency.

    I agree. My own theoretical feminism is similar to yours. In fact, this is why I like to send people to Twisty’s blog as a resource. And it’s more than just capitalism, of course; it’s the whole hierarchical paradigm.

    But: my political approach to movement feminism is quite different. It is my firm belief that the entire patriarchal nut, if you will, simply cannot be cracked at once. The revolution will only proceed by stages. And the first step, in every culture, is simply getting women to an equal place. Removing the basic barriers to female participation in the human project — which, by the way, we’re still working on in this country.

  207. angie says:

    Thanks Adrienne in CA. Every time I hear about the 30% solution I remember being a little girl in school (don’t remember the grade) & the discussion was about how there had to be more AAs in public office & on tv as newscasters, etc. because AA children needed more positive role models. The basic premise was that if AA children didn’t see mayors, Senators, newscasters who were black they would not aspire to those positions themselves. I feel the same way about women (regardless of political party) being in office. The more we get in, the more who will run, etc. We are at such dismal numbers now (as you point out) that we have a long way to go.

  208. angie says:

    PS — I’ve been very fortunate that after school I clerked for the first female justice on my state’s supreme court & then (after the the clerkship was over) in private practice I worked for the first female attorney to make partner at one the biggest & oldest firms in the city. One of those women was a Democrat; one was a Republican. But they had much more in common with each other than not (and I with them). I kind of feel the same way about female politicians.

  209. Carmonn says:

    If you’d asked me a few years ago, I would have said that the key to everything is class. Everything else will follow. I don’t believe that anymore. I feel betrayed and too mistrustful. Reproductive rights and equal pay aren’t going to make us free, but we have to be recognized as human beings before we’ll ever be allowed to benefit from any transformation or revolution, no matter how hard we work for it.

  210. lambert strether says:

    #204. What violet says is what I was trying to get at by tossing the word “conversation” back over the net. Onward!

  211. KendallJ says:

    Carmonn,

    I believe gender equality is the key. Its natures golden rule of BALANCE. Until there is a balance of power between the genders there will be no peace, and war and poverty will continue to rain supreme. Gender inequality is directly linked to wars, extremism, poverty, over-population, disease, and almost all of the strife on the planet. Peace and proparity will only come when there is balance.

  212. KendallJ says:

    Vastleft, seems to do what so many liberal men do, and that is to defuse women from discussing our issues in the context of male privilege. That’s why he raises these other issues. If the issue is classism or ageism, or something else, he doesn’t have to take responsibility for misogyny or male privilege.

    I understand that its uncomfortable, especially for someone who really doesn’t want women to be oppressed. But until men, even well intentioned ones, are willing to face how oppressed women are, and stop trying to change the subject because they hate to have to identify with being the oppressor, they are doing nothing but enabling and participating in marginalizing us.

  213. I’m Baaaaack. « HellOnHairyLegs says:

    [...] other news Democrats threw women under the bus in the health care plan (Quelle surprise!). As an American citizen I can register to vote, but I [...]

  214. Violet says:

    Those are good observations, Kendall.

    But I don’t want this thread to turn into a post-mortem on Vastleft. The matter was addressed and we can move on. The point has been made that even well-intentioned progressive guys are afloat in a sea of privilege to which they seem to be oblivious. But for the record, let me just say that I also know Vastleft as one of the very few men in the progressive blogosphere who has spoken out against the misogyny directed at both Hillary Clinton AND Sarah Palin. I really, really appreciate that. Credit where it’s due.

    Now, I would like to move on.

    I’m still interested in our fundamental problem, which is that we (women) have no leverage. At. All. We are fucked. We are at the mercy of the Donkey of Shit.

  215. Sasha, CA says:

    Sure, we can blame the chipping away of Roe v. Wade on the Republicans, but the Dem. men we voted for sat on their hands & allowed it to happen. OTOH, every female Senator (Rep. & Dem) voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Act.

    True, all four of the Republican women in the Senate voted for Ledbetter but so did every male Democratic senator. OTOH, not even one Republican woman in the House voted in favor of fair pay for women (Kay Granger abstained and every other female Republican Representative actually voting against the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act) whereas only two of the Democratic men voted against Ledbetter. Evidence once more that there’s no substitute for researching a candidate’s voting record and positions on the issues that are important to us.

  216. Sameol says:

    The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Fair Pay Act are two separate bills, however. The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act reset the 180 day statute of limitations to each instance of discrimination so the victim can recoup more earnings with a successful law suit. That’s great, but it’s a heck of a lot more narrow than The Fair Pay Act, which, in tandem with The Paycheck Fairness Act, actually mandated equal pay for equal work. To the best of my knowledge, the Democratic Senate leadership is refusing to allow either of these bills to come to the floor for a vote.

    Can anyone fill me in? Has the situation changed? Are these bills now law? Because if not, it seems like no one actually voted for or against fair pay for women, because no one was allowed to. And if it’s true, it also seems like the Democrats who control Congress not only completely screwed us but did it in a most disingenuous fashion by inserting “fair pay” into the title of a bill which does not do nearly as much to ensure fair pay as the actual fair pay acts which they killed. Again, I may be totally wrong and these bills may have subsequently been brought forward and passed, but if not, from my perspective the House Republican women may not be our biggest problem. We’ve got majorities in both chambers and the Presidency, if these bills aren’t law I can’t understand why.

  217. songster says:

    @Sameol:

    Good questions. The very useful thomas.gov gives the answers in a few minutes of work:

    Lily Ledbetter (H.R. 11, S. 181) passed both House and Senate and was signed into law 1/29/2009.

    The Fair Pay act (H.R. 2151, S. 904) is still in committee in both the House and Senate. Although the Senate bill has attracted some cosponsors, the House bill seems not to have anyone working for it other than Eleanor Holmes Norton. So you might want to contact your congressperson.

    The Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 12) is recorded as having been appended to H.R. 11. If that actually happened and the provisions remained in the House-Senate agreed version, it’s law too. My research time is up so I’ll leave it to someone else to track that down.

  218. Linden says:

    I think it’s useful, when talking about these issues, to get down to basic principles. My perspective of feminism was formed by reading the writings of radical feminists. I agree with their theory that all oppression of women stems from the designation of women as the “sex class.” This is the one thing that all women have in common, though of course in real life people live in a web of intersecting lines of racism, classism, and so on. But women are affected by the other -isms differently from men, because all of women’s oppression is first filtered through their membership in the sex class. So while it’s true that all issues affect women, the starting place for analysis must be a feminist one to get the entire picture.

    For example, the root of women’s economic repression comes from membership in the sex class, which is a separate and distinct layer of oppression from classism. Membership in the sex class explains not just the difference in pay between waitresses and truck drivers, but also between identically educated male and female professionals. Just looking at classism doesn’t capture the entire picture.

  219. Sameol says:

    Thanks, songster.

    So to review, the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which resets the 180 day statute of limitations is now law. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which sets up voluntary guidelines for employers interested in equal pay, calls for an EEOC study of employer data, and expands damages for successful suits brought under existing law, may or may not have become law depending on what happened in conference committee.

    And the Fair Pay Act, which mandates equal pay for equal work, will come up for a vote along the 12 of never.

  220. teresainpa says:

    So we say, “Great! We’ll just keep voting for women until we reach 30% (or 50% or whatever).” But what that comes down to is standing in a voting booth, trying to force yourself to vote for some anti-choice conservative woman whose political positions make your hair stand on end. Because we don’t vote for Congress by percentage; we vote in individual electoral races. And it’s fucking hard to vote for somebody whose politics you hate.

    My feeling is that we are going to get those people in office anyway in the form of republican AND democratic males, many of whom will throw us under the bus as they are doing now with health care reform, the first chance they get. With women in office, even pro-life women, I think we get a better daal. I think lots of “pro-life” women are not as pro-life as they say and will ere in favor of women’s rights. I also think America needs to see a balance in power to change it’s basic feelings about women in power.

  221. Sameol says:

    Wait a second, my research skills are terrible as is my memory, but isn’t H.R. 11 The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act? I think I misremembered the Senate Democratic Leadership preventing the Paycheck Fairness Act from being voted on when perhaps what actually happened was that it was attached to H.R 11 and then stripped ( yes, I did try to ascertain exactly what happened beforehand, but my research skills still suck). My research still and will forever suck, but all I can ascertain at the moment is that H.R. 11 passed in the early part of the year, as of June ’09 the NYT is editorializing that the Paycheck Fairness Act should be passes into law (as if it has not been), and as of Sept. ’09 at least one group that appears to advocate for women’s rights is advocating for the passage of The Paycheck Fairness Act as a necessary next step. If Paycheck Fairness was enacted into law along with Lily Ledbetter, few seem to know about it as there are angry and/or wistful laments about the lack of action of Paycheck Fairness that acknowledge That Lily Ledbetter is law. I’ll see what else I can find.

  222. angie says:

    Sasha — you are thinking about this exactly wrong. It doesn’t matter one wit which Republicans (male or female) didn’t vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act. We have 60 Dems in the Senate, and contrary to the nonsense being spewed by Harry Reid & the White House, a bill only needs 51 votes to pass. That’s an awful lot of Dems who didn’t vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act either. Look at the language in the health care bill being proposed now with 60 Dems in the Senate. Look at how the Dems have sat back & allowed the protections of Roe v. Wade to become, for all intents & purposes, meaningless for all but the wealthy women in this country. My position is the men have had their chance & they have proven, beyond argument, that they are not going to get it done for us. So, my position is that we need a radical change in our government. By voting more women in (regardless of political affiliation) there will be a major change in government in that Congress will cease being the “old boys club” that it currently is (and always has been). Women representatives & senators will be able to give each other the political cover that they currently lack. Honestly, do you think we could be worse off then we are now? I seriously doubt it.

  223. teresainpa says:

    The woman? Forget the rational explanations and excuses, she’s female therefore she is an evil, maniacal, tax raising, liar. Yeah well, she probably is, but how does that make her worst then her male counterparts? It doesn’t, it makes my perceptions of her wrong. When you take the bias and emotional response away, her actual record showed less hypocrisy then most and yet she was judged to be five times as evil.

    It’s a bit like critisizing Palin for her anti-gay marriage stance and giving Obama and Biden a total pass on their exact same stance.

    exactly!

  224. teresainpa says:

    Yes, on balance women are more likely to be concerned about women’s rights than men, but that’s no reason to vote for a woman who has proven again and again — by opposing reproductive choice, birth control, equal pay legislation, family leave provisions, etc., etc. — that she doesn’t care about women’s rights and equality.

    No but many of us have gone and voted year after year for men who throw us under the bus on those exact same issues and we have voted for them because we were told that we are only safe if a democrat is in office. Bullshit.
    How long do you want women to be the women’s auxiliary of the democrat party?
    I am 52 and haven’t had to worry about abortion since I was 27. But all these years I have been vocal in protecting choice… for what? So that all the young women could go to the polls and vote for Obama like a lot of sheep and tell me he is more feminist than Clinton?
    My feeling is let them fight for their right to chose and maybe they will respect it more. In the mean time there are more important considerations. I am more than my long gone uterus.

  225. Sameol says:

    I can’t find a definitive chronology, but to the best of what I am able to piece together, I’m thinking that my original memory of what occurred might have been pretty good. I don’t believe that the Paycheck Fairness Act ever came up for a vote in the Senate. Instead, it looks like the Senate Dems used a procedural measure to kill it off prior to it being voted on. And it doesn’t seem like much if any action has been taken on it since it was originally killed off. I could be wrong, but that’s what I’m getting.

  226. RKMK says:

    Look at how the Dems have sat back & allowed the protections of Roe v. Wade to become, for all intents & purposes, meaningless for all but the wealthy women in this country. My position is the men have had their chance & they have proven, beyond argument, that they are not going to get it done for us.

    See Bart Stupak, who seems to be single-handedly exposing the Democratic Party as not only passively “allowing” women’s rights to be chipped away, but actually actively stripping them away. (American sisters: please call your reps immediately.)
    .

  227. teresainpa says:

    See the L, B, and T in LGBT? Anything that concerns women concerns a gay woman, a bisexual woman or a transgender woman. “Gay marriage” does not refer exclusively to the marriage of two men; it applies equally to the marriage of two women.

    And yes, woman hating and gay-hating are connected at the root because powerful women and powerful non-gender-conforming men threaten the hell out of both misogynists and homophobes.

    \
    WTF? this has absolutely nothing to do with ANYTHING I said. Several of you seem to want to pick a fight about some imaginary insult or ignorant opinion you want to paste on me. Forget it, not happening.
    I said gay men because that is the group I was talking about. I assume that lesbians vote somewhat differently based on the fact that they are women. Good lord, next time I will be sure to shove them right in to the same group as gay men automatically if that is what you want.

  228. teresainpa says:

    And yes, woman hating and gay-hating are connected at the root

    Oh I see and that is why all the sweeties on America Blog and most of the gay friends supported Obama in the primaries because Hillary was, what was it they called her… a horrible creature or something.
    That is exactly why I made that first comment of mine about gay men. They perception was that hillary was not as good on issues concerning them and so they supported the male candidate who was so clearly NOT as good a candidate. They thought of their own issues first. Why in hell can’t women do the same?

  229. Sasha, CA says:

    How long do you want women to be the women’s auxiliary of the democrat party?

    Funny, I don’t recall ever saying that women should be voting for the Democrat regardless of his/her positions and record. I’ve never done that and I sure as hell wouldn’t advocate that others do so. If the Dems are going to run candidates like Casey or Kaine, by all means, let them know that you won’t be supporting those candidates. Better yet, let’s work on the primary campaigns of progressive, pro-women candidates to prevent future DINOs and possibly get rid of the ones we already have. And in the unlikely event that the Republican candidate in a state or district is more progressive or feminist than the Dem, I can totally see voting for the Republican. Just don’t kid yourself that a vote for someone like Bachmann is a vote for women’s rights or equality.

  230. teresainpa says:

    nadai @183..
    Thank you and you did a fine job thinking for me. I lose patience and tend to think that VL knows exactly what he was doing. But perhaps not.
    Actually I was thinking of telling him that he reminded me of those men in the anti-war movement of the 60s who told the women to go make sandwiches while the men decided what was important.

  231. Carmonn says:

    teresainpa, I’ve never before heard it claimed that gay men supported Obama over Clinton. If you don’t mind my asking, is this based on some kind of polling data or vote breakdown, or is it your perception based on Aravosis etc.?

    It seems as if some voices drown out others on the blogs, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a higher percentage of support in the real world.

    Hatred of women and hatred of gays is connected at the root. Gay men are hated because they’re perceived as feminized, more like women than men, and therefore inferior. And the fact that some gay men are misogynists doesn’t change that.

  232. MojaveWolf says:

    @teresainpa in 227 & 228 – looking back, I think this started when Octogalore said pro-choice and gay marriage were two of the primary feminist issues, and you said in #105 that

    I think you can be pro-life and be a feminist and I do not think feminists have to hold a position on gay marriage. I didn’t see a lot of gay men run out and support Hillary in solidarity with women. They think of their important issues first and we should do the same. I am for gay marriage and always have been, but I will vote for an anti gay marriage woman if her opponent is a male.

    feminism is this: equal rights, equal power, equal pay. It is nothing else.

    Reading your quote, it does sound as if you thought gay marriage was only an issue affecting gay men, Sasha pointed out that gay marriage also related to gay women as well as gay men. Even if you meant just gay men, that wasn’t clear in your statement at all, so no one was putting any words in your mouth there. You just said gay marriage wasn’t a feminist issue and’ started talking about gay men, which I too would take as either meaning you forgot about lesbians and bisexual women or didn’t care.

    And even if you had limited your comment to gay men, it’s also factually inaccurate; according to every survey I’ve seen, the majority of gay men as well as lesbians supported Hillary in the primary. Americablog does not speak for all gays; Aravosis used to be Republican, still more of a libertarian than a liberal, and generally a misogynistic asshat, would probably still be a Republican if he hadn’t finally decided he didn’t want to be part of a party quite happy to ritually sacrifice him in order to get the fundies on board for their other goals.

    Now you’re starting to sound the same as those Republicans, and rather resembling Dems who will happily throw gay marriage under the bus to get more dems in Congress, with “I would vote for an anti-gay marriage woman if her opponent is a man”. What if’ he’s Al Franken, who currently is fighting for the rights of women rape victims to sue KBR and to prevent future contracts like that from being allowed, and who jumped all over Lieberman for his asinine comments about conscience clauses and rape victims, and his opponent is a woman who approvingly quotes Camille Paglia and Phyllis Schafly? What if someone like Michelle Bachmann ran against Dennis Kucinich?

    Likewise, Angie @ 222 — Voting more women in would be a good thing, I wholeheartedly agree, and I agree that political affiliation is irrelevant. But that’s not the same as to say political positions are irrelevant. It seems like some of the people in the threads here are confusing these two things.

    If you want to say “the hell with the Democratic party, they are either incompetent cowards or really not on our side”, I’m right there with you. But ignoring political positions to vote on gender strikes me as being right there with ignoring positions to vote on party; I don’t want Bob Casey or Joe Lieberman or Tim Kaine or Barack in office regardless of what letter is after their name, but I don’t want Palin or Marsha Blackburn, either.

    To go back to the point Sasha originally made, it would be interesting to see what the countries are like where the 30% solution has achieved a lot of success. My computer crashed so I no longer have the NY Times article that madameab or Lambert linked to, but it was interesting that women were achieving more power in Rwanda were doing so with the express goal of changing the status quo in a positive direction; a lot of the conservative women seeking power in the US are trying to change the status quo back to what they think it was like in the 50′s.

  233. MojaveWolf says:

    @Carmonn – I just mentioned in a comment in moderation, the majority of gay men supported Hillary in the primary.

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  236. Branjor says:

    Lesbian rights have been a part of the NOW platform since the 70s, and the right to marriage is a lesbian right.

  237. njhillcat says:

    Carmonn@231: Didn’t Andrew Sullivan prominently attack HRC during the primaries yet is still supporting BHO despite the latter’s having thrown the gay agenda under the bus?

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  240. teresainpa says:

    @Carmonn – I just mentioned in a comment in moderation, the majority of gay men supported Hillary in the primary.

    rthat if one thing is clear, it is that it is NOT clear whether gay men supported Hillary Clinton in the primary. Plenty of evidence however that activists and bloggers who are gay did not.

    But that is not the point. The point is that women better start caring about their equality first because everyone else looks out for themselves first. It really is okay for women to concentrate on this one issue… parity in power for women commensurate with their numbers in society.

  241. sarainitaly says:

    I saw this on Donnie Darko:

    Shorter Obama: Any woman stupid enough to vote for me deserves exactly what she’s going to get.

    I agree – all those women who threw Hillary under the bus for Obama, all those people who attacked Hillary supporters/PUMAS – deal with it! You broke it (the Dem party) you f*cking deal with it!

    Good thing we fellow PUMAS are just dried up old bitter vaginas, so we don’t have to deal with this stuff now.