What Makes a “Good” Feminist?

Not to be outdone by male feminists from Good Men Project, some of their female counterparts theorize their hatred and fear of female sexuality as some kind of super progressive feminism:

In a patriarchy, “consensual sex” (between women and dudes) doesn’t even exist. This is because, in a patriarchy, agency is not conferred equally upon women and dudes. This untoward circumstance creates a contingency wherein the notion of consent is, for women, entirely non-substantive, a figment, a desperate fantasy invented to obscure the true nature of women’s status as the sex class. The true nature of our status as the sex class is, by the way, that we are imprisoned in a rape continuum. This continuum ranges from the “voluntary” performance of femininity (which quantifies women’s usefulness to men), to compulsory heterosexuality (which ensures availability to men), to pornography (which eroticizes inequality), to violent sexual assault (which is at the apex of the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women).

Wait. What?

The issue of consent — or, more precisely, the idea that women are considered by both custom and law to abide in a persistent state of always having given consent — is the absolute crux, nub, hub, axis, polestar, and epicenter of women’s oppression. The thing is, women can’t freely give consent because women can’t freely withhold it. “Consent” is a meaningless concept in the context of women’s reality.

Again, it’s curious to observe that the post’s author who insists that all women are victims all the time and who evidently enjoys denying women any agency or any possibility of sexual enjoyment whatsoever is a woman.

Now, look at this post (a woman trying to convince women that if they enjoy hetero sex, they are just stupid victims who are constantly getting raped) and the previous post (a man insisting that men should seek forgiveness and approval before proceeding to have sex) and tell me what causes people to develop such attitudes.

A hint: it has nothing to do with politics, feminism, patriarchy, or anything of the kind.

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115 comments on “What Makes a “Good” Feminist?

  1. “Again, it’s curious to observe that the post’s author who insists that all women are victims all the time and who evidently enjoys denying women any agency or any possibility of sexual enjoyment whatsoever is a woman.”

    Oh please. I’m not denying anybody any agency or any sexual anything. The culture of oppression does that just fine without any help from me. I merely state the obvious.

  2. By that logic you couldn’t even have a consensual conversation between a dude and a woman, even one initiated by the woman herself. Indeed, with that little agency it is hard to explain how a woman could even get out of bed in the morning of her own free will. She thinks she wants to, but maybe it is the patriarchy making her want to get up?

  3. I just don’t believe that complete domination of any kind is feasible. The human instinct, even in the worst conditions, is for some kind of resistance. Resistance does not have to be obvious. It can be conducted in the most passive ways. I suggest people who have these extreme views to read James C. Scott’s Domination and the Arts of Resistance

  4. “By that logic you couldn’t even have a consensual conversation between a dude and a woman, even one initiated by the woman herself.”

    It does seem to be the case that most conversations between men and women, even those initiated by women, have non-consensual aspects. Men speak over women, even when they don’t know what they’re talking about. However, if your conversations involve penetration, you’re doing it wrong.

    “Indeed, with that little agency it is hard to explain how a woman could even get out of bed in the morning of her own free will. She thinks she wants to, but maybe it is the patriarchy making her want to get up?”

    If she’s getting up to take care of a child or to make breakfast for her husband, well, it probably it is the patriarchy making her do it.

    • “Men speak over women, even when they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

      -Please let’s not generalize, OK? I’d love to see a man who tries speaking over me. If you are surrounded by men who keep interrupting you, start hanging out with other kind of men.

      “However, if your conversations involve penetration, you’re doing it wrong.”

      -I have no idea what this statement means.

      “If she’s getting up to take care of a child or to make breakfast for her husband, well, it probably it is the patriarchy making her do it.”

      -Unless somebody chained her to the stove or to the crib and legally denied her other options, it is her own personal choice.

      • “I’d love to see a man who tries speaking over me. If you are surrounded by men who keep interrupting you, start hanging out with other kind of men.”

        Are you really saying that men never try to speak over you? I think you’re just not paying attention. Or you don’t get out much. And yes, of course, there are jobs galore. I’ll just go pick another one.

        “I have no idea what this statement means.”

        Then you apparently don’t know what this discussion is about.

        “Unless somebody chained her to the stove or to the crib and legally denied her other options, it is her own personal choice.”

        Choices are not made in a vacuum. That is the entire point here. If you can’t understand that, that you don’t understand the first thing about feminism.

      • ‘Are you really saying that men never try to speak over you? I think you’re just not paying attention. ”

        -There are PEOPLE who try to do that. Including men, women and transgender people. Whenever somebody tries that (which happens very rarely because I mostly hang out with polite individuals), I make them shut up and listen. It’s very easy to do.

        “Then you apparently don’t know what this discussion is about.”

        -Which discussion? The one you seem to be having with yourself?

        “Choices are not made in a vacuum. ”

        -Nobody is saying they are. However, blaming the patriarchy for “making you” serve anybody else’s needs in this day and age is self-infantilization. I don’t support that. Don’t want to make somebody else’s breakfast? Don’t.

      • “There are PEOPLE who try to do that. Including men, women and transgender people. Whenever somebody tries that (which happens very rarely because I mostly hang out with polite individuals), I make them shut up and listen. It’s very easy to do.”

        So you’re saying men do try to speak over you. Note that I never said women don’t do that; I’m saying that men in general tend to do it far more often. And regardless of whether you’re able to make them shut up, the fact that they think they’re entitled to try is a problem, and I don’t think you consented to them trying it. Attempted mansplaining isn’t much better than completed mansplaining.

        BTW, “transgender people” fall under “men and women,” and separating them like that makes it appear that you disagree. I’m hoping you meant intersex or genderqueer, those who don’t fall strictly under either the “man” or “woman” label.

        “However, blaming the patriarchy for ‘making you’ serve anybody else’s needs in this day and age is self-infantilization. I don’t support that. Don’t want to make somebody else’s breakfast? Don’t.”

        Ahh, how cute. You think we’re all past that.

      • “Note that I never said women don’t do that; I’m saying that men in general tend to do it far more often.”

        -And I said they don’t. Not if you don’t allow for that to happen.

        ” the fact that they think they’re entitled to try is a problem”

        -I care nothing for what other people they believe they are entitled to or not. Why should I take any notice of other people’s beliefs about some imaginary entitlements? Why should I attempt to read anybody’s mind?

        “Attempted mansplaining isn’t much better than completed mansplaining.”

        -Once again you have begun to speak to yourself. This is no way to engage in a dialogue. What if I start addressing you in Russian now? Would that make for a fruitful conversation?

        “BTW, “transgender people” fall under “men and women,” and separating them like that makes it appear that you disagree.”

        -Disagree with whom and about what?

        “Ahh, how cute. You think we’re all past that.”

        -No, I don’t think we all are. Just those of us who don’t reap any benefits from positioning ourselves as perennial victims and are ready to take responsibility for our lives. Also, please notice that you just dismissed me as “cute.” In your worldview, this must mean you are a man. I really hope you are because otherwise you just undermined your entire construct of women being victimized by men more than they are victimized by other women.

      • You seem to have missed the entire point that someone trying to do something non-consensual to you is in the same category as actually doing something non-consensual to you.

        When you say “men, women, and transgender people” it appears that you don’t think the latter fall under either of the former two categories. They do.

        I can’t even… one woman dismissing another woman’s ideas somehow changes the entire balance of power among the other billions of people in the world? No.

  5. What’s that even mean, “have non-consensual aspects”? If your language is weaselly enough then you can make anything conform to your vision of reality. If someone call me on the phone then she consents to the conversation. Neither of might like what the other one says or their manner of speech but there are absolutely no “non-consensual aspects.” To say the patriarchy makes a woman get up to make breakfast for her husband is also a perfect way of denying agency to the woman. That was actually the point of my comment.

    • “If someone call me on the phone then she consents to the conversation.”

      A “conversation” is not a single discrete act that only requires consent to “the conversation.” If you call a friend to make plans to see a movie and they start trying to sell you Herbalife products, did you consent to that? You can agree to have a conversation with someone with consenting to have them talk over you or try to coerce you.

      “To say the patriarchy makes a woman get up to make breakfast for her husband is also a perfect way of denying agency to the woman. That was actually the point of my comment.”

      And my point is that you, like Clarissa, don’t seem to understand that choices are not made in a vacuum.

  6. As long as you recognize that those are, indeed, choices, then I have no disagreement. You are setting up the strawman of a choice in the vacuum, in which nobody believes, to deny agency to women. Yes, every choice occurs in a context. So what? Who ever thought differently? Obviously that doesn’t make every choice a coerced one, or render consent meaningless.

    For example, my choice not to hang up the phone when my friend starts to annoy me further is a choice in a context. How much do I value that friendship, when weighed against my desire not be further annoyed? I might say, “I couldn’t hang up…” but that would be an act of bad faith, attributing to coercion something that is really my own choice. Obviously I cannot give prior consent to everything someone might think to say in the conversation with me, but, then, would anyone like to live in a world in which that were the case?

    • “You are setting up the strawman of a choice in the vacuum, in which nobody believes, to deny agency to women. Yes, every choice occurs in a context. So what? Who ever thought differently? Obviously that doesn’t make every choice a coerced one, or render consent meaningless.”

      You don’t understand what that context is. When women are told from birth onwards that their entire purpose in life is to please men, and they get that message everywhere they look, how is the choice not coerced? When men have power over women in almost every single way, how is the choice not coerced? I’m not the one denying women agency; that’s the system already in place, which has been in place since long before I was born. I’m just unwilling to pretend that we have it.

      • “When women are told from birth onwards that their entire purpose in life is to please men, and they get that message everywhere they look, how is the choice not coerced?”

        -I wasn’t told that. I was told the opposite, actually. This might mean I’m not a woman.

        “When men have power over women in almost every single way, how is the choice not coerced”

        -I honestly fail to see any instances where any men have power over my life.

      • “I wasn’t told that. I was told the opposite, actually. This might mean I’m not a woman.”

        If you weren’t told that by your family, or friends of your family, or your teachers, or your church, and you’ve somehow managed to completely ignore the media in its entirety, then congratulations, you escaped being told that. Obviously that doesn’t mean you’re not a woman; it means you’re part of a lucky and infinitesimally small minority of women.

        “I honestly fail to see any instances where any men have power over my life.”

        Then you’re either not paying attention, or again, part of a lucky and infinitesimally small minority.

      • “If you weren’t told that by your family, or friends of your family, or your teachers, or your church, and you’ve somehow managed to completely ignore the media in its entirety, then congratulations, you escaped being told that. Obviously that doesn’t mean you’re not a woman; it means you’re part of a lucky and infinitesimally small minority of women.”

        -No, it’s all much simpler than that. :-) I come from a different culture, that’s all. :-)

        “Then you’re either not paying attention, or again, part of a lucky and infinitesimally small minority.”

        -Anybody can easily join this minority. They just have to concentrate on pleasing nobody but themselves.

      • “I come from a different culture, that’s all.

        Anybody can easily join this minority. They just have to concentrate on pleasing nobody but themselves.”

        You come from a different planet? Please tell me how easy it is to not have men have any power over me. Is it really that easy to find good jobs where you only work with women on your planet? Or is everyone magically independently wealthy?

      • A lot of women say no to that message. That’s what feminism is, in effect. I don’t know many women personally who thinks that their entire purpose in life is to please men. As long as there is a choice to be a feminist or not, then there is a choice, hence no coercion.

      • “A lot of women say no to that message. That’s what feminism is, in effect.”

        Yes, thank you! That’s what Twisty’s post was about.

      • That’s not how I read her at all. I thought she was saying that in a patriarchal world, there could be no consent for heterosexual sex at all because the coercion went all the way down.

      • “Forgetting, of course, to add how often and how easily women coerce men into unwanted sex.”

        I’m not at all familiar with your blog, and (obviously, probably) only followed the pingback from IBTP. Do you call yourself a feminist?

        Never mind, don’t want to know.

      • If I had that much power, I would not have spent all of my life alone.

        And if this is what you want, you can be a lesbian. It’s becoming really popular in here….

        But I do agree with you on conversations, studies show that men in general try to control the conversations and speak over women.

        You have to fight back. Life is a stuggle.

  7. For example, did I “consent” to be condescended to by SJAustin? It happened against my will, and was thus nonconsensual, though no offers of herbalife (whatever that is) were forthcoming. In a sense, though, I cannot say that this was non-consensual, since I chose to go back and read the comments again. My point was that if we lose the distinction between choice and coercion, then we don’t really have a way of condemning real acts of coercion any more. After all, its just a continuum between slavery and unwanted sales pitches!

    • ‘My point was that if we lose the distinction between choice and coercion, then we don’t really have a way of condemning real acts of coercion any more. After all, its just a continuum between slavery and unwanted sales pitches!”

      -What a brilliant comment. I will put it into a separate post.

    • But I couldn’t possibly have coerced you into anything. Coercion is tied to power, and I have no power over you of any kind. I’m no threat to you. There’s nothing I can do to you, nothing I can take away from you. That’s the entire point here. Coercion is tied to power. That’s the key to the distinction between choice and coercion. If your “choice” involves doing something that benefits someone who has power over you, it’s not a real choice.

      • Right, exactly, It took you a few hours but you are getting it now. (How does it feel to be on the other side of condescension?) In a conversation on the phone between two people, coercion is impossible as long as one person can hang up freely. One person’s rudeness does not make make it coercive, unless that person has real power to make you not hang up the phone.

      • Hang up and what? Lose a friendship? Have your former friend tell your entire circle of friends what a bitch you are? There is coercion there, because there is something at stake. There’s something that person can do to you. Similarly, if I’m at work and some man who happens to be higher than I am on the totem pole starts talking over me, I can’t necessarily risk telling him to shut up. It’s not always as easy as “just say no” or “just tell them to shut up.”

      • Oh FFS, I’m speaking hypothetically here and you know it. My friends don’t do such things to me, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t do such things or that it’s ok for them to do such things just because a person “can just say no.”

        The points I’m making are 1. The alleged ability of a person to “just say no” does not obviate the need for real consent. 2. There can be no real consent where there is coercion and 3. there is coercion where there is power.

      • I think the point is that in human relations freely entered, such as friendships, there can be no coercion as long as either party can simply choose at any moment to no longer be friends. The power of someone to stop being your friend is no power at all, because you can “just say no” to a purely voluntary relationship. That is either person’s right anyway. You say “My friends don’t do such things to me” because you probably wouldn’t be friends with an abuser. You would say “no” before that point.

      • Thanks for mansplaining that to me. But that’s not how relationships work, especially relationships between men and women.

  8. Pingback: On the Distinction Between Choice and Coercion « Clarissa's Blog

  9. Ha! I used to think like you did. That there is not really such a thing as patriarchy, outside of the religious right, and that women are “just as good as” men, and all us women are so free to make our own choices! All the time!

    Yup. Keep reading Twisty, and get back to me in a year. Hell, give it six months. I too used to just think Twisty was bitter & unhappy and wanted us all to be bitter & unhappy with her. I already was bitter and unhappy. Now I’m awake.

    N.B. See how David Gendron is all entitled to mansplain to us silly “femi-favoritist morons” (no oppressive or misogynist intention there) what feminism, sexism, consent, and sexuality are for women. Thanks, David! I’d feel so stoopid without you.

  10. Coercion: “the use of force or intimidation to ensure compliance” (dictionary.reference.com).

    This is indicative of an abusive relationship, even among friends. Women can be just as coercive as men–even more so, according to popular media.

    The fear of blackmail, physical or verbal abuse, and other examples of the above-defined coercion, is not something that occurs in normal, healthy relationships. It is a power-play, and it is a dangerous power-play. But there is no reason to assume that just because a woman “thinks she chooses something,” it is because a man is in the background (or foreground) pulling the puppet strings to force a woman to actually choose anything at all.

    I thought you were all talking about persuasion, the way everyone kept going on about it. Tell me, what do I have to fear from a man if I choose to disagree with his opinion? (This is why I broke up with my boyfriend, by the way.) If the answer is coercion, then I need to get out of that relationship and get some help, fast. Coercion can cause real fear that has the potential to be seemingly at odds with the target’s other emotions. Therefore, coercion is abusive (by definition, actually).

    As a human being residing in a non-anarchic state, I am subject to the potential coercion of the government on almost all levels (which is not directed toward women), the school board (again, not directed toward women), individual teachers (most of which have turned out to be women), parents (which happens to everyone, not just women), any church or center of worship in which I happen to participate (which actually could be targeting women, but does not necessarily do so), and friends/family (which signals an abusive relationship, and is not gender-specific).

    The media cannot hurt me–in no way does it try to intimidate me, and it cannot force me to do anything. Therefore, the media is not coercive. Many centers of worship are the same.

    Coercion is not gender-specific. Anyone who claims otherwise is just stuck on themselves. No one, whether male or female, is so special to demand “the use of force or intimidation to ensure compliance” everywhere, all the time.

    For those who may argue, please note that I say nothing about the patriarchy. “Women cannot play baseball” is not a coercive statement–threatening the death or arrest of a woman who does play baseball is coercive, but does not happen in the United States.

    No one can hope to take down a patriarchy by imagining false crimes. The abuse of men and boys by women is severely under-reported; that does not mean it does not occur with great frequency.

    • I don’t even know what you think you’re on about. Yes, the vast majority of relationships between men and women are indeed coercive and abusive. Most people apparently accept that as normal.

      I’m just shaking my head at those of you who nominally acknowledge the existence of the patriarchy but don’t seem to think it has any bearing on relationships between men and women or that men have power over women.

      • Never did I say that the vast majority of relationships were “coercive and abusive.” Give me statistics. Is there a study that can reasonably support your statement that the “vast majority” are such?

        I have participated in coercion. I told my ex-boyfriend that if he didn’t stop stalking me, I’d call the police. My boyfriend had no power whatsoever to stop me. Could the police have forced me back into what was devolving into an abusive relationship? Absolutely not. Could the boyfriend have forced me back into the relationship? Absolutely not. I fail to see how he held all the power, if I ended it so completely without fear of any repercussion whatsoever. I also fail to see how the patriarchy could have stopped me from doing what I did, or even how it controlled my actions. Just because my boyfriend believed he held any power over me did not mean he really did.

      • Of course, patriarchy influences relationships. However, it is a system that both frustrates and rewards both men and women. That’s its danger. Your belief that most women are abused sounds very unhealthy. You need to believe more in women.

  11. the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

    I actually think Twisty’s thoughts fuel the patriarchy: because according to her, a normal relationship between a woman and a man is impossible, all sex is rape, and all women are controlled by men.

    In fact, that seems to be a rather depressing, disgusting worldview. So depressing, in fact, that I think there is some kind of secret desire to see that world realized. After all, if it were true, it would validate everything that she says and then every woman would be shouting the praises of the spinster aunt for saving them from the dudely dudebros of dudeland.

    • I agree with you completely. Twisty just wants to be the savior of damsels in distress. That’s why she needs to convince all women that we are such damsels. All women who don’t feel like constant victims in need of being saved by her are dismissed as too stupid to be aware of their own victimization.

      • How extraordinary. I have never proposed “saving” anyone, nor have I ever described any woman anywhere as “too stupid” for anything. I can’t imagine why you make this about me, a lowly, insignificant blogger, when it is actually about globally institutionalized misogyny that results in the marginalization of billions of women.

        Also, how nice for you all to have such great jobs and to enjoy full human agency, and to be untouched by the sexism and violence that afflicts most of the women on the planet. Congratulations!

      • Thanks. You can enjoy full human agency too. All you need is stop believing that you are a perennial victim or a lowly, insignificant anything.

        “Billions of women” cannot be marginalized. We form half of the population of this planet. What kind of margin is it that is as big as the center?

      • Using your status as a “lowly, insignificant blogger” to conveniently refute arguments made against your delusional worldview is like the Westboro Baptist Church asking us not to “shoot the messenger.” Please. At least have the nerve to call your message your own.

  12. This is not the main thread but I’m a little bit annoyed with the continuation of the ZOMG PREGNANCY SO SCARY AND DANGEROUS because to me this is a further demonization of the female body. In a healthy, well-nourished woman, pregnancy is not that dangerous. It’s not a disease but the people on that blog seem to speak of it as if it were a particularly heinous STI. Pathologizing female reproduction is not a feminist position.

  13. Clearly, y’all didn’t read the entire Twisty post. It contains this gem, further on:

    ” …if one agrees that male privilege exists at all, and that this privilege is conferred upon every male person by law and custom and is his identity, and that this privilege afflicts all other aspects of human interaction, it would be nonsensical to assert that sex is the only behavior that escapes the taint.”

    The discussion on IBTP, although it uses examples, doesn’t really apply to having sex at the personal level. Try this: our governments decree that if we (women) live with a man and fuck him on a regular basis, *he* gets to file taxes for both of you; our courts decree that if we’ve ever fucked a man, then we have agreed to fuck all men, and any complaint of coercion is invalid; our authorities decree that if we are being harassed or abused by a man, then we must have done something to deserve it, like withholding sex. (Clarissa, I’m glad that you were able to shut your ex-bf down, because I wouldn’t expect any police force in the US or Canada to either agree that you need a restraining order, or even actually enforce the restraining order.

    And I gotta say, a Québeçois man complaining about femi-favouritistes? Next time there’s a school or university shooting spree targeting women, I’ll know exactly where to look.

  14. Oh god, I can’t stand this stupid argument. I hate it so much that, unlike you, I can’t even come up with an intelligent rebuttal most of the time. BLAME THE PATRIARCHY.

    Next they’ll be talking about how menstruation is oppressive.

    • Oh you didn’t hear? A while back they concluded that mensturation was actually a patriarchal construct. Yeah before patriarchy mensturation was a completely pain free and blood free phenomenon…until teh menz oppressed women so harshly that the pain, blood, and anything else associated with menstruation that’s uncomfortable or undesired just spontaneously manifested on their own.

      • I’m laughing now. :-)

        This is not surprising, though. Hatred of female sexuality simply has to be accompanied by the hatred of menstruation as one of its manifestations. This is very sad.

  15. Ah, the good old ‘you’re oppressing women because you present them as victims and you only want to do it so you can be proved right’ argument. Though, suggesting that Twisty wants to be women’s saviour is a new one, and an amusing one. I have yet to see her claim to be saving anybody, implied or explicitly. Why would anyone imagine the world so awful so as to be proved right? This is just ridiculous.

    ‘After all, its just a continuum between slavery and unwanted sales pitches’

    Though you make it in jest, that pretty much sums it up.

    Power relations are everywhere. They influence EVERYTHING. Everything we ever learn, right down to the language we use and the concepts we have, is influenced by our social order. That is, patriarchy.

    That means it is impossible to distinguish to what degree an action is taken freely and what comes from us. Our very concept of our own self is influenced by our surroundings. It is questionable even that the individual really exists, if you think of the individual as an automous agent that goes around making choices that are all ‘free’ to the same degree.

    Therefore, to talk of an action free of patriarchy, is meaningless. That is the point that Twisty is making.

    You cannot measure how freely you make a choice, though we try. We have some concept of how environment influences individual action – in law, the concept of mitigating circumstances, the banning of entrapment as admissable evidence in a court; in society, affirmative action programmes.

    But it is imperfect. Fact is, you can never know whether you like high heels because of patriarchy. What you can know, is that your liking of it is not untouched by patriarchy, and when you observe the amount of social pressure for women to conform to beauty standards, you may reasonably conclude that your joy from said shoes may have something to do with patriarchy.

    Every choice lies on an unmeasurable continuum of freeness. In which case, what we can see, is where the social order facilitates more freedom for some classes at the expense of others. And that is what Twisty does so well.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, walking around going, ‘I’m not going to be raped to day’ is not a useful defense against rape. Just saying something does not make it so. Therefore, saying I have freedom and agency unlike Twisty who says we are all helpless victims, does not do anything to fight patriarchy.

    Saying you are not a victim will not stop someone victimizing you… that is the essence of oppression.

    However.

    A lot of oppression is in the mind control. Which has a lot to do with media, but not exclusively. Being able to recognise patriarchy gives you considerably more control over yourself, as you are aware of it’s brainwashing effects and how they may be affecting your choices. Refusing to recognise it, as you do, does not increase you agency as you have a reduced awareness of the potential influences on your choices. In fact, it reduces your agency.

    In spite of what you might believe, facing up to, and accepting, the bleak reality of our situation is not defeatist. In my case, I see it as the most important pre-requisite for action.

    For example, the very idea that victimization means that you are weak and pathetic is a patriarchal view. This is why everyone goes ZOMG women-as-victims!!! Admitting that you have been victimized, given this connotation, takes great strength. This is why it is so hard for rape victims to speak out. I have a very good friend who will not tell her partners she was raped because she doesn’t want to be seen as a victim. This is the real pathologization going on here – she is ashamed to talk about what was done to her, because it will reflect badly on her, because victim=bad=pathetic etc…

    Twisty manages to point to victimization without pathologizing the targets of it. You guys, on the other hand, choose to deny the victimization instead of questioning why being victimized means you are necessarily pathologized as weak, helpless and pathetic.

    • Why is it so hard for people – who have never even met me by the way – to accept that if I say I’m not victimized by anybody, then I’m not? Who do you think you are to diagnose me online, sight unseen? How come you believe that you understand my reality – which you know absolutely nothing about – better than I do?

      I’m shocked by the poor manners and the incredible conceit of people who walk around telling complete strangers that they are brainwashed and victimized and who psychoanalyze their choice of footwear – which, yet again, they know absolutely nothing about.

  16. Hey Pen.

    Say your boyfriend had ignored the threat and carried on harrassing you regardless. You speak to the police, they dismiss your concerns, you don’t get a restraining order. Even if you do get a restraining order, it doesn’t mean you have an armed guard at your house 24/7.

    Your boyfriend comes to your house and murders you.

    Hey, just because you believed you held any power over your boyfriend did not mean you really did.

    You’re just lucky that he backed off because of that threat. A lot of men don’t, and the police don’t act until it’s too late, if at all.

    • The worldview based on the idea that the universe is bad, mean and dangerous is very unhealthy. I suggest you modify it by avoiding the need to create worst-case scenarios for other people’s lives. Or your own. The worldview that concentrates on the idea that the universe is a happy, benevolent and joyous place that will bring you great surprises is a far healthier way of relating to the world.

      I strongly recommend.

    • Say your boyfriend did all of those things. What’s the logical conclusion to draw from that series of events? That all men hate all women, all police are inherently corrupt and love men who are stalkers and woman-abusers, and that all sexual relations between them are non-consensual. Makes perfect sense. I love extrapolating individual experiences into widespread phenomena. So credible and logical!

      • Way to spectacularly miss the point April, but I guess that’s just how you guys roll on this blog.

        Pen was making about about how the alleged power differences between and her stalker boyfriend were a matter of the power of belief. He was stalking her cos he thought he had power over her. She threatened the police. He no longer thought he had power over her.

        So she argues his power over her was just a matter of belief, and all she had to do was stand up to it.

        However, it doesn’t make any sense. Her newfound power over him was also only a matter of belief. Because he believed the police would back her up. He could have just chosen not to believe that and then she’d be screwed as before.

        Then, if the police didn’t back her up, as they often don’t, she would actually be screwed.

        She uses this as an argument that her boyfriend didn’t have power, and that patriarchy did not have power over her. This only makes sense if the boyfriend backs off at the threat of police. They often don’t. And then you aren’t safe.

        Conclusion? You need more than belief on your side. Pen’s argument was fallacious.

      • I get power differentials. I do not, however, support folks taking personal experiences and pretending that they’re universal truths for all people and using those conclusions to determine all men to be rapists, all police to be misogynists, or any other completely obvious logical fallacy.

  17. God, waste of time talking you to. You clearly aren’t interested in understanding anything. Why don’t you try replying to my argument instead of smugly going, look at my healthy worldview! I’m SAD that your not HEALTHY like me.

    As if truth had nothing to do with it. There is nothing unhealthier than self delusion.

    Have you SEEN the history of humanity? A bit bad, mean and dangerous, no?

    While you may like to live in ignorance, I find that happiness and truth go hand in hand.

    And, self-delusion works until it doesn’t. Until something happens to you that forces you to realize that what you believed, was in fact a pile of bull.

    What the hell did anything I say have to do with creating worst case scenarios for other people’s lives? Pen argued that her boyfriend believed he had power over her, but he didn’t in reality. And that it was only the belief that had to be disproved. That the power only existed in the belief.

    He gave up on a threat. Her power over him is only based on his belief that the police will back her up. If he chooses not to believe that, he may be proved right. He may not.

    In my case, I threatened the police and I was proved wrong that they would back me up.

    So when it comes down to it, you need a litle more on your side that just believing in your own freedom and power.

    • Well, I didn’t want to respond to Pen because I’m glad she got rid of her stalker.

      But, when my ex stalked me, I didn’t just say I’d call the police – I called them, and they did give backup, and a judge gave a protective order. But, it took some intelligence, persistence, and advice – I’ve got lawyer friends – to get this done, and I had to front money for the court costs since I hadn’t actually been harmed yet. So I needed means, not just positive thinking.

      Said ex’s main venue to stalk me in was work, though, and it was very difficult to get the administration to comply with OSHA since they were his friends. And he still manages to create obstacles to some things, due to his friendships (that’s the nature of sexual harassment, hey).

      So yes, coercion can be real and it can have real consequences, whether you want it to or not, or do what you can against them or not.

      • Of course, coercion exists and so do abuse and violence. However, it’s wrong to say that ever interaction is based on coercion. That’s just crazy.

  18. Didn’t see your previous comment.

    Yeah, cos I totally go around psychoanalyzing every woman I see who is wearing high heels. That’s exactly what I do. It was just a fucking example, because it’s quite useful to have conversations which are not totally detached from reality, yes?

    But I guess you don’t agree with that.

    The point is that we all live in the same world. So I can comment on that. Which you’d realize, if you understood anything that I’d said.

    Why is it so hard for people to accept that there maybe stuff about the world that they don’t already know, instead of assuming that any attempt to say otherwise is conceited, arrogant, and patronizing?

    Where does ‘learning’ fit into your world view, hey? Or you just make stuff up and believe it cos it makes you happy?

  19. Well thank god you acknowledged that coercion exists.

    Otherwise from reading this thread I might conclude that the only remaining step to overthrowing patriarchy was women renouncing their whiny victimhood and seizing full human agency in a fit of self-centred egotism whilst singing a paean to their own menstrual cramps.

    If only it weren’t for those radfems keeping them down.

    Honestly, the astute complexity of your argument staggers me. That’s just crazy talk! Oh ok then.

    Honestly, I was amazed that anyone could read Twisty’s blog for a year and still be so substantially lacking a clue, but now I’ve seen how dense you are I guess it makes sense. Enjoy your made-up happy land where there’s no such thing as oppressive socialization, you’re obviously determined to stay there. I hope for your sake that nasty ol’ reality doesn’t come along and yank you out of it against your will. Oh yeah, but you’re so in control of your ‘full human agency,’ that could never happen, right?

    • Rididill, I’m autistic, so I probably know more than you do about oppressive socialization (unless you are an autistic, too, of course.)

      Everybody has their own reality. People who choose to live in a horrible, threatening world are simply folks who suffer from high levels of anxiety. The expectation of terrors that are about to befall them is so intolerable that they start organizing their lives in a way that will make those bad things happen in order to relieve the anxiety.

      As for menstrual cramps, a woman past the teenage years who still hasn’t been able to get in touch with her own body and create a healthy relationship with her menstruation needs to figure out where this divorce from her body is coming from. A happy and fulfilled sex life usually helps take care of any unpleasant feelings around the menstruation extremely fast. Of course, people with anxiety issues will prefer to suffer from cramps and menstrual pain rather than solve the issue once and for all. This suffering is their way of castigating themselves, once again, to relieve the horrible weight of anxiety.

      • LOLOLOL. Are you seriously conflating menstrual cramps with not being able to be “in touch with yourself”?

        We’re talking about cramps. CRAMPS. About your uterus contracting rhythmically to expunge the endometrial lining. In my thirty-odd years of regular menstruation, happy or sad, nothing has *ever* been able to lower the severity of my cramps. And I’m so fucking in touch with my menses that I would happily hike a leg and give anyone a demonstration on how to insert their menstrual cup. Anywhere, anytime.

        “A happy and fulfilled sex life usually helps take care of any unpleasant feelings around the menstruation extremely fast.”

        Would that be just PIV sex, then?

        Your naïvité is astounding.

      • “Would that be just PIV sex, then?”

        -Of course, not. People who are capable of coming up with this weird hypothesis should not go around accusing others of being naive. It’s sad that your understanding of human sexuality is so limited that you equate sexual fulfillment exclusively with PIV sex. Maybe you just need to learn more about sexuality before participating in discussions.

      • I need to learn more about sexuality?!? You’re the one that said a happy sex life = menstrual fun. I was trying to figure out why you think that. And, how you got to the age you are without once considering that your opinions might be WRONG.

      • Good, now we’ve identified the real enemy: biology! Cramps are just another tool of the patriarchy, amirite?

  20. Ok, I don’t know much about autism, but it doesn’t make your responses to my argument any less facile. You clearly don’t know anything about oppressive socialization if you think you have full human agency at all times.

    As for the rest… assuming that my point of view is the result of a mental problem and just made up? What a crazy bitch I must be. Honestly, for someone who goes on about not patronizing people, you’re exceptionally patronizing.

    You know what’s not patronizing? Assuming that someone has the brains to deal with an intelligent argument and basing all comments on arguments they’ve actually made. You know what’s really patronizing? Ignoring someone’s argument and telling them they have a mental problem.

    Now where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, patriarchy. I’m not suffering at all. You’re the one assuming that. I am quite capable of being cheerful in the knowledge that we live in a shitty world, I don’t need to delude myself to be happy.

    Oh gee, and the menstrual cramps thing? that’s just priceless.

    So I must be a crazy bitch with an unsatisfying sex life… that’s not just the most tired anit-feminist trope in the world, hey? and you call yourself a feminist? and an ACADEMIC? Jesus Christ.

    • “So I must be a crazy bitch with an unsatisfying sex life”

      -The only person who said that – and more than once, too – is you.

      The only person who mentioned the words “mental problem” and called menstrual cramps “priceless” is you. As long as you continue to see them as “priceless”, you will keep having them. That’s not a “mental problem”, like you insist. It’s a simple reality of life.

    • Ah, you mean “To quote the high priestess of the funfems”. When Princess Jilly says “you sound fun” she means “Me? Acknowledge that my staggering privilege blinds me to reality? Nah, I’d rather mock the oppressed thanks”

      Clarissa – do you know what endometriosis is? My menstrual pain, that cannot be touched by pethidine and oxycontin, has fuck all to do with anxiety, and everything to do with the fact that I have an incurable and agonising condition that causes the inside of my lungs to bleed.

      BTW – I’m also autistic. Thanks for propping up the argument that we’re all asympathetic, unfeeling, clinical robot people who cannot empathise. It’s people like you that further the abuse of people on the spectrum, under the rubric “They don’t have emotions anyway”. I hope your MRA buddies are there for you when you’re attacked or assaulted, because you’ve done an outstanding job of alienating any women.

      Oh and one last thing – trans people are men and women, not magical sexless beings. Saying “men, women and trans people” is like saying “men, women and autistics”. It’s patronising and offensive.

      • So because I dared to write about my worldview on my own blog I deserve to be abused as an autistic, attacked and assaulted? And you call me unfeeling?

        Wow.

      • As soon as someone utters the word “funfem” sans irony, I stop listening.

        That said, I’ll stop flooding your comment thread now, Clarissa. The irrational mathating radfems just bring out so much ire.

  21. The PIV sex is rape trope is an annoying overgeneralization. It is as valid to say all sex is rape – homo, hetero, what-have-you since in any pair of humans there will be a disparity in privilege on some dimension.

    The essence of the argument is the extent to which our socialization and culture limits what would be (absent these) the exercise of free will.

    You can go around saying that because we are socialized and immersed in a culture we have no free will, but that gets you to some bizarre plaaces disconnected from reality.

    You might as well ask why not pardon all criminals, since their acts could not be volitional.

    Where I think Twisty and the Dworkinians are rhetorically useful is in pointing out the constaints on freedom that are inherent in culture. Where they are rhetorically irresponsible is suggesting that this vacates such essential constructs as responsibility.

  22. Clarissa, seeing as you seem to completely lack reading comprehension and the ability to respond to an argument, I sincerely feel for the students who have the misfortune to be taught by you and can only hope your major subject is not any of the ones listed at the top of this blog. Though LOL that you have a post for self centred people. You would be the ultimate authority on that, of course.

    Randomizer:

    ‘that gets you to some bizarre plaaces disconnected from reality.’

    Uh what, and denying reality connects you more closely to reality? Yeah that makes a whole lot of sense.

    ‘You might as well ask why not pardon all criminals, since their acts could not be volitional.’
    ‘Where they are rhetorically irresponsible is suggesting that this vacates such essential constructs as responsibility.’

    Well, good thing nobody argues that then! Obviously if they were you might get to such ridiculous conclusions as pardoning all criminals.

    The argument is rather more useful to consider an ideal of a society that maxmizes freedom for all individuals and to be able to understand better the nature of your own choices and that of others in an unequal society. We’ve always known the CJS is imperfect. That’s why we have concepts such as ‘mitigating circumstances’.

    Responsibility can be understood on the level of a continuum that exists in a societal context. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, which seems to be the prime misunderstanding on this site at least.

    Saying there can be no such thing as true consent in an oppressive society does not mean you lose the ability to understand different degrees of social pressure and coercion.

    • Responsibility can be understood on the level of a continuum that exists in a societal context. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, which seems to be the prime misunderstanding on this site at least.

      There is no misunderstanding about whether this argument is “all or nothing” on this site. This assumption comes directly from Twisty’s post, which in absolutely no uncertain terms very clearly states that:

      “For it is the stated position of the Savage Death Island Chapter of Spinster Aunts International that, in a patriarchy, “consensual sex” (between women and dudes) doesn’t even exist.”

      Bolding mine. Unless you’re about to tell me that Twisty doesn’t actually believe that we live in a patriarchal system, what she wrote, which is precisely what Clarissa is blogging in response to, is that there is no such thing as consensual heterosexual sex. This is what people are responding to.

      Why do you think that all the readers of Twisty’s post are supposed to come to the opposite conclusion of exactly what she wrote? If you want to accuse anyone of poor reading comprehension, look in the mirror.

      • Thank you, April. I feel that I have exhausted my discussion powers with this particular crowd. Well, what can you expect from a poor victim who keeps getting coerced into talking with men? I talked to at least five today, imagine that horror.

  23. Nobody argues that responsibility is vacated? What happens to responsibility if agency is deemed impossible due to social conditioning. Can someone truly be found responsible for their actions if they are not volitional? In a twisty world, a woman has no responsibility for her part in a mutually agreed upon act of hetero intercourse, since she is adrift in a field of forces beyond her. Why do the same forces not lessen the responsibility of the man who would have learned the flip side of compliance from the same source? Would he not be bound to view sex as an exchange of value? Just as she could not consent, he could not engage in a non-rapey way. Does this describe way too many experiences of hetero-sex? Yes. Does this mean that he should not be responsible for harm that results? In a twisty world, why?

    • Recently, somebody quoted an article that arrived at the same conclusion. Every man is a de facto rapist but, at the same time, he is not to blame. Bad society is. Apparently, this bad society in question exists somwehere apart from the men and women who inhabit it.

      Truly, an insane logic that benefits nobody.

      Thanks for the great comments, Randomizer!

  24. Ridill:Responsibility can be understood on the level of a continuum that exists in a societal context. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, which seems to be the prime misunderstanding on this site at least.

    Saying there can be no such thing as true consent in an oppressive society does not mean you lose the ability to understand different degrees of social pressure and coercion.

    So you believe (or at least defend the belief) that there is no difference between a mutually pleasurable act between two people who love each other and one of the most heinous acts of violence ever known (just because the two people who love each other are not at the exact same position in the social hierarchy). And yet, you think you are in a position to lecture others on subtlety, nuance and “different degrees” of anything?

  25. Pingback: Why Can’t Anti-Feminists At Least Engage in a Clean Fight? « Clarissa's Blog

  26. WOW…just…wow. I think my IQ dropped enough points after reading all of Randomizer’s and Twisty’s incoherent, backwards babble that I now qualify for the special Olympics. There’s no point trying to reason with radicals and extremists. You can present every piece of evidence humanly possible to disprove their insanely hypocritical, nonsensical, and hugely flawed idealogy, but despite every bit of evidence to the contrary, they will simply get defensive, spout more nonsense, try to insult you for providing a logical rebuttal, and cling tightly to their disillusioned fictitious reality. Why? Because they believe it, they said it, so even if God him/herself (since god has no gender) came down from Heaven and decreed that these psycho radicals are wrong, they’ll still believe that they’re right and God needs more reading comprehension skills. No point fighting lunacy with logic, some brains are just too dense to break through.

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