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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

I’m Old

There’s a new member in our FB group of local mothers. A pregnant 18-year-old from Florida who came here for her “fiance” and who has no job, no income of her own, no health insurance, and no friends here. 

And all I want to say to her is, child, where are your parents and how come they let some dick drag you, pregnant, all the way over here without even marrying you first. 

Obviously, I’m not saying it, so I just closed the app. But I’m sad for that dumb little fools of a girl. 

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41 thoughts on “I’m Old

  1. Pingback: Smash the Patriarchy and Put More Women in Peril | The Worked Shoot

    • cliff, you offered to “build something new which balances sexual freedom with sexual and social responsibility.”

      Could you clarify further what you offer to do in practice, please? And what are your ideal social mores?

      So far I do not see how enforcing responsibility may be possible in today’s atomized, consumerist and secular society. There are no communities to apply outside pressure and no internal mechanisms, like religious belief, to limit one’s behavior. May be, that’s one of the reasons for failures of today’s feminism – w/o advocating for limits, concentrating on victimhood is the only thing left. (There are real victims, but feminist discussion shouldn’t be limited only to them.)

      Laws can only go so far, and they do demand from both parents to take responsibility for their children. If 18-your-old is an adult, laws cannot and should not force any young man to be responsible for her.

      I also disagree with your claim that “both young men and young women more often than not have terrible, awful and destructive taste in prospective mates.” If one sees men as people, just like women are, rather than “dashing, exciting” wolves-in-disguise, I do not understand why you suppose most young people have mental problems leading to self-destructive behavior in choosing mates.

      I haven’t seen any of this among my peers in Israel, and think that people who self-destruct do it in all areas of their lives, not only in choosing mates. And self-destructive / foolish / irresponsible tendencies most likely don’t miraculously disappear with age.

      I also wonder where lies the limit between feminist and social but not feminist issues. If somebody comes from a horrible family which raised him or her to do XYZ, why is it a feminist issue? Because she makes wrong or “wrong” reproductive choices, but if she f.e. had a drug addiction it wouldn’t be connected to feminist discussion? Why?

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      • “I also disagree with your claim that “both young men and young women more often than not have terrible, awful and destructive taste in prospective mates.””

        • It’s true, though. It’s hard to know oneself well at 18 because that self hasn’t even formed yet. My first husband was a great guy. A good person, smart, kind, he’d make a wonderful partner for somebody. But just not for me. Neither he nor I had the knowledge and the experience back then to understand that we were completely doomed to fail as a couple. It’s a great thing that I had the resources to extricate myself from the marriage and give us both the freedom to be happy 3 years later.

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        • As for feminism, I have a friend who teaches gender studies and is all like “single motherhood, rah-rah! nuclear family is total shit!” But her 17-year-old daughter doesn’t go to the store without her parents’ knowledge, let alone to another state with some “fiance.” And if some guy got her pregnant, both the feminist mother and the equally feminist father would have his balls put through a paper shredder, in the best traditions of patriarchy.

          But it’s not going to happen because they have a really great family, mom and dad are very much together and are all about the family and the kids.

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        • \ It’s true, though. It’s hard to know oneself well at 18 because that self hasn’t even formed yet.

          OK. First of all, cliff talked about having a “destructive” taste, aka going for the “bad boys” (and girls) instead of good suitable people. Your first marriage was a different matter.

          Second, I believe what you describe is also a matter of experience that one gains by forming romantic relationships. Can’t somebody with no romantic experience make the same mistake at 30+ ? Isn’t it better to become experienced in one’s teens and 20ies rather than in one’s 30ies?

          Third, all people I have ever known were capable of being in a relationship without becoming pregnant at 18. Her allegedly bad taste is not the problem; her readiness to become pregnant and throw away many chances of development / education – is.

          Just a few days ago I have read an interesting article

          This is what teen pregnancy looks like in Latin America
          Photographer Christian Rodriguez documents teenage mothers in Latin America in an effort to spotlight a regional epidemic.

          https://fellowsblog.ted.com/this-is-what-teen-pregnancy-looks-like-in-latin-america-bf4897d74ee7

          The article mentions that “motherhood also provides social status to young girls with few professional and educational options.” I suppose it also holds true for some American young women who have no dreams or no trust in their ability to achieve them.

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        • Shakti on said:

          It’s true, though. It’s hard to know oneself well at 18 because that self hasn’t even formed yet.
          Really? I would dispute the idea that traditional patriarchy protects people from getting married before their self is fully formed.
          In traditional patriarchy, people are either arranged married in some fashion before the age of 25 (my grandma was 19) or they end up marrying really young (late teens-early 20s) because everyone wants to get laid.
          The whole “my parents will stop me from destructing my life with my partner choices” only works if you have good parents who know you and have healthy marriages and don’t overrride your healthy instincts.
          Even in great “successful” marriages of this sort I see how people stunted themselves.
          I’ve seen some spectacular wrecks orchestrated with the full blessing of the in-laws and the parents. I have to sit on myself not to say anything about it to the victims of such things when they talk about their marriages.

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          • I’m obviously not in favor of arranged marriages. I’m in favor of people not getting married and not having children at 18.

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            • Shakti on said:

              Well no. I’m just saying patriarchy like you describe pushes toward early marriages, especially for women. In systems where parents don’t arrange marriages or semi arrange them (we screened these people it’s ok for you to date them) but it’s patriarchal, there’s a lot of hasty marriages that happen when both people are young. In these religions where there’s this huge emphasis on having a family and/or being super chaste, people get married young. JWs marry young; Mormons marry young. I know a lot of women who are Baptist that got married young. It is considered extremely delayed to be an unmarried person, especially a woman over the age of 25 in these sub-cultures/religions. Why do you think shotgun marriages were a thing?

              For example, to me, the characters from Grease were from another planet talking about rings and going steady because nobody I knew was doing that and they were all going on to college.

              People also get married young because it’s their way to leave home and it’s the only way they see to get freedom and be treated as an adult.

              When do you think people are fully formed adults anyways?

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              • I think this young woman will never get married. She’s in the wrong social class for marriage. I think she’ll be one of those women who constantly move around after a fiance du jour, and it will go on and on. We already have a woman like that in this mother group. She is my age. Came here to be with yet another fiance. Obviously, she’s completely financially dependent. What she’ll do in old age is a mystery. She’s constantly moving states and has no real employment history.

                This fiance-hood is a whole institution these days. It’s an equivalent of Adjuncting jobs for women of another social class.

                As for the patriarchal family model, I’m completely against it. I’m especially against it given that I’m paying a ton of money to the psychoanalyst to repair the damage it caused me. So believe me, I’m very aware it stinks. I wish I could ever forget how much it stinks.

                Liked by 1 person

          • I’m definitely not talking about systems where parents choose spouses for their children or children get married at 18 or younger (I’m talking about mainstream US culture primarily). Arranged marriages should be left behind at the US border.

            I’m talking about a system where young people choose each other but with safeguards in place to discourage situations like a young woman getting pregnant and runnnig off at 18 with some guy so that she’s isolated and completely dependent on a guy with who has no legal obligation to her.

            I’m not seeing anything in modern feminism that discourages that type of situation beyond wanting the state to step in with welfare.

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    • What’s really curious is that the people who turn up their noses and emit sighs of frustration and contempt whenever anybody mentions “the traditional heterosexual family” are all living in traditional heterosexual nuclear families (or in the closest possible copy) and are holding on to them tooth and nail. In the meanwhile, the social classes who are all about “family values” and who can go on and on in favor of traditional family arrangements live within a complete collapse of traditional nuclear families and are not even trying to create something like a traditional family.

      I can find out but I’m completely certain that this girl’s parents are not college professors, doctors, lawyers or CEOs. I’m almost certain that the parents are not together and haven’t been for a long time.

      I also need to say that I passionately despise those of my colleagues who in class rubbish the traditional nuclear family and forget to tell their students that when they go back home after class, it’s precisely such a nuclear traditional family that they go back to and that they wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What is defined as “a complete collapse of traditional nuclear families”?

        For instance, I was raised by my mother and her parents. Is it “a complete collapse” or “the closest possible copy”?

        I ask both because of interest in how my family model is defined and since I read that such model is widespread among African-Americans.

        Were I raised by my mother and grandmother only, would that have been a complete collapse?

        In my family, parents help their children, don’t those social classes who “are not even trying to create something like a traditional family” do that? Is their main problem lack of education or lack of a traditional family? I know the two often go together, but having being raised in an educated family I tend to view the former as the bigger problem.

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        • The traditional family I’m discussing is within the nuclear family tradition and not within the “grown children live under the wing of an aged patriarch” model.

          Everybody is good in their own place.

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          • \ “Everybody is good in their own place.”

            ???

            Have not understood what you meant, sorry.

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            • “Have not understood what you meant, sorry.”

              I watched a Korean soap opera once where the premise was that the patriarch had built a kind of compound of three or four houses that were connected so that his grown children could all live there with their children. It was presented as a kind of idyllic show of family solidarity and I thought it looked like a nightmare not least because the patriarch and his wife treated the grown children and their spouses like mental incompetents who should not be allowed to make their own decisions.

              A better situation is clearly separate households with occasional (or even frequent) contact but with the autonomy of each family strictly observed.

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          • Nuclear family arose because a) it helped capitalism and b) capitalism made it possible. It looks like these days it’s only possible for those who are successfully inscribing themselves into the neoliberal Capitalism. Those who are not comfortable with the neoliberal capitalism are failing at the nuclear family model, as well. I’m talking about the real and not the thetorical comfort and discomfort. They most often don’t coincide.

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  2. Just wanted to share my experience:

    Israel is a very family-oriented society, and I do not think we have entire socio-economic classes “failing at the nuclear family model” yet. On the contrary, the poorest classes – Arabs and Haredi Jews – have the largest families.

    The social message I get in Israel is that the only two respected choices for an adult are either to live in a nuclear family or to live alone, in an atomized fashion. For instance, a 38-year-old woman wrote about her drop-in-once-a-month-for-sex boyfriend and was advised to start living alone in order to find somebody better. However, I have a distant relative who has been living alone all her life, so I do not think living alone would necessary help, unless she will grab any man in desparation in order not to be so lonely. Should she be miserable alone now to be worthy of a man who may never appear? Why not simply dump this man and search for another worthy of living with?

    Clarissa talked about the conditions leading to the rise of a nuclear family and about the reasons contributing to its current disintegration among wide parts of American population. If a nuclear family is a recent phenomenon, why is not having this type of family equated to failing at life / adulthood / etc. ? Should feminism fight or support this message?

    I believe that every adult should be economically independent, but the demand for emotional independence / detachment (?) is very hard, and I do not understand why it’s the only way to find happiness and/or a partner for a future nuclear family.

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    • The nuclear family is a phenomenon that is as historically recent as capitalism. But in spite of being so recent, it wiped out everything else quite effectively.

      There are strains of feminism that glorify patriarchal (as opposed to nuclear) families. Silvia Federici is am example. I think she’s deranged but it’s definitely a thing right now.

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      • I am against glorification of any kind of families, especially patriarchal ones.

        However, I do feel that restricting social acceptability to either a nuclear family or to living alone is too narrow and leaves quite a few people behind.

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        • Nobody can restrict the acceptability of anything any longer. That model is dead and gone. And this is yet another triumph of neoliberalism.

          I can rant about the situation of this girl here on the blog but neither I nor anybody else will ever say anything to her about it. We are not a real community, we don’t care enough. In neoliberalism, anything is completely acceptable as long as it’s what you want. Choice is king. The quality of the choices are not discussed. It’s a crime against neoliberalism to do so.

          I highly recommend the first 30 pages of Bauman’s Liquid Modernity. There, he discusses precisely this phenomenon of looking for liberation from oppressive societal norms and finding a reality where there is no society, no norms, just freely desiring individuals. But somehow, this reality doesn’t feel all that good.

          Liked by 1 person

          • “Nobody can restrict the acceptability of anything any longer”

            I dunno, muslims in Europe have done a good job of making it unacceptable to criticize any traditional muslim practice. It’s amazing what credible threats of violence can do…..

            Even in Canada they’re well on their way to normalizing female genital mutiliation which means the time for criticizing it is drawing to an end…

            http://muslimsincalgary.ca/female-circumcision-in-islam/

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            • “I dunno, muslims in Europe have done a good job of making it unacceptable to criticize any traditional muslim practice. It’s amazing what credible threats of violence can do…..”

              • Yeah. . . I think it wasn’t done through threats. I think it was a very self-imposed and eagerly welcomed limitation. It’s like those white male academics who write “white males are like literally the worst” (I linked to one such fellow recently.) I don’t think anybody forces them to perform these acts of contrition. I think they enjoy them.

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    • As for finding a partner, the only way is to find one whose neuroses will fit in with one’s own perfectly. Both participants can be as symbiotic or as anti-symbiotic as they want. As long as they meet each other’s needs, they’ll be happy.

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  3. Stringer Bell on said:

    This is a nice read. Pickup artists fail to get laid in scandinavia. Wonder why.

    https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/cockblocked-by-redistribution

    “Roosh comes to the conclusion that women who aren’t as dependent on men for financial support are not susceptible to the narcissistic salesmanship that constitutes phase one: “attraction.” That’s why Roosh fails to advance to the second level—”trust”—without being creepy. Thus “seduction” is almost always out of the question.

    .
    .
    Marginalized women who need male spouses to flourish might, indeed, find pick-up artists alluring. But women in countries that have gender-equalizing policies supported by an anti-individualist culture may not.”

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    • I read the article, SB, but there is a fly in the ointment in it for me. The article seems to imply that only wide welfare services can prevent women from seeing men as walking wallets. Moreover, those women, who supposedly need men to support them because of lack of “gender-equalizing policies” (= state welfare for women), are too stupid not to fall for insulting pick up “techniques” and go for cads instead of men who would really support them. It is a sad view of women, isn’t it?

      I was curious enough to read Roosh’s view of Tel Aviv (which he loved), thought a bit more and arrived to the conclusion that a part of his failure in Scandinavia stemmed from Scandinavians’ not approachable, cold and closed to outsiders culture. I cannot believe women in Tel Aviv were more welcoming out of hope that he, a tourist, would support them (or rather pay them as prostitutes). And Israel is a welfare state too f.e. with health care and education for everybody. (If you serve in IDF, the army will pay for your education or will give the same sum of money to open a business, buy a flat, etc.)

      In general, I think 99% of women (who aren’t prostitutes) sleep with PUAs for sex, but the latter’s self-hatred and misogyny make them invent various “reasons” like stupid women hoping for lifelong monetary support … after picking somebody in a pub for one night.

      Well, currently Roosh is touring Eastern Europe and I was annoyed to imagine his present happiness and the subsequent portrayal of Eastern European women as … you know what.

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  4. Stringer Bell on said:

    Oh look at one of Cliff’s heroes whining that he can’t hit women that annoy him anymore.

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    • Dreidel on said:

      “one of Cliff’s heroes”???

      Come on, Stringer Boy, your off-the-wall attempts at insulting every commenter on this website whose opinions you disagree with are becoming more absurd every day.

      Were you and the Dark Avenger separated at birth? 🙂

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      • Stringer Bell on said:

        His own words:

        “I’ve been thinking for some time now that Peterson is, overall, the most articulate and impressive spokesmen for the New Counter Culture. ”

        lol

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        • Dreidel on said:

          Well, okay, I found the quote on Cliff’s website praising Peterson.

          Didn’t you say a lot of nice things about Hillary, before she lost the election and you condemned her as a terrible candidate?

          Does that make Hillary your “heroine”? Nobody on this website throws every word that you post back in your face — maybe you could show the same tolerance for fellow posters whose opinions disagree with yours.

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    • “one of Cliff’s heroes ”

      You know, it’s so pleasant out on this deck that I built while living in your head, sipping Spanish brandy with Ann Peebles on the stereo…. I think I’ll refurbish the driveway, make it one of those circular things with white gravel, the kind that crunches pleasantly as cars drive up.
      In the middle I’m thinking of a fountain, a rearing horse with a water spout coming out of its head.

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  5. “Mon Dieu. Education. Birth control. Not trailing after unreliable men with no means of one’s own. Not having unprotected sex to please and serve men”

    Yeah yeah yeah that’s all second wave and not longer ‘femimism’ it’s mainstream orthodoxy.

    What does the third wave have for those who fall through the second wave cracks? Micro-agressions? Appropriation?

    Also, it’s incredibly misyogynistic to automatically assume that women have unprotected sex primarily to please and serve men.

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    • Spiderbaby on said:

      “Also, it’s incredibly misyogynistic to automatically assume that women have unprotected sex primarily to please and serve men.”
      I think that’s due to a severe lack of good sexual (and sentimental) education; a thing that could mitigate “juvenile stupidity”.
      Isn’t thisa issue that feminists are still pushing?

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      • Dreidel on said:

        ” I think that’s due to a severe lack of good sexual (and sentimental) education; a thing that could mitigate “juvenile stupidity”.

        Take this old man’s word for it, Spiderbaby. The explanation starts and stops with the words “juvenile stupidity.” Some of us had willing sex with scores of women all over the world with no protection on either side — and no concerns about it either, because we both were too caught up in the excitement and thrill of the moment.

        Absolutely nothing but pure luck meant that none of the girls got pregnant, and neither of us caught venereal disease — and that decades later both partners can look back on beautiful memories with no consequences.

        Only an idiot of either sex would step into a time machine and try to run that gauntlet again. But some of us made it, without a single scratch on ourselves, or our partners.

        I’m very happy about the way my misadventures over the past sixty years turned out, but I don’t recommend that anyone try to emulate them.

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  6. \ Not trailing after unreliable men with no means of one’s own. Not having unprotected sex to please and serve men

    I thought patriarchal mores are much more against those things than Western feminism.

    Like

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