The Shouty Woman

November 28, 2006

Rant

Filed under: Feminism — by Lucy @ 2:04 pm

There have been a few threads recently which have reminded me why I took a break from blogging in the first place. Frankly we have enough personal attacks, anti-woman rhetoric and general unpleasantness coming from the other side, so why the hell do feminists feel the need to use the same tactics against each other?

The thread currently getting my goat is (you’ve guessed it) at Twisty’s. I’m not linking to it as she doesn’t need the publicity and, frankly, everyone knows where she is anyway. I’m wondering whether she actually has a machine to write her posts for her now, seeing as they all follow an identical formula:

  • Witty and beautifully-written statement explaining why x (behaviour, sexual act, item of clothing, etc) is anti-feminist, and if you like it you’re a hypocrite/ lying to yourself/ falsely conscious.
  • Deluge of adoring comments
  • Lone voice of dissent suggesting that, actually, people might have different points of view and that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing
  • Deluge of abusive/ patronising comments explaining why voice of dissent is anti-feminist/ falsely conscious/ a total moron
  • Intervention from TF explaining that she never meant that in the first place; why are people getting so worked up?

It’s a pattern I’ve had enough of, and this latest thread takes it to new lengths. The following are all examples taken word-for-word from comments over there. How dare self-proclaimed feminists call another woman ‘as thick as a stack of pressboard’, label her ‘psychotic’, a ‘poseur’, ‘clueless’, and accuse her of being a man, then sit back and claim the moral high ground? If this is radical feminism, you can fucking have it.

And while we’re on the subject, I’d like those feminists who are claiming that sexuality is entirely constructed, and that being gay is a ‘choice’, to stop and think, just for a second, about what they’re saying. I have  gay friends, many of whose relationships with their families have been permanently damaged by their coming out, and who would not take kindly to the suggestion that they somehow chose to be the way they are. I’d like one person making this argument, just one, to look my friends in the face and say that their sexuality is a choice, that they don’t have to be gay, that we can override our own sexual and romantic feelings. Because that is the argument these people are making. If you assert that it’s possible to become a lesbian as a political statement, then you are allying yourself with the christian ‘ex-gay’ movement, and you are insulting the millions of gay people, all over the world, who are oppressed and persecuted, and have been rejected by their loved ones,  for an aspect of themselves that they cannot change.

Not to mention, of course, that you’re hardly placing yourself at the forefront of the feminist revolution if you advise women to repress their natural sexuality and channel it in a more politically acceptable direction. Again, how is this different from the fundy message that women’s sexuality is sinful and must be controlled? Oh, wait – this message is only bad if it comes from the right. If it comes from the feminists it’s ‘consciousness raising’, not repression. My mistake.

Well, it felt good to get that out of my system. One advantage of blogging again is that I have an outlet for my rage, of which there has been plenty lately.

On a happier (and funnier) note, this cartoonis fab, and has nothing whatsoever to do with inter-feminist battles. I probably will post something about UK fundies’ current attempts to religionise the school science curriculum, but it can wait for another day…

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42 Comments »

  1. Just to say, this is in no way targeted at those radical feminists (and there are plenty of them) who don’t behave like this. I’m referring to some specific people, not radfems in general.

    Comment by Lucy — November 28, 2006 @ 2:27 pm |Reply

  2. **applause**

    Wonderful post, Lucy. You said it better than I could’ve!

    Comment by Amber — November 28, 2006 @ 3:48 pm |Reply

  3. Thanks Amber. I’m sure that’s not true though!

    Comment by Lucy — November 28, 2006 @ 4:04 pm |Reply

  4. Oh, and: “walking contradiction” was another lovely bit on that TF thread, as were the anti-mother sentiments expressed toward the bototm.

    *sigh*

    Comment by Amber — November 28, 2006 @ 4:33 pm |Reply

  5. Oh, I must have missed the anti-mother bits. As if it wasn’t bad enough already.

    Comment by Lucy — November 28, 2006 @ 4:38 pm |Reply

  6. I feel kind of guilty, not posting on that thread – I mean, I first found Belledame because she was one of those “voices of dissent” on a thread where I was getting my fabulous tail handed to me. every time I don’t comment, I feel like maybe there’s someone else who would love to feel a little less alone who’s just out there swinging in the breeze because I’m chickenshit.

    Comment by antiprincess — November 29, 2006 @ 3:53 am |Reply

  7. Who is maggiethewolf, by the way? i keep wanting to tempt her over to the dark side (“we have cookies!”), but she doesn’t seem to have a homebase.

    and yeah, the anti-mother (“breeder”) crap is vile. and tbh i’m not happy about the religious-people bashing either. yeah, okay, “godbag” was funny insofar as it’s applied to particular fundamentalist windbags (much as pick-yer-term is directed to -particular- radfem ideologues), but…there’s a -lot- of snobbery there; it gets all mixed up with (yes) classism, and look-at-me-aren’t-i-such-an-iconoclast (for being not religious on the loosely defined left Internets. wow. go you, you edgy edgy person), and…it irks. Lissen, if the argument against religion is that it produces kneejerk “true believers,” sexist attitudes, authoritarianism and irrationality in general…um, hi, Miz Pot? Miz Kettle is on line two for you…

    what really sends me up a fucking wall wrt the sexuality thing is this: that people are taking -Twisty- and her sycophants as representative of -lesbianism.- As I’ve said: in -my- life, i do not know of any lesbian who is -quite- that obsessed with cock, or hetero relationships, or men, period. With the possible exception of Hothead Paisan, but

    1) she’s a cartoon (and this is different from some of these people, how?…)

    2) -unlike- these people, she actually seems to -like women,- -sexually,- even

    3) not utterly fixated on hetporn; and tbh i’ve -also- never met another queer person of any sort who had the kind of fixation that lot does. People who don’t -like- it, yes; but not to the point where that’s -all they talk about.-

    I’ve ranted about Sheila Jeffreys before (whom not just Twisty but a bunch of them, “political lesbians” and otherwise, seem to lurrrve) before. she did not, i think, invent the concept of “political lesbian” (?); then again, she is infamous for having written,

    “”We do think,” it said, “that all feminists can and should be lesbians. Our definition of a political lesbian is a woman-identified woman who does not fuck men. It does not mean compulsory sexual activity with women.”

    This makes me apoplectic with rage; i am not the only one who feels this way (Winter of desperate Kingdoms and others have said similar things).

    I mean: lookit. We all come to sexuality in different ways. Personally i’ve no idea whether it’s nature or nurture or what; to me, that’s not the issue. If someone else wants to call -herself- a lesbian, came to it however, who am i to get in the way? mazel tov, you should only enjoy it.

    but do not do not DO NOT attempt to redefine -my- experience, you fucking poseur; and YES, by claiming that “lesbian” means “doesn’t fuck men” is a HUGE fucking appropriation. and HUGELY reactionary; hello, the reason that most of the “patriarchal” world doesn’t really talk about lesbianism per se is that as far as they’re concerned -it doesn’t really exist at all.- -Men- are what matters, iow; if there’s no dick, it’s…cute, but it doesn’t rate.

    -And by making it all about the -absence- of men, she is reifying that very very VERY patriarchal idea.-

    Hello. I have desires. I am not -asexual.- (this is my other really sore spot, as that’s where -I- feel pressured, as i’ve said). You want to represent for asexuals? That’s terrific! -Then call yourself that.- Hey, they’re underrepresented, are asexuals; i’m sure they could use a voice of strength.

    and sure, there are celibate lesbians, “romantic friendship” lesbians, u-name-it; that bit, whatever.

    but. Spinster aunt =! “lesbian,” and it sends me up the fucking WALL that this lot is reinforcing that idea, even among people who can and do know better, mean better.

    but it’s like, what the poster millie was saying: why isn’t anyone else?…

    and i was all, honey, that’s why. because actual queer people, people who are actually more interested in fucking and loving their objects of desire than in giving the finger to the Man, many of them (not all obviously, she still has her fans. even non-white fans, which baffles me even more than the other thing) run a mile from that shit, once they smell it.

    but so, instead what happens is, straight woman gets her nose out of joint, understandably so, because of the blowjob crap, or maybe the lipstick crap (because -real- lesbians never wear lipstick, never) and -immediately- the response is,

    oh boo hoo, poor put-upon straight people; you’re expecting sympathy from a lesbian about your mainstream patriarchy-upholding practices. well, this isn’t feminism 101…

    and i’m all, lemon drop, sit your ass down. first of all, this is only “advanced” in the sense of “metastasis;” this shit was simplistic bullshit back in the 70’s. and by the way, it’s pretty much cults who talk in that “learning curve, advanced” business. Women are neat people; women are human beings with all that entails; the rest is commentary. What’s to know.

    and numero TWO-o, again, HELLO, she’s not being an ass about blowjobs because she’s a LESBIAN, she’s being an ass about blowjobs BECAUSE SHE’S AN ASS. most of us who’ve gotten shit for our (consensual) sexual desires and practices wouldn’t -dream- of turning around and doing it to someone else. at least i wouldn’t, and i bloody well wouldn’t hang with anyone who did.

    and best of all, these are the -same people- who decide they can take it upon themselves to lead the “realness” debates over feminism. sometimes even lesbianism! oh not online so much, with the whole sex toys and vibes and penetration R bad; but that -is- Jeffreys’ gig, and sooner or later, as if discovering this strange orange flickery stuff that makes one go “ouch,” one of ’em will go, say! and while we’re at it, what -about- penetration?…

    zzzzZZZZzzzz.

    Comment by belledame222 — November 29, 2006 @ 2:47 pm |Reply

  8. and yes: i do see the “anyone can alter their sexual desires! just clap your hands and believe!” business is -very much- reminiscent of the ex-gay thing.

    the transphobia crap is even worse, as it’s more widespread, and, unlike pressuring straight if otherwise vulnerable feminists, a la cult, transfolk are already even more marginalized than, yes, even frigging radical lesbian (cisgendered) feminists. protest though they may about vesitigal male privilege and all that happy crappy.

    but most of all, presuming to tell other people how they really feel, should feel, what is the One True Way. how dare they. i mean, how DARE they.

    Comment by belledame222 — November 29, 2006 @ 2:57 pm |Reply

  9. “I feel kind of guilty, not posting on that thread” (Antiprincess)

    Me too, especially seeing how they’re treating ‘millie’. I value my sanity too much to get involved though.

    Belledame – not sure about maggiethewolf. Wish she (and millie) had blogs though.

    Re: lesbianism = not fucking men, again, how is this different to the religious right’s attempts to deny women’s sexuality? If you can’t fuck men because it’s patriarchal but you aren’t attracted to women, what are you supposed to do? Just masturbate, I suppose – as long as your fantasies are of the acceptable non-patriarchal variety…

    Comment by Lucy — November 29, 2006 @ 3:03 pm |Reply

  10. And totally agree about the transphobia thing. I don’t know how people like Piny put up with some of the crap that gets thrown around.

    Comment by Lucy — November 29, 2006 @ 3:11 pm |Reply

  11. as per the ritual you accurately detail: it occurs to me, y’know, there’s more than one way of masturbatory behavior. group mockery is their porn; the target du jour is what Bitch Lab has called, crassly, but fairly, i think (not just in this context but in similar sorts of dynamics), “pivot babe for the circle jerk.”

    think about it. you get the build-up, the climax, the resolution (“hey, i never meant that, twinkle twinkle, here’s a picture of my dinner instead of a cigarette”). only diff is that instead of an actual orgasm, it’s a release of…well, in fact, -is- it something else? it’s something alright, that’s all i know.

    “fifteen minutes’ hate”

    Comment by belledame222 — November 29, 2006 @ 3:12 pm |Reply

  12. piny doesn’t, actually; he has been remarkably restrained, because he’s that sort of person and doesn’t much care for confrontation.

    i do know that Twisty’s crack about “you got that right, girl!” is what stopped him speaking to her (and who can blame him), and that he loathes Heart with a fiery white-hot passion (for which i also can’t blame him).

    Comment by belledame222 — November 29, 2006 @ 3:13 pm |Reply

  13. oh, as per what you’re supposed to do: yeah, good question. i’m sure some of them would be only too happy to answer. i think put your energy into “higher causes” (twisty in Platonic mode, there), like…o, i don’t know, making her dinner, perhaps?

    or, per the some of the others, in orgies of outrage and bathetic despair, i suppose. and in activism, sure. because any “energy” given to men in any way, even say using one as a boytoy for tension relief before going back to the mines, detracts from the Cause (unlike sitting around in a circle and laughing at some hapless thong-wearing woman’s ass).

    sort of like in Dr. Strangelove, you know, except with the genders reversed. “I deny them my…essence.” saps your precious bodily fluids, you know.

    Comment by belledame222 — November 29, 2006 @ 3:18 pm |Reply

  14. Yeah, I was thinking specifically of that incident when I mentioned piny. I really admire him for not reacting to what was basically a vicious (albeit disguised) personal attack.

    Comment by Lucy — November 29, 2006 @ 3:21 pm |Reply

  15. as per “attraction,” that is an interesting thing: i have never heard any of the “political lesbians” really talk about any such. i’m not sure that even the ones who actually do fuck women are all that down with the concept. because you know “attraction” is suspect in so many ways: one might be objectifying the other woman after all, by having unwanted thoughts about her (body part), physical features, instead of the purity of her soul or wimminly essence, or whatever it’s supposed to be.

    what was the context of “thick as a stack of pressboard?” what -is- pressboard, anyway?

    because i mean i can think of and have done a lot worse to call some of these people; i don’t feel any need to hold back simply on accounta we share the same chromosomes and naughty bits.

    ‘course, that does not excuse their being bullying assholes simply because someone has the temerity to disagree, which i have seen time and again.

    Comment by belledame222 — November 29, 2006 @ 3:27 pm |Reply

  16. ‘Thick as a stack of pressboard’ was a comment made about millie by one of the usual suspects over there. You can probably guess which one. Just go to the thread (if you can bear to) and do CTRL+F on ‘pressboard’.

    No idea what pressboard is BTW.

    Comment by Lucy — November 29, 2006 @ 3:33 pm |Reply

  17. I admire piny for many things, but i think his decision to not react too strongly there (he did say something to the effect of, “are you still trolling?”) was based on a sort of reisgned realpolitik; as he said later, he worries about losing cred and being seen as the crazy or one-note Johnny tranny. and you know, it’s not totally unfounded, is the thing: as you say, it was disguised, and if he’d called her on it right then and there it would’ve started a thrash where, i guarantee that a) the hateful transphobes would come crawling out of the woodwork and b) a lot of mid-road folks would in fact go, o jeez she didn’t mean THAT get a grip blahblah…

    which, again, is exactly how it was calculated.

    she just sucks.

    and no, sadly, i can’t guess, although i can narrow it down. pony? delphyne? probably not pony, “pressboard” sounds more British.

    Comment by belledame222 — November 29, 2006 @ 4:02 pm |Reply

  18. okay, nerd that i am, i had to look it up:

    press·board (prsbôrd, -brd)
    n.
    1. A heavy glazed paper or pasteboard used especially to cover the platen or cylinder of a printing press.
    2. A small ironing board.

    “Huh.”

    Comment by belledame222 — November 29, 2006 @ 4:04 pm |Reply

  19. maybe one of us should post on there, just once, to basically say, “maggie! millie! run! run before it’s too late!”

    we could draw straws for who gets the honor…

    or i know; maybe i’ll ask hedonistic or someone who does still post on there. ( i could ask mandos but he must be busy, or he’d’ve been all over this comfy-shoed catfight like flies on Heart’s sincerity).

    Comment by belledame222 — November 29, 2006 @ 4:11 pm |Reply

  20. Yes, it was the small equestrian one.

    Re ‘pressboard’ – you learn something new every day. Not a British term I don’t think, as I’m british and have never come across it. Must be the obscurest insult ever to appear in the feminist blogosphere…

    Comment by Lucy — November 29, 2006 @ 4:14 pm |Reply

  21. oh, and: did you catch that one who was calling herself I Love Twisty (!), who was saying she’s a radical lesbian feminist who strips by choice? i think that was kind of a conversation-stopper, which is probably a blessing, all things considered. i wonder if she’s real. not to be an ass, just, that’s so PERFECTLY set up to be the perfect grenade there, name and all…

    Comment by belledame222 — November 29, 2006 @ 4:14 pm |Reply

  22. oh well then, maybe it’s a Canadian thing. or wherever the hell she’s actually from: maybe it’s a common insult on Planet Clare.

    that certain people do not repudiate her as they would any other demon-possessed leper claiming to represent their Movement, to me, speaks volumes.

    Comment by belledame222 — November 29, 2006 @ 4:16 pm |Reply

  23. “maybe one of us should post on there, just once, to basically say, “maggie! millie! run! run before it’s too late!””

    As long as it’s not me I don’t care…I agree though, I feel like someone should point the way to other blogs that prove not all feminists (especially not all radical feminists) are horrible people.

    Comment by Lucy — November 29, 2006 @ 4:16 pm |Reply

  24. Must have missed ‘I Love Twisty’!

    Comment by Lucy — November 29, 2006 @ 4:32 pm |Reply

  25. Like Antiprincess and Lucy, I too feel kind of bad for not commenting on threads like that. I wish there was some way I could email Millie offblog as an alternative – because, like you said Lucy, I value my sanity too much to get drawn into it. I’ve done it in the past and nothing good has come of it. Plus I always feel like I don’t express myself very well, and then people end up picking apart my every word and phrase, and I look like an ass because I end up going, “no, no, that’s not what I meant!!”

    Frustration!

    And, yeah, the transphobic crap? Fucking VILE, that.

    Comment by Amber — November 29, 2006 @ 6:42 pm |Reply

  26. in the immortal words of Columbia:

    It was great when it all bega-an
    I was a regular Twisty fa-an

    but yeah, it was over when she got the plan to grind me (and others) into paste under the heel of her sensible shoe.

    most of us who’ve gotten shit for our (consensual) sexual desires and practices wouldn’t -dream- of turning around and doing it to someone else. at least i wouldn’t, and i bloody well wouldn’t hang with anyone who did.

    amen. amen. amen. see, that’s why I was so grateful to find you, because I had that thought but couldn’t really articulate it.

    Comment by antiprincess — November 29, 2006 @ 6:58 pm |Reply

  27. It was great when it all bega-an
    I was a regular Twisty fa-an

    but yeah, it was over when she got the plan to grind me (and others) into paste under the heel of her sensible shoe.

    Ha!! I love it!!

    Oh a completely unrelated note: When I was in college, I had a button on my bag that read, “Heterosexual woman in comfortable shoes.” I really wish I could find it now.

    Comment by Amber — November 29, 2006 @ 7:17 pm |Reply

  28. hee

    Comment by belledame222 — November 29, 2006 @ 8:10 pm |Reply

  29. okay, hedonistic’s on it.

    Comment by belledame222 — November 29, 2006 @ 8:16 pm |Reply

  30. “It was great when it all bega-an
    I was a regular Twisty fa-an

    but yeah, it was over when she got the plan to grind me (and others) into paste under the heel of her sensible shoe.”

    Fabulous! I love Rocky Horror. Twisty as Frank N Furter is a fairly incongrous image though – not sure he’d agree with her view on blow jobs etc… 😉

    Comment by Lucy — November 29, 2006 @ 9:41 pm |Reply

  31. This is the most comments I’ve ever had! Although quite a lot of them are from me…

    Comment by Lucy — November 29, 2006 @ 9:56 pm |Reply

  32. “Just to say, this is in no way targeted at those radical feminists (and there are plenty of them) who don’t behave like this. I’m referring to some specific people, not radfems in general.”

    *Shakes in seat and raises hand* Ooh! Me too!!! Me too!!!

    I’m getting really fucking sick of Twisty==Radical, therefore if you don’t like Twisty, you obviously hate all radical feminists and grovel at the foot of the Phallocracy. There are plenty of radical feminists out there that aren’t assholes, or racists, or snobs, for the sheer joy of stirring up shit.

    Comment by Veronica — November 29, 2006 @ 11:48 pm |Reply

  33. Ah yes, we could all stop poking the man if we REALLY tried hard enough. You are completely right, this is exactly the same bullshit argument the ‘ex-gay’ movement use. Lesbians like fucking women, to say that lesbianism is about avoiding men is – as belledame said – phallocentric, and just insulting to actual lesbians. As for me, I like poking men and being poked by them; does that mean I can’t take a radical feminist view of the world? Of course it fucking doesn’t.

    Great rant Lucy!

    Comment by laura — November 30, 2006 @ 11:58 am |Reply

  34. Don’t think Twisty would go much in for the muscle man thing, either. Especially not one that wears shiny gold knickers.

    The axe-murdering and serving the victim up for dinner might be more her thing.

    Comment by Andrea — November 30, 2006 @ 12:03 pm |Reply

  35. Veronica – totally. There are lots of fantastic women out there who identify as radfem. It’s a pity a few idiots have to give the movement a bad name.

    Laura – thanks! Sorry I couldn’t come to RTN by the way, it looked amazing.

    Andrea – you’re so right. It would combine her two faviourite hobbies – eating and being nasty to people! 😉

    Comment by Lucy — November 30, 2006 @ 12:15 pm |Reply

  36. lmao!

    Comment by Andrea — November 30, 2006 @ 2:08 pm |Reply

  37. I’ve been impressed by this woman, btw: Victoria Marinelli.

    Comment by belledame222 — December 1, 2006 @ 2:17 am |Reply

  38. Oh, shit! No wonder my ears were burning.

    Hi, belledame. And forgive me for not having summoned the energy (yet) to reply to your several recent comments @ Southern Discomfort. It may take me a while longer, I’m afraid.

    And Shouty Woman, kindly forgive me as well for commenting here instead of either @ belldame’s or at my own damn blog. Been up all night writing and every damn thing is blurred. But I read through enough of your post above and the comments following to know I’ll come back some other (more rested) time.

    Comment by Victoria Marinelli — December 1, 2006 @ 11:51 am |Reply

  39. Victoria – no worries, the more comments the better as far as I’m concerned! Thanks for stopping by.

    Comment by Lucy — December 1, 2006 @ 12:08 pm |Reply

  40. hey Vm, no worries, i figured you’ve been busy.

    Comment by belledame222 — December 1, 2006 @ 2:10 pm |Reply

  41. Strange, the need for consensus.

    Comment by Jennifer Cascadia — December 4, 2006 @ 7:58 am |Reply

  42. This is an interesting blog. I don’t remember exactly how I got here, maybe the main page of WordPress. I stopped by out of curiosity. Having recently been drawn into such discussions, I just wanted to hear more about how the issues are being discussed. Like many other emotionally flammable topics, it can be really easy to see communication collapse under the weight of syntax, personal perception, and not having an agreed set of definitions on some terms.

    It’s good to hear that there are some who aren’t defining things like feminism in its entirety with one segment of its population. I think that is the Achilles heel of any movement, group, or organization.

    Oh, and I think my wife sums up sexual orientation well with the simple comment that people can’t control who they fall in love with. One may have the choice to not act on their love, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist…

    -sj

    Comment by stjarna67 — December 29, 2006 @ 6:10 pm |Reply


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