Glamour Feminist?

Glamour Feminist

I swear to the Goddess that I have tried not to do this doodle.

This is how I imagine popular feminists to be like. It’s a fantasy of mine which may or may not correspond to reality, but for some reason I can’t get rid of this image. I call them Glamour Feminists. They publish books, they keep blogs. They don’t venture into more “radical” or “unpopular” territory. But more importantly, they have a Helluva time. Which sounds slightly suspicious to me. How many political activists do you recall to have had a Helluva time while actively trying to change the world? While this is what I torture myself with (WARNING! Extremely disturbing stuff), they go to fancy shmancy trips with their boyfriends. No wonder they never appear keen on changing the current economic system. No wonder they don’t stop to think about what it means to fe a feminist and have a boyfriend. Hell, they don’t seem to have anything but praise to being “single” even though they have partners themselves!

I am being unfair, I know that. I am far too frustrated with my own life to not colour my perception of anyone else’s with jelousy. But I read blogs by less Glamorous feminists who have it much much tougher and work much harder. Women who have seen the nastiest side of what it means to be a woman in patriarchy.

As I said, I don’t know where sheer childish prejudice ends and real criticism begins. So I ask for your help. Do you think that the Glamour Feminist exists? Have you ever felt anything similar?

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115 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    rmott62 said,

    Thanks for this remainder. I wish I had had a life where I did know nothing of male hatred for women. I wish I did not know of how women and girls are treated in the sex trade.
    I come from a middle-class background, where many women ignore the suffering of women in the sex trade. Many women of my background choose to believe the lies that the sex trade is safe and harm-free.
    I have no choose but to expose the terrible conditions, for it helps me heal from being a prostituted woman and girl.

  2. 2

    Laurelin said,

    I share your frustration, Marytracy. Like you, I am uncomfortable with this feeling, but I believe that it does come from somewhere. When I see the use of sexualised imagery on so-called feminist sites and in such books, I feel so irritated and tired. How could one put up this stuff when one knows the cost to women and girls of the ‘sex industry’? I know I’ll be mocked for what I’ve just said, I’ll be told I hate sex and wish to enforce my sexuality (whatever they perceive that to be like!) upon others… but the sadness pervades. The ever growing group of women abused by men inside and with the influence of pornstitution bear the brunt. The majority of us bloggers can never fully appreciate the damage. And then they are mocked by the use of phrases such as ‘agency’, as postmodernish feminists complain of being denied their agency by us evil ones… it just seems like a cruel joke. No-one denied that they had ‘agency’. But context is everything, and the victims and survivors of the rape industry get nothing from some such declarations of ‘agency’. After all, one can have all the agency in the world, but it does not stop male violence. Only men can stop rape.

    I think it is always worth trying to keep the pressure on men, as it is they who benefit from this, and it is they who cause this. If men (generic, not all men before anyone yells at me) did not demand the ‘sex industry’ it would not exist. Women and girls would not be trafficked into it, women and girls would not be encouraged into copying its norms, women and girls would not be exposed to pornography by abusive men (many child abusers show their victims pornography to ‘train’ them; it is not harmless).

    I think it is okay to feel frustrated with aspects of the movement, and to express this, so long as we all remember who the blame lies with.

    But yes, I share your frustration, and I write this with a great deal of sadness and pain.

  3. 3

    marytracy9 said,

    Thanks for commenting, Rebecca and Laurelin.

    I have to say, my frustration does come in a good part from the fact that they never question the sex industry. But it’s more than that. They never seem to question anything that doesn’t affect them personally. They don’t seem to be able to see past their privilige. They fiercely attack marriage but they themselves have the privilige of a stable, loving relationship. And you can forget about hearing any critique to capitalism, any comment about class, anything that rings of going “too far” or “institutional” and that would get them into trouble with the “ruling elites”.

    I don’t want to be a beetch about this. I am fully aware that one cannot be on the mainstream and be radical at the same time and that we need both mainstream feminists and radical feminists alike. But I sometimes get tired of the same old thing.

  4. 4

    buggle said,

    Interesting post, mary tracy.

    It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about writing a post about money- how much I make, how much I spend, on what, etc. But I’ve been nervous because it’ll expose my class privilege. Which, of course, needs to be exposed, so that I can learn and stuff. I feel like the blogs I read don’t really talk about money, as in “this is how much money I have.” Money is more taboo than sex!

    I’ve also been wanting to write a post about being a feminist and living with a man (gasp!). Because, it is hard. And, there is also privilege that goes along with being in a socially accepted, heterosexual relationship. A LOT of privilege!

    I don’t know if this is the kind of stuff you’re talking about 🙂 Maybe you will say more? 🙂

  5. 5

    buggle said,

    Oh and also- I liked the cartoon. The woman on the right seemed to me to be the “trendy hip feminist.” You know, the one who obeys most of the rules of the patriarchy (wearing expensive clothes, jewelry, etc) and looking “good” all the time. But who still critiques it, just as long as no one asks her to think about her choices. Because they are HER choices and she’s a feminist so how DARE you ask her to think about them???!!!

    And yeah, having a fun time? I don’t think so! Since when is this all about having fun?

    Sorry, I’m tired, it’s the end of the day. I don’t know if this made any sense.

  6. 6

    marytracy9 said,

    Hi Buggle! Yes, I was thinking about those lines. For me Feminism is about questioning patriarchy everywhere, not just in those areas in which you are not coming first. Some people have plenty of privilige that they won’t address, even when is brought to their attention.

    I am not trying to “police” anyone here, or start claiming that this or that person is not “Feminist” enough. I would just want some of the most popular feminists to acknowledge that not every feminist is upper-middle class, well educated, employed in academy, strong and healthy of mind an body, straight and in stable relationship, etc, etc. Particularly because there are lots of good feminists who live in poverty precisely because they do call on these injustices.

  7. 7

    Polly Styrene said,

    Hey Mary Tracy – are you trying to snatch the ‘evol’ crown again? I will have you know that cowblog is now back, so I’ll have none of that….Plus I think M Andrea is now the official heavyweight evol champion of the world, so you’ll have a job on.

    There are a lot of people describing themselves as “feminist” when it seems to be a handy way to make money. Like Rosie Boycott for instance – remember this by her in the Daily Mail…..

    http://newcowblog.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/there-is-no-such-thing-in-life-as-normal/

    (PS you are a very talented illustrator/cartoonist, I’m jealous)

  8. 8

    marytracy9 said,

    Hi, Polly, where have you been? You haven’t posted in ages (or days).

    I hope not too many people consider me all that evol. I’m just not as strong as you and M Andrea to put up with it.

    At any rate, this is your chance to point out all the unacknowledge privilige in the feminist community! Bring in the class talk!

    Oh, and thanks, but in all honesty, the woman on the right is heavily influenced by another much more talented illustrator, Jordi Labanda (who seems to think that all women in the world are, tall, slim, white, straight, wealthy and always wearing the latest fashions).
    Though if you happen to need my doodling talents, feel free to ask 😉

  9. 9

    Polly Styrene said,

    Well now you mention white heterosexual university educated middle class wimmin, I think Ms Audre Lorde had a lot to say on them. And I refer everyone to her book of essays ‘Sister outsider’ which is just excellent. I’m not sure if it’s in print at the mo (if not, why not) but you can definitely pick up a second hand copy from bookfinder.com or similar…. I have been around M-T, just you ain’t had anything new up for a bit. And I’ve got an exciting controversy going on at newcowblog.wordpress.com if you wanna take a peek.

  10. 10

    buggle said,

    Yay Polly! 🙂

    Mary, I didn’t even realize that you had just written a post about heterosexual feminists in relationships with men, guess I should have scrolled down a bit, heh 🙂 I’m smart like that. Off to read it now.

  11. 11

    Polly Styrene said,

    Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated Buggle (I’ve always wanted to say that).

  12. 12

    Level Best said,

    There are a number of popular, self-professedly feminist blogs that pretty much just write about progressive (American) politics now. I’ve seen speculation that the women who blog on these sites (usually there is a mix of men and women blogging on them) are so young and into the “success track” as sexual beings and as professional people that they don’t want to go too deep and turn off men in general or possible personal and professional connections specifically. Or perhaps being young, hip, upper-middle class, and traditionally attractive has so wrapped them in cotton wool that they are not as aware of or concerned about what is the nitty-gritty for a lot of us who are older, poorer, and more than a few degrees shy of “hawt.” I pretty much trust allecto and Heart to have links to those true-blue feminist bloggers like those of you who comment here. All of you are an invaluable contrast to the pop-fem blog, for example, that recently featured a post about “feminist porn sites.” Ew.

  13. 13

    Well that could be anyone of a number of pop fem blogs, LB. But I suspect this – it’s all about money. These people want to make a career in mainstream media and they see the internetz as a way to get into it. Whereas I’m just a grumpy old dyke.

  14. 14

    Level Best said,

    Yes, Polly, I agree it’s about the money–which it’s only possible to access by not annoying the men too much, as they run EVERYTHING. I much, much prefer grumpy old dykes, myself (and their allies).

  15. 15

    rescuingme said,

    I do think this is harsh, firtsly a lot of women dont work around porn and prostitution becasue it triggers them too much, so its not really fair to expect them to.

    also there are a lot of other really important issues that feminists need to work on and around and ones that may be more personal and imediate to lots of women than the sex industry

    Just because someone has a male partner it doesnt mean that they havent examinened the institution of heterosexuality and found it wanting.

    Also many feminists who consider themselves to be sex positive do question and critique the sex industry and do write about it on their blogs so its kind of unfair to say that they dont.

  16. 16

    marytracy9 said,

    Rescuingme, it’s not just porn and prostitution, as I’ve said in the previous comments. It’s a whole lot of things.

    “They fiercely attack marriage but they themselves have the privilige of a stable, loving relationship. And you can forget about hearing any critique to capitalism, any comment about class, anything that rings of going “too far” or “institutional” and that would get them into trouble with the “ruling elites”. “

  17. 17

    Laurelin said,

    hi rescuingme, i think it’s more about attitudes than to do with who is doing exactly what activism. no-one here would expect anyone to undertake activism that was too triggering for them, as as marytracy says it’s not all about pornstitution. my complaint is rather with privileged feminists who refuse to see the harm done by the sex industry.

    i also don’t think that this is about whether one is hetreosexual or not (speaking as a radfem with a male partner myself; i could of course be wrong).

    hope that makes sense! x

  18. 18

    rmott62 said,

    I am sorry if I have slanted this post to seemed to be just about porn and prostitution. Even though that issue is a massive part of what made who I am, it not the only reason I choose to be a radical feminist. Although I do see things are interconnected.

    I think it is important that women discuss in open way their relationship with money and status. I feel that I have very bad relationship with money, which is connected to being abused within an upper-middle-class family. Where money was one factor that keep me slenced.
    This fear of money was embedded through being a prostituted girl and woman, where money is associated with degradation, pain and deep confusion.
    We cannot be honest about money and women unless we can listen to multiple experiences of how women emotionally deal with money, and see it may more complicated than the surface appearance.

    I find many of the “glamour” feminists blogs will hide anything ugly, especially if it saying men may do bad things. I am bored of women always trying to pleased men then labelling themselves feminists.
    If they refuse acknowledge poor women, women from other cultures, women in the sex trade, abused women etc etc – and focused only women they know and like, then why are they feminists.

    It is not easy being a feminist. It does take the commitment to look at the ugliness that the majority of women and girls – and being prepared to take whatever action you can.

  19. 19

    Arantxa said,

    I think the ‘glamour feminist’ is imaginary and a sign of our competitiveness with other women. She is the popular school girl that we resented while comforting ourselves that she, really, was a rotten person. Also, I don’t think painting ourselves as martyrs makes us any more ‘feminist’ and I resent criticism levelled at feminist women for having success.

  20. 20

    Kim said,

    Who the hell are you to decide which feminist works “harder” and has it “tougher?”
    Who the hell are you to decide which women have “seen the nastier side of what it means to be a woman in the patriachy?”

    With all your concerns of “May trigger/extremely disturbing” did it ever cross your smug, self-righteous mind that by leaving personal accounts of the “nastier” side OFF our blogs, that this may be because we cannot write of this? That we are, for all the “it’s not your fault” rhetoric, horrifically ashamed of what happened to us and cannot bring ourselves to share these experiences with the world?

    Is drawing woman v. woman cartoons working “harder” than say, me?
    Is Heart’s purple prose better than my pulling my fucking hair out because I don’t know if a woman I know (and who – aren’t I so great??– helped to get out of a DV shelter) is alive or dead at this moment? But I don’t write about this, no, nor ask for fucking money to find out, so I’m not as good?

    You have NO IDEA why certain feminists do not write on certain things.

    Go ahead and keep labeling women as “Fun” or “Glamour.”
    That’s damn serious, hard-working feminism right there.

  21. 21

    Kristin said,

    First of all, what Kim said.

    This is really surprising. I mean… Hmm… So, you’re lecturing the feminists who disagree with you for not getting intersectionality? Look, I don’t speak for anyone other than myself, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been frustrated by the radfem blogosphere because it has refused to take claims about its own bigotry seriously. Aren’t you all the ones who claim that Class Women are homogeneously oppressed by All Men and that all other oppressions are secondary to sexism? I mean, I certainly got that response last week when I objected to a racist and sexist cartoon that was circulating on radfem blogs simply because it appeared to some to make a politically expedient point about stripping. I was told that I didn’t actually care at all about racism or sexism, but that I was just trying to undermine the cartoon’s point about the “pornstitution” or whatever.

    And as far as CLASS is concerned. I mean, hi, you needn’t look any further than your own circles for problems there either. Was it last year that Heart raised money online so that she could attend MichFest–taking money from women with far less money than her so that she could have the luxury of attending a CONCERT? Um, seriously, as someone with *actual* financial problems who came from a poor family and who has worked my ass off to put myself through school–I resent this claim. Sorry, no, Heart’s personal MichFest pilgrimage does NOT amount to ACTUAL SUBSTANTIVE assistance to women. What Kim describes up there? That’s real work.

    Fwiw, NO, I’m not straight, and NO, I don’t have a boyfriend. I date women almost exclusively, because I am attracted to them, ffs, not because it’s the Politically Appropriate thing to do or because I believe that dating women is subversive. Please do not make MY ACTUAL SEXUALITY into a political act, thanks.

  22. 22

    Kristin said,

    Also, you know what? If you saw me on the street, you might mistake me for a radical feminist. I am sick and tired of the generalizations about “sparkle” made about every feminist who disagrees with you. I don’t wear make up, I don’t dress in expensive clothes (I can’t afford them.), but I don’t have a *moral* problem with those who do. I guess that’s what makes me a sex positive feminist.

    The thing is: Priorities? You mention class here, but good god… I’m not sympathetic to anything you say because I simply think there are MUCH MORE important things than make up to worry about in the world, and I see the concern with “examining” make-up and “sparkle” as VERY MUCH a white middle class preoccupation. As Arantxa points out, this sounds very much like high school.

    For a list of things that occupy far more of my energy, see Ren’s brilliant post about priorities:

    http://renegadeevolution.blogspot.com/2008/08/so-question.html

  23. 23

    umm, yeah, way to minimalize a lot of peoples actual activism, work, writings, so on.

  24. 24

    octogalore said,

    “I am far too frustrated with my own life to not colour my perception of anyone else’s with jealousy.”

    This is pretty perceptive, and if we are looking to be honest and questioning of oneself, which is the guideline articulated here, then I think it’s important to look at whether the appellation of “glamour feminist” is used here to mean “feminist who is saying things I don’t agree with.” In fact, your links to “hard-working” feminists seem to show that particular bias, as one link goes to a high-visibility, marketing-focused feminist.

  25. 25

    Kim said,

    Kudos to Arantxa for this:

    “I think the ‘glamour feminist’ is imaginary and a sign of our competitiveness with other women. She is the popular school girl that we resented while comforting ourselves that she, really, was a rotten person. Also, I don’t think painting ourselves as martyrs makes us any more ‘feminist’ and I resent criticism levelled at feminist women for having success”

  26. 26

    Laurelin said,

    Re: being male-partnered and feminist- I have never really written about this as I know just how easily I could slip into ‘not-my-nigelism’ and how totally unhelpful that would be to lesbian feminists, and women generally who have suffered male abuse. I really feel that I should shut the hell up sometimes on things like this because obviously I derive benefits from having a male partner which I have not earned. Maybe there are ways to write about it… but beyond saying yes I have a male partner, I’ve thought it best to pay attention rather to lesbian feminist critiques of heterosexuality, and to stifle my knee-jerk ‘not my nigel’ reaction.

    There of course things we do not write about because they are too triggering, or to personal, or simply because we are not able to put them into words, no matter how much we may wish to. There are so many layers to peel back, and a tremendous amount of pain.

    Of course when we are talking about class privilege we have to be very aware, as Rebecca has pointed out to us all here and on her blog, that we do not deny the abuses that upper and middle class women suffer as much as anyone else. The problem with admitting frustration with feminists who are/ seem class privileged is that we run the risk of denying these things. One of the most important (to my mind) insights of radical feminist thought is that women of all classes are subject to male abuse; however materially ‘privileged’ a woman may be, she is still in very real danger of abuse. I’m not trying to suggest that you were denying this Marytracy, of course you weren’t. I’m just thinking of some of the ways in which our words may be interpreted (whether deliberately misinterpreted, or just plain interpreted).

    I can’t pretend I don’t find some more popular feminists frustrating. I do. I truly hope that Jessica Valenti’s book (for example) will act as a stepping stone into feminism for young women, but I still have huge reservations about putting a naked white woman’s body on the front of the cover (and then claiming that ‘what says feminism more than a woman’s naked body?’ on the Colbert show, when such imagery means a hella many different things to women who have been exploited). I haven’t read the book myself so I won’t comment on the contents, but I can’t say that I have been happy with the Feministing blog either. I will not deny that it brings some very important issues to the table, has the potential to bring young women closer to feminist thought and consciousness, but I cannot pretend that I think it is ideal. I have found some of the attitudes on it shocking, and this goes for many of the more popular feminist blogs.

    It is very difficult for us when we are mocked and ridiculed at every turn, and I have noticed that a lot of feminists seem to back away when it comes to pointing to the problem itself- which is the behaviour of men.

    Women don’t cause their own oppression; we should remember this.

  27. 27

    Laurelin said,

    oh the other reason for my not mentioning my private life generally is that to me it is incredibly private!

  28. 28

    Kim said,

    A thought: instead of separating femininsts into “good” and “bad” categories, why not be thankful that all of us have our separate, passinate issues? That some women may feel led to go to, you say “unpopular” territory, while others are wiling to take on something different but just as important to feminism?

    Was it Eeyore who said, “We can’t all and some of us don’t?”

    This whole idea that certain feminists some how aren’t good enough, WHERE is this getting us but divided and fighting among each other?

    Says The Patriarchy: “Hmmm, no need to step in here. These silly feminists are destroying each other faster than I ever could. Good show.”

  29. 29

    Kim said,

    “There are so many layers to peel back, and a tremendous amount of pain.”

    Exactly, Laurelin. And no woman should feel forced to go there to prove her worth to feminism.

  30. 30

    Kim said,

    “Passinate” should be PASSIONATE, damn it.

    If fact, until I am whole lot less passionate about this post, I think I’ll lay off commenting for a bit. Going out for a walk …

  31. 31

    Polly Styrene said,

    So is everyone denying that any class privilege, race privilege, and heterosexual privilege, and every other type of privilege exists?

    If so – can I suggest you read some Audre Lorde.

  32. 32

    Kim said,

    Polly: “So is everyone denying that any class privilege, race privilege, and heterosexual privilege, and every other type of privilege exists?”

    Nope.

  33. 33

    marytracy9 said,

    Kim, I am sorry if my post has upseted you, believe me, it wasn’t my intention. I have said that my feelings over this topic are confusing and the reason why I posted about it was precisely to find out if they have any reason to be there (“yes, the mainstream of feminism doesn’t address much larger issues”) or if it was just my own stupidity talking (“Mary, you should get a life and stop being so jelous of others”).

    I never wanted to attack anyone personally or, much less, imply that they are not “feminist-y” enough to “my” standards. What I was trying to do is to question the environment in which mainstream feminism is carried out, and how major issues are left out because they are too upsetting to the “ruling elites”.

    Every now and then I would like to see a post about class struggle, because I believe that in the current socio-economic system (capitalism et al.) it will be impossible to get rid of racism, sexism, ableism and a Hell lot of other isms.

  34. 34

    marytracy9 said,

    The links in the post that go to Heart’s blog are actually about other women’s work that Heart has highlighted.

    I guess the ultimate question in this post is this:

    “Would the most popular feminists be where they are if they actively opposed pornstitution, the corporate ownership of the media, capitalism, militarism and the like?” Would these feminist continue to be so popular? Because the feminists (and non-feminists) that do are constantly ignored.

    Another variation of this question that raises the same issues and is much older goes something like this:
    “Why is feminism only concerned about the problems of upper-middle class, educated, white, heterosexual, able-bodied women?”

    And another thing: I don’t think I have talked about “sparkle” on this blog, not once. For me, ignoring the effects of world poverty on women is not on par with who wears lipstick or doesn’t.

  35. 35

    Dines, MacKinnon, Jensen, Russel, Daly, Jeffries & Farley are all pretty popular, well educated, and make a “healthy” living wage…all are also anti porn/ prostitution. The have extensive academic credentials and respect, access to university time, space, and funding, book contracts, and connections to media and governement. I would say the are doing pretty well for themselves.

  36. 36

    Kim said,

    I appreciate your answer, MT.
    I especially appreciate your civil reply, especially when I admittedly flew off the handle there myself.

    I’m not entirely sure what a “mainstream” feminist is, tho. That word “mainstream” is rather a loaded word. For me, this connotes safe, Top 40, spoonfed stuff. I wouln’t like being called a “mainstream” feminist.

    I’m guessing you had certain bloggers/authors in mind when you wrote this post, and I must admit I have a clue who you may be referring to.

    IF you are saying, it’s crappy that *only* the feminists who don’t get TOO angry about “uglier” issues who get book deals and attention, then, I get you. And reading over your comments here again, I see clearer where you’re coming from.

    Still, the cartoon and some of the wording — “But I read blogs by less Glamorous feminists who have it much much tougher and work much harder. Women who have seen the nastiest side of what it means to be a woman in patriarchy,” yeah I still have problems with that, for reasons I already listed in my first comment.

  37. 37

    Kim said,

    “The links in the post that go to Heart’s blog are actually about other women’s work that Heart has highlighted.”

    Okay. Nod. That works better.

  38. 38

    belledame222 said,

    Is this person real? I don’t know and don’t much care. I know for the most part (with some exceptions, which no, I’m not going to bother to enumerate) I sure as hell don’t recognize her when I look in the mirror or at my blog. Or at the blogs of my friends. Mostly I see a bunch of people who -do- talk about all kinds of shit related to class, ableism, race, queerness, trans issues, for damn sure prostitution, among many other things, -because it affects them personally- in many cases, in some cases all of the above.

    Other than that, all I can think is that you’re thinking of Jill or Jessica or something; which still really isn’t accurate wrt blogging material, esp. wrt Jessica. I mean they’re the only ones online that I know of who’re selling books and so on.

    Personally as a queer woman/lesbian and feminist, (not a “lesbian-feminist”) I have to say, I’m a lot less concerned with people who have male partners per se than with people who make it their business to tell everyone else what to do with their bodies and sexuality, whatever their ideology is; personal hypocrisy in such cases is just icing on the cake, but it doesn’t really change anything. Mostly I’m just bored shitless by straight feminists going ON and On and ON about MEN; and I gotta say, I don’t know where you’re coming from, MT9, but I would generally find it weird for a lesbian to give much of a shit about whether or not someone else had a boyfriend; off the top I would expect to hear that from a, well, -frustrated- straight woman. Which, I just don’t even really know what to say about -that- except leave me the hell out of it.

    Also, people have said this before, but: you seem to be conflating “class” with “being traditionally feminine” an awful lot.

    And Polly–some of the best feminists I know who -do- talk about all this shit and share exactly the same concerns are trans women; too bad you’re so very determined to try to keep making them defend their very -existence- to you (insofar as anyone still engages with you at all) that you’re not gonna hear a bloody thing they say, seek out their work, etc. Reading suggestions? Yeah, most of us are familiar with Lorde, thanks. Try Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore. Try Monica Roberts. Try -listening.-

  39. 39

    belledame222 said,

    fucking automatic winkies, that wasn’t what I meant to do.

  40. 40

    belledame222 said,

    -groan- and I meant to say actually, “especially wrt Jill,” not Jessica, but then my personal preference for feministe over feministing is pretty irrelevant to the larger point, I suppose, um, whatever that is.

    also, it is just possible that some people read the same material you do, are affected by the same things you are, even, and simply come to different conclusions. I mean to say, they just -don’t agree with you.- Doesn’t mean they aren’t talking about it or don’t care, though.

  41. 41

    Trin said,

    *sigh*

    Really, Mary Tracy? Really?

    Then why am I saying “go read the other side,” eh?

    Or am I “not questioning” there because I wonder if an end to the less gray parts of the sex industry would do much to help people who are trafficked? Is it only “questioning” if you conclude what they do?

  42. 42

    belledame222 said,

    “Is it only “questioning” if you conclude what they do?”

    The 64,000 question which never seems to get an answer.

  43. 43

    marytracy9 said,

    It is possible that I am mis-interpreting some people’s political positions. As I said, I don’t really know for sure where my discomfort comes from. It could very well be imaginary.

    With respect to the whole “male partner” thing, here’s the deal of what truly bothers me:
    Some feminists would wax endlessly about single-ness, how women don’t need men for love or caring. They sometimes fall short of saying out loud that “marriage sucks” and of calling every “single and frustrated” woman out there a “loser”. But here’s the thing: they say all this from the comfort of a nice, heterosexual relationship. It’s “great” to be single… when you are partnered.

    Three quarters of the same thing happens with capitalism. Sure, capitalism is “great”… when you are upper-middle class, aren’t exploited and live in the wealthiest nation in the world.

    Apropos of this, Belledame, when I say “class” I mean it in the most Marxist, Socialist meaning possible. Who is exploited and who isn’t. Who is poor and who is rich.

    Renegade Evolution, I don’t know all the authors you mentioned (by far), but the ones I do I wouldn’t call “mainstream” at all. I don’t know if they are doing “well” or not but I do know this:
    I think I remembered Gines saying she couldn’t find a publisher for her latest book. MacKinnon and Jensen do dare to venture on the dangerous waters of economy and politics. Which I personally value a lot.

  44. 44

    Liz said,

    “Well now you mention white heterosexual university educated middle class wimmin, I think Ms Audre Lorde had a lot to say on them. And I refer everyone to her book of essays ‘Sister outsider’ which is just excellent.” – Polly

    I really really object to this comment, Polly. Okay, so, there are a lot of heterosexual, university educated middle class women, but what makes you think that they haven’t thought about their privileges or whatever? Also, there ARE other oppressions that overlap with this, like, I don’t know, disability or actual lack of money.

    I admit that I got to go to Uni so, yeah, I am privileged in some respects. BUT I am now in debt to the tune of 12,000 and I lived on student loans and my disability benefits, being deaf. What makes you think that there aren’t some women at university that have worked HARD to get there, harder than hearing women, harder than people whose parents can afford to put them there, harder than people who don’t need notetakers or their lectures being recorded (if you’re blind) or a sign-interpreter or whatever?

    I am really proud that I actually got to go to Uni and got a 2.1, I have deaf pride and am now studying a Women’s studies MA, writing my dissertation about and for deaf women. NOT ALL activism has to be groundroots, even though I really admire those women out there fighting, working with organisations and organising protests. I thought, in the beginning, education was something that feminists strived for, for women. I know that university can be classist; hell I have met some really privileged people here who don’t seem to understand that not everything gets handed to you on a plate.

    I also absolutely take issue with the idea that if you don’t constantly blog about porn and prostitution that you are somehow ignoring those issues – there is only so much you can talk about all at once. What about disability, sexuality, rape, the workplace, being a mother, gender, the academia/grassroots divide, race, the law etc? All these things are equally as important. I blog about my experiences in academia for example, because as a deaf women, it is important that people know what the difficulties are and how those can be overcome. No doubt someone will call me classist for saying that this is important.

    To be honest, I am not really clear about WHO you are talking about. If we knew then maybe we could understand better. Even so, there are plenty of feminists who have been published and are fairly mainstream that critique things like porn, prostitution, raunch culture and lads magazines. Some off the top of my head are Imelda Whelehan, Jeffreys, and all those that Renegade Evolution has mentioned. Even Ariel Levy’s book mentions raunch culture etc – and it is quite a well publicised book.

  45. 45

    Yeah, Levy’s book is a doozy, as is Pamela Pauls “Pornified”…Levy’s I hated, Pauls was really interesting…and I think Dines had issues with her most recent book due to the title she wanted to use: “Stepford Sluts”.

    MT9- there are people and books out there who do discuss what you’re discussing, they are out there. But cartoons like this one, well, even with the explained feelings and all, they are a huge slap in the face to women who are far from lazy or unconcerned.

  46. 46

    Liz said,

    I do also have massive problems with the fact that we have to PAY to get university education, which is a capitalist problem and a classist problem. Also the fact that to be considered ‘clever’ that we have to have done something “worthwhile” or have these letters at the end of our name. Just because you have a degree doesn’t make you smarter than other people, it just means that you have more knowledge about something specific (eg. sociology or women’s studies).

  47. 47

    belledame222 said,

    “Apropos of this, Belledame, when I say “class” I mean it in the most Marxist, Socialist meaning possible. Who is exploited and who isn’t. Who is poor and who is rich.”

    Yes, I know what class means in the Marxist sense. I suspect pretty much everyone here does. What and others are saying is that you keep portraying the “glamour” feminists as these traditionally feminine women, as though the two always went together. People do keep saying that hi, some of the more successful feminist authors aren’t/weren’t femmey at all, and–well, let’s stop there for now, because there seems to be some kind of disconnect here.

    KM: ” I date women almost exclusively, because I am attracted to them, ffs, not because it’s the Politically Appropriate thing to do or because I believe that dating
    women is subversive. Please do not make MY ACTUAL SEXUALITY into a political
    act, thanks.”

    omfg SO MUCH WORD there isn’t enough WORD in the MULTIVERSE

  48. 48

    belledame222 said,

    MT9, this is Catherine MacKinnon’s bio, okay:

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

    “MacKinnon was born into an upper-middle class family in Minnesota. Her mother is Elizabeth Valentine Davis; her father, George E. MacKinnon was a lawyer, congressman (1946 to 1949), and judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1969 to 1995). She also has two younger brothers.

    MacKinnon was the valedictorian of her high school and thereafter became the third generation of her family to attend her mother’s alma mater, Smith College. She graduated at the top 2% of her class at Smith and moved on to receive her J.D. and Ph.D. from Yale University. She was the recipient of a National Science Foundation fellowship while at Yale Law School.

    MacKinnon was engaged to Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson for several years during the 1980s and 1990s, though the relationship subsequently ended. She has refused to discuss the relationship in later interviews.[1]

    MacKinnon is the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School.[2] She is also currently serving as the Roscoe Pound Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.[3]…”

    Understand? She may have trouble with publicity for her latest book, but she’s not exactly starving or underprivileged.

  49. 49

    belledame222 said,

    But, here, you want a book about the intersection of class, feminism, and sexuality from the perspective of someone who grew up poor/working class?

    http://www.sobriquetmagazine.com/a_review_of_dorothy_allison.htm

    “Skin,” by Dorothy Allison. Great book, highly recommend it, should still be in print and/or available at your local library.

  50. 50

    belledame222 said,

    “Some feminists would wax endlessly about single-ness, how women don’t need men for love or caring. They sometimes fall short of saying out loud that “marriage sucks” and of calling every “single and frustrated” woman out there a “loser”. But here’s the thing: they say all this from the comfort of a nice, heterosexual relationship. It’s “great” to be single… when you are partnered.”

    Okay, I admit I haven’t the faintest clue of who you might be talking about here. No one I bother to read, for certain.

  51. 51

    marytracy9 said,

    Belledame, it’s not how priviliged someone is that I have trouble with, is how aware of that privilige they are and what they do with it.
    For me, if someone grows up in an upper-middle class home but challenges the economic structure that ensures that most people aren’t upper-middle class then that’s not the same as someone who grows in an upper-middle class household and goes “well, that’s how the world works” and doesn’t dare to take a second look at the millions of poor people in the world. And I’ve seen this kind of attitude in some very popular feminists.

    There’s an example of what I’m talking about in Liz’s latest comment:

    “I do also have massive problems with the fact that we have to PAY to get university education, which is a capitalist problem and a classist problem. Also the fact that to be considered ‘clever’ that we have to have done something “worthwhile” or have these letters at the end of our name.”

    She might have gone to University and she might have gotten the letters at the end of her name. But she questions the validity of it all. And that’s for me what trully matters.

  52. 52

    bonobobabe said,

    MT9, I get what you’re saying. I call those women “liberal feminists.” From my viewpoint, they seem to care about electing a Democrat…a new “daddy” who will make the big, mean boys leave us alone.

    And yeah, they wear skirts, shave their legs, and wear lipstick, and anytime a radfem talks about that kind of stuff on their own blog, they get shouted down about how unimportant and innocuous it all is. But how can it be unimportant, when the patriarchy gives rewards based on how feminine you are?

  53. 53

    Dw3t-Hthr said,

    What I think is “sordid” is people treating porn as a big deal compared to, picking a current example, the murder of Angie Zapata.

    But I posted that particular boggle on the 26th of July, so I shan’t reiterate what I already said then.

  54. 54

    Liz said,

    Aha, yes, but I also love studying and learning. I read statistics saying that it is harder for a deaf person to get a job than a person with a criminal record (I think because they are hearing, and don’t have to deal with disablism if they’re not disabled). That is part of the reason I am now getting an MA – a lot of people have degrees and in order to have any kind of distinction, I have to get an MA! I have very little job experience so my CV is littered with educational qualifications, rather than work experience because I would be exhausted studying hard and working at the same time (lip reading tiredness, etc). But at the same time, I don’t see why we should have to justify getting a degree or education. If people want to learn, then it can be one of the most rewarding things they can do for themselves. It’s okay to be selfish.

  55. 55

    marytracy9 said,

    Bonobobabe, “liberal feminists” would be a better term, I guess. But yeah, we mean the same thing.

    Also, once and for all, people! I AM NOT QUESTIONING ANYBODY’S CHOICE TO LOOK FEMININE!!! Does the woman on the right look feminine? Sure! But so does the woman on the left. I mean, she has long hair and she’s wearing a starred sweater!.
    Does patriarchy reward femininity? Sure! And if you are a feminist worth your salt (or something) you would at least question that to yourself.

  56. 56

    belledame222 said,

    Jesus, BNB, can you see anything anyone has actually said here at all?

    MT9 O.K. Again: can I ask who it is you think does -not- cover such issues? –look, I’ll just stop with: One reading recommendation. One. “Skin.”

  57. 57

    belledame222 said,

    gevalt. MT9, BNB, making myself go back and not post this in ALLCAPS:

    *****Most of the women here. do not dress or date tradtionally feminine in the first place, alright?*****

    I don’t. Trin doesn’t. KM doesn’t. DW3T doesn’t…and Kim did nothing BUT question it for months on end and nearly made herself sick over it, it’s not like she’s never heard any of this shit before, it’s not like -anyone- hasn’t…(or heard of Lorde, ta awfully so).

    We’re saying: hi! we don’t question it because it -isn’t rele– oh what’s the bloody use, I’m going to go whack my head against a brick wall a few times, that’ll be more rewarding.

  58. 58

    belledame222 said,

    Octo is probably the only “liberal feminist” who even vaguely fits the description you have here, and RE has got her own shit, and–

    yeah. right. Your blog. O.K. Well–good luck with whatever it is, I really hope you find an answer at some point.

    Just one last: the only people I know who insist on how great it is to -not- need a man or how terrible men are while still remaining partnered with men themselves? The only people who come to mind are people who identify as radical feminists. Not all of them, but a few.

    Just wondering how many people who -aren’t- in that little circle you actually read, MT9? I mean besides -maybe- some of the Big Bloggers? It’s a big world out there. Just saying. Hopefully for the last time, I’ve an appointment with a car door I need to slam on my fingers.

  59. 59

    belledame222 said,

    –no, right, okay: Is this a response to Octogalore’s “Sparkle” post on feministe the other day (which I’ve only just gotten to reading myself)? Because if it is, it’d probably be a lot simpler to just come out and say so. I mean, I think if you want to argue that she never writes about porn or prostitution, for example, much less anything that isn’t about herself, that’s..,well, inaccurate, to put it mildly; but that post is the only thing I can see in recent days on the blogosphere that even vaguely sort of sounds like what you’re railing against here.

    Seriously, is it that hard to actually talk directly to people?

  60. 60

    marytracy9 said,

    Belledame, read my lips: NO FEMME, NO FEMININITY, NONE OF IT IN THIS POST. NONE. NOTHING. NADA. My characters are not “femme” nor “butch”. And I don’t know what “Sparkle” is, but it sure sounds cool.

    Here’s what I want to see in (popular) feminist blogs: ANTI-CAPITALISM, criticism of the MEDIA and corporate ownership of the media, censorship of the left, the fricking poor of the world and how that affects issues of race and gender, inmigration, the exploitation of the working class, questioning so called “democracy” in the so called “developed world”, reproductive rights that include the right to reproduce, misogyny in other cultures (even if it is dangerous territory)and cheesecake.

  61. 61

    rescuingme said,

    MT

    Loads of people blog about those things, you just are not looking in the right places (and heres a tip, more often than not its the bloggers who dont talk about porn ALL THE DAMN TIME that generaly write about the other stuff)

  62. 62

    Polly Styrene said,

    Gosh what a lot of comments you’ve got Mary Tracy.

  63. 63

    Laurelin said,

    Completely off topic, but…

    … in my opinion ‘sparkle’ adequately describes the sight of the sun glinting off the sea at Plymouth. Absolutely beautiful.

    On topic again:

    I would also like to see more criticism of the male left, which seems determined to steadfastly ignore issues of male violence and the oppression of women except when it suits its purposes. And of course for everyone to continue to tell the right wing to go fuck itself.

    Complete agreement with your last comment, Mary. Nice one. Also, I admire your patience. Personally, I have none!

  64. 64

    Laurelin said,

    Oh yeah, and fudgecake too.

    Way to make me hungry Mary! 😉

  65. 65

    marytracy9 said,

    Rescuingme, I know loads of people blog about these things and yeah, they never mention porn. The question is why don’t (popular) feminists talk about this too? I didn’t want to get into all this but the fact is that you either have those talks without the feminism or you have the feminism without those talks. And I think they should go hand in hand.

    I know, Polly, but very few are positive ones :S

  66. 66

    MT9- I love blasting a lot of mainstream media, always good. I’m torn on capitalism. I fully support a womans right to have children, or not have children, on her OWN terms. I am super anti-censorship. I am hesistant to blog on life (for anyone) in other cultures because I’ve not experienced it, but you might check out “the Apostate”. Racism, I do write on that from time to time. And in no way do I think I will change your mind on a whole lot of stuff, but there is a whole lot of things being talked about out there, if you look.

  67. 67

    Daisy said,

    On the subject of Julia Penelope, her 70s-and-beyond position was that heterosexual feminists, who CHOOSE men, are Collaborators with Patriarchy, hands down. She was pretty hard-core on that one, as I recall. It’s one thing if you were raised to be a patriarchal dupe and were therefore heterosexual, but a feminist was expected to KNOW BETTER and change teams, forthwith. JP was one of the women responsible for the very nasty straight-lesbian split of the mid-70s. Her piece in the Coming-Out Stories made it clear that bisexuality/bisexuals weren’t to be trusted either.

    And NOW, we are expected to stream forth with hugs, herbal tea and support, now that Lesbian-Feminist Separatist Goddess is ill? Are we to forget everything she ever said, about taking money from the evillll patriarchy? Are we to DISREGARD her very angry, radical reproaches to us, particularly about caving in to FEAR about money, and attendant access to power and privileges?

    I wouldn’t disgrace Julia Penelope with my filthy non-lesbian, feminist money. That’s her choice, and I’m sticking to it. I’m sure she’d want me to, really.

    And another thing, FTR: it’s my feminism that demands I take JP at her word. Ironically, it’s my Christianity that makes me feel guilty for not being more merciful, regardless of whatever nonsense she said in the past.

    PS: I hope Julia Penelope hasn’t seen Heart on SEX TV with the husband. OMG!

  68. 68

    bonobobabe said,

    Jesus, BNB, can you see anything anyone has actually said here at all?

    Just because there were 50 comments ahead of mine, doesn’t mean I have to read them all and take it in like it was wisdom from on high. So, you didn’t like something I said on Nine Deuce’s blog, so you say shit to me over here. Whatev.

    As I skimmed the comments, I noticed some people attacking MT9, so I commented to let her know *I* understood where she was coming from.

    And there may be a bazillion feminist blogs out there. I don’t read them all. There are frequentlyl dustups at the ones I do read, and I realize that a lot of the commenters are referencing things at other blogs/forums. Personally, I don’t give a rat’s ass. I have a life off the internet to deal with. I read a few blogs that I agree with, and I don’t spend my time reading blogs of people I don’t agree with. Apparently, other people live differently.

    Also, I think, too, that blogs are one way people work out their issues. We are none of us perfect, and blogs are kinda like thinking out loud. So, there’s no reason to attack somebody because they aren’t where you think they should be on their individual path.

  69. 69

    Lisa Harney said,

    “But how can it be unimportant, when the patriarchy gives rewards based on how feminine you are?”

    Here’s a patriarchal reward for femininity.

  70. 70

    Lisa Harney said,

    Oops, I don’t mean to imply that being less feminine means you won’t be harassed, or that being too masculine isn’t policed and punished as well.

    I just saw that story and am still angry about it.

  71. 71

    Liz said,

    I’m still confused about who the ‘popular feminists’ are. How can any of us understand where you are coming from if we don’t know what you mean?

    Plus – BNB – a lot of feminists have critiqued femininity and stuff. But also, I don’t see what is wrong if you have done a hell of a lot of examining and still really like make-up, skirts and so on. Using appearance as a starting point is discriminatory. Some popular feminists may not be ‘feminine’ or ‘fashionable’. And femininity in and of itself is not a problem; its when femininity is seen as a sign of the ‘weaker sex’ that it becomes a problem. When femininity is forced on someone, then it is a big problem. But if someone enjoys being feminine, we shouldn’t point at her and say ‘you haven’t examined!’. It only creates a diversion from the real problems of power structures around the idea of femininity.

    I understand that yes, there are, I am sure, some people calling themselves feminists that maybe don’t look at certain things. But there are feminists talking about all the things that you purportedly want us to look at.

  72. 72

    belledame222 said,

    “So, you didn’t like something I said on Nine Deuce’s blog, so you say shit to me over here. Whatev.”

    What? Dude, I’m not saying “shit” to you, and I don’t even remember our exchange at ND. I find it exasperating that a bunch of people have just carefully and for the -most- part at least somewhat politely finished explaining, again, where they’re actually coming from, and someone, in this case you, comes in and basically is all like, no, actually, it’s a bunch of liberal feminists defending their makeup, which :headdesk.:

    “So, there’s no reason to attack somebody because they aren’t where you think they should be on their individual path.”

    Um, yeah; this is kind of exactly why people are responding to this post in the first place, because they’re looking at the cartoon and going, okay, is this supposed to be me again, or what? You know?

  73. 73

    belledame222 said,

    I mean, if you’re trying to say, you just want to be left alone to vent, so be it; but it seemed like MT9 here was asking a question on a public blog, and seeing as some people -did- feel, rightly or wrongly, like they -might- be the ones who are being caricatured here, I don’t think it’s really reasonable to–at minimum, one oughtn’t to be -surprised- when it gets a response. If you just want to hear “no, really, you’re right, damn those glamour feminists!” then, ok, but maybe say so up front, then. Or if you just want to hear from people within the “radfem” circle, or whatever it is.

  74. 74

    belledame222 said,

    “I read a few blogs that I agree with, and I don’t spend my time reading blogs of people I don’t agree with. Apparently, other people live differently.”

    Apparently. Particularly if I’m actually going to start arguing against a position, it tends to help, I find, if one actually knows what the other person is -actually- saying, as opposed to something I just pulled out of a hat. And hey, who knows, sometimes I might actually even change my mind or learn something.

  75. 75

    marytracy9 said,

    Lisa I think every feminist on the planet is angry about that story. It shows what women get for “existing”. Really, we should know better (/sarcasm). I think the one thing to take from that story is that “judges” and the “law” are in no way fricking way UN-biased and “neutral”. Nothing we didn’t know already, but still.

    I want this blog to be a space for discussion. If I mess up or get things wrong, I want people to feel free to point it out.
    I believe we can all talk to each other without having to agree on everything. That’s really how ideas grow: by people disagreeing.

  76. 76

    Kim said,

    “I believe we can all talk to each other without having to agree on everything. That’s really how ideas grow: by people disagreeing.”

    I agree.

    I, for one, am okay if any of us here cannot fully agree on certain issues. Do I have fantastical dreams that someday, the world will see the headline “Blogger Kim at Bastante Already has Magically ENDED the Feminists “Wars” and We Now Can Enjoy Peace and Sisterhood At Last?”

    Um.
    Sometimes?
    I mean, if all it takes is CHEESECAKE, well, heck, I’ll learn to bake!

    In the meanwhile, discussion of the respectful variety is a fine consolation prize. Though we may or may not disagree now or in the future, MT, I appreciate you civility here.

  77. 77

    buggle said,

    I think some people are taking this post WAY too personally. People are assuming that this cartoon is about them- um, what? Way to think the whole world revolves around you!!! Or the whole blogosphere, anyways. That’s just funny.

    I understood what she was saying, and I appreciate her saying it. I appreciate being challenged, being asked questions. And that’s all she did. She asked some questions. It made me think. Yay! It wasn’t a post attacking anyone. Sheesh, settle down people!

    Interesting that a bunch of pro-porn people got all upset at this post and came over to, gee, what a shock, attack Heart and other radical feminists for being mean. So sad, I can’t go hardly anywhere anymore without seeing the same 5-6 names pop up over and over, yelling the same thing. Don’t you have your own blogs for that?

    Anyways, MT, I’m extremely impressed by your civility. You got screamed at, and you handled it very well. Impressive 🙂 Cheers to you.

  78. 78

    Laurelin said,

    Buggle- I agree!

  79. 79

    bonobobabe said,

    Interesting that a bunch of pro-porn people got all upset at this post and came over to, gee, what a shock, attack Heart and other radical feminists for being mean. So sad, I can’t go hardly anywhere anymore without seeing the same 5-6 names pop up over and over, yelling the same thing.

    I haven’t even been reading feminist blogs (especially radical feminist blogs) for all that long, and I’m already sick of the attacks from non-radfems against radfems. We’re the least liked of any subset of women. We already get shit from the entire world. I don’t know why other feminists won’t leave us the fuck alone.

    As far as I know, radfems don’t go to non-radfem blogs and stir up shit, but obviously the reverse isn’t true.

    And that’s the last I’m saying about that. I’ll continue to read radfem blogs (because radfems are fucking AWESOME), but I won’t be baited by non-radfems into a debate about anything.

    Face it. It’s really easy to troll the internet looking for reasons to be offended. If that’s how people want to spend their time, I can’t do anything about it, but I won’t be upset by it. I’ll just ignore them.

  80. 80

    Liz said,

    BNB – we are all sick of the fighting stuff. It isn’t all radical feminists that are being called out for their behaviour, I believe, its just a few who have been absolute bullies to some of their OWN people. There has been a lot of history of fighting and blog war stuff going on and a lot of vitriol from everyone, not just non radical feminists. None of us are perfect, it isn’t easy to hold back and count to ten in this age of typing and pressing the ‘submit comment’ button. Pretty much all of us get into heated discussions sooner or later.

    Also, my comment/question aimed at you was valid. I call myself a radical feminist, have done for a long time because I believe on examining things to the root. I’m also anti-porn and prostitution, but believe it is important to engage with each other – radical feminist or not. I try to look past all the crap in these so called blog wars. I’ve had a history of what some people have dubbed ‘sitting on the fence’ because I cannot bear to see everyone fighting and think it is a waste of energy. I think Mary Tracy has some very valid points, but at the same time feel there is no need to stereotype based upon clothing or whatever.

    Damn, as far as I know, quite a few of the people posting don’t “troll the internet looking for reasons to be offended”. They are just disagreeing, fairly civilly (compared to some of the “discussions” I’ve seen which have denigrated into mud slinging), and trying to discuss things. Kim even has a new post up discussing this post – and it is positive.

  81. 81

    belledame222 said,

    “We’re the least liked of any subset of women. We already get shit from the entire world.”

    Vey iz mir.

    You know something: if you keep finding that to be the case, maybe, just maybe, it isn’t the –politics- that’s the problem. Maybe, just maybe, it might have to do with, how would you say, interaction style, hm?

    Also, it’s not exactly a point of pride, this.

    “The great thing about believing everyone is out to get you is that sooner or later it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.”

    I mean, what, you kick people in the shin, then when they turn around and complain about it, you retreat into “but we’re so weak and nobody likes us…”

    And, seriously: at the -same time- that you keep saying you’re the least popular, least powerful, etc., you’re also the most -radical,- i.e. the ones that are going to change the entire world from the roots up.

    And this is going to happen…how? See, this is why other feminists try to -engage-, at least, because, well, as RE puts it, “What’s the plan?” I mean if it really is just a case of, you’re the unpopular kids behind the bleachers and just want to be left alone to play your reindeer games, O.K., just so we’re clear;

    thing is, it’s a bit of a mixed message with the whole -radical revolutionary- thing; and, well, some of us would like to at least know what the great revolution is going to consist of, seeing as how if it involves the entire -world- we’ll probably be dragged along for the ride at some point, and are being well -critiqued- along the way already.

    But, okay, so: serious, or not? If it’s “not,” then, sure, I think we can all agree to just go our separate ways then. I mean, I don’t get involved in the internecine wars of furries doing RPG’s, no matter how intense it gets, because I’m pretty confident it has nothing to do with me or my life and never will; but, see, when you invoke things like -feminism- and -political change- and shit other people actually care about, -too-, well, yeah, they tend to chime in sooner or later. See.

  82. 82

    Laurelin said,

    Bonobobabe- absolutely. I sometimes have to remind myself what the point of blogging is when I’m being beseiged by rape threats from misgynists, and being called hate-filled, moronic, masochistic, vile etc. by others (mainly supposedly left-wing men). You get all this hate, and think why the fuck am I doing this?

    And then I remember the many comments I’ve had from women telling me that I have articulated what they could not, and I remember how other women have done the same for me, touched me so deeply I have wept, and been able to understand. With the validating comments, you remember why you write, and what it’s all about. And then you think of the many readers who do not comment, but who are listening.

    I am very much a believer in the power of writing; it has been writers who have helped me face so much.

  83. 83

    Kim said,

    Kim said “Do I have fantastical dreams that someday, the world will see the headline “Blogger Kim at Bastante Already has Magically ENDED the Feminists “Wars” and We Now Can Enjoy Peace and Sisterhood At Last?””

    But then along come Buggle and Bonobobabe with more of the same and, I see that ain’t never gonna happen.

    Oh weh mir.

    Longer response to you, MT, at my place if you care to read as I feel it best to take it there, judging by the latest comments.

  84. 84

    […] Sex industry, Sex worker, Sexuality) There’s a lot of words being thrown around in this blog post and the accompanying comments: pro-porn, radical, glamour, pop, […]

  85. 85

    bonobobabe said,

    OK, I said I wasn’t going to be baited, but I do have one last thing to say, only because it’s so fucking obvious. Kim says: Do I have fantastical dreams that someday, the world will see the headline “Blogger Kim at Bastante Already has Magically ENDED the Feminists “Wars” and We Now Can Enjoy Peace and Sisterhood At Last?”

    OK. Whatever. However, if one scrolls up, one can see that your very first comment to this post was: Who the hell are you to decide which feminist works “harder” and has it “tougher?”
    Who the hell are you to decide which women have “seen the nastier side of what it means to be a woman in the patriachy?”

    With all your concerns of “May trigger/extremely disturbing” did it ever cross your smug, self-righteous mind that by leaving personal accounts of the “nastier” side OFF our blogs, that this may be because we cannot write of this?

    Nice peace and sisterhood.

    And belldame222 says: You know something: if you keep finding that to be the case, maybe, just maybe, it isn’t the –politics- that’s the problem. Maybe, just maybe, it might have to do with, how would you say, interaction style, hm?

    But after I post a perfectly innocuous comment showing my support to MT9, this is the response I got: Jesus, BNB, can you see anything anyone has actually said here at all?

    Nice interaction style.

    So, the non rad-fems show up with guns blazing, and then criticize us when we say something back.

    OK. Now I really am done.

  86. 86

    Kim said,

    For my part, Bonobo, yes, that’s fair. I’ll accept that I acted rashly and certainly “non-sisterly.” The egg is on my face and I will take a nice slice of that humble pie, thanks. MT touched a nerve and I lashed out. ( I WILL take that blame but dammit, I will also give a whole heap of blame to that vile human being who abused me in my late teen years. For that’s the part of me that lashed out.)

    I did also, however, after getting a grip, also say to Mary Tracy “I appreciate your answer, MT. I especially appreciate your civil reply, especially when I admittedly flew off the handle there myself.”

    In other words, I agreed with you even before you called me out.

    All I can say is I will *TRY* to refrain from acting the asshole in the future.
    All it does is stir stuff up.
    And thanks for at least addressing me, B.
    Baby steps, perhaps.

    And now, I’m out as well.
    K

  87. 87

    belledame222 said,

    Yeah, I was more snappish than I had to be, I expect. I get that you were showing support for your friend; I do respect that. I was at that moment responding to the idea that MT9 was being “shouted down on her own blog” by women who wear lipstick, shave their legs, and wear skirts, when on the whole it did seem like -maybe- we were finally getting past that much at least. But, hokay, granted. I’m out too.

  88. 88

    Hi MT. I have to say I’m just as confused as anyone by the cartoon. Confused, and perhaps a little saddened. But if you’re working out your issues via this, I’m not going to analyse. I would like you to know that you are more than welcome to comment on my blog, whether on issues of s e x work or anything else. I promise I’ll refrain from being my usual snappish self. 😉

  89. 89

    Voltairyne said,

    Ohmygawsh you poor thing. You got Belledame’s attention.

    But hey, I just want to say that I totally understand where you’re coming from and I completely get what you’re trying to say. Your strongest attackers seem to be extremely angry women who have a long history of defending the sex industry from a standpoint of incredible privilege on their own blogs, which is sort of exactly what you were talking about. I’ve often gotten incredibly frustrated with this sort of conversation myself, as it usually goes:

    me: Wow, what you just said is really sort of nuts. Do you think you might be viewing the entire world through the very teensy lense of your enormous privilege?

    them: ANGRY AND DELIBERATELY OBTUSE RANT ABOUT WHAT A BAD PERSON I AM

    me: Okay, here’s a response to a few of your points. I have to go to work now and stay there for eight hours and then I will probably come home and pass out from exhaustion. I do not have access to a computer at work because I am don’t have an office because I work in food service. Please bear this in mind.

    them: TWENTY MORE RESPONSES ABOUT WHAT A BAD PERSON I AM, DROWNING OUT ANY POSSIBILITY OF ME EVER BEING ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE DISCUSSION THEY ARE MONOPOLIZING UNLESS I SKIP WORK FOR THE NEXT MONTH AND POST ALL DAY LONG EVERY DAY, NOT THAT MOST WOMEN CAN ACTUALLY DO THAT

    Not that I’m describing anybody in particular.

  90. 90

    MT- I did want to say, I do like your art style, you have a lot of skills with the pen. You ever thought about illustrating books?

  91. 91

    marytracy9 said,

    Hi Natalia. I have explained what the cartoon was supposed to mean in the comments, but I have perhaps left this out. I was wondering how come no one questioned why not writing about porn or prostitution on the grounds that is “too sordid” should necessarily be a bad thing. It’s an absolutely respectable and understandable reason. What I find questionable is using the same excuse when you are a big name author and blogger who makes a considerable ammount of cash by covering feminist issues. You have a certain responsability, you know? You cannot get off the hook that easily. Much less so when you have a big famous blog site which you share with many other authors who all “refuse” to go down that road. At any rate, this wasn’t thrown at anyone in particular, just a thought on a certain attitude “I” happen to have a problem with.

    Renegade Evolution, thank you very much, I really appreciate your words. I am thinking of doing somethin (always feminist oriented), but I don’t feel quite ready yet.

  92. 92

    Lara said,

    I could only read through some of the comments. I guess I feel very torn about this cartoon. I mostly agree with Arantxa (comment #19) on this whole thing. I think pitting women against women really doesn’t help the situation, and it IS like hating the popular highschool girl. Another thing, eh, I can sometimes pass as the “glamour feminist” because, well, I sometimes wear makeup, feminine clothes, and occassionally I might have a male partner. And I acknowledge that these things/behaviors give a tiny bit of revokable privilege.
    At the same time, if the cartoon is somehow criticizing class and race privilege in women, and how white/rich non-disabled straight women spit down upon women of color/poor women/disabled women/etc. then I agree with those sentiments too. I think that a few of the original ideas/feelings that might have started the cartoon are valid (frustration with racial/class/other hierarchies among women) but I think the expression of it is problematic. I know, you already acknowledged this in a way MT. I guess if anyone met/saw me in person they might assume I am a liberal/glamour feminist and not a radical feminist, which is in some senses not true (and I guess, in other senses, partially true).
    Now I am rambling… 😛

  93. 93

    Polly Styrene said,

    Voltairyne – will you marry me? Cos I think I love you, and I’m probably not alone in that sentiment….

  94. 94

    thebewilderness said,

    I think that the “Glamour Feminist” is like the “Limousine Liberal” of the sixties.
    Mostly myth, but based on the self serving actions of a few who chose to use the movement rather than join it.
    There are peeps who appear to be doing it for their own ego strokes and those who are simply doing the best they can.
    There are currently some men arguing at Echidne that they don’t actually have to do anything to consider themselves feminists.
    Just like the word ‘liberal’ over the past forty years, peeps are calling themselves ‘feminist’ without understanding what the word means, or what it cost.

  95. 95

    marytracy9 said,

    thebewilderness, your comment reminded me of a cartoon I saw in which a seemingly rich woman sunbathing says “It’s life changing to realize that you can be progressive and loaded”.

  96. 96

    Laurelin said,

    “Voltairyne – will you marry me? Cos I think I love you, and I’m probably not alone in that sentiment….”

    Polly, you are certainly not alone in that sentiment- so get in line! 😉

  97. 97

    Laurelin said,

    On a slight tangent, but vaguely related: One thing I have always noted when looking at left-wing cartoons about privilege and wealth generally is that they usually go for depicting women as the bearers of such things. You’re more likely to see a woman dressed up in jewels being ridiculed than a man in a penguin suit, for example. Women have of course, historically been used as the coathangers for the signs of surplus wealth- it is they who wear the jewels, and the expensive restrictive clothing, showing themselves to be leisured and not in need of freedom of movement. And of course it is their appearance and ‘leisure’ that men use to advertise their own masculinity and wealth- a bedecked woman is clearly ‘owned’ or supported by a high-up wealthy man. But women are not the ones who own the wealth, generally speaking, yet it is they who take the blame for being vain, materialistic, lazy etc.

    An example I can think of is a nineteenth century discussion about the immorality of killing exotic birds for their feathers in order to dress women’s hats. (This I read in a 19th century periodical). One man wrote an angry letter about the practice and blamed it on women for being vain and demanding the deaths of birds to sate such vanity. Now clearly the trade in bird death for hats is immoral and disgusting, but the man’s blame was completely misplaced- a fact which was pointed out by a very witty woman in another letter, who pointed out that it wasn’t women who created the trade in bird feathers, nor was it women that set the standards for fashion.

    Wow, trust the historian to go off on a complete tangent! 😛 But I think this stuff is well worth looking into to see how women’s decoration is used a) as a way of advertising male class and wealth, and b) used as a stick to beat women with, to condemn their supposed vanity.

    Mary Woolstonecroft’s book has a lot on this (yeah, I know, it’s a century and a half earlier than the example I gave!). It’s well worth a read- not least for the sense of ‘oh fuck, how little has changed’ 😦

  98. 98

    I give you Harry Enfield’s “very important man” as a (very mainstream) example of a privileged man being satirised Laurelin.

    Good ol Harry E………

  99. 99

    Laurelin said,

    oh yeah, and then of course there is Tim Nice-But-Dim.

  100. 100

    Laurelin said,

    I’m making the 100th comment simply because I cannot cope with the number 99.

    Yes, I’m severely OCD.

  101. 101

    marytracy9 said,

    Laurelin you have just produced the first comment number 100 in the history of Beyond Feminism! Arentcha proud? 😀

    Also, you might know this already but you can always join us at “Crazy Like Us?” (link in blogroll).

  102. 102

    Gwen said,

    I admit right now that I haven’t read all the comments, but I think you’re creating a false dichotomy here. Being in favour of the decriminalisation of prostitution is not the same thing as thinking that prostitution is a good idea. Furthermore, I don’t read a lot of so-called radical feminist blogs regularly precisely because I don’t find them very radical at all. They rarely deal with class, or race, or ability, while some women considered “pro-porn” actually do write about these issues a lot.

    So, while I agree that feminist bloggers should not be afraid to deal with “sordid” issues, and should be as revolutionary as possible, I wouldn’t agree that radical feminist blogs are automatically the more revolutionary.

  103. 103

    Laurelin said,

    Gwen- most radical feminists do believe in the decriminalisation of prostitution: it should be illegal to buy sex, but not illegal to sell it. That way women would not be jailed, but those who demand women for their sexual use would.

  104. 104

    L.M. said,

    Gwen – “They rarely deal with class, or race, or ability, while some women considered “pro-porn” actually do write about these issues a lot”
    Um, there are quite a few radical feminist bloggers who are nonwhite, poor/working class and disabled, and write about it. I’m not white, and neither is Lara. Charliegrrl and Polly Styrene are not rich. Laurelin and MT were just writing in the comments about having mental disorders or being considered “crazy”.
    Frankly, the most vocal and well-known pro-porn bloggers – at least the ones that show up on radical feminist blogs – are predominantly white, just as much (at least) as the most vocal and well-known anti-porn bloggers.

  105. 105

    L.M. said,

    Sorry to double post, but if I’m mistaken about any of the above info – please correct me, it’s what I’ve culled from reading the people’s blogs.

  106. 106

    Lara said,

    “Furthermore, I don’t read a lot of so-called radical feminist blogs regularly precisely because I don’t find them very radical at all. They rarely deal with class, or race, or ability, while some women considered “pro-porn” actually do write about these issues a lot.”

    Since when? I am a radical feminist, a woman of color, and I blog about race and class very often. The most I have ever seen blogged about race, class, and related aspects of society and people’s lived realities is on radical feminist blogs. Sure, some of them don’t address race/class as much as they should, but I would say most “liberal feminist” blogs don’t either.

  107. 107

    Lara said,

    And Laurelin’s historical analysis of this, with recognizing the ways that rich women are used as the negative symbols of greed, vanity, and wealth, is SPOT ON.
    Notice too how groups like PETA target women in fur coats but not big burly men in leather jackets (and for fuck’s sake leather jackets for men are way more popular than fur coats for women.

  108. 108

    Gwen said,

    Some of the blogs mentioned above I had not heard of, but I will be reading them in the future (yours in particular Lara looks awesome!!) Some of them I had heard of, and, well I stand by what I said. Even where the women in question are women of colour and/or working-class, they rarely use an anti-racist or anti-capitalist analysis. It’s not just that I think that any revolutionary feminism must be anti-racist and anti-capitalist, it’s that I find the blogs that aren’t dull, regardless of what the author thinks about pornography.

    Reading through some of the comments, all I can say is that both sides have the so-called “porn wars” (and how I HATE that everything seems to hinge on that particular issue) have been guilty of ignoring their privilege, eurocentrism, etc. The point of my original comment is not that so-called “sex-positive” feminists are necessarily more anti-racist. I strongly disagree with creating these dichotomies at all, lumping feminists into two groups, based on the very, very fine details of their personal approach to one particular issue. And I really, REALLY, disagree with deciding that one group are the “real feminists” and all others, regardless of their opinions on all other issues, can be dismissed with a slightly belittling nickname.

  109. 109

    […] 14, 2008 There is a post up over at Beyond Feminism about so-called “Glamour Feminists”.  This sort of post pushes several of my buttons.  First, I loathe the tendency, particularly […]

  110. 110

    L.M. said,

    Gwen – “Even where the women in question are women of colour and/or working-class, they rarely use an anti-racist or anti-capitalist analysis”
    So nonwhite and working class women have more of an obligation to be primarily race and class oriented?
    A lot of anti-porn nonwhite women – not just those of us who’ve explicitly proclaimed ourselves radical feminists, but also Justice Walks and Shannon – acknowledge how race has affected our views of porn and the sex industry.* I’ve written about it, many other feminists have written about it, and I won’t derail MT’s thread to go on at length now. (And yes, even though Mary Tracy is white, she has written about and discussed race/class etc. issues – see here for example.
    I think there’s an old thread at charlie grrl’s where she and several other feminist bloggers discuss how they have felt pressured to go into the sex industry because they couldn’t get by financially, and that’s certainly affected their views of it.
    I’m sorry if I’m beating a dead horse, but as a nonwhite woman who is a radical feminist and anti-porn, I’m tired of being erased or being accused of selling out to white middle class women. Not saying that you have done it, but it’s just something that I run into over and over and over again.

    *I’m not sure if she still identifies as a feminist or radical feminist, but Allecto is another one.

  111. 111

    Gwen said,

    I didn’t say that women of colour or working-class women had a special obligation to be primarily race or class oriented. I said that I find blogs that do not approach oppression intersectionally dull. Regardless of who writes them.

  112. 112

    Lara said,

    While I agree with LM I understand what you are saying Gwen: oftentimes many feminists (especially in the blogosphere) get so caught up in arguing about being “pro-sex” or anti-porn that they forget to step back and look at the other tools the patriarchy uses to oppress women in different ways. And it can get repetitive after a while.
    Another thing too, where you have a point, is that the radical feminist-of-color blogs are definitely harder to find or don’t get as much, say, publicity, so it limits the voices of feminists of color.
    Interestingly enough, if one IS going to talk about our porn culture, I am shocked at how many on the anti-porn side overlook or do not talk about the blatant intersections of racism, sexism, classism, and ableism in porn (both in the aesthetics and in the technicalities/production). Anyway, the above cartoon definitely generated some interesting discussions on race, class, gender, and privilege, and how we go about addressing and ridding of these hierarchies within the feminist movement/community.

  113. 113

    marytracy9 said,

    Gwen, I think you have misunderstood my point. (Mind you, I think almost everyone has). I didn’t mean to imply that “on the one side, the anti-porn lot are awesome feminists who challenge everything” and “on the other side there’s the nasty pro-sex who don’t challenge anything”. The two things are related only because once you’ve challenged the socioeconomic system, the political system, etc, challenging the sex industry is a tiny step. If you are already hated for challenging class, you might as well challenge porn. How worse can it get?

    There’s something that I wanted to discuss but people don’t seem to want to get into. There’s bloggers and Bloggers. The most popular bloggers, the BIG BLOGGERS IN BIG BLOGS don’t discuss the less popular issues, because it would, primarily, make them lose bucks. I, like 99.9% of radical feminists and anti-porn feminists do not get a penny for writing our (tiny) blogs, and if we write books, we get even less. I repeat: THERE’S A LOT TO BE GAINED BY OMITTING CERTAIN TOPICS AND A LOT TO LOSE BY INCLUDING THEM. Amongst those loses you can count, I don’t know, FAME AND FORTUNE?.

    And just to give an example of what I’m trying to say, one of those BIG BLOGS has just put up a post pondering capitalism. Woo-hoo.

  114. 114

    Gwen said,

    Lara – absolutely there should be more examination of racism, classism and ableism in porn. I think there’s a fantastic analysis to be done on race, class, nationalism and masculine identity in British lad mags – what kind of guy do the people who own lad mags envision their ideal customer to be? What kind of masculinity are the lad mags selling, and how does it intersect not only with sexism, but also with racism, class and nationalism. Most women featured in UK lad mags are white, and the whole concept of “laddishness” is very much a caricature of working-class men created by middle-class men type of thing (if that makes sense).

    Like I said before, you’re blog looks really great, and I will be reading it in the future. We may not agree on everything, but I appreciate intelligent analysis.

    Marytracy – I’m sorry I misunderstood you. I’ve had some bad experiences with SOME radical feminists in the past who’ve insisted that any disagreement with their particular beliefs meant that I had to be excommunicated from feminism. And so it may be that I’m over-sensitive to this kind of thing.

    I think that there are good arguments on both sides of the debate on the Swedish Model v. the New Zealand model. Someone who favours the New Zealand model, as I do, is not bowing to the patriarchy. Radical people can genuinely disagree without it meaning that one side is “selling out”.

    I also think that, while porn and prostitution are important issues, they are not the only important feminist issues. Read, for example, brownfemipower’s discussion of the horribly exploitative conditions endured by Chicana farm workers in the US http://brownfemipower.com/?p=1995 . In the UK, where I live, porn and prostitution are actually fairly prominent in feminist activism, whereas I’ve found it difficult to drum up support in feminist circles for solidarity with asylum seekers, for example (everyone is very sympathetic, but no one comes to the protests). So if I choose to focus my activism elsewhere, it’s not because I’m afraid of challenging sexual exploitation – actually, it’s that I’m focussing on sexual exploitation in a different context that tends to get ignored.

  115. 115

    Rosycroix said,

    I believe any person who values the feminist movement has to start somewhere; success is built on success, even if that is just a small step. Moreover, books are used as a basis for further research which can develop into new hypotheses, information and in some cases, new practices. Probably these actions such as writing about one’s values hold a meaning and are not only ‘fashion’. Btw, nice cartoon – with a meaning and measured criticism.


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