Our thoughts are with you all from up here in Auckland and wishing we could do more to help.
I just want to congratulate the PAS community for being there for each other. It's so hard to know what to say, but you guys know. Even when expressing anger, your togetherness shines through. I think that must be the best we can do.
Message received from David Haywood: "House destroyed but all alive."
Sorry for the colossal offence I've caused to pretty much everybody here, the offence caused me is piddling by comparison. I never meant to cause offence - I was hoping to cause constructive debate. But I knew I would cause offence by expressing a point of view not only different to Emma's but one that I would call more 'radical.' Radical feminists have always caused offence. Clearly I failed in generating constructive debate, though I thought at one point it was rather more constructive than it had been.
I have tried to respond to the multitude of questions and comments but as you have done in return I have been selective in responding to that which I consider most applicable and useful for the purposes of making the points that I thought needed making. Most of what I have written here has been ignored, much of it has been distorted. For example, my PhD (on justice for battered women), which took a major toll on me and I have lived to regret writing ever since and feel anything but arrogant pride in, much of the time - certainly right about now - was only mentioned to answer lemmings insult that I was all ideology no "actual ideas", whatever that is meant to mean. It was NOT meant to make every single other person feel that whatever they had written elsewhere on or off-line was less valuable and without 'actual ideas'. I don't know much about the blogosphere at all and shouldn't have brought it into this discussion. Sorry.
Megan I never called you a slut or accused you of waffling, saying I did is deeply upsetting to me. I've never met you and know very little about you. As far as waffling goes, I think you state your case on PA as succinctly as anyone.
I used to have the stomach for this kind of thing but I don't no more. Ironically that was why I turned to self-deprecating light humour. But, it would seem, once a radical feminist who wants to change the world but still hasn't the foggiest how to despite decades of huffing and puffing away, always a radical feminist. Fuck it all.
You won't be hearing from me again.
Women who succeed in science are mostly forced to become clones of the worst sexists and work harder at the damn science than any man. They are scorned if they wear anything other than the uniform of the female scientist, you know, sensible shoes and ugly glasses. I’ve been in scientific meetings where ideas were only worthwhile when they were repeated by a man. I HATE all that shit. It destroys incredibly talented valuable people. I drove myself into depression fighting against sexist pricks here, admittedly not just fighting over the sexism, but it was a part. But I still don’t call myself a feminist.
Bart, please call yourself a feminist. I will from now on (if that's all right by you). I wonder if you have had cause to post this kind of stuff before on PA or discuss it in any other public forum? This seems borderline illegal under current sex-discrimination law. With the amount of crap that's in the media about 'political correctness' having gone too far (against men), it would be very useful if this kind of thing were brought to light and debated - beyond the blogosphere. But it's useful here too, as depressing and emotional as it is.
Giovanni, I'm kind of wanting to say the same thing to you as it seems to me you realise the complexity of the issues better than most and are prepared to fess up to not having understood it all and still having "a lot of shit there" and realising that "you can't just wish it or reason it away." I appreciate your honesty and openness- even if you're disinclined to identify with the hard-core fems like me.
Jackie Clark: much much humbles to you my friend. I wish I could get there without all the rage but, alas, I cannot seem to.
Danielle: Cheers sister. I'll see your "total fucking bull-shit" and raise you a "sexist, ignorant cock-chop." Just came to me, sorry for the rude. I'm getting a bit worn down here. But I appreciate what feels like a whole lot of support (for the cause) coming from your corner, not to presume anything in the way of support for my personal views, of course.
To the person who accused me of making "deliberately provocative remarks" and then said that this was what "ideologues do a lot, rather than discussing actual ideas" - I made a note, but not of the name, was it perchance NZlemming? whomever. To that person I say my remarks were intended to 'provoke' a real debate on important feminist issues rather than the feminist-bashing that I felt had been the main thrust of the 'discussion' (very one-sided) to that point. Sadly the blogoshpere doesn't tend to allow for any kind of thorough explication of actual substantive ideas but elsewhere I have published about 100,000 words in a PhD thesis that does attempt some kind of amplification of my feminist politics and ideology in the form of actual ideas.
Part II: I'm just gonna continue ranting on here in general response to the debate up to the point of my comment posted at 4ish. Don't mean to ignore any in between - or before - but there are too many to respond directly to all of them.
I think the debate so far has kind of got sidetracked by a largely semantic question over the usefulness of the label feminist without much discussion of feminist politics. I notice few have responded directly to my comments but I take much of what has been said since Wham is a response to my first contention that those people who raise concerns about the sexual objectification of the female form through wet t-shit competitions, Baywatch, pornography - ETC - are furthering the feminist cause, even if they prefer to be identified as Martians, and those who hold these people up for ridicule rather than considered analysis, eg., "here's a real doozie" (Emma) are doing the cause - as defined above - a significant disservice, whether they call themselves feminists or not.
'Lifestyle feminist' is Greer's term poached here to describe people who call themselves feminists (when it suits?) but seem to focus their anger and 'politics' against, well, feminists, all the while advocating women's and girls' right to show plenty cleavage at the pub, lots of leg at high school, wet tits in t-shirts - for the purposes of a competition! and expecting no-one to be concerned.
Emma if it wasn't you who who said you entered a WTC and had lots of fun, my apologies. Megan? I haven't got the energy to go that far back in the thread. But I didn't assume fun was had, the person said they had fun. Which is fine, it's just - I'm sorry - not feminist, not by my way of thinking.
While concerns raised can be clumsy and interfering and offensive, I think the intention of the concern - to bring about awareness that hopefully leads to change in the prevailing models for female behaviour and appearance that are either heavily sexual or primly square (the Madonna/whore dichotomy) - should not be lost in our rush to condemn these concerns as presumptuous impositions on a women's right to autonomy in all things.
Autonomy and 'choice' unencumbered by any duties or substantive rights against discrimination is the neo-liberal thing, feminism is about freedom from oppression and that implies a fight against some kind of resistance and the power to wage that fight. Presently in NZ women have the right to wear as little as they want. Perhaps not entirely at school but the public school uniforms involve a LOT less material than the private school uniforms. The state doesn't tell girls, much less women, to cover up much - does it? In the west that particular fight - against religious prudery - is more or less won. The bigger battles lie elsewhere and are very far from won.
It is about knowing that a woman is the equal of a man in art, at work, and under the law, whether you say it out loud or not — but for God's sake start saying it out loud already. You are a feminist
Thanks for this link, Megan M. I'd take issue with the 'knowing' is enough to be considered a feminist and say speaking and acting - recommended at the end - is a big part of 'being a feminist'.
Feminism is a political movement where 'political' includes every damn emancipation and equality-engendering action in every conceivable place from the bed to the battlefield to the boardroom to the playground - couldn't think of a P word - and everything in between. Political implies a challenge to the status quo. It's hard to challenge just by 'knowing.'
And the other tricky thing about being a feminist is that inaction (words are action, of course) kind of implies consent with the way things are and that kind of disqualifies you from being able to claim to your friends - when it suits you - that you are a feminist. That said, the statement 'I am feminist' is an action and a good place to start - providing you mean it. Of course, given the pejorative connotations of the term 'feminist' I doubt we'll be bothered by too many false declarations.
For those who really(as opposed to conveniently) think a penis disqualifies them from said speaking and acting and identifying as a feminist, I feel the best thing to do would be to direct you to The Subjection of Women , the 1840 feminist treatise by arguably the most important feminist of the first wave, John Stuart Mill. If you prefer something more current I'd recommend Jock Phillips' A Man's Country?(1996), an excellent - and unique - feminist reflection on the history of the Pakeha male. Sadly not much feminism written by chaps before, between or since.
Feminism is a bit like the tango, it takes two - male and female, cock and twat. Defining feminist politics as a 'women's issue', is just one more way of trivialising and marginalising the issues to leave the chaps - and a few token women - to get on with the real business of politics, law, economics, war, sport, even entertainment FFS! How many TV programmes have a female host? Bugger all. How many have not only a male host but a panel of male commentators, judges, jokers, whatever, with a token female or two (if you're lucky)? Most of them.
If this kind of blatant discrimination doesn't piss you off and give you a clue as to the extent of the sexism involved in the Tamihere-type claim that 'feminism has gone too far', then, well, let's just say, you're not much of a feminist.
Thanks for that video Craig - she said, tears streaming down her soppy sentimental face, having watched it three times. Christ how I miss it some times.
And cheers Geoff. A film about my life you say? Well if others think that's a good idea, who am I to disagree ;)
Another dance film recommended to me is La Danse. It's a documentary about the Paris Opera Ballet and has subtitles - for those who don't speak French - but the NYTimes proclaims it "one of the finest dance films ever made." Not saying that much necessarily, given how few have been made. But I trust the recommendation and certainly intend to see it asap.
Sally, that’s a description of my own experience [of 'slut-shaming'], and my reaction to it. I don’t think you mean to say you’re unsure of it, surely?
Is this your "direct" question Emma? I can't see any other but this seems more of a rhetorical: Surely you don't question that women are 'slut-shamed' by other women, kind of comment. But as there are other questions being asked here about my views, it would seem further clarification is in order.
The shaming of women (their bodies, their brains, their souls) by men via the patriarchal institutions they have set up to organise, control and explain the world, is at least as old - and as harmful to a healthy equality between the sexes - as Adam and Eve. I am fairly sure about that.
However, the 'slut-shaming' of women by women that you have railed against in this, and various other posts, seems to be quite another matter. Megan describes this 'shaming' as "pernicious" and you shout your agreement by lavishly lampooning the women who raised concerns on Boganette about, among other things, wet T-shirt competitions and porn being inherently degrading to women and damaging to young girls in the way that it puts pressure on them to get their tits out and act the fool/flirt/sex kitten. My position is that I think they have a point, and I think it's a better point than yours: I took part in a WTC and had a lot of fun.
I did say earlier I had experienced shaming of the kind you describe whilst on the dance floor, though again it has been primarily men who have tried to shame me with their "disgust", actual word used by one who roared it in my face. Certain women have turned their heads away and avoided bumping into me in the supermarket ever more. But others have heaped praise, which is fine. But like you (I think) I'm not out there doing my wild thing to earn praise, much less to be hit on, and I don't much like the reduction of what I consider to be my self-expression and art to dirty flirting.
But in terms of the present discussion I would draw a rather thick line between participating in a wet T-shirt competition and dancing as though no-one is watching you - a million miles from any damn pole. One is a cheap and tacky stunt that will turn some men on whether the participant intends to or not, the other is an act of freedom and self-expression that is more likely to intimidate men than turn them on.
Emma, if you are tired of the endless argument that comes back to the same place I can assure you that those, like Greer, and little old me - to a much lesser extent, no doubt - who have devoted a good part of their lives to exposing and challenging the patriarchal shaming of Eve (E-T-C!), are so much more tired of the feminist-bashing that goes on and on and on in every sphere of life and contributes directly to the ongoing trivialisation of the F-word as man-hating dogma. It is this shaming that worries me much more than any other as it masks while it maintains the oppression and objectification of women.
Displaced older dancer Beth (Wynona Ryder) begs to differ - just before she throws herself in front of a cab as highly strung ballerinas gone the way of expired yoghurt are prone to do.
My next move. How did you guess???
anyone who has the time and energy to read Jennifer Homans' weighty but fascinating Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet
Might I suggest as well Gelsey Kirkland's autobiographical Dancing on my Grave which is not unlike Black Swan in its depiction of Kirkland's own descent into drug abuse and 'madness' as her career faded, having been worshipped as one of the most brilliant ballet dancers of her time. A film of her life would be worth making and probably have more resonance and less gratuity than BS.
For the record - before I contemplate my own grim options - I enjoyed the film overall but felt the lesbian porn fantasy scene was thrown in for the chaps and also as a clumsy attempt to say, if you need to have - and enjoy - sex, preferably lots of it, to get in touch with the role of the devious Black Swan, it doesn't necessarily have to be sex with a bloke. Indeed you can let your imagination - and fingers - do the work, which is what we're supposed to believe was Nina's approach, with a bit of drug and booze inducement thrown into the bargain. The assumption that sex is the gateway to female development and fulfilment as artists, or simply as females, is deeply dubious - obviously. I enjoyed the film in spite of this and laughed quite a bit (to myself) when the chap in charge advised Nina to masturbate to get into the role; a) because it was funny and b) because the exact thing was suggested to me - in not too dissimilar circumstances.
I basically have the long-term memory of a mayfly. It’s quite fun to try and imagine what on earth I was going on about a year ago… I wonder if the search function will help?
Danielle, up thread Emma provided a link to her earlier post a year ago: "Does my mortgage look like a slag in this?" as a PA precursor to the debate here on 'slut-shaming'. There, you made an eloquent comment on women's right not to be made to feel frightened. I agree wholeheartedly. However, what I believe is an ongoing debate is the complicated question of how to achieve this worthy end. I think Greer has some interesting things to say on the matter.