Sunday, April 15, 2007

Wherein the Blogger Notices a Theme

As it happens, I have gotten into several -- intermittently heated -- discussions with a peer this week over what he calls the "slow food," and "home spun," movements, and I call the "cult of domesticity."* Now, when I say "intermittently heated" I mean that I got pissed a few times. We were doing that thing where we say the same things 53 times, in slightly different ways each time, and we each only say one thing. And then we gave up and pretended it was because we had reached consensus, when no such thing had occurred.

Conversations that go that way are maddening in the extreme, but ever so easy to pare down for blogular purposes.

He said: These are interesting ways to reintroduce art to life and break with the cycle of consumption/corporate ickiness.
She said: Why is it only traditionally Mama activities that have to suddenly be a giant, labor-intensive pain in the ass? Maybe we have to consider fixing families first, or, failing that, that there are other ways to fight the corporations.
He said: This isn't a right-wing movement, so it can't be anti-woman. I feel like you're leaving us with more consumption, and not wanting to fight the corporations.
She said: Maybe we have to fight the corporations in a different way, one that takes into account that men don't statistically pull their weight at home now, when everything is microwaveable. Maybe we should start the fight at the 60-80 hour workweek. And left-wing can still be anti-woman, or just "What women?"

And that's where we got stuck. Because he kept telling me that it wasn't a right-wing thing, and I kept telling him that it could still be anti-woman by accident or even design and be a left-wing thing. That there was nothing inherently pro-woman about left-leaning politics. In fact, evidence has tended to support the theory that left-wing men are fairly frequently completely bloody worthless where fighting for women's rights is concerned.

In a weird performance of the exact issue I was telling him about, he kept centering on "the important business" of fighting corporations. And in order to do that, he was neglecting to see how this fight, fought in this way, might -- almost certainly WOULD -- negatively affect women individually and as a group and actually end up giving the social right-wing what it wants even as it takes something from the business right-wing. But the something that would be given to the social right-wing would come exclusively out of the hides of the womenfolk, so that's not 'important.' The answer was always: it isn't right-wing.

And then I released the Kraken at a committee meeting because the men there were shouting women members down so they could have their three-way pissing contest -- ostensibly about an issue that affected women almost exclusively.

And then I turn to the blogosphere for respite. Because I'm silly.

And I got to see the whole "Markos is still a jackass w/r/t women, film at 11" thing at Pandagon. And, sure enough, there was Markos, being a jackass right out in public. And, of course, his fellow left-wing men and women joined in a lovely misogyny cluster in comments, and they got very upset when the feminist blogosphere noticed. 'Cause, how dare mere, one-issue bloggers disagree with an A-list blogger?! They should obey in silence, especially since they're all cootified girls and stuff. (Hey, Critical Thinkers! C'mere a sec. If women could trust left wing men not to do what Markos JUST DID IN PRINT RIGHT THERE AT HIS SITE, YOU DOLTS, perhaps more women would be willing to be team players. Because when the only person who ever has to take one for the team is you, and it happens all the time, you start to think, "maybe this isn't the team for me.") Because, God knows the democratic party doesn't need women's votes to win elections.

Then, I went to Feministe, where Jill was very nicely asking fellow members of the left not to join on the "bash the Duke accuser" bandwagon. And, she said this:

Even if you believe that the attacks on this individual woman are warranted, consider the effects that they will have on rape survivors. Consider what rape survivors feel every time they hear her called a liar. Consider what women will internalize about rape from this incident. Consider how that will effect them in the future — how it will effect their own reporting, or their belief that their friend, their daughter, their mother is telling the truth.

And, after I re-read just in case Jill had put some snark somewhere that I missed, the theme was clear. These guys, left and right alike, ARE considering what their words and actions in these cases do to women. Especially the silencing effect they have on women who've been assaulted or even just threatened in a plausible way. That's why they do those things. Now, not all of them think very baldly, "This'll shut those bitches up." They may rationalize it differently. But, that's the effect they're looking for and getting; Silence the women.

When I saw the face of the Fox anchor who put the name and photo of the accuser up onscreen with the phrase "the Duke Liar" under it, I swear I could hear the underlying "Now I'm gonna hafta show you what we do with trouble-making bitches around here." It was absolutely vengeance and hatred filled, and it was absolutely meant to be a public show for women who need to learn their places and lessons well. Just like the DJ who released the name of the Kobe Bryant accuser, and the bastards who released the name of the OC accuser -- this was motivated by hatred of women. And its design is to shut women up.

And then, back at Pandagon, Chris Clarke got all Chris Clarkey and suddenly some of the left wing men got it. But there were still those on the loooooong thread there and at dKos who came in to say "We don't think it's fair that not everything is about what we want to talk about. And American women are stupid. Especially when they don't speak Japanese. And where do you get off using bad words and telling us to shut up when we're men, and we have important thoughts. We can't possibly learn anything from women, that'd be dumb. Maybe they should shut up." And the circle is complete.

And now I shall return to reading the Play of Noah, because there are fewer troublesome depictions of women in medieval literature than there are in life and on the internet today.

*As I often do, I will be subjecting the reader to a personal short story/anecdote before meandering over to my somewhat-related point. I'd advise you to send all complaints regarding this format to my Freshman Comp. professor, but that wouldn't really be fair; she made a valiant effort to get me to stop that years ago. Me, I encourage the attachment of short stories to almost any written work, as long as the story doesn't 1) make it weird for me to look at my student, or 2) require me to call some sort of mental health and/or law enforcement professionals to my class.

Hey, I just totally subjected you to a Bonus Anecdote via footnote!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Jill Filipovic

I saw this post some time ago at Ancrene Wiseass, and I meant to support Jill here, but didn't. Time passes quickly in the blogosphere, you see, and by the time I got around to posting the topic seemed untopical. The top search engine returns for Jill Filipovich were writings by Jill Filipovich already.

Sadly, Jill's recent post asking people from the left and right both to consider what effect the decision made by Fox and Smoking Gun to reveal the accusers face and home information would have on rape survivors, or women in general, has revived the AutoAdmit thugs. Said thugs have climbed out from the ooze to post their support for Jill's hypothetical rape and murder, because she thinks women ought not to be threatened with rape and murder, and such a position is untenable. They're solid citizens over at AutoAdmit.

I intend to write a fuller response to Jill's thoughts soon, but for now I give you tigtog's work, copied in full.

Mirroring the post made by tigtog:

This is a crosspost to effect a Googlebomb, correcting an injustice against a fellow feminist blogger.

Jill Filipovic, who blogs at Feministe and Ms. JD, is a NYU law student who has been the subject of cyber-obsession on a discussion board allegedly populated by law students. The discussions regarding Jill Filipovic (and many other female law students) are sexist and sexual in nature, rating the women’s physical attractiveness and fantasising about sexual contact, both consensual and non-consensual. Neither Jill Filipovic or any other of these women contributed, or gave their permission to be discussed, to the discussion board in question.

Jill Filopovic‘s name and class routines etc have been regularly posted to this board, and at least one of the pseudonymous board-members claims to be Jill Filipovic‘s classmate. Photos that Jill Filipovic posted (with full rights reserved) to an internet photo-storing and sharing site have also been posted to the sleazy discussion board without her permission. This is a horrendous invasion of Jill Filipovic‘s privacy, a violation of copyright law, and calls the ethics and character of the alleged law-students participating in these discussions on the discussion board into question.

A major side-effect of an already nasty situation is that the sexist, objectifying cyber-obsession threads come up on the first page of internet search results on Jill Filipovic‘s name. To an inexperienced user of the internet, it may even look as if Jill Filipovic and other female law students chose to compete in these Hot or Not rating competitions, instead of having their pictures posted without permission.

This post is an attempt to balance those internet results to point to the significant writings of Jill Filipovic instead, using the Googlebomb tactic and also linking this post to social networking sites (eg. del.ici.ous, Stumbleupon). Please feel free to copy any or all of what I’ve written here to your own blog in order to help change the top-ranked search engine results for Jill Filipovic. If you don’t have your own blog then please at least link to one of Jill’s posts listed below at your preferred social networking site and give it the tag ”Filipovic” (as well as any others you think appropriate).

I have linked to these sites in this post:
Jill Filipovic‘s bio page at Feministe
Jill Filipovic‘s blog posts at the Ms. JD blog
Jill Filipovic‘s article about these scummy lawschool sleazebags at Feministe
Jill Filipovic‘s article at Ms. JD: When Law Students Attack

If any of the other female law students stalked by the same sleazy site wish to copy this text with names altered, you hereby have my full permission to do so. All other rights reserved. (C) 2007 tigtog

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Administrative Stuff, and Other Stuff.

Blogroll Changes:

[Updated in order to correct the impression that Marie Borroff is a blogger. Though I could totally see that happening.]

Some People decided to move their blog homes, and Other People decided to come back from a faked death and an island vacation to Bora-Bora, so I had some blogrolling adjustments to make. Also, I didn't particularly like the "They Wonked" category on the sidebar separating some blogs from other blogs, as if I were making value judgments about the blogs. I was in fact making value judgments about the blogs on my blogroll, but the impression the bullets gave was that I thought a Law-professing dude and trumps Medieval and Renaissance History and Literature professing women. That simply isn't so. I'm sure John Balkin is a swell guy and a terrific dinner companion, but he's no Marie Borroff Eileen Joy.

Speaking of Academic Celebrities:

A colleague of mine was at a mini-conference recently wherein he briefly met super-famous Academic B. Super Famous Academic B is distinguished from the Academic Stah of "Speaking at Microburg, what do I do?" fame in that Super Famous Academic B actually has original, paradigm-shattering ideas of her very own that make sense. I still hate them both, but I don't consider SFAB's salary and speaking fees to be theft, as I do AS's income.

Anyway, SFAB was really rude and dismissive of my colleague who, bless his heart, is a giant kiss-ass. Look, don't get me wrong. I like him. I think he's a genuinely smart, affable, well-informed, and nice guy. But I have also seen him kiss up to 6 asses in one grammatically correct sentence without even using a group noun. And this person, out of arrogance, or exhaustion at being pestered by grad students, or whatever, just blew colleague right off. She didn't even bother pretending she wasn't blowing him off, either. Which shocked colleague, 'cause he's good at what he does.

And I pretended it shocked and appalled me too, because I wanted to be supportive of a person who looked so wounded. But, I'll tell ya what. Even as I feigned a credible gasp, up from the dark and twisted caverns of my soul came creeping a wicked laugh. This was a win-win for me, really. Someone FINALLY said to colleague, in her own special way, that being an attractive, well-dressed and affable young man who sighs all three syllables of "professor" with the perfect mix of aroused intellect and endearing, childlike awe doesn't necessarily mean people will bend over backwards to help you from the moment they meet you. And, BONUS! Super Famous Academic B, from whom I sensed major falsehood in her down with hierarchy writings, was openly nasty to an underling just because she could be.

Let's be clear, I hate hierarchies too, and some day after the end of May we'll talk about what I think about Professors who insist that graduate students call them Professor or Doctor up until the day they're hooded, all the while addressing the students by first name. (Here's a hint: Know what I call my medical doctor? Stan, that's what!) And, honestly, I agree with Super Famous Academic B's thoughts. But I know, in the way that you know these things, that she's full of shit. She expresses herself very well, and people find her ideas radical and sexy, and they cite her articles effing endlessly, but there's the distinct aroma of horseshit there. Kinda like how you just know that certain male 'feminist' academics would always ask the female grad students to handle cooking/set-up/and cleaning for department events, because the men were 'so busy with their academic work.'

But this isn't to say that I am happy that a famous academic is faking her radical beliefs. I wish she really did believe what she wrote. But one likes to know the radar still works, ya know?

P.S. There are male academic stars I hate, too. But you know who they are without my havin to tell you, most likely. If you're reading this blog and agreeing with me often, you probably hate them too. And if you read this blog for someone to disagree with, just imagine all the male academics you think are wonderful.