The Magic of Cooters

It’s hard work running around with a body part so amazing that merely by having one, I become so magical and powerful that I can make men do whatever I want (except maybe mine’s broken, because damn if I have anyone offering to scrub my tub and I really want someone else but me to do that), but, over the course of thirty some odd years, I’m getting used to it–that constant job of keeping folks I want in it in it and folks I want out of it out of it, so attracted are they to its magnificence and so much do they desire to control its power for themselves.

And, like any good flower of the patriarchy, I try to spend at least three hours a day laying on my back, feet on the floor, knees up, slowly opening and closing my legs, to help create a sensual atmosphere perfumed by the pleasant odor of said body part.

“Behave, men,” I say to myself as I bring my knees together.

“Treat each other and us women with kindness,” I repeat as I spread them apart.

“Don’t run around doing whatever you want to people without any consideration for their feelings,” and slowly open.

“Do remember the golden rule,” closed.

“You are so big and strong and handsome and anybody would be lucky to have you,” slowly, slowly open.

“But it’s important to also be considerate and get consent,” slowly close.

And so on.

Shoot, when you get a dozen or so of us cootered-Americans all doing that at once, we can change a whole neighborhood for the better.  That used to be exactly what was going on in Yoga studios, but since y’all have decided that yoga isn’t just for girls, we actually have to do the stretches and poses.  Now we do our vagina wafting at yarn stores, because we know y’all are rarely coming in there.

My point is that I get that cooters are responsible for keeping men from doing awful shitty things to each other.  If not for the regular exposure to wafting cooter odors, men would become mad animals running around savagely brutalizing each other until the whole human race descended into madness… er… further into madness.

Or, at least, that’s what I’ve come to understand from reading Bill Hobbs, spokesman for the TNGOP.

Today he’s upset that Harvard has restricted access to some of its gyms at certain times so that Muslim women (and, I assume other women) can work out and not be in the presence of men.  And he likens it to if Harvard had declared certain times at certain gyms straight men only.  This is stupid just on its surface.  We make all kinds of religious accommodations for people all the time.  And we make all kinds of gender accommodations for folks all the time.

But Katie Granju brings up something that got me thinking:

Are some straight men actually that uncomfortable with working out at the same time in the same place with gay men?

And, frankly, I think the answer is yes. My hypothesis is that there are some guys who are only reigning in supremely assholish behavior because there are just certain ways that men don’t behave around women. (Except that they do, but what can I tell you?  It’s a working hypothesis.)  They behave because they want access to that wonderfully, magical cooter.

And I don’t think they can imagine what keeps men who aren’t motivated by wanting continued access to cooter in line.

It’s easy to see, from a feminist perspective, how this sucks for us women–it puts us in the position of being mother (I tell you what you can and can’t do, you bad little boy) and whore (I’ll let you fuck me) at the same time.

But it’s also, once you look at it, easy to see then why these dudes are so homophobic.  They believe men to be monsters, monsters who, if not corralled by the magical cooter, would be terrorizing other dudes.  So, even though gay men rarely rape straight men, straight men who believe that men are monsters, are, of course, afraid of gay men–what’s keeping them from acting more monstrously than the straight men already perceive them to be acting?

It shows a terribly low opinion of men in general.

Oops.  I’ve got to work in some wafting here while I’m at lunch.  So, that’s the end of that.

72 thoughts on “The Magic of Cooters

  1. I’ve read this twice, and still don’t get your point…

    Somewhere, i hope, is the most important point about Hobbs again exhibiting his hatred of Muslims.

  2. B, here’s an article on this by one who is Muslim, who thinks this is a big mistake, and here are some of his reasons.

    “I oppose this measure to the extent that it engages in religious favoritism, because the intention of the rule is to benefit Muslim women.

    If the university had simply said that the gym was closed in those hours to accommodate “women that do not feel comfortable working out in front of men” — that would be OK. This new classification would include women who might have been raped, assaulted, molested, or had other emotional issues that made it difficult for them to work out in male dominated spaces.”


    “If you really want to play this absurdist Islamic Law game further, then you have to ask about Lesbians. In most readings of Islamic Law it would be forbidden — haram — impermissible — unacceptable in toto — for a Muslim woman to take her clothes off in front of a known lesbian. But, do you think my good sisters are Harvard are banning known Lesbians, though?”c

    The same logic that Harvard used to ban men would also ban lesbians.

    And seriously, had a bunch of really conservative Christians asked and received this benefit, would you be for or against Harvard’s move.?

  3. Maybe I’m dense, but from that blog post, didn’t it look like the Muslim women did exactly what the Muslim guy said he wanted them to do? They had a religious problem–they can’t work out in front of men–they worked through secular means–they approached the Women’s Center–in order to work it so they could make accommodations for all women that benefited all women, but also met their religious needs. It seems like the media is making a big deal out of it being Muslim women demanding religious accommodations, but it seems like it’s Muslim women, working with a larger women’s group, to get gender accommodations.

    And, even if Harvard does make some religious accommodations to Muslims, why is that such a big deal? I see from their calendar

    that their winter break is designed to give kids Christmas off. They’ve arranged their whole calendar to accommodate the religious needs of Christians. Should they stop that?

  4. Its not the only gym there, lee. Harvard could, and therefor, did, accomodate it’s Muslim students. They have multiple gyms, and the article clearly stated, (which neither you nor Hobbs mentioned) that (it) was the least used gym on campus.

  5. What if they did? How could Harvard deny them with the precedent they just set?

    The whole point is that these women asked for their separate work out areas, and were granted them, based upon their status as Muslims.

    Not as women in general, but as Muslims forbidden to be immodest before those who may think sexually impure thoughts of them. That includes Lesbians.

  6. So, should Lesbians be banned?

    I’m inclined to say yes just to laugh at attempts to enforce such a policy.

    “Sorry, you’re not allowed in, you’re sporting flannel and a mullet.”

  7. So, should Lesbians be banned?

    I’m inclined to say yes just to laugh at attempts to enforce such a policy.

    “Sorry, you’re not allowed in, you’re sporting flannel and a mullet.”

  8. Harvard could just say “No.”

    I think we’re making a distinction in two different places. They asked for a separate work out time because they were Muslim women, but they–and all other women–received a separate workout time that all women who don’t want to exercise with men might use.

    As for lesbians, I think this is yet another case where you dudes with your patriarchy have backed yourselves into a corner. There’s nothing in the Koran that talks about women having sex with women. When y’all set down your patriarchal religious books, for better or for worse, you were concerned with women’s morality as it applies to whether or not you can be certain your heirs are your heirs, and not with women’s sexual behaviors with ourselves.

    Women who want to have sex with other women might squick you out, but there’s simply no religious prohibition against it unless you completely ignore that the rules set down in Leviticus and in the Koran about what are moral acts for women have to do with making sure we only have the children of our spouses (or potential spouses).

  9. Do you mean the same patriarchy that leads these women to believe that it is immodest for them to exercise before men?

  10. Its not the only gym there, lee. Harvard could, and therefor, did, accomodate it’s Muslim students. They have multiple gyms,

    So you’re in favor of a “seperate, but equal” doctrine, Mack?

    I think the Supreme Court shot that one down.

  11. Jon, we forgive you.

    Lee, that would be the one.

    Exador, does this mean you use women’s restrooms when you’re out and about?

  12. Perhaps this is the beginning of a pendulum swing back to a more modest era when men and women simply did not exercise in the same space at the same time. I applaud the group who stepped forward to express their discomfort in exercising in a coed setting. There is an element of bravery to that effort that other women (and men) should embrace.

  13. Not at all. If I had my way, I’d be peeing along side you in the same bathrooms. Do I think it’s stupid that women want to be able to exercise in separate facilities from men? Kind of. On the one hand, I get it. On the other hand, yeah, I think folks need to get over themselves.

    However, I am in the vast minority of people who want to be able to piss in an open pot, regardless of where it’s open and walk on an open treadmill regardless of where it’s open. Fine.

    AND here’s the other thing. As much as I believe that, kumbaya, we are all in this thing together, I think it would be utter bullshit for me, as a woman, to tell other women that they can’t have this thing they want because it runs counter to my goals, especially when them getting what they want doesn’t harm me and helps them.

    Especially because I want women to feel empowered to ask for what they want in the world and to know that there’s a good chance that they’ll get it. I want women to feel like they can go to the gym if they want to–because, let’s be honest, this isn’t these women having to choose between going to the gym when men are there or making some time for there to be women only. This is about them finding some women -only time or not being able to go to the gym at all.

    They want to go to the gym.

    I applaud them, as a feminist, for finding a way to get to do that.

    Even if it’s not my way or not what I want to be able to do in the world.

  14. Some of the gyms in this area have female only areas. There are commercial gym concepts built on being women only (eg. Curves). This is not a new phenomenon. I really don’t see what the big deal is except that someone wants to push the religion angle too hard.

  15. The big deal is that these institutions take a significant amount of taxpayer money.
    Now, personally, I’m of the opinion that a private institution can discriminate all they want, but if you want the federal money, you can’t take someones’ tax money and then say they aren’t allowed access.
    Funny how the feminists get their burlap granny panties in a wad over a private golf course, but have no problem with discrimination when it’s in their favor.

    As hypocritical as all the other oppressed groups that love to be the new boss, same as the old boss.

  16. Harvard has a 35 billion dollar private endowment. They receive about .01% of that sum every year in federal funding, just to explain what Exador’s claims to be “significant.” What sounds like a lot of money to you or me is a drop in the bucket to an institution with that much cash laying around.

  17. Oh, and before Exador asks, federal funding constitutes about 13% of their total operating budget, with the bulk of that money going to fund research grants in their med school and hard sciences. Harvard is one of the LEAST dependent schools on fed aid in the country (see also, obscenely large private endowment).

  18. it should be a non-story but Hobbs’ and others’ responses are just another example of what happens when people equivocate on the word “discrimination” and ignore that most arguments against acts of discrimination involve context and explanations of how differences are relevant to that context and are not arguments against making distinctions altogether.

  19. This is not to the good. Here in the UK, it started with the gyms and the swimming pools and it’s extended to the libraries (seriously) and folks are talking about gender segregated public transport, too. In the UK, there’s often parity with men’s swimming on one day and women and children’s swimming on another day.

    It inconveniences men, women and women and men who want to be in the same space.

    There’s nothing immodest about working out – and if you think there is, then you should know there are some nice sport hijab.

    Mostly, though, this inconveniences Muslim women who are cool to work out with men, but now will have pressure put on them to ride at the back of the bus and work out only at times when the “patriarchy” says it’s ok.

  20. Yes, but when in the history of the United States have we ever seen a group come into this country and succeed in making it more oppressive?

    Never. What happens is that the first generation tries to keep its ways. The second generation tries to adopt “American” ways while still appeasing their parents. And the third generation sits around and bitches about how their parents never taught them anything about “their” culture.

    That’s the context in which I see this–second generation kids trying to figure out how to adopt American ways while still appeasing their parents.

    Plus, I’m sorry. I have to deal every day with the menace of good Christians imposing their ideals on me in everything from what I can do with my body to what I can put in it to what days I do and don’t haul it to work. And I have to deal with using the bathroom with the little figure wearing a triangle, even if there’s a line thirty women deep, while the men stream easily in and out of theirs.

    I don’t see why, when we do it, it’s okay, but when Muslims do it we’re all supposed to get up in arms.

  21. Because while there are many Muslims that do want to assimilate, there are those within that community that don’t. And by not assimilating, that includes, among other things, forced marriages, which is becoming a big problem in the UK, and honor killings, which are as well.

  22. Mack, did you even click on the link, or are you just in a lazy liberal auto-pilot mode right now.

    It is a serious problem in the UK right now. And I don’t consider the BBC right wing propaganda if you know what I mean.

  23. “Honor killings” are a big problem wherever they happen. So is domestic violence of any kind. We certainly don’t need Muslims to come here and show us how to abuse and murder our women-folk.

  24. My bad. I responded improperly. The implication that “honor killing” is a Muslim phenomenon is incorrect, and I should have specified that, as well. “Honor killings” are a cultural, not a religious phenomenon. I doubt that most Muslims in Western countries accept the practice any more than most non-Muslims in the West accept spousal abuse.

    Also from the BBC:

    None of the world’s major religions condone honour-related crimes. But those who are guilty have sometimes tried to justify their actions on religious grounds.

    “Honour crime happens across the board in the Asian community,” insists Mr Gidoomal. “People try to blame Muslim, Hindus or Sikhs but it tends to happen in families where there are the strongest ties and expectations. It’s a very strong cultural issue.”

    Leaders of the world’s faiths have also strongly denied a connection between religion and honour killings.

    In 2003, Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) told the BBC: “Many Muslims are uncomfortable about how Islam has been dragged into this, because Islam categorically does not allow people to kill their own daughter.”

  25. Of course domestic abuse is bad. News Flash: We do not live in utopia. Thanks for making that point.

    But back to the subject, yes, it is not a Muslim thing, but a cultural thing (Pakistani, Arab, Persian, etc.). Of course Islam happens to be the major religion of all these cultures as well, and completely tied up in their cultures makeup.

    I mean, if it were a Van Diagram, there’d be a lot of overlap among the circles.

  26. But back to the subject, yes, it is not a Muslim thing, but a cultural thing (Pakistani, Arab, Persian, etc.). Of course Islam happens to be the major religion of all these cultures as well, and completely tied up in their cultures makeup.

    Did you leave out India (the world’s second most populous nation) and Hinduism (the world’s third largest religion) because you forgot they exist, or because they didn’t fit your argument?

    As much as you want to dismiss the point as “anti-Americanism”, the facts speak for themselves: there is plenty of violence toward women right here, and much of it is perpetrated by intimate partners. The leading cause of death for pregnant women in the U.S.? Murder. Is that a Christian phenomenon, or a cultural phenomenon? What’s the overlap on that?

    I have an idea, Lee. Instead of beating around the bush with tissue-thin arguments, why not just take a deep breath, come out and admit it:
    I don’t like Muslims. Muslims scare me.
    See, was that so hard?

  27. I would like Aunt B to write a short story, set in a yoga studio, in which women who waft the humours from their cooters are forced by the rising popularity of yoga among men to take a break from this social work on the world’s behalf, with the inevitable consequences, until these selfless women can regroup in a knitting store. I’d pay to read that.

    Also: on the quesiton of accommodation of those Muslim women who wish a separate place for exercise. I’m on the Aunt B. side. Here is a case of women who have asked for an accommodation getting it in such a way that all women who might wish to have this option can also share it, and no woman who wishes to continue excercising in a mixed group must stop.
    This issue seems much like the wearing of the veil to me: the issue is choice. There are many women who believe a veil is not necessary. There are some who believe it is. There are some women who believe they shouldn’t exercise in front of men; there are some who wear exercise hijab; there are some who don’t see it as an issue. If men tell women they must exercise only in segragated spaces (or must wear the veil), then it’s not ok because it’s no longer women’s choice or women speaking on their own behalf for a policy they would like implemented. If men begin to pressure women only to exercise in segregated spaces, or to wear the veil, it’s not ok (and I must say I find it difficult to imagine that women who go to Harvard are easily intimidated, although I grant that possibility). It seems to me that the problem then is the pressure, not the accommodation. Women who do want this accommodation should not be told they can’t have it because that might lead to men pressuring other women, because then you have a situation in which possible intimidation becomes actual prohibition of another kind!
    I will say that when we are talking about states instituting two systems of law, which usually means family law (sharia), then I draw the line.

  28. Prof, I understand what you are saying. But I see what is going on in the UK (as Vol Abroad mentioned above) including the implementation of sharia law threatetning to gain mainstream acceptance even by the Archbishop of Cantebury of all people, and I fear, that this particular incident of Harvard is a wedge, slipping in so that, wider and wider, more and more “special accomodations” are being made so a generation or so from now the US finds itself in the situation that the UK finds itself today.

    And BTW: Calling the people who express this concern racist is the easy way out, and will only be counter productive, although it may give the person making the charge a cheap thrill of morally superiority.

  29. Do you even examine your own evidence, Lee, or do you just see “Muslim” and shit your pants? From the article to which you linked:

    “There’s a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law, as we already do with some other aspects of religious law.”

    (emphasis mine)

    Jeez, dude, the Archbishop isn’t calling for the House of Lords to be replaced by the House of Saud. He is a very smart man who understands that things like culture, law, and faith aren’t chiseled into stone, and that the interplay between them is in a constant state of flux and evolution. The English– having been an empire for a pretty long time– aren’t dealing with anything new, and they have the resilience to handle the changes. I ain’t losing sleep over my British friends. Sharia law in England probably won’t look much like Sharia law under the Taliban.

    And here in the U.S. we have a lot more to fear from right-wing so-called Christians than we do from Muslims. The separation of church and state was built into our constitution to protect us from falling into any kind of theocracy. Last I checked, it wasn’t our Muslim citizens and residents who were trying to destroy that barrier, or who keep trying to get our constitution changed to fit their world view.

    So do you still want to pick on the Muslims? And, just for the record, Lee, I didn’t call you a racist or even imply that you are. I’m suggesting that you are a bigot. There’s a difference.

  30. I’m suggesting that you are a bigot. There’s a difference.

    Oh, that’s a relief. For a second there, I thought you were resorting to ad hominem.

    And I did examine the evidence, because I know that the Archbishop was referring to the remnants of Orthodox Jewish courts that still linger on today as a relic of the Jewish ghetto of medievel times, and are slowly phasing out.

    As opposed to trying to create a brand new one where it is not needed.

    “…or do you just see “Muslim” and shit your pants?”

    But thanks for keeping this thread classy, CS.

  31. Personally, I’d like to see all this religious oppression done away with. (I believe I’ve been clear on the whole no-beer-on-Sunday thing).

    Hey bridget, how much federal funding did the Masters’ Tournament receive? I think about $0.00

    Mack, so a LITTLE discrimination is ok. Besides, it’ll work itself out over time. I believe that was a common argument about slavery in the US. It was working itself out too. So there was really no reason for the civil war. Those slaves just needed to be patient. (CS, feel free to chime in at any time)

  32. Sharia law in England probably won’t look much like Sharia law under the Taliban.

    WOW! That’s all I have to say about that. Is that enough for the British to not bother with it? Would you sleep ok if England was replaced by US?

    Before you answer, think back to that “First they came for the Jews..” quote from WW2.

  33. The Titanic was classy; it sank, too. The underlying theme of your arguments (such as they are) is that there is something to fear from the cultural influence of Muslim immigrants. Yet you support your theme by stating and implying things for which there is no evidence, and you exaggerate and mischaracterize what little evidence you offer. Remember, this thread flows from a post about a non-story that was seized upon by a professional bigot and turned into yet another sky-is-falling production number. So either you are a fellow bigot or you’re auditioning for Hobbs’s job. Either way, you are wrong.

  34. Damn, Exador, I thought Lee had the Chicken Little Award wrapped up, and you go and compare Muslim immigrants to Nazis. Does it occur to you two that nothing– religion, law, culture included– exists in a vacuum? Does it seem possible to you that many Muslims emigrate to the West because they don’t want to live in the harsh, extremist cultural context in which Islam is sometimes interpreted in their lands of origin? So a few cranks come with them; so what? As I’ve stressed before, and none of you seem to bother to refute, we’ve got more than a few reactionary religious extremists here already, and we always have to remain vigilant about keeping them from transforming our government into a theocracy. It’s nothing new, and it’s nothing to lose sleep over. Just democracy for grownups, is all.

    So what I want to know is, why are you two guys filling your diapers over Muslims?

  35. B, you are always right, and I should jsut shut up, and admit that you are the smartest girl in the world.

    Do I get a cookie?


    Seriously, that’s cool, I’m done.

  36. Exador, sure as shit the Masters is federally financed. Corporations get about $5.2 million of tax write-offs annually by taking junkets, holding parties, and gladhanding at the Masters — that’s why they go to the Masters, as no one but a complete nut would pay up to $5k to watch golf if there wasn’t some write-offs involved. They also get to take deductions for underwriting the broadcast itself — and face it, if it wasn’t broadcast, who outside true golf fanatics would care about it? The airwaves on which they broadcast are federally owned. Then there are the overbuilt roads going into and out of that jumped-up one-horse town that our tax dollars paid for. Augusta itself gets both federal and state monies to promote the Masters; the tournament benefits from this publicity.

    So without federal funding, they would have much smaller crowds

  37. Aunt B,

    My boyfriend in New York has never heard of the “cooter” terminology. He thought it was the guy on Dukes of Hazzard. Hard to believe, even though he isn’t from the South.

  38. Now, personally, I’m of the opinion that a private institution can discriminate all they want, but if you want the federal money, you can’t take someones’ tax money and then say they aren’t allowed access.

    The Boy Scouts anyone?

  39. You equate the roads to direct federal grants?!

    Thanks for the laugh.

    By your definition EVERYTHING is owned by the federal government. While I’m sure that’s a pipedream of yours, it isn’t the same thing.

  40. Sorry, dolphin, but the SCOTUS disagreed with you on that point in 2000.

    Kinda my point. The SCOTUS disagreed with you and me both. According to the SCOTUS it’s completely acceptable for private organizations to discriminate AND accept federal funds. In other words, you CAN “take someones’ [sic] tax money and then say they aren’t allowed access.”

    On the other hand, in 2006 (Rumsfeld vs FAIR), the SCOTUS decided that the government can force you TO discriminate in order to receive federal funds. Strange world we live in when the official rule of law says that you cannot be forced to not discriminate, but you can be forced to discriminate.

  41. But the reason that SCOTUS went that way is because the BSA don’t take direct federal funds. Now, you could argue that things like allowing them to hold meetings in a public school is the same as taking local funds, but that’s not federal. And you’re getting into bridgett’s little fantasy land that all monies are federally owned.

    As for BSA’s “federal charter”, that’s nothing more than a copyright protection, also, the charter spelled out that the BSA was “recognized” by the US government, whatever that means.

  42. But the reason that SCOTUS went that way is because the BSA don’t take direct federal funds.

    Last I checked the Pentagon (which offers the BSA $7 million per Boy Scout Jamboree) was part of the federal government.

  43. Dolphin, don’t say I never gave ya’ nothin’.

    /breaks own heart to turn on libertarian brethren, but personally thinks that federal funding of the bsa is anti-libertarian anyfreakin’way.

  44. Jeez you guys…
    Every time you type “SCOTUS,” my mind sees it as “SCROTUM.”

    B, I think there is plenty of room in the comments of your blog to allow only us gals commenting space for 6 hours a week.

    ‘Cause… ya know… B hosts the best 6 hours of pure, unadulterated, uninterrupted cooter-wafting to be found on the Interwebs.

  45. Every time you type “SCOTUS,” my mind sees it as “SCROTUM.”

    You think that’s bad. Try visiting my inlaws. They live just a few exits down the Pennsylvania turnpike from Scotrun.

  46. Oh, sure, I think we could eventually talk the boys into giving us six hours of girls-only cooter wafting, but I’d lay money that at least a few of them would peek.

  47. Oh… I want them to peek.
    It’s no fun unless they peek.
    They just can’t SAY anything or DO anything but watch.

    Sort of like gagging them and tying them to the bed while we do our collective striptease.

    Yeah… like that…

  48. When y’all set down your patriarchal religious books
    Y’all??? What’s with the collectivism? Why must I be blamed for bad things done by men just because I too am a bepenised individual?

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