You Wanna Do Right, but Not Right Now

So, Braisted is up in arms that the feminists are all up in arms about Jon Favreau being a massive ass-hat.

Maybe they should’ve thought through the political ramifactions of this photo being released to the public and being run through the prism of postmodern feminist theory…but I’m guessing it was a fraction of a second decision made after having had quite a few beers over the course of a very long day. If Obama cut short the career of one of the most promising political speechwriters of our generation for politically expedient reasons, I’d lose a tremendous amount of respect for him.

I have but one comment.  If progressive men want progressive women to be a part of the progressive movement, you need to at least act like you get our concerns.  You want to do right in the world?  Then fucking do right.

Starting with, when you’re feeling pissed at a woman, or proud of your work defeating her as a worthy opponant, or whatever, refrain from celebrating by demeaning her sexually.  Because, let me clue you in, gentlemen, while you might think it’s hilarious to grab a woman’s breast or to mimick grabbing a woman’s breast or joke about grabbing a woman’s breat, we’re not laughing.

Having your boob grabbed when you’d rather it not be grabbed is always infuriating and often pretty fucking terrifying.

If you don’t understand that, and if you don’t understand why we’d rather you not joke about it, THEN YOU SHOULDN’T BE WRITING SPEECHES FOR ANY DEMOCRAT.

If you are with us, then you need to be with us.  Simple as that.

If we really are liberals or progressives or whatever the fuck we’re calling ourselves this week, then we don’t get to put off being good to each other until some other, more convenient time–you know, when you’re not drunk, when you’re not trying to impress your friends, when you aren’t so in need of blowing off a little steam, once you’re done winning the election.

We’re either all in together or we’re not.

It doesn’t look like Favreau is going to lose his job, but who gives two shits if he does?  It’s not like he’s the only guy who knows the cure for cancer, so that we have to put up with all sorts of bad behavior or otherwise people will suffer.  He’s just a dude who can string some words together.  Lots of folks can do that.

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95 thoughts on “You Wanna Do Right, but Not Right Now

  1. you need to at least act like you get our concerns.

    I suppose I could act like it, but its not really my shtick. I totally get that women don’t like to have their breasts grabbed, or their asses, or legs, or hair, hands, arms, or any parts of their body sans prior permission or a mutual understanding.

    The problem is, Jon Favreau didn’t grab Hillary’s breast. He mock cupped a cardboard cutout. I see no difference between that and video games. By this standard of objectionable actions, I’ve killed hundreds of thousands of people in my lifetime because of a mis-spent youth in front of a computer screen.

  2. Where do you draw the line, Sean? If he’d been using that cutout for rifle target practice, would you shrug that off?

  3. And the other guy is mocking grabbing her hair and forcing alcohol down her throat.

    Nothing like mocking date rape for a sweet little joke.

    Sean, we agree on a lot of things, but that cut out of Hillary endorses sexual assault.

    Like I wrote on my blog, draw some horns, give her pitchfork, whatever, it was a spirited campaign and both sides expressed dislike for the other, but not sexual assault.

    But this will probably get swept under the rug as a stupid prank, while one in three girls are sexually assaulted. (One in six boys)

    Sean—men your age are supposed to know this is wrong. Men my age grew up thinking women were their’s for the taking, but men your age? Please reconsider your ideas about the cutout, because it’s imitating sexual assault, not an innocent “I hate Hillary” prank.

  4. OK, so theres the obvious. If a guy who is openly anti-choice, and hell, openly open to the idea of a subservient gender cuz its God’s will, had done this this…well, I could get the outrage.

    The act is an extension of his views. We can debate symbolism all night, but, much like the portrayal of mexican men all wearing sombreros and mustaches…there is enough accuracy to at least make people laugh.

    The stunt was ill advised…photographing it and posting it to the web was monumentally stupid, but i tend to forgive meaningless (regardless how tasteless) acts, especially by those who are on the front lines.

    The notion that this photo is somehow implicit, lo, tacit approval of date rape is shrill and counter-productive.

    But, thats ok, I don’t know what the fuck I’m taking about.

  5. Yikes, second paragraph, first sentence, should have come after the last line of the first paragraph. Or, maybe not. Shit, I’m confused.

  6. If he’d been using that cutout for rifle target practice, would you shrug that off?

    Of course not. But them again, many of us do not consider the penis a weapon, no matter if there are those that wield it as such.

    HUGE difference

  7. Sean, I don’t think anybody’s saying that grabbing an actual breast and grabbing the breast of a cutout are the same act, such as in your video game example. However, it is being pointed out that it makes many of us uncomfortable to see the cutout scenario, on it’s own, in part because it cues us in to the possibility that we’re being demeaned (and in a gender-specific way) when we’re not around/not useful. And that the people who are doing that are not on our side in certain real ways.

  8. If a guy who is openly anti-choice…had done this this…well, I could get the outrage.

    While I’ll leave whether this picture is truly worthy of outrage or not for you liberals to determine, a person’s political ideology or stand on abortion doesn’t really have much to do with it, one way or another.

    It’s either acceptable, period, or it isn’t, period.

    Does it matter if the DNA sample on the intern’s dress comes from a pro-lifer, or a pro-choicer, when it comes to whether the relationship constituted sexual harrassment in the workplace?

  9. Sure it does, lee. It says that when you boil away all the bullshit, you believe that a woman has the right to determine what is best for her body. To me, that perspective alone tells me way more about a person than a sophomoric stunt.

  10. a person’s political ideology or stand on abortion doesn’t really have much to do with it, one way or another.

    Damn, my comment was in response to the above. I shouldn’t do this when I’m distracted by HBO.

  11. Rachel,

    I do think Favreau, and more specifically the other young lad, were demeaning Hillary Clinton…but they were demeaning the portrait of a person trying to put them out of a job.

    As for Sharon’s example of drawing horns and a tail, Samantha Powers was booted from her campaign for calling Hillary a monster, I’m sure the devil imagery would’ve elicited a negative reaction as well.

    I don’t think what he did was right, or something I would’ve done, but he called Hillary to apologize, her spokesman doesn’t seem to think its a big deal, people who are heavily involved in politics understand that there are sometimes when people say or do things that the might regret at a later time.

    Hillary and her camp seemed to have moved on and understand Favreau didn’t have ill intent, and I think that is enough. I think suggesting that Favreau was endorsing date rape is simply too far.

  12. Mack, what you and Sean don’t seem to get here is that many of us are upset precisely because someone who claims to be on our side chooses to demean a particular woman by acting out symbolic sexual assault. I expect this sort of thing from (many) men who are forthright about wanting women to be subservient, but I don’t expect it — and expect my objections to be taken seriously — by men who claim to be allies of women. Groping and the like are, after all, among the tools that tend to keep women subservient.

    If Clinton chooses to say it’s over, that’s cool. But to get your panties in a wad because women more generally point out the implications of what this guy thinks of when he lets down his hair, well, I think you’d do better to hold your tongues and learn something about what sort of things bother us, and for what reasons.

  13. I have to think more in the symbolic terms of what that photo says to me. Basically the point of the photo is to demean and lower the status of the effigy down to a sex object and nothing more. No education, independence or power.

    You may be a Senator, a Former First Lady and a Presidential Candidate but look what I can do! Woo!

    What if Mary Matalin or Nancy Pelosi was shown performing the same types of gestures with an Obama effigy or some other Political leader? Would it still be considered as demeaning? Would she be called vulgar and crude or would it just be politics as usual?

    We might all need to put our grown up pants on about this, but that doesn’t mean that I have to condone the message that Favreau is sending.

  14. What if Mary Matalin or Nancy Pelosi was shown performing the same types of gestures with an Obama effigy or some other Political leader? Would it still be considered as demeaning?

    If a 26 year old female grabbed Obama’s ass and kissed him on a cardboard cutout I highly doubt many people would care.

  15. Sean, I, for one, don’t think and didn’t say that Favreau was endorsing date rape and I hate to see the conversation become about that because that’s not my point.

    My point is that Favreau certainly did have ill intent towards Hillary and when he was looking for a way to express that, the thing that came to mind was “Oh, ha ha, I’ll pretend to grab her boob.”

    That’s a problem. That’s a huge problem for women who want to feel a part of the Democratic party. Because, yes, we do compromise and say “Well, okay, so they don’t do right by us, but at least they don’t do as wrong by us as Republicans.”

    And to have it tossed in our faces that men know that and they know we just have to tolerate their bad behavior because we have no other choice just sticks in my craw.

    And I don’t, frankly, understand why you would lose any sleep over whether he should lose his job. What, in his behavior, is worth defending? What does he offer Obama that is so valuable that it’s worth making a lot of us feel like, “Well, damn, so that’s how it’s going to be?” Why would you lose respect for Obama if he chose to sack him?

    That makes no sense to me.

  16. Oh come on! There is no possible reading of Ted Kennedy’s life that would support placing blame for Kennedy’s supposed failure to be brought to justice on attitudes like Mack’s.

  17. “Supposed…” That’s rich. He called the police… in the morning… after he called his lawyer.

    Such a generous benefit of the doubt you have.

    How about Bill Clinton’s “supposed” disgraceful treatment of women?

    I seem to remember that women such as Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey were treated quite differently by the feminist left than a woman such as Anita Hill.

    But I’m sure it had absolutely nothing to do with the perceived politics of the person being accused.

  18. Sean, again, I for one am not making any arguments about his job or about the equivalence of any two actions. The documented action, on its own, makes me uncomfortable. As saraclark said, “the point of the photo is to demean and lower the status of the effigy down to a sex object and nothing more.” Add “but it’s funny” to that, and *on its own* I dislike it. You said it’s just “demeaning the portrait of a person trying to put them out of a job” – that by itself, that makes me uncomfortable, because of what it suggests about many people who would claim to be my ally.

  19. There is no possible reading of Ted Kennedy’s life that would support placing blame for Kennedy’s supposed failure to be brought to justice on attitudes like Mack’s.
    </I

    Would that also be true for the pass that Kennedy got for the decades of time he got in politics, becoming the face of the democratic party? Would a conservative received such a pass?

  20. I don’t think that this photo indicates some sort of deep-seeded misogyny. Nor do I think that it’s some sort of endorsement of date rape. I do, however, think that it shows this guy ain’t real bright and if I were Obama, I’d get rid of him right away. He’s got some growing up to do before he’s ready for public service.

    Plus, there’s only room in the public conscious for one Jon Favreau. That little speechwriting punk is not money enough for that name.

    Whoa, 1996 called. It wants its catchphrase back.

  21. Jesus Christ. I could give two shits about Kennedy. I don’t know the details. I don’t care to know the details. But let’s, for the sake of argument, say that he is criminally responsible for the death of that woman and yet has escaped justice.

    If that is the case, he escaped justice because his last name is Kennedy, not because feminists and feminist supporters cut him slack because of his record on women’s rights. Let us remember in which order things happen.

    Second, it was every person’s prerogative to decide whether the women who accused Bill Clinton were lying. It was wrong of feminists to dismiss them in sexist terms.

    But guess what? Feminists sometimes using the bullshit we abhor against others doesn’t make it okay. It makes us wrong. So, spare me the “but you do it, too” crap.

    This is a very simple point. Favreau showed himself to be an asshat when it comes to women. Hopefully he will learn from this not just that making jokes about Clinton that sexualize her is wrong, but that part of being an ally (oh how I hate that term) to women means putting aside bullshit like that. And hopefully he will also learn that, when he’s the one putting words into the President’s mouth, his actions are going to be more highly scrutinized than, say, the person putting food in the President’s belly and so he should conduct himself as such.

    And, hopefully, some of y’all will see that there is no need to defend Favreau’s actions. There’s other talent. It’s up to Obama to decide what action to take, but, if Obama should decide to let Favreau go, there’s no need to lose respect for him.

  22. Aunt B,

    Perhaps I was being a bit overly dramatic in saying I would lose a tremendous amount of respect for Obama should he have fired Favreau. I’d probably think it was bullshit for a couple of days, and move on.

    The reason I think Obama should keep Favreau on is that he has been his chief speechwriter for 4 years, and those speeches are a major reason he is now President-elect. I think the ability to communicate your thoughts to the American public in a concise and inspiring way is a key function of the Presidency, and Favreau has proved he and Obama work really well together in that respect.

    Now, I won’t sit here and pretend that I completely understand the moral outrage at this photo. At the same time, I wasn’t really all that outraged when someone hung a ghost with an Obama sign for Halloween. In my mind, I draw a very thick line between real and imaginary, perhaps too thick a line.

    So if Favreau had any history of sexual harassment towards his co-workers, or spousal abuse, or date rape, or whatever, I’d say fire him now and fast. But if his only crime towards women was cupping the the breast of a cardboard cutout…I’m sorry, I really just don’t think that makes him a bad person, just someone who did something stupid once.

    Just as I’m sure I’ve said some stupid or offensive things on my blog in over 3000+ posts, and I’d appreciate it if people took the whole view of my work, and didn’t extrapolate once comment out of context.

  23. I guess this means we need full rights for inflatable sex dolls and cardboard cutouts.

    PS
    Mack, don’t ever say “shrill”. They hate that.

  24. I’m with most of the ladies on this one. When I look at that picture, I see the kind of behavior I’d expect from the kind of douchebags described here.

    The photo also calls to mind this episode.

    The Democratic Party is the ostensible refuge for an entire gender that is fighting against regressive forces (anti-abortion, anti-contraception) who believe that a woman’s place is in the 18th Century. Is it too much to ask that the people who are supposed be on your side don’t exhibit behavior that demonstrates a fairly obvious disregard for your gender?

  25. Sorry. In. appropriate. behavior. totally.

    the law allows them to express their beliefs, that is a freedom of speech aspect I will never back away from.

    However, the minimum that should happen to Favreau, the other person in the photo, and the person who took the photo is a cattle prod to the testicles.

    Even mocking sexual violation of another person, regardless of their sex, is an expressed desire to dominate using sex as the means. If it’s not the Webster’s literal definition of douchebag, it ought to be.

  26. Hell, Sean, you’ve said about a dozen stupid things in this thread alone, but you aren’t the person who is responsible for framing the speeches that come out of our President’s mouth. Favreau acted like a jackass; he’s a distraction and stands as a shining example of why Democratic women continue to feel sold out by the party. You either get that Democratic women are tired of being the butt of “harmless jokes” that create a public culture where Tailhooky shit happens to real-life women and man up about the harm that stuff like this does to party unity or you continue to defend him with a version of “boys will be boys (and political boys get special exceptions because they were just blowing off steam and so it doesn’t count and besides don’t we have more important things to talk about (like the issues I think are important) so shut up already because you’re harshing my unity buzz with some trivial bullshit about sexism this and demeaning that.” I guess you have to choose which side of that you want to be on, since standing against sexist behavior has the net effect of advancing the core issues of the Democratic platform and building the party whereas embracing it does not.

  27. I’m going to back out one step further on this whole topic and say this.

    The behavior was wrong and vulgar, it happened, it happens all the time, let’s be real. But getting your picture taken engaging in stupid behavior, even more stupid. Publishing it to the public whether it is via your Facebook page or any other medium-career ending stupid.

    Take a look at your current employment contracts folks. Most contain clauses about inappropriate internet use and many more contain some type of morality or image of the company clause (go back and read them, they do). If I became an internet sensation because of a vulgar video, photo or stunt I assure you my employer has the option to terminate me.

    If I get this point, surely someone in a higher profile position like Favreau gets it too. It not then hopefully this will be a maturity wake up call for him. It will now come up at every job interview and screening he will ever have again for the rest of this life. I do hope that he needs a job from Hillary one day.

  28. Bridgett, sorry, but “Progressives” are but one small component of the Dem party. Hell, you guys don’t even do a great job of bringing in more women. The idea that some women remain outside of the Party because of the “boys will be boys” mentality is laughable.

    I know plenty of Dem voters, women included, that wouldn’t elevate this careless act to the “gateway” to hard drugs status.

  29. Yep, he didn’t just act like a sexist ass, but he also wanted to capture the moment with a trophy photo and he thought it was so clever that he wanted to let all his close friends see it too. How frat-tastic of him.

    That stuff like this happens all the time is really the core of the problem, innit? Men who talk the talk need to walk the damn walk.

  30. Go pat someone else on the head, Mack. We all have our issues. You wouldn’t want to hear that the inner circle on Obama’s bus gets together and tells wetback jokes and refers to Arizona voters as “beaners” to blow off steam. You’d be pissed as hell that you give time and money to a party that fundamentally doesn’t get why these are not careless acts when they are done by people responsible for creating the message. Well, so feminism is not your issue. I get that. However, you’re a pragmatic political person. If I understand why it’s detrimental to the interests of the party to perpetuate racism, why is it so fucking hard for you to see why it’s similarly detrimental to perpetuate sexist behavior? It demobilizes people unnecessarily and creates distrust when it would be so easy to mean some of those noble words he wrote.

  31. I guess you have to choose which side of that you want to be on, since standing against sexist behavior has the net effect of advancing the core issues of the Democratic platform and building the party whereas embracing it does not.

    Fair enough. If someone could point me in the direction of the ultimate arbiter of what Democratic Women think and feel, I’d very much appreciate it. Egalia seems to think its her sometimes, maybe I should adopt her POV just to stay on the safe side of the gender wars.

  32. Yep, he didn’t just act like a sexist ass, but he also wanted to capture the moment with a trophy photo and he thought it was so clever that he wanted to let all his close friends see it too.

    Except Favreau didn’t take the picture, he didn’t upload the picture, someone uploaded it, tagged him, and it was taken down two hours later.

  33. Its not hard at all bridget. I see a Party that fights for choice, racial equality, worker rights, etc, and i see the alternative. But I don’t hold the party responsible for every thoughtless act committed by someone, nor do I elevate it beyond what it is.

    And, nobody embraced what these these guys did.

  34. Dude(s). Who is the party? Does the party exist outside beyond the people in it? I propose that it is instead a bunch of people committed to a constellation of values, holding each other accountable to those values as they are articulated, and moving forward in coalition to make gains. We’re all connected, here, like it or not, and not just on some issues when it’s convenient for us (like in November when we want your vote but not in December when you’re all progressives are a minor part of the party and progressive women even moreso.) We have obligations to each other — and yes, we are collectively responsible for what we all do when we take on a public role within the party. We are not who we say we are; we are who we show ourselves to be. Favreau failed on that, and by continuing to support his stupidity in a public forum, you’re falling down with him. I’m doing my part as I understand it — I’m calling you on your bullshit, explaining why it is bullshit, and showing you how to be more down with the values you say you have. You don’t have to “elevate” it (if that’s what it is to ask that the men of your party grow the hell up and show the cro-mags lingering among them what will be tolerated), but you also don’t have to act like I’m the one with the problem.

    Sean, I hope that you don’t need to reference external authority to know what demeans your fellow human being (though it makes a clever bait line if you’re debating like a twelve-year-old). If you want to be right, do right.

  35. continuing to support his stupidity in a public forum, you’re falling down with him. I’m doing my part as I understand it — I’m calling you on your bullshit, explaining why it is bullshit, and showing you how to be more down with the values you say you have.,/i>

    pat pat pat.

    Show me where the dude(s) supported the act.
    I’ll sleep well tonite, knowing I’m pretty “down” with my values.

  36. Well, what else would you call it but a trophy photo? If the apology for his behavior is that “oh, he was just celebrating a victory and letting off some steam,” then he was posing to capture a moment of triumph. That’s what a trophy is — something that reminds you of a proud time and allows you to revisit an event of personal significance. His “proud moment” makes you uncomfortable because his method of celebration was indefensible, but that doesn’t make the photo something other than what it is.

  37. Frankly, I find this baffling. No one is saying that Favreau doesn’t get to be a Democrat any more. No one here is saying that Favreau should be fired (only that we could not care less if he was).

    What we’re saying is that Favreau’s behavior doesn’t cut it. What, exactly, is the purpose being served by defending him?

  38. Not every slight against me is racially motivated. Or, likewise, Bill Richardson. It helps not to look for evil in carelessness.

    But, my other point, and what i consider the larger point, is that advocates, at least EFFECTIVE ones, learn to pick their battles.

  39. The behavior in the photo. Wrong. Period. No defense is possible.

    Would I fire the guy over that one photo alone, were I in a position to do so? No. It wasn’t a “harmless joke,” but it was a mistake made by a drunk 20 something. I can understand that without approving of the behavior or even accepting it as being ok. I’ve made mistakes too, even some where I’ve known better and where the mistake wasn’t harmless. Sometimes getting a second chance can make the lesson stick just as much or even more than otherwise.

    Will I lose respect for Obama if he decides to fire him? Not at all. Obama has to consider the larger administration, not just this one employee. Second chances are nice, but if Obama decides that he can’t risk offering one to this guy, then I’m not going to question it. I mean, look at Lee’s post on the issue (on his own blog). He’s determined that the entire 4 years of the Obama administration is totally dependent on the behavior of one speechwriter! The reality is that in fishbowl-life of politics, the severity of a mistake can be magnified. If Obama finds this one to be to big to absorb, I’m not gonna blame him for letting the guy go.

    But regardless of this issue specifically, I don’t buy into Lee’s notion that behavior is either acceptable or it’s not (“Period.”). If I shoot somebody, doesn’t it matter if I did it because I believed they were about harm my family or if I simply didn’t like the way they looked at me?

  40. I mean, look at Lee’s post on the issue (on his own blog). He’s determined that the entire 4 years of the Obama administration is totally dependent on the behavior of one speechwriter!

    and how might I describe that?

    Shrill. (see, it isn’t gender specific)

    Twas ever thus.

  41. But Mack, it wasn’t careless. He didn’t accidentally fall on the cardboard cut-out and his friends took a picture of it and now everyone’s blowing it out of proportion.

    When he wanted to celebrate his great victory, the way he thought to do it was by demeaning Clinton as a woman.

    He might not have had sexist motivations, but, to me, that makes it worse. At least if he were sexist, he’d have an excuse–he really does think that women are, at base, just there for his sexual pleasure and everything else we accomplish is just a distraction from our core purpose.

    But if he’s not sexist, then holy shit is he an asshole! To pull from the bag of tricks of a sexist even though that’s not what he believes is even worse.

  42. When he wanted to celebrate his great victory, the way he thought to do it was by demeaning Clinton as a woman.

    I call total bullshit. He thought the way to celebrate was to get shit-faced with his bunker buddies. I imagine the AARP wouldn’t be up in arms were he to have thrown a punch towards a McCain cut-out.

    Anyway, close ranks.

  43. Pingback: On The Favreau Groping Hillary Thing « Heartbreaktown

  44. But that is the point. If you think that what he did wasn’t demeaning to Clinton as a woman, if you can hear a lot of other women say “Oh, god, yuck, that shit again” and not see it as a problem, then where do we go?

  45. I would like to go on record saying that he should be fired. As I mentioned, good speechwriter or no, he has demonstrated that he is not mature enough for that level of service. And as saraclark mentioned, there are many of us who, if caught in a similar situation, would be let go from our jobs.

  46. To pull from the bag of tricks of a sexist even though that’s not what he believes is even worse.

    I’m not sure that’s what happened. He did something sexist, but I’m not sure in his drunken stupor that he was thinking “Geez, i’m going to do something sexist as a means to denigrate my political opponent.” He acted without thinking about what he was doing. To me, he’s only an asshole if he’s NOT now thinking, “Man, I can’t believe i behaved that way. What I did was totally wrong, and I’m going to use this as an indicator of where I need to continue to grow.” Otherwise he’s just a guy that did something asshole-like, and learned from it.

  47. And for the record, I find a sexist more morally reprehensible than a non-sexist who, upon recognizing a sexist tendency within themselves, strives to correct it.

  48. I’m of the opinion that he should be reprimanded, put on probation, and if it ever happens again, then fired.

    Damn, people…we all make mistakes, especially in our 20s.

    This is a cardboard cutout. Not a real person. He was drunk, and what he did was out of line, no doubt. I see him as a young man who made an error in judgment (off the clock), thinking he is hot stuff with a big-time job, and had foolish friends with a camera and a Facebook account.

    Like us all, he will look back on things he did in his younger years and think, “Wow, I was so foolish back then…”

    It happens.

    Meanwhile, there are people suffering and dying in the world while we are arguing over a cardboard cutout…

  49. well, I’m in here because the rain changed my plan for the day, but yes, Ginger, thats part of what I’m saying.

    The larger point being that what happens to these guys aside, the gender gap is broader than ever, and both sides need to learn to talk to the other side.

    Fortunately, I never did anything stupid in my twenties. ;)

  50. What Dolphin Says.

    Every bit of it. To the point that, despite all the challenges clearly involved in such a matter, I want him to marry me.

  51. I call total bullshit. He thought the way to celebrate was to get shit-faced with his bunker buddies.

    I wasn’t aware that cardboard cutouts of female politicians was required for getting drunk. Learn something new every day.

  52. Pingback: Dear Mr. President-Elect « Watching The Defectives

  53. Aunt B, my sincerest apologies that my message came across as dismissive to you directly. That was not my intent. I have the utmost of respect for you as a woman, which is why I felt so strongly to express my viewpoint that it is very important to save the outrage for the times when it is needed most.

    In my opinion, this just doesn’t seem to rate high enough for the attention it is getting.

    My hope is that you will see that at the end of the day, I am on your side.

  54. Ginger, let’s just let this go. The level of upset I am about this leads to places that can’t be undone and I don’t have the heart to see this discussion through to that end. But, fine, if you disagree with me. I can respect that. But please, don’t claim to be on my side. Just, at least, have enough respect for me to not do that.

  55. Pingback: Feminists Off the Deep End « The Freaky Weasel

  56. It is certainly your choice to pick and choose what you will allow to be “undone” or not, and for whom you will extend such allowances for. I must say, however, that it is astounding to me that of all of the people who come onto this blog and disagree with you day in and day out, I can come on and give my opinion once in a blue moon, and because how I say it does not come across exactly in the context I intended, it’s unforgivable.

    Then, you presume to know the intent of my heart?

    You’re right…we should let this go.

  57. I’m very disappointed in the fact that Aunt B. can get so outraged at a hand on a cardboard cutout that she would endorse male genital mutilation.

    Oh, now wait a minute, you say. He didn’t really mean that Favreau should take an electric shock to the balls. Jim was just playing around!

    Isn’t that exactly what Favreau was doing? Just playing around?

    You can’t have it both ways. If Favreau was wrong for cupping a cardboard titty, then Aunt B. was also wrong for approving sexual violence against men. Riiiiight?

    The double standards in this thread are appalling.

  58. Nice try, autoegocrat, but I’m afraid your basic premise is false. In the case of me, there’s a two step relationship. Jim said something on my thread, therefore I could be seen as endorsing it, if I don’t speak against it. That would put me in the same position as, say, Obama.

    Plus, I don’t think Jim was playing around.

  59. B, I’m just gonna paste this comment every time the “save it for big things” argument comes around. Hope you don’t mind. :)

    Shouldn’t you be talking about More Important Things?” is a classic discussion thread strategy for those who would dismiss the objections of women/feminists. Shakesville has a very good comment on why we shouldn’t ignore the “little things” here, and I’ll quote just a piece of it:

    “The idea that feminism should be kept under glass, broken only in case of a “big” emergency, is predicated on the erroneous assumption that ‘the little things,’ like video games, happen in a void, but they don’t….in a very real way, ignoring ‘the little things’ makes the big ones that much harder to eradicate, because it is the pervasive, ubiquitous, inescapable little things that create the foundation of the culture on which the big stuff is dependent for its survival.”

  60. There are two points I want to make before this discussion dies completely.

    1. Symbols do matter.Otherwise, why would we worry about little girls playing with Barbie? After all, she’s just a piece of plastic. Why would we worry about images of models and actors that have been airbrushed so much they no longer resemble real women? Those are just illustrations. Why would we care if 80% of the movies out there feature a whole “man rescues woman; woman falls in love with man” storyline? Those aren’t true.

    And yet, I think pretty much every commenter here can see that those things are troubling because they’re so ubiquitous and they reinforce troubling ideas about how men and women relate and/or how women should view ourselves.

    So, I disagree that this instance of a portrayal of a woman is somehow not important, not worth my time.

    2. To me, there’s a big strain of “Oh, well, men are just assholes and we just have to understand that and move on” going on in this whole discussion, too.

    Why can’t we expect better than this from Favreau?

    I am and will continue to be baffled by the ways that the apologists for poorly-behaving men seem to assume that poor behavior from men is all the more we can expect.

    How is “Oh, don’t worry, honey. I get that you’re emotionally stunted and you just can’t learn any better. I’ll protect you from the big bad feminists.” the side of the argument that is pro-man?

  61. I guess if this discussion is going to die, as someone who has been hip-deep in it, I should perhaps make a few points:

    Both genders suffer from stereotypes and societal expectations. The suffering is equal.

    No one here has argued that you shouldn’t “expect more” from Favreau. What some of us have tried to say is that drawing a line from this act to an endorsement of date rape is unfair, and unwarranted. A single stupid act is not proof that he or anyone else harbors some deep-seated hatred for your gender.

    There are differing opinions on what the “punishment” should be for these two guys. But to dismiss “smooches for Jim” as anything other than an endorsement of what Jim proposed is disingenuous at best.

    Likewise, it is disingenuous to twist the argument that young men do stupid things and perhaps we can call them on it and move on…into “men are just assholes and we should move on.”

    Feminists do NOT have a lock on what is best for women overall. That becomes clearer to me everyday. There are plenty of women who rightly feel that their interests are not being represented in certain arguments.

    Lastly, I know hundreds of single moms, struggling to make ends meet, without a formal education, who may just feel that fights over symbolism may not be the key to improving their lives. Wages, childcare, healthcare are dependent on political machinations, that is the reality. In this system, that means garnering the support of the majority, at least in most cases. Inflammatory language pushes people away.

  62. Who in this argument is saying that Favreau endorses date rape? I have seen this claim coming from men who want to end the discussion, but I haven’t seen it from the women saying that Favreau engaged in bad behavior that ought to be discussed. Rather, we are saying (as Rachel’s citation from Shakesville says eloquently) that ignoring behavior that demeans women’s bodies, and that dismisses competent women by insulting their bodies (or representations of their bodies) makes date rape, lower pay for women than for men, fewer educational opportunities for women, and all the rest of the great big political things we’d like to change that much more common and easy to accept.

  63. Like you can’t do both at the same time.

    Often, you cannot. Politically, almost always, we are forced to make do.

    It floors me that you won’t admit that you can’t even convince the majority of Breasted Americans. Cause if you could, none of this would matter. So, since you can’t, and you need the support of men, why not listen to a few of us?

    We can teach, too.

  64. Can’t even convince the majority of women of what? Of the luxury of having your own checking account? Of the luxury of it being illegal to beat one’s wife? Of the joy in being able to go to college? Of equal pay for equal work? Of having women’s sports? That how women are treated in this society can suck? Just what do you think we haven’t managed to convince a majority of women of?

    Also, Exador, I said way back at the beginning of this discussion that I didn’t think that the “Favreau endorses date rape” argument held much water. Since then, Sharon hasn’t commented. So, if you’re still looking to fight with her, I suggest you go, you know, actually fight with her at her blog.

  65. held much water.

    In fact, it leaks like a sieve. But where was the smackdown? That would have done wonders for those of us lacking ovaries.

    And probably would have ended the argument.

    Just what do you think we haven’t managed to convince a majority of women of?

    That the “women’s movement” is important enough to participate in. That the way to affect change is known only by feminists. That some roles foisted upon them are so bad that they must be addressed. That dolls are bad for their self-esteem. The list is endless.

  66. I said I didn’t agree with her. Now, in order to be taken seriously, I have to not only state my disagreement with her, but , what, put her in her place, too?

    I literally do not understand what you’re saying–“that the way to affect change is known only by feminists.” Who has ever said that?

    If you’re mad at me because you think I was too harsh on Ginger, then say that and let’s fight about that (or not, or whatever), but demanding that I admit shit I’ve never denied… What am I supposed to say in defense of that?

  67. Well, I’m not mad. I’ll assume that you, Bridgett, NM and others aren’t mad either, but rather, LIKE ME frustrated that we cannot get a point conceded. We are all painfully aware that threads go off in directions never intended, this one has been no exception. I have tried and tried to make my point. Again and again i am told that i am wrong, that I must submit to being taught a lesson by those that know. And i say bullshit to all that.

    You know me. I am deeply committed to seeing those with little or no power get a fair shake. Its perfectly ok for me to think the methods of achieving that are different from yours.

    Deep down, I know for a fact that in the right circumstances, I could have done what these guys did. To have that define me and my values would be wrong.

    I also think the victimization strategy isn’t always the best.

    Lastly, I emailed my concerns regarding Ginger to you. I assumed you understand I did that in the name of privacy.

  68. Mack, the problem is that I’m not sure exactly what point you’d like us to concede. That boys will be boys? That you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar? That we shouldn’t discuss the connections between the way* some young men act in moments of drunken conviviality and the very real fact that single women with children are the poorest people in this country? Or that, while it’s wrong for us to want to teach you what we know, it’s we who need to be taught a lesson by you, because, unlike us, you really do know?

    And how is any of this connected with a “victimization strategy”?

    I don’t get the feeling that we’re having the same conversation here.

    *Not the fact that young men get drunk and act silly, but the way they do it, the form that silliness takes

  69. I don’t get the feeling that we’re having the same conversation here

    I’ll surely concede that. Part of this has been caused by the fact that B and i have been discussing this via telephone, and the two conversations haven’t synched up.

    And I’m happy to admit that I don’t KNOW. But I’m convinced that neither do you. You make a case, I make a case. Thats all we can do.

    I was never picking a fight over this. But I’ll be damned if I’ll be bullied into conceding that which i do not believe. I fear I should have moved on long ago though.

  70. But who, exactly, do you feel is trying to bully you? I’m certainly not. I’m trying to understand where you’re coming from. I’m trying to understand just what it is you think the feminist movement isn’t conceding. And I guess I’m still trying to understand why, if you can see that what Favreau did was ass-hatty, you’re still here acting like people pointing out that he’s an ass-hat is somehow part of the problem.

    Okay, so you might have done the same thing when you were his age. Fine. Would you still, especially now that you know that it is very upsetting to people you care about?

    I could be wrong about you, but I doubt you would do that now.

    That is all that I want–to know that when folks see Favreau’s behavior that they get that it’s not okay and that they then don’t do that.

  71. as much as i love most of what you write, i have to strongly disagree here.
    “We’re either all in together or we’re not.”
    this is very “you are either with us or you are against us”.

    it doesn’t work for politics.
    it doesn’t work for cultural problems.
    it doesn’t work for feminism.

  72. I am delighted to be everyone’s gay internet girlfriend, but until the women of California have the right to gay internet marry, my conscience won’t let me gay internet marry even though I can legally do so in the state of New York. I hope you all understand.

  73. Pingback: I Am Favreau « The Coyote Chronicles

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