Tiny Pasture reminds me of a question that cannot be asked enough:

Since ‘man’ is historically gender neutral, and it’s only because the werman have decided that they represent all of mankind that we associate ‘man’ with only the wermen, how is further retreating from “man” a better strategy than just calling the wermen wermen?  Why do we acquiesce to that nonsense?

Ha, ha, ha, ha.

It begs the question of whether a female werewolf ought to actually properly be called either a wowolf or a wifwolf.  Both of which are words I’m going to say out loud to myself all evening…. 

Here’s My Question

I know the Southern Baptist Church doesn’t have the same level of hierarchy as other denominations, but when the Convention decided that women couldn’t be ministers, that was the end of it. Baptist churches can have women ministers, but then they don’t get to be Southern Baptist.

So, to say that you can’t have some edict from on high that all churches follow because that’s just not the way the Church works seems to me to be slightly disingenuous.

Let me tell you, this will happen. Maybe not a database, but the SBC is going to have to figure out some way to deal with this more effectively than just saying “La, la, la, we can’t hear you.” The first reason is because there are a ton of victims out there, who are hurting and who needed their God’s love to come through the Church and instead got told, in so many words, to just keep quiet. That kind of evil cannot stand. We saw that with the Catholic Church. This stuff comes out, eventually, and the people too cowardly to do anything about it get to go down in history as just that, cowards.

But the second reason is the reason that I imagine things will finally start to happen. Right now, because the Church has its head up its ass, there is no recourse for the innocent minister. If you’re accused of something, those rumors follow you around, because people don’t know for sure. If congregations can trust that, when an accusation is made, that the proper investigations are made and the truth discovered, then people who are falsely accused have protection and people who are properly accused meet justice.

There may be a third thing that begins to come into play as well. In most states, there are certain professionals–teachers, ministers, and the like–who are legally required to report abuse if they suspect it (as Ulrich points out in her original story). If the church can’t figure out a way to clean up its own messes, the law will have to step in to do it, which means that anybody who knows a pastor is sexually abusive and stays quiet will have legal as well as spiritual problems.

My favorite part about Ulrich’s post over at Pith is when the bigwigs are all “Our congregations are too stupid to use computers.” You’d think that’d be a deal breaker for most people–that once they learned their Church hierarchy thought they were idiots, they’d either find new churches or rework the hierarchy. But people are strange.

Edited to add: Actually, this post appears to have no question.  I did have a question, but I can’t remember what it was.

I’m Beginning to Suspect that the Tennessee Legislature Thinks Women are Just Naturally Lying Liars who Lie

Via Whites Creek Journal, we learn that, on Tuesday, a state house subcommittee will be discussing this nasty piece of legislation, which would require that all babies have DNA tests to prove who their fathers are before the state will list a father on a birth certificate.

It’s an adventure to live in a state in which so many of our legislators come from the perspective of assuming that all women are liars and all men are idiots and if the state doesn’t step in to protect said men, we’d just be out fuckity-fuck-fuck-fucking whosoever we could get our vaginas around and ruining their lives*.

Over at the Crone’s, she makes this point:

If your husband died in Iraq, Afghanistan, or was killed in anyway after conception but before birth, too damn bad. Your child would be a bastard, should this be enacted, simply because the father is no longer available for that mandatory paternity test. Your word that you have not had sex with anyone else is not enough. Thus, your bastard would NOT be entitled to your now dead husband’s Social Security benefits.

I, myself, would make this point. There are a small, but growing number of people who have two genetically distinct types of cells. It is quite possible for these people to father (or in the cases I first heard about) or mother a child from eggs or sperm that have one set of DNA while the cells on the inside of your mouth or in your blood might have a different DNA. Is the State really ready to get into the lawsuits that might erupt when a man who really is a baby’s biological father can’t get on his child’s birth certificate?

*Although, if you are into having women lie to you, fuck you, and ruin your life, more power to you.

Edited to add:  The Vol Abroad brings the feminist criticism.

Good Work if You Can Get It

I went over to see the College Professor yesterday and she was telling me the craziest story, about how the woman who used to be the English Department secretary when I was there has gone on to write a book and become a famous Christian self-help author.  We went to look at her book’s website both to be mortified and tickled.

See, on the surface, if you don’t think about it too much, it’s kind of a heartwarming story.  Her husband has a sexual addiction, she finds out about it, there’s much crying and praying, and she discovers she has an addiction as well, and there’s crying and praying, and God heals them and sends them forth into the world to share their ministry with others.

But as you start to delve into the details… Well, that’s where it starts to get weird.  First, his sexual addiction was sneaking around looking at porn and masturbating.

No, really, that’s it.

A grown guy looking at porn and masturbating.

You’d think that she might focus on the whole “sneaking around” aspect of it, which to me, is the obvious problem, not the whole looking at porn and masturbating aspect, which seems to me to be mundane and normal.  I’d be more worried if my husband had no desire to, at least, masturbate.

And her addiction?  What she helps other Christian women overcome?  She’s addicted to love.

Yes, addicted to love.

But what really has me tossing this over in my mind is how, as the College Professor pointed out, there’s something weirdly subversive about this whole thing. I mean, sure, on the one hand, I don’t want anyone running around telling women that there’s anything wrong or problematic about genuinely loving other people.  And I think it’s cruel to turn something that’s as natural as burping and farting and scratching a good itch into some referendum on your marriage.

But look at what she’s managed.

Here’s a woman in a very conservative branch of Christianity, who is supposed to let her husband lead her and who cannot get divorced, and who believes that looking at porn and masturbating is a sin against God and an infidelity to your marriage, and who believes that it is the woman’s job to keep the husband satisfied.  In other words, if she’s not enough for him sexually, nine times out of ten, her belief system is going to blame her for failing as a woman.

In the face of those odds, in the face of being humiliated when her husband’s “sexual addiction” was discovered when his car was towed from an adult bookshop, she’s managed to find a way to publicly shame him every dang time she gets before a group (which appears to be at least twice a month), build a career based around how he did her wrong, and be the center of their marriage, since he seems to have quit his job to support her burgeoning career as a public speaker.

So, in spite of her belief system’s views on the proper role of women, she’s able to publicly say that her husband has done her wrong, she’s able to hold down a job, she’s able to be the primary bread-winner in the family, and she’s able to make her career all about the ways in which her husband is an inadequate husband and Christian, and she still looks like the good wife.  And she goes around teaching other women how to do what she’s done!

It’s not exactly feminism as I would recognize it, but it’s subversive in a way that I can appreciate, even as it appalls me.

It got me thinking, too, about this story from the Scene this week about the inevitable problems the Southern Baptists are going to have with sex abuse (and let’s just be clear, this is a problem all denominations have or are going to have; it’s just dogging the Southern Baptists at the moment because there are so many Southern Baptists) and how part of the problem is that the pastors have the authority to speak and be heard and the accusers–because they’re young or women–don’t.

I Guess I Need a Barbed Wire Fence

Every once in a while you read a comment about how men have to have sex or they will die, die, die and, if we don’t let them fuck us whenever they want, regardless of our desire for them, it serves us right if they kill us and you think, “Wow, damn, is it really such a hard concept to get that my body doesn’t belong to you, that you can’t just open it up and crawl into it whenever you want?

I, too, have wanted to have sex with someone so much it felt like I would die if I didn’t get to.  I may have, in fact, in a moment of weakness, begged someone or another to have sex with me or I would die.  I’ve been turned down (I know!  Who would turn me down?  Have you seen my tits?) and did not, in fact, actually die.

Nor, I must say, did I feel like shooting the folks who turned me down.

I for sure never thought “You have a penis and I need a penis and, if you don’t let me use yours, I will beat you down.”  And I honestly don’t get that mindset when it comes to some men and their desire for my sex organs.

It seems weird to me that people would think “I have a right to your body when I want.”  You’d think that such a thought popping into their head would be embarrassing, like the way you might momentarily picture yourself running over the person in the crosswalk in front of you.  That it would take you aback and make you wonder if you’re being possessed by something evil.

And you’d like to comfort yourself with the thought that such attitudes are anomalies, held by folks who don’t have a lot of power and who don’t set policy.  Certainly, there’s no one with any real power over me who believes that my body is available for the taking and that I don’t really have the right to say what happens to it.

Via Rachel:

“Rape, ladies and gentlemen, is not today what rape was. Rape, when I was learning these things, was the violation of a chaste woman, against her will, by some party not her spouse. Today it’s simply, ‘Let’s don’t go forward with this act.’ ”–Democratic State Senator Henry

I’d love to see the surrounding context for that quote, because, like Rachel, I think it sounds as if he’s saying that, back in the good ole days, you could do what you wanted to any woman who wasn’t a virgin or married.

Just to be on the safe side, I will for sure be wrapping myself in barbed wire, so that folks are clear about not trespassing.

This Explains So Much

This week, after Rep. Rob Briley made a heartfelt apology for his well-publicized drunken behavior, Rep. Gary Moore, the straightforward Joelton firefighter, made the excellent point that everyone battles secret demons. But the way he made it was hilarious:

“Some of us are alcoholics,” Moore said. “Some of us are thieves. Some of us are adulterers. Truth of the matter is, we reflect society.”

Rep. Charles Curtiss of Sparta said Moore’s comments might have been a bit much. But he made it even worse: “I don’t think there are any criminals in here. But we’re a cross section of society. There are people in there that drink, people in there that beat their wives, people in there unfaithful to their wives. No question in my mind about that.”

Gail Kerr

(h/t Ben “We’re Paying for this Shit?” Cunningham)

I don’t know who needs to go down there and lecture some folks on the fact that women’s bodies are not their personal playgrounds, but someone, for sure.

Which Would Be Worse?

Being the model who had to get and keep an erection while posing for the vasectomy brochure or being the fluffer of the model who had to get and keep an erection while posing for the vasectomy brochure?

I can’t decide.

Both, it seems to me, have a monumental task.

Also, nothing tickles me more than seeing Say Uncle blame the patriarchy, even if only in jest.

Good luck, Uncle.  I’ll raise a toast to many years of unprotected, worry-free sex in your honor.

Illegal Immigration and the Patriarchy

I wanted to get back to the exchange in the Ag Committee meeting from Tuesday.  But I still don’t know how to wrap my head around it.  There’s a lot going on here and all pieces seem important.  I don’t know, though, how they fit together.

The Pieces

Agriculture in the South has revolved around a few labor-intensive crops.  In Tennessee, the most profitable crop for a long time was tobacco.  But, because of shifts in tobacco use and issues with the feds, folks are having to find other uses for their land.  Many people have shifted to growing plants and trees for nurseries.  And this is now an important stream of revenue for people in our state.

It also, is hard, labor-intensive work.

Never mind.  This isn’t helpful.

Let me tell you this story again.

The Professor and I found ourselves in Coahoma County down in Mississippi a few years ago on the Stovall Plantation, which is, as you recall, the plantation where Muddy Waters worked.  You may also recall that, after Emancipation, many black people were free in a technical sense, but still worked basically as indentured servants on the land they had previously provided slave labor on.

Things were different in important ways, but things were the same in important ways.  You still needed to be closely associated with a white family (run, obviously, by a powerful white man) in order to have a somewhat safe place in society.  You needed to have a white man to vouch for you, someone who could say “That’s one of mine.”

So, it’s hard for me to hear any white guy speaking to another white guy talking about non-white men using the term “mine.”

When Swafford says “I can’t speak for everybody but I know mine,” I think he means “I can’t speak for everybody’s experience with their Hispanics, but I know my Hispanics and can speak about my observations of them.”  It could be that he means “I can’t speak for everybody who doesn’t go to the doctor, but I know the reasons my employees don’t go.”

But it’s hard for me to hear that second thing in what he said.

So, yes, anyway, the Professor and I are driving through the Stovall Plantation, trying to picture what it would have been like in the late 40s, when we pull up to the Stovall Plantation store to get a pop.

I run in.  It’s empty except for a couple of white women who are obviously employees in the store.  Before me are a few tables where folks might eat, some small rows of snacks and coolers with drinks.

I grab my Diet Dr Pepper and go to the counter to pay.  And there, on the counter, are two piles of slips of paper, one in English and one in Spanish, both containing directions for how one should properly treat and address the women behind the counter.

To me, it seemed like evidence that one disenfranchised group with little power was slowly being replaced by another disenfranchised group with little power.  There’s also something important there about the precarious position of the white women, who must be treated as if they have authority and are due respect, but only because, again, they have some white man to vouch for them.

That makes me wonder about Representative Bell’s comments about abortion, and how it’s that those 50 million aborted fetuses aren’t here that causes labor problems. 

I’m not the only person to notice how deeply personally offended men who’ve never had any woman they know abort fetuses they’re responsible for helping to create get by the whole notion of abortion.

And I’m not the only person who’s noted how it seems to have more to do with controlling women than saving babies (since these are the same people who can turn around and cut funding for social services to babies, once they’re born).

But I wonder, then, if abortion is perceived as a threat to the white social order (we cannot overlook the ways in which the abortion controversy plays out much differently in different racial and ethnic communities).  White women belong to their fathers and then to their husbands.  A child is an indication that the husband has successfully taken claim of the wife.

There is room for “fallen” women.  If you find yourself pregnant, you might be lucky enough to still have some man somewhat closely associate with you–maybe the baby’s father, maybe a man from your family, maybe some other man who’s taken pity on you.  But you have some place in the hierarchy, even if it’s at the bottom.

And your child, or children, also have a place–at the bottom.

Because, ask yourself this.  If Swafford can’t get “Americans” to work for him now, why does Bell assume that those “Americans” who’d been aborted would be willing to work for him?

Well, they would be willing to work for him if that were the best choice they had.

And why would that be the best choice they had?

Well, it would be if they accepted their place in the hierarchy.

Abortion, then, is not just a medical procedure.  It’s not just ending a life.  It’s a rejection of what’s supposed to happen to women who affiliate too closely with the wrong men.

It not only is a way for women to “cheat,” to get out of having evidence of their shameful behavior.  But it’s a bigger cheat because it deprives powerful white men of desperate white people they can exploit.

It seems to me that both of these men are talking around the same underlying problem.  There’s a lot of work in our state that, though it doesn’t take even a high school diploma to do, needs to be done by fairly smart people.  You can’t be stupid and be a successful farmer.  You have to pay attention to the plants and be able to understand what’s going on with them and what you can do to help them grow better.  You can’t be stupid and work in construction. 

In the past, not all smart people had options.  “Clever” slaves still had no choice but to tend cattle or pick cotton or build walls.  Smart poor whites still had no choice but to work in the coal mines.  And so on.

So, there were smart people with no other options to work back-breaking jobs for little or no pay.  Our country is built on the labor of those people.

Well, guess what?

That work sucks.

And so people don’t want to do it if they don’t have to.

They won’t do it if they don’t have to.

So, our state has a real dilemma.  We need illegal immigrant labor.  And we need those laborers to continue to be illegal so that they can’t organize, can’t leave jobs for better jobs, can’t complain about working conditions, can’t demand justice, can’t leverage their experience for better pay.  Our economy depends on smart people with no other options but to take the shitty jobs we have for them.

And groups that we could previously count on to supply us with smart, desperate laborers have ceased to provide us that labor in the numbers we need.

But we have real hostility towards the illegal labor we’re now dependent on (and, in the past have had real hostility towards the other laborers we’ve been dependent on) and have, seemingly, not only just swapped them in for other populations of laborers, but gone ahead and attached the stereotypes we used to attach to those other laborers on them so that we don’t have to feel too ill at ease about treating such labor like shit.

So, if everyone hates the illegal labor and wants them out of the state, where are we going to get smart people with no other options to fill those jobs?

I don’t think Bell could have been any more obvious: we must force women to give birth to babies we will provide no other options for

It’s not a contradiction that the very pro-life politicians who advocate against abortions are the same ones who stand opposed to state funding for pre-k and spreading lottery money around to more poor people.

We must force women to give birth to babies we will provide no other options for, no support for, nothing at all for, so that those babies–some of whom will be smart (but not so smart, because we’ve malnourished them and blamed it on their mothers)–will have no other options but to take the shit jobs we have for them.

One reason, then, that illegal immigrants are such a great hot-button issue is that their presence is a continued reminder of the failing patriarchy, which can no longer crush enough people in our own country to provide labor for the shitty jobs upon which their wealth is derived.

At some point, we’re going to have to ask ourselves whether we want to continue a system so dependent on  the exploitation of people–legal or not.

But I think we all know that day won’t be today.

Apparently, Our Great State Tragedy is that All the People With Work Ethics were Aborted

Y’all, I have an anonymous source!  Well, I already kind of had an anonymous source in Say Uncle in that I don’t know who he is and he keeps me informed about stupid dog legislation.

But this anonymous source is different in that I have no idea who he or she is, nor even what I should call him or her.  I will dub my anonymous source “Señor el Gato.”  Just for fun, because I’m so tickled to have an anonymous source and, if Señor el Gato ever gets me involved in a scandal, we can call it El Gatogate, which has an awesome ring to it.

Anyway, Señor el Gato tipped me off to this juicy exchange at the House Ag Committee meeting on Tuesday.  You can watch the video for yourself, but, because I don’t want you to miss out on the crucial parts, I have transcribed some of it for you.  I should warn you there’s some dubious use of “mine” in a way that might make some of you uncomfortable with the first speaker and I apologize ahead of time that I’m not going to unpack this in the way it deserves in this post.  There’s just too much here and I’m going to need to mull it over a while.  Okay, here goes.

Ag Committee Meeting


Starting at about 19:50

Aaron Swafford addresses the group and it starts to get interesting:

“And the last thing.  I really don’t know how to say this, but I’ll just… As… the U.S. citizen… the workforce is just not there.  I’ll give you a personal example.  In the last four and a half years I’ve had three U.S. citizens apply for work.  One… I hire ’em without even checking their resources, er their background.  I mean just to have somebody.

“One of ’em never showed up.  One of ’em made it to the first break.  I have had one that’s been with me about nine months now, a good employee, but I’ve had three.  And we work about thirty people on a yearly basis.

“The people I deal with, Hispanics, uh, as a general rule, are good quality people, have a good work ethic, a good family ethic.  They take care of one another.”

Swafford goes on about an employee who’s been here 18 years and is being forced to return “home” even though this is his home.

Representative Bell takes the mic.

He goes on at length about how he hears the complaining about small businessmen not wanting to be the police blah blah blah. 

We join the festivities again at 22:50.

Bell speaking:

“I’ve also heard that the workforce is not there.  As you’ve expressed, you’ve had three American citizens over the last couple years… apply with you.  Uhh… and I would… I would be for, at the federal level… upping the quota limits… the immigration quotas from each country to allow more people to come in.

But first and foremost, these people broke the law when they came into our country and even this man who’s been here eighteen years, he broke the law when he came in.  And as many good things, and I know some of… I live in a big dairy farming area, McMinn County, you know, and Monroe (sp?) County… which I also represent as many good people, Hispanics and, um, Guatemalans and Hondurans that are working there, you know also then from southeast Tennessee what’s been in the news recently about the MS 13 gang problems that are happening in the Ocoee… er the Cherokee National Parks down in Ocoee and Polk counties.  It’s happening in Chattanooga.

And so with this good is coming a lot of bad that’s hurting our society.  The drain that it’s putting on our society… on our resources… in education… in healthcare…

And so, while I understand your concerns as a businessman, there is another side to this as well that is hurting society as a whole.”

Then the business dude reminds Bell that he’s talking about people who are too old to go to school and then says “I can’t speak for everybody but I know mine and you have to force them to go to the doctor when they get hurt or when they get sick because most of ’em are scared of ’em.

Now they do use it, but they also pay sales tax [Tennessee has no income tax; the state derives its revenue from sales tax–b.] just like everybody else.  They pay 8.5 million in social security annually that will never be used.

I know what you’re saying.”

Bell then complains about how many Hispanic kids go to school.  They go on to talk about how they have to pay more than minimum wage because they have so little unemployment and it’s hard work and they have to pay to keep labor.  And Aaron Swafford explains again that there aren’t any non-Hispanics even applying for the jobs he has available.  Without the Hispanic workforce, his industry would crumble.

Blah, blah, blah.  Blame the feds.  Blame the kids for hogging up school space.  Blame the “illegals” for hogging healthcare.

Back to Bell.  He wants to conscript high schoolers into the industry.  Now, here we are at 31:57.  Bell’s going to opine:

“I’m going to make one more comment with this.  I’m not going to address Mr. Swafford with this but I’m… but this is, uh, this shortage of workers and, uh, especially in the agricultural field and, uh, in other jobs… that may or may not be a little more temporary in nature… seasonal in nature… Since 1973, we have killed fifty million unborn children and if we hadn’t done that, maybe our labor problems would not be as severe.”

Can’t We Just All Accept that Campfield Genuinely Cares?

I read this post from Brownfemipower last night before reading this post from Campfied today. Kind of makes for one of those “aha” moments, doesn’t it?

Anyway, it did for me. Just who, exactly, is Campfield comparing to slave owners and Nazis?

Women who need abortions.

I often joke, but I’ve got to tell you, sometimes I feel inadequate to the task before me. This is one of those times. I wish you were, right now, reading someone who could smartly take on Campfield and point out the abhorrent evil in what he’s saying–how he twists the notion of women having control over our own bodies into being on par with us being slave-holders and Nazis. I mean, do you see that?

He’s sitting around being all thoughtful and reasonable sounding about his belief that women having the final say over whether we want to be pregnant or not is just like us owning slaves or committing genocide. And, as Brownfemipower alludes to in her post, it’s not just the accusation, but how the accusation turns us into traitors against humanity.

This is so important–that you see how Campfield is advancing the argument that women are the enemy of life, how we so regularly and systematically strip others of their humanity and then massacre them that, for the good of humanity, we must be controlled–because it’s the unspoken assumption that really drives the abortion debate in this country and I feel like I don’t know how to get it across to you with the urgency it requires.

I know some of you will be tempted to say “But maybe Campfield really does care about the babies and is not about taking control of women because he thinks they’re too easily swayed to do evil!”

Okay, then, consider this.  We know why women have abortions.  We have abortions because we got pregnant when we didn’t want to be.  Or we can’t afford to have a kid right now.  Or being pregnant endangers our lives.  Or we were raped.  Or we don’t have the kind of homelife stable enough for children.  And so on.

If we rule out the women who have abortions because we just don’t want to have kids, anybody who is anti-abortion can make enormous strides in lowering the abortion rate by addressing the other reasons women have abortions.

And yet, do you see Campfield trying to pass legislation that would increase aid to poor families?  Is he supporting and agitating for comprehensive sex ed in our public schools?  Is he advancing legislation that would guarantee women the right to have their prescriptions filled at the pharmacy of their choice?  Is he fighting for more and better healthcare for Tennessee’s citizens?  Is he specifically trying to get funding for research into countering deadly birth defects?  Is he fighting for women’s safety?  He could, for instance, bring a great deal of pressure on the city and state to get us full-time police coverage in the park where we had that brutal rape this fall.  What’s he doing to try to bring more and better jobs to Tennessee?

I mean, really, rather than calling women Nazis and slave-owners, what’s Campfield doing to ensure that, when a woman discovers that she’s pregnant, it’s a happy and healthy occasion?

As a Favor to Me, Do This Favor For Ben

Women, I swear that I will never ask you to do anything like this again, but as a favor to me, please tell Ben about your experiences in math class.  Ben, if we do this for you, you have to promise a.) to spend some time perusing this blog and b.) listening to women when they let their guards down.

Because, see, what’s happening right now is that it feels to me very much like you’re saying that, no matter what I tell you–that I experience being a woman in this society as being bullshit in ways it doesn’t seem to me men have to face–you refuse to give my understanding of my own experience as much weight as you give your own experience, even though you aren’t a woman and I am.

I could whip my dick out and tell you that I have a minor in Women’s Studies that compliments my double major in Literature and History (though, sadly, was little help with my Russian minor) and that my master’s thesis necessitated an intimate knowledge of feminist theory, and that I relied heavily on the works of the French feminists and their thoughts on écriture féminine in order to prove my point about the fallacy of the non-linearity of hypertexts and other forms of experimental fiction all as my way of showing that I know what I’m talking about, but I’d hope that you’ve been a man long enough to see that for the bullshit move it is.

What I want is that when I tell you about my experiences, you take them at face value and that you ask questions that aren’t premised on the supposition that I’m either too stupid to understand that there’s really nothing much wrong with our society in regard to gender or that I’m making shit up.  I don’t want to have to act like a man or talk about my experiences in the way you’ve come to expect the Truth to be delivered to you in order for you to take what I say seriously.

So, why aren’t there more women computer scientists?  Is it that women don’t want to be computer scientists or is it that we’re told, repeatedly, that we suck at math?   Shit, Ben, even Barbie had to get in on the “math is hard” message for girls.

I, myself, discovered that girls sucked at math when I was a junior in high school and there were nine people in our calculus class, taught by the man who also taught computer science, and three of us were girls.  We had to sit in the front row, because ‘girls have a harder time with math than boys do,’ which was, apparently, code for ‘I like you to sit where I can openly stare at your tits and regularly brush my crotch against your arms or back as I’m checking to see how you’re doing on your test.’

Guess which class we regularly skipped?  Guess which three people in that class were not about to be stuck in a computer lab in the basement with that dude?

But, you know, I’m sure the reason none of the three of us went on to be computer scientists or other math-intensive professions is just because we didn’t want to.  I mean, yeah, we didn’t want to, but not because of something inherent to computer science.

You can’t just look at the choices women have made and extrapolate from that that women are doing what they want to do and that because you don’t see any real injustice, none exists.

And I’ll humor you, because I’m willing to put up with a lot of stuff that’s hurtful if I believe that the person spouting it doesn’t really intend to be hurtful (which is one of the reasons I was so pissed at Steinem.  She knows what she’s doing; she knows how hurtful it is and she said it anyway), but it’s grueling, really, to both have to fight against obvious bullshit and repeatedly show that bullshit to people who are obviously smart enough to see it for themselves.

So, I can’t, at the end of the day, promise you that you’ll get any other women to participate.

But you might.  And I’d ask that you just listen to what they’re telling you about their experiences.  Just about this one thing.  I’m not even asking that you change your mind.  You can still think I’m full of shit.  But just listen and ask yourself if you really can say for certain that women don’t want to be computer scientists.

Oh, Right-Wing Blogosphere, How You Make Me Look Like a Genius!

Just last night, I was mulling over and trying to suss out for myself what exactly is going on with men, between men, over the bodies of raped women.  And this morning, I awake to a conservative blogosphere full of outrage over reports of a paper by Tal Nitzan that seems to argue that Israeli soldiers don’t rape Palestinian women out of, in part, a motivation to send a message to the Palestinian people about their worth.

Now, I don’t want to get bogged down in talking about the Israeli/Palastinian mess.  I’m not even that interested in talking about the paper, because I, like most people in the world, haven’t read it.  Folks seem to be pretty creatively quoting from this news article in a way that makes it seem as if they’ve seen the article, but if it’s out there, easily accessed, I can’t find it.

And one would think that, if bloggers had found it, they would be linking to it in order to tear it to pieces.

But no, instead, based on a news report, we’re all supposed to contact The Hebrew University and express out outrage that… what? 

Scholars are speculating?

Anyway, any more than that, I’m not going to defend or deride Nitzan.  I haven’t read her article and I’m not going to be outraged based on wide-spread extrapolations from the interpretations of what she’s saying from one news source.

Anyone can have words taken out of context.  I could write a sentence that says “I love Stalin!” in the context of, say, writing a paragraph about how things can be taken out of context, only to find that folks who disagree with me would take those three words and paint me a neo-idiot.

No, what I find interesting is how you can see being played out something similar to what I was talking about last night.

See Stickwick here.  Her line of thought seems to be pretty representative, I think.:

In other words, it’s dehumanizing not to rape someone, and the IDF can’t win. I knew this student was a woman before I even read through the rest of the news article, because only a woman could conceive of a scenario in which a man is guilty no matter what he does. Unfortunately, as the rest of the article indicates, the bias of this student and her professors goes much deeper than this.

The other problem with the paper is that the author apparently sees rape, as most women do, in sexual terms while rapists see it in terms of exerting power. In a woman’s mind, someone she regards as a potential rapist refusing to rape a woman must mean that he finds her unworthy of sexual relations. In other words, she is unappealing in the extreme or less than human. In that sense, not raping is viewed as an insult. This line of reasoning, compounded with the author’s bias, led to the illogical conclusion that not committing a crime is an injustice in itself.

I quoted at length because there’s a lot to get at here.  For starters, you can see how there’s this tension between understanding rape as a crime against a specific person and about that rapist’s view of that particular person and understanding rape as a message to a larger group.  On the one hand, Stickwick is arguing for an understanding of rape that is just about one person committing a crime against another specific person.

And, from this perspective, claiming that we can understand Nitzan’s article in terms of women seeing men in a perpetual state of “guilt”–guilty if they do rape and, supposedly, guilty if they don’t.

But it seems to me entirely plausible that what Nitzan is talking about is what message rape (or lack thereof) sends to an entire community–“We don’t have to prove that you can’t protect your women, because everyone already knows it.”

And, in fact, if you look closely at what she’s saying, I think Stickwick tips her hand that she understands and is, in fact, sympathetic to what seems to be Nitzan’s broader claim–that rape (or the lack of) sends a message about who has power.

I know you skimmed over the sentence because it’s just so ridiculous and so easily disproven, but take a look at it again:

The other problem with the paper is that the author apparently sees rape, as most women do, in sexual terms while rapists see it in terms of exerting power. [Emphasis mine.]

Now, just for a second, ignore the fact that a person would have to be willfully ignorant of even basic feminist theory to make such a claim and look at it in terms of what she’s saying about how rapists see rape.  Women, she claims, make the mistake of assuming rape is about the particular woman (she typifies this as “sexual terms;”  I call it a mistake of particularity, assuming it is about you as a specific person), while the rapists see it as exerting power.

Yes, exactly.  And not just over his victim, but over her entire community.

So, if Stickwick can see, and clearly she can, that rape functions not just at the level of particulars, but also at the level of being a broader message about power, why is she taking umbrage at a scholar who also seems to be arguing that rape can be understood as a broader message about power?

That, my friends, is a question for the ages.

Are we really at a point where folks can, with a straight face, argue the exact same things as their ideological opposites and not realize that they are?

I guess so.

The Spears Girls

As you probably heard by now, Britney Spears’s little sister and star of Zoey 101, Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant.  GoldnI can give you the run-down.

I go back and forth about the Spears family and whether they’re appropriate fodder for discussion.  I mean, to me, it’s obvious that Brittney is deeply screwed up in a way that goes beyond the drug use and the cooter flashing and the bizarre behavior.  In a way, I guess I believe that those things are not her problems, but symptoms of her problems.

And I find that, as an outsider, scary and sad.  But, in general, I don’t pay much attention to her.  I’m just not interested.

I did laugh, though, when I heard that someone had given Britney’s mom a contract to write a book on how to be a good mother.

I mean, please, in what world is Lynne Spears a good mother?

But, in general, it seems to me that how we talk about the Spears girls, especially Britney, is just a way for us to blow off some misogynistic steam in a way I find kind of gross.  And I’d rather not casually talk about anyone being a slut or a whore or a stupid bitch as if those are just okay ways of talking about any woman.

But I read this post by Sara Robinson yesterday and I think that colored how I read this line at Perez Hilton’s this morning.

“The book is delayed indefinitely. It’s delayed, not cancelled,” says a spokeswoman for Thomas Nelson, which publishes Christian books.

Thomas Nelson is here in town, so I am passingly familiar with them, and, from the outside, they do seem to try (though regularly pretty unsuccessfully) to meld the business of publishing with a Christian ethos.

In other words, while other publishers might have contracted a book from Lynne Spears about how to be a great parent, in spite of the fact that her most famous child is clearly suffering profoundly from decisions Lynne made as a parent, just because it would sell some copies and bring some publicity, I have every reason to believe that Thomas Nelson brought that project under contract because at least the acquiring editor (if not more people) sincerely believed that Lynne Spears could write a book on being a good parent.

And, I wonder, how can that possibly be?

But that’s where I think, keeping in mind that Thomas Nelson is a conservative Christian publisher, Robinson’s insights are useful.

She talks about her experiences being raised in a fundimentalist environment:

Oprah Winfrey once said that the best advice she ever got in her life was from Maya Angelou, who said: “When people tell you who they are — believe them.”

I’ve gotten good mileage from this advice over the years. Being raised fundie, you spend a lot of your life being told to believe someone else’s preposterous interpretation of events over your own lying eyes. Growing up this way really twists your reality lenses; and those of us who come out of it as adults spend a lot of time and energy learning to see and interpret the world clearly again. Angelou’s quote is one of the mantras that gave me permission to trust my own observations of what people were saying and doing, knock off the false hopes and wishful thinking, accept this information as literal truth, and rely on it as an accurate indicator about how they were likely to behave in the future. It’s knowledge that was acquired late, but has since kept me out of an amazing amount of trouble.

Believing someone else’s preposterous interpretation of events…

What a good way to put it, though, I would add that often, if the training is deep enough, you have to get over believing your own preposterous interpretation of events.

I have, for instance, some beloved friends whose father has just gotten dicked over by a religious organization about as hard as you can get dicked over.  I mean, so hard that, if he had any sense when it came to this stuff (and I say this as someone who loves him dearly and has watched my own father pull the same stupid ass stuff on himself), he would run away from organized religion forever.  And yet, he refuses to believe what he’s seen with his own eyes–that the way we do the day-to-day business of Christianity as a bureaucracy perpetuates a lot of evil on people trying to serve Jesus–and instead believes his problems are a result of the Devil.

My heart aches for him, because he’s going through this and because he refuses to believe his “lying” eyes and so is still vulnerable to going through this again.

And my heart aches for my Christian friends who do this same thing.  I don’t believe it’s all Christians and I don’t believe this tendency has been very wide-spread for very long (it’s probably always been a strain of Christianity, but I don’t believe it ever permiated the whole culture in quite this way–though I could be wrong).  But it scares me how prevalent it is and how it’s not just a way of existing in the church, but how some folks encounter the whole world.

I mean, how did Lynne Spears get a book contract with Thomas Nelson?  Because someone there was willing to believe her preposterous interpretation of events over what is plain for the whole world to see.

One of y’all will know this off the top of your head, but didn’t Jesus warn against this very thing, warn you to be vigilant and mindful of how other people will try to pull shit over on you?

Why does that lesson seem to be unlearned?

Twilight Sleep & Childbirth and Feminism

So, the most famous healthcare blogger in town and I went to see Ricki Lake’s documentary “The Business of Being Born.”  It was awesome and made midwives seem like the most cool women on the face of the planet.  We got to watch a lot of natural childbirths, which, for those of you unfamiliar with childbirth, seems to require a lot of walking around, grunting, squatting, and naked men rubbing your back and holding you while you scream.

Now, normally, I’m all for naked men, but I have to say–naked man time is supposed to be fun time.  If there’s any chance I might need you to say “Hey, wait, now’s the time for us to get to the hospital, immediately!” I don’t want to have to wait around while you play “Where’s my underwear?”

When I’m having a natural birth, you have your jacket on and your car keys in one hand.  You can rub my back with the other hand and I will feel much more secure leaning against you in the birthing tub if I can see that your shoes are on in case any sprinting to the sidwalk to motion the paramedics in needs to be done.

But, other than the fathers’ strange propensity to take off their clothes, watching women give birth in their own homes was just amazing.  This one woman was like “grunt” “groan” “wiggle wiggle wiggle” and then “grunt” and out popped her baby.  Another woman was all just crouching on the kitchen floor, also grunting when, flop, out came her baby right on the kitchen floor.  Amazing.

But that’s not what I want to talk to you about.  Instead, I want to talk about Twilight Sleep, which is how many of our mothers were born and maybe even some of us.  I did not know anything about this.  I really thought it was what it sounded like, a light sedation that kept you kind of woozy and pain free while your husband was out in the waiting room passing out cigars and you both waited for the doctor to bring you the news that the baby had been born.  And I assumed it feel out of favor because the women couldn’t help push or something.


America, during twilight sleep, women went bat-shit crazy from the drugs and the pain.  They hurt their heads (and so women’s heads were wrapped in large gauzy Q-tip looking arrangements).  They thrashed around and tried to claw at the doctors and so they were strapped to their gurneys, sometimes for days, in their own piss and shit.

Twilight sleep didn’t supress pain; it suppressed the memory of pain.  So the doctors could just do whatever and the women would not remember it and since it was ‘indecent’ for new fathers to be there, there was no one with the woman to advocate for her.  Plus, and this is the part that just creeps me out, they used lamb’s wool on the restraints because it didn’t leave bruises and so the husbands stopped seeing bruises and stopped asking questions about what was being done to their wives.

The whole thing makes me want to puke.  Here are women being tortured and given a drug so they can’t recall it and the people most likely to protect them–their husbands–aren’t allowed in the birthing process so that they don’t cause trouble.

On the ride home, Rachel and I were talking about why childbirth isn’t more of a feminist issue.  In the movie, they talked about how we have almost third-world levels of mother and infant mortality and how that’s directly tied to how we do birth in this country, the medicines that are administered during labor, and the rush to c-section a woman just because she’s not progressing fast enough to suit the doctor.

I think it’s tough.  It is a feminist issue, of course.  Women getting dicked around by the system is always a feminist issue.

But it’s a fine line.  Individual women do a lot of things for a lot of reasons and, even if we know that most c-sections are medically unnecessary, we have to be careful not to judge women who’ve had them.  They were making the best choice they could as to what was best for them and their babies with the information that they had.

But we need to reduce the number of c-sections and the number of chemically aided births in this country, because we know those kill women and babies.

We need birthing processes that, regardless of whether they take place in the home or the hospital, respect women’s right to control what happens to our bodies.

That was another thing that bothered me about one of the doctors.  He never referred to the obviously distressed and scared women in front of him by her name.  He kept calling her “mommy.”  I swear, I don’t understand how she didn’t just kick him in the face.  Here she was trying to get information about what was happening to her (they were taking her in for a c-section, but it was unclear–apparently even to her–why) and he’s all “Now Mommy just needs to calm down.”

It’d be interesting to go back and watch the movie with that in mind, because my impression is that the “good” medical professionals all called women by their names and the “problem” professionals were all “mommy” or “the patient.”

Anyway, the whole thing with the twilight sleep just bothers me to no end.  It’s like here you have the perfect example of how the System (coughPatriarchycough) hurts folks.  You have midwives, who’ve been helping women birth babies for generations, kicked to the side because they’re supposedly stupid and superstitious and the doctors in the hospitals know best.  And women go to these doctors and are given drugs and strapped to gurneys like they’re having psychotic breaks, because, you know, women are teh crazy anyway and it’s easier for the doctor.  And the people who would know that something wasn’t right–husbands and other family members–are kept out of the process because “men just can’t handle it” or “it’s improper for you to be in there.”

How convenient.

If There’s Any Lesson to Be Drawn from This, I Guess It’s that You Don’t Stand Between a Man’s Wife and His Biscuit

I have to call time-out on my boycott of all things WKRN, because I think it’s very important that we talk about the implications of this story.

In case you’re also boycotting WKRN, let me sum it up for you: They’re doing a story about the day laborers who stand outside the Jack in the Box on Murfreesboro Road in the morning and, in all fairness, trying to cover way too many complex issues in the little space they have.

I think that it’s clear that Jack in the Box has a right to have no loitering at their restaurant, if that’s what they’d like, so I’m not bothered that they would take steps to rid their front lawn of day laborers.  I am bothered by the assumption that those day laborers are all illegal immigrants and that the presence of undocumented people who are trying to work has somehow a correlation with the high crime in that part of town.

I mean, I know the stereotype of Mexicans is that they work hard, but I refuse to believe that anyone is so ambitious that he’s working all day for the Man and then turning around committing crimes all night.  When are these folks supposed to sleep?

But this is not actually a post about immigration.  It’s a post about this little telling snippet.

Would you want your wife or daughter to walk through this gauntlet of a dozen or more men to get a breakfast biscuit?, they ask me.

Because the answer to this question is often NO, many patrons bypass this restaurant for a morning biscuit. When you bypass this Jack in the Box because you might not feel comfortable, that means the business is losing money.

Let’s look at the instant replay:

Would you want your wife or daughter to walk through this gauntlet of a dozen or more men to get a breakfast biscuit?, they [the police] ask me.

A lot of times when feminists complain about how language is used–like in this instance where the assumption is that women belong to someone, “your wife,” “your daughter,” and that the problem isn’t how the women feel about having to navigate through a bunch of men to get to the Jack in the Box, but how the man feels about his women having to walk by those men–we’re dismissed, told that we’re reading too much into things.

But think with me about this.  None of these men standing outside the Jack in the Box has assaulted a woman while she was trying to get in the Jack in the Box.

I want you to make this distinction with me.  It’s fine for Jack in the Box to ask the police to help them deal with loitering because it reduces business.  It is not fine for the police to want to reduce the number of men outside the Jack in the Box because it’s uncomfortable for other men to have those men looking at “their” women.

You may think that it doesn’t matter why the police remove the men; the end result is the same.

But step back with me and let’s look at the larger picture.  The police are repeatedly removing men from in front of the Jack in the Box in order to make women feel more comfortable (or, by their words, in order to make men feel more comfortable about letting their women go to Jack in the Box).  No one has ever been assaulted by those men while they’re in front of the Jack in the Box.  And yet, we spend our taxpayer money on giving folks the illusion that women are now safe from ogling brown men.

But we still can’t get the police to patrol a part of town where a woman was raped for over two hours, a part of town that folks need to be able to walk through with relative safety.  (See S-town Mike’s continuing coverage of the state and local continuing “Oh, tough shit for you guys” response to this situation.)

Do you see how screwed up that is?  The police will dog on a location where women are perceived to be in danger and disregard calls for them to be in locations where women actually are in danger.

And why is that?

Again, I go back to that wording–“Would you want your wife or daughter to walk through this gauntlet of a dozen or more men”–and what it implies about how the police view their role, in this case, not just as enforcers of the law, but enforcers of proper gender norms.

Men have women–wives and daughters and, I assume, mothers–and it is their job to protect them and to control who has sexual access to them (even as far as who is allowed to look at them salaciously).  If a man cannot protect his women and control who has sexual access to them, it becomes the job of the police.  But these women, who are just trying to buy some breakfast are “good girls” and, according to our cultural narrative, men protect good girls.

A woman on her own, however, walking back from a night of drinking, through the park alone WITHOUT A MAN TO PROTECT HER is, almost by definition, a bad girl.  If she wasn’t, she wouldn’t have been downtown, she wouldn’t have been smoking, she wouldn’t have walked through the park alone.

And, again, according to our cultural narrative, no one has to protect bad girls.

I sincerely hope that this is not the underlying motivation for the continued ignoring of Bicentennial Park by the police–this unspoken belief that the kinds of women who are in the park alone at night don’t really need the same kind of protection as other women–but the fact that we talk about our allocation of time and energy in terms of needing to make women at Jack in the Box feel safer, with no thought given to how to keep women in near North Nashville actually safer really makes me wonder.

In Which I Yet Again Have to Explain Things to People Who Can Read

Via Tiny Pasture, we learn that Martin Kennedy might want to read the studies he’s drawing conclusions from before he draws conclusions from them. (Sorry, Martin. You know I love you, but I can’t let this nonsense stand.)

Kennedy says:

So, women are more likely to report violence against them and less likely to kill those who smack them around when we adopt policies that prevent them from dropping the case against their abusers.

Women are better off if we take away their choice?

Now, I know that, when pulled out like this, you can already see some flaws in his line of reasoning. For one “taking away women’s choice” does not equal “women are more likely to choose to report violence against them and less likely to choose to kill their abusers.” See, by providing abused women protection from their abusers when they do report violence (and making it more difficult for their abusers to manipulate them into dropping charges), it makes it easier for them to choose to report it and to choose courses of action that don’t lead them to feeling like killing their abusers is their only choice.

I’m linking to the original paper here so that you can see the real problem.

Note Kennedy’s language.  “Women are better off…”  “Well it is better if they, the women, don’t have a choice with respect to prosecution…”

But look at the paper.  Men are better off if women don’t have a choice with respect to prosecution.  Over twenty years, we’ve seen “the number of men killed by wives has declined dramatically from 1400 to less than 500 annually.”  (p. 23)

How are things working out for women?

According to the authors of the paper that Kennedy thinks proves that women have it better when our choices are limited:

the annual number of female intimate partner homicides nationally has declined slightly from 1500 to 1250 over the nearly 20 year period (p. 23)


Finally, we find no evidence that no drop policies lead to a reduction in domestic violence as measured by the number of women killed by intimate partners or the number of women admitted to the hospital for an assault. (p. 4)

and (most disturbingly)

We find that counties that adopt a no-drop policy witness a 14-17 percent higher rate of arrest for domestic violence relative to counties that do not adopt such a policy over this period.  However it is not clear from this analysis if this finding is due to an increase in reporting, or an increase in domestic violence as a result of no-drop policies (p. 31)

Let us recap.   Due to the no-drop policy, we see very little change in the amount of women killed by their partners each year, no evidence that it leads to a reduction in domestic violence, and uncertainty about whether it leads to an increase in domestic violence against women.

And this is what Kennedy calls “better” for women?  Perhaps the good professor has a different definition of “better” than I do?  Perhaps he meant to say “men” and not “women”?

Don’t get me wrong.  I think the no-drop policy is a sound one.  Batterers should be prosecuted and they should not have the opportunity to terrorize or manipulate the battered party into backing out of pressing charges.  And, frankly, the less murdered people, the better, so I consider it a good if battered spouses aren’t running around killing their abusers.

But to jump from “some good has come out of proceeding with prosecutions in spite of the wishes of the victim” to “women are better off when we tell them what to do, so let’s take away their right to an abortion!” is a leap no mere mortal should try to make, so it’s no surprise that not only does Kennedy fail to stick the landing, he seems to have left a couple of footprints in the plasticine after the takeoff board.

Ha, it’s not every day that you’re going to read an elaborate long jump metaphor here at Tiny Cat Pants.  Enjoy!

Oh, Boy(s)–A contest

Today, Mark Rose says “Feminists ostracize masculinity in men while at the same time trying to make themselves appear more masculine.”

Lord knows, the evidence of my trying to make myself appear more masculine is all over this blog.  So, you know, I wondered maybe if I was just half-failing as a feminist.  Maybe, at least, I was succeeding in ostracizing masculinity in men.  So, I wandered over to the blog of the man I spend the most time with and what do I find?

Roger Abramson accusing him of being too manly for liberalism:

I found it interesting, for instance, that you (Mack) were one of the prime defenders of the masculine rite of pointing out attractive women to other men, given your generally lefty tendencies. NOTE: I didn’t say it was necessarily incompatible with those tendencies, just interesting. Even more interesting is the fact that that’s not the first time you’ve taken a very strident traditionally “masculine” point of view on something (I remember you getting bent out of shape when I half-jokingly suggested that men should be allowed to carry handbags or purses around–would make it a lot easier to carry our junk with us). You are, in fact, much more traditionally masculine than a lot of male conservative bloggers. [Emphasis mine.]

Well, fuck me.  This day was going so well and now I find out that I’m a failure as a feminist.


Well, that’s it.  I’m growing a handlebar mustache and… and… well, I’m not exactly sure how one ostracizes masculinity, but the second I do, I’m all over ostracizing Mack’s a little bit, just for the sake of our local conservative bloggers.

Edited to add: Wait a second!  Do you think “ostracize masculinity” is a euphemism for some kind of sexual position conservatives think liberals engage in?  We should have a contest.  The person who comes up for the best description of what a straight woman does to a straight man when she “ostracizes his masculinity” wins.  I don’t really have anything for you to win, but I would be happy to crochet you something.

Hmm. Well, I Guess I Was Wrong.

Y’all, I swear to god, I thought that, if any musician in town used to be a woman, it was John Rich. It’s not just that he’s small and so obviously would make a relatively attractive woman, it’s that he also seems to go to such lengths to hide his chest–the guitar or overalls or jackets over shirts–and to read as “male” with the facial hair and the overly perfect scowl.

So, imagine my surprise to learn that he hates women and gay people is anti-abortion and anti-gay-marriage.

But there you go.

Still, I don’t want y’all to miss this bit from the Tennessean.

The pro-lifer is against gay marriage.


John also is known as a woman-loving party animal. “I’m probably somewhat of a walking dichotomy, I guess. Some of my favorite singers were that too, like Johnny Cash.”

Yes, he did, America. He admitted to being a flaming (oops, wrong word choice) unrepentant hypocrite and then hid behind Johnny Cash!

Is this the new standard? If Johnny Cash did it, it’s okay? Well, slap me full of amphetamines and bring on the pretty girls!

Seriously, he’s anti-abortion, but he also wants to be able to just fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck, fuck whoever he can get his hands on. If that’s not pretty much the patriarchy in a nut-shell, I don’t know what is.

Hee, patriarchy in a nut-shell. Tee hee.

Edited to add: John Rich has decided to clarify his comments. He doesn’t hate gay people. No, he loves them. He loves everybody! People should be judged on their merits. Hmm.

Well, Mr. Rich, see, it’s like this. You can say today, “My earlier comments on same-sex marriage don’t reflect my full views on the broader issues regarding tolerance and the treatment of gays and lesbians in our society,” but yesterday, you felt it was fine to say that gay people wanted to get married was “unsavory” and “unnatural” and joked that two consenting adults who aren’t related wanting to make a legally recognized commitment to each other was on par with incest. So, explain to me again how those two things jibe?

How in the world do you think promoting the idea that gay marriage is “unsavory” and “unnatural” and on par with incest is not intolerant, bigoted, and hateful?

If we judged you on your merits, I’m afraid we’d find one fucked-up dude.

Edited some more to add this: You know what really irritates me? Take a look at this:

Shall we count the ways in which Big & Rich are horsing around in ways that owe a great debt to gay culture (yes, I know, it’s a problematic term) in this video?

1. Big Kenny’s “Love Pirate” shirt

2. Cowboy Troy in his satin shirt

3. Big & Rich marching around with their umbrellas and walking arm in arm

4. The fur coat

5. All the fringe

6. The two beauty queens

7. The fact that the “girl” in the car with Big & Rich is supposed to be a mannequin, as if it’s just a fake barrier in the way of them being together.

8. The dancing women–the ones in the business suits and the cowgirls–are all interchangeable (which, I guess, the beauty queens and the band members are as well) and the unique folk, the ones who have meaningful interactions with each other, are just the guys.

9 (kind of). In the cut of this video I used to see on my TV, Gretchen Wilson, looking just about as butch as a girl can look is riding a tractor. I don’t see her in this cut, though.

My point is that they want to horse around with gender expectations and flaunt conventional modes of how men in country music are supposed to look and act and yet, they don’t see their debt to the very folks Rich is calling “unnatural.” That bothers the shit out of me.

If you’re willing to steal from folks, you should be willing to acknowledge their value to you and go to bat for them, even if it makes you personally uncomfortable.

Who Does Kay Brooks Hate More–Men or Women?

Being a feminist, I’ve grown used to the ways in which woman-hating oozes from perfectly normal people on occasion, and the necessity of seeing such woman-hating and calling it for what it is. But I’m still perplexed by how men will piss and moan about stupid shit like women not being able to be drafted and yet completely miss the misandry that permeates their everyday lives.

Take Kay Brooks’ post today for an example of what I mean.

Those of you who’ve been reading me a while can, I presume, point out the ways in which Brooks thinks women should just suck it up and accept their status as second-class citizens:

–According to Brooks, we are not to go outside alone after dark, especially not to public places, like parks.

–Being raped isn’t merely a crime, it’s a “lesson” (presumably in what happens to us if we forget that we don’t have the right to walk around in public).

–If you are raped, you have to accept personal responsibility for it. In other words, though Brooks tries to say that she thinks the victim doesn’t “deserve” what happened to her, she’s also turning right around and saying that she bears responsibility for it.

This stuff is pretty vile. But look at how Brooks talks about men.

–Men who won’t blame rape victims for their rapes are “cowed.” (Yes, America, I swear to god, Kay Brooks manages to hit the trifecta of misogyny there. Let’s count it out, shall we? 1. Women are to blame for their rapes. 2. Being called a female [a cow] is an insult. 3. Men who don’t agree with her are acting like women, which, of course, is an insult of the highest order.)

–Men are monsters who cannot help but rape. She even calls them monsters.

–And there’s nothing other, non-rapist, men–like police officers–can do to make women safe in public.

On one level, guys, I guess it must feel incredibly powerful to think of yourselves as unstoppable monsters. But, still, it’s got to suck, to hear constantly how monstrous and fucked up you are (unless you’re dickless and ineffectual), how women should just assume that any encounter with you is going to lead to you hurting us (or letting us get hurt). Doesn’t that get old?

Anyway, this post pisses me off and breaks my heart, because, at her core, Kay Brooks is a superstitious fool.

I’m going to say that again, even though it’s going to piss her off, because I think it’s important for y’all to hear. In this matter, Kay Brooks is a superstitious fool.

There is only one person that could have prevented that rape that evening and it is not the victim.

Look at it this way. Say she had just given him the light for his cigarette and then she got nervous and called a cab and went home. So, she’s safe. What about the woman walking from Printer’s Alley back to her car? What about the woman waiting outside the Municipal Auditorium for a cab? What about the woman whose friend is meeting her around the corner who might have bumped into the rapist as she was coming out of her apartment building? What about the woman living in Germantown whose husband was out of town and whose bedroom was on the ground floor? Do you see what I’m saying? If he was intent on raping someone that evening, he would have continued to hunt for a suitable victim until he found her.

Carrying a phone, walking with friends, never leaving your house except to go to work and the store, avoiding places your tax dollars pay for, curtailing your life, these are all just tricks we play, deals we make with fate, please don’t let it be us this time, and they are about as effective.

I mean, please, do you see how insidious this is, and kind of gross? It assumes that there are rapists out there, determined to rape, and that there’s no solution to the problem of all these rapists except for women, “sensible women,” as Brooks puts it, being willing to curtail their lives. But this does nothing to actually lessen the incidents of rapes, because all you’re doing is playing this game where you try to make yourself look like less of an easy target than someone else. “Don’t rape me; rape her or her or her.”

Rape incidents are reduced not by women hiding in their houses, afraid to do normal things, but by rapists not raping.

And really, shame on anyone who would suggest otherwise.

Prove Me Right

So, I was fighting with Mack about this this morning and now I’ve been fighting about it all afternoon with the Butcher.  Internet, I turn to you.  Settle this once and for all.

What is a charley horse?

Is it the act of giving someone a terrible cramp in their leg (or sometimes arm)?

Or is it the cramp itself?

Folks, This is Why Feminists Walk Around With That Crazy Angry Look In Our Eyes

Courtesy of Rachel, we learn that, at least in Cheatham County here in Tennessee, you can sexually assault your wife and as long as you don’t stick an un-condom-ed dick in her, Merry Christmas to you!  You won’t be charged.

Now, you might think that’s disturbing, but let’s look at some more actual facts brought to us courtesy of The Tennessean.

1.  “Before 1988, Tennessee did not consider forcible sexual contact in a marriage a crime.”  1988!

But wait!!!!!!  That’s not the disturbing part.

2.  “But that year, legislators changed the laws for the first time, creating a spousal exemption, meaning a spouse could be charged with rape if a weapon was used or if the attack caused serious bodily injury or if the couple were separated or divorcing while living apart. Still, the penalties at the time were far less severe than rape of strangers and acquaintances.”

So, you may be wondering, when did the State of Tennessee finally realize that men can rape their wives?

3.  “Then, in 2005, the rape laws were changed and the exemption eliminated so that raping one’s spouse was the same as raping someone else, punishable by up to 60 years in prison.”

Yes, you read that right.  2005, which, as you may recall was just the year before last year.

I have to put my head on my desk for a minute, to let the craziness pass.

Oh, AP, You Tickle Me

Lil’ P reports on this hilarious line from the AP:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a divorced, billionaire dad, said Tuesday that unwed fathers increase poverty and the government should take steps to get them back with their families.

Oh, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Bless Lil’ P’s heart, he doesn’t even give you the most sexist line of the piece (but, of course, I will), when Bloomberg says, “‘Fathers have been missing from the table,’ said the mayor, a divorced father of two who made a fortune creating an eponymous financial data firm. ‘We have to do more to connect fathers to jobs and to their families.'”  [emphasis mine]

Yes, you can ditch a woman and kids and skip out on child support, but as far as Bloomberg is concerned, that family belongs to you.  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.


You want to be a part of a family, you act like a part of a family.  You don’t have to be married–in fact, I think getting married just because you’re having a baby often compounds the problem, especially if you’re young–but you have to be there and pay your share.

A “dad” is not some name on a piece of paper.  A dad is the dude who’s there when the chips are down and who is fighting for you.

Does the system need to be reformed?  Yes it does.  The Butcher and I know a ton of people back home who have kids with their significant other but are intentionally not getting married because they can get more money single than they can together.  I don’t think there should be a marriage benefit–I don’t think you should get more money for being married–but you also shouldn’t be penalized.

So, fine, but, at the end of the day, those men are not the men Bloomberg is talking about.  They’re still a part of the family unit.  They’re just scamming the system.  If those men married their babies’ mammas, it would not reduce poverty because they haven’t not been contributing to the family.

Here’s my question.  Why would we try to encourage men who refuse to contribute to families they helped start to marry back into those families?  Never mind the problem with just ignoring whether the woman wants the man in her life in the first place, he has, by the very act of withholding child support, proved that he’s an evil jerk who doesn’t put his children’s welfare above his own needs.  What makes Bloomberg think that being married would reform him?

Do all poor women have magical cooters?  If we can just keep bad boys in them long enough, eventually they’ll be transformed into good fathers?

And what are you going to do with the men who have five kids by five different women?  Or even two kids by two different women?

What if the man’s still single but the woman has married someone else?

And, not to ask the stupidest question, but how, if he’s poor and she’s poor, is getting married going to magically make them not poor?

Seriously, is there some Harry Potter shit that politicians know about that the rest of us don’t?