Category Archives: everyday dealings with the dominant paradigm

Jerking off

I rarely enter into the world of the sitcom.  However, I do check in occasionally, as it is a way to monitor the status of our pornified culture. Today, I watched, back-to-back, the first two episodes of ABC’s Work It.*  The show is a triumph of “sex-positive” feminism and its ideological love affair with patriarchy.  Alternatively, it is a triumph of patriarchy over feminisms of resistance.

The following is one snippet.  Here, the wife-mother laughs along with the husband-father as he jokes about masturbating in the bathroom to pictures of women whose only consent is that they are simply women.  (In rape culture, being a woman is considered consent in itself to be objects of men’s sexual release.)

Woman/wife/mother:  “Say, Lee, why do I keep finding my women’s magazines in our bathroom.”

Teen daughter: “Oh gross, Dad. Get some real porn.”

(canned laughter)

Man/husband/father:  “No, no, no!  That’s not why….okay, that’s why.”

Wife:  “Seriously?”

Husband:  “Yeah, there’s some pretty hot stuff in there.”

(canned laughter)

Wife:  “Oh, really, this does it for you:  (reading from magazine)  How to minimize your broad back.”

Husband (eyes closed, faking ecstasy):  “Oh, yeah, baby, say it slower….”

(wife laughs—canned laughter)

The daughter, however, is not yet as sex-positively enlightened as her mother, and reflects a more traditional—and equally problematic—perspective.  She only wants her dad to masturbate to pictures of prostituted women.  She, like her mother, accepts dad’s predatorial sexuality, but desires that it be focused on a specific class of women—one that does not include her.

What a great new comedy.  I laughed and laughed.

(put canned laughter here)

_______________________________

*I was also curious about Work It for its mock “trans” plot line.  Those aspects of the show are also extremely problematic, on so many levels. 

My ugly shoes

My father hated feminists.  He was actually behind a campaign to stop a women’s studies program from launching at his university in the 1970s.  When that didn’t work, he followed up with periodic harassing letters to the head of the program.  I know this because 30 years later, she showed them to me.

My father always spoke derisively about feminists!.  Among one of the many faults of feminists, I learned at a young age, was that they wear ugly shoes.

I remember clearly when I met the first woman I knew who named herself as a feminist.  I was in my late 20s.  I couldn’t help myself, I had to look under the table, to check out her shoes.

Yep.  They were ugly.  “Ugly”, like mine.  They were the kind of shoes that you can stand in all day, at a protest, or walk in, at a march.  They were the kind of shoes that do not deform your feet or make you walk with your glutes popped out.  They were the kind of shoes that you can escape a predator in.  Or fight him in.

Me and my ugly shoes.


The need for new mythology

I watched my first Harry Potter movie last night.  It was the second in the much hyped, very popular series, titled Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

The plot was a re-hash of standard, Western, patriarchal mythology.  The three main female characters in the plot included a constantly crying girl, a smart girl who spends much of the movie in a paralyzed state, and a girl who needs to be saved from the evil doings of a serpent.  The chosen male, Harry, fights the serpent, killing it with a sword that looks much like a jeweled cross.  Over all of this presides the headmaster wizard, who is very Christian god-like with his long, white trailing beard.

Prior to being paralyzed, the smart girl shows herself to be an excellent student who is actually much better with her spells and potions than Harry.  However, it is known by everyone that Harry is simply inherently gifted, destined for greatness.  Encountering the serpent renders her catatonic.  Encountering the serpent renders Harry a hero.

I tire of this.  The same vacuous female characters were presented to me, in other narratives, when I was a girl.  Decades later, girls and women continue to be offered same limited, stunted visions of themselves and their relationship to men and society, as were they presented to women prior to my generation, and on and on.  Then it is posited, by the patriarchal sycophants, that women’s and girls’ imitations of these characters are “natural”—when, in fact, they are deeply acculturated.

I ran a race a couple of weekends ago.  Following the race, teams lined up to get their pictures taken.  A team of college-aged girls lined up in front of the camera, then turned around, bent over with their hands on their knees, and smiled coyly back at the camera.

That’s learned behavior.  It’s born of the mythology of “woman” that is given to girls.


Too fat, too ugly

A homeless man is standing on a street corner with a sign reading:

Too fat and too ugly

to prostitute 🙂

Please help!

He is neither fat nor ugly.  I am also certain he is straight.  A homeless gay man would not advertise his double vulnerability to the omnipresent dangerous bigots.

So the “in” joke—“in” with other, straight but not homeless men—is that he is more downtrodden than a homeless woman, whom men screw before giving cash.  And since there are so many, many men who are willing to screw a homeless woman, she gets more cash at the end of the day than he, the homeless straight guy.

So pity me, he says, with a smiley face on his cardboard sign.  I may be homeless, but I am a man just like you—always at least a rung higher on the ladder of power than women of my own class, always able to joke about the oppression and abuse of women—and that’s where you, the other classes of men in the cars, and me, the homeless man, bond.


On colonization and sex radicalism

The colonized are truly colonized when the only path they can see out of their colonization leads to the colonizer’s definition of heaven. — D.A. Clarke

Sex radicals do the pornographers’ dirty work…when women defend pornography and prostitution, they attach themselves to a politics that hates them and negates their existence.  Sex radicals are not rebels…it is radical in every sense of the word when women stand against pornography and prostitution.  — Christine Stark


Effing our own movement

It is the perfect storm of consonants and a vowel.  It starts out slow and ends with an aggressive finality.  It’s a release.  A push at the beginning, a slam at the end.

Fuck.

But it is more than a cluster of sounds.  It has a specific meaning.  Like the symbol of “fuck,” the middle finger raised in angry disdain, it references a hostile penis.  A rape, really.

When used by radical feminists, it represents a colonizing of our movement.


The boy in the dress

The trick-or-treaters came in droves this year.  I started to worry that I would run out, because I take pretty seriously having plenty of good Halloween swag for the kids.  I still remember when I was 10 and arrived at a house with my hopeful paper bag, and a couple was exiting the house, well dressed, purse, polished shoes, jewelry.  Going out.  One feigned, “Oh!  Is it Halloween?  I guess we forgot,” and dropped a nickel in my bag.  Then they scuttled to their car to spend the night hunkered down in whatever fancy restaurant they were headed to.

Bad.  That was just bad.  But if you come to my house, you’ll get swag.  Good swag.

One of the clusters of kids who came for candy this year was three boys in their early teens:  two galactic warlords of some sort and their companion wearing an ill-fitting dress and some sloppy girly makeup.

I was immediately put off by the “man in the dress” satire.  Although I was busy handing out candy and not thinking in complete sentences, I was musing something along the line of here’s a young guy who needs someone to contradict his gender paradigm before it becomes so entrenched it can’t be uprooted. But I paused, and more thoughtfully wondered, is he a boy who would really like to wear dresses, beautiful dresses, with tidy makeup, but could only feel safe as a Halloween satire of himself?

Either way, it was a troubling costume.  It was either a parody of a girl or a parody of a boy’s silence about his identity.  I couldn’t help notice that he did seem very sad.


Flirting with the Dominant Paradigm

So I am trying online dating.  What else is a vegan heterosexual radical feminist to do?  A guy responds to my ad.  His profile name is Juicy Cucumber.  I don’t know whether I should laugh or swear perversely.  I do both.  Later today, I am reading feminist blogs, and I come across this by the author of How to be a Rad Fem:

One of the conundrums for us heterosexual Radfems is our sexual attraction to our oppressor. You know the man you’re attracted to probably doesn’t share your warm fuzzy (humane) feelings – and almost certainly watches degrading porn – but you want to run your fingers through his chest hair anyway.

And I laugh.  I really, really need to laugh.