Monday, February 11, 2008

The Other Feminst Response

Hey now, let's not throw around a bunch of slander that we can't take back Tex. Moi, a moderate in a debate? No. Around these parts, a moderate is mushy putz who can't see fit to pick a damn side and defend it. I'm not a moderate on the Robin Wright article, I'm nuanced. I thought it was stupid but she had a couple good points.

However, Liz, I don't think it's fair for you to assume I would fly in to a rage over it, nor make the assumption that I'm not a feminist. What gets me all frothy about people like The Walrus, The Gentleman Prick, Lazy Bill Kristol and Andrea Peyser is that they have large national outlets with which to spew their drivel. Robin Wright wrote something that appeared on the internet, and since the internet is a strange wasteland of half baked ideas and Ron Paul Youtube videos, it didn't make me as angry as I usually get. Or maybe it's that Robin Wright is a woman and because women aren't equal I can't even get my hackles raised by her drivel.

What I find funny is that an article that was written for the purposes of making people like myself (read: dudes) mad had the exact oppositte effect. I sat and I thought about it, pondered where Wright was coming from and thought my own feminist bonafides, or lack thereof. Then I remembered that what I was reading was a poorly thought out, logically spotty rant, grade school level writing you see only on the worst message boards and Ron Paul Youtube clips comment sections. If Robin Wright meant to lay out a convincing case for Hillary, she failed spectacularly. We're talking a Howard The Duck level of teh fail. Epic fail, I believe is what the kids are calling it these days.

Morgan attempts an assault upon thinking individuals by presenting the case that Hillary Clinton and Hillary Clinton alone is under attack in her run for President. Never you mind that CNN actually had the gall to ask Barack Obama to refute that horrifying claims that he's some kind of secret Muslim sleeper candidate who turns his back during the Pledge of Allegiance live during one of their debates, Carl Bernstein said Hillary had fat ankles? Call him out for being the wrinkled old prune he is. Upset that South Park went too far with Hillary? Get on a picket line with Bill Donohue you reactionary fuck, I'll be on the couch watching Trey Stone and Matt Parker be the only TV show brave (or stupid) enough to show an image of Muhammad on the air.

What especially galls me (not that she would care) is Morgan's assertions about Obama Girl and women who support Obama. I'll tackle these one at a time, with a reprint of the quotes.

Goodbye to a misrepresented generational divide . . .

Goodbye to the so-called spontaneous “Obama Girl” flaunting her bikini-clad ass online—then confessing Oh yeah it wasn’t her idea after all, some guys got her to do it and dictated the clothes, which she said “made me feel like a dork.”

It's a stunning charge, for an internet video anyway. Could Obama Girl really not be a model looking to get publicity and instead be the victim of some kind of penis filled conspiracy? Just who had the balls brains behind this rigid production number? Let's ask...The Internet! From, June 13, 2007:

The song was performed by Leah Kauffman, a 21-year-old undergraduate at Temple University in Philadelphia, who wrote the lyrics with a friend, 32-year-old advertising executive Ben Relles, and the music with her producer, Rick Friedrich.

A woman and a man working together on a song? Gazzle bozzle! Hurfle nop! My monocle has fallen out of my eye and shattered into a million fucking pieces. There is glass all over my floor! But surely the Obama Girl was somehow cockslapped into appearing in the video in a bikini? From the same story:

An actress/model named Amber Lee Ettinger then lip-synched the song for the video, shot by filmmakers found on Craigslist two hours before Relles and Ettinger hit New York City one Friday in May to shoot the video on a DV camera.

A model? On Craigslist??? My fancy tophat has fallen off as well now, and it too has shattered into a million fucking pieces. I think next time I consult my haberdasher, I won't let him sell me a hat made out of glass. Eh, live and learn. Still, maybe Robin Morgan is right and the bikini was foisted upon poor Amber. Thinking this might be the case, I Googled "Obama Girl 'made me feel like a dork'". The only think that came up was your article Robin. In fact, the only time Amber Lee Ettinger makes reference to feeling like a dork is on this MSNBC interview when she jokes about dancing around like a dork.

So Robin Morgan is either lying or just twisting Amber's words for her own stupid ends. If it were the case that Amber Lee Ettinger was an intelligent and politically active woman who was shanghaied into an exploitative situation, that would be foul. However, that just isn't the case, and Morgan presenting it in that fashion doesn't do her any favors.

The Obama Girl attack may have stood out as the worst argument in the article if Morgan didn't immediately follow it up with this little slur:

Goodbye to some young women eager to win male approval by showing they’re not feminists (at least not the kind who actually threaten thestatus quo), who can’t identify with a woman candidate because she is unafraid of eeueweeeu yucky power, who fear their boyfriends might look at them funny if they say something good about her. Goodbye to women of any age again feeling unworthy, sulking “what if she’s not electable?” or “maybe it’s post-feminism and whoooosh we’re already free.” Let a statement by the magnificent Harriet Tubman stand as reply. When asked how she managed to save hundreds of enslaved African Americans via the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, she replied bitterly, “I could have saved thousands—if only I’d been able to convince them they were slaves.”

You know who voted for Obama? My mother. My mother voted for Obama, and I hardly consider her a slave or a sulking, feminism deserting traitor. Liz voted for Obama too and she's one of the strongest most outspoken women I know. My friends Amanda and Laurin voted for Barack too. Just where does Robin Morgan get off throwing that kind of charge around anyway? I don't care who you were in the 70s, accusing women who voted for Barack Obama of not being feminists, trying to make their boyfriends happy by being submissive or even of being slaves gets you called one word around here, in all caps no less: ASSHOLE.

While you were saying goodbye Robin, why didn't you say goodbye to dishonest, manipulative tactics?

So what was Robin Morgan right about? She's absolutely correct that sexism is still prevalent and accepted today, much more so than racism. Mark Ames his a hilarious, cutting section in a column in The Exile discussing the Hillary hatred phenomenon:

Poor Hillary... just can't break out of her character role as America's Misogyny Magnet: she's the bitchy-neighbor in the bad sitcom who always gets the live studio audience to crow "oooo": the minute the camera focuses on her, you feel a kind of unmediated hate that's completely beyond your control, a strain of perfectly preserved, primal misogyny locked up deep inside of just about every voting-age male's psyche (if you claim you haven't felt it, you're either a monstrous liar or else you're wearing a leather head harness with an inflatable mouth gag as you're reading this). Sure she's as bland as Barak, perhaps even marginally blander, but at the animal level, she triggers a neurochemical jet that sets off the very first hate you felt for a powerful and threatening woman (like, say, I dunno, your 4th grade teacher Mrs. McManus? or the dean Ms. Mead, the wrinkled-mouth Episcopalian baboon who kicked you out of school and told you you'd never amount to anything?-yep, that kind of hate, funny I should still remember it). For years now American men and the women who suck up to them have been trying to attach some sort of moral or political significance to their Hillary hatred, but safely out here in Eurasia, I can tell the simple plain truth about it: it's a misogyny that we can't control. We hate her because she's the embodiment of every woman we've ever hated since the time we opened our eyes.
Why is it OK to hate Hillary for her womanhood and not Brack Obama for his blackness? My theory would be that race has been the defining, out front American trauma. It popped up in the Constitutional Convention when we declared Africans brought here were 3/5ths human, it helped drive tensions between two sections of the country until we started killing each other. Even after all those lives were lost, half of the country held fast onto the idea that they wouldn't eat with, school with or live with blacks. Today still, I've had friends who expressed concern with blacks moving into the neighborhood. Compared to all this, the struggle of American women for equality (a noble struggle, I might add), has been relegated to the backburner while we try to figure out our race issue.

The hate mongers will always be getting on someone and they are impossible to police at all angles. So many many people (myself included) focus on their crimes in one area while unwittingly letting them get away with another. I don't like it, but I can't go through my day outraged at everything. I've already got four professional sports teams that drive me nuts, vapid pop culture to condemn and a political scene that I never quite feel good about. If I can't identify the difference between between jokey and being sexist all the time, I apologize. But I'll be damned if anyone tells me I'm not even trying.

Part of me also feels bad for Robin Morgan. She's a dying breed, a throwback to an era when the patriarchy was anywhere and everywhere and women really did have serious leaps to make before the were anywhere near equal, whether in the normal culture or the counter-culture. Radical feminism, much like the Black Panthers or The Weathermen just isn't chic anymore. So while I think "Goodbye To All That Number 2" is silly and misses the mark, I also hear in it the defiant, angry roar of a soon to be extinct species. You laugh, but one day when the seas are rising or the Earth is freezing or (if we somehow make it that long) the sun is getting ready to implode, you'll hear the same roar from the remnants of mankind. Better to go out fighting than meekly wait around for the last shovel blow to the skull.

This argument comes down to me and Tex being unconvinced that this is all about misogyny, while Robin Morgan insists that that's all there ever is. I couldn't name a female Congress member I'm crazy about, but I also can't say I'm too thrilled with any of the male leadership in Congress. Don't forget Liz, that both Tex and myself were out there with you in front of the Supreme Court surrounded by pro-life crazies. I don't need a clit or a fantastic set of tits to know that questions about Hilary's age or allegations that a woman on the rag would send us all to nuclear Armageddon are vile and obvious sexism. I'm probably a shitty feminist, but it fits in with my being a crappy student, an impatient driver and a fantastic kisser.

On a personal level, the vomit covered bathmat was Ush's responsibility and Ush's responbility only, and let's not forget that the only reason I wasn't in those arguments with you and Dan is because I was usually too high to make heads or tails of it. But I did my part to raise your blood pressure, such as the classic "whores v. prostitutes" battle of aught five or six. You'll notice there aren't nearly as many tampon ads during Adult Swim anymore, so I think I win that battle. As for the Betty Crocker pan, Leann wanted one, so I thought it was fair to ask if you did as well.


The Token Feminist said...

That crap about Leann is some bullshit. Every time that fucking Betty Crocker ad came on it was "Liz, why don't you bake us delicious cakes?" Clearly it was in jest, but let us call it like it was.

Apartment 618 said...

Not to "measure penises", but did those comments include as much jest as the time you started a gender war during land mines? I know jest is hard to measure, but are we talking a 2-1 ratio? More? Less?