In case any of you slept through your Women's Issues class in college, here are the cliffnotes. August 6, 2006 6:02 PM   Subscribe

In case any of you slept through your Women's Issues class in college, here are the cliffnotes.
posted by Civil_Disobedient to Etiquette/Policy at 6:02 PM (216 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Troll? Or bitter ex-pornstar?
posted by danb at 6:08 PM on August 6, 2006


Talk about a one trick pony. "Man that Abu Ghraib was bad. Have I told you what I think about porn yet?"
posted by bob sarabia at 6:08 PM on August 6, 2006


Pornography [turns] women into a product to be used, ridiculed and discarded.

I don't have much use for Michelle, but I'm OK with her being ridiculed and discarded.
posted by cribcage at 6:17 PM on August 6, 2006


And your point is...? That's her opinion, and it's not a hugely uncommon one.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:20 PM on August 6, 2006


Well that's her opinion. What's your point?
posted by delmoi at 6:21 PM on August 6, 2006


I think we should keep this from being another Ann Coulter-ish MetaTalk thread, I'm just more curious whether she's a troll or sincerely thinks she's interacting with the community. I think in either case "don't feed the troll" advice applies here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:21 PM on August 6, 2006


The Ghost of Ken Lay, please meet The Ghost of Andrea Dworkin.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:22 PM on August 6, 2006


Doesn't seem like trolling to me. I agree pretty much with what she had to say (except for the insulting size comments, but that's just me.)
posted by konolia at 6:22 PM on August 6, 2006


if women weren't so eager to laugh at my tiny penis, I wouldn't need porn. :(
posted by boo_radley at 6:24 PM on August 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


She's not a troll and doesn't deserve a callout. I think she's using hyperbole and being annoying and I don't agree with a lot of what she's written. By that standard, most of what's posted to MeFi would deserve a callout. It doesn't and she doesn't.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:24 PM on August 6, 2006


she dosn't seem so upset here
posted by delmoi at 6:26 PM on August 6, 2006


She is a troll because she brought up porn in a thread about Abu Ghraib. Then the thread got derailed into people trying to explain why the two aren't the same.
posted by bob sarabia at 6:29 PM on August 6, 2006


Thanks for pointing me to this gem.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:32 PM on August 6, 2006


She is consistent, though. Being a woman, she takes the most extreme view of the matter and sees sexism everywhere. Being white, she's also very concerned about all those white people oppressed by the blacks.

Still doesn't mean she deserves a callout.

"She is a troll because she brought up porn in a thread about Abu Ghraib."

No, you may not agree with her thesis, but it is a reasonable thesis. If true, it's deeply relevant to the discussion about Abu Ghraib.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:33 PM on August 6, 2006


The Abu Ghraib photos are considered atrocities but they are no different than what is done to women in the pornography industry.

How is she not a troll again?
posted by spaltavian at 6:34 PM on August 6, 2006


troll porn
posted by found missing at 6:38 PM on August 6, 2006


but it is a reasonable thesis

Sorry, you seem to have left out a few dozen paragraphs explaining this part. Or even, say, one.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:38 PM on August 6, 2006


Soft lass, but not a troll - she believes what she's frothing.
posted by jack_mo at 6:40 PM on August 6, 2006


"Sorry, you seem to have left out a few dozen paragraphs explaining this part. Or even, say, one."

The forms of the atrocities at Abu Ghraib were designed to be sexual in a way that demasculinized the prisoners in ways that reflect how women are institutionally humiliated via pornography.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:43 PM on August 6, 2006


I don't believe that, by the way. But even as a non-believer, it was a trivial argument for me to formulate and a great deal of psychological and analyatical precedence exists to support it.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:46 PM on August 6, 2006


not a troll - she believes what she's frothing.

Right, she's axe-grinding. That's entirely different from trolling, and I doubt this call out would be here if it were a more familiar axe.
posted by scottreynen at 6:52 PM on August 6, 2006


I'm going with uber-feminist Troll here...

A thread about china killing dogs in a rabies scare also results in a comment about a war on baby girls...

Ironically, she's perfectly fine with males being sexualized.

It's not that she's not entitled to her opinion, it's just that all of her comments seem like non-sequitur ... as if she's looking for any excuse possible to start on about one of her hot button topics...
posted by twiggy at 6:53 PM on August 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Finally, if you thought that argument would be hard to make, then I suggest that you're not including yourself among those whom you're implying don't need a refresher in women's studies. Rather, I suspect you've never set foot in a women's studies class. But don't let that get in the way of your rhetoric or your determination to stereotype and ridicule.

I'd prefer to answer her brittle and simplistic notions about pornography and sexism with something that Nina Hartly wrote on Suzie Bright's blog after the announcement of Dworkin's death and which probably applies to Michelle as well:
Well written, as always, Susie, and far more charitable than Dworkin would have been to you had, god forbid, the situation been reversed. If she had made any note of your passing at all, it would surely have been derisive.

I like your observation that Dworkin rejected the notion of the unconscious. I knew there had to be other areas where she and I disagreed as profoundly as we did about sex and porn. I suppose the rejection of all our unrecognized individual motivations made it easier for her to deny her own.

I didn't know Ms. Dworkin had been ill, as I followed her career no more closely than she followed mine. I strive for compassion in the face of suffering wherever I encounter it, but there's no getting past the fact that she despised you, me and everyone like us. I, too, found that some of her observations had resonance, including those regarding porn. However, I got fed up with her one-note approach to the complicated subject of gender relations long, long before the symphony ended.

Her ranting hatred of all things male and masculine was the source of more misery and confusion for heterosexual men and women over the past twenty years than all the sins she attributed to porn during that time, by and large wrongly. Her thinking turned the bedroom, which should be a place where people go to be loving and kind to each other and to share pleasure, into a politicized battleground.

I knew right away that she didn't speak for me. My sexuality that didn't fit in her box and she had no use for any story that didn't conform to her vision of woman-as-eternal-victim. Indeed, among the many insults she hurled at women like myself, none was more hurtful than her loud insistence that we were incapable of asserting our individual sexual identities because they had been stolen from us by the vast, evil conspiracy of patriarchal domination and that we were just too dumb and brainwashed to know it....
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:55 PM on August 6, 2006 [4 favorites]


OK, she's a pain, but she's 100% 'Murican, and that counts for something.
posted by LarryC at 6:55 PM on August 6, 2006


Oh yeah, this will end well.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:58 PM on August 6, 2006


Isn't it "womyn's studies"? Leave it to a boyzone like Metafilter to continue to lexicologically oppress our sisters.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:01 PM on August 6, 2006


Clearly she's a gladiatrix.
posted by brain_drain at 7:03 PM on August 6, 2006


EB your incredibly long small text quote is now screwing up the My Comments page for any of us unfortunate enough to have commented in this thread. Is there a chance you could post a link to it and then we could trim the giant blockquote?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:06 PM on August 6, 2006


I am awaiting a passionate defense of Michelle_hermosabeach from a bevets-hater.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:08 PM on August 6, 2006


"EB your incredibly long small text quote is now screwing up the My Comments page for any of us unfortunate enough to have commented in this thread. Is there a chance you could post a link to it and then we could trim the giant blockquote?"

Sorry. Here you go. It's a quote worth reading by a famous porn star so those who haven't read it, should.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:09 PM on August 6, 2006


Tired, but with a feeling of renewed strength, Michelle_hermosabeach reached the summit. Directly ahead lay the temple, and sheltered within the ancient walls of its courtyard stood the very reason for her visit.

Cautiously, Michelle began walking forward. The old man fixed his gaze on her, but made no move to stop her approach. The voice of the wind was suddenly quiet, seemingly unwilling to disturb the impending confrontation.

She stood before him now, a look of determination her face. The old man looked at her blankly. A few leaves drifted off the nearby maple tree. As the minutes passed, so did her patience. Finally she proclaimed loudly, "I have come to test my skills!"

The old man did not react. Enraged, Michelle screamed at him. "You will not deny me this! You do not have the choice!" Stepping back, she fell into a Tiger Stance.

Still the old man made no move. "Very well!" she cried out at him. "If you will not fight, then YOU WILL DIE!" Transitioning quickly from the Tiger Stance to a Spinning Dragon Stance, she yelled and struck savagely with her Eagle's Talon Attack.

But her hand struck only air, as the old man effortlessly shifted to the side. Wildly off balance, she toppled easily when he stepped behind and tripped her. Infuriated, Michelle tried to use her Spider's Leap to get back to her feet. Instead, she found herself lying face down on the flagstones; the old man had countered her masterful technique with a simple shove. In the blink of an eye, he applied a very basic shoulder lock.

"I submit!" she cried, the pain overwhelming her.

The old man loosened his grasp. His voice was quiet, perhaps a bit sorrowful, as he finally spoke. "Your kung fu is weak. You have mastered your body's weapons without mastering the art. Until you learn subtlety, your attacks will continue to miss their mark."

Michelle sobbed quietly. Her defeat was humiliating, but more painful to her was the truth of the master's words.
posted by Galvatron at 7:25 PM on August 6, 2006 [4 favorites]


Ah, nothing to bring out the stalwart snark of MeFi like feminism.

Bomb-throwing? Sure. But to characterize it as Cliff's Notes is to show that you need a refresher course.
(There is often gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes over the lack of intelligent conservatives, driven off by the collective liberalism. Much less is made of the general derision of feminism that is prevalent on Metafilter, to the point that we get Michelle:feminism::ParisParamus:conservatism).
posted by klangklangston at 7:41 PM on August 6, 2006


And seriously, this is your callout? Fucking weak.
posted by klangklangston at 7:42 PM on August 6, 2006


No, you may not agree with her thesis, but it is a reasonable thesis. If true, it's deeply relevant to the discussion about Abu Ghraib.

Aye.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:55 PM on August 6, 2006


I agree with a little of what Michelle_hermosabeach said. I didn't much scan the threads so the comments were a bit out of context but I sense the delivery was overly aggressive. But, like that's a sin around here? Not.
posted by peacay at 8:00 PM on August 6, 2006


Michelle, it sounds like you didn't get the memo:

Porn: good
Torture: bad

Keep up, OK?
posted by Meatbomb at 8:01 PM on August 6, 2006


Who cares about your pompous Canadian opinions anyway? ... Canada is a feeble, self-righteous excuse for a country.

Come on, I don't see how anyone can read this and believe she's not trolling.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:03 PM on August 6, 2006


yeah. the canada comment made me wonder if ann coulter got a mefi account.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 8:13 PM on August 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Michelle = Catharine MacKinnon
posted by Balisong at 8:15 PM on August 6, 2006


I'd be more inclined to think she's not trolling, but merely trying to engage in actual conversation in a confrontational way, if she actually attempted to answer any of the dialogue her thesis had stirred. Instead, she scurries back into the shadows under her bridge when a point comes up contrary to her instruction. The very definition of a troll.

And seriously, this is your callout? Fucking weak.

Is it fucking week already? But I have nothing to wear!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:17 PM on August 6, 2006


I get so tired of you fucking newbies thinking "troll" refers to creatures habitating under a bridge and consuming billy goats when actually originates from the fishing term.

Also, this Michelle broad sounds like she needs a deep dickin'.
posted by keswick at 8:31 PM on August 6, 2006 [2 favorites]


[thanks EB, I trimmed the quote a little]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:32 PM on August 6, 2006


It's also rather funny that she seems upset about the sexual humiliation of the Abu Graib prisoners, but when she's on the attack herself she has no compunction about relying on that very same tactic, as seen in her embarrasing "itty bitty cock" comment.

And the gravy on the cake is that the article she refers to here, about the sexual humiliation of the prisoners, was published in... Canada. Home of the pompous and worthless opinion.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:32 PM on August 6, 2006


She is a tool. Too bad. She speaks to a real issue, but her strident and overbearing viewpoint shuts down real discussion. The world is not black and white and those who view it as such are always dismissed.
posted by caddis at 8:33 PM on August 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


I propose a new weekly feature where we choose a member at random, call them out, then collectively comb through their posting history for every stupid thing they ever wrote.

Oh wait, we already do that.
posted by LarryC at 8:41 PM on August 6, 2006


When rather than use your brain you employ an automated spin machine, is this poster even human - think Eliza, then don't be surprised when people call you out on it. This was not random.
posted by caddis at 8:49 PM on August 6, 2006


I propose a new weekly feature where we choose a member at random, call them out, then collectively comb through their posting history for every stupid thing they ever wrote.

It's not that her posts are stupid, it's that her posts are aggressively confrontational, bigoted, inconsistent AND stupid. She's trolling -- that is deserving of a call-out.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:51 PM on August 6, 2006


Civil_Disobedient: Having nothing to wear for Fucking Week doesn't exactly put you at a disadvantage. If anything, it saves precious time.

And yeah. I'm too new to the Blue (the Grey?) to speak on the justifiability of the callout, but I smell Coulteresque trolling.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 8:53 PM on August 6, 2006


Also, as a Canadian, I feel compelled to clarify: We are not a feeble, self-righteous excuse for a country. We are a feeble, self-righteous country. The excuses for the country are beer, trees, and hockey players.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 8:57 PM on August 6, 2006 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's all the porn I watch, but I just can't help but picture the glistening beads of sweat running down Michelle's corset-bound cleavage as she violently grinds her favorite axe.
posted by drpynchon at 8:59 PM on August 6, 2006 [3 favorites]


Wow, I'm extremely ashamed of most of you, including Jessamyn. Haven't we figured out that lots of people have their pet issue that they show up for more often than others? Some people are into Iraq, some people are into correct use of the apostrophe, some people are into gender issues. Do we feel compelled to ridicule and expell this person because, in her first 11 comments, she shows a bend toward feminism? Comparing the Abu Ghraib scenes to the porno industry, nay, equating them, is going a little far. But since when do we call people out for going a little too far in their views? If you literally think there is NO comparison to be made there, let me know and I will point it out to you.

Oh look everyone! There's someone who seems to care about the SAME ISSUE in MORE THAN ONE THREAD. Troll!

/disgusted
posted by scarabic at 9:23 PM on August 6, 2006


Some people's pet issue seems to be calling the community on bad call outs.
Still other's pet issue seems to be the defending of legitimate trolls.
posted by Balisong at 9:33 PM on August 6, 2006


Bevets used to get called out all of the time, didn't he?

Yeah.
posted by hototogisu at 9:35 PM on August 6, 2006


How can you defend this, scarabic?

"Who cares about your pompous Canadian opinions anyway?
When the 2006 Canadian seal hunt ended in June, hunters had killed more than 336,000 seals -- almost all of them babies as young as 12 days old. It is an atrocity. The Humane Society of the United States is sponsoring a boycott of Canadian seafood and I support it. Canada is a feeble, self-righteous excuse for a country."
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:43 PM on August 6, 2006


you may not agree with her thesis, but it is a reasonable thesis

Please explain to me what's reasonable about it.

As far as I'm concerned, it's a complete non-sequitur, as others have said.

It's about as reasonable as if I posted about someone getting injured in a car accident, and she replied "that's no different to what happens in the porn industry". Clearly, it is.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 10:01 PM on August 6, 2006


Sorry, scarabic, but it seems as if you haven't really read much of what's going on.

It's not that she repeatedly exhibits the same opinion. It's that she brings that opinion up when it has nothing at all to do with the subject of the thread -- she shows a pattern of looking for any excuse to bring up her argument no matter how unrelated it is to the topic at hand.

If she popped her head into every porn related discussion and vehemently argued her position, I wouldn't even notice, because the post would be on topic.
posted by twiggy at 10:22 PM on August 6, 2006


The excuses for the country are beer, trees, and hockey players.

Why do Canadians brag about their beer? Hear me out here. No one else in the world drinks it. I mean I get that they like to drink beer. Fine. Play hockey and drink, whatever. But I've travelled a bit and I've never once seen Canadian brew unless it was a ballpark in Chicago where they make it sound like Labatts is some kind of fancy pants import so they can charge more. In conclusion, if there is some kind of amazing Canadian beer, please let me know so that I can try it.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 10:38 PM on August 6, 2006


sirmissalot: I've never heard canadians brag about their beer. I've only heard them talk about how much they like beer in general. Have I been missing something?
posted by twiggy at 10:52 PM on August 6, 2006


"she scurries back into the shadows under her bridge when a point comes up contrary to her instruction"

Not everyone spends every waking moment of every fucking day wanking through comments. Obviously though, some around here do. Also, ever heard of letting someone else have the last word? ;-P
posted by mischief at 11:06 PM on August 6, 2006


Personally, I think as long as she's not cluttering up the front page with it, it's okay.
posted by empath at 11:26 PM on August 6, 2006


I've never heard canadians brag about their beer. I've only heard them talk about how much they like beer in general.

Interesting. You may be onto something. But surely there must be some pretty decent beer up there if the whole country is in love with the stuff.

I was thinking more about this and might have to revise my earlier, possibly rash statement. I do think I've seen Canadian beer overseas. I think I saw some Moosehead in New Zealand a long time ago . . . but maybe I just imagined it . . .
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:30 PM on August 6, 2006


Well, I was under the impression she was just really bad at tieing potentially useful analogies to a concrete contribution to discussions, but the sum total of all her linked-to comments has made it pretty obvious that she's just a total waste of time.

Feminism has some very valid points that can shed light on all sorts of fucked up traits of modern society. Miss Hermosabeach, on the other hand, does not. I think we're intelligent enough to be able to tell her to shut up or chill out, without dismissing the validity of feminism or, say, seals.

A self-righteous excuse for a country? Seriously?
posted by blacklite at 11:32 PM on August 6, 2006


can you defend this, scarabic?

I don't have to defend it. That's my point. We don't call people out based on their rhetorical talents or the content of their arguments. Plain and simple. Jesus. On a day like this I begin to see why people call this place an echo chamber. Does anyone here understand the difference between the following two things:

1) damn, that person over there is wrong, and creating noise
2) this is a site violation that needs to be called out for admin and/or community action

Apparently not, all around. I have found myself defending some real turds recently, but only because the tide has swung toward deleting / banning / publicly disemboweling people that the "reasonable" majority here seems to turn up its nose at.

Do you show up here expecting everyone to be on-topic, sane, and moderate? Do you think you can MAKE everyone that way, through callouts like this? Flag the fucking comments if you really think they're over the top. I have looked at the threads, twiggy, and yes, it's someone grinding an axe. So fucking what? It's a newbie grinding an axe to the tune of 11 comments.

I'd like MetaFilter to remain an open forum. I'm so sick of people responding to this POV with statements like "oh, so you think extreme comment X is valuable?" Please, please, please consider the principle of not burning people at the stake for the content of their POV. And no, not everyone who says something outrageous to you is a troll, and highly deletable because they only exist to make trouble. Take a deep breath. It's a free internet.

This person has broken no guidelines and in fact has had little impact on the site. CD sees a pattern and smells someone he doesn't like, and you all get out your pitchforks. Are we just snickering collectively, here, or is there some action people think should be taken. If the former, this callout is pointless. If the latter, it's a huge overreaction.
posted by scarabic at 11:33 PM on August 6, 2006


I don't care what her opinions are, but how dare she speak of such a well established and altruistic group in such a negative tone.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 11:38 PM on August 6, 2006


Troll? Or bitter ex-pornstar?

Green mascara'd rapturite.
posted by evil holiday magic at 12:17 AM on August 7, 2006


The worst porn, such as torture and snuff videos, is just as bad as any of the Abu Ghraib stuff, and the underlying reality, the number of women and children worldwide who are raped, sexually tortured and murdered every year, is hundreds if not thousands of times worse.

In fact, I think a very strong case could be made that apart from war and genocide and starvation and disease stemming from lack of medical care, sexual abuse and exploitation is, all told, among the worst of human rights abuses in the world.
posted by jamjam at 12:21 AM on August 7, 2006


Great, now you're banned, too.
posted by scarabic at 12:27 AM on August 7, 2006


Crazy people make life more interesting. Long as you don't have to live with 'em.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:08 AM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


scarabic, I'm not saying there needs to be, you know, Action. but the premise of the callout, such as it is, seems to be "this sucks", and I agree.

Although I somehow think she doesn't read the grey (yet).
posted by blacklite at 1:28 AM on August 7, 2006


Don't you just get your own blog if you want to rant about controversial issues?

I don't disagree with her, but she's being highly hypocritical when she salivates over those "hunks" and makes snide penis comments.
posted by liquorice at 1:48 AM on August 7, 2006


1) Start with presumption that all women everywhere are oppressed and not at all empowered by their role as sexual objects.
2) Make sweeping associations between things like female castration in Africa, rape, Abu Ghraib, and porn, implying some non-sequitur "sameness" to all the bad stuff that happens to women.
3) Completely and conveniently ignore incredibly complex and wildly different social, cultural, political, and economic circumstances in above goingson, and at the same time do a major disservice to a lot of women, mostly in the 3rd world, by blahblahblahing your talking points on porn.
4) Profit!

Frankly, anybody who's known a coked-out pornstar driving her Range Rover around the valley or wandering down the Sunset strip in her Jimmy Choos should know why this is utter bullshit.

But I digress.

It's not her idiotic opinion that made poor, oppressed Michelle (with her no doubt luscious, heaving curves yearning to be freed from that tight bodice as she grinds away on her axe) the target of a callout. It was the fact that she is clearly a one-trick pony here, and as such many of us would like to see her crap coming before she poops it.

If you can buy the link between Abu Ghraib and porn, then surely you are perceptive enough to see the similarities between this chick and say, bevets.
posted by drpynchon at 2:06 AM on August 7, 2006

  • Fuck Greenpeace, and fuck you.
  • You are a feeble, self-righteous excuse for whatever you are.
  • The itty bitty cock committee has arrived.
Bah. It's all bad, and embarrassing. I would urge commentors here not to escalate.
posted by taz at 2:43 AM on August 7, 2006


We don't call people out based on their rhetorical talents or the content of their arguments. Plain and simple.

The issue isn't the content of her posts, and you know it. This is hit-and-run axe-grinding. The very last thing she wants is an actual discussion, not that she has the time to do it with her busy lifestyle.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:37 AM on August 7, 2006


Wow, I'm extremely ashamed of most of you, including Jessamyn. Haven't we figured out that lots of people have their pet issue that they show up for more often than others?

And some people cross the line and need to chill out. I have no issue with her opinions as such but if she just 1) drops them aggressively into threads where they only sort of belong and doesn't stick around to be part of the discussion, that's lame [see hit and run axe grinding] 2) insults other members of the community and 3) if those contributions are pretty much the sum total of her short time here, I think it's appropriate to talk about it. No one's talking about banning her or even removing her comments, just saying "hey what do you think is going on here?"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:38 AM on August 7, 2006


I've taken two women's studies classes and neither the professors nor my classmates were one-hundredth the whack job she is. It's as if Andrea Dworkin were resurrected, possessed by the dark spirit of Ingrid Newkirk, and given the Hammer of Bevets and the Anvil of Alex Reynolds.

She is our worst poster.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:50 AM on August 7, 2006


She's not a troll and doesn't deserve a callout. I think she's using hyperbole and being annoying and I don't agree with a lot of what she's written. By that standard, most of what's posted to MeFi would deserve a callout. It doesn't and she doesn't.
posted by Ethereal Bligh

There is often gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes over the lack of intelligent conservatives, driven off by the collective liberalism. Much less is made of the general derision of feminism that is prevalent on Metafilter, to the point that we get Michelle:feminism::ParisParamus:conservatism).

posted by klangklangston

Comparing the Abu Ghraib scenes to the porno industry, nay, equating them, is going a little far. But since when do we call people out for going a little too far in their views?
posted by scarabic

Exactly (3x). It truly amazes me that such a smugly "progressive" site has so little tolerance for feminist views. And please don't tell me it's about irrelevance: 1) as has been pointed out, porn is far from irrelevant to Abu Ghraib, and 2) you all have endless tolerance for irrelevant comments bashing Bush and/or religion.
posted by languagehat at 5:57 AM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


*sticks fiver in Michelle_hermosabeach's g-string, orders another beer*
posted by jonmc at 6:17 AM on August 7, 2006


It truly amazes me that such a smugly "progressive" site has so little tolerance for feminist views.

Is that really what you see as the problem here?

1) as has been pointed out, porn is far from irrelevant to Abu Ghraib, and 2) you all have endless tolerance for irrelevant comments bashing Bush and/or religion.

Well, when you can point out an thread focusing on the pornography industry and the degradation of women where a user flew off the handle with analogies to Abu Ghraib, the Bush administration and the Catholic church I might see your point here.
posted by prostyle at 6:17 AM on August 7, 2006


It truly amazes me that such a smugly "progressive" site has so little tolerance for feminist views.

Using michelle_hermosabeach as an example of 'feminism,' is like using Dick Cheney as an example of 'marksmanship.'

As for GGW: dumb drunk women show their boobs, men enjoy looking at boobs, if men have camera, men take pictures. Savvy (and sleazy) guy capitalizes on this fact of life. All the handwringing in the world isn't going to change human nature.
posted by jonmc at 6:26 AM on August 7, 2006


"Please explain to me what's reasonable about it.
As far as I'm concerned, it's a complete non-sequitur, as others have said.
It's about as reasonable as if I posted about someone getting injured in a car accident, and she replied "that's no different to what happens in the porn industry". Clearly, it is."

No, really it's not, and it shows an amazing lack of critical thinking to put that forth.
Here's a quick key point that connects the two— sexualized degredation.
While I have no problem defending BDSM pornography, you kinda have to be either willfully blind or aggressively inperceptive to miss the connection between the Lyndie England shots and stuff like Rocco Animal Trainer. It does follow; it is not a non sequitor.
posted by klangklangston at 6:31 AM on August 7, 2006


"As for GGW: dumb drunk women show their boobs, men enjoy looking at boobs, if men have camera, men take pictures. Savvy (and sleazy) guy capitalizes on this fact of life. All the handwringing in the world isn't going to change human nature."

Jon, I know that you're not much one for considering fallacies when you comment, but please don't try to make broad arguments based on human nature as if it's immutable. It's human nature to rape and kill, but that doesn't mean that we can't as a society decide that that isn't acceptable.
The position of male privilege plus a "what ya gonna do?" attitude should be immediately suspect.
posted by klangklangston at 6:35 AM on August 7, 2006


It's human nature to rape and kill, but that doesn't mean that we can't as a society decide that that isn't acceptable.

klang, the rape accusations, if they're proven true, are deplorable, but much of the hostility (NTM, the guilty-until-proven-innocent tone of much of this discussion, which I guess is OK if it's aimed at somebody the majority of Mefites don't like) is aimed the phenomenon of GGW itself, which is ultimately harmless stupidity.

The position of male privilege plus a "what ya gonna do?" attitude should be immediately suspect.

What male privilige? Was I home sick the day the priviliges were handed out, because I can't find mine. As a white male, I'm told my life is supposed to be perfect, but I'm still waiting.
posted by jonmc at 6:39 AM on August 7, 2006


klangklangston, who cares about your stupid pompous opinion anyway? You're just a feeble excuse for a tiny cock.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:45 AM on August 7, 2006


The only one that really cheesed me was the one in the torture thread. It cheapens the horror of what happened there. The rest of her comments are just mindless spin machine output that don't really detract, or add, to their threads very much. The comparison to bevets seems quite appropriate.
posted by caddis at 6:45 AM on August 7, 2006


Sorry, that porn == Abu Ghraib business is total bullshit. We're talking about systematic torture, imprisonment, electrocution, and dog attacks. What kind of fucked up porn do you watch that makes you think they're the same?
posted by bob sarabia at 7:02 AM on August 7, 2006


"What male privilige? Was I home sick the day the priviliges were handed out, because I can't find mine. As a white male, I'm told my life is supposed to be perfect, but I'm still waiting."

First off, most male priviledge is normative, meaning that men are the base against which women are measured. But privileges like not having to worry about getting drunk and being raped, not having to worry that nude photos of you would permanently damage your life if they became public, not having people trying to exploit you for sex...
And, through talking to you before, I know you're going to latch onto the last one and say "I'd love it if a woman exploited me for sex... huh-huh," and that is a pretty fine demonstration of male priviledge, because really, you wouldn't. You wouldn't like it any more than if a man exploited you for sex.
This is obviously leaving aside questions like consentual exploitation and private power games (as they're a little too complicated to get into, and frankly, feminist theory isn't even my area), but the frequent grousing by white men, especially poor white men, that they haven't been privileged enough always seems to me to display a stunning lack of self-awareness and belief in the reality of others. Think about having to worry that every time you get pulled over it's because of your race, or that because of your breasts your ideas won't be taken seriously at a business. I know that you've had friends that these things have happened to, and I know that you pride yourself on being an empathetic "friend of the little guy," so please try to understand that even though you didn't ask for it, you still occupy a position that is unlikely to be discriminated against in 99% of your public dealings and that not everyone is as lucky as you.
posted by klangklangston at 7:02 AM on August 7, 2006 [3 favorites]


"Sorry, that porn == Abu Ghraib business is total bullshit. We're talking about systematic torture, imprisonment, electrocution, and dog attacks. What kind of fucked up porn do you watch that makes you think they're the same?"

Did you not pay attention to the sexualized parts of the Abu Ghraib photos? The pointing at cocks and forcing men to grovel naked with dog collars?

Stuff that is pretty analoguous is easy to find. Google for Rocco's Animal Trainer series, or the site Meatholes (which pretty much sums up its philosophy in the title). One of the big components of the torture was sexual humiliation, and that was intentional. And it relates directly to a fairly large percentage of what's called "gonzo" porn.
posted by klangklangston at 7:06 AM on August 7, 2006


Using michelle_hermosabeach as an example of 'feminism,' is like using Dick Cheney as an example of 'marksmanship.'

I'm not "using michelle_hermosabeach as an example of 'feminism,'" the people who mock her as "cliffnotes" for "Women's Issues class in college" are using her as an example of feminism. It's perfectly clear (to me, anyway) that the excessive response to her occasional over-the-top comments are prompted by fear and loathing for feminism, a very interesting form of cathexis (to use a term from a discredited psychological theory, just because I like the word).

In case it's not clear: no, I don't agree with m_h (and I don't even like Hermosa Beach); I just think it's absurd and telling that the reaction to her is so disproportionate. I disagree with a lot of things people say around here, but I wouldn't call them out on MetaTalk.
posted by languagehat at 7:07 AM on August 7, 2006


klang, does being spared some grief (and since I've seen all the things youd escribe happen, I am aware of them) equal privilige? I dunno.

But privileges like not having to worry about getting drunk and being raped, not having to worry that nude photos of you would permanently damage your life if they became public, not having people trying to exploit you for sex...

I'd add that none of those things listed are things men are immune to.
posted by jonmc at 7:08 AM on August 7, 2006


Ditto languagehat.

For a more reasoned position on Abu Ghraib, porn and lynching photos, try this from the Chronicle of Higher Education.
posted by klangklangston at 7:09 AM on August 7, 2006


"klang, does being spared some grief (and since I've seen all the things youd escribe happen, I am aware of them) equal privilige? I dunno."

Yeah, it does. Being spared that grief is one of the biggest parts of white male privilege (and it's kinda incumbent upon us to work so that everyone gets to enjoy that privilege. No one should have to worry about being raped or profiled or a million other big and little things that happen and aren't fair).

"I'd add that none of those things listed are things men are immune to."

They're not, but you have to honestly agree that the percentages are way off.
posted by klangklangston at 7:16 AM on August 7, 2006


I've give you the sexual humiliation, gonzo connection, but that in no way does that make it Abu Ghraib no different from porn. The two are quite different. But yeah, I'd be kidding myself if I didn't see the sexual humiliation aspect.
posted by bob sarabia at 7:20 AM on August 7, 2006


They're not, but you have to honestly agree that the percentages are way off.

Sure, they are.And FWIW, I try to do my part. But I also realize that telling a frustrated underpaid white guy who hasn't been laid recently about his 'privilige,' is a quick way to get him to tune out. Just saying.

But the question of pornography (the original topic) gets us into really murky territory when it comes to power questions.

Some people find it (looking or participating) empowering. I'll even to cop to that myself. And no consenting adult should be told what they can and cant do with their sexuality.

But there's so much money involved, that there would have to be some exploitation going on. And the way John Holmes and Harry Reems ended up would lead one to believe that it's not just women being exploited.
posted by jonmc at 7:23 AM on August 7, 2006


Because some porn is bad, all porn is bad. Thanks for clearing that up, fellas.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:31 AM on August 7, 2006


I could almost believe that it is sincere axe-grinding if it weren't for her Canada comment. Also, "I bought one cause I get tired of only seeing women exploited."

Really, folks, in total these posts appear to be by someone playing games here — a troll.
posted by D.C. at 7:42 AM on August 7, 2006


But I also realize that telling a frustrated underpaid white guy who hasn't been laid recently about his 'privilige,' is a quick way to get him to tune out.

And maybe, just maybe, having an actual white guy say these things to the frustrated underpaid white guy who hasn't been laid recently over and over again might finally get the point to sink in that being able to walk at home alone at night in a city and not worry about being raped, harassed or followed [along with the problems we all face like worrying about being mugged or, I don't know, falling in a hole or something] is an example of privilege.

I think the porn issue is separate and the thing that bums me out about MH is that she doesn't stick around to actually discuss any of her comments, just shits and runs. As such she becomes a caricature of an actual feminist position on a topic like this [there are feminists on both sides of the porn issue as I think everyone knows] and does a detriment to her actual arguments.

Holmes and Reems actually managed to self-destructively implode despite the fact that they had everything going for them in the porn industry, it's a far cry from what klangklangston or even MH are talking about. Just because Ken Lay committed suicide doesn't mean he was in any way oppressed as most of us understand that term.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:53 AM on August 7, 2006


The torture that occurred at Abu Ghraib centered on sexual humiliation which was photographed and videotaped. There is indisputably a subset of heterosexual pornography which is built around the sexual humiliation of women using degradation and dehumanization. A notorious term which is actually used non-ironically in some straight porn is cumdumster. I've seen numerous blowjob clips where women are "wearing" a toilet seat around their necks and their heads are being held via their hair in a very violent manner. If you're a straight man who finds fellatio porn one of his kinks, then you can't avoid occasionally seeing stuff that is built around very intentional humiliation and degradation of women.

More importantly, I know for a fact that a number of women and men reading this assume that such blowjob porn, and the act itself, involves some degree of degradation. I've argued this point with women who themselves enjoy this sort of activity and believe that the humiliation aspect is an essential part of it. My point of view is that what I am attracted to involves in no way humiliation and I find myself repulsed whenever I come across it.

But the point is that a lot of people, feminists and non-feminists believe that an unavoidable part of heterosexual sexuality and particularly straight porn involve subtle to explicit degradation of women.

Given that context, then, when we look at the choice of methods of torture at Abu Ghraib, we see men sexual humiliated and degraded in the visual media of photography and videography using forms that are very familiar from a certain subset of heterosexual mainstream (not BDSM) pornography. That is a similarity that's unmistakable and Michele's thesis is that this similarity reveals an inherent quality of straight porn and how it depicts women. The argument also is that this widespread pornography is a means by which sexist cultural misogyny is perpetuated.

Furthermore, there is the mostly ignored reality that while we in the west are shocked at racism and spent a great deal of energy opposing apartheid, today's world still includes widespread sexism which reaches the extremes of a good portion of the world's women in effective or literal slavery. This is rarely commented upon. The status and treatment of women in the world today is horrifying enough and widespread enough to easily justify a level of outrage equivalent to that most of us feel about Abu Ghraib. When you argue that such comparisons "cheapen" the seriousness of Abu Ghraib, you're revealing more about your feelings about widespread misogyny than you are about your feelings concerning Abu Ghraib.

I think this is a perfectly reasonable argument and each of its components well-established and even widely-shared ideas. Where I disagree with it is exactly where I disagree with the blowjob porn argument: while such porn can be, and often is, misogynist, and its misogyny intrinsically part of its appeal in certain forms and for certain people, the acts which are depicted (when they don't include symbolism deliberately intended to include degradation) are themselves inherently neutral with respect to misogyny. Others, like Dworkin, argue that all of these sexual depictions including women inherently dehumanize women by making them sexual objects, basically violating Kant's moral imperative. I think that's a reasonable argument, but I don't agree with and I have long disputed it respectfully.

So many people in this thread are outraged at Michelle's porn and Abu Ghraib comparison sufficiently that this callout was made and notably supported. But it is not some kook, radical argument held by only a very few people and, furthermore it is no more extreme than a number of apparently more acceptable arguments which appear on MeFi regularly and which don't elicit such disdain.

The real issue here is whether or not Michelle is comparable to bevets, who has been banned as the result of a wide agreement about the unacceptability of his comments. Is Michelle earnestly offering her opinion when she thinks it's relevant, or are her comments closer to noise? I think there's too little evidence yet to do decide; and, at any rate, I'm one of the dissenters concerning the obvious correctness of bevets's banning. I won't defend bevets, really, but I'm not greatly convinced that he should have been banned. But I'll go along with majority opinion in his case, and I'll go along with the majority opinion in Michelle's case if a) she continues to be so monomaniacal and abrasive, and b) we have a lot more evidence with which to evaluate this.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:54 AM on August 7, 2006 [3 favorites]


There's substance to this thread, surprisingly, but also here I hope: characterizing this poster's contributions as 'Cliffs Notes' means turning a blind eye to the constant risible Cliffs Notes-style dilettantism that characterizes so many threads on the Blue. The implication that Women's Studies 101 is of less value than, say, Microeconomics 101 in discussions here indicates little more than that the poster of this MeTa thread skipped a few days of Rhetoric 101 - not that I blame the motherfucker. But then, I would guess that MeFi users are statisically less likely to, say, date and have split up with people who spout Econ 101; so personal experience heightens the response. Understandable and regrettable on all sides.

The claim that the Abu Ghraib photos show behaviour no worse than in the porn industry is merely false, but that says very little about the porn industry. And languagehat:
It's perfectly clear (to me, anyway) that the excessive response to her occasional over-the-top comments are prompted by fear and loathing for feminism [...]
No, that seems too simplistic. For one, given the liberal circles in which most MeFi users presumably (voluntarily) run, and the unreflective quality of the kind of 'feminist' discourse that gets pulled out of asses in off-the-cuff conversations like this one, it's more likely that emotional responses to posters like michelle are preemptive strikes (for better or worse) against the tired, rigid, uncritical proto-feminism that passes for enlightenment among those who've taken, say, porn as their own personal Skeletor. 'In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king' should not be interpreted as a goddamn song in praise of one-eyed men; it's reasonable to demand something a little more supple from those who claim to elevate the discourse.

Critical meeting-in-the-middle isn't the same as mutal affirmation/masturbation, and it's reasonable to suggest that the latter habit characterizes a certain kind of discourse at a certain time more than the former. Of course it's more true of MeFi than the Women's Studies classes I took, so YMMdefinitelyV.
posted by waxbanks at 7:59 AM on August 7, 2006


Holmes and Reems actually managed to self-destructively implode despite the fact that they had everything going for them in the porn industry

Well, you could say that about a lot of female stars in the porn industry as well. (mind you, I'm not saying that they were exploited because they were straight white men, merely saying that being a member of a so-called priviliged group dosen't neccessarily exempt one from exploitation. They were both drawn from similar demographics as the female porn stars of their time who came to similar ends).

And maybe, just maybe, having an actual white guy say these things to the frustrated underpaid white guy who hasn't been laid recently over and over again might finally get the point to sink in that being able to walk at home alone at night in a city and not worry about being raped, harassed or followed [along with the problems we all face like worrying about being mugged or, I don't know, falling in a hole or something] is an example of privilege.

I dunno about that. The rections I've seen would seem to indicate the opposite.
posted by jonmc at 7:59 AM on August 7, 2006


Oh, I just don't get all this complaint about the Canada comment. She thinks the seal hunt was egregiously a violation of a leftist moral principle which is very important to her and thus she believes that Canada's self-image and presentation of itself as an exemplary nation of leftist enlightenment to be hypocritcal. She expressed this in strong terms. Similarly, people express the same sentiment about the US and other countries. Is Canada some sort of sacred cow on MeFi where harsh criticism is so self-evidently absurd that it is presumptively assumed to be in bad-faith?

That's just stupid.

I'm seeing an unusually large amount of smugness and an inability for self-criticism in the MeFi community lately.

On preview:

"It's more likely that emotional responses to posters like michelle are preemptive strikes (for better or worse) against the tired, rigid, uncritical proto-feminism that passes for enlightenment among those who've taken, say, porn as their own personal Skeletor."

I think you're probably correct about this. In isolation, I'm probably as tired and annoyed at these Dworkin -era and -style presentation of feminism as many people. Not as tired and annoyed as those who preemptively dismissed it long ago (and/or those mostly men for whom feminism is their own personal Skeletor), but among men and women who are anti-sexist and friendly to feminism, yeah.

Nevertheless, some of the hostility to her point of view surely, even on MeFi, must come from men who are hostile to feminism in the way that languagehat postulates.

But whatever the mix is between the two, what is striking about MetaFilter is that a left-leaning, thought-to-be-reasonable community would, on average and in relative terms, be so hostile to "hard" feminism.

The explanation for that, really, is that MeFi is 75% or more male, and 80% or more "technogeek". The intersection of those two groups are not historically very sympathetic to feminism and are historically sympathetic to porn.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:08 AM on August 7, 2006


Ethereal Bligh:
I've seen numerous blowjob clips where women are "wearing" a toilet seat around their necks and their heads are being held via their hair in a very violent manner.
Never even heard of this (and by now I figure I would've), though certainly I'm aware of more degrading shit to be found online. 'Numerous' strikes me as hyperbole, given the uncountably vast universe of Internet porn.

The leap from 'accusations of effeminacy are a common put-down among men' to 'degradation of women is an essential part of heterosexual male identity' is a big one and questionable, E. Bligh. It rests on - how would Oz from Buffy put it? - a 'radical interpretation of the text.' :)

Regardless - I don't know michelle's posting habits particularly, but the claim that
The Abu Ghraib photos are considered atrocities but they are no different than what is done to women in the pornography industry. Except when it's done to women, people call it "harmless entertainment".
is merely wrong, starting with the voluntary nature of participation in mainstream porn, continuing through the whole porno directors don't kill people line of argument, and moving on from there. That much certainly is a 'kook, radical argument' and no mistake. But at day's end, it's only trolling, and while it's enjoyable to fulminate about all this, I'd rather just have a Firefox extension that allows me to cut out all comments by a given user. Worse and stupider things have been said on this website.

On a related note: there's this Firefox extension, I'm wondering if it exists...
posted by waxbanks at 8:10 AM on August 7, 2006


But whatever the mix is between the two, what is striking about MetaFilter is that a left-leaning, thought-to-be-reasonable community would, on average and in relative terms, be so hostile to "hard" feminism.

In isolation, I'm probably as tired and annoyed at these Dworkin -era and -style presentation of feminism as many people.

I think you answered your own question there, dude. Maybe people have discarded it because they simply found it distasteful and presumptuous. Give intelligent people the benefit of the doubt. And being anti-Dworkin/MacKinnon does not equal being anti-feminist any more than being feminist equals being a MacDworkinite.
posted by jonmc at 8:11 AM on August 7, 2006


E. Bligh - you make a good point about geekery, but I'd point out that 'hard' feminism is not without is aporias, resentments, etc., and functions politically, as far as many people know, as a kind of calcified dogmatism, and not an organic revolutionary political/cultural outlook. If it ever did. I mean that's a separate big discussion and complex, and we're just here to piss on a troll (offscreen, of course), so no point heading down that road. :)

On preview: *nod* jonmc.
posted by waxbanks at 8:14 AM on August 7, 2006


"starting with the voluntary nature of participation in mainstream porn"

Ah, but a lot of people don't believe that the participation is as essentially and universally "voluntary" as you imply.

"I think you answered your own question there, dude. Maybe people have discarded it because they simply found it distasteful and presumptuous. Give intelligent people the benefit of the doubt. And being anti-Dworkin/MacKinnon does not equal being anti-feminist any more than being feminist equals being a MacDworkinite."

But in my opinion there is a stronger backlash against the excesses of this brand of feminism than there is against similar excesses of many other left-wing theories. My sense is that it's hugely disproportionate, but I think it's mildly disproportionate. And, as it happens, I think that mild difference is exactly the difference between being mildly annoyed with Michelle's comments and posting a callout in MeTa.

"'Numerous' strikes me as hyperbole, given the uncountably vast universe of Internet porn."

If you find and download porn that is specifically about fellatio, a small portion, maybe 5% has some explicit degradation, usually in the form of how the woman is physically "controlled" and talked to. Among that 5%, I'd say about 10% of it is much more explicitly degrading and humiliating and thus misogynist. That may be a small portion overall, but that it mixes the larger portion without comment, and universally so, makes it hard not to feel that the whole is tainted by that small part. A similar argument could be made about the ephebophilia thing, which most people don't find that inherently creepy, but are uneasy because at the margins in porn ephebophilia shades pretty easily into pedophilia.

We worry about this sort of thing all the time and in lots of contexts. If we take some righteous position and go on a march, we're uncomfortable with those 2% among we marchers who are obviously crazy. Does that reflect upon us?, we wonder. We wil rationally dismiss this with the assertion that guilt by association is a fallacy. But, the truth of the matter is that guilt by association is only a fallacy when misused (similar to the ad hominem fallacy). Things are associated with each other because at some level they are alike. When we worry about these things, and certainly when we accuse others on this basis, it's because we think that those extreme examples, the outliers who are only 2% or so are revealing a deeper common connection between everyone/thing so associated.

On MeFi every day this argument is made with regard to certain extreme minority elements of the Republican Party—the claim is made that they reveal a quality of the whole.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:28 AM on August 7, 2006


This sentence:

"My sense is that it's hugely disproportionate, but I think it's mildly disproportionate. "

...should have been

"My sense is that it's not hugely disproportionate, but I think it's mildly disproportionate."
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:29 AM on August 7, 2006


The Ghost of Ken Lay, please meet The Ghost of Andrea Dworkin.

Oh we've met. In hell, Satan only allows her to watch one TV which magically turns any television show into low-budget soft core. Oh, PBS has never been so much fun. Alistair Cooke's dong is much larger than anyone presumed. She also may only eat chocolate which magically makes her thinner and sexy the more she eats. Well, sexier. Kinda sorta.
posted by the ghost of Ken Lay at 8:30 AM on August 7, 2006


But in my opinion there is a stronger backlash against the excesses of this brand of feminism than there is against similar excesses of many other left-wing theories. My sense is that it's hugely disproportionate, but I think it's mildly disproportionate. And, as it happens, I think that mild difference is exactly the difference between being mildly annoyed with Michelle's comments and posting a callout in MeTa.

I don't know. I imagine if people we're posting paeans to Chairman Mao, or Nation Of Islam type rhetoric, there'd be some not so gentle corrections. Extremists in general tend to be off-putting.
posted by jonmc at 8:31 AM on August 7, 2006


Satan only allows her to watch one TV which magically turns any television show into low-budget soft core. Oh, PBS has never been so much fun. Alistair Cooke's dong is much larger than anyone presumed.

I could only imagine Cookie Monster.
posted by jonmc at 8:32 AM on August 7, 2006


"I've seen numerous blowjob clips where women are "wearing" a toilet seat around their necks and their heads are being held via their hair in a very violent manner." ~ Ethereal Bligh, Metafilter
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:33 AM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


EB watches a lot of Max Hardcore pr0n apparently.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 8:46 AM on August 7, 2006


E. Bligh:
"starting with the voluntary nature of participation in mainstream porn"

Ah, but a lot of people don't believe that the participation is as essentially and universally "voluntary" as you imply.
Note the word 'mainstream,' and let's have something stronger than Fox News-style 'a lot of people don't believe' if that's available.
posted by waxbanks at 8:47 AM on August 7, 2006


I can't believe that no one's suggested a brisk rogering yet.

And I don't see a difference between this and most axe-grinding that goes on here. She's not even that half-cocked most of the time.

Maybe you think she's jerking off in your thread - so sit back and enjoy the show, boys. All double entendres intended.
posted by Marnie at 8:47 AM on August 7, 2006


"I've give you the sexual humiliation, gonzo connection, but that in no way does that make it Abu Ghraib no different from porn. The two are quite different."

But does it make the photographs from Abu Ghraib significantly similar to misogynistic porn? I'd argue yes. From there, what is Michelle guilty of? Rhetorical overstatement.

And on Metafilter lowering the bar of "callout" to "rhetorical overstatement" will render all of MeTa unusuable.

(I'm leaving aside the points that have been made by EB, Waxbanks, Jessamyn and a couple others, as I think they're all doing an excellent job both in clarifying the issues surrounding porn/tortu, male privilege and feminism in a way that I would have hoped to do had I been more articulate).
posted by klangklangston at 8:51 AM on August 7, 2006


C'mon BOYS, admit the real reason she makes you uncomfortable.
posted by davy at 9:02 AM on August 7, 2006


This just in: site with disproportionate number of men who *live* on the *internet* takes "disproportionate" umbrage at blanket, canned criticism of pornography. I'm shocked and dismayed!

Really though, what do you expect when a troll punches below the belt, as it were? Anyone who's seen degrading midget porn should have seen this... umm... coming.
posted by drpynchon at 9:05 AM on August 7, 2006


It might be just rhetorical overstatement if she didn't keep doing it again and again, over and over, in thread after thread. In the end, every thread she participates in will be derailed into a stupid discussion about pornography unless people ignore her--and we all know how well ignoring trolls works out.

As for the Abu Gharib-porn connection, I don't much stock into it. It's based largely on an extremely narrow interpretation of porn wherein all porn is viewed as exploitation. Sure, if you take the dishonest assumption that porn is about the degradation of women than you can link most any war atroicity to the porn industry. But this sort of tautological reasoning is stupid and doesn't provide any insight into the actual issues.
posted by nixerman at 9:10 AM on August 7, 2006


"EB watches a lot of Max Hardcore pr0n apparently."

No, but his stuff has infested batches of stuff I've downloaded recently. I think you're right—the one toilet seat clip I'm thinking of was almost certainly one of his. All the MH clips I've seen are misogynist and involve humiliation.

Do we really need to go into our individual porn watching habits? Let's assume that a person is a feminist and has long considered the possibility that all porn is misogynist and in the end decided otherwise. Let's assume that person is aware that some of it is. Let's assume that person avoids misogynist porn. Let's assume that person isn't always successful because that person downloads only clips and images from the Internet and doesn't buy branded porn from the store or online where the specific content is extremely self-evident. Such a person will come across examples of porn that the person would rather not have seen.

On the other hand, as a moral and intellectual matter I suppose I'm grateful that I am occasionally unwillingly exposed to the uglier sides of porn because I do believe it's shades of gray and that misogyny exists far and wide in conventional porn. I think those of us who are anti-sexist and sex-positive and conditionally pro-porn should never forget or fool ourselevs that it is an industry with almost all parts of it sharing common elements, and some of those are quite definitely misogynist. I think that if I were able to perfectly filter my porn consumption such that I only ever saw the stuff I completely approve of it would be easy for me to forget how truly ugly most of the industry is. As a consumer, I have a responsibility and it's better than I'm reminded of this than that I forget.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:22 AM on August 7, 2006


Feminist Chicks Dig Me.
posted by jonmc at 9:23 AM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


This just in: site with disproportionate number of men who *live* on the *internet*

You can't live on the internet. Maybe IN the internet, since it is made up of tubes, but if you were on top of the tubes you would fall off from the vibration of all the data whooshing through them. Although perhaps if you were in the tubes you would be struck down by the data racing around.

Of course as long as it takes some people to get their internet that is sent to them by their staff, perhaps some tubes have much slower data traffic and are safer havens for those that are unable or unwilling to live in traditional housing. Of course the tubes DO fill up and when that happens you might be smothered by the data. I guess the real problem here is that if people on MetaFilter are living in the tubes, they are going to be crushed by someone dumping a bunch of data in at once as though the Internet was a truck. That is what we should be working on, helping those people.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 9:29 AM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


No, but his stuff has infested batches of stuff I've downloaded recently. I think you're right—the one toilet seat clip I'm thinking of was almost certainly one of his. All the MH clips I've seen are misogynist and involve humiliation.

Do we really need to go into our individual porn watching habits?


Dude. YOU brought it up by saying you have seen a lot of clips like that. And no, I don't want to know the details of anybody's porn viewing habits.

As for Max, there was a post here a loooong time back that had an article or blog or something written by a porn store clerk, she had some stuff to say about his particular brand of porn. I doubt if he is the only one out there making similar stuff but your description immediately made me think of that post.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 9:40 AM on August 7, 2006


You can't live on the internet. Maybe IN the internet, since it is made up of tubes, but if you were on top of the tubes you would fall off from the vibration of all the data whooshing through them.

I bet the vibrations are stimulating....
posted by jonmc at 9:47 AM on August 7, 2006


Oh, dhoyt you never cease to amaze me. ;)
posted by Dreamghost at 9:48 AM on August 7, 2006


Oy.

EB, I for one appreciate your commentary here, and your frank admissions for the sake of making a point. Very interesting indeed.

Random anecdote: when I was teenager I believed that makeup was a tool of oppression, and that it implied that women needed buy products to make them attractive to men. Then I read this wonderful book. It contains a chapter about how women in eastern Europe used makeup to make a statement: they couldn't be controlled by the government, they would act out their identities and femininity in whatever way suited them. And that was my first exposure to the fact that things that strike me as oppressive can be empowering in different contexts.

I find it very interesting that fellatio has that tinge of degredation, as you say. I don't think it's inherent in any way, but I'd be very curious to find out where that tinge comes from and what's perpetuating it.

I'm sorry that the Michelle thing spiraled out the way it did, because I was quite fascinated by the quotes about the sexual "feminiziation" of men as torture. It's definitely is a separate topic and a derail in that context, but what that feminizing torture says about the place of women in American culture is certainly interesting to say the least.
posted by Hildegarde at 9:50 AM on August 7, 2006


when I was teenager I believed that makeup was a tool of oppression,

As a teenager? You should've been out drinking and writhing to suggestive music like a normal teen.

And that was my first exposure to the fact that things that strike me as oppressive can be empowering in different contexts.

Or people simply doing what they like with theselves. Not everything is a political statement.

I find it very interesting that fellatio has that tinge of degredation, as you say. I don't think it's inherent in any way, but I'd be very curious to find out where that tinge comes from and what's perpetuating it.

You could probably say the same thing about cunnilingus or anilingus as well, I'd argue. But imho, that's mainly due to residual guilt from religious condemnation and because those already inclined to misogyny or homophobia it's considered something that only women/gays/lesbians do. To the rest of us, it's just good clean fun. What grown people do (or look at) to get off, is ultimately nobody's business in the end.
posted by jonmc at 9:58 AM on August 7, 2006


I was quite fascinated by the quotes about the sexual "feminiziation" of men as torture.

side question: would you consider 'feminization,' and 'emasculation,' to be the same thing?

I'm not entirely sure. Feminization (or at least loosening the definition of masculinity) can be a good thing, but emasculation seems to be about robbing someone of their identity and dignity, which isn't.
posted by jonmc at 10:01 AM on August 7, 2006


I went with "feminization' because of the fairly clear indications that we had that there was an attempt to treat the prisoners like women as a form of torture. I wanted to highlight that, rather than suggest that were simply being dehumanized. If there's a relationship between being treated like a woman and being dehumanized, I want it to see it clearly.

Not to say that there wasn't dehumanization going on at Abu Graib, because obviously there was. As I say, this topic is absolutely a derail in a conversation about Abu Graib. I'd love to see links about this phenemenon more generally.
posted by Hildegarde at 10:07 AM on August 7, 2006


^Ghraib. Sorry.
posted by Hildegarde at 10:08 AM on August 7, 2006


EB: I certainly don't see Canada as a sacred cow. We have a lot of fundamental hypocrisy just like the US or any other nation.Her comment, though, was pure ad hominem and definitely objectionable. Regardless of the flawed premise of the comment she targeted, consider what she's trying to say here:

"People on the east coast of your country make their living off of cruelty to animals. You are thus unqualified to comment on the curious juxtaposition of religion and party culture in my country."

Sorry. Argumentum ad hominem tu quoque, with a side dish of non sequitur. Joe Francis could fly his jet through the holes in her logic.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 10:10 AM on August 7, 2006


I went with "feminization' because of the fairly clear indications that we had that there was an attempt to treat the prisoners like women as a form of torture.

Well, it's a thorny issue to be sure. The prisoners at Abu Graib came from a culture where gender identity is pretty strictly defined, even moreso than our own. And I'd argue that while exploration of gender grey areas on one's own is healthy, that forcing somebody out of their identity for cruel thrills is, as you say, dehumanizing.
posted by jonmc at 10:10 AM on August 7, 2006


You know, when I was reading the thread this was all about I was like, ohboy, it's crazy radfem vs. the MeFi nerd frat. I don't have a dog in this fight, do I? So I just sort of read on with general disgust and a side of popcorn.

Which is to say, I'm glad to read a lot of the comments here, particularly by klangklangston and languagehat, that go a ways towards actually addressing Michelle_h's point of view in a non-kneejerk fashion. There is a relationship between porn and Abu Ghraib. I don't think it's the real crux of it – more so, the relationship between U.S. prisons and Abu Ghraib, that's a lot more apropos and disturbing. I also – how do I put this? I read a small number of sites and discussion areas that are way more feminist than MeFi, and Michelle_h would come off as a troll and a cretin there too.
posted by furiousthought at 10:16 AM on August 7, 2006


EB:
But in my opinion there is a stronger backlash against the excesses of this brand of feminism than there is against similar excesses of many other left-wing theories. My sense is that it's hugely disproportionate, but I think it's mildly disproportionate.


Well, take some Marxist idea that hold me personally acountable for the repression in third world nations because I'm a middle class bourgeois. This theory has me repressing strangers, and it's a lot easier to simply disagree.

On the other hand, some of the more out-there feminist ideas insist that I'm raping my wife. I'm not suprised the backlash is disproportionate, feminism deals with some of our most important connections. It's excesses can be hurtful.
posted by spaltavian at 10:17 AM on August 7, 2006


"EB, I for one appreciate your commentary here, and your frank admissions for the sake of making a point. Very interesting indeed."

Thanks, I appreciate that a lot. I open myself for a good amount of personal ridicule because of a number of things I'll reveal about myself in conservation; but I do it for a reason, I do it because I think it's relevant, I think it's dishonest to talk about personal things and pretend they're not personal, and more often than not my sense of the utility of behaving this way is validated. But that validation is side-by-side people plunging their knives into sensitive spaces because they see the opportunity.

"I find it very interesting that fellatio has that tinge of degredation, as you say. I don't think it's inherent in any way, but I'd be very curious to find out where that tinge comes from and what's perpetuating it."

I think it may start from the usual physical relationship. Even if it's not the archetypically (in the context of our conversation) variety of one person being on their knees, there's still a subservient implication in there somehow. I've sometimes wondered if this wasn't part of why certain men, perhaps more in some cultures than others, feel so negatively about cunninlingus. Do they feel there's an implicit degree of degradation?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:19 AM on August 7, 2006


"Or people simply doing what they like with theselves. Not everything is a political statement."

The unexamined life is not worth living.
posted by klangklangston at 10:22 AM on August 7, 2006


True, but you can also examine things to death. I'm not arguing against any examination, but as a wise man once said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
posted by jonmc at 10:31 AM on August 7, 2006


Can I be made aware when the "Derail" flagging option is going to be removed? Considering jessamyn has deemed her activity "thread-shitting" I fail to see the point in having a "derail" option when there is apparently no administrative recourse. It is obviously a trivial and acceptable activity to employ disingenuous and fantastically demented prose however you please, because someone somewhere is going to defend your activity by reinforcing the most audacious and suspect of logical relationships between the FPP and your insane ramblings. Fantastic.
posted by prostyle at 10:35 AM on August 7, 2006


When you argue that such comparisons "cheapen" the seriousness of Abu Ghraib, you're revealing more about your feelings about widespread misogyny than you are about your feelings concerning Abu Ghraib.

I suspect a lot of people didn't read EB's long, long comment, so I thought I'd extract that very well put sentence.

I'm not arguing against any examination, but as a wise man once said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

But that's pretty much all you say in these discussions. You may not be "against any examination" in theory, but in practice you continually mock it and imply that your "surly but tolerant white guy from da streets" persona is all you need to deal with every aspect of the world. Some of us actually like to think about these things.

And if you don't want to admit there's such a thing as male privilege, well, you've got lots of company. Most white people don't like to think about white privilege, either.
posted by languagehat at 11:10 AM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


But that's pretty much all you say in these discussions. You may not be "against any examination" in theory, but in practice you continually mock it

Well, usually someone has stated my observations better than I could already, so I usually feel compelled to pipe up when somebody's made a Snake River Canyon level logical leap.

And I can admit white/male privilige exists by klang and jess's definition, I'm just pointing out that to many it's going to fall on deaf ears, and not neccessarily for the reasons you might think. (and if I don't like to think about thhigs, what am I doing here?)
posted by jonmc at 11:19 AM on August 7, 2006


If nobody here thinks Cheney and Rumsfield haven't jacked off into Gannon's mouth while watching Abu Gharaib videos, they're kidding themselves.
posted by Balisong at 11:26 AM on August 7, 2006


and if I don't like to think about thhigs, what am I doing here?

Yeah, sorry, that was a cheap shot. I've seen the kinds of books you carry for subway reading (don't worry, I won't tell anyone) and I know you've got a reflective mind. It's your persona that irritates me sometimes; it's like you're so invested in the regular-guy thing you get trapped in the pose. I love it when you occasionally drop the pose and engage in thoughtful discussion of a topic, so that's really what's driving my ad hominem derail.

And now: back to our regularly scheduled episode of Bash the Stoopid Man-Hating Bitch!
posted by languagehat at 11:28 AM on August 7, 2006


(well, the reflective mind is bound up in hard won knowledge that nobody's motives are pure and people are mostly full of shit (me included) so I have to shoot everything through that prism, just to keep things honest)

And now: back to our regularly scheduled episode of Bash the Stoopid Man-Hating Bitch!

I still say that's unfair. Extremism and overheated rhtoric of all flavors usually gets clupped like a baby seal on Ted Nugent's ChrisCraft around here. I see no reason to cut this individual any slack.
posted by jonmc at 11:39 AM on August 7, 2006


she doesn't stick around to actually discuss any of her comments

"It's about the links, not the discussion."
posted by mischief at 11:40 AM on August 7, 2006


As for "shit and run" posting, ya'll better get accustomed to it. With Google's blog search function, that style has become quite common.
posted by mischief at 11:42 AM on August 7, 2006


clubbed, dammit. what the hell is clupped?
posted by jonmc at 11:42 AM on August 7, 2006


jonmc: "but as a wise man once said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"

Clinton, right?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:45 AM on August 7, 2006


When you argue that such comparisons "cheapen" the seriousness of Abu Ghraib, you're revealing more about your feelings about widespread misogyny than you are about your feelings concerning Abu Ghraib.

Or you could just think that involuntry torture is worse than whatever perceived degredation goes on during a voluntry and paid act.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 11:51 AM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Trolling is all about intent, whether or not the points raised by the troll have any merit.

I appreciate this MeTa post for the frank and thoughtful responses by several people. It's been an interesting and considerate discussion, and I very much doubt it would be anything like were M@HB to have taken part.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:55 AM on August 7, 2006


trolling for COCK amirite
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 11:56 AM on August 7, 2006


But privileges like not having to worry about getting drunk and being raped

Those aren't privileges, that's neutral. Calling those privileges makes them sound like 'extras' males/whites/lizard people shouldn't have, rather than basic components of human dignity everyone should have. It's also, at it's heart, accusatory. Like a male is supposed to be apologetic for not having to worry about getting raped.
posted by spaltavian at 12:07 PM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


We don't want apologies. Just reparations. It's only fair.

Now THAT is trolling, people. Take notes.
posted by Marnie at 12:23 PM on August 7, 2006


Take notes? I thought the whole point of this thread was that we can just buy the Cliffs Notes.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:26 PM on August 7, 2006


"Take notes" should read "Submit bank account routing number."

Mondays!!! :P
posted by Marnie at 12:32 PM on August 7, 2006


We don't want apologies. Just reparations.
How about we figure out a way that gives everyone these co-called "privileges"?
posted by spaltavian at 1:48 PM on August 7, 2006


"Those aren't privileges, that's neutral. Calling those privileges makes them sound like 'extras' males/whites/lizard people shouldn't have, rather than basic components of human dignity everyone should have. It's also, at it's heart, accusatory. Like a male is supposed to be apologetic for not having to worry about getting raped."

Hi, I know that reading is hard, but you might want to scroll back up to where I mentioned that the primary privileges of males (and whites) are normative privileges.
And a male should, y'know, consider working for a world where women can also enjoy not having to worry about getting raped. Sorry if that hurts your feelings.
posted by klangklangston at 1:52 PM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


The "privilege" is the privilege to not have to worry about it if you don't feel like it, to be able to devote your time and energy to things other than, for example, not getting raped. And yes, that's a privilege, in the same way that having free time because you don't have to work two jobs is a privilege. Being able to unthinkingly assume that you'll have extra time in your day to not work, or during which you won't be raped, is a privilege that much of the world does not have.
posted by occhiblu at 2:25 PM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Short of Utopia, everyone has to worry about being the victim of a crime at least a little, particularly when they are drunk.
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:26 PM on August 7, 2006


Statistically speaking im fairly sure that men are the most common victims of violent crime in general.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 2:31 PM on August 7, 2006


klang, I know you mean well, but that kind of condescension is what I was talking about when I said that what you're saying will fall on deaf ears.
posted by jonmc at 2:32 PM on August 7, 2006


Jonmc— I rewrote this comment about three times so as not to lash out unduly toward you, but when you have to deal with the same stupid arguments again and again, you can get the feeling that either the person you're talking to has a stake in not thinking about the stuff you're talking about, or that they're really not bright enough to be worth explaining everything one more time to.
And a certain point, I feel less like what I'm saying is falling on deaf ears and more like it's falling on ears with fingers in them.
posted by klangklangston at 2:54 PM on August 7, 2006


Yes, InfidelZombie and Reggie Knoble, but I know of very few people who would immediately blame the vicitimized men for behaving or dressing badly and therefore bringing it on themselves. And I was using rape as an example -- privilege is actually mostly all those little moments in the day when you *aren't* reminded that you're a man and therefore abnormal, or different, or dismissable.

Getting raped would, of course, be one of those moments, but you're right that it's probably not the most common. Working not to get raped -- thinking about which routes to take home, wondering whether you should accept the offer from a kind-of friend to walk you home or whether he's going to be the one who ends up assaulting you, finding a taxi to hail and then worrying whether the guy you're sharing it with is going to rape you and everyone will blame you for it, wondering whether you're going to be the woman forever described as "wearing a halter-top and miniskirt" when you disappear and should therefore not wear that outfit tonight -- takes up marginally more time. But being reminded that your ideas, problems, and opinions belong in the Style section or in Dear Abby or in threads about porn or anywhere other than where the big boys get to play takes up a great deal more, and is more of what "privilege" tends to mean, at least in the US.
posted by occhiblu at 2:54 PM on August 7, 2006


And a certain point, I feel less like what I'm saying is falling on deaf ears and more like it's falling on ears with fingers in them.

well, to me, it's more like this. Like most men, I am not a rapist. I consider rapists and child molesters to be lower than snakeshit. I have a mother, two sisters, several aunts, a niece and a girlfriend. I am not blind to the threat such things pose to them and it bugs me a lot. I imagine most men feel the same. But when the discussion of such things begins with discussion of our 'privilege,' it almost seems like we're being blamed for something we despise, which can't help but be off-putting, even though I am 100% sure that isn't your intent. I find that the 'what if it was your sister/mother/daughter' approach gets most people to listen. Those who don't respond are people who devalue lives based on people not being their mother/daughter etc, and such people inhabit a universe that I don't get, even though I think medical and social science will have to explore it and it's origiins if we want to make progress on these things. But that's just my admittedly muddled thoughts.
posted by jonmc at 3:33 PM on August 7, 2006


I think I liked it better when those things were called discrimination-- makes it more clear that something bad is happening that should be changed. I can look at myself and society for ways to reduce discrimination, and work to make that happen.

I have no idea what can be done to give everyone the type of privileges I enjoy as a white male, by me or anyone else. I'm not even sure that would be a good idea, since I usually think of a privilege as something somebody is getting that that shouldn't (like a rich kid with poor grades getting into an Ivy League school.)
posted by InfidelZombie at 3:40 PM on August 7, 2006


those things = privileges
posted by InfidelZombie at 3:41 PM on August 7, 2006


The point of calling it "privilege" is that it's a way to make it conscious.

The huge majority of the first-world's institutions are run by, and cater to, white straight affluent men. So it can be pretty easy to take the white straight affluent male perspective as "normal," and everyone else's view of the world as "different" or qualified in some way. Male privilege means that your views and concerns are expressed in the "real" sections of the paper, not relegated to Style or weekend sections. Male privilege means that discussions of "gender issues" are thought to apply mostly to women, because men aren't really gendered. Male privilege means that when I read someone's posts on Metafilter, I pretty much automatically assume the writer is male unless she specifies otherwise, or is writing about "women's issues" like rape or harassment.

It just means that men get to be the "default" in this society and don't have to spend as much time justifying their attitudes, experiences, or interests because those things are taken as normal. And the fact that women do often have to spend more time justifying their attitudes, experiences, and interests takes a toll that should be recognized.

So I get what you're saying about using words like "discrimination," but the point is that it's not quite the same thing. My being scared to walk home by myself sometimes isn't really discrimination; my having to specify in threads that I'm a woman isn't really discrimination; my wondering if someone is going to dismiss my views after hearing that I'm a woman isn't really discrimination; my not seeing a lot of women in positions of power and having to "make do" with different-gender role models isn't really discrimination. It's just a low-level constant awareness that I am a woman and because of that get treated and viewed in certain ways, in a way that most men don't. Most men don't worry "Did that just happen because I'm a man?" all the time (thought of course they do sometimes) or feel like their opinions differ from the mainstream because they are men.
posted by occhiblu at 3:58 PM on August 7, 2006 [2 favorites]


Statistically speaking im fairly sure that men are the most common victims of violent crime in general.

One of the quotations that started this whole thing was a man saying, go ahead, beat me, I keep my dignity that way. But treat me like a woman and I lose all dignity. (me paraphrasing, btw, not a direct quote.) So, yeah, violent crime sucks, but it sucks in a different way than rape or sexual violence (or the threat of sexual violence). Inherently, it shouldn't be different, but the way these things are weighed in our cultures, the kinds of violence that women are threatened with is more dehumanizing than the violence men are most often threatened with. Not sure why, really.

Would love to see more work on this subject, frankly.
posted by Hildegarde at 3:59 PM on August 7, 2006


This is kind of the default "male privilege checklist," which might help explain further what I mean (because I'm a bit inarticulate today and am probably not doing the best job with it).
posted by occhiblu at 4:00 PM on August 7, 2006


(because I'm a bit inarticulate today and am probably not doing the best job with it).

Not to suck up too badly but you have been more articulate than i am on my best day.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 4:21 PM on August 7, 2006


Thanks occhiblu-- I appreciate the explanation and the additional link.
posted by InfidelZombie at 4:23 PM on August 7, 2006


occhiblu, I see your point, but I'd argue that list is not gospel (several items are debateable, especially for men of my generation). And likr a lot of people, after a day on a low-paying job that I know I'm losing soon, with serious back pain, after a week of dealing with a significant other's serious health problem's in emergency rooms being told that I'm responsible for the world's problems and that I'm oh-so-priviliged kind of grates. I imagine much of the world's response would be somewhat similar.
posted by jonmc at 4:28 PM on August 7, 2006


Hildegarde: "One of the quotations that started this whole thing was a man saying, go ahead, beat me, I keep my dignity that way. But treat me like a woman and I lose all dignity." So, yeah, violent crime sucks, but it sucks in a different way than rape or sexual violence (or the threat of sexual violence) [...] the kinds of violence that women are threatened with is more dehumanizing than the violence men are most often threatened with.

Prisoner rape is not really a women's rights issue, despite the cultural analogies being used to describe it in this instance.

Also, considering that any man who gets thrown into an American prison (rightfully or not) stands a very good chance of being sexually abused, I'd say that men are constantly under threat of rape in America. Between myself and male friends, I can recall numerous situations where police made clear (as a threat, and in graphic detail) that a night in jail would involve sexual assault. The message: cooperate with the law, don't piss us off, or you'll probably be raped and beaten.

So, have you ever been threatened with rape by a government employee? Maybe that should go on the female privilege list?
posted by kid ichorous at 4:33 PM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


porn : MH as a swamp : Solomon Grundy.(from the 1977 legends of the superheroes)Solomon grundy hate desert, desert have sand, beach have sand, beach have water, swamp have water, Solomon Grundy hate swamp


MH hate Penguins, Penguins live in Antarctica, Antarctica has Ice, Icees are sold in 7-11, 7-11 has porn, Penguins exploit women and treat them as objects.
posted by Megafly at 4:35 PM on August 7, 2006


I'd say that men are constantly under threat of rape in America.

That would be true if men were constantly under threat of being thrown in jail in America. A certain subset certainly are -- but I would argue that's an aspect of white privilege, not of female privelege.

Do you really feel, once a week or more, or every time you're out late by yourself, that you're in danger of being raped? If not, it's not exactly "constant."

Which is not to say prisoner abuse is not a problem, but it doesn't somehow negate the fact that women are raped.
posted by occhiblu at 4:39 PM on August 7, 2006


"starting with the voluntary nature of participation in mainstream porn"

This has been a really interesting thread. I thought I'd toss this in though: From what I can tell, voluntary is sort of a grey area. I think the real danger in making a statement like the one above is that a lot of the pr0n we're talking about has the premise of being involuntary, but isn't.

In other words, it's presented as being involuntary; some people understand that, and some people don't. The connection to Abu Grahib is that we're all pretty sure that those people weren't just pretending to be humilated. Therefore Abu Grahib can very well equal pr0n if you don't understand that "rape pr0n" is more playacting than reality.
posted by hoborg at 4:44 PM on August 7, 2006


jonmc, no one's trying to blame you or anyone else for the world's problems, just open everyone's eyes to their own role in supporting some of them.

And I know you have your own problems. So do we all. I would be amazed if any of yours were specifically caused by how society views your gender, though. And I'm not particularly interested in debating third-hand with some theoretical down-on-his-luck guy who might object to my arguments. Bring him in and let him have his say if he's around, otherwise I'm not continuing this argument.
posted by occhiblu at 4:46 PM on August 7, 2006


hoborg, I'm unfamiliar with a lot of extremely violent porn, so this may be slightly irrelevent, but there's a line of thought that women's work (not just stereotypical "women's work," but all work that women do) is devalued enough in this society that the "choice" to go into porn is not really a fair choice.

"You can do more work than the men around you for less pay, and you'll have to work your ass off to even get an interview because statistically bosses won't even look at resumes from women, and they're unlikely to hire you even if you do get the interview because 'you'll probably just go get pregnant anyway,' and you probably had a harder time getting a degree that would lead to a well-paying job because 'girls aren't good at science and math; why don't you think about becoming a teacher?', and if you do get that well-paying job you're fairly likely to be passed over for promotions for all those same reasons so it will be a constant battle.... or you can make a lot of money by sleeping with men in front of a camera."

In other words, if you start with the deck stacked against you, how much "free choice" you have is up for debate.
posted by occhiblu at 4:52 PM on August 7, 2006


I would be amazed if any of yours were specifically caused by how society views your gender, though.

Well, there's a flipside to that: I don't get to blame sexism for things that might be my own fault or simply bad luck or whatever. I'm simply told 'tough shit, suck it up.' That's the flipside of male privilige, more is expected of you and more pressure is on you.
posted by jonmc at 4:54 PM on August 7, 2006


There's.... a lot I could say, but I will sum it up with the important bit: yes, you're right. Sexism hurts everyone, and I've never meant to imply otherwise, and I've often explicitly said that it does.

Hence: Down with the patriarchy! :-)
posted by occhiblu at 4:57 PM on August 7, 2006


(fwiw: I'm not trying to dismiss anything you say, cos I respect and like you (and I figure you know that) just trying to offer a wider perspective. And my back pain is making me cranky, and my macadamias didn't arrive because of a broken doorbell, so I'm cranky.
posted by jonmc at 4:59 PM on August 7, 2006


Actually, I will add something: "Getting" to claim sexism is not a good thing. It makes you question whether you will ever be able to attain any degree of personhood over which you have any degree of control. My point is that men take their own personhood for granted, because everyone else around them supports that view. Yes, it means you might have only yourself to blame if something goes wrong (except, interestingly, it seems like a vocal minority of guys blame women, or blacks, or Mexicans for "taking" what's rightfully theirs), but it also means you maintain some degree of control over your own life.
posted by occhiblu at 5:02 PM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


And I'm happy to hear your perspective; I just get annoyed when "your" perspective is actually that of some hypothetical dude, because it lets you get out of actually making an argument. You just get to keep saying, "Yeah, but this other (non-existent) person doesn't agree!"

But I'd bring you macadamias if I could.
posted by occhiblu at 5:04 PM on August 7, 2006


But when the discussion of such things begins with discussion of our 'privilege,' it almost seems like we're being blamed for something we despise

But nobody's blaming you (well, maybe Ms Hermosa Beach, but she shat and ran). Think of it as comparable to racism. Even iff you're the most nonracist, well-meaning, nicest white guy around, surely you'd be open to a discussion of "white privilege" and the fact that you can hail a cab without having to wonder if it will stop and walk around a store without having the employees' eyes on you and not feel you were personally being blamed? It's not about any individual person, it's about a social/cultural setup that sucks. For everyone, but especially (directly) for women.
posted by languagehat at 5:21 PM on August 7, 2006


And I'm happy to hear your perspective; I just get annoyed when "your" perspective is actually that of some hypothetical dude,

Well, through years of having conversations like this maybe I know some things those hypothetical dudes don't.
posted by jonmc at 5:22 PM on August 7, 2006


And I hope your macadamias get there pronto.
posted by languagehat at 5:23 PM on August 7, 2006


it may not be blaming but that's how it comes out sounding. I'm not the hypothetical guy I'm descibing although I know him and understand him and have even been him. All I'm trying to do is help you make your point to him.


But I'd bring you macadamias if I could...
And I hope your macadamias get there pronto.


They're the Maui Onion & Garlic ones from Hawaii. They sound so good my mouth is watering typing about them, even though my lower back and knees are killing me for some reason.
posted by jonmc at 5:27 PM on August 7, 2006


Patriarchy isn't the problem. White men aren't the problem. Western culture isn't the problem. The problem is that the world is full of assholes, of all creeds, colors, and gender permutations, the assholes have a tendency to raise to power because they are willing to do whatever it takes to gain and maintain that power, and everyone else suffers as a result. In most places in the world right now (and historically), men have had more power than women. The result has lead to suffering by women and non-asshole men as a result, although it is generally a different kind and quality of suffering. Make no mistake about it, though - in instances where women have had or risen to power, history doesn't suddenly switch to stories of flowers and bunnies. In non-western cultures, people don't miraculously lead fearless lives.

In other words, although the patriarchy may suck, an end to the prevailing dominant culture will not necessarily result in any real improvement in our lives. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. At least that's the way history reads to me. Not an excuse to ignore the problem, just... I guess real solutions elude me. Not being one of the assholes is always a good start, but short of the Rapture, I don't see the assholes going away anytime soon. They may just have a little less hair on them the next time they shit on you.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:28 PM on August 7, 2006 [5 favorites]


For the sake of clarity, I wasn't suggesting that the winners of the Rapture lottery are the assholes in question. I was using the Rapture to signify the end of the world. At which time the assholes would all be dealt with. So. Wasn't trolling anyone. This time.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:39 PM on August 7, 2006


Well, yes. But "ending the patriarchy" doesn't mean "put the women in power." It means "dismantle the current biased system that keeps women out of power." It's not just a question of putting new bosses in power, but of questioning the assumptions we have about what "power" is.

Yes, I've escaped into the realm of theoretical utopianism, but I think it's not a bad goal to start with, even if there's no way of totally attaining it, and even acknowledging there would continue to be problems if it were ever fully attained.
posted by occhiblu at 5:56 PM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Well, yes. But "ending the patriarchy" doesn't mean "put the women in power." It means "dismantle the current biased system that keeps women out of power."

Well, that's the ideal, but like all ideals it's prey to corruption, and historically, when groups gain power they tend to consolidate it via patronage etc. I see no reason why women should be any different. They're female, not magic.

(This is not to say that we should countenance instituitionalized discrimination, just a caveat agianst utopianism)
posted by jonmc at 6:10 PM on August 7, 2006


Not a bad goal, no, occhiblu. And I agree 1000% percent with your entire reply, in a wistful, sad, skeptical sort of way.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:11 PM on August 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's about as reasonable as if I posted about someone getting injured in a car accident, and she replied "that's no different to what happens in the porn industry". Clearly, it is.

No, really it's not, and it shows an amazing lack of critical thinking to put that forth.

Here's a quick key point that connects the two— sexualized degredation.


I think I can critically-think for myself, klang. I'm not that stupid. Obviously [some] porn involves [some] degradation (note spelling).

Whether the women involved are really being degraded, even if you feel able to question whether or not their participation is really involuntary, the only thesis you can actually put forward is "the things that happen to the Abu Ghraib prisoners resemble the things that appear to happen to women in a small minority of porn".

That's a perfectly valid, if over-obvious, statement.

Her statement, on the other hand, is that the two are "no different". Of course they're different. They're different in intent, in context, and, oh, in the fact that they actually happened in one case and they didn't actually happen in the other.

Hence, her statement is nonsense.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 6:18 PM on August 7, 2006


>They're female, not magic.

Ha! See, we fooled you!
posted by occhiblu at 6:19 PM on August 7, 2006


klangklangston: Hi, I know that reading is hard, but you might want to scroll back up to where I mentioned that the primary privileges of males (and whites) are normative privileges.
Thanks for the ridiculous condescension, I was running out. You might want to look at all the posters- and society in general- who use the same terminology without couching the way you did.

Not that your phrasing really resolves the issue. Of course it's normative; thanks for that obvious tidbit. The underlying implication of the word "privilege" is still there, and continues to make dialouge meaningful. But hey, as long as you can walk away feeling smarter than me, I suppose this as been time well spent.

And a male should, y'know, consider working for a world where women can also enjoy not having to worry about getting raped. Sorry if that hurts your feelings.
Speaking of difficulty reading, what the fuck? Where did I say a male shouldn't? In fact, I said all of should in this very thread. Nor did I say it "hurts my feelings", but that was a lovely little invention on your part.

Are you always this insufferable?
posted by spaltavian at 6:24 PM on August 7, 2006


That should be "The underlying implication of the word "privilege" is still there, and continues to make meaningful dialogue difficult", of course.
posted by spaltavian at 6:26 PM on August 7, 2006


192 comments and not a peep from Ms. Beach. Huh. It's clear she feels pretty strongly about this subject, no?
posted by exlotuseater at 7:05 PM on August 7, 2006


Maybe she's tanning.
posted by jonmc at 7:21 PM on August 7, 2006


All of this educated, internet-based, 21st century first-world squabbling over privilege is a lot like watching kids fight over whose slice of cake has more frosting. I mean, unless someone here is typing with their malaria-encrusted stump from a third-world joy division, I think we're collectively sitting in history's catbird seat. I guess my pale, betesticled ass may have a few more privileges than the dusky and breasted, but I'd trade it all just so I could have my legs back.

(Okay, I have my legs, but man, would you be more privileged than me if I didn't).
posted by Bookhouse at 7:42 PM on August 7, 2006 [2 favorites]


The attraction to view Abu Ghraib atrocities is equivalent to the attraction to view porn.

How about that, then?
posted by mischief at 8:26 PM on August 7, 2006


>They're female, not magic.

Ha! See, we fooled you!


occhi, cheezit or you're out of the cov^H^H^H club!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:42 PM on August 7, 2006


Well, my testicles aren't on my ass, so, i am privileged in that way. Thankfully.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:56 PM on August 7, 2006


192 comments and not a peep from Ms. Beach. Huh. It's clear she feels pretty strongly about this subject, no?

i'm thinking that she might be laughing her ass off ...
posted by pyramid termite at 8:59 PM on August 7, 2006


Dibs on her ass once it falls off.
posted by Balisong at 9:09 PM on August 7, 2006


but the way these things are weighed in our cultures, the kinds of violence that women are threatened with is more dehumanizing than the violence men are most often threatened with

That seems a very pertinent point, because - as I understand it - the humiliations visited upon the men in Abu Ghraib were specifically the kinds of things that would most humiliate their Iraqi Muslim cultural identities, and especially their identities as men. For example, I remember reports in which victims said they could not return to their families ever again after the shame they were forced to endure.

Even though this humiliation was often expressed in terms of homosexualisation or feminisation, it had a distinct cultural quality, relating to the role & self-conception of men in Iraqi society.

Now, it seems a poor analogy to compare that kind of treatment with the treatment of women in porn. Leaving aside the issue of whether or not (some) women are not participating freely, the argument seems to run that women's sexual roles in porn are generally humiliating, and this is either a causal or symptomatic (or both) of the humiliation that all women endure in society.

This is where the analogy falls down, because the treatment of the prisioners in Abu Ghraib seemed specifically designed to go straight to the core, and destroy their very identity within their culture, whereas the treatment of women in porn is claimed to reinforce women's current cultural identity.

Regardless of whether you like that particular identity or not, having been involved in some kind of porn (from a wet t-shirt mag shot to ultra-hardcore) might not be the sort of thing one brings up with one's neighbours & workmates, but it is hardly the kind of thing that destroys one's entire conception of who & what one is.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:50 PM on August 7, 2006 [2 favorites]


I think the idea is that women are in such a degraded position in society that the only thing they can really aspire to is the identity presented in porn, and that identity does destroy one's conception of who one is outside of "attractive to men," and that the things that happened at Abu Ghraib are so "dehumanizing" exactly because they put men in the position normally held by women (submissive, objectified, passive) -- that is, they took away these men's personhood in a way normally reserved for women, and that's such a taboo thing to do to men (specifically because doing it is reserved for women) that it's humiliating.

But I actually came here to post a link to this blog entry, which I thought was a good comment on privilege (both white and male).
posted by occhiblu at 12:17 AM on August 8, 2006


(The subset of) torture designed to be humiliating and (the subset of) porn designed to be humiliating are both humiliating. Add my vote to the 'tautological, and therefore valueless' pile.

Saying they are 'no different' is a canard beyond the pale.
posted by blenderfish at 1:07 AM on August 8, 2006


Over 200 in, and not a single image...
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:46 AM on August 8, 2006


so we can delete her now, right?
posted by blacklite at 3:12 AM on August 8, 2006


the assholes have a tendency to raise to power because they are willing to do whatever it takes to gain and maintain that power

This is true, and the assholes get away with it because they do the "whatever it takes" reflexively, while everyone else is mulling over whether they want the power, and how to get it, and how to stop the assholes from getting it. When all the mulling is done, the assholes are already in control. There aren't that many genuinely good people who both want to be The Man and will to do what it takes to be the Man.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:54 AM on August 8, 2006


occhiblu: I am assuming that you are merely presenting the argument, not actually arguing it for yourself.

women are in such a degraded position in society that the only thing they can really aspire to is the identity presented in porn

Now, that simply doesn't ring true on any level for any single woman I know or have known.

that identity does destroy one's conception of who one is outside of "attractive to men"

Although "attractive to men" may be an aspiration for many or most (young and mainly single?) heterosexual women, this matronising argument itself denies women's subjective conceptions of self-worth, eg in terms of career achievement, sport, artistic pursuits, ethics, loyalty to family & friends, education, religion etc.

the things that happened at Abu Ghraib are so "dehumanizing" exactly because they put men in the position normally held by women

There lies probably the crux of what I was trying to get at. Men in a middle eastern Islamic society are a different kettle of fish to western women. One can try to draw an analogy, but it is going to be necessarily limited, and have the same stink as many privileged western feminist arguments, which insist that somehow the structures perceived in western society are universally applicable. At the very least, you would need to demonstrate that this supposed "position normally held by women" is actually held by Iraqi women, or understood to be held by Iraqi women by the men in question at Abu Ghraib.

My understanding is that a better analogy was with (some) Muslim women who are raped & thereafter shunned, which is quite a different thing to what you describe.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:25 AM on August 8, 2006


so we can delete her now, right?

Ugh. I removed that comment [more itty bitty cock committee noise in a thread about something at least partly different] and dropped Michelle a note asking her to read what it says under the posting box. I would seriously welcome another feminist (or two, or eighteen) to MeFi but not this sort of bizarre taunting with no other substance to her contributions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:18 AM on August 8, 2006


I am assuming that you are merely presenting the argument, not actually arguing it for yourself.

The many parts of that argument I agree with are much more subtle and less sensationalisitc than arguing whether porn and prison torture are the same thing, and given that's the background for this argument, and given MetaFilter's rather historic misreading of any feminist argument, it's not really something I want to pursue here. I would say that if you took the argument I made, take out prison torture and turn the rest into an idea of "low-level noise in the back of our head" instead of "constant conscious battle," I'd more or less stand behind it.

But trying to explain how much of the misogyny (coming from both men and women) in this country is "low-level noise" as opposed to "constant conscious battle" is, I'm beginning to be convinced, not something that can happen on a website. Statements get taken too literally, and then called ridiculous because of that, and then I get thrown into a defensive position that becomes ridiculous because of the misreadings. Understanding what I'm trying to talk about requires that people start with the willingness to get into my head and see the world as I do (rather than starting with the intention of proving me wrong), so that even if they don't agree they at least start out wanting to understand rather than to destroy, and that's not a condition I've ever found on Metafilter, where "rude and argumentative" seems to pass for "insightful."

All this to say... If you're interested rather than wanting to argue (and I'm not trying to lump you into the "argumentative for the sake of being argumentative" crowd; you've always seemed more curious and compassionate than that), then feel free to email.
posted by occhiblu at 8:23 AM on August 8, 2006


(And actually, even without emailing, that Linda Hirshman article I linked in the Carnival of Feminists thread is more or less what I'm talking about, the idea that "choice" feminism is a bit of an illusion given the constraint on the choices women have, but applied to porn. And she probably explains that better than I could, anyway.)
posted by occhiblu at 8:25 AM on August 8, 2006


Yes, low-level noise, or constant background radiation, is something I can buy, much along the same lines that I view entertainment media & advertising, in the way that they skew our "nature". The more pervasive it is, the more insidious, because its ubiquity sets up a common filter that is noticed less than its absence when removed - hence, the unwillingness to listen that you describe. It's a little like Chomsky explaining how much harder it is, and how much more time is required, to put forward any viewpoint in the media that is contrary to the common perspective, whereas it takes only a second to reinforce what people already believe.

My main beef all along was not really with the theory itself, but the attempt at holus-bolus cross-cultural application.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:05 PM on August 8, 2006


She saved this post of her own as a favorite. I wonder why that one.
posted by evil holiday magic at 5:48 PM on August 8, 2006


An innocent explanation, devoid of egotism: she was going to bed, like she said, and needed a placeholder to know where to pick up reading next time
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:08 PM on August 8, 2006


She saved this post of her own as a favorite.

Broads are so vain.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 11:13 PM on August 8, 2006


Broad-so-vain: you probably think this thread is about you...
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:59 PM on August 8, 2006


Broad-so-vain: you probably think this thread is about you...

That made me laugh. (Which probably shows I'm a sexist pig. Sorry, Ms. Beach. I'll go off to re-education camp now.)
posted by languagehat at 5:29 AM on August 9, 2006


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