Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Say When

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  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Critique the media and society by all means -- but could you not insist on informing me what I "want"?

    I haven't read the comment in question, but I'm pretty sure it's not about "you" Russell, and I think as a broader sociological term it has a certain far from undocumented applicability. At least where I'm from.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to recordari,

    For some reason I thought of Pam Ayers.

    And I'm glad you did! :)

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    men want their women sexy, but not TOO sexy, and there really is no balance a woman can achieve because the goal posts are forever shifting.

    Critique the media and society by all means -- but could you not insist on informing me what I "want"?

    It's even worse than that. Not only are they telling all men what they want, they are also telling all women to give up and that the only point of the effort in the first place was to satisfy men!?!?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Yeah, even for This Argument, that comment thread has some doozies. My favourite is:

    Of course women (feminists) are going to be more 'pernicious' in their so called "slut-shaming" than men. Men,who are not gay and/or feminist, generally like sluts.

    Followed by:

    your Baywatch approach to empowerment Megan perpetuates the slut stereotype no matter how fiercely you kick and scream, and regardless of feminists.

    So, yeah, we have: explaining to men what it is that they like and why, explaining to women why they do the things they do because they're too stupid to know, and a total obliviousness to the idea that sometimes, sometimes, the person looking at a woman? Is a woman.

    So yeah, Gio, it's about Russell when they say 'men' just like it's about me when they 'women', and especially about me when they say 'women who enter wet t-shirt competitions'. It's very easy to forget, when making sweeping generalisations, that you are still talking about people, and I think we get better discourse from remembering that.

    But then, I am just a slut, so what would I know?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Erm…. could you change that “they” to “she” perhaps? Generalizations abound today.

    For what it’s worth, I think Boganette might have got more agreement and less aggrievement if she’d used “some” in front of “men”.

    ETA: Snap(pish) Emma. While I was composing my three lines, you've comprehensively answered.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I didn't read the comment on purpose - taken out of context, I would say the part that Russell quoted is fairly uncontroversial. The madonna/whore actually exists in society, and it's fairly simple to show empirically. The patriarchy does in fact exist. What we do with these critical terms is another matter (and yes, of course they can be used as bludgeons).

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Erm.... could you change that "they" to "she" perhaps? Generalizations abound today.

    Jacqui, the comment I'm referring to is anonymous. I strongly suspect it's a woman, but I don't know, so I use the closest thing we have to a neutral pronoun.

    However, still no, because even in that comment thread there's more than one person arguing that line.

    At Public Address, our first round of the argument is here, and the second is here, but over that period there've been others on sites like The Hand Mirror and Megan's Craft is the New Black. Hence why I'm quite happy to use "they" to mean "people who say things like the things I have attributed to 'them'", and why we've got to this point.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I haven’t read the comment in question, but I’m pretty sure it’s not about “you” Russell, and I think as a broader sociological term it has a certain far from undocumented applicability. At least where I’m from.

    I read it as a hackneyed and unhelpful generalisation about all men. The first one quoted by Emma ditto, only more insulting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Gosh you're fast with your fingers and links, Emma! Impressive.

    However, my comment was a response to Bart's. True, this argument may have been going on for some time in other threads, but I was simply referring to what has been quoted in this thread.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I read it as a hackneyed and unhelpful generalisation about all men. The first one quoted by Emma ditto, only more insulting.

    I guess I'm trying to rescue some useful descriptors that feminists have come up with over the years from the use that stupid people (here's a worthwhile generalisation) make of them.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    For what it’s worth, I think Boganette might have got more agreement and less aggrievement if she’d used “some” in front of “men”.

    Just for clarity, it wasn't her, but a commenter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I guess I’m trying to rescue some useful descriptors that feminists have come up with over the years from the use that stupid people (here’s a worthwhile generalisation) make of them.

    Fair enough. It's just that the few men I've known who do think in those terms on a personal level, I regard as a bit sad and dysfunctional.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Just for clarity, it wasn’t her, but a commenter.

    Ah. My mistake - apologies to Boganette.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    It's just that the few men I've known who do think in those terms on a personal level, I regard as a bit sad and dysfunctional.

    Yeah, and I think we benefit from highlighting how unusual the attitude is, because it makes those few who still have it look sad and pathetic. "Men" are not "the patriarchy", and I can't actually think of any man I know now who has a Madonna/Whore complex. There were a couple when most of the men I knew were teenage boguns.

    That's not to write off or underplay the difficulties and pain suffered by women on the receiving end of that attitude. It's to say, we expect better of men because we know damn well they can achieve it, and we're not letting the boofheads off on an Animalistic Penis Brain basis.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    I wasn't sure who made the comment Russell quoted, whether it was a he or a she hence the neutral they.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I think we benefit from highlighting how unusual the attitude is

    Which is probably the most irritating part of the argument for me, because it's simply lazy thinking. It isn't based on real data and it doesn't progress the discussion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I wasn’t sure who made the comment Russell quoted, whether it was a he or a she hence the neutral they.

    OK. Sorry. My mistake again. (TBH I rather thought it was unusual for you [singular]).

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I can’t actually think of any man I know now who has a Madonna/Whore complex

    How does one know if one has it?

    Lower Grey Lynn • Since Jul 2009 • 789 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    @ Tamsin - We are agreed on most of that. I would, however, venture to suggest that people are fat for many reasons, as Gio pointed out - heredity, disease, age, enjoying eating and not exercising amongst many. It's your last comment that intrigues me - that fat is not to be celebrated, it is just fat. I invite you to think of it differently. I say that being aware that I think differently - and yes, I am also aware that some of my thinking is akin to believing in unicorns. Your fat is your body. If you don't celebrate it, and how you got it, then you dishonour your body. If you are unhappy, and you eat to excess, it may be a constant physical reminder of your unhappiness. But it isn't your unhappiness. It's simply a manifestation. And people don't like being reminded about what miserable bastards they are. As you age, I would encourage everyone to consider their fat, their wrinkles, their grey hair as being the physical telling of your life's story, both to you and to others. Some remind you of sadness but there are as many others, that are about the joys. Celebrate your body. Celebrate all of it. It has, after all, taken you to lots of amazing places, and given you a lot of pleasure.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3121 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    The argument was poorly made, but as they often say in the feminist blogosphere: "it's not about you".

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3623 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Regarding that Boganette thread: Thoughts?:

    There's a long nuanced discussion there, and the quotes that have been pulled out and pasted here aren't from Boganette's own comments. Some of the more dubious comments there (eg. the slut-shaming ones) have come from people like Muerk (known around these parts as Tess Rooney), and an anonymous commentator. Boganette herself is arguing something much more like Megan's and Emma's position, as are several of the other women who have been commenting in the thread.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1296 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Deborah,

    Yeah, I often find the 'you're a bad feminist because...' slut-shamers are a particularly small (but vocal) minority in these discussions.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3623 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I can’t actually think of any man I know now who has a Madonna/Whore complex

    I've spent way too much time thinking about Black Swan (sorry for the in-house cross-thread pimpage), and while I'm not sure whether Darren Arornofsy has a Madonna/Whore complex going on he's still got some serious Double-X related issues to work on. (Emma might find Black Swan's deployment of the depraved bisexual trope particularly amusing/enraging/nauseating.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11783 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Yeah, I often find the 'you're a bad feminist because...' slut-shamers are a particularly small (but vocal) minority in these discussions.

    Yeah, let me be more explicit* about this. This is one of those many, many cases where an argument always ends up in the same place, with the same few people. And it's exhausting and frustrating. So the great thing about things like TOFO and Megan and Boganette's Feminazi Boner-Killer Drinks is that they're a chance to get together, off-line, and remind ourselves that there are, in fact, lots of women who think the same way we do, to reassure and rejuvenate each other.



    * oh stop it

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    (Emma might find Black Swan's deployment of the depraved bisexual trope particularly amusing/enraging/nauseating.)

    From what I have heard, I honestly cannot decide how drunk I would have to be to just laugh instead of get enraged.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

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