On another note, riffing off something that Jacqui said waaaay upthread, it is true that people like Julie Bindel can be held up to be kind of straw feminists these days. The kind of views epitomised by her ilk are not necessarily at the centre of feminist discourse these days, although they were par for the course from the mid-70s through to the mid-80s (at least, that was the last time anyone said to my face I was "male-identified" because I'm somewhat butch). But she and that kind of essentialist cultural feminist (I don't know if she IDs as such, but her ideas are in that vein) are a dying and increasingly marginalised breed. Well, at least that's my optimistic view - however, there's still plenty of it about, epitomised in that radical/cultural feminist type opposing themselves against what they call sex-positive "feminists" (yes, with the "feminist" in quotes). The sex wars are still not over for some.
But they no longer are the dominant influence in feminist circles. The change in perception of this type might be epitomised by what someone said the other day on my FB: "don't get me started on Jeffreys, Raymond and Bindel, they're like the holy trinity of [feminist] nutcases."
So, yeah, good to discuss them in the context of their influence on various phases of feminist history (oops, I feel Daly's cold glare in omitting HERstory from the grave), and their continuing influence on some now. But Bindel et al's views should not be presented as being the end-all and be-all of feminist thought (not that I'm trying to imply that Russell has that view, btw).
Yeah, the feminist movement is not immune to various kinds of erasure, including failing to acknowledge the varying concerns of non-whites, different classes, and as mentioned above, the fact that rape is not solely a women's issue. I do believe that feminism helped bring it to the fore as something that should be addressed on a systematic basis, not just blaming it on individual fucked-up behaviour.
Not so long ago, The Register did one of its "humour" pieces on two Swedish (?) women who were apparently roaming the countryside and sexually assaulting men. Most of the commenters on the story thought this was hilarious, with a few anti-feminist trolls who asserted that actual feminists would not consider that to be sexual assault. Of course, most of us would, but there is still that men vs women perception from non-feminists.
So, yes, the patriarchy (or to use the trendy term, the kyriarchy) fucks us all up. Men as a group may tend to benefit more in the long term, but that certainly isn't true of all individual men. The type of feminist who pretends problems like sexual assault are just problems for women are doing all of us a disservice. And it's bloody embarrassing for the rest of us. My understanding is that kind of stance has died a death in the last decade from those involved in providing assault support services; I certainly hope that it's the case. The last time I looked for support services for men here in Australia, they were actually mostly being provided as offshoots of women's shelters. Some progress there. I'm sorry that was too late for your family, Emma.
@Scott A, let's not make rape analogies unless you actually know what you're talking about. (As for Bindel giving you that "soiled" feeling after reading her, I know where you're coming from).
Speaking of "crazy old men" feminists, and Bindel's influences (particularly in the area of transphobia), Mary Daly died a few days ago. While she made some interesting observations about religion and patriarchy (and yes, some of the language puns were amusing/food for thought), her mangling of history and language in the service of her arguments, and her problems with race and transsexuals (and refusal to publicly acknowledge her mistakes) meant that she was not one of my "reference feminists". However, she was hugely influential and gave rise to a whole swathe of goddess-focussed religious practices (not to say all goddess-worshippers are Daly devotees btw), and a particular strain of lesbian separatism/cultural feminism (i.e. all women are better than all men, lol).
As Sculpin says: I feel lucky to have had her work to react against. For all her flaws — and there’s a vast taxonomy of them, as I recall — she was brave as hell, and her work scratched open a small, new opposing bravery in me. Ave atque vale, old Lunatic.
As for Garth George as a lesbian...
That's even worse than the Margaret Thatcher image.
I have to say - and excuse my language - fucking "political lesbians" give me a fucking stitch.
I don't need these twits to confer their "solidarity" on my sexuality. I resent the implied biphobia that goes with their views - that it's so much more radical to ID as a dyke than to deal with the genuine crap that bi people often encounter.
And to be honest, most lesbians of my acquaintance get on with men fairly well, because we are lesbians because we fancy women, not because of some fucked-up perception of men.
I do somewhat agree with the fact that our sexual expression isn't entirely innate - I tend to think it's a combination of actual inbuilt (by whatever mechanism) tendencies and some conditioning. For example, I myself (like most lesbians) could not be termed 100% gay (and unlike other lesbians, I will actually have sex with men at long intervals, if there's nothing else around), but I'm not as bisexual as I might be due to the fact that many men are still mired in sexist crap to a greater or lesser degree, and I don't want to deal with it.
Heh, it sounds like I'm a political lesbian! But honestly, I'm 95% gay, I don't seek out men as partners, and I can't see myself ever getting romantic about one. The people who do have the capability (of being bisexual or even mostly straight) and who deny it, are as bad as the "ex-gays" in various Christian movements, IMO.
It's compounded by the fact that they feel they have the right to speak for all feminists or all lesbians. Ok, there is such a thing as a polemical call to arms, but effectively saying "my way is the best and only way" is irritating, to say the least.
Also, I agree with Russell's remarks on the quality of the Grauniad's feminist writers in general - in between their professions of political lesbianism (not all of them, of course) and diatribes against the sex trade (sure, much of it is vile, but it doesn't have to be) and "sex-positive" feminists, I tend to skip over most of their columns. I'll stick to Shakesville, Pandagon and Shapely Prose for the bulk of my feminist reading.
@ recordari - Yes, I should have said "up until the 90s, German banks...."
The Swiss banks aren't a great example, to be sure, especially how they got their big boost in the 40s. :-( But the German banks were closely aligned to provincial and federal government in terms of business lending schemes and underwrote businesses from the small to the huge. Of course, they all got a bit more "entrepreneurial" in later years.
As for precious metals, yeah, it's just a bit too close to the idea that money is only worth what we agree it to be. Fondling gold coins is a little bit too close to cowrie shells to my liking. I suppose they both look pretty if the global financial system crashes, and people have a superstitious belief in the "value" of gold. More than they would in the value of EFTs or paper money, if it comes to the End Times. Heh.
And just to riff off "investing" in the stock market... the point of that glorified casino was originally to allow companies to raise capital for expansion. Jonathan's and Garraway's coffee shops was where merchant shippers convened with prospective investors to get the money to send their fleets off into the semi-known. So you either lost everything, or you got fabulous returns when the fleet you invested in came back laden with slaves/opium/spices/tea. These coffee shops and 'Change Alley eventually became the LSE.
The stock market was used as a substitute for raising the required capital from banks. In places like Germany and Switzerland, the banks actually did take on the role of providing venture capital, and that explains why their economies have historically been more resistant to shocks brought about through people finally getting the wibbles about their speculation.
The stock market has also become more problematic because the interval of stocks being considered to be long-range investments has been undermined by the "dividends before all" mentality. Firing all your employees and off-shoring is excellent for your stock prices and dividends; it's not exactly proven whether it's better in the macro-economic sense.
So, yeah, if I had a ton of cash, the stock market is the last place I'd "invest" it. There's the risk factor, but there's also the aspect that isn't functioning the way it was supposed to function, as a way of contributing to a company's capital in order to reap profits from what the company produces (not dividends squeezed out through market manipulation and screwing your employees and customers).
Regarding Bart's comment of (negatively) correlating gayness to an ability to play rugby by doing some kind of gene research, sorry, have they found those "gay genes", then? Let alone rugby-player genes, but I suppose being a big strong PI almost counts. Surprising as it may be, there are actually gay PIs, and I don't think their genes are much different to their rugby-playing brothers' (assuming they're not one-and-the-same).
Personally, I think Richard's estimates sound the most right, leaving aside ridiculous quibbles about the number of years the ABs have actually played rugby. I'm not quite sure where people are getting off pretending that rugby players are being selected from something other than the general (athletic, interested in rugby, dedicated) population (because all those qualities are orthogonal to gayness, if you didn't realise).
As for men-who-have-sex-with-men who don't ID as gay (or even bi), sure, we don't have the right to define someone's sexuality. But there are those men who will go to the local beat every week, and saying they're "straight" seems rather disingenuous. However, while I'm sure there are also rugby players who fall into this category, that's probably going to be in line with the general population as well. There are still going to be rugby players who know they're gay, but choose not to out themselves. I frankly don't see why not, these days. If someone outed themselves, and was then fired, the shit would hit the wall in a publicity sense.
Oh yeah, seeing who were those perennial bachelors wouldn't necessarily do the trick - even Elton John got married once. To a woman.
Finally, there is some validity to the thought that it's easier to be a out gay official or coach these days. Although I have to admit rolling my eyes a lot with the hockey community in the US patting themselves on the back over the assistant coach who recently came out. Particularly since he discussed the fact that he was so worried about letting his father down over his gayness, he stopped his own professional hockey career and went into the coaching/management side instead.
I love my country, more than anything... except the fact I've moved overseas, twice, to be with people I love. And despite the fact I ache every day about the fact I'm not home, and neither of those relationships are still alive in the romantic sense, I don't regret a thing about making those moves.
My life really only has meaning through love. I don't believe in a god, or abstract notions of "karma". So I'm here to be with the people I love, and to contribute to their lives, both by sharing in their joys and sorrows and in more practical ways (computer repairs R us). Nothing more or less: it's my function in life.
@Isabel - as long as PASer doesn't elide from Pas'eur to poseur. (I'm sure it might in the minds of the nay-sayers)