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Tuesday, 19 September 2006


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"There are, it seems to me, two types of feminists. There are the mad, bad and dangerous to know ones who I call 'feminasties'; and there are the sensible, humorous, confident women, comfortable in their feminine skins who I call 'feminicelies'."

Thanks for defining what a feminist is, I wasn't sure . but I thought a man would be able to tell me :-)

BTW I don't fit into either category neatly...I think I fit both categories at the same time.

"BTW I don't fit into either category neatly...I think I fit both categories at the same time."

Typical woman, can't make up her mind but wants both anyway!

Rush Limbaugh the American Political ex-shock-jock terms them Femi-Nazi's which I rather like .

Steady on, Kirk, old chap, you know your doctor warned you about becoming over-excited at the thought of all those ladies in jack-boots!

"this frantic woman who has raised 'me, me, me' to the level of an ideology"

I think you are giving Thatcher too much credit, attempting to justify one's selfishness on moral grounds has been the basis for numerous ideologies since the dawn of time.

One of my, serving, US Navy cousins is married to a Turkish (Muslim) girl, who was given every encouragement from her family to do so - they pointed out that, as a woman, she'd have more career opportunities in the USA than in Istanbul. I'd have said this represented a victory for feminism, but funnily enough it never goes down well in arguments.

As if we needed more examples in this spoon-fed, gullible age, 'Planeshift' provides yet another demonstration of how political slogans have replaced thoughtful analysis. Thus, he describes Margaret Thatcher as "selfish" when even a cursory examination of what she said and what she stood for would indicate the precise opposite. (Don't try thinking about it, 'PS', it only makes your brain hurt!)

Hilary, I take your point but I can't help wondering if it wasn't more of a victory for America.

Hey - firstly I'm not a feminist but rather a left libertarian. So I'm not with you on your stance on porn and your obviously low opinion of women who work in it as being stupid, greedy, victims etc. But I have to agree about the self obsessive nature of most of modern feminism. The 'personal is political' was not a Marxist but a radical feminist slogan, btw.

Liz, welcome! (I'm not sure, are you one of the duopoly who run 'StroppyBird'?)

Surely you don't need to be an 'anything' to view the activities of the porn industry with distaste, you merely require a modicum of taste and discernment. I am not a believer in the theory that women (from the west) enticed into this activity are victims in some sort of white slave trade. They are usually very young and are attracted by easy money and spurious glamour. They volunteer to rut like animals for the profit of men and for the gratification of men. Their degredation, mental as well as physical, is something that a civilised society should do its best to stop. If that means a few well-heeled liberals who should know better have to give up one of their vicarious thrills, then so be it.

Thank you for the correction on the source of 'the personal is political'. I should apologise to the Marxists, I suppose, but what the hell ...

I have been waiting with baited breath for your promised post on feminism -- and it is even more delicious than I anticipated. (After all, how can I not love your post since I seem to be its focal point.)

Actually, I kid. The real reason your post is so wonderful is that it is a textbook example of the inexplicable way in which those who dislike feminist ideas seek to discredit them by focusing on the personal happiness or lack thereof of its proponents. (The title of my blog by the way is not meant to be a literal statement about my personal emotional state, sanguine though it generally is.) Congratulations on achieving ad hominem (or ad mulierem) discourse at its finest!

And thank you for making this bossy, humorless feminist crack a smile -- because your speculation and gentle "concern" as to my emotional state is funny, although perhaps not in the way you intend.

'HF', your "baited[?] breath" is an image to play with, but certainly I am hooked on your every word! (Just teasing, I, too, make more than my fair share of typos.)

You and I got off on the wrong foot from the word go. Was it Oscar Wilde who said something to the effect that Brits and Yanks are divided by their common language? When I first read your blog I rather liked you (I still do), in so far as one can 'like' anyone via the internet. You were stuffed full of some of the sillier versions of feminism but on the whole you seemed fairly 'grounded', a feminist with whom I could exchange contrary views without her throwing pots and pans - ooops, metaphorically speaking, of course, and not meaning in any way that women should spend their time in the kitchen, certainly not! (Phew! You see how tricky it is talking to the more fundamentalist feminists.)

Anyway, for whatever reason, (perhaps my English irony doesn't travel well), you always seemed to take extreme umbrage at almost anything that contradicted your opinions or was critical of your way of thinking. Perhaps that is why your comments section is full of 'Yes-women' kow-towing to their stern mistress.

However, your post on your father was deeply personal and full of anguish and I felt *genuine* concern for you. Not, I hasten to say, because of *him*, because from what I read he didn't seem that bad, but because of *you*. In my experience (of life, not psychiatric mumbo-jumbo) when people are unhappy they look for almost anything or anyone on whom to place the blame. This endless search (usually encouraged by the charlatans who call themselves 'therapists') simply adds and then multiplies the main sympton which is obsession with self.

I can tell you now, no-one was ever 'cured' by psychiatric therapy (an oxymoron if ever there was one). Your feminism, in this day and age, is trite and useless. It would make the old Pankhurst ladies wilt with shame that what they fought for so bravely has been reduced to the sort of pathetic nonsense that has women getting their knickers in a twist over the minutae of wedding rituals and the like.

Your feminism, it seems to me, is simply an outlet for your unhappiness over other things but because it is so essentially trivial there simply isn't enough in it to keep your mind clear of your unhappiness. Have twins, or adopt them, or save the whale, or run for Congress, or have an affair - but whatever, look *outward* not *inward*!

There is no fee for this excellent advice!

I personally prefer "femi-Nazi" to "femi-nasty," because then I get to use my baby pesticide.

"Modern feminists are like victorious soldiers crossing the battle field and kicking the corpses!"

Damn, I wish that were true!

Also -- I can only speak for myself, but I was "cured" by therapy. It allowed me to stop obsessing about my parents' lack of approval for what I`ve done with my life )ironically, I`m a stay-at-home mom), and move forward, looking outward, not inward. Isn`t that the point of it, in the end?

"Trite and useless." Well. I`ve been called worse.

Carry on.

I try hard not to call anyone a 'nazi' unless they're people I really don't like and, surprise, surprise, I don't dislike feminists for being feminists, it all depends on other factors.

As to kicking corpses, well, I admit there are still some of us lying there moaning - the remnants of the 'Forlorn Hope' company!

I am genuinely pleased for you and your cure, and 'stay-at-home-mums' are the best mums. Also, it does not imply any lessening of your feminist opinions.

You "trite and useless"? I don't think so.

Hmmmmm, I would disagree that "'stay-at-home-mums' are the best mums," because I was exactly the same mother when I was a fulltime working-outside-the-home mother (also by choice). My family`s situation and my kids` needs changed, and I changed according to them -- that`s all. In fact, all any parent can ever hope to do is the best thing overall, for their particular family, in their particular situation, and sometimes that means the mother at home, and sometimes that means the mother working outside the home -- where she should have equal opportunities and benefits based on her abilities, not her gender. That`s feminism, I think.

Mr. Duff, you should move to Japan, where I lived for most of my adult life, and where feminism isn`t "trite and useless," but quite a radical idea in many quarters. I worked fulltime there, and people kept asking me, "What`s wrong with your husband? Why aren`t you at home?"

I like you too, David. (XOXOXO!)

But my liking for you won't stop me from taking you to task for using "English irony" as an excuse for rudeness. If there was some ironic gap between your words and your meaning, I would be interested to hear what you really meant. As it stands now, it strikes me as "mirth inducing silliness" to repeatedly harp on a person's "ultra-high levels of self-absorption" and then feign innocent puzzlement when that person takes less than kindly to your statements.

Be that as it may, going forward I promise to blog only topics that David Duff deems sufficiently weighty (except for the occasional blog pie-fight just for kicks).

'L', you put it better than I could which might dismay you, but I should point out that by "best mum" I meant from the child's eye view, mums at home being best. Still, you're right, all any of us can do is the best we can in the circs.

"she should have equal opportunities and benefits based on her abilities, not her gender. That`s feminism, I think." I think so, too, and by and large, with exceptions here and there that the law would probably correct, you have it. So why do you all bang on about it as though it was 1906 instead of 2006? By all means go and boss some natives around if that's what you want to do - although some of them might give you a tougher fight than us western wimps - but here in the west you've won!

I should hate to live in Japan!

'HF', it was *you* that spent an inordinate amount of space/time telling us in detail about your personal unhappiness and childhood background culminating in your 'confession' that you were going into therapy. I don't know you personally, only what I can deduce from what you write, and I'm sorry if it hurts but you come across to a dis-interested observer as self-obsessed. Your best friends might not tell you and the creeps and dingalings that fill your comments box certainly won't, but I will, and I did!

It has nothing to do with your feminism, it's all to do with *you*. My advice may be, and probably is, crap, but if you were a close, personal friend I would tell you the same thing - depression is dreadful and a 'cure' is rare, so better to grit your teeth and project yourself *outwards* into something meaningful and fulfilling instead of the incessant navel-gazing that psychotherapeutic gurus will offer you whilst they empty your wallet.

I wish you well - and there's absolutely no irony in that!

Mr. Duff, I would argue a good therapist is one who allows his/her patients to overcome their inward problems, and turn their attention outward.

I would also argue that Happy is indeed happy, but she`s quite capable of arguing that herself. Indeed, her father didn`t burn her with lit cigarettes or make her star in child porn movies, but he sounds as if he has some problems, and she doesn`t want these problems to weigh on her life, which is a reasonable wish. Facing problems, putting them behind you and moving forward without them is what it`s all about -- or who knows, perhaps I`m just generalizing too much based on my own limited experience.

"By all means go and boss some natives around if that's what you want to do..." My husband is Japanese, so yes, that`s EXACTLY what I want to do. And I think you`d really like the expat life over there.

When you say, "..."best mum" I meant from the child's eye view, mums at home being best," again, I`d have to argue with that, and say while that`s certainly true in many cases, it depends on the individual situation. I`ve known plenty of mothers who insisted on staying home with their kids, and then parked them in front of the TV all day. I think sometimes kids are much better off in quality daycare, getting books read to them and playing with their little pals. All kids need love and attention, but a mom at home (or a dad, or a grandma) isn`t an ideal situaton in and of itself -- too many variables.

Wow, if you've found a magic land where gender equality actually reigns, seriously, *please* let me know where it is!!!

"Modern feminists are like victorious soldiers crossing the battle field and kicking the corpses!" Are you serious??? Really??? Because from where I sit in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles - it's like 1960 here. People say things like, "Do you think women can be film directors?" and "Hey, why not have kids and then they can be directors."

And people still say, "Do you think a woman could be president?" Why are we even asking that? I don't get it.

But man, if you live somewhere where you honestly feel what you've said about the need for feminism is true, then I'm just glad someone does. Unfortunately, my career dreams are in Hollywood, so I will have to soldier on. It's cool; I'm woman enough for it.

A certain degree of self-absorption is an inevitable aspect of the human condition -- and thank goodness for it. If people didn't look inward, we wouldn't have The Diary of Anne Frank, confessional poetry, or any autobiographies. We wouldn't have as many saints and do-gooders and activists, who often extrapolate from their own suffering to develop a commitment to serving the poor and the oppressed. (Not that I am a saint or a brilliant poet, but the point is that self-examination can result in external productivity in which others find value.)

That having been said, David's "advice" to spend time focusing outward is very sound, and applies to all of us; however, living an examined life enables us to live more effectively both for ourselves and for others.

Addressing another point: Feminist concern for international women's rights does not require "bossing the natives around." Women around the globe are doing quite a fine job acting on their own behalf. For example, a number of "native" women's groups in Somalia are working to end the customary practice of female genital mutilation.

Western feminists can (and do) support the grassroots efforts of women in non-western societies. The (very feminist) Global Fund for Women is one western-founded organization that provides donations to women's groups around the world and does so with a philosophy of trusting these grassroots groups to set their own priorities and strategies.

As for the concerns of western feminists: I suppose we should be immensely grateful that we aren't beaten by religious police when we display our ankles. Just because
we have made progress, however, doesn't mean that the numerous small indignities women continue to face in our culture are somehow moot or unworthy of comment -- not to mention larger issues like the threat to reproductive rights in the U.S. or the ingrained assumption that it's the woman's role to work the "second shift" at home.

Ooh and I do have to say nyah, nyah, nyah, and point out, per David's comment at 22:05, that there WAS no "English irony" (as claimed) in the statements with which I took issue (re my pathological self-absorption). He said what he meant and meant what he said.

Not to overstay my welcome here, but as I said, I do love a good inter-blog ruckus.

But, 'L', from the little I know of 'therapists' they never do allow their patients to overcome their problems, they dwell on them and insist that they are recalled and talked about endlessly. Thus, patient and 'therapist' conspire together in endless introspection. All at an hourly rate, of course!

Sorry, but I had my share of "expat life" in Singapore (and I enjoyed it) but there's no place like home, even in the God-forsaken dump that England has become.

Yes, of course, individuals will vary but as a *general rule* children like a stay-at-home mum rather than one who is constantly on 'the missing list'. (My mum was a single parent who had, perforce, to work and look what it did to me!)

'Lizriz', there are idiots everywhere and rumour has that many of them reside in LA - er, not yourself, of course. (There may be one or two here in delightful Dorset according to my readers!) However, bad news, I'm afraid. I've had a quick scan of your blog and I'm intrigued so you're now on my 'Favourites' list and you can expect a gentleman visitor to call regularly!

'HF' is right, of course, in pointing out that the 'Self' is of prime importance to us all but if it looms so large that it blots out the wider horizon then "there may be troubles ahead".

I dare not take up 'HF's' mention of women's reproductive rights, at least, not yet. "The Monstrous Regiment of Women" stands poised and I've already taken a good kicking."

WARNING: When I've recovered from my wounds I intend to write another post on the subject of women's liberation in which I will attempt to draw up a 'profit and loss' account, because like all great human endeavours, there is always a price to pay. Watch this space!

I wait with "baited" breath.

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