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Rock This Town November 13, 2012

Posted by FCM in feminisms, gender roles, health, logic, politics, pop culture.
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does anyone notice a difference when female vocalists cover this song, as compared to the original version where a man-band performs the exact same thing?  heres the original manly version:

maybe its just me, but im pretty sure that the women are actually talking about rocking. this town.  and that the man isnt, and therefore — since its his song — this song isnt a song about rocking.  this town.  its a song about something else entirely.

we have text, and subtext, you see.  text, and context.  text, and pretext.  the women are saying the words, but it just doesnt mean the same thing when they say it, because women arent rapey bastards swinging their male privilege — to rape and impregnate females — around and making rape culture and calling it culture.  women are something else entirely.

being that this is the case — and it is — i am just not going to get that excited about a woman who stumps for right-wing men by “covering” mens anti-abortion platform.  in fact, i am willing to give right-wing women the benefit of the doubt that when they say it, even when they parrot mens words exactly, the womens meaning is somewhat different.  i am willing to believe that unlike right-wing men, anti-abortion right-wing women really are talking about babies, and normalizing womens reproductive function rather than pathologizing it, and generally take into consideration a female perspective, including what it takes to reduce the harm to women of misogynistic and male-centric policies and practices under patriarchy.

the fact that it will not be womens intent, meaning, or interpretation of the words that carries the day and informs the political policy and practice — it will be mens — is not womens fault.  when men say “rock this town” it is mens meaning and interpretation that will carry the day, and impact the culture, even if that meaning is so misogynistic and offensive that most women would never even conceive of it.  and it often is.  which is the danger to women of covering male bands, and stumping for male-centric politics too.

ps.  sandra fluke is a handmaiden too, for stumping for leftist politics and for not telling the world exactly *why* women as a class so desperately need birth control.  and im not that excited about that, either, although the inconsistent policy and logic-fail of calling out palin but not fluke (or any number of left-wing dickpleasers like oh say gloria steinem) is a bit obvious.  that is all.

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Comments

1. FCM - November 13, 2012

see also the discussion here. it makes me quite ill to think of neil lounge-lizard diamond covering tracy chapman! what he mustve meant and been thinking about when he sung her words. yuck.

http://cherryblossomlife.com/2012/11/12/omg-why-have-i-never-heard-of-her/

2. bugbrennan - November 13, 2012

Why have you turned off the Like button? I like this.

3. smash - November 13, 2012

What does Hungerford’s letter have to do with Gloria Steinem?

FCM - November 13, 2012

try reading it smash. thanks

4. smash - November 13, 2012

I see Hungerford quotes Steinem as follows: “To quote feminist Gloria Steinem:

…Olof Palme, the great former prime minister of Sweden, [] said that gender roles are the deepest cause of violence on earth, and it’s up to governments to humanize them. Gender roles may give us our first idea that it’s okay for one group to eat and the other to cook, one to talk and the other to listen, one to order and the other to obey, one to be subject and one as object. The most shared characteristic of original societies in which violence was only for self-defense, not armies — and of the most egalitarian societies now — is that gender roles are fluid and not polarized.[viii]”

You’re saying that is handmaiden-y, and dick-pleasing how?

FCM - November 13, 2012

MEN are the deepest cause of violence on earth. MEN, not gender. SEX NOT GENDER. steinem is a liberal feminist dick pleaser who routinely refuses to name MEN as the agent of harm. she does this deliberately as a political tactic to garner male support, a tactic which has no chance of working because capitulation doesnt work, and men will not and indeed cannot be feminists or properly support feminism to their own detriment. mkay?

give me a fucking break smash, and stop trolling. thanks.

http://radfemworldnews.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/wartime-rapes-happen-because-gender-says-gloria-steinem/

5. smash - November 13, 2012

Men are the problem, yes. Not women. Seems you’ve forgotten that.

I’m out.

FCM - November 13, 2012

LOL seems you cant read.

good of you to step away smash, since i already asked you to leave. bye now!

FCM - November 13, 2012

srsly. considering the level of difficulty of that flounce, which included at least one reading comprehension fail, picking a fight, trolling, and flouncing AFTER being invited to leave, i would give it a 9 out of a possible 10, although im not sure how much more intricate a flounce could actually be. from what i understand, the posthumous flounce is the holy grail of flouncing so i guess i have to save my 10 for that, in case i ever see one in person. sounds complicated.

6. doublevez - November 14, 2012

I see Women Under Siege has an article where the guest writer refers to SEX in her essay about rape, but the headline writer refers to Gender. Editing the correct, in other words. I’m really disappointed in that site. It steps up to the plate then bunts.

FCM - November 14, 2012

link?

7. doublevez - November 14, 2012
8. doublevez - November 14, 2012

The writer refers to a book that uses Sex, but then she and WUS flip it to Gender.

FCM - November 14, 2012

well god forbid any actual feminism occur on a liberal feminist site? i guess? substituting gender for sex is steinems pet project apparently. and yet, this post wasnt about handmaidens, or calling out handmaidens. smash made it about that, and completely derailed this thread.

anyone care to speculate what this post was actually about? it was a bit cryptic (experimental/experiential) i guess, but come on. cathy gets it. :)

9. doublevez - November 14, 2012

Men only write lyrics about sex and penetration? I hear Tracy Chapman a lot but then I don’t listen to the the American music sources. I looked at Cathy’s response but got no clue. I await enlightenment.

FCM - November 14, 2012

yes thats it! and the women covering the songs were NOT talking about that, i dont think, even though they were saying the same thing and indeed parroting the man-bands words exactly. the women were actually talking about ROCKING. this TOWN. the man was talking about FUCKING, VIOLENT FUCKING, and RAPE.

women do not equal men. handmaidens are not pure evil, even when they SOUND the same as men, they arent, or at least are deserving of the benefit of the doubt. and men arent. savvy?

10. doublevez - November 14, 2012

Using “rock” as a eumphemism for fucking is from African American blues. This is one of the first uses I can find on YouTube: 1952.

11. doublevez - November 14, 2012

Here’s Ella using it the way a woman does, in 1938. I’ll stop spamming you now:

12. luckynkl - November 14, 2012

I don’t watch MTV and rarely watch music videos but weee-oh, the videos sure puts the song in a different context. Up until now, I really liked the Stay Cats version of Rock This Town. But that video was so rapey it made my skin crawl. So there’s a perfect example of how differently I framed the song as a woman (prior to seeing the video) and how very differently men frame the song and interpret it.

It really doesn’t surprise me tho. I’ve said for years that women need to stop thinking men think the same way as they do. They don’t. What more, men are well aware that we speak a different language while women tend to be oblivious to it – which enables men to play women like a game.

FCM - November 14, 2012

i’ll take spamming over trolling anyday! thanks for the vids :)

FCM - November 14, 2012

yes lucky! ive had that experience before, hearing the music before seeing the vids. and you are so right that the vids crystalize what the men were thinking and talking about the whole time, and it was completely different than what i thought, or at least was much, much worse, to the point that i literally couldnt have come up with their interpretation of it on my own.

http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/strange-days/

http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/accordion-techno/

http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/wouldnt-mind-if-you-murdered-me/

13. doublevez - November 14, 2012

Oh you’ll love this one FCM:

14. doublevez - November 14, 2012

Tight like that was written by a man, but the cover done by Clara Smith was better known. This is part of the Smithsonian Folkways records collection.

It’s Tight Like That
(Dorsey, Whittaker)

Transcribed from McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, vocals by George Thomas and Dave Wilborn; recorded 11/23/1928,
From McKinney’s Cotton Pickers 1928-1929, Chronological Classics 609.
Photograph of Don Redman

Listen here, folks, I’m gonna sing a little song,
Don’t get mad, I don’t mean no wrong;
You know, it’s tight like that!
Aw, it’s tight like that!
You hear me talkin’ to you,
I mean, it’s tight like that!

If you see my gal, tell her to hurry home,
I ain’t had no sleep since she’s been gone;
You know, it’s tight like that!
I mean it’s tight like that!
You hear me talkin’ to you,
I mean, it’s tight like that!

Uncle Bill came home, ’bout half past ten,
Couldn’t find the key so he couldn’t get in;
Aw, it’s tight like that!
I mean, it’s tight like that!
You hear me talkin’ to you,
I mean, it’s tight like that!

[Scatting]
Tight like that!
[Scatting]
Oh, it’s tight like that!
[Scatting]
Oh, it’s ready like that!
[Scatting]
Oh, it’s tight like that!
[Scatting]

15. GallusMag - November 14, 2012

I like that Stray Cats video. Dude takes his girlfriend out for a fun time, they dance in a fun kick-ass way, and when the creepy members-only rapey dude (who represents sleazy disco culture which was popular at the time) grabs her she beats the crap out of him, leaving him prostrate on the floor, defeated. No one needed to “save” her- she beat the crap out of the dude herself. I like videos where women beat the crap out of rapey disco creeps. I don’t think Brian Setzer is singing “about FUCKING, VIOLENT FUCKING, and RAPE.” If he was, why would he make a video celebrating a woman beating the crap out his enemy, who is a rapist? Is it because you think using the metaphor of a sleazy male predator for disco culture is in itself violent and rapey? I’m not seeing it. I think disco culture WAS sleazy and rapey and gross and I enjoyed seeing his girlfriend kick the crap out of it. She beat the living crap out of that dude, over and over. I liked that.

I was more disturbed by the version with the female vocalist because she sings of “rocking this town” while sitting passively –even submissively?-below the standing dudes which surrounded her. She didn’t seem to be rocking out. She seemed to be relaxing. Lame.

I agree with the broader point of your post: Men and Women Are Not The Same. Just confused by the video examples. I agree with you and Hungerford: handmaidens as members of the female caste do NOT possess the male power of male patriarchs, no matter how handmaideney. They do break our hearts though.

16. cherryblossomlife - November 14, 2012

“i am willing to believe that unlike right-wing men, anti-abortion right-wing women really are talking about babies, and normalizing womens reproductive function rather than pathologizing it, and generally take into consideration a female perspective, including what it takes to reduce the harm to women of misogynistic and male-centric policies and practices under patriarchy.”

This is such an interesting point, and I think it’s true. There was a case here where a man believed his right to show his penis to some teenager girls trumped their right not to see his penis:

http://bugbrennan.com/2012/11/03/watching-a-car-accident-in-slow-motion/

THe mothers of those girls have taken the route of hiring a right-wing lawyer, apparently. This is a bit unfortunate because if those right wing lawyers are male they will be defending the girls for completely different reasons than the mothers themselves. The mothers know it’s wrong having men in female changing rooms because men are dangerous to girls, basically. End of. Clearly conservative men don’t actually give a shit about rape (I’m actually laughing at the thought of a right wing man caring about rape, LOL LOL)

17. cherryblossomlife - November 14, 2012

And yes, I think Christians are the only other group apart from radical feminists who are against biotechnology such as stem cell research, cloning, and all the other ghastly things that scientists intend to do with women’s eggs and cells. BUt not for the same reason as radical feminists.

FCM - November 14, 2012

make it scream and shout, rip it apart, turn it inside out….this is all rape imagery IMO. i dont see how it could be anything else. people are free to not see it or to disagree of course. and the woman singing it “sitting submissively” obviously wasnt singing about rape, at least not from the perspective of the perpetrator. if she were an actor, i guess we would say she wasnt properly MOTIVATED.

FCM - November 14, 2012

also, those were the only two covers of the song i could find. :)

18. doublevez - November 14, 2012

Back to: “women do not equal men. handmaidens are not pure evil, even when they SOUND the same as men, they arent, or at least are deserving of the benefit of the doubt. and men arent. savvy?”

Yes. I *try* to temper my response to handmaidens. Yes, they break our hearts, but they are still women. Not giving them an out, but understanding why they do what they do. Not letting them get away with it, but treating them as evenly as possible in our understanding of having been there ourselves, most of us.

I also think the right wing women react the way they do to abortion because they think it’s murder. They really do.

FCM - November 14, 2012

its also bothersome that male artists always have women being victimized in one way or another, even if the women “beat up” their attackers. the fact of the matter is that with all media imagery, there is an active creative process happening from start to finish, and every image counts and is deliberate. men are fantasizing about women being harmed and this imagery is everywhere. in the case of women “beating up” their attackers, well, the women wouldnt be in a position to beat them up if they werent being ATTACKED. we are supposed to get a warm fuzzy bc the same male artist who fantasized about attacking women allowed the woman to fight back? why? how about just not putting the woman in that position at all?

this reminds me of something i read about naomi wolf (i think?) proclaiming feminism a success (meaning we are post-feminist now, yay!) because women are filing TONS of sexual harassment/discrimination lawsuits now, and are otherwise “fighting back” when men victimize us. the problem with using that as a yardstick of feminist success is obvious. women are still being victimized and attacked, by men. a lot.

FCM - November 14, 2012

re anti-abortion women, i agree that they really probably think abortion is wrong on a completely different level than their male counterparts. ie. i actually believe them when they say it, and that their reasoning for being against it has SOMETHING to do with violence whether against the pregnant woman or the fetus. they might even be against the misogyny of pathologizing womens reproductive function. it would make sense if they were.

for these women, i dont know if “criminalizing” it is really an adequate remedy for the problem of abortion, where the situation is “ok, you think its wrong, but do you want women and their doctors to go to JAIL if they do it?” state-sanctioned punishment is violent and misogynistic, jail is violent and misogynistic, and if these women object to the violence (or misogyny!) of abortion, a violent, misogynistic remedy is not going to sate them. its just that CRIMINALIZING it is the only anti-abortion remedy men are offering. they arent offering to stop sticking their dicks into women, or to make having a baby easier for women, or any of the things that would actually be a solution to the problem. i think anti-abortion women really see it as a moral issue and not a legal one, but they get sucked into that side of it bc thats the only side there is, other than “yay abortion!!!! yay using womens bodies as effectively-sterilized meatsocks!!!!!” which is the “other” male-centric position. it would be nice if these women would stop stumping for their men, but liberal women wont stop stumping for liberal men so why should they?

whereas men like the violence, see? whether its the violence of the abortion or the violence of the (medicalized) birth, or the violence of sending people to jail, men enjoy that part of it. i think right wing men get a collective boner around thinking about women being ripped apart (or cut) in childbirth, and from thinking about certain KINDS of people being in jail, for doing certain THINGS, especially for doing certain kinds of THINGS that powerful men on the left and right themselves do all the time and never get in trouble for it. they dont want abortion to end, they want women to be ripped and cut open, and to dole out the punishments because doling out punishment itself is sadistic and violent. criminalizing it is only the answer if you NEVER want it to end, but ALWAYS want to punish. and thats what they want. thats not what right wing women want, i dont think?

19. Sargasso Sea - November 14, 2012

I’m finding this post and discussion really interesting :) Thanks.

(I also happen to be reading Belinda Carlisle’s auto-bio right now. It was in the bargain bin, of course…)

20. cherryblossomlife - November 14, 2012

Right wing women react the way they do because they see the alternative i.e ” using womens bodies as effectively-sterilized meatsocks!!!!!” as unnacceptable. They do see women’s bodies and the foetus as sacred, probably, and they’re making the best of a bad job. They might even be thinking,
“If girls know they can’t have an abortion, maybe they’ll stay the fuck away from men in the first place.” Stranger things have happened. It could be that they want to let their daughters know: see what happens when you let a man come near you? Do you want that to happen? NO? Then don’t go near men.

Men from all camps are in it for the violence, as you say FCM. Right wing men just like the idea of women being forced to go through a pregnancy against their will.

21. cherryblossomlife - November 14, 2012

Whereas left-wing women seem to have their heads in the clouds. Right wing women are far more down to earth. They know the carnage and horrors that men wreak on their bodies in the name of “pleasure”. Liberal women brush men’s sadism under the carpet in a haze of denial.

22. cherryblossomlife - November 15, 2012

But now that you mention it, I’ve also been seeing the songs I used to like that were written by men with a new eye. I used to like James Blunt, he’s got a nice voice, but now I see that all his songs are pretty misogynistic, except that I had not imagined the extent of his misogyny, and had put my own meaning on the words.

The song “You’re Beautiful” sounds really nice. It’s about a woman he met but knows he can’t have. A sort of unrequited love type scenario. I watched the video and had the shock of my life. He commits suicide because he can’t have her. Like any old garden-variety manipulative bastard.

ANother one I used to like was “APologize” because it had a nice haunting feel to it. And it was nice to hear a man singing about apologizing. I finally got around to listening to the lyrics properly the other day and he’s telling his ex that it’s too late for HER to apologize. Which means it’s a snidey “ner ner ner ner ner, you’ve missed your chance with me, so THERE” sort of song. Not a song about regret at all!!!

The list is endless. I though Sting’s song “Russians” about the Cold War was a song about peace, a plea compassionate plea to the Western powers that be that the Russians also love their children. Upon listening to it properly I found that the song is a THREAT!!! “I hope the Russians love their children too” is a threat!!

FCM - November 15, 2012

omg! thanks for the vids.

23. cherryblossomlife - November 15, 2012

THat James Blunt one! WTF!

FCM - November 15, 2012

cherry, i think your analysis/comparison of right and left wing women is spot on. left wing women have their heads in the clouds, or at least thats what they would have us all believe of them. fun fem blogs are pretty good evidence of that, as they appear completely unable to make a coherent argument at all, and patently refuse to acknowledge let alone accept the reality of their precious men (and therefore the reality of much of anything). right wing women (as dworkin also noted) seem way more grounded and realistic about all of this. it would be nice if they would be more explicit about what they know, but i think if we read between the lines we will see what they are telling us: they are saying NO to men. lefty women have made a sport, a policy and indeed a requirement of saying YES and its proven to be a disaster for them, i think. its really BAD ADVICE to the next generation too, whereas right wing womens “stay the hell away from men, they are dangerous” subtext is very good advice isnt it? fluke pretty much testified to how well it HASNT worked out for her or any lefty woman. then to see lefty women criticizing palin…well it hurts my feelings! and not because i take it personally. its bc the hypocrisy, the denial, the short-sightedness. they burn.

FCM - November 15, 2012

srsly, if people havent read dworkins “right wing women” yet, they should. it was really eye opening, and a must-read for anyone who wants to (or thinks they already are) advocating for WOMEN AS A CLASS. rather than only advocating for lefty women who think the same way you do (you know! like the fun fems do! dont make the same mistake please). its notable of course that no rww has ever written a book for rww telling them to be compassionate towards US (i dont think?), but hey WE are the ones calling ourselves WOMENS liberationists, not them.

theres a series on rww on femonade, its easily searchable.

24. cherryblossomlife - November 15, 2012

Right wing women are also anti-pornography. Again, probably not for the same reasons as right wing men are… But still.
RWW do seem to identify with the women in porn to the extent that they saying they regard it as unnacceptable. Whereas left wing women say porn is perfectly fine, fun, and a choice (although not for THEM, usually, but for OTHER women. “Other” women have the right to “choose” a life of pornstitution.)

25. cherryblossomlife - November 15, 2012

Ironically, by saying women aren’t allowed to have abortions they’re actually trying to assert some autonomy over their bodies. They’re saying no to PIV, which means NO to men.

Right wing women do have abortions of course. But they’ve traditionally done it on the sly, down back alleyways, illegaly and in secret, without their husbands finding out. In fact, I think I read somewhere that married women are the group most likely to seek an abortion, not errant teenagers. THe difference is that most of them don’t tell their husbands. It’s not that they’re hypocritical. It’s that the thought of another child is enough to make them want to jump off a cliff.

They might even be trying to frighten their sons as well as their daughters. In days gone by a man would have to marry and support woman he’d got pregnant. Back then men had to take some sort of responsibility for using women’s bodies. If a man knows that the woman will HAVE to go through a pregnancy he has sired, whether he wants her to or not, it MAY encourage him to reign in the PIV a bit.

26. cherryblossomlife - November 15, 2012

Sorry, got a bit carried away there. I read RWW after reading your series on here FCM. It was one of the best Radfem books I’ve ever read. It was epiphany after epiphany. I love Dworkin!

FCM - November 15, 2012

i am very interested in the idea of there being 2 languages (male and female) and that men deliberately use this against women, while women remain essentially ignorant of this phenomenon. words are by their nature ambiguous — thats why we have lawyers and judges, their main jobs seem to be to parse language and to interpret “legislative intent” based on context, history, and so forth. it would seem that our interpretation will be limited by many things, and that womens ignorance of (patriarchal) context, (patriarchal) history will disadvantage us severely in our ability to interpret mens intent, and what they mean when they say what they say. of course, i am open to the possibility of “innate” difference too, like that men are such freaks that they just come up with shit that normal humans (women) literally never could, or that their vibe or whatever is outside our ability to see or hear it. but the fact of the matter is that it is MENS interpretation that matters in practice, not ours. this is a very good reason, i think, to not deal with men or mens words (including mens laws, written and unwritten) at all if we can help it. as lucky says, men are playing all of this up, and they are playing women like a game.

27. DavinaSquirrel - November 15, 2012

Great thread, thanks muchly.

28. bugbrennan - November 15, 2012

FCM, I am impressed with your use of MUSIC to make a point, thanks. And once again, right/left distinctions don’t work for women. Glad this thread got back on track.

29. bugbrennan - November 15, 2012

PS – Rock and roll meant fucking originally, and men have a different idea about what that means than women. Rock This Town is rapey. Also, the Stray Cats suck.

FCM - November 15, 2012

yes glad this is being discussed. i love it. :) also, SRSLY — just replace “rock this town” with “tap that ass” or whatever, and the entire song makes complete sense. the words still fit. moreso than they did originally, for that matter, since the “official” version is really just an (extremely thin) obfuscation of the actual message of the song. try it! [TW: rape]

bugbrennan - November 15, 2012

song demonstrating the “rock and roll” explicitly:

which you can download for free: http://archive.org/details/LucilleBoganbessieJackson-ShaveemDry1935

30. Branjor - November 15, 2012

Back then men had to take some sort of responsibility for using women’s bodies.

That’s not true. In the days pre second wave, most men who made a woman or girl pregnant outside of marriage were out of there, scot free while the girl or woman was often sent to an unwed mother’s home to have her baby, which she was then usually deprived of. Or, she just had the baby in disgrace, kept it, and child support payments were seldom enforced on the father, who seldom stepped up to the plate. I should know, I’m 60 years old. I remember the bad old days.

31. cherryblossomlife - November 15, 2012

That’s true Branjor, most men did get off scott free in reality. I’m just trying to work out where Right Wing Women are coming from.

32. luckynkl - November 15, 2012

Re: men and women speaking different languages

Here’s a good example. Let’s take the word “love.” “I love you,” generally means something very different to men than it does women. Women generally have romantic notions of love. Men, oth, conflate love with possession. When a man says, “I love you,” run. He loves you all right. Like his house, car, boat and dog. As a possession. He is denoting ownership. And just like he can own more than one house, car, boat or dog, he feels entitled to add more than one women to his list of possessions.

Re: married women an abortion

What you may not realize is many states require a married woman to be at least 23 years old (nowadays 25), have 2 kids (nowadays 3 kids), and the written permission of her husband to have an abortion. That was the last time I looked. As you can see, they keep upping the requirements. What should especially give you the heebie jeebies is the “written permission of the husband” part. Autonomy and sovereignty over her own body is denied to a married woman. Once married, her body and anything she produces, becomes his property. Nothing really much has changed in 500 years. Women are still viewed as men’s property, even today.

33. cherryblossomlife - November 15, 2012

Brrr. That does send shivers down your spine.

I don’t think that’s the case in the UK, in fact I’m pretty sure it’s not. I would have remembered that you had to ask your husband for an abortion. I doubt it’s the case in Japan because here in Japan abortion seems to be the number one contraceptive of choice…)
That would explain why Dworkin talked about married women getting backstreet abortions then.

34. cherryblossomlife - November 15, 2012

In fact, in Japan abortion is such a non-issue, and has always been recognized. You even get little shrines specifically for women to grieve their aborted/misscarried foetuses (the Japanese don’t seem to make a distinction between abortion and miscarriage either). There’s these little wooden dolls called Kokeshi that women have to remind them of the babies they never had. There’s a good article on it here http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/zim/zim_70grievingunbornjapan.html

My point is that when you live in a country where abortion is a non-issue you see the little dance that men have got women doing in Western countries. 23 or 25? 2 babies or 3? Ask your husband for permission or not ask your husband? It’s all so arbitrary and random and depends on the whims of the old men who happen to be in power at the time. It’s like the trans issue. Men have got women right where they want them, focusing on survival.

From that article I linked to:

In the USA a rigid dogma which canonizes “choice” may encourage its adherents to march into abortuaries with heads held high in disdain for motherhood. “Choice” encourages the young woman to suppress her motherly instinct to grieve over the loss of her child; she must be strong. She incarnates manly symbols of power and control, submerging womanly instincts of nurturing and altruism. Years may pass before she relaxes her guard, to become herself again.

A sense of defeat

In Japan, quite to the contrary, abortion is not glamorized. Women slip into the doctor’s office as unobtrusively as possible, sorry because “it can’t be helped” (shikataga nai). No one claims that abortion is good. Public opinion looks aside, allowing the recognized evil only because it appears to be unavoidable; no one boasts about it. Respectable doctors do not advertise the service, although they may perform it on request.

Women yield their bodies to the operation in a spirit of fatalism. Far from defending their decision to abort, they visit an obliging gynecologist with a sense of defeat. The qualified doctor understands, and routinely runs down the printed page of prescribed questions. She nods as he circles with his ball point the reason: economic hardship. (She may have left her mink at the receptionist.) She pays out in cash the standard fee (abortion is not covered by health insurance), and the staff provides all the frills and niceties of sterile clinical care. Crude methods like saline solutions have long ago been abandoned in Japan, and a 24-week cap is observed; pregnancies which have advanced beyond that term are not aborted. But once the woman has faithfully paid her karmic duty to society, public opinion now concedes to the Japanese mother a right to grieve for her departed child. Her husband may typically accompany her to the temple to set the ritual of grieving into motion.

35. cherryblossomlife - November 15, 2012

Ignore the spiel about “submerging womanly instincts”, obviously. The author is a bit misguided there. But I think it’s good to point out that abortion is a very complicated thing, emotionally, for some women. Sometimes you can’t just forget about it, and it’s not like having a tooth pulled. On the other hand, for some women realising they’re no longer pregnant is the biggest relief they’ve ever felt in their lives.
It’s complicated. It’s up to women to define what abortion means to us, while we’re still forced to conceive unwanted pregnancies under patriarchy.

FCM - November 16, 2012

yes lets talk about LOVE. LOVE, when women say it, means something like unconditional caring about someones wellbeing; willingness to invest time and resources into nurturing them, teaching them, and building them up; living and making a life with someone, including making room for someone elses personality, foibles and mess; this LOVE-thing seems to apply more or less consistently no matter whom the woman loves, whether its a man, children, relatives, pets. women SHOW us what they mean by LOVE by the acts that accompany the proclamation or the feeling.

for men, LOVE does in fact seem to mean possession, or something like it. it means “mine!” or “i am going to use you now” or similarly, “i am going to penetrate you with my penis” and they do this to women, children (and pets! and lawn furniture!). just like no one would even notice if a man used his toaster to make toast (or you know, stuck his dick into it!) and threw the toaster away when it was no longer useful to him, most people barely notice when a man does this to a woman, or multiple women. and yet, the same WORD is used in both cases, or at least we BELIEVE the man and falsely equate it with WOMENS love, or place our own meaning on it when THATS NOT WHAT HE MEANS AT ALL and men show us what they mean when they say they LOVE you. (run, indeed). fights might ensue, where women are constantly grieving, insisting, then begging for the man to live up to his end of the deal. the problem is that HE ALREADY IS. he knows that but she doesnt, and he wants to keep her in the dark for as long as possible to ensure the continuation of her unpaid sexual, domestic and reproductive services. he might (!!!) even lie or go to other extreme measures to keep her performing them, because for HIM thats the entire point. thats what SHE agreed to, even though he knows that SHE doesnt know that, and he doesnt damn care. duping her is part of the thrill even. she belongs to him now.

as for “having a tooth pulled” well if someone destroyed my tooth to the point i needed it pulled, i would be super-pissed, and probably traumatized too. just saying!

FCM - November 16, 2012

oh! and i meant to add that i recently saw something on tumblr where someone was “defining” sex-positivism, or rather they were attempting to correct the radfem interpretation of it by saying NO, its NOT about being REQUIRED to be sexual, its about being OK with everyones sexuality including everyones right to not be sexual at all!!!!

uh, OK, but thats not what men mean when they say it! and therefore, having men organizing, sponsoring, running and taking credit for “sex positive” activism (like slutwalk!) is going to give another impression entirely (and in fact will change the meaning in practice, which is an extremely important point).

like for example hugo “scumbag” schwyzer organizing LA slutwalk, where he very memorably proclaims that slutwalk was about womens right to be sexual, “no matter who they sleep with.” he said NOTHING about our right to not sleep with anyone at all, and in fact his politics both before and after reveal that he does not in fact support womens right to NOT fuck, or to not fuck men. by calling us anti-sex, sex negative prudes.

WAKE UP SEX POZZERS! even if YOU believe sex-poz means we are free to not fuck men, thats really not what it means at all. and it never will, as long as you let men organize with you and be involved at all. and even if you dont, probably, bc they are STILL going to attach their meaning to it, and their interpretation trumps yours. wake the ever loving fuck up, if you can. thank you!

http://radicalhubarchives.wordpress.com/?s=slutwalk

2 posts on hugo specifically, with links, quotes and screenshots. in the context of slutwalk, hugo also compared women to BOTH cats and dogs. seperately. because thats what he thinks about women, consistently.

http://radicalhubarchives.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/steering-the-sluts/

http://radicalhubarchives.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/steering-the-sluts-update/

FCM - November 16, 2012

hugo

LOL one of my faves.

36. luckynkl - November 16, 2012

Precisely what I was getting at, FCM. You just say it much better. :p It’s also what I mean when I say men then use this ambiguous language to play women like a game. Men know damn well how women interpret the word “love.” But men can’t very well tell women what they mean by it, now can they? If women knew what men really thought about them, no woman would get within 100 feet of any male. Can’t have that! So the predator sets a trap for his prey – in part, by using ambiguous language.

Behind closed doors, men laugh and give each other high-fives over it and think themselves oh so clever. “Ha, ha, ha, she fell for it.”

FCM - November 16, 2012

yes i was riffing off what you said lucky. :) its also funny how men seem to think of “love” as a feeling, where women act it out as a verb, as in loving someone = caring for and about them. men also seem to think of “hate” as a feeling too, and not an action, since they accuse radfems of “hating” men — a subjective feeling only, even when its true. whereas men actively HATE women — as a verb — and claim this isnt misogyny when it clearly is. because they dont recognize or acknowledge or admit FEELING HATEFUL towards women, when they are doing it. they dont seem to get that we dont give a flying fuck about anyones FEELINGS necessarily. PIV being conflated with “making love” is a good example of this — and its a reversal. its a hateful action on mens part, regardless of how the men fucking feel about it — and no, i dont buy for a second that most of them even subjectively feel “love” while they are doing it, since most of them dont even know what love is, or what that means or feels like at all.

37. cabochon - November 16, 2012

This is a fascinating discussion about men and women’s different meanings of love. And “love” is such bait for women. I wish I could take out many, many billboards stating, “Women: a man will do PIV to you whether or not he feels love, hate, or indifference towards you.”

FCM - November 16, 2012

cherry — its funny to me how the japanese see our “pro choice” rhetoric. :) it helps to be outside the culture and looking in, doesnt it?


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