Where Would the Tea Party Be Without Feminism?

by Corey Robin on January 24, 2014

In his campaign for reelection to the Senate, Lindsey Graham is facing several challengers from his right, all of whom are complaining that Graham is not conservative enough to represent the state of South Carolina.

One of Graham’s right-wing challengers is Nancy Mace. Like her fellow challengers, Mace claims the mantle of the Tea Party. Unlike her fellow challengers, she’s the first female graduate of The Citadel.

The Citadel was once an all-male military school. In 1995, Shannon Faulkner was the first woman to enroll there. Her effort was spearheaded by the Clinton Administration and the National Organization for Women. She quit after a week, citing extensive harassment at the hands of her male classmates, who danced and cheered as she drove off from the school.

While Faulkner had been pursuing her case at The Citadel, however, the Clinton Administration had been attempting to force the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) to accept women. In June 1996, it succeeded, when the Supreme Court, in United States v. Virginia, struck down VMI’s all-male admissions policy. Three days later, The Citadel gave up its battle against women cadets. That same year, Nancy Mace enrolled there, and graduated in 1999.

The VMI decision was written by feminist Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and was joined by Court liberals John Paul Stevens, David Souter, and Stephen Breyer, as well as Court moderates Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy. The sole hard-right conservative to strike down the VMI policy was Chief Justice William Rehnquist, though he did so on narrower grounds than the majority. Antonin Scalia dissented. Clarence Thomas recused himself because his son was a student at VMI.

And now we have Nancy Mace complaining that Lindsey Graham is too liberal.

Once upon a time, conservatism derived its edge, its sense of will and adversity, from the fact that many of its most illustrious leaders had been outsiders. From Benjamin Disraeli to Phyllis Schlafly, the movement  understood its work as the volition of the upstart. “I was not,” hissed Burke at the end of his life,

like his Grace of Bedford, swaddled, and rocked, and dandled into a legislator; “Nitor in adversum” is the motto for a man like me….At every step of my progress in life, (for in every step was I traversed and opposed,) and at every turnpike I met, I was obliged to show my passport, and again and again to prove my sole title to the honour of being useful to my country, by a proof that I was not wholly unacquainted with its laws, and the whole system of its interests both abroad and at home. Otherwise no rank, no toleration, even for me.


Nowadays, we get stuff like this:


In the summer of 1996, The Citadel opened its doors to women and Nancy took a bold step—she simply hopped in her car and drove to The Citadel to pick up an application. The next day, she submitted it.


A few days later, Nancy was accepted as one of the first women ever to enter the Citadel’s ranks as a “knob.” Nancy took the plunge and joined the Corps of Cadets, eager to follow in her father’s footsteps.


That doesn’t bode well for the movement.

{ 213 comments }

1

Katherine 01.24.14 at 2:54 pm

It’s a far from unique scenario, though that doesn’t make it any less bemusing. There are a number of right wing women who will preach that women should stay at home/be married/shut their legs, having got to where they are partly because the roles of women have expanded due to the women’s liberation movement and feminism, whilst living lives entirely divergent from that ideal. Lindsay Graham is just the newest member.

It works on a strange mixture of cognitive dissonance combined with exceptionalism, as far as I can tell. They are the exceptional women, the ones not like the others. It reminds me a little of the sad and bitter character of Serena Joy in A Handmaid’s Tale. If they ever won, they would cease entirely to be themselves.

2

James 01.24.14 at 2:57 pm

What part of conservative philosophy would prevent women from attending The Citadel?

I mean, we could equivocate and imagine that to be conservative is simply to be reactionary, but it’s not that simple.

Sure there are reactionary elements of the Republican party, but on a cursory level I would define conservatism as an ideology focused on the protection of individual rights through limited government. Under this conception, the role of government is to protect the individual rights of its citizens, and surely we can all agree that we all have a right to attend The Citadel.

3

Manta 01.24.14 at 3:05 pm

James, I have some simpathy for your position, but, as the OP pointed out, “we” do not “all agree that we all have a right to attend The Citadel.”, if in “we” you count a currently sitting member of the SC.

Also (but this is for the other thread), “conservatism as an ideology focused on the protection of individual rights through limited government” does not fit well with the (conservative? republican?) love for the security state (as e.g. shown in the panel that delcared the NSA spying program illegal and useless, where the conservative members dissented).
Mind you, the Dems also love the security state, but the Reps love it more.

4

Corey Robin 01.24.14 at 3:06 pm

“I mean, we could equivocate and imagine that to be conservative is simply to be reactionary, but it’s not that simple.”

For better or for worse, I wrote a whole book dedicated to the proposition that it is that simple. Except that I don’t think it’s all that simple to be a reactionary. But that’s another story.

In any event, the historical record works against you. A great many Republicans and conservatives were in fact against admitting women to the Citadel. O’Connor, Souter, and Kennedy, remember, are often thought to be traitors to the conservative cause, and it’s been the single focus of the legal end of the conservative movement, since Souter, to make sure that no Republican president ever nominate another Souter to the Court.

I also didn’t mention that Ted Olson, George W. Bush’s Solicitor General and one of the founders of the Federalist Society, litigated the case on behalf of VMI.

5

St. Peppa 01.24.14 at 3:16 pm

First they went for the public schools, but I didn’t stand up because my kids were in private school, then they went after the golf clubs, but I wasn’t a member so I was quiet, then they went after the private colleges … and no one spoke up for me.

It is a joke but “conservatives” see it. The seven sisters get far more in federal money than VMI or Citadel ever got, but you’ll never see a federal lawsuit against them.

The slippery slope is very clear, whether the cakemaker in Colorado has to make cakes he doesn’t want to, or private homeowners can’t decide who is allowed to rent in their homes.

I personally would never go to the Citadel or send my daughter there. I also don’t think my tax dollars should support them. Same with biologically female only colleges (tg is still a growing edge for them). That is why libertarianism wins – you don’t like it, don’t pay for it, don’t go to it.

6

Barbara 01.24.14 at 3:19 pm

I think this argument has kind of faded into history by this time. There are no longer many – if there are any – institutions left, at least in the West, that don’t admit women.

Furthermore, the entire society “didn’t admit women” for most of history – but you can’t make that argument any longer, at least, again, not in most of the West. Women are no longer barred, by default, from belonging to most kinds of groups (although misogyny still exists, without a doubt). The discussion is kind of over.

So what argument is there any longer against a men’s-only organization? Isn’t it just like any kind of women’s-only organization, of which there are thousands? Shouldn’t liberals, in fact, be encouraging men’s-only organizations, since they are apparently being suppressed by various legal and political forces?

In other words, what does this really have to do with anything these days? Are you saying that women must, by default, be liberals?

7

rea 01.24.14 at 3:25 pm

What part of conservative philosophy would prevent women from attending The Citadel?

James, a great many people on the right in the US don’t believe in the equality of women in the workplace, and particualry not in the military.

And, while you can make an argument that such a position doesn’t really deserve the label “conservative,” that’s an argument that greatly resembles the argument that the Soviets didn’t really deserve the label, “communist.”

8

rea 01.24.14 at 3:28 pm

St. Peppa, The Citadel and VMI are both run by state governments. They are not private schools.

9

JanieM 01.24.14 at 3:42 pm

private homeowners can’t decide who is allowed to rent in their homes.

Another thing St. Peppa doesn’t get right.

IANAL, but wherever I’ve lived “private homeowners” are exempted from anti-discrimination laws when renting “in their homes” or in duplexes where they live in one of the units. E.g. this from the GLAD website: “The main exemption from the law is for owner-occupied buildings that have two units or less.”

10

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 01.24.14 at 3:45 pm

Sure, James.

As long as you listen to what conservatives like to say, and ignore what they do.
~

11

Trader Joe 01.24.14 at 3:58 pm

The rehearsed arguments at the time, for those opposed to admitting women to The Citadel and VMI were basically three:

Unique culture – a men’s only military academy allowed the enrolled men the opportunity to focus on their studies and training without the distraction of having women in classes. Defenders of single sex educations (of which there are many) note that classroom dynamics change in co-ed environments.

Safety – The safety argument had two dimensions 1) the physical rigors of the athletic challenges that were an inherent part of the military academy curriculum and 2) physically protecting the women from the predations of the men (hazing, pranking, sexaual). The schools felt they couldn’t guarantee both of these and that the solution was a single sex environment.

Facilities/title IX – some of the more pedistrain concerns were simple rule compliance such as having dorm facilities, changing rooms etc. to accomodate small numbers of female enrollees and complying with rules such as title IX. These were usually arguments in favor of delaying implementation (which was hoped to be a delay forever) more so than a reason against admission.

Whether you buy the arguements or not, the actual cases presented by VMI and Citidel had rather little to do with women not being able or willing to be good students at these academies (i.e anti-women) and more to do with preserving the heritage and culture of substantially unique institutions which each had 100+ year histories. VMI actually explored taking the school private as what they hoped would be a firewall against admission.

My own view is that the right decisions were made in the end and neither of these institutions has crumbled to the ground, although both have been forced to make some changes and “grow-up” a bit.

12

William Timberman 01.24.14 at 4:00 pm

When the controversy about women in the military was at its most heated, I remember thinking something like: Yeah, that’s really what the world needs now, a woman with a Death From the Skies tattoo, and a white sidewall haircut, screaming at some poor sap to drop and give her ten….

Wrong thinking. If a woman wants to be a soldier, why should I stand in her way? Things change, and people change with them. The fact that I’m what my culture made me, and have lived past my use-by date, shouldn’t dictate what succeeding generations get up to.

13

CJColucci 01.24.14 at 4:05 pm

Keep the government out of my Medicare! Just another oblivious winger who has benefitted from the achievements of her supposed enemies, won over the resistance of her supposed friends.

14

MPAVictoria 01.24.14 at 4:05 pm

“Sure there are reactionary elements of the Republican party, but on a cursory level I would define conservatism as an ideology focused on the protection of individual rights through limited government.”

Ha! Conservative ideology is about exactly two things
-Unauthorized sex must be punished
-Kick the poors

15

reason 01.24.14 at 4:08 pm

MPAVictoria @14
You can shorten that:

Keep the others in their place!

16

MG 01.24.14 at 4:20 pm

Sadly, feminism means letting them all in: the Margaret Thatchers, the women who say “I hate feminists”, etc. I used to think that feminism = progressive but people are more complex than that and maybe their primary affiliation isn’t with the feminists who broke the ground for them but their religion or culture. I wish it weren’t so but that’s been what I’ve seen. And really, any crazy-ass woman is just as good (or better, maybe) than Lindsay Graham.

@5 I do not know the reason why there are women-only colleges. It just seems wrong.

17

politicalfootball 01.24.14 at 4:30 pm

What part of conservative philosophy would prevent women from attending The Citadel?

What part of conservatism did prevent women from attending The Citadel? This isn’t some hypothetical exercise here. It really happened.

I realize there are folks who want to define conservatism to accept advances that have already taken place, but to deny further advances. Their rallying cry: This far and no further!

But in fact, a great deal of modern conservatism is devoted to rolling back the clock, not just stopping it. Denying this readily observable fact is just another No True Scotsman fallacy.

18

marcek 01.24.14 at 4:34 pm

That doesn’t bode well for the movement.

This is a bit ambiguous. After reading the comments, I imagine that you mean the Tea Party, but when I first read it, I was not sure if you weren’t instead referring to Feminism.

19

Lynne 01.24.14 at 4:37 pm

” I used to think that feminism = progressive but people are more complex than that and maybe their primary affiliation isn’t with the feminists who broke the ground for them but their religion or culture.”

MG, I don’t see how the two parts of that sentence go together. Feminists can be progressive and there can still be women who don’t thank them or identify with them.

As for women-only schools, in the news here in Ontario today (long link to follow) is McMaster University suspending an engineering student group over its repugnantly sexist songbook. This follows some stories last fall of sexist hazing chants in various universities.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/mcmaster-suspends-engineering-student-group-over-repugnant-sexist-songbook/article16470816/#dashboard/follows/

Given that sexism is still prevalent to greater or lesser degree on campuses, women-only schools seem like a good idea to me. If sexism were eradicated, then I would have no problem with same-sex schools for each sex because I wouldn’t have to suspect that “boys only” meant “better funded, better taught, exclusive and privileged”.

20

harry b 01.24.14 at 4:39 pm

Isn’t a lot of the outsider-ism that conservatives claim a little bit of posing? Even if you start as an outsider, by the time you are known you are not really an outsider, and lots of people didn’t start out even close to the periphery let alone outside it. Similarly lots of left-ish successful academics.

I second MG’s comment: feminism attempts the doors for all women, not just the women who identify as feminists. Just as men don’t have to be sexist to benefit from male privilege, women don’t have to be feminists to benefit from feminism, and that’s as it should be. It was/is a liberation movement.

21

Corey Robin 01.24.14 at 4:46 pm

“This is a bit ambiguous. After reading the comments, I imagine that you mean the Tea Party.” Yes, that’s what I meant. And conservatism more generally.

22

Lynne 01.24.14 at 4:47 pm

If you’re responding to me, harry b, I agree with you.

23

elm 01.24.14 at 4:58 pm

I used to think that feminism = progressive but people are more complex than that and maybe their primary affiliation isn’t with the feminists who broke the ground for them but their religion or culture.

Feminism is basic decency and treating women as people.

Some women are very good people and others are despicable. Feminism should let both good and despicable people who are women exercise their good or despicable attributes the same way as good or despicable men.

24

hix 01.24.14 at 5:01 pm

An argument for widespread sexism would be if those who complain about the songbook get suspended. Not when a large group of men gets suspended over an alegdly sexist songbook.

25

marcel 01.24.14 at 5:07 pm

For the record, “marcek” above is me. Sorry, typo.

26

adam.smith 01.24.14 at 5:10 pm

But isn’t this a typical conservative move?
1. Resist change by any means possible
2. Do everything possible to initially undermine it once it has passed
3. Once such change is broadly accepted, pretend 1 and 2 never happened and that conservatives were always in favor of social security/African Americans voting/desegregating schools/women cadets/Medicare

Rather impressively, they sometimes manage to do 2. and 3. at the same time (e.g. African Americans voting, Social Security, Medicare).

27

Tom Slee 01.24.14 at 5:12 pm

hix. Assuming you are responding to Lynne and the McMaster Engineers, it’s as well to be get some facts right.

You write “allegedly sexist” as if there is reasonable doubt, but before one of its chants it says “There is no good place to sing this. People will be offended [...] The content of the next page includes: bloody rape, murderous incest, child mutilation, and fetal ingestion at the very least.” In suspending an engineering group, the university describes the book as containing “sexist, violent and degrading material”.

Also, a large group of men was not suspended from university, the society was. That’s completely different.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/mcmaster-student-group-suspended-over-sexist-violent-degrading-songbook-1.2508250

28

christian_h 01.24.14 at 5:23 pm

I just want to second Lynn at 19. Women-only institutions are a different issue than men-only ones for the simply reason that gender oppression is a one-way street. There is no reverse sexism any more than there is reverse racism. These are the same tired arguments marshaled against African American student societies (“but we are not allowed a whites only club, so REVERSE RACISM!”) etc.

29

Plume 01.24.14 at 5:30 pm

Feminism should be equality of treatment between the sexes under the law. Equal pay for equal work; equal opportunity for jobs and advancement; equal emphasis on women’s health and education; equal coverage of women’s issues, history, artistic accomplishments, etc.

That said, it shouldn’t be the end goal. If that’s it, if all we’re trying to do is gain a sort of equilibrium between the sexes, then that “equality” can be one of equal misery, class inequality, environmental damage, incidence of cancer and other diseases, etc. etc. Striving for an equal number of male and female smokers, for example, who then fall victim to lung cancer in equal numbers, is hardly something to sing about.

“You’ve come a long way, baby.”

Uh, no. Not really.

And, given the latest study by Oxfam, which tells us that the richest 85 people in the world hold as much wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion people . . . if “feminism” means that 42 or 43 of those bastards are women . . . . then it’s not really something to cheer about. As in, making sure that economic apartheid is “gender-blind” at the top of the pyramid is not really any kind of “progress” we should be all that proud of.

And if we achieve some form of class equality, the differences between male and female naturally and necessarily shrink. The gap between everyone is much smaller, so the gap between the sexes can’t be as wide, etc. etc.

We need to strive for both class and gender equality — at the same time.

Neither the Dems nor the Republicans could care less about class issues.

30

bspencer 01.24.14 at 5:49 pm

We’re not talking about that, Plume.

31

Plume 01.24.14 at 6:04 pm

bspencer,

The subject is feminism and the Tea Party, right? How can that not include class issues as well? Especially given the odd makeup of the Tea Party rank and file. Odd, being that most are average Joes and Janes, while they’re donor class is made up of billionaires. So they — the Tea Party faithful — generally believe they’re fighting for their own interests, while it’s really the interests of their billionaire astroturfers. They fight against their own interest, in reality. Against feminism and their own class interests.

Seriously, how can “class” not be a part of the conversation?

32

adam.smith 01.24.14 at 6:17 pm

oh no, Plume. You’ve already turned a thread on surveillance and a thread on conservative pundits into threads on class and socialism. That’s enough. It’s gotta be possible to have more than one conversation here.
I’m sure everyone here understands now that you think class is the dominant issue in politics. There is really no need to repeat it at nauseam.

33

bspencer 01.24.14 at 6:24 pm

Plume, there’s always someone like you in every thread about feminism that tries to divert attention away from feminist issues to something else. Which is pretty disrespectful to feminism and the feminists for whom issues like this are important. Oh, and it’s also disrespectful the author of the post.

It’s silly, derailing behavior that borders on trollish.

34

Plume 01.24.14 at 6:32 pm

bspencer 32,

I am in no way trying to divert attention from feminist issues. I am trying to expand the conversation to include “class,” which impacts women more than men at the moment.

Why do you want to constrain the boundaries of conversation to fit within the accepted conventions of the day? Which basically means “don’t talk about class”?

Women and minorities are harmed the most by that exclusion and narrowing of the political conversation.

35

Plume 01.24.14 at 6:36 pm

adam.smith 31,

How do I, all by myself, manage to do that? How does one of my posts, seeking an expansion of the conversation to include “class,” prevent you or others from continuing the conversation as you desire?

Notice the structure of a thread. One post doesn’t obscure another. It follows or precedes. All are seen. There is room for hundreds of different thoughts here.

Stop trying to play hall monitor. No one’s stopping you from posting whatever you want.

36

krippendorf 01.24.14 at 6:39 pm

I’ll agree that we don’t need women-only colleges when young men use “condom” as frequently as they use “douche-bag” in everyday speech.

“Dude, you’re such a condom.”
“Don’t be a condom.”
“What a condom move.”

I won’t hold my breath.

37

Plume 01.24.14 at 6:53 pm

krippendorf 35,

I completely agree that women are basically treated like shit in our society, and all over the globe. It’s been that way, probably, for thousands and thousands of years. Suppressing women, repressing women, oppressing women has been one of the most consistent aspects of humanity across time and place — with exceptions here and there.

And the enormity of the lost potential — for thousands of years — is stunning. Continues to be just that. And it has to change.

That said, on your particular example? From my observation, I’d say this kind of insult occurs at least as often:

“Dude, you’re such a dick.”
“Don’t be a dick.”
“What a dick move.”

Basically, our culture has a real problem with genitalia and biology in general, regardless of gender, and it’s a sign of major immaturity (and worse) as a society. Throw in fear of the Other, which is almost always directed at women and minorities (plus “feriners”), and the balance shifts again, dramatically.

Again, we shouldn’t want an equality of insults, but a replacement of them by a healthy sense of our biology all around. Since women are disproportionately impacted, any effort at an overall reduction benefits them even more.

38

bspencer 01.24.14 at 7:13 pm

What about the men?

39

MPAVictoria 01.24.14 at 7:15 pm

“What about the men?”

He means well.
/Though dude you need to learn how to listen.

40

Plume 01.24.14 at 7:16 pm

Joan Walsh over at Salon has a good article today, relevant to this topic:

http://www.salon.com/2014/01/24/will_the_last_republican_woman_turn_out_the_lights/

The intro:

How can we be shocked by anything said by a member of the party whose elected leaders distinguish “legitimate rape” from some other kind of rape, and insist “marital rape” can’t possibly exist? We shouldn’t be shocked, and yet we can’t help it, when a nationally seasoned right-wing nut job/entertainer like Mike Huckabee grabs a microphone and opines about women who can’t control their libidos.

By now you’ve surely heard what Huckabee told the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting, about how his party can fight Democrats for the votes of women:

41

Plume 01.24.14 at 7:19 pm

bspencer 37,

Are you asking that in reference to my post?

If so, the use of “dick” is probably more prevalent among guys. Calling each other that. I’m not even really thinking about women calling men that, though they obviously do. But I’d say not nearly as often as guys call each other “dick.”

42

Bruce Baugh 01.24.14 at 7:19 pm

I agree with bspencer and adam.smith; is there anything to be done so that every single thread that catches Plume’s eye doesn’t turn into a clone of all the others?

As for Corey’s post: I don’t think that the beneficiaries of more equal access owe anything in particular to the people, groups, and movements that made it possible. But it is nonetheless fascinating to see the parade of people who owe their situation to others they hate and revile, never acknowledge this, and encourage others to deny it as well. I like to think that there’s an obligation to basic honesty that doesn’t have to get entangled in demands for actual gratitude or anything.

43

Katherine 01.24.14 at 7:19 pm

What part of conservative philosophy would prevent women from attending The Citadel?

Gosh, it’s as if Forever never happened. That’s such a silly question it’s hard to believe it is asked in good faith. Conservative as in “conserve”, yes? Y’know, tradition, status quo, male supremacy, white supremacy etc etc

44

Katherine 01.24.14 at 7:21 pm

And Plume, you’ve got some interesting things to say, but can you not take over every single thread?

45

Plume 01.24.14 at 7:30 pm

Katherine 43,

I’ve been posting in Internet forums since roughly 1996 or so. This particular forum seems to top the list for aversion to frequency of posts. The majority of forums welcome that. Not here.

It also seems to top the list for wannabe hall monitors (you excepted), especially of the passive-aggressive and whiny kind.

I gave it another try. But looks like another exit stage left is the sensible thing to do.

Peace, all.

46

mattski 01.24.14 at 7:46 pm

The majority of forums welcome that.

Is that so?

47

elm 01.24.14 at 7:50 pm

Plume: 6 of the last 12 posts were yours. That looks like somebody trying to derail the conversation — especially when the content is principally attempts to derail the conversation.

I don’t moderate here, but as a poster, your behavior is rude and, in fact, does prevent other (on-topic) conversations.

Returning to the topic: Behavior like Plume’s serves as an example of the continued need for feminism as a philosophy. Debate-filibuster like that affects women more than men and is more likely to drive women from the conversation than men. The presence of one over-posting boor (of whichever gender, I don’t know — or care — about Plume’s gender) can completely shut women out of a conversation.

48

Pub Editor 01.24.14 at 8:30 pm

Prof. Robin, I’m confused by the last part of your post (everything from “Once upon a time, …”).

(1) Is your argument that Mace’s story is not sufficiently one of an upstart or outsider to provide the (presumably missing) edge that you mention?
(2) Is her status as an upstart (first female graduate of a formerly all-male institution) undermined by the fact that her father attended said institution?
(3) Is it that she is not as much of an upstart, in context, as Edmund Burke was?

I don’t see what it is you see in her story that “doesn’t bode well for the [Tea Party] movement.”

Genuinely, any clarification you care to provide would be appreciated.

49

bob mcmanus 01.24.14 at 8:34 pm

Framing Concepts …Thomas Koenig, follower of Goffman

Ethno-Nationalism

Ascriptive groups are at the core of the second masterframe, ethno-nationalism, which has become intertwined with liberalism over the last two centuries.

‘Nationalism is the cultural framework of modernity; it is its main cultural mechanism of integration, and therefore, construction. It is the order-creating cognitive system which invests with meaning, and as a result shapes, our social reality, or the cognitive medium, the prism through which modern society sees this reality.’
(Greenfeld, 1999: 39)

Nationalism supposes the existence of primordial groups, which are viewed just as much as ontological as are liberalism’s individuals. Nationalism thus has raised the legitimacy of all primordially coded groups.

As the ‘dominant perception of the political context’ constitutes a masterframe (Diani 1996: 1057), it should come as no surprise that ethno-nationalism and liberalism are such powerful masterframes. After all, with the rise of the modern nation-state primordialized national citizenship identity has become a masterframe instituted on state and inter-state level as well as in the scientific community. Once a primordialist identity for the organization that (by definition) shall override most other allegiances, namely the state and civil society as its presumed originator, is adopted, all primordially coded identities acquire a strong legitimatory advantage. Essentialist identity codes, obtained via ‘frame transformation’ or ‘frame extension,’ already have become prevalent in public discourse (Gitlin, 1994: 153). Queer and gender politics have become essentialized to an extent that is worth their comparison with the classic ethnicities (Kimmel, 1993).

(Now I have to get back to anti-semitism in pre-WWII China, used (clumsily) as one means to create the ascriptive identities “Han” and “Chinese,” that is, a nationality available for geopolitical aggression and sociopolitical exclusion, particularly Manchus and Mongolians.)

50

Barry 01.24.14 at 8:40 pm

Plume 01.24.14 at 7:30 pm
” I’ve been posting in Internet forums since roughly 1996 or so. This particular forum seems to top the list for aversion to frequency of posts. The majority of forums welcome that. Not here.”

No, it’s not, and in many forums people get sick and tired of somebody who’s contributing a large proportion of the posts.

It also seems to top the list for wannabe hall monitors (you excepted), especially of the passive-aggressive and whiny kind.

I gave it another try. But looks like another exit stage left is the sensible thing to do.

Peace, all.

51

bob mcmanus 01.24.14 at 8:41 pm

Of course the Guomindang also used the baggage associated with anti-semitism to silence with ethnic and ascriptive identity discourse…socialism and communism.

52

Barry 01.24.14 at 8:42 pm

Katherine 01.24.14 at 7:19 pm

James: “What part of conservative philosophy would prevent women from attending The Citadel?”

Katherine “Gosh, it’s as if Forever never happened. That’s such a silly question it’s hard to believe it is asked in good faith. Conservative as in “conserve”, yes? Y’know, tradition, status quo, male supremacy, white supremacy etc etc”

It’s like Andrew Sullivan, who’d have us think that Real True Conservatism didn’t have any problems with gays. James, I don’t think that you’re posting in good faith here. The record is clear, and the background of how conservatives behave is even clearer.

53

Barry 01.24.14 at 8:45 pm

Sorry, I included some of Plume’s text and made it seem like my own: ” It also seems to top the list for wannabe hall monitors (you excepted), especially of the passive-aggressive and whiny kind.

I gave it another try. But looks like another exit stage left is the sensible thing to do.

Peace, all.”

54

js. 01.24.14 at 8:54 pm

Nowadays, we get stuff like this:.. [quote] …That doesn’t bode well for the movement.

I don’t get what you’re trying to say here. It’s too easy being a conservative now? Conservatives are now “insiders,” unlike before? Conservative intellectuals are now, etc.? And this bodes ill for conservatism (qua movement)?

Maybe I’m completely misreading, but if not, this seems, umm, unconvincing.

55

marcel 01.24.14 at 8:59 pm

Piling on James who asked:
What part of conservative philosophy would prevent women from attending The Citadel?

Katherine who replied:

Gosh, it’s as if Forever never happened. That’s such a silly question it’s hard to believe it is asked in good faith. Conservative as in “conserve”, yes? Y’know, tradition, status quo, male supremacy, white supremacy etc etc

and Barry who also replied:

It’s like Andrew Sullivan, who’d have us think that Real True Conservatism didn’t have any problems with gays. James, I don’t think that you’re posting in good faith here. The record is clear, and the background of how conservatives behave is even clearer.

I think the correct, or shorter, response is:

No true conservative would prevent women from attending The Citadel.

56

alex 01.24.14 at 9:05 pm

@ krippendorf 35

“I’ll agree that we don’t need women-only colleges when young men use “condom” as frequently as they use “douche-bag” in everyday speech.”

The word you’re looking for is scumbag.

57

Omega Centauri 01.24.14 at 9:08 pm

Like Katherine@42, if conservatives take the name of the movement seriously, they want to preserve ancient traditions. They don’t want to examine whether thay are or ever were justified. Continue on as before is their motto. So if the past was mysogynist and anti-gay, those properties are presumed to be validated by history simply because they are old and traditional.

58

bob mcmanus 01.24.14 at 9:10 pm

The 1% will always encourage the top 20% to use whatever ascriptive identities are most useful at a given time to a) maintain their status positions above the lower 70%, and b) compete amongst themselves c) as long as the surplus flows upwards.

“Conservatism” meant something different in America 200 and 100 years ago, and definitely has different tools in history overseas.

Pareto’s alternating elites might make more sense than claiming that intrasocial elite competition will disappear with the permanent ascendancy of particular ascriptivist hegemonies.

59

elm 01.24.14 at 9:11 pm

Is the gap between Burke and Mace so great? Sure, Burke was Irish, and no doubt English people discriminated against him. On the other hand, he wasn’t born into poverty and was born into the right religion. He attended a prestigious university (Trinity) which discriminated openly against Catholics at the time.

Surely by the time she reaches old age, Mace can nurture and develop resentments and a feeling of having been deeply wronged at every turn.

60

bob mcmanus 01.24.14 at 9:19 pm

if conservatives take the name of the movement seriously

They don’t. Lindsay Graham and Nancy Mace want to elected as Republican Senator from South Carolina, What do you suggest they do instead, run as Democrats, liberals, or feminists?

It is somewhat interesting the ways that policy platforms or programs get associated with ascriptive identities, but the narrative that identity precedes and determines preferences or interests I thought had gotten refuted with Thomas Frank. Am I wrong?

61

roy belmont 01.24.14 at 9:35 pm

So Plume is an example of why feminist objection is necessary still, because male voices, springing naturally from the fermentation vats of misogynist patriarchal dominance, so easily dominate the discourse that seeks to remediate the injust dominance of male voices in the discourse that seeks to remediate…….wait a minute.
One of the early, marginal not central, questions around “women’s liberation”, as it was being termed in the early 70′s, was goal.
To have women on the board, in the executive chairs, of corporate monoliths like pick-one Exxon, AT&T, yada. Generals, judges, etc, even USPresident some day.
But leaving the institutions relatively intact, with the idea/hope that female-inclusion within the structure would be enough to turn it healthward. So Condi Rice and HClinton, progress. Women graduates of military institutions on the front lines of imperial wars of aggression and dominance, progress.
Or the real goal, to heal the whole damn thing somehow.
Instead of the voices of women coming up through the mutating filters of what was male-dominance and is now dominance by something harder to name, but still pretty much the same thing. With girls in it.
Isn’t it the true case that the pathology has adapted pretty much, changed the decor, the language taboos, who-is-supposed-to-make-the-coffee, but kept the overall whatever-it-is?
Oprah as proof of genuine change, but cosmetic, though not entirely so.
Gender roles in an increasingly robotic mediated social environment. Robots are a lot more fluid in regard to gender identity. Like cars.
Humans are organic, the patriarchy was incomplete, but still organic, but it’s morphing substantially at the same time women are rising into it.
And it seems too often the organic gets left at the door as women come through it, when the hope was precisely the opposite. Feeding the conservative resistance, well-founded but misdirected, to what should have been, should be, healthy change.

62

TM 01.24.14 at 9:35 pm

This post is informative (except that I’m confused how Faulkner could enroll in 1995 when the admissions policy was only changed in 1996) but I don’t get what the reference to Burke is supposed to prove. And I am deeply puzzled by the claim that “conservatism derived its edge, its sense of will and adversity, from the fact that many of its most illustrious leaders had been outsiders”. I have the impression that most conservative leaders (illustrious or not) have actually always been insiders, and radical or populist or socialist or for that matter feminist movements are and were far more likely to be led and supported by genuine outsiders. And as to anti-feminist women reaping the benefits of feminism, well yeah. Duh.

63

elm 01.24.14 at 9:42 pm

roy @ 60: I can’t make heads or tails of your post.

64

Trader Joe 01.24.14 at 9:45 pm

@61 TM
“I have the impression that most conservative leaders (illustrious or not) have actually always been insiders”

Most republicans would cite Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan as the best republican presidents.

There are any number of adjectives you could apply to these three, but “insider” probably wouldn’t be high on the list.

In less illustrious examples such as Bush, Bush, Nixon and Hoover your impression would be much more correct.

65

bspencer 01.24.14 at 9:46 pm

You and me both, elm.

66

elm 01.24.14 at 9:51 pm

Trader Joe @ 63:

Most republicans would cite Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan as the best republican presidents.

To which I’d reply that Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt were not conservatives and Reagan was hardly an outsider.

67

js. 01.24.14 at 9:52 pm

I have the impression that most conservative leaders (illustrious or not) have actually always been insiders, and radical or populist or socialist or for that matter feminist movements are and were far more likely to be led and supported by genuine outsiders.

This, exactly. This is what I was trying to say in my earlier comment, but failed to get across as clearly.

And even if I were to grant, implausible as it seems, that conservative leaders were in fact outsiders, it still seems a dubious inference that conservatism can’t survive as an “insider movement.” Surely, if anything in this area matters, it’s the perception of victimhood (that’s anyway what the Burke quote is expressing, relevantly). And surely, we have enough contemporary examples of people in positions of relative and absolute privilege who put on a rather good show of being victimized, and who it’s plausible to suppose feel victimized, that genuine insider vs. outsider status must be irrelevant.

68

Pub Editor 01.24.14 at 9:54 pm

Trader Joe @ 63:

Richard Nixon was many things (many of them not good), but was he really an “insider” as we’re using that term here? His origins and career path seem like those of an outsider to me, especially compared to a Kennedy or FDR or Robert Taft. And I don’t think he spent enough time in the legislature (or rose high enough) to become an insider, like LBJ.

I suppose “insider” can be relative. Harry Truman was an insider for purposes of the Missouri political machine, but I think most of us would characterize him as an outsider for purposes of the white-shoe East Coast Establishment of the time.

69

matt 01.24.14 at 9:55 pm

“That doesn’t bode well for the movement.”

What am I missing here? It looks like a remotely potentially successful attempt to use a feminist mantle to advance the ideological goals of the tea party.

70

Trader Joe 01.24.14 at 9:59 pm

@67 and @65
I suppose that illustrates the difficulties with terms like “insider” and “conservative” is that they are quite dependent on the times.

Lincoln as “not a conservative” strikes me as a challenging argument as I understand the term conservative as in “to preserve” or to defend a status quo.

Nixon as “not an insider” likewise strikes me as challenging after being Eisenhowers V-P, annointed candidate in 1960 and only after the disasterous Goldwater experiment turned to again in ’68.

That said – I get your points in both cases and would enjoy debating the nuances over a pint, but nuances they are to be sure – resting on definitions which are inherently tough to define.

71

roy belmont 01.24.14 at 10:02 pm

elm at 9:42 pm-
I know, I know.
Here, maybe:
The infinitely regressive nature of male voices dominating a discussion about feminism, and conservative reaction to feminism. Plus “Crooked Plume”.
Humor.
-
The immediate OP topic, as I understand it – Mace, Faulkner, female access and eligibility in institutions created and maintained by patriarchal culture, taking place in a murky zone where objective and means toward it are ill-defined, benefiting critics whose position is within bodies traditionally opposed to the change that gives them a voice. Irony, or not.
Historically the granting of privilege, by the existing dominant, is seriously filtered toward the colluding and non-disruptive.
Either it is progress that Rice and Clinton are such significant figures in the contemporary scene, or it isn’t. Potential irony.
Or it is kind of, but only insofar as it doesn’t threaten the real power at work, originally and presently. My point.
See? All clear now.
More humor, sort of.

72

Ken Hoop 01.24.14 at 10:09 pm

My vote would depend on if Mace was opposed to the Iraq War and all the other interventions this “Christian” Zionist Big Government World Police State warmonger Graham has supported.

73

dn 01.24.14 at 10:14 pm

“Lincoln as “not a conservative” strikes me as a challenging argument as I understand the term conservative as in “to preserve” or to defend a status quo.”

Lincoln was not a conservative. He was a Whig; in other words, a nationalist and a small-r republican with pretensions of meritocracy. Whigs were no less interested in “progress” than anyone else at the time; they weren’t radical democrats, but nor were they particularly devoted to the status quo except insofar as maintaining the status quo supported their nationalizing and modernizing tendencies (Lincoln, I think, was devoted to preserving the Union for this reason).

74

Pub Editor 01.24.14 at 10:17 pm

Roy @ 69: still not making a whole lot of sense.

Humor.

That word. You keep using it. I am not sure that it means what you think it means.

Like Alanis Morissette, you seek to identify irony, but I am not sure that you succeed.

75

Pub Editor 01.24.14 at 10:20 pm

Trader Joe @ 68:

To be sure, by the time any person rises to the rank of VP (or Senator, for that matter), he or she probably has to turn in the “outsider” card.

Conceivably, Mace could use her outsider identity to win election as Senator — at which point, she becomes an insider, and liable to challenge by outsiders.

76

elm 01.24.14 at 10:43 pm

Trader Joe @ 68: I take a more functional approach in defining “Conservative”, which you may not agree with. For my purposes, a historical conservative is someone who is quoted and appealed-to by contemporary right-wing pseudo-intellectuals (like Andrew Sullivan). That admits Burke, Oakshott, de Tocquieville, Reagan, and Thatcher, but excludes Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

roy @ 69: I think I see what you’re saying now.

In response, I’d say that there are separable projects. Changing institutions (even awful ones) so that women can participate is a worthwhile end in itself. Adjusting society so it is more egalitarian in general is different and separate; but it does rely on — at least — allowing equal participation.

77

roy belmont 01.24.14 at 11:18 pm

Pub Editor at 10:20 pm-
That cliche.
https://tinyurl.com/kvw3pq3
You used it.
I’m not sure you understand that it no longer has a serious application, or effect.
I will admit though, that the defense – that things that are funny to me and not to you demonstrates that you are dumb, humor-wise – is always going to rest on the unprovable assertion that my sense of humor is superior to yours. Even if it is, indisputably, so.
Local support of either position – yes funny, no not – is not the final arbiter there.
Not as far as I’m concerned, buddy.
Like Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears, Alanis Morrissette has been offered to a ravenous sub-set of the consuming public as a cathartic object for the gratification of cultural misogynist sadism.
Like Rush Limbaugh, you participate.
This may have pertinence to the overall topic here.
-
elm at 10:43 pm-
…a worthwhile end in itself
Well yes but only in the context of a larger longer-term goal. Not an end so much as an achievable immediate step, a vital and important one, on the path toward greater change.
The idea was, still is I think and should be, that the incremental steps go toward something higher and finer than just more women in positions of authority, but toward the nature of that authority and its acts, and the outcomes of those acts.
Not so much “different and separate”, but distinct from each other because the one, increased participation, exists inside the other, an increase of health in the human community. Which needs it desperately.

78

elm 01.24.14 at 11:35 pm

roy @ 75

Well yes but only in the context of a larger longer-term goal. Not an end so much as an achievable immediate step, a vital and important one, on the path toward greater change.

On this point, I cannot agree. The ability for outsider groups to participate in society is inherently desirable. It’s not merely an instrument or stepping-stone to some broader goal.

I can (and do) also support (broadly) the goal of change beyond that, but I support equal opportunity of participation for women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, and homosexuals even when creating those opportunities doesn’t advance those larger goals.

79

LFC 01.24.14 at 11:45 pm

On Nixon as ‘outsider’ or ‘insider’:
Nixon, despite being Congressman, Senator, V-P, then Pres. always felt himself to be an outsider. He came from a relatively modest background, unlike say FDR or JFK or the Bushes, and never shook the notion that the press, the ‘limousine liberals’, and other members of the supposed establishment were ‘insiders’ out to get him, the ‘outsider’. Whatever sense this made empirically — and in terms of the wielding of actual power it didn’t make a whole heck of a lot of sense, to put it mildly — it was a part of Nixon’s psychic make-up. He would have completely identified w the Burke quote at the end of the OP. (Though, like others, I’m not quite sure I get the OP’s argument at the end.)

80

Bruce Baugh 01.24.14 at 11:56 pm

It’s true that Nixon always felt himself to be an outsider. Looking at the career of a man who did so much to cripple the US’s understanding of east Asia and capacity to act constructively there, just for starters, I don’t think we’re obliged to agree with him. He and his disgusting buddies did harm of a kind that only insiders can do. No outsider could so seriously wound the national security the way HUAC and the “Who lost China?” lies did.

81

LFC 01.25.14 at 12:00 am

B Baugh @78
Sure, I agree. Also a lot of what Nixon and Kissinger did. Also Watergate. I was speaking purely of his self-perception, that’s all.

82

Bruce Baugh 01.25.14 at 12:19 am

LFC: Gotcha. And it is really interesting to note how many people who use power in horrible ways tell themselves stories about not having any.

83

Peter Glavodevedhzhe 01.25.14 at 2:35 am

Right-wing women with unacknowledged debts to feminism predates Tea Party candidates. Danielle Crittenden, wife of David Frum, built her own career as a writer arguing that women would be happier if they stayed at home with the kids. I’d have to do a fact check, but I don’t believe she gave up her professional ambitions for childrearing.

84

harry b 01.25.14 at 2:39 am

Lynne and christian (if you’re still reading — maybe this merits a separate post) — I’ve always guessed that women only colleges were probably good for women, but that men only colleges were probably bad for both sexes. Having just taught my first women-only college class (at a mixed college), I am stunned by the difference between that and a class with mainly women and just a few men (this particular class I have taught 4 times: 17/3; 19/2; 19/2; 19/o). Obviously there is nothing scientific about this, but the lack of inhibition in the women-only class was palpable — both their willingness to say very intimate things, and their enthusiasm for trying on roles as moderators, arguers, and serious intellectuals. They often speculated how different things would have been “if a male were in the room” (the casual way they de-gendered me made it suddenly easy to see how a male professor could teach at a women-only college without messing up the dynamic). I have two girls, and neither will go to a women’s college, but suddenly I regret that a bit.

85

roy belmont 01.25.14 at 3:50 am

elm-
even when creating those opportunities doesn’t advance those larger goals
I think we’re not quite connecting on this, while agreeing on all the important points.
Two things come to mind:
1) From the pov of an individual member of a disenfranchised minority, franchise is goal and good in and of itself, not least because disenfranchisement is a bad in and of itself. This extends to those of us who identify with the disenfranchised without actually being of the minority in question. You seem to make this distinct from “larger goals”, where I see it as inside them. I’m not talking about activism for one or the other. More like constellation of individual symptoms as within disease. Treating symptoms: good. Mistaking symptoms for disease: not good, for the long-term health of the patient, or the community of patients.
2)when creating those opportunities doesn’t observably, provably advance…
In other words it’s like the public moralizing that rejects long term trans-generational harm as theoretical purely, because the harmful results have to be visible and evidentiary to have standing. With them.
Where I’m mostly operating from an assertion, that enlightened enfranchisement, plus all the rest of what comes under the rubric of compassionate awareness of the other, including the potentially limitless heirs of the present moment’s actions and events, as necessary to right living.
Making possible the well-being of as much as possible of the present makes the well-being of the future more likely.
There’s a fork in the road there that’s pretty easy to see. People who don’t care about anybody else but themselves will still want things like enfranchisement and other forms of social power, for themselves, but won’t give a fig about something like the general well-being of people 100 years from now. Thus the present dilemma(s).
Shifting that self-interested operating to groups of the oppressed, whether from within or identified with from without, in my view, doesn’t get at the larger task.

86

Chris Warren 01.25.14 at 7:25 am

I suppose the relationship between feminism and political movements can be viewed in smarmy sociological terms, empty of politics. And so we get the allergic reaction seen above – #30, #31.

However if the chattering classes could calm down for a minute, they may like to note that the key point is that, you only get arch-conservative reactions, like the Tea Party, One Nation, Thatcherism, etc., when the current disposition of political economy is being threatened or placed under pressure by new social forces.

You also get new progressive mobilisations when new opportunities open, or new perception of needs arise. particularly as an economy develops.

I think people should be able to speak their minds without being censored by those with their own interests clouding their vision.

87

Tim Worstall 01.25.14 at 9:24 am

“I imagine that you mean the Tea Party.” Yes, that’s what I meant. And conservatism more generally.”

Not entirely sure that this works. Agreed, I’m an outsider looking at US politics but conservatism and the Tea Party don’t seem to be the same thing to me. Those few people I do know in the TP seem to come from the libertarian/classical liberal end of things rather than the conservative. And I’m pretty sure that while most people here would see both of those as undesirable political movements it’s still possible to identify the differences between them.

88

Katherine 01.25.14 at 9:28 am

The “allergic reaction” to Plume above that you decry was not a way to keep feminism empty email of politics, but to keep Plume from taking over the thread, again. If you read threads below you will see that s/he has done so with some frequency.

Of course if Plume had cared to investigate further, they’d have found that feminism is very very much interested in the intersection of thus like gender and class, gender and race, all sorts of things. A, gasp, feminist actually came up with the word ‘intersectionality’. Of course, Plume did not do this because Plume is interested in Plume’s own hypothesis, which we already read many times over in exactly the same terms.

89

SoU 01.25.14 at 11:02 am

roy -
correct me if i am wrong, but you are saying:
rather than ensuring women have a place within institutions, you would prefer to feminize those institutions themselves. for this reason, you are either suspicious or unsatisfied with a case like C. Rice or H. Clinton, and something like perfect gender pairity is in a sense a distraction.
|| an obvious rejoinder being: women at the head (&body) of these organizations/institutions are the mechanism for them changing. ||
so are you saying that there is an element of co-option going on here, with the women being socialized by these organizations as they ascend ranks, and (generally) coming to conform to rather than work to feminize the institution (as they may in some sense seen themselves as doing, but also maybe not). or is it more of an outside/visibility thing, whereby the public seeing women in the workforce, thinking of that as some sort of ‘feminism, check’, and thus taking the popular steam out of the movement halfway through, effectively just letting members of both genders reap the fruits of patriarchy.
???

90

Azzurro 01.25.14 at 1:11 pm

“Feminism is very very much interested in the intersection of thus like gender and class, gender and race, all sorts of things.”

No, marxism is.

91

bob mcmanus 01.25.14 at 1:28 pm

Ahh, Combahee River Collective as magic talisman against economism. If I remember, the point was not exactly to immunize elite white woman. Let me know when some of that intersectionality starts showing up.

Nancy Fraser …pdf, intro to Feminism, Capitalism, and the Cunning of History 2012? Not sure, looks like “Mapping the Feminist Imagination” to me

On the other hand, however, the figure of the struggle for recognition so thoroughly captured the feminist imagination that it served more to displace than to deepen the socialist imaginary. The effect was to subordinate social struggles to cultural struggles, the politics of redistribution to the politics of recognition. That was not, to be sure, the original intention. It was assumed, rather, by proponents of the cultural turn that a feminist politics of identity and difference would synergize with struggles for gender equality. But that assumption fell prey to the larger Zeitgeist
.
In the fin de siècle context, the turn to recognition dovetailed all too neatly with a rising neoliberalism that wanted nothing more than to repress all memory of social egalitarianism. The result was a tragic historical irony. Instead of arriving at a broader, richer paradigm that could encompass both redistribution and recognition, feminists effectively traded one truncated paradigm for another–a truncated economism for a truncated culturalism. Today, however, perspectives centered on recognition alone lack all credibility. In the context of escalating capitalist crisis, the critique of political economy is regaining its central place in theory and practice.

92

William Berry 01.25.14 at 2:24 pm

@Roy Belmont:

No offense intended here, Roy (and not trying to be a hall monitor, either!), but, if you would use an extra “enter/ return” at the end of paragraphs, you would have business block style, and more people might bother to actually read your posts.

93

Lynne 01.25.14 at 2:26 pm

harry b—fascinating to hear about your women-only class, which confirms what I have heard but not seen myself.

“I’ve always guessed that women only colleges were probably good for women, but that men only colleges were probably bad for both sexes”

I’ve thought the same, and not just at college level. When our boys were young (they are in their twenties now) the Toronto school board was exploring the idea of specialty schools, including a girls-only and a boys-only. I don’t know how many of their ideas were actually acted upon, but my husband and I talked about it at the time and agreed that if we had daughters, we might be interested in the girls-only, but we were not interested in a boys-only school or class for our sons. Our city never provided the same-sex option so we did not have to actually decide.

94

Barry 01.25.14 at 2:58 pm

Tim: “Those few people I do know in the TP seem to come from the libertarian/classical liberal end of things rather than the conservative. “

In the USA, we have quite a selection of media, from which you can see what the Tea Party actually does. And what it actually does is push a hard-right agenda.

This is not a secret.

95

William Berry 01.25.14 at 3:07 pm

Peter Gl*** @83:

Interesting contradiction, that. And how about Phyllis Schlafly (good beer, but I won’t touch it!), Lynne Cheney, et al? It seems that any reactionary woman pol/ intellectual falls into the trap. “Do what I say, not what I do”.

This sort of contradiction isn’t confined to issues of sex and gender, of course. Joseph de Maistre, possibly the most brilliant reactionary intellectual ever, advocated complete subservience to the authority of an ultra-montanist papacy, while rebelling himself ideologically against the very authority he claimed to support.

One might say that conservative/ reactionary intellectuals, etc., of all stripes, can’t help representing a vanguard elite while coming from a POV that supposedly doesn’t believe in elites of any kind.

96

Plume 01.25.14 at 7:01 pm

Since my name continues to pop up in this thread, even in my absence, I wanted to do a brief bit of back-story and explication:

1. For the last year or so I have frequented a site with a constant flurry of entrees by hundreds of different posters. It’s a newspaper, and you can literally see new posts pop up within seconds of each other. Not on all the threads, of course. But many. And those with relatively “slow” traffic generally have posts following other posts within minutes. I’m used to that kind of back and forth. Not like here, where you might have hours between posts. The entrees here are generally far more thoughtful and intelligent. But my experience prior to CT is that of never — not once — having been the most frequent poster in any thread. There are just too many other posters (who post all day long) for that to happen.

2. I’m on sabbatical, after saving up enough to be on one. I have a lot of time on my hands and am working on a book. Took the sabbatical, in fact, to write it. I post when I’m in that “blocked” state, typically, or to flesh out some nagging thought. Until confronted by it here, I never thought to measure out posts in wide enough increments (throughout the day) to make others feel comfortable. It wasn’t necessary. See #1.

3. I never should have brought up my own hypothesis. That was a mistake. If I could retract it all, I would. Putting out a hypothesis like that draws attention away from current problems, and makes it all too easy for those who love the status quo to gleefully escape from its defense.

4. Injecting class. I do so because of the deafening silence, even on supposedly “left-leaning” sites, regarding the topic. I bring it up because so few do. Ever. And I think it’s essential, and essentially forgotten, which pleases those who set things up that way to no end.

5. Regarding this thread, Bob McManus #91, via Nancy Fraser, echoes my thoughts and what I’m trying to say.

I have always been a “feminist.” I want nothing more than for women to have an equal place in society, to be valued at least as much as men, to have their work, their art, their lives valued at least as much as men. Always have. Always will. At the same time, I think we need to strive for a larger goal beyond that. An end to all apartheid, replaced with actual, existing social equality for all, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, etc. Again, if we achieve an equal distribution of male and female at the controls of our system of economic apartheid, we have just moved the deck chairs around a bit on the Titanic, instead of steering clear of the iceberg altogether — or, better yet, finding a totally new direction and vehicle for that trip.

6. Beyond all of that, even with the rather slow pace of posts here, I still don’t buy the idea that someone, anyone, can “take over a thread.” In fact, due to the technology, it’s literally impossible. That’s what the scroll feature is for. The posts don’t speak. They can’t shout you down. They are silent and come before or after other posts, and you can scroll down and skip any you wish to. Again, it is literally impossible, under the format of an Internet thread, to “take it over.”

Peace.

97

roy belmont 01.25.14 at 7:41 pm

SoU-
Yes to all of the above, sort of.

perfect gender parity is in a sense a distraction
Inasmuch as it’s gender parity on TV more than in the chambers of power themselves, yes.

women at the head …are the mechanism for them changing.

Yes, but no.
The cultural tumult of the decade from 1965-75 was very disturbing to whatever it was that was on top of things, or trying to be. Co-option alongside persecution and ridicule was the order of the day.
We’ll allow you girls in the club, but you’ll have to act like us.
Pat Schroeder was ridiculed and dismissed because she cried on camera.
It does change things, letting the women in, but far too slowly I’m afraid.

So yeah watching the scary paradigm-breaking adamant thrust of anti-patriarchal raised consciousness get subsumed and bathed in the patriarchal immune system response, but victory!
Because women are having super-tankers named after them and at the same time being Secretaries of State and Prime Ministers, all the way to the top, except those are visible, figure-head positions, and the real seats of power have still mostly male butts in them.
It isn’t black and white, progress of a kind has been made, but overall…

It’s got some parallels in the marijuana legalization thing. Keeping the artificially-inflated pricing of the underground economy intact, while seemingly granting “freedom” to consumers. There’s no reason the price stays there except it’s lucrative for the decision-makers.
The real dynamic there is pure finance. Power, not freedom

just letting members of both genders reap the fruits of patriarchy

Yeah, only what that thing is isn’t “patriarchy” anymore, once it’s got gender equality, is it?
So a missed, or outdated, definition gets solidified, and progress does, as you said, go halfway and stop.
This can’t be a patriarchal system because it has women in it.
So – patriarchy: bad.
This is no longer a patriarchy: therefore good.
“Got what you wanted didn’t you, ladies?”
And all that’s just leading up to the hypocritical drag of conservative nostalgia/yearning for the former state of patriarchal stability. Which I think was the OP.

98

Lynne 01.25.14 at 8:07 pm

Plume, you talk so much more than you listen. Or, you type so much more, apparently, than you read. We hear you. You don’t have to repeat yourself again.

99

Plume 01.25.14 at 8:17 pm

Lynne,

First of all, what I just listed I have never posted here before. Never. It’s not a repeat. Well, except for parts of #6. Obviously, you aren’t “listening.”

I listen very, very carefully, and what I hear was/is an inability to allow for differences and a desire to narrow the limits of debate — significantly. I also listen carefully and hear a strange aversion to the scroll feature, which renders all of your complaints absurd. And, I listen carefully and hear that you really haven’t understood a thing I’ve been trying to say. Not one word.

Oh, well.

100

elm 01.25.14 at 8:21 pm

Plume, what you are saying, loud and clear is “LOOK AT ME PAY ATTENTION TO ME! DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND HIW THIS IS ALL ABOUT ME? PAY ATTENTION TO ME!”. Perhaps that is not what you intend to communicate, but that is the message you are sending.

Have a pleasant afternoon.

101

Plume 01.25.14 at 8:26 pm

Elm, no. I don’t intend that — at all. But when attacked, I defend my position. Don’t attack, and I don’t need to “draw attention to myself.” It’s that simple.

It’s strange and ironic that the very same people who whine about my having “taken over the thread” keep going on about how horrible I am. You want it to be about something else? Then stop the attacks.

102

JanieM 01.25.14 at 8:40 pm

There’s a point after which the scroll feature is not effective in tuning out the effects of commenters who hog the airspace. It’s a matter of proportion, and it differs from one site to another and even one conversation to another. But after a point, you can’t just skip the one commenter, you end up wanting to skip the commenters who are feeding that commenter, and eventually it gets to be just too much bother, and the conversation is just too ridicul0us and random, and you just go away.

Speaking of which, a few hours after Mao Cheng Ji asked why Mao’s comments were being deleted and was told by Belle that Mao had been banned, CT acquired a new commenter with a funny name (funny as in Henri Vieuxtemps, Data Tutashkhaia, etc.), after which the thread in which s/he appeared (Liberal Surveillance) was skewed very heavily toward that one commenter, with a large proportion of the ensuing items in the thread being either by the newcomer, or responding to the newcomer.

103

MG 01.25.14 at 8:50 pm

@lynn, @christian, @harry. I don’t mean to derail this thread but my POV is segregation is something to fight against, in almost all cases. I feel the more mixing (genders, races, religions) the better for society. If women don’t speak in mixed gender classes, the solution is to create K-12 classrooms where girls feel comfortable speaking out, not to have separate academic institutions for them. This is not a “girls are different” thing — more of a “girls are reprimanded for not behaving like ladies from a very young age” thing.

http://academics.hamilton.edu/government/home/government_375/sp97/Gender_Equity/equity/ge3.html

That said, I have my own biases – I’m middle-aged and I’ve often been one of the few women in a classroom or on the cross-country team (thanks Title IX!) . Graduates of all-women schools that I know have tended to be more “lady-like” (can’t think of a better word – more conservative in their dress, more deferential to men, more accepting of authority) than graduates of co-ed schools. So that’s where I’m coming from.

104

Main Street Muse 01.25.14 at 8:55 pm

A pro-life female graduate of the Citadel is great for the Tea Party movement. Showcases the inclusion of women; showcases how a strong, military-minded female candidate conforms and accepts Tea Party ideology. She’s a poster child for the movement, which is moving ever rightward, so that even poor Lindsey Graham is now too liberal.

Huckabee yesterday made sure that birth control, ACA and women’s libido will be part of the 2016 campaign. YAY America!

If Nancy Mace hates feminism, she’s the female counterpart to a certain African-American member of SCOTUS who feels affirmative action doesn’t work for him…

105

roy belmont 01.25.14 at 8:55 pm

Dear Plume:
It might be that your emotional commitment to your “positions” is enabling, and disguising, a deeper, more obscure to you, hunger to be seen as the one with the right answers.
That can be hard to separate.
And then if you get hit for ego-slopping and “thread take-overing”, it’s easy to make that a case of attack on your ideas and positions.

Polite discourse is a complex thing. Especially in an environment like this.
There’s an academic protocol around this, with vocabulary shorthand and jargonish constructs, as well as stylistic demands, loose, not enforced, but recognized.
Lots of things like that.
People in the back of the room, people listening at home…you’re not seeing all readers here, just the ones who actively comment.
Arguing your corner is not the same as running all around the place yelling talking loudly at everyone.

Basically, your assignment now, should you choose to accept it, is to demonstrate clearly an ability to distinguish your desire to be the one with the right answers, and the consequent positive attention attendant on that, from actually being the one with the right answers, come what may.

106

JanieM 01.25.14 at 8:58 pm

In 102 I should have said “newcomer,” with quotes. Because I don’t believe it for a minute.

107

Plume 01.25.14 at 9:09 pm

Roy 105,

I really don’t have the patience for that anymore. To try to hide behind jargon and a seeming detachment from one’s own words. It’s been my observation that both those things aid one if their wish is to remain free of accountability, of any kind scrutiny, etc. One can “sound” very sensible, on topic and engaged just enough, but no more, without the attendant so-called “emotion” and manage not to really say anything at all.

A reader is left with a surface impression of possible “expertise,” but, on second thought . . . uh, no.

I don’t want to be that person.

And it’s not about being “the person with the right answers.” It’s all about expanding the realm of the possible, and that starts with expanding the conversation beyond what is “comfortable.” The old “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” deal.

Gotta run.

108

Lynne 01.25.14 at 9:15 pm

MG

“If women don’t speak in mixed gender classes, the solution is to create K-12 classrooms where girls feel comfortable speaking out, not to have separate academic institutions for them.”

Well, we need to work on that. Here in Canada separate academic institutions are not an option for girls/women, but there is a lot of work still to be done to make classrooms non-sexist. This is interesting:

“Graduates of all-women schools that I know have tended to be more “lady-like” (can’t think of a better word – more conservative in their dress, more deferential to men, more accepting of authority) than graduates of co-ed schools. So that’s where I’m coming from.”

I actually don’t know any graduates of woman-only schools. I did when I was a teenager because the Catholic School board had a separate high school for girls and one for boys (they don’t do that any more). Anyway, I agree with your long-term goal for sure, but I can sympathize with parents of girls and with young women who choose female-only education in the mean time.

I’m afraid this is off-topic of the OP but it’s very interesting.

109

js. 01.25.14 at 9:15 pm

Re SoU/roy belmont:

Well worth checking out in this context is Woolf’s discussion of the Society of Outsiders towards the end of Three Guineas (in case you don’t already know it). It’s unsurprisingly brilliant and pretty relevant, I think.

110

Martin Bento 01.25.14 at 9:17 pm

I’m actually going to stick up a bit for Plume, whom I have not actively engaged primarily because I can see how time-consuming it would become. Yes,(s) he has been derailing threads too much and derailing them all in the same direction. (S)he does overate the scroll feature a bit. If you barge into every conversation in a party and take it over with your pet peeve, people can always walk away from you, but they are still likely to get annoyed. All that said, Plume’s last comment sounds to me like (s)he was transferring the mores of a different environment here without realizing it, and now is willing to chill out a little. Let’s give him/her a chance to do this.

That said, Plume, the one thing you did that I think was not a mistake is put forward a proposed utopia. That means your attacks on Capitalism at least answer the question “compared to what?” in a limited fashion, limited because ideal setups don’t make for empirical comparisons. It is very easy to stipulate an ideal society better than any real one, and such stipulation will always rest on contestable assumptions.

111

Katherine 01.25.14 at 9:26 pm

Graduates of all-women schools that I know have tended to be more “lady-like”

Entirely the opposite of my experience, for the record. Although when I say “all-female” schools I mean all-female colleges at Cambridge University. There aren’t any all-female universities in the UK.

112

Niall McAuley 01.25.14 at 9:39 pm

Plume writes: For the last year or so I have frequented a site with a constant flurry of entrees by hundreds of different posters. It’s a newspaper

I think jumping straight from a write-only forum like newspaper website comments to Crooked Timber is perhaps too big a leap. Maybe you could transition through commenting on random Youtube clips first.

113

Lynne 01.25.14 at 9:44 pm

Janie
“Speaking of which, a few hours after Mao Cheng Ji asked why Mao’s comments were being deleted and was told by Belle that Mao had been banned, CT acquired a new commenter with a funny name (funny as in Henri Vieuxtemps, Data Tutashkhaia, etc.), after which the thread in which s/he appeared (Liberal Surveillance) was skewed very heavily toward that one commenter, with a large proportion of the ensuing items in the thread being either by the newcomer, or responding to the newcomer.”

Where did Mao ask about his comments being deleted? I missed it. Is “Elisee ___” the new handle you had in mind in the Liberal Surveillance thread? I hadn’t followed that one and now it’s over 500 comments I guess I have missed it.

114

JanieM 01.25.14 at 9:52 pm

Lynne —

Here. Belle’s replies are a couple of comments down from there.

Yes, Elisee starts at 444 in that other thread.

115

JanieM 01.25.14 at 9:53 pm

Goofed up the link. It’s comment #120 in the math thread.

116

js. 01.25.14 at 10:09 pm

I don’t know—the Elisee character doesn’t really sound like Henri D. Mao, at least to me. Tho you’re right that the name is suspicion-arousing. (If they are the same person, it’ll be plenty clear pretty quickly, I’d imagine.)

117

JanieM 01.25.14 at 10:14 pm

js., I agree about the “sound” — but then, unlike Hector, Mao’s style was fairly flat, and so is Elisee’s. It’s more the contrarianism, and the sudden appearance, followed by the frequency. But I could be wrong, and it’s not my blog anyhow.

118

Lynne 01.25.14 at 10:16 pm

Thanks, Janie. Some day my curiosity is going to get me into trouble.

119

adam.smith 01.25.14 at 10:16 pm

Graduates of all-women schools that I know have tended to be more “lady-like”

not my experience at all, either. This is all-women colleges, though, not high-schools. But there, “lady-like” certainly isn’t my impression of the average Smith or Wellesley grad. (And, as proponents will point out, these grads are also more likely to go on to non lady-like fields in engineering or the sciences).

120

Chris Warren 01.25.14 at 10:30 pm

roy belmont

So is this the problem? Too much;

It’s all about expanding the realm of the possible, and that starts with expanding the conversation beyond what is “comfortable.” The old “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” deal.

Or is it that some peoples view of “right” is different to your view of “right”?

So if you like to hand out assignments, perhaps;

Your assignment now, should you choose to accept it, is to demonstrate clearly an ability to distinguish your desire to be the one with the right answers, and the consequent positive attention attendant on that, from actually being the one with the right answers, come what may.

Given the dire state facing humanity, I would imagine that open inquiry is needed now more than ever, even though it disturbs the old regime and jolts them from their old complacency.

121

Peter Glavodevedhzhe 01.25.14 at 11:11 pm

William Berry @ 95 says:

It seems that any reactionary woman pol/ intellectual falls into the trap.

I agree. Women who play the reactionary role are in a bind. They can’t assert the “traditional family values” line without presenting some kind of professional credential that undermines their own commitment to it. I’m not sure whether that was the rule for Schlafly, or maybe more accurately, for her generation. And I wonder whether other conservative women might re-interpret family values, give themselves enough wiggle room for a career. Speculation.

I don’t know so much about de Maistre, but I think the deal with him was that he was willing to submit to authority, but he reserved the right to choose which authority (and how it would look, what it would say, etc.). FWIW.

Finally, I think it’s great that the drummer for REM is posting on Crooked Timber. Don’t worry–I won’t tell anyone!

122

mattski 01.25.14 at 11:36 pm

I listen very, very carefully

And yet, you don’t seem to pick up on and respect the tenor of the conversation. If you respected the group dynamics of these threads, it seems to me, you wouldn’t hog bandwidth. You would show some restraint when it came to hitting the SUBMIT button.

And, I listen carefully and hear that you really haven’t understood a thing I’ve been trying to say. Not one word.

Nothing rash here. No solipsistic demands…

But when attacked, I defend my position. Don’t attack, and I don’t need to “draw attention to myself.”

I think you mean to say, “don’t point out weaknesses or inconsistencies in my arguments/theories.” Or perhaps, “if you would just acknowledge that I am right there would be no need for me to make a spectacle of myself.”

123

adam.smith 01.25.14 at 11:37 pm

Women who play the reactionary role are in a bind.

that seems like a statement somewhat detached from reality. It’s not like “Women who play the reactionary role” is some hypothetical with no real-world examples we could consult. One option to get out of this “bind” is to use good PR to turn ones family and home-life into political assets. Sarah Palin is of course the prime example here.
A more sophisticated option, in a way, is to frame traditional gender roles as a “choice” and let existing patriarchal structure do the work. That means any given reactionary female politician can portray her career as a choice. This is a major part of the strategy of European conservatives.
A final option is, of course, to mostly ignore cultural conservativism and focus on other reactionary issues. Maggie Thatcher would probably fall into that category, though she also does some 2.

124

joel hanes 01.25.14 at 11:38 pm

St. Peppa skrev :

libertarianism wins

Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence.

125

js. 01.25.14 at 11:38 pm

What Katherine said in the very first comment—”a strange mixture of cognitive dissonance combined with exceptionalism”—makes perfect sense though, doesn’t it? It honestly doesn’t seem like that obscure or difficult of a conceptual bind to me. I mean, sure, if you try to think it through consistently, it’ll start to seem really weird, but then you just don’t do that. I suppose?

126

Ed Herdman 01.25.14 at 11:41 pm

The only “professional credentials” people (at large) in the public sphere have to present are: Do they not obviously violate their role (and even then sometimes they get away with it – see an endless list of politicians), and do they say what people want to hear? Schafly obviously is a woman and a wife so that is enough to sate most people. She says (or accepts the role of saying) what people want to hear. ‘Conflicting credentials and life histories’ is usually so far down the list for most people that it’s basically a secondary consideration. What I think is most interesting is basically the same thing, but spun slighly differently: Why are so many of these public roles embracing self-contradictory positions?

I realize I am spinning out a difference here where one was probably not obvious earlier, but the point is not that people care about these things, but that they happen. Only somebody who is a very careful observer will notice, and even amongst then, many will not care. In this particular case, I have to admit I don’t really care for people who turn their back on the movements that helped them out and deny it was even a good at all. However, I don’t demand people have totally consistent positions to be a part of public life, either – that seems unrealistic, and usually inconsequential as well.

I have basically ignored the feminist issue in this post, but done so advisedly: I think there is a larger pattern here which can apply outside of the issue of gender. This is not to say that rigid gender views don’t disproportionately promote and force these little hypocrisies, or that there aren’t complicating extra effects due to that. However, the role of the public person as straddling seemingly incompatible views, or ignoring the appearance of hypocrisy, is pretty well known. There is still a way into the gender roles critique from here, but I thought it useful to get that out of the way at least.

127

js. 01.25.14 at 11:42 pm

That last being a response to Peter G. at 121.

128

Ed Herdman 01.26.14 at 1:15 am

Also js.’s comment pretty much prefigures what I’m trying to say here. It’s just kind of a non-issue for people that don’t care.

129

Peter Glavodevedhzhe 01.26.14 at 2:05 am

OK, point taken all around.

130

MG 01.26.14 at 2:10 am

@Lynne, @Katherine, @adam.smith. YMMV. I’ve worked with a lot of (very smart! very sucessful!) women who were graduates of single-sex schools and Catholic high schools in the Northeast US. But I know data is not the plural of anecdote though sometimes I wish it was.

@harryb — a separate thread on this would be great.

131

Fu Ko 01.26.14 at 2:59 am

ITT: a bunch of people saying stuff that Corey Robin wrote in his book.

132

Plume 01.26.14 at 5:27 am

Mattski 122,

And yet, you don’t seem to pick up on and respect the tenor of the conversation. If you respected the group dynamics of these threads, it seems to me, you wouldn’t hog bandwidth. You would show some restraint when it came to hitting the SUBMIT button.

If, by “tenor” and “group dynamics” you mean your stalking of old Plume across several threads, just to take lame pot shots at said poster whenever you think you smell blood . . . then, no, I don’t respect that. Nor do I respect incessant piling on, or the people who complain about someone else “hogging bandwidth” or “derailing the conversation” while they go out of their way to attack said Plume, off topic, even though said poster did not address them or ask for their “advice.”

As for showing restraint before you hit “submit.” Try it some time, Mattski. People might just respect your tenor if you do, for once.

And, please, don’t flatter yourself. You have never been able to demonstrate weaknesses and inconsistencies in my arguments. How could you, when you base everything on whether they work according to the status quo ante? Face it, Mattski, you lack the imagination and the moral compass to go toe to toe on anything but your tiny little idea of the world. Which is why you prefer silly, infantile snark over real debate. Stick to that. It’s the closest thing you have to a “talent.”

133

Plume 01.26.14 at 5:33 am

And on that note, Mattski, you can have the last word, which is something you really, really seem to strive for, across threads. Stalkers do that. So go for it. I won’t be reading you or responding to anything you say in the future. You’re on my permanent ignore list, and I’ll be using the oh so exotic method of scrolling past anything with your name on it from now on.

Peace.

134

James 01.26.14 at 6:16 am

P1: Nancy Mace believes “Lindsay Graham is not conservative enough.”
P2: Nancy Mace believes “conservative” = “a supporter of constitutionally limited representative democracy, founded on individual rights and freedoms.”
P1 + P2 = C1: Nancy Mace believes “Lindsay Graham is not a strong enough supporter of constitutionally limited representative democracy, founded on individual rights and freedoms.”

P1: Nancy Mace believes “Lindsay Graham is not conservative enough.”
P3: Corey Robin believes “conservative” = “reactionary.”
P4: Corey Robin believes “opposition to Nancy Mace’s right to an education at The Citadel” is “reactionary.”
P1 + P3 = C2: Nancy Mace believes “Lindsay Graham is not reactionary enough.”
C2 + P4 = C3: Nancy Mace is strongly opposed to Nancy Mace’s right to an education at The Citadel.
C3 = C4: Hahaha Corey Robin = so ironic!

P5: Using P3 in place of P2 is intellectually dishonest.
P6: Corey Robin used P3 in place of P2.
C5: Corey Robin is intellectually dishonest.

135

DBake 01.26.14 at 6:51 am

One of the real wonders of the internet is the number of people who can refuse to address any of the points made by an interlocutor while simultaneously accusing the person of intellectual dishonesty.

136

Nine 01.26.14 at 7:04 am

It’s a lot worse than that. I don’t think he even aware of having commited a “No true scotsman” & now he’s really bollixing up the propositions.

137

roy belmont 01.26.14 at 7:13 am

js. at 9:15 pm-
thanks for the tip
-
Chris Warren -
I’m sorry but not only is your post there (at 10:30 pm) entirely incomprehensible to me – Except for the direct quote from my own effort! – but it comes right after an exceedingly bizarre sort of gangsterish series in the 1 teens, making my resolve to decipher it, or attempt such work, through the fog of mistrust and defensiveness generated by said series, a matter of will the evening’s lateness disallows.

138

js. 01.26.14 at 8:00 am

Peter @129:

Just to be clear, I wasn’t trying to be hostile at all in my last response. I think the kind of question you raised earlier is entirely to the point, and I was just responding. I hope not too dismissively.

139

SoU 01.26.14 at 10:01 am

roy @97

thanks. your comment far upthread was intriguing but somewhat opaque. glad you took the time to flesh it out.
when i think about it, i guess ‘patriarchy’ doesn’t really capture what we have today. i still feel it is a useful concept, but maybe that’s just b/c that is the major frame suggested by a lot of the literature on these sorts of issues. imho it can still be productive – its less of a reification than say ‘capitalism’ – but i get that we should be searching for other frames to help us think about the nature of gendered power in a post-2nd wave world (obv. not a given everywhere, but a fair enough assumption among reasonable people). im not sure what that frame would be tho. my first cut is something like attention to the valorization of (male) work against (female) care, with something like wages for housework cutting against that grain.

js 109
thanks for the suggestion. i’ll be sure to read it in full when i get a chance.

140

Lynne 01.26.14 at 2:00 pm

MG

Oh, I love your line “But I know data is not the plural of anecdote though sometimes I wish it was.” Wish it were mine!

I would love to hear more (in another thread, should such a post happen) from people who have gone to same-sex schools, though I suppose no one can compare those to integrated schools unless they’ve gone to both.

141

Peter Glavodevedhzhe 01.26.14 at 4:10 pm

Re js. @ 138

Not at all. I just want to think about the responses. I just hadn’t considered the implications of what I said. Happy blogging.

142

Corey Robin 01.26.14 at 4:35 pm

James: While P 3 is certainly correct, you haven’t shown that my post is dependent on P3. Let’s assume your P1+P2 = C3 formulation instead. You still have the problem of explaining how, in a world of Supreme Court justices appointed by senators further to the right of Lindsey Graham — i.e., a world of Supreme Court justices who would be the ideological equivalent of Antonin Scalia, if not more conservative, i.e., a world of Supreme Court justices who would vote not to force The Citadel to accept women — Nancy Mace would not only have been able to go to The Citadel but also would proudly invoke that fact in her campaign biography.

143

john in california 01.26.14 at 7:29 pm

Means? Ends?

Leni Riefenstahl

The Triumph Of Feminism?

144

EWI 01.26.14 at 10:41 pm

Elm@59

Is the gap between Burke and Mace so great? Sure, Burke was Irish, and no doubt English people discriminated against him. On the other hand, he wasn’t born into poverty and was born into the right religion. He attended a prestigious university (Trinity) which discriminated openly against Catholics at the time.

Burke wasn’t just Irish (in the context of the times, like Dean Swift or any other member of the planter class), he was a new arrival from the “mere Irish”, from a native Irish family of recent Gaelic and Roman Catholic[1] background who could be suspected of just playing at being WASPs. He was, for example, a fluent Gaelic speaker.

[1] bonus extra hitpoints when levelling that uncomfortable truth at Tories and Tory admirers. They don’t like it up ‘em, at all.

145

Jim Henley 01.27.14 at 1:00 am

@SoU @roy belmont: The word you’re looking for is “kyriarchy.” Kyriarchy can trim the edges of patriarchy and white supremacy by giving up a couple of seats at the table to members of suspect classes so long as the agenda the table pursues doesn’t change.

@corey robin:

“I am a monarchist!”
— Richard Sharpe

I don’t think there’s any operational problem for reaction here, even to the extent reaction extends to dominionism, Quiverfull, the stay-at-home daughters movement and so on.

First, there’s cognitive dissonance. Second there’s genuine ignorance. How many of Phyllis Schlafly’s 70s fans had any sense of just how much effort went into her advocacy of traditional gender roles? Realistically, Schlafly must have worked damned hard at what she did. But many of her followers may have figured, you know, now and then she goes on a TV program, whatever.

Thirdly, reaction is not blind to irony and paradox; indeed, it requires them: “Preserving freedom,” tragically requires a class of secret warriors beyond the reach of the rule of law. This conviction isn’t just visible in Jack Bauer – a bizarre Christ figure who suffers because he must crucify others – but in the Bud MacFarlane-Ollie North exchanges in the Iran-Contra emails, which I’m sure you’ve read. Women as a class are unsuitable leaders, but prodigies – or, if you will, freaks – like Elizabeth Tudor and Saint Joan may be venerated for their leadership, and even have their “sacrifices” (did they not forgo the lives that, as women, they would find most fulfilling for our sake?) appreciated. “[Almost] alone of all their sex…”

Fourth, there is simple expediency. Even a homeschooling advocate of Christian Patriarchy in South Carolina who believes in marrying off teenaged girls via Courtship may well vote for Mace over Graham in the GOP primary because he believes Mace will move the country more in the direction he wants it to go even if he doesn’t approve of her “lifestyle” in the abstract.

Meanwhile, Mace herself will never run out of reasons to feel like an outsider: she was a woman who came up in a male-dominated institution; she flouts feminist ideas of what someone like her should believe; and on and on.

146

SoU 01.27.14 at 5:14 am

Jim Henley @145

very interesting. have you read much of her work? any recommendations? i can’t really gather from amazon reviews which would be a good place to start with her work.

147

hix 01.27.14 at 11:46 am

A lot here works with the asumption that gender equality is and should be achieved by women conforming to former male only roles.

My observation is that the times when it was helpfull to speak up in class if youre middle class (and it never was if you belong to the bottom 60% of society) are gone. Traditional female roles are the more helpfull ones at this stage.

On the normative side, i find it disturbing to think a childcare/homework cv is not an appropiate one for a political career. In politics, representativeness should be key. Requireing a traditional male career cv from women is a horrible way to exclude lifetsyles and all expect the highest social classes where childcare by nanny only has always been the norm. Creates the usual replace poor men with rich women dynamic.

148

Jim Henley 01.27.14 at 1:11 pm

SoU: I have not. The term has escaped her and is used quite a bit in social-justice circles around the internet. It certainly seems to cover the “patriarchy/not-patriarchy” situation you guys were considering upthread.

149

Lynne 01.27.14 at 2:21 pm

Jim Henley

“Kyriarchy can trim the edges of patriarchy and white supremacy by giving up a couple of seats at the table to members of suspect classes so long as the agenda the table pursues doesn’t change.”

I had never heard the term kyriarchy before, and having followed your link have no opinion on its usefulness. I’ll have to think about it. However, speaking of giving up a couple of seats at the table, I’ve always heard that for women to influence decision-making they need to have 30% of the seats at the table. Fewer than that and demands for affirmative action can be nicely accommodated without derailing the agenda, which accords with what you are saying.

150

Katherine 01.27.14 at 2:52 pm

Lynne, I’ve found kyriarchy is quite a useful term when talking about issues of intersection – gender and class, gender and race and so on. I.e. for a lot (most) women, it’s not just the system of male supremacy that keeps them down, it’s a combination of pernicious and unjustifiable hierarchies, of which the gender hierarchy is only one. It describes the 3D spider’s web of hierarchies, rather than assuming one (maybe two) axes.

151

Katherine 01.27.14 at 2:52 pm

152

Lynne 01.27.14 at 3:26 pm

Katherine, thank you, I followed your link and I think I see what is happening. Generations are meeting. :) It was not my experience back in the day that most feminists understood the term patriarchy in the dualist sense described—”generally understood within feminist discourses in a dualistic sense as asserting the domination of all men over all women in equal terms”.

I see that I have been puzzled by the rise of terms like intersectional because they describe concepts I already included in my understanding of feminism. I was a “radical feminist”—not radical as in extreme, obviously but as in “going to the root”. Patriarchy was understood as a system of power-over rather than power-with. It was the system developed and maintained by men, but its main feature wasn’t just that men were at the top. Replace them with women and change nothing else and you still had a patriarchal system, from which we have inherited, for instance, the attitude toward nature that has wreaked such havoc on our environment. Our medical system is similarly patriarchal, those in the know “doing to” patients, having power over them, and this has not changed although we now have many women general practitioners.
Racism, homophobia, the privilege of class as class is loosely understood in Canada, all were included when we endeavoured to confront our own privilege as educated white women. Does any of this ring any bells for you (I think we are a generation or more apart in age).

I became a feminist in the early 1970s and remained active in the early 1980s, kept reading through the 1980s, but since then I haven’t kept in touch with what was being written by the next generation. There are various reasons for that, not ideological, just practical. Anyway, I often find myself dismayed that the wheel is having to be reinvented, but then that’s kind of the nature of wheels, I guess, or at least of physics. Each generation has to come to an understanding of its own.

Thank you for helping me have this epiphany. I hadn’t connected the dots before.

My favourite feminist writer was Robin Morgan, who wrote the fabulous, though dated essay “Good-bye to All That.” She was a founding member of Ms. Magazine, I believe, and denounced sexism in the Left, and rape at Woodstock, things she was vilified for.

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bob mcmanus 01.27.14 at 3:41 pm

Why No One Should Use That New Word Kyriarchy …s/he gives five reasons

Sample: “Put this way, the radical feminist word for “the kyriarchy” is “society”. This profound recognition of the systemic, complex and intertwining relationship of all these different forms of domination and exploitation is why so many of us want a social revolution.”

I’ll add

1) Whatever happened to Foucault? Power is everywhere, both systematized and interpersonal

2) Didn’t some have problems with structuralist meta-narratives? I forget, why?

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Barry 01.27.14 at 4:04 pm

” “Put this way, the radical feminist word for “the kyriarchy” is “society””

Another way to put it is that ‘kyriarchy’ is a useful concept for talking about society, for recognizing that we (a) live in systems of dominance and submission, and (b) that they overlap, cross-connect and conflict.

155

William Timberman 01.27.14 at 4:10 pm

bob mcmanus @ 153

Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

In my dismay, I’ve been re-reading Orwell’s essay on Politics and the English Language. As he says, new thinking may sometimes require new words, but it always, always requires us to take care that the words we use, old or new, reflect actual thought rather than a mindless rummaging through our memory for time-honored approximations to serve us in the absence of actual thinking.

Structuralists, post-structuralists, and even full-blown pomos have things to teach us, but it’s still good, as always, to do a humbug check: how does some new formulation square with similar observations made long ago? Is there anything new here, or is it just a kind of reflexive re-ordering of the obvious? By all means, let’s expand the context, pursue the extrapolation and scale up to the generalization, but let us also be very sure of the consequences before we stop scattering the breadcrumbs behind us.

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Katherine 01.27.14 at 4:12 pm

Racism, homophobia, the privilege of class as class is loosely understood in Canada, all were included when we endeavoured to confront our own privilege as educated white women. Does any of this ring any bells for you (I think we are a generation or more apart in age).

I consider myself third wave, so yes generationally I think we must be at least one apart. I was born in the mid-70′s when the Women’s Liberation Movement was kicking arse. I think some made more efforts than others to confront their privilege, and the invention/rise of words like “intersectionality” and “kyriarchy” arose to mainstream those efforts as opposed to them being an add-on, which for many they were and still are. I consider myself to be radical, in the sense you use (and sometimes I feel quite extreme too!), but add in intersectional to that mix, with each one swapping first place depending on how I’m feeling that day.

157

Jim Henley 01.27.14 at 4:26 pm

@bob mcmanus: Wow, that essay is awful. I suppose the paucity of links is a tell that the author is playing games. Briefly:

* It posits a false opposition: “You can either use the term ‘kyriarchy’ OR appreciate the work of bell hooks et al.” I think you’ll find proponents of the term take it to crystallize that earlier work, not correct it.
* I learned the term from women, not from men “uncomfortable identifying as feminists.” The people I know with male gender presentations who use the term all identify as feminists and are perfectly comfortable with the term “patriarchy.” Me very much included on both counts.
* I never for a moment considered “kyriarchy” as actually used in social-justice discourse to omit class and religion. I value the term because it includes “domination by the Boss, the Priest, the Imam, and the Family Court Judge as well as the husband, boyfriend and the minority?” (Though on this last, “the minority”: Man, what?)
* The author wants to replace “Kyriarchy” with a worse term! “Society?” Useless! You might as well try to rally people against fog. Any possible set of social arrangements will sum to a “society.” So you have to characterize what it is about this society that is objectionable and oppressive, and how it does that work.
* I agree any argument of the form “We should use the term ‘kyriarchy’ because it won’t upset reactionaries or scare moderates the way ‘racism’ and ‘sexism’ do” is a bad argument, for the reasons the author states. I also have never seen that argument given central importance among people who use the term.

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Lynne 01.27.14 at 4:32 pm

Katherine,

“I think some made more efforts than others to confront their privilege, and the invention/rise of words like “intersectionality” and “kyriarchy” arose to mainstream those efforts”

Yes, of course you are right, and I see how these concepts might help, though it seems a shame they are needed. What on earth is feminism without all those other considerations?

“the mid-70′s when the Women’s Liberation Movement was kicking arse”

Yes!

“I consider myself to be radical, in the sense you use (and sometimes I feel quite extreme too!)”

You and me both, sister!

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Jim Henley 01.27.14 at 4:38 pm

Lynne & Katherine: Just wanted to say I’m getting a lot out of your discussion. Thank you!

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bob mcmanus 01.27.14 at 4:52 pm

And then a little Foucault …since I brought him in.

157: Shrug. It was just the nth link on a google search for “kyriarchy” I don’t necessarily agree with it.

However, I do study patriarchy, racism, classism and capitalism etc precisely to find the different forms power and privilege take in each, and then try to apply the specific forms to other instances. The factory boss, the father, the cop, the colonialist all use “paternalism” as a way to hegemony and control. I am attracted to structuralism, but I still would rather keep racism in mind while looking a colonialism, or use a Marxian analysis in addition to patriarchy when studying family structures

I also like to stay as concrete specific local and immediate as possible. Marxism is much easier and useful when applied to the Foxconn factory than to the halls of the mythical state.

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Lynne 01.27.14 at 4:56 pm

Jim, nice to know. You started it, after all.

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Jim Henley 01.27.14 at 5:08 pm

@Lynne: I feel like I just said a word and you two ran with it, but you’re very kind.

@bob: Sure, I get you. That kind of thinking is why I think “society” is particularly useless, as terms for That Set of Thingies go.

163

Plume 01.27.14 at 5:14 pm

Solidarity. A dilemma for feminists and minority activists alike. Solidarity with Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, Lynn or Liz Cheney or Sarah Palin?

Roughly speaking, the richest 0.01% rule the world, for all intents and purposes. The next 5% – 10% manages their rule for them. The next 10% acts as managerial buffer for them and more directly manages the bottom 80%. Basically, workers. The people who do the heavy lifting on behalf of the 0.01%, ultimately.

Do we pick our “tribe” (and subsequent solidarity) based upon math, philosophy or biology? Is it more logical (or productive) to pick a team that encompasses both ruler and ruled (indiscriminately), or the vast majority’s class interest? And not just to fall into the same trap within class. Not a “prisoner’s dilemma” of leaving one’s class to move up the ladder — unless you take your brothers and sisters with you.

A concentration on class has its own dilemmas. But, to me, it’s the preferred course primarily because of obvious need and inclusiveness. The ruling class doesn’t need “help.” They got theirs already. Who needs it? Women and minorities in general? Or the poor, the working poor and the middle, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, etc. etc. ?

The logical goal — which we may never reach — is no class divisions and full equality under the law, with equal voice and value for all. No ruling class. No rulers. That’s what any “emancipatory” politics or political movement should be about. Not equalization of the ruling class, via some (patronizing) idea of categories within that class, but its end.

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Katherine 01.27.14 at 5:17 pm

Solidarity with Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, Lynn or Liz Cheney or Sarah Palin?

I’m not quite sure what point you are trying to make here, but I’ll say this: I can criticize right wing women without being sexist about it. There’s plenty to criticise without adding to pernicious sexist tropes that harm all women. Which is why I didn’t have anything to do with the whole “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” thing in the UK when Margaret Thatcher died.

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Plume 01.27.14 at 5:31 pm

Katherine 164,

There is no need for sexism in that critique. You are absolutely correct. And there isn’t any in mine. That said, I may have erred in selecting just “right wing” women to name. Because “liberal” women in positions of financial power tend to do the same things — fire workers to crank up profits, take hundreds of times more in compensation than their rank and file, etc. They are no better than men in that regard, or their right-wing peers in general.

Politically, I despise the right with a white hot passion. But in our current dynamic, it seems that the center-left has embraced much of the economics of the right, too, albeit with some filters and nice words to smooth things over a bit. They talk about inequality today, finally, but do nothing about it. So I should have looked for “liberal” CEOs and such.

Admittedly, there are fewer of them in Big Business, as business is “conservative” naturally, and seems to preselect for that.

All that said, I’m surprised you don’t get my point. I thought I made it pretty clearly. Though by your comment on “sexist critique” I see you’re still projecting between the lines. Or did I misread you?

Can we start over, please, with a new slate and go from there?

166

adam.smith 01.27.14 at 6:48 pm

Plume — “On being an ally and being called out on your privilege”: http://www.southernfriedscience.com/?p=16054

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Jim Henley 01.27.14 at 7:00 pm

@Plume: Is it your argument that feminists have not thought about the problem of how representation and class intersect? That they’ll forget if you don’t remind them? That they sometimes think about other things?

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Plume 01.27.14 at 7:08 pm

adam.smith 166,

Not bad. But what often happens on the Internet, in forums, especially, which I’ve been a part of since the mid-90s, is the people doing the calling out are often the privileged themselves. And they don’t see this. They all too often “privilege” culturalized, socialized categories over economic ones. This has been perhaps the biggest mistake by the left, and is the main reason, IMO, that it has been marginalized (and demonized) for several decades now (to the detriment of society). It’s not seen anymore as for “the people.” But for small segments/groups of the people. It’s seen by all too many as “elitist” in that way.

The emphasis on “culture” and “identity politics” — privileging that over class divisions — has rendered the left a watcher not a player. It has its domain in the universities (embattled even there), but is largely ignored (at best) in the national conversation.

Reverse engineer that to find the solution.

And, again, I’m not proposing an either/or dynamic. Far from it. Both/and. Deal with inequality across the board, of all kinds, of every kind. But class is the key. It encompasses the rest and keeps us honest about real privilege. Those who won’t deal with class have their flies down, to borrow the metaphor from your link.

169

Plume 01.27.14 at 7:11 pm

Jim Henley 167,

No. As a feminist, I think about class all the time. It’s not about what people may or may not “think about.” It’s what they say and do. And, as mentioned, the vast majority of time spent on conversations like these ignore class altogether.

The old “proof is in the pudding.”

170

adam.smith 01.27.14 at 7:26 pm

too bad. So you’re not interested in learning, just in preaching.

171

Lynne 01.27.14 at 7:38 pm

Plume, I understand that you think class is key to thinking about social and economic inequality, and that you mean class struggle to include feminism and civil rights. I even have some sympathy with your viewpoint. What I don’t sympathize with is your insistence that feminism can’t usefully be talked about on its own. I experience your insistence as changing the subject.

If you have read my exchange with Katherine, you will know I identify as a radical feminist. My feminist analysis includes class struggles, and other struggles, but I don’t deny that people in those movements can usefully talk on their own terms, without reference to feminism. This inclusivity has been both the strength and the weakness of feminism because it has left us open to being told, as we have repeatedly been told, that addressing sexism should wait while other issues are addressed first. I know you don’t intend that but in a thread about feminism, your insistence that your class analysis is superior to a feminist analysis has the same effect.

I have no objection to your using class as your lens, but my lens is feminism and it is worth discussing in itself.

172

Lynne 01.27.14 at 7:39 pm

adam.smith, what a fun piece you linked to. Thanks.

173

adam.smith 01.27.14 at 7:44 pm

thanks Lynne for taking the time to make this explicit. You’re a much, much nicer person than I am (and putting this much better than I could have)… I have tremendous respect that after 40 year of this type of stuff you’re still so nice calling it out.

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Plume 01.27.14 at 7:52 pm

adam.smith,

There should be a place for all kinds of views. Yours and mine. I don’t see what I write as “preaching” in the slightest, and I do keep a very open mind to others and “learn” new things all the time — going out of my way to do so. But from where I sit, it is you doing the preaching, insisting that I bow before your ideas of proper dialogue. Especially with your little link, which was a kind of passive-aggressive finger wagging. I’d prefer to be addressed directly and honestly, not through proxies.

175

Lynne 01.27.14 at 7:52 pm

Forty years! Lord, you are right—I’m exhausted! ;)

Seriously, thanks for the thanks. There are a lot of places on the internet where I wouldn’t write about feminism at all because of the….let’s say lousy reception feminism gets. So this is a nice change. Katherine, btw I was born in 1952, I’m 61.

176

Jim Henley 01.27.14 at 7:55 pm

@Plume: There was a woman using your handle who used to post frequently to RPG.Net. Are you she? I ask because I have a lot of respect for her, so I want to make sure that accrues to you if you’re the same person. :)

177

Niall McAuley 01.27.14 at 7:55 pm

Taking small steps like eliminating sexism just means our jackboots will be crushing the faces of the poor for longer.

We must make a great leap forward, comrades! Follow Plume!

178

Plume 01.27.14 at 7:57 pm

Lynne,

I am not in any way saying feminism can’t be discussed on its own. Not by a long shot. All I’m saying is that it should also include class within its parameters. It’s still feminism. And I see so little of that when it is discussed. Seriously, why should a comment like that even be the least bit “controversial”?

Inclusion. Not diversion.

It’s ironic that the people telling me I need to “learn” are holding so steadfastly to a rather narrow conception of the possible and for the possibility of feminism itself. You being an exception. I’m asking for a widening of the discussion, not a narrowing of it. That’s a call for more “learning” and exchange, not less.

179

roy belmont 01.27.14 at 7:57 pm

The next meeting of the People’s Adjunct Committee for The Elimination of Fog will be held at the usual place, time to be determined, as soon as visibility makes local transportation possible again.
-
This is tangential but…something I saw lost again and again in the days of yore was the idea that “patriarchy” was really about a subset of men, and the benefits of that system to that subset, first, but not exclusively.
So that essentially non-patriarchal individuals were enlisted by birth and passive ascension.
Like how institutional racism was helped along by basically decent and even compassionate folks who were benefiting from a racist system that privileged them.
Where the nucleus of the racist practice was actively an individual pathology, a minority phenomenon, but the big picture was filled out by a lot clueless mostly passive beneficiaries.
What we’re still calling “patriarchy”, struggling to redefine yeah but still using it, wasn’t benefiting all men, it was and is benefiting some men, who over time become an increasing majority. Until it’s functional, while sill imprecise, to generalize all the way.
What that was and is seriously limited and harmed less definable members of the testosterone-producing community, enough and steadily that eventually we all inherit something that looks like half at least of the human community was in on it. And the other half victims of it.
Kind of like how the capitalist thing is what almost everybody’s doing now, most by unthinking submission to necessity, passively – and a minority by active conscious choice, because it pays them so well.
“Kyriarchy” helps me at least to get at that. Thanks Jim.

180

Plume 01.27.14 at 8:01 pm

Jim 176,

No. I never posted there. I took my cybernym from a creation of Henri Michaux, one of my favorite poets.

181

Plume 01.27.14 at 8:26 pm

Roy,

I tend to try to cut through the fog. Academics often prefer the round about method. Subconsciously, it may well be a form of job security. Jargon. The sound of complexity. The sound of detachment. But it’s annoying to me at my age (50s), when it once wasn’t. Russell Jacoby’s brilliant The Last Intellectuals fleshes that out.

Boiled down, at least to me, it’s all about apartheid and ending it. Economic apartheid subsuming all others. South Africa, for instance, had one of the ugliest, most despicable states in history, and it appears its racial apartheid system is fading due to the tremendous courage of activists and worldwide pressure. But its economic apartheid remains, along with a host of other apartheids, all in need of dismantling. Logically, taking down the largest, the one that encompasses all the others, is the right strategy, as the others come tumbling down when it’s destroyed. And a strategy of going after economic apartheid has the advantage of getting pretty much everyone on board for the struggle, instead of equally valid but smaller group struggles. Again, equally valid. All of them. A struggle is a struggle is a struggle.

But just as we’re taught to go after the biggest bully in a crowd of bullies, bloody his nose, so the rest will make like Monty Python and run away . . . .

. . . . Feminism as apartheid buster. That’s what I’m talking about.

See yas.

182

Bruce Wilder 01.27.14 at 8:35 pm

I liked the piece adam.smith linked to, On being an ally and being called out on your privilege.

Still, in and amongst the gratuitous preaching, I thought Plume had a point: the people doing the calling out are often the privileged themselves. And they don’t see this. And, I think Plume is right to link that dynamic of “identity politics” or whatever you want to call it, to the political disability of the left on economic issues.

The mirror image of the enlightened privileged calling out the enlightened privileged on decorum and self-awareness may very well be contempt for the un-enlightened, un-privileged. (I won’t say it must be a mirror-image, as a matter of logical necessity, but I will propose the hypothesis that it could be a psychological pattern, without digressing to prove it here.)

Plume and I differ in that I don’t share his ideal of a society of absolute equality and the absence of hierarchy. I have mixed feelings about hierarchy, and think it can serve useful and necessary functions. So, my ideal is more along the lines of a hierarchy of mutually beneficial relations, where privilege is earned by the benefits it brings to all, not just to the privileged themselves, and the benefits of privilege are not extracted from the oppression of the unprivileged. Hierarchy, in practice, can go either way or sojurn among mixed outcomes, and it might be hard to discern when my ideal is satisfied, or when we move closer to it. But, questioning the carelessness that privilege breeds, and cheering a cultural expectation that power should expect and accept criticism — as in the article adam.smith linked to — serves my ideal.

What is left out of account, and is raised in the anecdote at the center of the OP, is: what is a respectful attitude of the privileged and enlightened toward the unenlightened, unprivileged, the followers, Plume’s 80%?

183

elm 01.27.14 at 8:53 pm

What is left out of account, and is raised in the anecdote at the center of the OP, is: what is a respectful attitude of the privileged and enlightened toward the unenlightened, unprivileged, the followers, Plume’s 80%?

A simple start is to listen to them talk about their own stories and don’t crowd them out.

Don’t tell them to subsume their interests to your preferred “expanded” project.

Listen to them and attempt to understand what they’re saying. If you’re unable or unwilling to do that much, then pretend you are, so that you don’t stomp all over the toes of people who will.

Apologize when you do/say something dumb.

Pretend that they’re people with their own real person experiences and struggles.

As an aside, almost nobody is wholly without privilege. Race, class, gender and sexual preference are some of the most-commonly recognized ones, but they’re not the whole game.

And even a relatively non-privileged person — e.g. a working-class native american lesbian — could act insensitively towards a technically-more-privileged person — e.g. a middle-class straight white man in a wheelchair. When that happens, the respectful way to react is just the same.

In my experience, the typical difference is that a less-privileged person can more easily relate to others (having found themselves on the wrong end of similar exchanges fairly often), even if they’re not very familiar with academic writing on privilege.

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bob mcmanus 01.27.14 at 9:10 pm

Well, History is a Weapon, the Combahee River Collective Statement is still worth studying, perhaps where “intersectionality” first started being discussed, wasn’t really and completely about white women being pushed to the back of the bus by Marxist men.

Lynne: My favourite feminist writer was Robin Morgan

Not really familiar with her, but she does end up as the capstone to the above classic:

Robin Morgan writes:

I haven’t the faintest notion what possible revolutionary role white heterosexual men could fulfill, since they are the very embodiment of reactionary-vested-interest-power.

…I’ll keep this in mind.
….
In any case, before I go, I’ll note that the original post was probably really about neither class nor gender, but along with the earlier Robin post about the would-be Duchess, tentatively pointing to a definition of neo-liberalism as “the expropriation of the history, discourse, and tools of collective liberation movements for self-aggrandizing, exploitative, or reactionary purposes.”

I’ll be watching: two posts could be coincidence, three might hint at a proffer or proposal. I would be more than disappointed if all the future examples of expropriation were of conservatives or Republicans, which I would have to see partly as a preemption and disarming of the Marxian Left’s attempt to bring economic redistribution and international representation back into the identities discourse. Mark Fisher, Nancy Fraser.

185

elm 01.27.14 at 9:12 pm

EWI @144

Burke wasn’t just Irish (in the context of the times, like Dean Swift or any other member of the planter class), he was a new arrival from the “mere Irish”, from a native Irish family of recent Gaelic and Roman Catholic[1] background who could be suspected of just playing at being WASPs. He was, for example, a fluent Gaelic speaker.

Thanks for the follow-up. I confess that I’m not very familiar with Burke’s biography and history, and only marginally-familiar with his political philosophy. In the modern world, Burke! is an appeal that embarrassed reactionaries make when they want to draw attention from Nixon, et. al.

In the quote from Burke in the OP, however, I still see a man seething over privileges that he lacks while ignoring those that he possesses.

186

roy belmont 01.27.14 at 9:12 pm

Plume at 8:26 pm-
Dude that is so perfect!
Your assumption that my comment was a reply to yours, purely and simply because it appeared after yours, is exactly what happens to readers trying to follow the overall conversation down the thread. And then “Crooked Plume”.
It was not at all a reply to you. This is.
I’m sorry if that’s upsetting but…

187

Plume 01.27.14 at 9:39 pm

Elm

A simple start is to listen to them talk about their own stories and don’t crowd them out.

Don’t tell them to subsume their interests to your preferred “expanded” project.

Listen to them and attempt to understand what they’re saying. If you’re unable or unwilling to do that much, then pretend you are, so that you don’t stomp all over the toes of people who will.

Apologize when you do/say something dumb.

The above sounds to me like “preaching” and very silly and presumptuous lecture, on top of that. One could easily counter all of it with practice what you preach. For instance, don’t tell them that your narrow concept of proper dialogue on this topic is right for them, too. That would be “patronizing.”

At this point, of course, I doubt that any of the posters bringing up old Plume’s name can even remember or repeat said poster’s original atrocity. The knee-jerk comments have taken on a life of their own and they no longer refer to anything even remotely specific. I doubt adam.smith or you could even repost the horrifically offensive things I supposedly said to start off all of this nonsense.

Also, not that there should be a contest for “least privileged,” or anything, but I doubt anyone on this board has actually been poor. Really poor. And homeless. I have. I know what it’s like to go without food and shelter for an extended period of time, to have all hell break loose, lose one’s old car along with that shelter and that source of food, and to have to fight one’s way out of that bottom. And, I doubt anyone on this board has been in the bottom half of the economy their entire adult lives. That describes my adult years, though getting two university degrees, via student loans (and working full time while going to school), might obviate some of that. Being “poor” is relative, after all.

Also, for the last 15 years I’ve worked a relatively low-wage job, with very late and long hours (until midnight, for the shift differential), much OT, in order to save enough to bow out for a short time. I downsized enough to do this, and I wasn’t “upsized” before that.

Now, let’s see if you listened to my story.

188

elm 01.27.14 at 9:42 pm

Now, let’s see if you listened to my story.

Didn’t even read your post. Good bye.

189

Plume 01.27.14 at 9:51 pm

Elm 188,

Didn’t even read your post. Good bye.

Thank you for providing the thread with such a perfect example of hypocrisy.

190

Lynne 01.27.14 at 9:51 pm

Plume,

Do you really not see a contradiction in that?

I tried to put your words in italics, let’s see if it worked.

191

Lynne 01.27.14 at 9:52 pm

It didn’t work, your words didn’t even appear! I was replying to this:

“I am not in any way saying feminism can’t be discussed on its own. Not by a long shot. All I’m saying is that it should also include class within its parameters.”

192

Plume 01.27.14 at 10:03 pm

Lynne,

I honestly don’t see the contradiction. I see class as a natural part of feminism. To me, feminism is weakened without it being a core part. Its critique of the Establishment is weakened without it. Its natural moral high-ground is weakened (somewhat) without it. And it does have that high-ground, as far as I’m concerned. To the nth degree. It’s always had it.

If you had the time or energy to go through my posts on this board, you would see an overwhelming incidence of the defense of women and feminism from me. Which is all the more reason why I’m convinced that the anger over what I’ve supposedly said isn’t based on anything real. It’s based on the previous angry comment about such and such, and the one before that, without direct reference to any actual quote from me. In short, this seems to be all about a momentum for “outrage” and “tone,” rather than substance.

Given that you’ve been civil and have tried to engage in dialogue, I don’t put you in with others. I have respect for you, etc.

Gotta run some errands.

193

elm 01.27.14 at 10:03 pm

Plume @ 189

Listen, spammer, my post @ 183 was not a response to you. It had nothing to do with you. It was a reply to Bruce Wilder @ 182 (whom I quoted). It’s not about you. Your contributions to this thread bore me.

My post at 183 was a few observations that I’ve picked up after a few decades of relating to human beings and sometimes (more often than I’d like to admit), putting my foot in my mouth. These days, I try to do it less. When I fail, I try to respond with some humility.

At this point, of course, I doubt that any of the posters bringing up old Plume’s name can even remember or repeat said poster’s original atrocity.

I didn’t mention your name. Your original breach of decorum was thread hijacking, followed by comment spamming.

194

Bruce Wilder 01.27.14 at 10:07 pm

elm: In my experience, the typical difference is that a less-privileged person can more easily relate to others (having found themselves on the wrong end of similar exchanges fairly often), even if they’re not very familiar with academic writing on privilege.

I appreciated your comment, but this last bit does not reflect my experience. My experience is . . . confusing. Some of the most privileged, or just lucky, people I have ever met have been among the most unfailingly gracious, empathetic and charming. There’s probably something to the idea that the experience of being on the wrong end in the past helped to educate them. But, I think the supreme privilege of a liberal education also helps. Some of the least privileged people I have known have been among the most resentful, which can result in mercurial behavior and attitudes — sometimes unfathomably generous, sometimes startlingly callous or cruel, or just narrow and mean. And, people act from mixed motives. Sometimes, generosity, for example, cannot so easily be separated from the desire to dominate and control, as any waiter living off tips can attest.

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elm 01.27.14 at 10:14 pm

Bruce @ 194

On reflection, I overstated that part of my post. The differences between individuals — even those of similar backgrounds and experiences — is often greater than the differences between groups.

I’ll want to reflect on my own experiences some more, but at the moment, I agree more with your sentiments than with what I wrote before. Thank you.

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Lynne 01.27.14 at 10:15 pm

Plume,

“I honestly don’t see the contradiction. I see class as a natural part of feminism.”

Yes, I know. I do, too. But still, it is sometimes desirable to talk about feminism without referring to class or any other movement. Feminism as it relates to women and sexism, not as it includes other struggles because sometimes one wants the focus on women and sexism.

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djr 01.27.14 at 10:20 pm

bob @ 160

Seriously? Your first post on the thread for 2 days is to disrupt a discussion about kyriarchy by telling people they shouldn’t use the word… but it turns out it’s just a random link you found through google, you may or may not agree with it. And people say that Plume is trolling the thread…

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js. 01.27.14 at 10:40 pm

Plume,

It’s not that you’ve said anything offensive—just that you keep saying the same thing over and over again. And for some reason, you don’t seem to believe people when they tell you that they do too v much care about class. (And yes, proof in pudding, etc., but it needn’t always be the same fucking pudding!) People on CT threads talk about class often, explicitly, and at length. Which you surely know if you’ve been around here for longer than a day.

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bob mcmanus 01.27.14 at 10:43 pm

197: I feel that is a distortion of what happened.

1) I read about twenty posts and 300 comments about kyriarchy before encountering that post. Have another supportive post.

2008
Accepting Kyriarchy, Not Apologies
…have two dissenting comments

“And”

If i understand this, ‘kyriarchy’ is a succinct way of describing the intra-gender hierarchy that can be known in academic works as ‘The Mistress-Servant Relationship.’ Due to the primarily middle-upper class White womens domination during the development of the womens movement that the overall view of the movement became a homogenized one, and therefore the way in which women of a lower class, or of a different race were treated wasn’t really addressed in an honest fashion within the overall analysis of things like patriarchy, binary etc. These issues have come to a head, so to speak, and are now such a big topic that there really wasn’t a singular defining word to encompass the issue until this neologism was coined?

“MadameAmbi”

I think adding kyriarchy to the lexicon is good, but having studied feminism, feminist therapy & women’s history for going on decades now, I have to disagree with you that the definition you give of patriarchy is that narrow. As a matter of fact, Bettina Aptheker, who founded the Feminist Studies department at UC Santa Cruz 30 years ago, gives her definition of feminism as “the liberation of all oppressed groups.” Many feminist thinkers have defined patriarchy as a system of oppression/exploitation/dominance that manifests in many forms. I think it’s counterproductive to the fight for human rights to take up sides over who has the correct terminology. Throughout history, meanings get layered over other meanings in that they ADD perspective and point to how systems co-emerge. Hate to say this, but it’s KYRIARCHAL to insist that people use only that word to denote systems that dominate & exploit! Do I want to debate this with you? NO. I’m working on understanding the neural underpinnings of dominance & exploitation and guess what??????? I’ve got a new word for it! Will it be the only correct word to describe where we are or how we got where we are???? No. And why should it?

2) The thread I thought already had enough material supportive of the new word and a dissenting feminist voice might be useful. I tend, within a certain range, to enjoy a diversity of viewpoints and seek them out. I thought Henley’s contemptuous dismissal of the woman’s voice at comment 157 more than a little unfair, but figured people could follow the link and judge for themselves if they were independent.

3) I didn’t tell anyone not to use the word. The link, as is common, contained the post title.

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bob mcmanus 01.27.14 at 10:57 pm

Groupthink Jezebel on kyriarchy

“HermioneStranger” has a good comment there, starting with:

“Part of why it hasn’t permeated is that a lot of people think it is the same thing as intersectionality, but where a white lady (Schussler Fiorenza) gets credit instead of a Black woman ( Kimberle Crenshaw).”

See comment above about “the expropriation of the discourse of collective liberation for personal aggrandizement”

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bianca steele 01.27.14 at 11:10 pm

I used to think that feminism = progressive

I think for the most part that’s still true. I think it’s evidence that feminism is generally understood to be progressive or left-leaning that we don’t have right-wing feminists. Shelby Steele lets it be known exactly where he stands. Andrew Sullivan lets it be known exactly where he stands. There’s no equivalent within feminism. Moreover, feminism seems often to be just a little bit more left, or more feminist, than what the feminist is used to. So someone whose “everyone believes” is farther to the right than mine might end up with a feminism that I feel is farther to the right than mine.

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bianca steele 01.27.14 at 11:20 pm

At the same time, there are other weird things going on within feminism that don’t have anything to do with the OP (even less than my previous comment) and wouldn’t be relevant here.

The OP’s acceptance of the slogan that feminism wasn’t supposed to support the status quo and it’s ironic that women’s equality can be coopted into conservative or right-wing or 1% causes seems perfectly reasonable.

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Jim Henley 01.28.14 at 12:21 am

Oh Bob. I really need to work at being less contemptuous. But when you initially respond to pushback with “157: Shrug. It was just the nth link on a google search for “kyriarchy” I don’t necessarily agree with it.” – hey, whatevs, mang, just throwing it out there – and then 40 messages later start throwing out every post anti-[word you, on your own account, just learned] that Google serves up, you are making my odyssey of moral improvement harder.

Extra troll points for the excluding the middle in which people use “kyriarchy” AND “intersectionality.” Also for going from referring to the author of your original, lame link as “s/he” to “the woman’s voice.”

@roy: You’re welcome. I found the word personally helpful in understanding important concepts about oppression better.

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ezra abrams 01.28.14 at 12:34 am

maybe I’m misreading, but the Red Balloon Blogger seems to think E Burke is a bit of a scumbag:
http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2013/10/corey-robin-edmund-burke-pioneer-of-wingnut-welfare-notes.html

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bob mcmanus 01.28.14 at 12:45 am

start throwing out every post anti-[word you, on your own account, just learned]

It was by no means every post I read. Do you want more? Apparently you needed only one.

When I encounter a new possibly controversial word, fact or name I do usually research it on the Web, finding multiple sources, almost as a matter of course. It does slow down my reading.

Also for going from referring to the author of your original, lame link as “s/he” to “the woman’s voice.”

I spent additional time there looking thru posts on the sidebar, which provided strong evidence.

206

Plume 01.28.14 at 1:13 am

Elm 193,

Spammer? Oh fuck off and get over yourself. I’m not buying your pretentious little lecture being directed at someone else. And just admit that you’re a hypocrite. You demand “sensitivity” from others but show none of it yourself. You demand that others “listen” but you don’t practice what you preach.

I’m not your enemy, and I don’t see you as mine. You and far too many others here have invented (and projected) one with the name Plume attached and piled on that to make yourselves feel superior. And to make it worse, all too many of you don’t even have courage of your own convictions. You link to someone else’s words as a proxy and hide behind that.

Do your own goddamn fighting and be direct and honest about it. And you can start by quoting me in full and in context, if you think I’ve been offensive toward women or feminism. Quote me directly. In context. Or just admit you’re wrong. For once.

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Plume 01.28.14 at 1:15 am

Lynne 196,

Fair enough, and I can agree with that, easily. And that’s a good place to leave things.

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Plume 01.28.14 at 1:22 am

Bruce Wilder 182,

Good post. The hierarchy thing. I see it as aspirational — ending it — as mentioned. I don’t think it’s something that will happen — at least not for several generations, if ever. But, as mentioned, I think it’s essential to ask for far more than you’re likely to get. Move that Overton Window. Ask for less, or worse, ask for nothing, and that’s what you’ll get.

Same applies for feminism itself. Feminists should be asking for — and many do — much more than just a defense of hard-won territory. An expansion of that is warranted, needed, required. A radical expansion, etc.

As mentioned before, from reading your posts, I don’t think we’re really that far afield on analysis of the present and our current problems. You do a very good job with that.

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The Temporary Name 01.28.14 at 1:25 am

Spammer? Oh fuck off and get over yourself.

Hmm.

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Plume 01.28.14 at 1:27 am

And last comment before I go. On that “privilege” thing. I don’t have to be “sensitive” when I discuss poverty and the underprivileged. First of all, because I know, from first hand experience, the poor couldn’t give two shits about how privileged elites show their “sensitivity” toward them. I know this first hand because I’ve been very very poor, and homeless, as mentioned. And it’s not “sensitivity” that the poor need, it’s an end to economic apartheid. They — and it used to be “we” — don’t want your patronizing thought police bullshit. We don’t want your calls for decorum and just the right language. We want action and an end to a system that allows 85 people to hold as much wealth as the bottom 3.5 BILLION.

Now put that in your sensitivity police pipe and smoke it.

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elm 01.28.14 at 2:01 am

Plume @ 206

29/210 posts

But believe it or not, you are not that interesting to me. I think you’re a spammer and shut out conversation here by overwhelming the comments section. I won’t read another of your posts or reply to you again.

And just admit that you’re a hypocrite.

Sometimes.

Or just admit you’re wrong. For once.

I’m wrong lots of times. Admitting that is not one of my weaknesses.

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roy belmont 01.28.14 at 4:32 am

Gosh Bob, I got to use the word “kierarchy” in a sentence a couple times, use it as a meditative anchor for about a day and a half, and now I no longer have unconflicted access to it.
“Hmmm. You know maybe “intersectionality” cause it’s more, uhm, mechanical, dry, inanimate or something… or maybe I’ll just make up my own word for whatever the hell that shit is.”

Both Robin Morgan and Kimberle Crenshaw have this forgivable knee-jerk condemnatory working, which is intimidating, to me, and plays off the vulnerability created by collective, or shared, or inherited, guilt, which I more or less feel.
But they’re also, forgivably, blanketing a continuum of privileged others, as seen from below.
It isn’t like that on the top, most of us know that now.
Not uniform ups for the designated superior folks.
However ““the expropriation of the discourse of collective liberation for personal aggrandizement”” is a phrase that bears thrice repeating.

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EWI 01.28.14 at 9:25 am

elm@185

Thanks for the follow-up. I confess that I’m not very familiar with Burke’s biography and history, and only marginally-familiar with his political philosophy. In the modern world, Burke! is an appeal that embarrassed reactionaries make when they want to draw attention from Nixon, et. al.

In an Irish context (of online debate/flamewars), it’s been useful to know his actual background. Like you say, he gets quoted as a patron saint of conservatism quite often, and frequently by people who are innately hostile to the Irish language and culture (that such persons tend to have degrees/passion in Anglo-Saxon, Ancient Greek and/or Latin lends pleasure to delving into some of Burke’s lesser-known biographical details).

It’s always been curious to me how much of what passes for original conservative thought derives from people from non-’traditional’ backgrounds, and consists of “pulling the ladder up behind me”. Maybe it’s just a tested and true career route, earning your breadcrumbs from the WASPy top table?

In the quote from Burke in the OP, however, I still see a man seething over privileges that he lacks while ignoring those that he possesses.

I entirely agree.

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