Tuesday, April 03, 2007

And Twisty misses the point yet again.
I haven’t read I Blame The Patriarchy since the blow job and trans hate-fest debacles, but Octogalore brought a certain thread to my attention that some of you may have missed. Now normally I advise avoiding IBTP on general “WTF is wrong with these people?” principles, but in this particular case the level of shark-jumping, mind-boggling bullshit is so high that I couldn’t resist mentioning it.
So apparently Helen Mirren is a whore. Why, you ask? Because she was featured in an article in Architectural Digest in which she posed on her bed (you know, so that we could see her bedroom, since it is after all an architecture magazine) wearing a ballgown. That slut! Seriously, nothing says “shameless hussy” to me like a ballgown.
Hang on a minute. A ballgown? I’ve worn one on multiple occasions, and let’s just say they’re not the sexiest garments ever made as a whole. When I think ballgown I tend to think “dowager duchess” rather than “Girls Gone Wild”.
But women are the sex class after all, therefore every clothing choice we make must imply something about our sexuality, right? Right?
Except no. What a ballgown signifies has nothing to do with sex…it’s about class. Specifically, it says that the wearer has enough disposable income to waste some on a completely impractical garment that one only has occasion to wear if one frequently attends upper crust functions.
Mirren is most definitely in that demographic. She’s wealthy and has been for a while, she’s successful, and she’s a Brit. If one is a wealthy and prominent person who lives in the UK one is frequently invited to the kind of events where a ballgown is required.
But since when does wearing a ballgown and sitting on one’s bed in one’s well decorated room imply submissive sexbot availability? The ACTUAL subtext is as follows – I am rich, I am a member of the establishment, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. You think that your plebian ass has a chance at getting into this bed, or even this house? Surely you jest.
Now I personally have no particular issue with any of that. Mirren is a great actress and she’s earned her success. From a feminist point of view she’s actually one of the better actresses out there – have these idiots never seen Cracker? Or was that show unacceptable too since she joined the patriarchal police force rather than setting up a lesbian commune and producing organic hemp?
As feminists we really need to cut other women a bit more slack. The urge to tear down successful women? To mock their choices, to make snide assertions about them, to imply judgement about their sex lives based on what they’re wearing? Not a good urge. Not feminist, not helpful to women overall.
This isn’t feminism, it’s sniping. And it needs to stop.
Also, how very Twisty to not even mention the class implications. Twisty and I are from the same social strata – I KNOW that she knows what a ballgown signifies. It’s a class marker, and one that someone with Twisty’s background cannot fail to notice.
But then discussing class fucks with the program, right? If we were to talk about class we might have to admit that things aren’t simple, that poor women have often been marginalized and ignored in feminist theory, that the rich white women are still talking over everyone else. And then, by God, we might have to talk about race. Can’t have that in Twisty-land.
So nope, Mirren posing in Architectural Digest is all about her being a sexbot and demonstrating willingness to fellate the patriarchy. (And note that this is Architectural Digest, not exactly knows for it’s hardcore porn. It’s not Penthouse, people) Class and race do not exist. Nothing exists apart from the fact that women are the Sex Class.
Must be nice to live in a world that simple, even if it only exists in your own imagination.

IBTP post is here

Gaze discussion still ongoing, BTW.


Crankshaft said...

Oh dear.

I read the original post.

I wonder why they don't find all this moral policing tiresome. I've had it with men dictating terms to women and I'd have thought other women would share my sentiment.

But noooooo.

They pick up the same obnoxious behaviour and run to town with it.

It's utterly disgusting.

Cassandra Says said...

A real gem, isn't she?
But you see it's different when she does it. She's doing it for our own good!
Because there's nothing more feminist than calling another woman a whore.

FoolishOwl said...

Twisty is such a tool.

(I have officially declared "tool" my favorite pejorative, with the understanding that by it I mean that one is a willing tool of the powers-that-be.)

Zan said...

Actually, I should point out a little something. She's not just wearing a ballgown. She's wearing a ball gown plus a mask, on the cover of an edition that specifically lists her location as New Orleans. This says to me, native Louisianaian that I am, 'Oh, she's dressed for Mardi Gras.' So, not only is she NOT a whore in a ball gown tricking for the Patriarchy, she's actually wearing a freaking costume that oh, about a billion other people also wear in my state for a designated day or two every damn year.

Granted, she's dressed to go to a Mardi Gras ball as opposed to a street party like the rest of us plebs, but she's clearly wearing a costume. And, as an actress, isn't that what she does? And isn't the cover of a magazine just another 'acting' job? So what the hell is it supposed to say about her as a person?

And she's completely dressed! For fuck's sake, what's wrong with these people?? (And frankly, for Mardi Gras, she's way overdressed.)

Trinity said...

Twisty is completely crazy. sometimes I suspect that she created a persona so she could bitch about anything she wanted to, forgot to turn it off, and when completely batshit bonkers in the process.

jokerine said...


I think your right. But even as feminists we need to lay off of the persona cult. Positively and negatively. What is posted at IBTP is just one (imaginary)persons opinion piece. I dont take it more seriously than that. Also I find all the Twisty glorifieers funny. "No we will not worship Old-white-dude-deity anymore, but Twisty I fall on my knees before you. gab.gab. ..."

I hope I make myself clear. My english circuits are a but off today.


Renegade Evolution said...

hehehe should I post my almost nekkid on a bearskin rug photo in protest?

Gem is the right word...ahem.

Trinity said...

ren: yes.

belledame222 said...

god, TF is boring. i won't go over there again; i always feel like i've been strapped into some sort of quasi-radical-feminist version of the "It's a Small World" ride. anyway i've laid into her enough times that at this point adding anything would be anticlimactic, and i do so hate that.

belledame222 said...

anyway, it is nice to learn that she's decided to skip over all the coy "sexbot" foreplay and go straight for the "whore." anything to spike the ol' numbers, eh Twist?

Cassandra Says said...

Zan - I didn't even pay attention to the fact that it was the NO edition...yep. No one ever dresses up for that, right?
Jokerine - The Twisty sing-along chorus is kind of funny sometimes. In fact I used to wonder if she posted those herself.
Belle - Is is just me or do you have the feeling that this is actually the word she wanted to use all along?
Of course she backed off in the comments and babb;ed about how she meant that Mirren was made into a whore...because putting it in the passive voice makes everything OK again!
Actually in her worldview it probably does make it more OK, sad to say.

Renegade Evolution said...

WHORE! There, I said it. SUch things formal gowns do not make. People...good source of protein!

Octogalore said...

The whole "my mom wears makeup and Manolos and even she's lost respect for Mirren" is pathetically unconvincing. So suddenly women who sport "femininity" ARE worthy of being listened to? Oh, it's only when we're calling another woman a whore, or underserving of respect? What about women who sport "femininity" who say she's NOT a whore -- well in that case, they're biased, because they're whores too, don't listen to them!

Cassandra Says said...

But Ren, don't you get it, it's all about the clothes! Although I thought long skirts were OK...
Octo - "feminine" women are OK as long as they agree with us about everything and, you know, apologise for looking conventionally feminine a few times an hour. Because once again, it's all about how we look. Not what we think, not how we act - how we look.
Men on the other hand...it's all about what they actually say and do. Who cares what they look like, silly, they're men!

belledame222 said...

"I'm going to call you a whore, but I'm only a proxy for the men who're REALLY doing it. Don't shoot the messenger! Whore."

belledame222 said...

and well, if'n yer MOM lost respect.

isn't her mother some kind of stiff-upper-lip Republican? remind me why her Manolo-wearing ass is any kind of authority on this subject? p.s. don't worry, toots, you're NOTHING LIKE YOUR PARENTS. NO. you REBEL, you.

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
belledame222 said...

CS: feminine looking women are okay if they're TF's moms; just like patriarchal Republican "captains of inudstry" are okay if they're her pops. i don't know why you don't understand this yet.

Cassandra Says said...

OK, so, I wear make-up and Manolos (which you will have to pry from my cold dead fingers if you want me to give them up, BTW). And I like Mirren.
But then I'm not Twisty's mother so I guess my opinion doesn't count.
The whole idea of invoking your parents as the barometer of what's OK is a little odd for a woman who's, what, in her forties?

Octogalore said...

It's very easy to toe the radfem line if you don't have anything at stake. Like being attractive to men or to women who like feminine women. Or like having to make a buck or two via capitalism because you don't have a "sit on your ass and have fancy lunches while penning witty diatribes against women who don't have trust funds" trust fund.

Cassandra Says said...

Octo - I said the same thing about the blowjob debacle. It's really easy to say "feminists should not do X" if X is something so far removed from your own experience it's basically irrelevant to you.
And once again...nothing more feminist than having Daddy pay your way.

Crankshaft said...

..remind me why her Manolo-wearing ass is any kind of authority on this subject?

You beat me to it, belledame!! I was SO tempted to ask why she'd think we care what her mom thinks.

Andrea said...

Belle, you left out that her patriarchal, Republican 'captain of industry' pops supports abortion for the radical reason that single mothers produce criminal offspring, remember! That proves her creds!

belledame222 said...

yeah, but i'm only "calling out her feminist creds" (unfairly and "snivelling") 'cause she loves her father, you know. unlike the rest of us, who were raised by capri-wearing fembot wolves...

Cassandra Says said...

Belle - I'm pretty sure that the reason she responded to you the way she did was class, specifically that she assumes yours is "working". Which is one of the reasons I feel free to critique - hey, my pops is a "captain of industry" too and I love him very much, but in what way exactly does that give me (or her) a right to be a gigantic jackass and sneer at anyone raised without a silver spoon over the fact that they may have some difficult choices to make?

piny said...

Wait. Is she arguing that a woman's tendency to wear clothes like that is inversely proportional to her tendency to slut-bash other women for wearing clothes like that?

Cassandra Says said...

Piny - It's always rather difficult to tell what she's arguing given how often she backpedals later on, as she did in this case.

belledame222 said...

Belle - I'm pretty sure that the reason she responded to you the way she did was class, specifically that she assumes yours is "working".

oh, cute!

well, insofar as/when i'm needing to work for someone else during my lifetime, technically i suppose that would make me working class, even if i've been significantly aided by familial doings in the "investor"/owner side of things. and i suppose you could call one of my gramps a captain of industry, although i don't know if the garment industry has "captains" per se. anyway: owners of capital, sure, at some level. leisurely, yes. hell, i'm sure that's one of the reasons i was attracted to her blog in the first place: oh look, she's witty, she's urbane, she likes good food, she's amusingly ironic...yeah, those things. familiar, those things.

but yeah, it's a sign of something or other that i didn't take that one that personally. if i HAD had a much harder time on the socioeconomic ladder (if i'd, for example, spent my life performing those cute waiter tricks she seems to think are her and her fathers' due, instead of spending more time on the other side of the table, often in the company of similarly entitled relatives, much as i love 'em, -wince-), boy o boy...

i mean, she's whining that someone's calling out her feminist creds (which technically i wasn't doing, actually, at least not for that reason; i was basically saying she's just utterly full of shit, all around, based on her online shenanigans and the sheer mean smug hypocrisy of it all) because--what was it now? that's right: she was born to the "wrong" class.

oh Mary. everyone should have such problems, right? and i, the supposed blue-collar Betty, was "snivelling." apparently--unlike her whore-baiting and practically DEMANDING that other women stop "making us all look bad" by pulling out the stiletto heels and the lippy--suggesting (from whatever perspective) that she might want to -examine- the rather large and gilded beam stickin' out her jaundiced eyeball at some point--well that's just not cricket, is it?

seriously, how can anyone so smart be so stupid?

belledame222 said...

...and this, in short, is why i don't call myself a radical anything. because even assuming i did aspire to such a thing (and i'm not at all sure that i do), frankly: you put your money where your mouth is. Spouting self-serving crap on the Internets does -not- a radical anything make, except maybe a radical asshole.

and: while in general i'm less and less enamored of the hairshirt quality the "examine your privilege/baggage/whatever" stuff often takes on the American Left, i'm way WAY less impressed with someone who's all too happy to try to force someone -else- into the hairshirt while not even acknowledging she's rather snug and comfy herself, on the whole.

at this point i'm largely forgiving of pretty much anything except what looks to me like willful unconsciousness in the service of gratuitous hatefulness, even or especially all dressed up as it often is in virtuous sounding terms.

Cassandra Says said...

I'm assuming that she thought you were working class based on her reaction, but we should probably remember that we can't read her mind. Fairness and all.
If I really had been raised poor, on the other hand, I'd probably want to strangle her by now. The sheer stench of unconcious privilege that comes off of that blog is astonishing.

Cassandra Says said...

"seriously, how can anyone so smart be so stupid? "
Privilege. Someone should really make a class version of the male privilege checklist.
"You know you're a spoiled, clueless rich kid when..."

belledame222 said...

well and there is also this:

how much of the slut-baiting is "feminism" and how much is channeling dear ol' pearl-clutching Republican Moms?

and consider the multiple connotations of "cheap."

Zan said...

As someone who was raised poor (granted, it was a particular Southern genteel poverty where we weren't really "poor" because we grew our own food and made our own clothing, just like our ancestors did oh so many years ago, so really we were just preserving tradition, you see.) I kinda wanna shake people who get snarky with the working class. That waitress who you're pissed at because she hasn't filled your oh, 3/4 full glass already? Well, she's probably working another job when she gets off to pay her way through college or to put her kids in day care or to help her parents pay the rent or to just put fucking food on the table so no one in her house goes to be hungry so why the fuck don't you give her a break already? Or, better yet, why don't you trade places with her for a week? Just one week. You take over her life, her finances, her problems and she'll take over your life, your finances and your problems. I'll bet you'd think differently when you were done.

Ahem. Sorry, I have no patience for spoiled rich kids who just won't grow the fuck up.

belledame222 said...

"bring on the floor show, Pops deserves it."

i try not to blow up at say customer service reps these days. i don't always succeed. i readily admit that this is primarily because i am 1) frustrated at not being able to get THROUGH to anyone 2) impatient 3) being an entitled asshole, all things considered.

belledame222 said...

her ode to "taste" as the one thing that separated humans from the lesser beings was quite a piece of work, too. a lot more John Ruskin than Dworkin, that...