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That’s Gloria Steinem, apparently protesting US Imperialism and women’s oppression in Iran. Photograph, apparently not recent.

In further violation of my usual obsessive focus on my own daily problems, I feel that I must once again rant about events taking place in the world outside my own tiny universe.

Much blogspace has already been spent criticizing feminist icon Gloria Steinem for her recent oped in the New York Times which made the argument, after Obama’s Iowa victory, that Clinton lost because “gender is probably the most restricting force in American life.” No more needs to be said about the article’s bizarre leade in which Steinem argues that because a fictitious Black woman (Carol Moseley Braun? Shirley Chisholm?) would have a harder time being elected to the presidency than Obama, that this somehow tells us something about whether Clinton’s gender is more of a political problem for her than Obama’s race is for him. I’ll leave such thoughtful, non-violent, reactions to the commentators linked above, and in the capable hands of a Princeton professor below.

In response to the controversy surrounding the piece, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! hosted an on-air debate between Steinem and Melissa Harris-Lacewell. Harris-Lacewell is a professor of politics and African-American studies at a fancy Ivy-league school, and Steinem, as you know is a founder of Ms. Magazine. Go listen to it.

Frankly, I’m surprised Harris-Lacewell didn’t punch Gloria Steinem in the face. I wanted to. I would have, I wasn’t decidedly too distant from the “firehouse studio” to make it down there before my rage subsided into persistent heartburn.

Because, at first, when you listen to this debate, you feel sorry for Gloria. Because, it seems, she kind of just doesn’t really get what she is being criticized for. Kind of like how your old, sweet grandma doesn’t understand it when you tell her you never want to have children or that you actually prefer red wine when it is not stored in the fridge between pours.

But then you realize. Gloria Steinem has been doing politics for nearly four decades. She wrote her op-ed with a political strategy in mind for the Democratic primary. She has probably met all of the authors of your favorite books on feminism, and all your historical heroes who fought to link women’s oppression to the greater project of human liberation, and probably all at the same party. A party at which she probably told them they are all completely ungrateful and wrong, and then returned to calmly sipping Chardonnay.

You imagine this and then you realize, Gloria Steinem is not stupid. And yet she seems to be stupid. You think; Gloria Steinem is not stupid, she is merely pretending to be stupid.

Gloria Steinem. Is Pretending. To Be Stupid.

Gloria Steinem is pretending to be stupid.

And then you want to punch her.

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I already hate 2008

January 11, 2008

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Please, Dudes. Don’t make me identify with Hillary. Or–God!–feel sorry for her. She’s been responsible for the death and rape of more people than your average Dude could hope to catcall in a single life time. And you think the problem with her is that she’s a bitch?
Fuck you.

Weapons of the Weak: Gossip

January 11, 2008

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Why don’t I just hit myself over the head with it, instead?
It would be easier, and cuter.

 

Bruno, as it turns out, and as those who’ve been around a few more bends than I likely anticipated, deserves another follow-up.

In fact, a lot has happened while the Wolf has been away from blogging, but I looked this site up and decided it might be worth doing again, even when writing some of these posts makes me slightly ill all over again.

Apparently, I was too hasty in not de-Dudifying my little island. And I was too hasty in assuming that an apology and an admission of wrongdoing was as good as a cease-and-desist decree.

But despite my naivite, I did do one thing right; I gossiped.

I’m going to say this once, people and don’t make me say this again: Gossip, shit-talking, bitchiness, and even the hated cock-blocking, these tactics are your friends. Anybody who tells you otherwise is an ass-hat, or at least guilty of protecting Dudes and injuring the women with whom said Dudes may interact.

I told everybody about Bruno. Did I think it might embarrass him? Yes. Did I care? No. Did I do it even after we made up? You bet.

It was the right move. What I learned in the process is that Bruno has a history of magical Dudeification with other young women. More, I won’t spell out here, but suffice it to say, I got off relatively easy.

I talked to Bruno about each instance as I learned of them. He was sad. He was sorry. He disagreed with some of the renditions. I educated. I castigated. I cajoled and sympathized. I figured now that he knew we all knew, it would really be over.

But then, it happened again–this time involving unwanted restraint and kissing of two much younger women, women who probably looked up to this Dude as an impressive activist. Two young women IN ONE EVENING.

When I found out, I felt like an utter fucking fool. My own misogynist logic became profoundly clear; I had been acting as if I believed that he didn’t mean to do it, despite loads of evidence to the contrary.

But fortunately, I wasn’t alone with my self-hating assumptions. These young women women weren’t only young, they were smart and put the power of shittalk on their side. They told–thats how I found out. Luckily, they told someone with whom I’d already discussed Bruno’s Were-Dude tendencies and my experience.

Thanks to gossip, Bruno could no longer operate one (or two, I suppose) molestation and apology at time. Instead we–all the women (that I know of) who had been made to feel subhuman and threatened by Bruno’s hateful behavior–confronted him. And because we are loving, forgiving souls, we still didn’t throw his stupid ass off the island.

I know. Nice, right?

Instead we asked him to 1) refrain from drinking on social situations involving our crew 2) stop hitting on people he meets through politics 3) read some shit already, and learn.

Perhaps, I’m just hopefully waiting to get hit over the head once more, but this feels like progress.