Creative Destruction

January 5, 2007

Just Another Feminist Blog?

Filed under: Blogosphere,Feminist Issues — Brutus @ 2:44 pm

It’s been not quite a year since this blog has been up and running. The initiator, Adam Gurri, has since gone missing, Bazzer has fallen silent, and we’ve added a few folks and discussed adding others. I was especially interested in joining and adding my voice to the din as the original concept was that no idea was safe from examination (the blurb disappeared under the title banner). That throws the door open to everything, and participation in respectful discussions among folks of diverse views intrigues me, not that I ever expect anyone to be convinced of anything.

So this modest little exchange got me thinking:

Me (Brutus): What if all the overreacting to perceived threat has SAVED JUST ONE LIFE? Was it worth it?

Daran, in response: If you really think that, then you should eat your own dogfood.

I’ve witnessed for some time now how quickly some participants cave, and I guess in this particular case, Daran has only a coarse retort when someone like me is a little arch. The other thing I’ve noticed, notwithstanding a focus on politics surrounding the midterm election last fall and subsequent abandonment of politics as significant discussion fodder, is that many, even most, of the posts are about feminism or male advocacy. According to the stats page, these are yesterday’s tops posts by number of views:

Kansas Court Throws Out Charges Against

59
“I Am Man” Burger King Commercial 28
Tools of the Patriarchy 26
A Vocabulary for Feminist Criticism 23
Is This Image Anti-Semitic? 18
American Soldiers Arrested For Rape/Exec 17
Again With The Insanity 15
Sexism Among Comic Book Geeks: “The Rape 12
In Defense Of No-Fault Divorce 10
Affirmative Action Doesn’t Increase Mino 9

Except for the stray BK commercial post, they’re all about identity politics, or at least they turned into that in the course of the comments. Certainly the bloggers who post to Creative Destruction and the commenters (who are dominantly the same bloggers) are free to discuss whatever they wish, especially in the context of some open threads that have been offered, but is Creative Destruction becoming just another feminist blog, because that’s what dominates the minds of most of the participants?

Someone will no doubt observe that my comment (not even a complaint, really) could be sour grapes because my own posts get so little traction. That may be partially true, but I have my own blog (which is being mostly ignored for failure to attract interest), so I’ve got my own platform there. And besides, I’m the sole blogger there, whereas here the idea (for me at least) is to add my unique voice and perspective to a sort of roundtable discussion.

About identity politics in general, I don’t go very far into any of the discussion. Like deconstructionism, it gets very tedious defining and redefining terms of art and seeking definitions that cover all possible scenarios (which they never do). When does consent end and rape begin? Which carelessly used term reveals an author’s true if unwitting sexism, racisim, ageism, etc.? The answers to those sorts of questions and the ensuing discussion quickly become maddeningly pointless. It’s not unlike this ridiculous pomo discourse:

We can clearly see that there is no bi-univocal correspondence between linear signifiying links or archi-writing, depending on the author, and this multi-referential, multi-dimensional machinic catalysis. The symmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursive character of their expansion: all these dimensions remove us from the logic of the excluded middle and reinforce us in our dismissal of the ontological binarism we criticised previously.

Even if I provided a context for that quote, it is still, in the end, utterly meaningless. Or another example, perhaps worse:

The privileging of solid over fluid mechanics, and indeed the inability of science to deal with turbulent flow at all, [is] attribute[d] to the association of fluidity with femininity. Whereas men have sex organs that protrude and become rigid, women have openings that leak menstrual blood and vaginal fluids … From this perspective it is no wonder that science has not been able to arrive at a successful model for turbulence. The problem of turbulent flow cannot be solved because the conceptions of fluids (and of women) have been formulated so as necessarily to leave unarticulated remainders.

Aye, that’s the rub. Solid mechanics is a tool of the patriarchy. We must voice our support of oppressed fluid mechanics.

Update: I was wrong. The post about the BK commercial is about feminism, too.

18 Comments »

  1. I must accept my fair share of the blame for participating on most, if not all, of those threads and thereby contributing to feminist “slant.” Perhaps the reason those threads are so popular is because of their topics. Few people agree with the positions presented on those threads and the ensuing responses create more interest by a) keeping the thread viewable in the recent comments section, b) increasing the post cost and c) effectively pissing off the right people.

    Comment by toysoldier — January 5, 2007 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

  2. You wrote on Alas:
    My oldest daughter is 9 and is beginning to develop physically – and she is NOT mentally or emotionally ready for it.

    There are a couple of books that I would recommend. Check them all out from the library / inter-library loan, flip through them, and give your daughter the lessons earlier, perhaps, than most girls would need them.

    The coolest one I’ve read so far is Respect. The funny thing is that my boyfriend bought it for me to peruse before I read about it on Packaging Girlhood’s blog, and I put it away on the shelf, only to find that I later wanted to read it and already owned it. Lucky me! I felt like the advice was very well balanced among many different ideas about how to live as a teenager that I’ve heard, as well as very clear (instead of that stupid “Let’s tell a story about the kids in the Treehouse Club!” elementary school counselor baloney that no one can grok).

    As far as the stuff on sex & body, well, sex wasn’t an issue because I was unpopular with boys for so long (due to being simply unpopular, period, to the point of being nearly untouchable) that I was old enough to be used to life on my own terms by the time I even had my first kiss and by the time I started dating. Body–I was a female doctor’s daughter, and I grew up in a household where people walked around naked if it was laundry day starting at 11 years old (we were all women, since my parents had divorced). So I would have rolled my eyes at a book like this, thinking, “Is this really how people interact?” not having any personal experiences to relate to, but now that I’m older and have heard my more popular sister’s stories, I read the book and think, “Wow, I think this book would really reach out to you on the sex & body stuff if you read it and then 2 years later experience something almost just like it predicted. And it’s so much more likely to predict something than ‘Kate Wasn’t Let Into The Treehouse Club’ pamphlets.”

    (The only sexual bit I have an issue with is where they said that girls/women shouldn’t be told only about the negatives of sex, but that they should be told the positives, too, so they won’t learn to accept negative sex under peer pressure and think that that’s all sex is, but then a page or few later, they give a huge list of reasons not to have sex and don’t mention agency, positives, etc. So you or someone else will have to take their advice not to mention the positives and fill in that bit yourselves.)

    Another book, probably more for you right now, but which if she’s at all a geek, she’ll love when she’s got a little better reading comprehension skills, is Packaging Girhood. I haven’t read it, because I haven’t found it yet, but the blog writers are some of the best feminist critiquers I’ve ever seen. They only criticize things to the extent that they deserve them, they warn against easy ways to misinterpret their critique and take it too far when it seems necessary, and they’re always suggesting positive replacements for what they consider societal faults (isn’t it annoying when people don’t?)

    I thought I had more, but actually, that’s all for now. Anyway, yeah, books you might have passed by as “fluff” but which definitely aren’t. They’re right smack in the middle of where they need to be to reach out to more than just commonly-presumed “women’s interests.”

    For example, in Respect, one of the stories is about what a Muslim teenager does to make herself as powerful an agent as possible, but what she wants to do with her agency is completely unrelated to being a woman. It has to do with organizing charity projects or something. I forget exactly what. And then other stories show how various teenagers whose main projects for the moment are gender-obstacle-specific use the exact same concepts to get what they want.

    So though these books will almost certainly have the side effect of helping your daughter do what she perceives as best for her in response to early sexualization of her body, they’re also books that don’t overemphasize that as one of the only, or even the most important, perceived-as-best-for-her things that a female human being would want to do.

    Comment by Katie — January 5, 2007 @ 7:04 pm | Reply

  3. Oh, crud! Wrong author, perhaps! Well, please pass this on to Robert.

    Comment by Katie — January 5, 2007 @ 7:05 pm | Reply

  4. I’ve witnessed for some time now how quickly some participants cave, and I guess in this particular case, Daran has only a coarse retort when someone like me is a little arch.

    I’m sorry if I was coarse, but I think the “if it saves one life” discourse is so trite that it’s not worth rebutting. We deserve better, and you’re capable of better. If you really want to debate it, they you could have come back with “I do. Tell me why I’m wrong to”. But since you didn’t, I guess the argument no more convinces you than it does me.

    With regard to feminism, All my posts on the subject go to my own blog, and only some of them here. I’d much prefer it if the debate would go to my blog, but this is where the audience is.

    I tell you what. As an experiment I will disallow comments here on my next few posts, and direct discussion to my own blog.

    Comment by Daran — January 5, 2007 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

  5. As far as the stuff on sex & body, well, sex wasn’t an issue because I was unpopular with boys for so long (due to being simply unpopular, period, to the point of being nearly untouchable) that I was old enough to be used to life on my own terms by the time I even had my first kiss and by the time I started dating.

    As a matter of interest, why do you think that was? I’ve been untouchable most of my life, and I tend to think of it as a problem boys have rather than girls.

    This is probably hijacking the thread, but you would be welcome to reply anywhere on my blog.

    Comment by Daran — January 5, 2007 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

  6. Anyway, it’s not just another feminist blog. It’s the only feminist blog having a gray penis with eyes and a mouth for a logo.

    Comment by Daran — January 5, 2007 @ 8:58 pm | Reply

  7. We should name him.

    Comment by Robert — January 5, 2007 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

  8. As a matter of interest, why do you think that was?

    Hard to say. My own darned fault and stigma. My own fault decreased as I got older and finally got better at interacting with people, hiding my nosepicking from public view, interrupting less, reading what other people were interested in more as I spoke, etc. The stigma therefore became a proportionately more important explaining factor. Then again, I transferred schools to get away from my old social scene, and though I was happy with friends for at least a year of the 2 I was there, no one of the opposite sex tried to court me…but by then, I might have just been projecting to the world that I was used to the way people viewed me and might have seemed like I didn’t want any beyond-friendship attention.

    Comment by Katie — January 5, 2007 @ 9:37 pm | Reply

  9. We should name him.

    Dickhead the Tortoise

    Comment by Daran — January 5, 2007 @ 9:53 pm | Reply

  10. Hard to say. My own darned fault and stigma. My own fault decreased as I got older and finally got better at interacting with people, hiding my nosepicking from public view, interrupting less, reading what other people were interested in more as I spoke, etc. The stigma therefore became a proportionately more important explaining factor. Then again, I transferred schools to get away from my old social scene, and though I was happy with friends for at least a year of the 2 I was there, no one of the opposite sex tried to court me…but by then, I might have just been projecting to the world that I was used to the way people viewed me and might have seemed like I didn’t want any beyond-friendship attention.

    Again, pardon my nosiness, but how old were you? And how good-looking do you think you were/are?

    I think good looks will get you attention. If you don’t have them, then you have to get attention some other way. I remember when I first realised that I was rather ugly, when I sat for a portrait in art class at college. I’d never given any thought to how I looked until I saw their efforts, and no, it wasn’t because they were crap. But there are plenty of people who to my judgement are worse looking than I, who do OK.

    I’ve tried to approach women I fancied a handful of times in my life, but I had to be absolutely fizzing over them (not just sexually, but that too. By fizzing I mean that head-over-heels dizzy feeling). Of course, I was totally gauche about it. I didn’t have a clue. And the inevitable rebuff, however delicate, was crushing.

    The first woman I ever dated, I more or less collided with, after a disastrous eruption, entirely my fault, that left another woman hurt and sent me reeling. I was twenty one. Since I left her seven years later, I’ve dated another two, both of whom approached me. I’m forty two, alone, and I’ve dated just three women in my life.

    Comment by Daran — January 5, 2007 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

  11. Daran wrote:

    I’m sorry if I was coarse, but I think the “if it saves one life” discourse is so trite that it’s not worth rebutting. We deserve better, and you’re capable of better. If you really want to debate it, they you could have come back with “I do. Tell me why I’m wrong to”. But since you didn’t, I guess the argument no more convinces you than it does me.

    OK, then. I do eat my own dogfood. Tell my why I’m wrong to.

    Oh, that’s not what you meant. My questions were in response to another post and have long since been overwhelmed by voluminous picking of nits, but my point in asking a series of questions rather than making arguments was to expose your assumptions. I was being arch, and I think you missed the point. The “if it saves even one life” line is indeed trite, and your second remark above that it’s not worth rebutting in more on point though perhaps less funny than the dogfood snark.

    Also, somebody has to admit that stuff about solid and fluid mechanics is pretty funny.

    Comment by Brutus — January 5, 2007 @ 11:14 pm | Reply

  12. [de-hijack]

    Hey, I do my best to inject some non-feminist-related topics around here. Snarking away at the big boys of Blogville Elementary, political commentary, truly geek-filled ZOMG moments… Hell, even a thread about football.

    Ain’t my fault.

    [/de-hijack]

    Comment by Off Colfax — January 6, 2007 @ 2:16 am | Reply

  13. Oh. Second correction. Again With The Insanity hasn’t devolved into an identity-politics discussion yet.

    Comment by Off Colfax — January 6, 2007 @ 2:18 am | Reply

  14. Oh, that’s not what you meant. My questions were in response to another post and have long since been overwhelmed by voluminous picking of nits, but my point in asking a series of questions rather than making arguments was to expose your assumptions. I was being arch, and I think you missed the point. The “if it saves even one life” line is indeed trite, and your second remark above that it’s not worth rebutting in more on point though perhaps less funny than the dogfood snark.

    The first two questions (basically the same question) were worthwhile, and resulted in a deeper treatment of the subject from me, so I guess they achieved their purpose. But I’ll also admit that I haven’t researched the topic of street violence to the depth I have some other subjects. But I have researched it. When I say men suffer more street violence than women, I am not merely regurgitating what other bloggers have said.

    Similarly, when I said that many more female intimates were murdered than male intimates, and David challenged, I didn’t go off and research it, I went to the folder where I already had the bookmarks linked from when I researched it several months ago. (I am really dreadful about not bookmarking links, but in this case I had.) Here’s the third (pdf) link in that folder, which I eventually came up with, because even after finding the first two, I wasn’t satisfied that I knew who was murdering whom. All three sources conflict in their base numbers, for reasons I was not able to figure out. The discrepancies are small between the two government sources, but the third suggests that the rate of female intimate murder is actually significantly lower than the Government figures. However the basic claim, that female intimates are murdered much more often than male intimates, is confirmed by all three sources.

    I do a hell of a lot of research that never sees the light of blog.

    Your third question was worthless. You admit that. You also admit that my snarky response was funnier than if I had said “That’s a worthless question”. So why take me to task for it?

    Also, somebody has to admit that stuff about solid and fluid mechanics is pretty funny.

    The correct response is, “Cite?”

    Comment by Daran — January 6, 2007 @ 10:13 am | Reply

  15. The part about fluid dynamics is wrong. There are lots of ways to deal with the fluid dynamics of turbulence. It’s more difficult because the equations are non-linear approximations but CAE is the most effective.

    Comment by Joe — January 8, 2007 @ 11:41 am | Reply

  16. I’ve been untouchable most of my life, and I tend to think of it as a problem boys have rather than girls.

    (Insert hysterical laughter). No. This is not a problem exclusive to boys. I couldn’t give you any statistics on risk for boys versus girls, but can provide anecdotal evidence that girls get the same sort of crap at least some of the time. My impression, if asked, would have been that girls get it more because there are more niches for boys–ie a boy nerd is an acceptable thing to be, a girl nerd, not so much so. But that impression could be completely wrong.

    I remember when I first realised that I was rather ugly,

    I have no idea what you look like, but would respectfully suggest that you may be underestimating your attractiveness.

    Comment by Dianne — January 9, 2007 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

  17. […] Critics. In order to shamelessly promote my new blogavoid turning Creative Destruction into just another feminist blog comments are closed there. Comments are open at Feminist […]

    Pingback by Feminist Critics — January 31, 2007 @ 9:04 am | Reply

  18. Hello,

    I have created a pro-men website and was wondering if you would consider listing it as an external link on your site. I will be happy to add a reciprocal link back to your site in return. Thankyou for your consideration.

    http://www.genderwar.org

    Comment by Webmaster — May 25, 2007 @ 1:06 pm | Reply


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