Idealogical rhetoric on dominant reality perceptions

Posted in Being a Feminist, Dudes, Feminism, Language, My Favorite Feminists by Dizzy on November 4, 2007

My blog has of late been inundated with critical comments from folks who think that feminism is sexist and that feminists are kinda dumb. They tell me that they’re right and I’m wrong, declare my blog a pointless waste of time, and proudly claim that I’ve proven their arguments about feminism because I don’t engage them in a healthy discussion about how brainless and robotic feminists are. Aha! They say. Gotcha!

I am obviously under no obligation to respond to the criticism levied at feminism on my blog, what with me being my own actual thinking person and not, in fact, the press secretary for the international feminist club trying to take over the world, but I have to admit to being mildly titillated by all these attacks on feminism based on what I write here.

It would be justifiable to dismiss it all as part of the feminist backlash/product of male privilege and move on, and it may very well be those things, but I also think that there’s something way off about the whole thing and I want to figure out what it is. Maybe there’s a fundamental misunderstanding at work here?

Flimsy and unsupported endlessly-regurgitated hypotheses, psycho-socio-jargon, ideological rhetoric, dominant feminist discourse, sense of intellectual superiority, lens of theory. All phrases used in critical comments about me and, directly or implicitly, all feminists.

Hmmm. It appears that my blog (and many like it) has become akin to an intro women’s studies class where a few tardy, unprepared, dialogue-dominating, self-righteous freshman boys, who are taking it in order to get what they think will be an easy A and to sharpen their debate skills, only listen to female voices in anticipation of finding a faulty theoretical argument to attack and use against them.

So first of all, what the hell is the dominant feminist discourse? Can someone point me to the Wikipedia article on this? I really have no idea what they’re talking about. Wait, now that I think of it, I’m not sure I know what most of those things mean. Ideological rhetoric? Lens of theory? Psycho-social jargon? What the fuck? None of those things mean anything to me. You wanna talk about jargon? Well that’s just about the most jargony jargon I ever heard! So who’s regurgitating what now?

Hey, I think we’re on to something here. Perhaps the Freshmen, as I will call them, think feminism is just a debate topic. An academic exercise. A set of well-defined theories, held uniformly by all of it proponents, for them to intellectually process and refute. And I’m getting the sense that they think women experience it that way too.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I experience feminism through my revulsion to popular misogyny. When I see a beer commercial about a man’s inner struggle with his hot blonde twins in bikinis fantasy versus his naggy brunette girlfriend reality, I don’t think about it, I feel it. When I watch 37 trailers to upcoming movies and don’t see a single one about a woman, I don’t immediately come up with “regurgitated” rhetoric that explains it, I feel it first. When I hear a CNN newscaster tell me about the sexual history of a rape victim, my heart beats fast and my tummy hurts.

This has nothing to do with intellectual processing, everything to do with my aversion to being instructed to hate myself and my refusal to accept that women are peripheral to the human experience. Feminist theories on gender and patriarchy have given me the ability and the language needed to put it all into perspective, but the raw, unfiltered physical reaction I have to such messages, along with the resounding ‘Fuck Yeah!’ feeling I get when someone voices a frustration that I haven’t been able to put words to – those are the things that make me a feminist.

This is why it’s hard for me to respond with any measure of understanding to the men who come at me, guns a-blazing, ready to debate feminism as if it’s a fun little academic exercise, all rife with “you’re all the same” declarations. I don’t respond well to those attacks because I don’t understand feminism or misogyny as theoretical in nature.

Misogyny is my enemy, men are not, and telling whomever will listen that it’s rampant and painful, in a time when its many manifestations are vehemently denied as being harmful, is how I’ve chosen to participate in the battle against it. Denigrating me for that is a fantastic waste of time.





15 Responses

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  1. syndicalist702 said, on November 4, 2007 at 10:13 am

    My mouth is shut. My ears are open.

    Thank you.

  2. whatsername said, on November 4, 2007 at 10:21 am



    I get the occasional Freshmen too, and you just hit the fucking nail on the head about them and why sometimes I don’t even know how to respond to them!

  3. Shira said, on November 4, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Te amo, Dizzy. You are amazing. Especially the part about the visceral reaction to misogyny – I’ve been trying to communicate that to someone in my life, that being a feminist is not some voluntary academic hobby, because my options are either be a feminist or accept the cultural messages and hate myself. Feminism is the *only thing* that tells me that I am a person, that I am valuable, that I am worth more than the sexual titillation I could provide for some man. The half of the human race that isn’t told that in the first place has no right to comment.

  4. baby221 said, on November 4, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    That’s mostly why I just delete comments like those. My blog is really more like a journal and an external thinking space than a debate floor. I don’t get why some people lobby “enjoy your echo chamber!” like it’s supposed to be some kind of insult, or as though they themselves don’t have safe spaces to retreat to when they’ve had enough of the world battering at their selves. Fuck that shit. I deal with misogyny, sexism, racism, heterosexism etc. on a daily basis; there’s no way I’m putting up with it in a space I created for myself, thankyouverymuch.

    I just don’t see why they don’t grok that. Bah.

  5. edie said, on November 5, 2007 at 1:44 am

    Erm, uh, Fuck Yeah!

  6. Carol said, on November 5, 2007 at 6:12 am

    Denigrating you in that fashion actually proves that they are misogynists. So, basically, they, in a back-assward kind of way, proved your point! Bet they didn’t count ont hat….

  7. SarahMC said, on November 6, 2007 at 8:19 am

    You are so right. And Shira, this is just perfect: Feminism is the *only thing* that tells me that I am a person, that I am valuable, that I am worth more than the sexual titillation I could provide for some man.

    Feminism isn’t just a course topic. It’s the filter through which I view my own life and the world around me. Once your eyes are opened you can never go back. Misogyny is like smog. Some people actively pump it into the atmosphere. Lots of people refuse to believe that the air can ever be clean. Smog is just “the way things are.” But to the rest of us, it’s poisonous and stifling.

  8. jeffliveshere said, on November 6, 2007 at 9:03 am

    I appreciate so much this post, because I’m only starting to get Freshmen filtering into my blog, and have been struggling with different ways in which to deal with it. I’ll add something to the conception of the Freshmen: It seems like many of them have just taken a Critical Thinking class, so they often believe they have a hold on the world because they know what ‘fallacy’ means. Having taught critical thinking as a teacher’s assistant, the lines of reasoning (such as they are) are so….very…familiar.

    Thanks for letting me vent, and thanks for doing some good venting for us all.

  9. bookblob said, on November 9, 2007 at 10:53 am

    It’s a tricky one because sometimes you start to think, if you could at least explain your ideas to one of these random commenters…but that way lies frustration and futility! I agree with jeffliveshere that the articulate ones are the worst because they think they can beat you down with logic. But the end result is the same as the neanderthals: they want to make you think you are worthless and stupid. I’m not sure what the plan is once you feel worthless and stupid – get their address and go round to cook dinner? Fuckers!

  10. sigh said, on November 11, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Yeah, and I’ll bet the anti-feminists will be here soon, telling you how your feelings about misogyny just prove that feminism is not a viable lens for analysis. You know, feelings make analysis impossible. As if they aren’t responding to their feelings of fear when you question their privilege. Bah.

    Thanks for fighting the good fight.

  11. Idetrorce said, on December 15, 2007 at 7:11 am

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  12. Jessica said, on February 21, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    This was written awhile ago but I’d like to post and say thank you for writing it all the same. This subject has been aggravating me as of late and you managed to describe exactly how I feel when I encounter sexism and misogyny (and misandry, too) in the popular media and even in my own household, around my friends, etc. I’m just glad I’m not alone in picking up on those things and feeling sick.

    Also, good on you for pointing out that feminism isn’t just theory, it plays an important role and exists to be applied as an active force in our own lives, not just reflected and debated upon abstractly as a fun little “academic exercise,” as you have mentioned.

  13. sandrar said, on September 10, 2009 at 6:27 am

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  14. Some random Mrs. said, on February 3, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Nice blog. I stumbled across it while trying to find pictures of white trash guys holding beer and trying to look cool…. Don’t feel bad if the idiotatrocities don’t understand. Sometimes, you just can’t fix stupid. I hope you continue to kill buzzes everywhere 🙂

    • Dizzy said, on April 1, 2011 at 9:28 pm

      I believe that is the best comment ever left on this blog. Thank you.

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