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Male Lies

October 21, 2009

Most women buy into the lie that, in return for compliance with male beauty standards, they will earn male approval.  When a woman complies and is instead vilified, it’s not really any concern of mine.  You see, any woman who complies with male demands in the expectation that males will reward her for it does so at the expense of women who do not comply – whether because they have no interest in complicity, they can’t afford to comply, or they are simply not capable of bringing themselves within male standards regardless of money.  So, when a woman who did her best to play the game is hit with the reality that males are liars who never had any intention of giving her their approval, all it means is that she becomes more aware of her place amongst the rest of us – that is, those of us from whom she was trying to distinguish herself with all her complicity.

Now, I’m not saying that I blame women for trying to make the best they can out of a bad situation (at the expense of other women).  What I am saying, though, is that I don’t feel sorry for those women when they lose.  I pity their naivete, for one thing, and, yes, I can condemn males for the concerted brainwashing of the female population, myself included, while at the same time pitying us for our naivete in wanting to disbelieve what males don’t even try to hide about themselves.  My pity for the female condition of complicity – conditioned, yes, but also often eagerly sought – is not a preclusion to my disdain for males.

So, with that out of the way, I’ll say that feminists ought not be looking to excuse eager female complicity with male demands in the pursuit of the empty promise of male favor at other women’s expense.  There really are two issues at hand here – males lying to pit us against each other, as well as female eagerness to take them up on their false offers.  As terrible as it is that males offer us these kinds of deals at other women’s expense in the first place – whether or not they pan out – one has to admit it’s no indication of integrity to agree to the terms of those false agreements.

34 Comments
  1. October 21, 2009 4:59 pm

    When Meghan McCain posted a picture of herself supposedly portraying a comfortable night at home doing nothing but reading some Andy Warhol (puke) many feminists were so keen to make sure there was no slut shaming involved when analyzing the aftermath. To the point that the mere mention that she was complying with patriarchy threatened damnation to the speaker. However, in that demand that no one mention how McCain complied with the patriarchy, another potential discussion was silenced. That discussion being, why would Meghan McCain feel the need to take and post a picture of herself wearing a push-up bra. I don’t know about you, but if I am forced to wear a bra out in the world it is the first thing that comes off when I am home, and the same goes for almost every woman I know. A comfortable night at home never includes a push-up bra. Honestly. Why torture herself like that?

    Then today I see that Dr. Socks has posted a picture of Rhianna in what is essentially a BDSM pose. Don’t pretend like it is not.

    Push up bra or barb wire, it is all about torturing women for male entertainment.

    How is it that Rhianna’s complicity with the patriarchy can be examined without any disclaimers demanding that Rhianna not be slut-shamed while McCain’s complicity can not be mentioned because in doing so it may seem like slut shaming?

    I don’t get it. Both women did what the patriarchy expects of them. Neither should be called a slut. Duh. Nevertheless, how is it that the feminist crowd is removed enough from Rihanna to analyze patriarchal expectations but any hint at Meghan’s compliance must be silenced?

    Why is one coddled and the other isn’t? Why does one afford detachment and the other does not?

    • October 21, 2009 5:23 pm

      I do get sick of the kind of commentary over at Dr. Socks’ about how you can’t show depictions of black people as lawn jockeys and Aunt Jemimas, though, when there was a widespread depiction of Michelle Obama in a torn red dress being lynched by a mob of white klansmen, though. Yeah, the images of black women in the media have absolutely nothing, nothing, to do with racism. (Pause to roll my eyes.) Why, in fact, to hear it from some white women, the myth that “racism has all but been eliminated” is their main (only?) argument in favor of feminism. Talk about a flimsy justification in light of reality.

    • atheistwoman permalink
      October 21, 2009 10:04 pm

      Re Meghan McCain, and as someone who has had ongoing shit re: how covered my breasts are/aren’t/not wearing a bra/wearing a bra/what position they are in/aren’t, I would honestly guess she was not thinking about it, that is, how her breasts would look.

      Because you know sometimes it is just nice to ignore the noise and treat your breasts like any other part of your body rather than something to be ashamed about/overanalyzed/viewed through pervert eyes. And it is not a certain thing that she was still wearing a bra, it is unclear. And if I were going to take a picture of myself I would definitely wear a bra (and I also keep my bra on at home, so it is not so bizarre)…

    • October 22, 2009 12:22 am

      I guess I just never thought of arching my back and pursing my lips as having anything to do with treating my breasts like any other part of my body. Also, wearing a bra is not the same thing as wearing one that tucks your boobs right up under your chin.

      And the disapproval a woman gets for letting her boobs fall where they may under clothing that is neither form-fitting nor skin-baring is a different kind of disapproval than she’d get for squeezing them up and together. When it comes time for downsizing, which woman do you think is more likely to lose her job before the other, assuming they both do quality work? That is to say that following male beauty standards is often rewarded even as it is simultaneously ridiculed.

      The notion that trussing ourselves up like turkeys in tight tank-tops is somehow an organic desire outside the influence of male demand is pretty far-fetched to me. And it’s not an argument I’d accept if we were talking about any other item of feminine drag, whether high heels, or lipstick, or hair spray.

    • atheistwoman permalink
      October 22, 2009 1:19 am

      I’ve worn tight tank tops and it had nothing to do with trussing myself up
      like a turkey, it had to do, that’s what I had around, that’s what I found comfortable. And yes, it did that
      to my breasts, and yes, I was shamed for it and treated like an evil temptresss slut who was doing it on purpose. Granted I was much younger than MM but I still see a pretty significant similarity to her situation and mine.

    • October 22, 2009 1:24 am

      AW, there’s a reason why spaghetti string tank-tops are the only garments one can find in the women’s section that are supposed to be “comfortable.” There are, however, garments that are more comfortable.

      There are women who claim high heels are comfortable too.

    • atheistwoman permalink
      October 22, 2009 1:33 am

      I’m not denying the reason tank tops are on shelves
      (that way men can ogle more breast).

      But that has nothing to do with finding a minimal amount of
      stretchy material on your body to be comfortable (anymore
      than finding nakedness comfortable has to do with allowing/wanting
      men to see your body. It also has nothing to do with
      finding shoes which hobble your walking and can permanently
      injure the bone-structure of your feet to be “comfortable.”

    • atheistwoman permalink
      October 22, 2009 1:38 am

      But you know I’m willing to agree to disagree.

    • October 22, 2009 1:47 am

      AW, her flesh is being squeezed and restrained by that shirt. Whether it’s a “minimal” amount of stretchy material, the shirt is no better than a girdle. Finding that shirt comfortable doesn’t mean it’s the most comfortable garment available.

    • atheistwoman permalink
      October 22, 2009 6:23 pm

      And for the record, I don’t disagree with the post or the other comments.

    • atheistwoman permalink
      October 21, 2009 10:08 pm

      I didn’t read the thread at Violet’s about the Rihanna picture (though I did look at the picture). Is it possible she was making a statement with that cover about how people had been all peeking Tom re: the photos of her after she was beaten? If so, it’s a pretty bold/brave move, and kudos.

    • October 22, 2009 12:23 am

      I don’t understand how giving the male-run public more of what they want is brave. I don’t understand how it’s anything other than capitulation.

    • atheistwoman permalink
      October 22, 2009 1:22 am

      I didn’t see it as that though, though now that you mention it they would want that. I saw it as her saying, how is this different?

    • October 23, 2009 1:11 am

      The “racism is over!”-type comments over there are ridiculous, but I don’t think the situations can be compared. They were criticizing Rhianna’s team of stylists, photographers, art designers, record company, etc. who created the single cover. It’s not like Rhianna dressed herself and took the picture herself; who knows how much input she even had in it. I didn’t feel like the post/commenters were judging Rhianna at all.

    • October 23, 2009 1:38 am

      Oh, well, allow me to go on record as saying I hold Rhianna just as responsible for going along with that photo shoot as I do Megan for her picture. Rhianna wouldn’t be on the street right now if she’d turned them down, after all. So, whether or not the people over at that other blog actually said so or not (and I haven’t read all the comments, or the post, so I can’t say one way or the other), I don’t see the situations as being any different from one another.

    • October 23, 2009 1:40 am

      To me Joce Claire (because I’m not sure whose comment you are replying to) no one has judged Rhianna. My complaint is that no one went out of their way (at Violets regarding McCain and Rhianna or over at the Squeaky Seesaw’s regarding McCain) to make sure that Rhianna was not slut-shamed as they did for Meghan. Before anyone said much of anything people were saying, “No one will be allowed to slut shame.” Yet with Rhianna they were able to go right to the heart of the matter, and that is women are complicit with the patriarchy and that complicity does not always serve the best interest of other women. Any hint that McCain adhered to male standards of beauty was dismissed as slut shaming. How is it that Rhianna’s complicity can be identified and analyzed without it personally being about her, but McCain’s cannot be identified and analyzed without it being about her personally?

    • October 23, 2009 1:41 am

      Yeah, that too, Kitty.

  2. October 21, 2009 5:09 pm

    Oh, yeah, and of course, as I know you already know, Kitty, Rhianna is not the only black woman held under feminist critique considered too harsh for similarly situated white women.

    • October 21, 2009 5:12 pm

      That’s what I am saying. That crap over at Twisty’s (coming from Twisty) implied that McCain would melt at the mere mention of her part in the whole mess. And identifying her part is not fucking slut-shaming. It is identifying her part.

    • October 21, 2009 5:21 pm

      What exactly is achieved when one hides the fact that McCain was aware that it is expected for women to show their breast in the most seductive/sexual light as possible? How is that saying McCain is a slut? It is not. It is saying that McCain is aware of what is expected of women by men. What she was not aware of is how it will be used against her whether she accommodates male demands or not. Then here comes Rhianna (younger than McCain I believe) and freshly beaten by a man, and no precaution of the kind. Is it assumed that Rhianna can take the heat and McCain cannot? If so, why? Is McCain seen as human who feelings need to be considered whereas Rhianna is just an object that can be discussed academically and/or objectivity?

    • October 22, 2009 1:11 pm

      My god, that thread over there. Of course all the women who comply with male demands for visual female submission (nakedness, constriction of flesh, etc.) only want to focus on the fact that women are shamed no matter what they wear. Sure, we’re all shamed, whether we comply or not, but the ones who comply are ALSO REWARDED. There is incentive to comply – and it’s not just fear and coercion. While Meghan McCain might be getting shamed, she’s also probably getting all kinds of offers for jobs and ad spots too. On the other hand, if I were to post a picture of myself in my typical attire (I wear the same thing lounging around as I do out in public for the most part), I’d be shamed for it, but there wouldn’t be any deal-making going on behind the scenes to soften the blow.

      WHY can’t women talk about the ways in which women are rewarded at the expense of women who don’t comply?! Males use sticks AND carrots to garner female complicity. There is a difference between female complicity out of fear of the stick and female complicity in pursuit of the carrot.

    • Mary Sunshine permalink
      October 22, 2009 1:57 pm

      WHY can’t women talk about the ways in which women are rewarded at the expense of women who don’t comply?! Males use sticks AND carrots to garner female complicity. There is a difference between female complicity out of fear of the stick and female complicity in pursuit of the carrot.

      Once again: ZAP !!!

      I think this is the central issue that is not addressed by “feminism”.

      But then again, equality “feminism” only exists by throwing the non-complicit females under the bus, so hidey ho!

    • October 22, 2009 2:49 pm

      But then again, equality “feminism” only exists by throwing the non-complicit females under the bus, so hidey ho!

      Exactly. They want the rewards of going along with male demands AS WELL AS the commiseration and leg-work of the non-complicit females. The non-complicit females are supposed to suffer all of the ill consequences of insubordination, but we’re NEVER to begrudge a compliant female the rewards she sought or was given at our expense. No, we’re supposed to just pretend as if we’re all on the same side while she enjoys her book deals and fancy dinners. And we’re supposed to feel just as badly about carrot-chasing women getting their carrots yanked away as we feel about other women getting beaten by the stick, as if these two female conditions are equivalent or, at least, naturally cooperative.
      In the end, the deliberate erasure of this distinction means that “feminism” focuses more on getting the carrot-chasing women the carrots they’re “due” – that is, on renegotiating the terms by which females are given carrots – than on freeing women from the obligation of making deals with males at all, whether for relief from the stick or for their petty favors.

    • October 21, 2009 5:33 pm

      Oh, yeah, and of course, as I know you already know, Kitty, Rhianna is not the only black woman held under feminist critique considered too harsh for similarly situated white women.

      Getting back to this, now that I got the McCain and Rhianna thing off my chest. I know right. AROOO can be dragged in the mud under the wheels of out of control wagon trains, but let one little old she who must not be named(too evil) be talked about and the whole cavalry comes charging in to protect her good (took years and lies to build) name.

    • aladydivine permalink
      October 23, 2009 3:44 am

      “Oh, yeah, and of course, as I know you already know, Kitty, Rhianna is not the only black woman held under feminist critique considered too harsh for similarly situated white women”

      Of course! We’ve been seeing this all over the place. THAT is the primary reason there has been no such outspokenness against “slut shaming” black women are sluts afterall… White women are happy to buy into any stereotypes out there about us to present themselves as not being like us.

      Who in their RIGHT or left mind would want to be treated and regarded as a black woman?

  3. October 21, 2009 5:36 pm

    Getting back to this, now that I got the McCain and Rhianna thing off my chest. I know right. AROOO can be dragged in the mud under the wheels of out of control wagon trains, but let one little old she who must not be named be talked about and the whole calvary comes charging in to protect her good name.

    Yep. Of course, the way they get around the disclosure of their conflict of interest, I guess, is to just make sure never to mention that I’m black. That way no one knows there’s a double standard – including the new black women they gather around themselves, who might otherwise keep their distance.

  4. October 21, 2009 5:52 pm

    Re: Rhianna, full disclosure, I am a huge pop music fan and love a lot of her music. I have only gotten to hear part of the new single “Russian Roulette,” and although I don’t have a sophisticated or even necessarily accurate take on it, I did want to say this (and it is especially in response to the Dr. Socks post) –

    I do find some possible subversiveness in the merging of beautiful, high profile popular artists presenting themselves within contexts that emphasize their awareness that there is such an overlap of worship-standard-ideal-of-beauty and want-to-see-her-suffer-and-die. And from the part of the song I’ve heard so far, the theme seemed to me to be about openly addressing that fetish/deathwish for her, in particular. That she has been harmed, and no doubt changed by that harm irrecovably, and the song is dark but honest from waht I heard. something along the lines of, I’m not going to pretend that the way I was attacked (both singularly by Brown and publicly by much of the public) is my responsibility to hide or put a happy-survivor-y face on. It sucked. I’m here anyway. Take your best shot motherfucker.

    I could of course be completely wrong about the lyrics and meaning, but that’s what I’ve gotten so far. And considering how eager the media/public was to expose and consume the “nakedness” of her photos after he beat her, I don’t feel like it’s inappropriate or “sexifying” at all for her to show herself as exposed and tortured. Not happy. Not necessarily what’s going to spark a radical feminist revolution. But who the fuck do all these people think they are to drool over the salaciousness of the beating and photos and then tell her any fucking thing at all. If she wants to depict the glamour that’s expected of her coupled with the appetite people have for her destruction, because those two things ARE inextricably linked, especially I think when it comes to young black women, I’m not particularly interested in non radical feminists condemnations of her supposed collusion. Because what I hear them saying is: she should be making the rounds on talk shows and maybe a movie of the week wherein she’s the squeaky clean, idealized victim who nonetheless “learned” something important and “empowering,” rather than having the right to be like, I’m going to make music, and imagery around it, that reflexs how I fucking feel. Whether I personally would have those feelings or choose those expressions is not some proof that she’s wrong for doing so. I think she’s just barely out of her teens. Is there EVER going to be a time when she stops being attacked for what *she* suffered, not even something she did to someone else?

    I mean, Chris Brown is coming out with a new album. It’s getting air play. Haven’t seen a lot of “oo this is controversial!” posts or media on *that* shit. But Rhianna – how dare she not become a nun and work as long as it takes to try to convince people she didn’t deserve it.

    Fuck. Had it with people.

  5. October 22, 2009 12:29 am

    I do find some possible subversiveness in the merging of beautiful, high profile popular artists presenting themselves within contexts that emphasize their awareness that there is such an overlap of worship-standard-ideal-of-beauty and want-to-see-her-suffer-and-die.

    Not buying it Joan. All of the yay-BDSM folks I’m aware of deny outright that their “fun and games” have anything whatsoever to do with wanting to see women suffer and die. She’s playing into the widespread – within and outside of the BDSM “community” – notion that it’s normal, natural, and, overall, benign to submit to male demands for threatened, injured, and mutilated female flesh. There is nothing subversive about that.

  6. October 22, 2009 12:54 am

    not the point, just sharing information – I’ve seen too much of consensual BDSM that is so obviously about seeing women suffer and met too many men with the “fetish” of wanting a woman to “play dead” to give any weight to anyone who tries to suppress or distort that reality.

    to the point – I get what you’re saying. I have a hard time not identifying in some limited ways with her (I’m obviously not famous or young or etc.) and also feeling protective of her, and I just want her to be saying fuck-you instead of still getting fucked herself. Hence my wanting to see it the way I describe above. sigh.

  7. Mary Sunshine permalink
    October 22, 2009 12:31 pm

    So, with that out of the way, I’ll say that feminists ought not be looking to excuse eager female complicity with male demands in the pursuit of the empty promise of male favor at other women’s expense.

    Aha! the operative word: eager.

    Thank you, Margaret, for nailing it once again.

    I’m waiting for the day that females start walking around with a sign on their backs saying “I’m wearing these high heels under duress”.

    😐

    It would be nice to see a little solidarity, eh?

    And, as always, your eloquence and precision continue to make my day.

    🙂

    • October 22, 2009 12:59 pm

      I’m waiting for the day that females start walking around with a sign on their backs saying “I’m wearing these high heels under duress”.

      Ha! It’d be a nice change of pace from all the declarations of how “comfortable” they are.

  8. October 22, 2009 5:40 pm

    Do you see that latest shit at Twisty’s? No wonder so called feminism is in trouble. Twisty and the women who lap up her cacophonic dribble don’t want to distinguish between complicity-for-carrots and complicity-to-escape-the-stick because they BENEFIT from the situation. They get to claim total victimhood and solidarity with the rest of us while they drink their fine wines. It is embarrassing. And elitist and racist to boot. I’m sorry. I still cannot get over how people went out of their way to protect Meghan from slut shaming, preemptively, as in, there was no proof of slut shaming, but demands were made nevertheless. The same preemptive protection was not given to Rhianna. To me, it is plain and simple. These feminists can put themselves in the shoes of a white girl trying to capitalize on her name but cannot for the life of them put themselves in the shoes of a formerly beaten black woman. If anyone needs the care and protection of feminists, it is the Rhiannas of the world. Meghan McCain will do just fine. But no, apparently Rhianna does not need a no shaming policy demanded before discussing her situation as McCain does, because, apparently Rhianna is unshamebale. Fucking assholes. Run along and sip your wine at other women’s expense.

    Integrity will out.

    • Mary Sunshine permalink
      October 22, 2009 6:00 pm

      Kitty,

      If you and Margaret were aircraft mechanics, maybe I’d feel safe to fly.

      😛

      Talk about analyzing the wiring and the gear ratios …

    • October 22, 2009 6:14 pm

      You turn an efficient wrench as well.

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