Thursday, March 23, 2006

Progressive Men, Are You on Our Side or Not?

Let's just go back to the Maggart thing here a second, because I'm still pissed off about it and yet... See, here's the thing, Progressive Men--I'd like to feel like we are all working towards the same goals. Let's broadly sum up those goals as "social justice for all through the excessive taxation of everyone we consider richer than us (oh, and more conservative than us, regardless of wealth)." And sometimes stuff happens, like Maggart revealing herself for the skeevy bigot she is and progressives on the internet rallying against her. And, honestly, I guess I feel some desire to be a part of that. I want to point out how stupid she is and laugh at her with all the cool kids. But... Okay, once Katherine Coble accused me of always taking women's sides in debates. I can't find where to link to it, but, as is my way, I've pondered that for a long time and, honestly, I think it's a fair accusation. I'm not sure I hold women up to the same scrutiny I hold men up to. And, reading this post and the comments on Maggart that follow it really clarified for me why I really don't like to criticize women. It's not that I think that women are so much better than men, it's that I hate how, whenever you criticize women, it quickly degrades into shit a woman can't defend herself against. I mean, you want to call Maggart a despicable homophobe? Fine, because she can either defend herself against that accusation or accept the criticism or whatever. And calling Maggart a despicable homophobe is an accusation that only reflects on her and her accuser. But look at what's going on over at Wayne Besen's. Here he's characterizing Focus on the Family as a hate group, which I might agree with, in theory and says of Maggart, "It is sad that some people will do and say anything to maintain a belief system that is rotten to the core." Then come the comments that prompted me to write this all in the first place--"this cunt is homophobic" & "This bitch is a fucking lunatic!" Progressive men, this annoys the shit out of me when it comes to y'all, that this is how you talk about women who piss you off, that we're cunts and bitches. I mean, we're right here. We read what you write. You want us on your side and yet, you toss around bitch and cunt like that's a fair way to fight. How are we supposed to defend ourselves against that? Do you not get that I have a cunt? It's right down there and it's not something terrible. To have a cunt is not a curse. How dare you take my good things and throw them in my face. "Oh, but B., we call men dicks, too. It's equal opportunity degradation of associating people with their sex organs." Oh, really? If I call, say, Bill O'Reilly a dick, how uncomfortable does that make the rest of you men? "Oh, but B.," you say, "Maggart being a cunt has nothing to do with you. She is a cunt. You're not." To which I say, do you live in America? Do you not get how "cunt" sounds like a threat? You say it about one woman and every woman within hearing range gets that you'll use that word against her if the opportunity arises. And we don't want that. Let me explain it to you. When someone calls a woman a cunt, what he or she means is that that woman needs to be taken down a peg or two. AND it sounds like a suggestion for just how that woman could be taken down a peg or two--just make sure she knows that all she is is her cunt. And I think we all know the easiest way to reduce an uppity woman to her cunt. God, do you see why I hate seeing "cunt" come up in political discussions? It sounds like an endorsement of the worst kind of violence against women. And to see progressive men using "cunt" to describe a woman, even a woman I disagree with, and going uncalled on it really pisses me off. Because y'all are supposed to be on the side of women, at least to some extent, at least enough on our side to not think that using our bodies as an insult is okay.

8 Comments:

Blogger newscoma said...

Well, cunt rhymes with hunt, which gives me the willies because usually when there is hunting to be done, there usually are guns involved.
Actually, the word doesn't bother me too much. Some of my male friends totally wig out, but I'm usually calling them a cunt, and then that's when they start itching and telling me what an unladylike word it is.

3/24/2006 05:38:00 AM  
Blogger Exador said...

It's quite a stretch to assume that every time someone uses the word cunt, they are advocating rape.

Yes, it's a harsh slur, but come on, B. I'll even grant you that it implies that "all she is is her cunt". That's the reason for a slur, to degrade and or belittle; to reduce someone to an easily attackable (arguement-wise) one-dimensional character.
"Her point is worthless because she is just a cunt".
You get the idea.

3/24/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

No, ugh. I'm not making my point clearly. I have no problem with folks who know each other tossing around the word "cunt." It's like any other slur, which is, as Exador points out, used "to reduce someone to an easily attackable (arguement-wise) one-dimensional character." And among people who know each other, or at least share context, say what you want.

But if you're trying to say that I (a woman with a cunt) am on your side against Maggart (a woman with a cunt), calling her a cunt doesn't cut it. It doesn't make me feel like we're on the same side. It makes me feel like you think having a cunt is degrading and belittling and, therefore, to have it publicly pointed out--that you have one or that you're acting like someone who has one--is an insult.

At that point, it's not just about Maggart. It's about me as well. And I don't like it.

Sure, they can say what they want. I can point out that it doesn't make me feel particularly welcome and I want to be on their side about this.

3/24/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

I honestly can't remember when I said that, but it sounds like something I'd say so we'll run with it.

But the Right wing guys do it, too. It all started with Hillary Clinton.

I get that people have opposing viewpoints. That's fine. It's the stuff debate is made of. But what gets me is that on both sides, if a woman (Hillary, Maggart, Dianne Feinstein, whoever) is making the point, it's actually considered okay to counter their point with criticism about their appearance or demeanor.

When Hillary's health plan was revealed, I heard less criticism about the health plan and endless talk about how ugly/wierd looking/"lesbian"/badly-dressed/ballbusting she was. If she had been a man, I'm convinced the same talking heads and talking-head lackeys would have been deconstructing her IDEAS not her PERSON.

So your progressive men may not be on your side. But don't worry. Our conservative men aren't all on our side either.

3/24/2006 09:34:00 AM  
Anonymous brittney said...

Hear, hear, Kat. When we discussed Helen Thomas the other day, all four conservative male bloggers who commented made remarks about her looks.

Punks.

3/24/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

People calling those whom they disagree with nasty names, and making fun of their physical appearance for malicious thrills?

B, you just described human nature, whether we be an enlightened progressive, or a reactionary troglodyte like myself, it's common among us all.

That's not to excuse or justify such behavior, but it is part of being human.

The difference though is that some of us try to repress such tendencies, while others love to wallow in it.

3/24/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Yes, but my point was, is, and ever shall be that, if you are a progressive man and you want progressive women to stand by you as you take on a reactionary woman, calling that woman a cunt is no way to make me feel like your side is some place I want to be.

3/24/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous pinkko said...

Generally when I say something and people get offended by it, I tend to say it more often.

I see your point, Aunt B, and it is absolutely disgusting that women (in this culture at least) are never given the chance to be anything more than ornamental. That shit pisses me off. However, as this concept relates to words like cunt and bitch, the way to defuse words like that isn't to bitch about how much they offend you, but to own them.

See, what you do, is you come out and say: "Yes, I'm a fucking cunt, and a bitch too, what the *fuck* are you going to do about it?" And you keep pushing that route until eventually the words lose their power over you because you've taken control of them.

Any time someone calls you a cunt, don't get pissed, just be like, "Yeah, so?"

It's like when people call me a fag. I don't get angry with them, I just say, "So what's your point, I would have thought that much was obvious. . ."

3/24/2006 02:10:00 PM  

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