Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The most significant stupid goth t-shirt EVER.

I always get the most interesting comments and mail when I'm a snarky bitch to someone else's writing. You guys are such jerks. This is all your fault.

Twisty Faster on why a dumb T-shirt means the entire world is against you!

A reader writes in that she was at a bar and saw a guy wearing a shirt reading "Dead Girls Don't Say No." Retarded "edgy" bullshit? Yeah. A literal murder/rape threat? Um, yeaaaah.

She leapt to inform him that his t-shirt was disgusting, that he ought to be ashamed of himself, and instructed him to either turn it inside out or leave the pub.
Well, that wasn't obnoxious at all, controlling the clothing and actions of other people on a third party's property is like, a human right, man.

Of course, he laughed, play-acted that he was adoring the attention she was pouring on him, then used his advantage of size and privilege to completely dismiss her once he’d had enough.
"Advantage of size"? Does this mean that if he'd been a little guy and she'd been with a bunch of tough girls they would've taken him down? Wow. (I'm sure it doesn't really mean that, but maybe she should consider that since he wasn't going to make it physical either, the "advantage of size" really just means that he disagreed with her while being large.)

Let’s imagine for a moment that you are like most Western women, and have been assured that you are entitled to certain human rights under the law. Let us further imagine that — although, sure, you’re aware that women do more housework than men, and get paid less, and are less likely to hold public office, and stuff like that — you have more or less believed that you’ve got it pretty good compared to women living under other regimes. Let us then imagine your surprise when, one fine day, you discover that it is all a lie.
But, um, it's not. I am entitled to human rights, and a damn t-shirt doesn't change that. I have free speech and freedom of association and a vote and a right to property no matter what t-shirt someone wears or how much of a tool they are about it. Hell, I even have the right to wear my own douchey t-shirts if I so choose. It's pretty awesome really, and I don't think if I lived in 1850 or in Saudi Arabia I'd be taking any of it for granted.

I might go that far on accounta the big problem with patriarchy is that it is already functionally invisible, and it is this invisibility that is women’s worst enemy.
"It's all around you, you just can't see it!" (I can, coz I'm better. Smarter. Listen to me.)

Likewise, you are a human being, and should be able to drink a beer in a room where nobody is sporting the raiment of a death-rape cultist.
Oh, you can! You just have to get your own damn room. Because if female freedom means being the boss of men, well, I see some minor logical and ethical problems with your plans.

In the case of women vs patriarchy, there is no resistance. There are a few professional feminists, a few “Save Roe!” campaigns, a few sexual harrassment suits, a few spinster aunts, but these are a drop in the ocean compared to the overwhelming popularity of the dominant culture.
This is the really weird thing about radical feminism: they're oddly dismissive of ordinary useful feminism. No real progress can be made before La Révolution, so feh to your little sexual harassment suits, they're meaningless Ewok slingshots in the face of the giant Death Star of Patriarchy. Never mind the rather significant number of women who now have safer workplaces in the meantime.

(This is also ridiculously classist; if you were pregnant with a child you couldn't care for or your boss was telling you how the good girls earn their wages, you wouldn't be quite so dismissive of these things. You need to be rather comfy yourself to ignore pragmatic progress that might occur before your ridiculous hero-fantasy "revolution.")

Women who elude capture in that manner are taken into custody by consumer rape culture; the occupying forces keep them at heel by using them as receptacles and rewarding them for internalizing such messages as “I need big boobs to feel good about myself.”
And you're pretty sexist if you think women actually fall for that shit. It's true, a lot of us do want big boobs for very silly reasons. But what you're missing is that we manage to live and work and express ourselves even with boob-insecurity. The fundamental humanity of women is simply not that easily taken down.

The interests of both groups of women are thereby aligned with those of the dominant culture, which contingency not only ensures the patriarchy’s continued self-replication, but discourages women — whom the system pits against each other — from fomenting civil disobedience, let alone riots and insurrections.
A) Saying "women should stick together above all else" is denying women's humanity, because like any group of humans, women are different. I'm not being pitted against Twisty and her pals, I actually disagree with them.

B) "Riots and insurrections?" Literally? Against whom? What are we going to burn? Our own houses? Who are we going to fight? Any man we see, regardless of what he does or thinks? How will we even know if we've won?

If I seriously believed these dainty armchair-general milquetoasts were ever going to step away from their computer screens, I'd actually worry.

The occupying forces have neutralized your personal sovereignty. You have no right to object to behavior that is consistent with the global accords governing fair use of women.
And this is the single weirdest tenet of radical feminism: that men believing women are inferior makes women actually inferior. That a man wearing a douchey t-shirt makes you somehow physically incapable of saying "dude, your shirt's all retarded and shit." It's true you can't make him obey you, but... that's the price you pay for not obeying him.

The truth about patriarchy is this: insurrection will require, as its first step, copping to the one thing that no woman with either a family or a Nigel or a successful career as a hottie or an empowerful-grrl investment in the patriarchal canon can bear to admit: that men hate them.
Gosh, really? Guys?

I've gotten men to admit some awfully personal things to me. I've had a guy tell me about how as a teenager he once fucked a chinchilla. I think that if he hated me and all my kind, that might've slipped out at some point. From someone. You'd think one guy in my life would've gotten drunk enough. I mean, some people just can't keep a secret. But other than a small minority of visible and widely despised exceptions, this one is ironclad.

I want to do a "Twisty Faster's Commenters Are Fucking Insaner," but this post is Tolstoy-long already, so that'll be the next one unless I get distracted by a shiny object or my coworker takes his shirt off.


  1. The fundamental humanity of women is simply not that easily taken down.
    But just as society is worthless until we achieve the flawless Feminist Utopia (tm), women are worthless until they're fully brainwashed by the rantings of Twisty. She's dismissive of ordinary useful women.

    I have to say, though, that not all hatreds will be acknowledged consciously, and that it's possible to hate a group while liking individual members of that group. "I like Holly" doesn't mean "I don't hate women."

  2. P.S. I want to read her response to this shirt: http://www.choiceshirts.com/item/A8030G/

  3. I got stuck on "you have more or less believed that you’ve got it pretty good compared to women living under other regimes" because a bunch of countries have better maternity laws than we have.

    I've never seen her site, but it's tempting to send her and Cosmo thank you notes for providing you with such fodder.


    OK I gave in and peeked and posted this to her site: (The patriarchy has made me weak!)

    So a man telling a woman what to wear (high heels, short skirts) is the patriarchy in action, but a woman telling a man what to wear (a shirt that isn't offensive) is feminism?

    I'm not a lawyer, but my law enforcement training would lead me to believe that the t-shirt was not an active threat. Beering it, as suggested by one of the previous comments, would have been assault, which actually is an arrestable offensive, unlike wearing the crass shirt, which falls squarely under the first amendment.


    I suggest you don't hold your breath waiting for it to appear on the site.

  4. Bruno - True, but I really believe that most men really don't harbor even subconscious hatred for most women. Most guys are just people and so are most girls.

    That t-shirt is a vile rape threat if worn by a man and a capitulation to rape culture if worn by a woman. You should hate boobies.

    ...No, wait, that's not right. You should be utterly indifferent to boobies?

    Crayonbeam - Oh, beering is nothing, there's lots of poeple advocating out-and-out violence of disgusting extremes on that site. But it's all justified by the gravity of their cause and the severity of their oppression, natch.

  5. Okay, I gave the "men hate women" idea another think, and here's what I came up with:

    An awful lot of men (not all!) do have difficulty seeing women as just like them. Based on personal experience and reading, a lot of men and women believe in far greater gender differences than actually exist. And this is a problem.

    However, this misunderstanding does not amount to "hate," in the vaaast majority of cases it does not lead to violence, and it certainly does not justify violence.

    "Some men don't get that you think the same way they do" might be sadly true, but it's worlds away from "men hate you."

  6. Bruno - I prefer this one: http://store.badtshirts.com/teyobotostst.html

    Holly - Twisty won't ever be happy. Even if this was her idea of a feminist utopia, she'd find something else to be bent out of shape about. Take, for example, the canard about men hating women; since she is convinced that every perceived injustice is because we (men) hate women, she'll never be exposed to the truth (she's too busy looking for evidence of our hatred).

    In my experience, MOST men like women in general reasonably well (aside from the sex thing - because that has its own dynamics), usually about the same as they like men generally. Some men like women better, some like men better, but on average, I think it all balances out.

  7. Nothing to do with this post- which was great, by the way, I always love people who assume that they have an absolute right to control others and that not having it is oppression- but you gotta see this:

    Sluts vs Losers

    You could call it a debate over which gender the double standard hurts more, women who have "too much" sex or men who don't have "enough". Or you could call it the ultimate whine-off.

  8. Wow.

    Okay, if the guy is wearing the shirt in my apartment, I have the right to tell him to turn it inside out or leave (actually doing so might or might not make me an asshole, depending on the context). But in a bar? Seriously?

    And the whole 'you're being BIG at me, and that's a threat' thing is just...WTF. How, exactly, do they plan on resolving that one?

    Never mind, I don't want to know.

  9. This commentary reminds me of yet another double standard - why is it that when a man genuinely hates women he's assumed to be straight, whereas when when a woman genuinely hates men, she's assumed to be a lesbian?

  10. Mithras61 - I think it's telling that Twisty never lays out victory conditions. The only one I've ever heard is "until women are accepted as fully human," but, you know, eyeroll.

    LabRat - Meh. A whine-off indeed. I'd lean toward Stoddard's side because Breslin seems to be mostly bemoaning the inability for women to have sex and tell everyone, but they've both got points I guess.

    Aebhel - I think the "being BIG at me" thing is essentially her way of blaming him for the fact that she was scared of him.

    Anonymous - Because being sexually attracted to a woman is supposedly threatening. "I want to fuck her" is somehow a threat in a way that "I want to fuck him" isn't.

  11. again, worried about commenting.


    i would say that AS A SOCIETY, men DISDAIN women (i don't call it hate). it has a very similiar dynamic to racial prejudice - many many people REALLY BELIEVE that women MUST keep a straight house, MUST be bad at math, MUST be emotional, MUST be irrational... turn on any random sitcom. 7 to 2 there will be a nagging girlfriend/wife whose entire job appears to be attempting to "control" her husband, while taking care of everything he doesn't want to do. she is also invariably "Supermom", invariably MUCH hotter than her man, invariably well-groomed and composed - but when she says "staying out until x time and drinking when you responsabilities" she is portrayed as a shrew, as immasculating her husband, of being irrational and overreactive. look at commercials for "houshold products". look at how women are portrayed as always sexualized, but men can be not sexualized. look at how medis panders to "the male gaze".

    patriarchy also translates as rape culture; this is because women cannot win the "sex wars". if they have sex, they are sluts who deserve to be raped. (go read a news story about a woman who was raped. "alleged" rape, but "he had sex with her", and she wore such-and-such clothes so it isn't HIS fault, and she did this, and she did that, and she brought it on herself no matter how she fought or how much she got hurt she secretly wanted it). if a woman DOESN'T have sex, she is "holding out", "being a tease", "frigid", and if she is raped its again HER fault because if she had just put out then he wouldn't have been forced to extreme measure to releave his blueballs.

    do i think all men are rapist? fuck no. i've been raped. most guys are not rapists.
    but a significant majority of men will rape. they tell themselves it isn't rape - they get a girl drunk, or take advantage of a girl who is already drunk. they don't stop when they are told to stop. they continue, hell they START after being told to stop. are you old enough to remember the afterschool specials about "No Means NO"?
    men have been socialized from birth to believe that it is their right to fuck. then they don't get to fuck - they aren't this girl's type, or the girl they want is "waiting", or something - and instead of looking to themselves, they BLAME women. they blame the specific woman who turned them down (she MUST be a man-hating lesbian if she won't sleep with me!) and they blame all women (they all play games, using us to get what they want and then not sleeping with us!). Nice Guy Syndrome(tm).

    do most guys try to do this? i doubt it. i think most don't even realize the pattern of behavior. but to a lot of women, the entire attitude feels like hate. i call it disdain, but i can see where the word hate comes from.

  12. Denelian -- Your points about sitcoms are accurate, but incomplete. The woman is a hot, smart, composed shrew, yes, but her husband is a fat, lazy, irrational buffoon.

    If you look at advertising, there's a lot that suggests that Dad is just a big dumb kid, while Mom is a brilliant problem-solving dynamo. Even a lot of ads aimed at men make men look like idiots; few make women look stupid.

  13. Denelian - C'mon, don't do the "oh no I'm so timid don't disagree with me or I'll cry" shtick, it's beneath you. Be a strong woman! All I have are words, they don't hardly sting.

    And I dunno, all I really have to go on is my personal experience, but I'm not particularly sheltered--I'm pretty broke, I live in a crappy high-crime-rate town, and I work in a majority-male environment. (I certainly don't live on a nice private ranch or anything...) And I just don't spend my days being insulted and harassed. It just... doesn't happen. I go to the supermarket, I pump my gas, I go out drinking, I say yes to some propositions and no to others, and all I see is guys acting like human beings. I don't know what to tell ya.

    I'm hoping you mean a significant minority of men, and those minority are criminals. Why excuse rapists by going "oh, they're a product of our culture, they're just doing what lots of men want to?" They're fucking animals! Muggers aren't a symptom of mug culture, they're horrible people who deserve to have their faces beaten in; likewise rapists.

  14. Now, if I encountered that T-shirt, I'd be inclined to sing this song, thereby demonstrating my own complete lack of taste.

  15. i don't think i was being timid, at least not the way you mean. i have had 4 surgeries on my hip in the past 9 months, and i am on a lot of pain meds (including oral morphine. i am not happy about that). its really damned easy for me to take something someone says on the internet PERSONALLY right now; i know over here in real life that it isn't and i shouldn't be upset, but i have no FILTER. and i can come across as VERY confrontational (and can't spell). which is whay that was about.
    you are very right on the sitcom Dad being a bufoon.
    does not make it better. lol i think it makes it worse - i always get the impression we are supposed to feel BAD for this guy, who has not responsibility and has everything handed to him, because he is expected to meet certain responsibilities, and its a woman who makes him. like, if he never got entangled with a woman, he could still be in his "natural state" of no responsibility and no strings, roaming the city and doing whatever he wanted. but that WOMAN made him settle down!

    Holly: i can only say that i think you are very lucky to have never (or rarely) encountered a lot of the things that are deplorable in our culture. anecdote is not data, which i well know - but the data supports the anecdotes i have.
    the Rhianna/Chris Brown stupidity is a really good example. from the beginning, when the photo of her was leaked, every place where someone commented on the story, at least half the comments involved the idea of "she must have made him beat her"

    before anyone had any clue as to what had happened, a large number of people (i think more than half, but i'm not sure) ASSUMED it was her fault.

    a woman gets raped, the dialogue is IMMEDIATELY "what was she wearing, what was she doing, where was she, did she flirt"

    i totally agree that men SHOULD be enraged at the societal dialogue around this: men are told over and over that they can't help themselves, can't control themselves.
    they are told that to be "real men" they have to have sex - but that the kind of girl they should marry is not the kind of girl who would sleep with them. its the Madonna vs/ Dichotomy, and its everywhere.
    and i can't count the number of times i have seen a guy take advantage of a drunk girl. if she is lucky, she has people around who will interfere. if she's not, she's going to have sex, sex she wouldn't have otherwise, with a guy hitting on her only because she is drunk.
    you know the joke, about how a blonde's mating call is "I'm drunk"?
    a lot of guys tell themselves that if she didn't want to have sex, she wouldn't be drunk.

    no, i don't think that individual guys dont have responsibilty for their actions, and i'm sorry if i came off that way. i was meaning that a lot of guys think that they DON'T have any responsibility - our culture has firmly made women the gatekeepers of sexuality. if there is sex, it is her fault, if she is raped, it is her fault, if she becomes pregnant, it is her fault.

    its a hard line to walk. gods know i've become sick of it. i like sex, i have sex, i totally reject the idea that having sex makes me bad. but the media tells me it makes me bad. that it makes every woman having sex outside of marriage bad.

    that is what needs to change.

  16. You know what, though, I have to say I'm behind the impulse to leap over and beat the shit out of the asshole in that T-shirt.

  17. I am literally years late to the party, but I just can't not say:


    Chinchillas are Very Very Small. I am desperately hoping that "fucked" is code for "rubbed off on" in this context, because otherwise it would pretty much have to be code for "exploded with his penis."

  18. I think that a lot of men have a REALLY hard time with realizing that women think similar to them, but it's value neutral: they see women as alien (via fundamental attribution error), not bad.

    I had this very bad until recently and it's behind an awful lot of the Nice Guy thing.

    It does occur to me that that shirt is VERY VERY BAD due to triggering survivors, and generally horrible and rape-culturey. I can't know theem, but I would say that I think people at least should have more resistance to that thing. Also, it's like hipster racism.

  19. Quote:
    'Likewise, you are a human being, and should be able to drink a beer in a room where nobody is sporting the raiment of a death-rape cultist.
    Oh, you can! You just have to get your own damn room. Because if female freedom means being the boss of men, well, I see some minor logical and ethical problems with your plans.'

    But isn't it 'rape cultury' that this shirt is there? Which is what she's saying? There are plenty of anti-gay t-shirts too and I don't think gay people should just shutup go to another room because there is no problem.