Home / General / Your Arbitrary Preferences Are Not “Feminism”

Your Arbitrary Preferences Are Not “Feminism”

Comments
/
/
/
488 Views

I endorse the entirety of this Irin Carmon post, but I’d like to highlight a couple of points:

And Huma Abedin might not be acting in the way you believe you would if you were married to Weiner, but you are not Abedin, and her choices about whom to marry belong to her and not to you. Neither Abedin nor Leathers are advancing policy that harms women as a class. (Nor is Weiner, for all of the fond fantasies of Republicans who would like to I’m-rubber-you’re-glue “the war on women.”)

[…]

Things that are not feminism:

Asking a question about why women do or want things and answering with why you do or want things, and calling it feminism. (Or, as Julia Wong put it, “My feminism demands that women be allowed to speak for themselves.”)
Assuming that a “vibrant young woman” (separate from a “soulfully beautiful and professionally accomplished one) suffers from false consciousness about her own sexuality, and that she needs your pity and implicit shaming, and calling it feminism.
Claiming that you are not judging women’s sexual behavior differently from men’s, and then judging women’s sexual behavior differently from men. And calling it feminism.

This related post from Atrios is also correct. I find the idea that (apart from an abusive relationship) that it’s any of my business whether people should stay in marriages or not, or that feminist principles could dictate some universal answer that could apply in all situations, bizarre. Huma Abedin should do whatever she feels is best for her and I have no idea what that is, the end.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • There is a concerted weird wingnut thing about how Abedein is in fact stupid and ugly, and it’s only an MSM plot to have ever made us believe otherwise.

    Honestly…

    • prufrock

      Huma Abedein is fat only in the universe where everybody has the body mass of a coked up Kate Moss. This is the stupidest wingnut thing ever…at least until the next one.

      • Informant

        He said they were calling her “stupid and ugly,” not fat?

        • prufrock

          Ah,I saw wingnut and my mind filled in fat with stupid and ugly.

          • ChrisTS

            It’s a fairly common litany that many of us apply to ourselves – even when objectively untrue.

    • daveNYC

      Well she is brownish and has a funny name, so I guess in wingnutland that’s basically a smoking gun. Or mushroom cloud. Look how much milage they’ve gotten out of the Obama teleprompter meme.

      It’s not enough that they believe that people they don’t agree with are wrong, they have to believe that they are straight up inferior in every possible way and everything that indicates otherwise is just a further example of the conspiracy against them.

      And her middle name probably means she’s a terrorist, so there’s that too.

    • Tyro

      In wingnutland, Abedin catches flak both for having a “sexy” spread in Vogue where she uses her good looks to her professional advantage and she is also ugly and unattractive.

      • Origami Isopod

        Well, yeah, it’s like how all feminists are both fat ugly dykes no man would fuck and big-time sluts who bang man after man like they’re walking through a screen door factory.

  • Hm. Huma Abedin’s problems crossed from the personal to the political and public some time ago. She and weiner are selling themselves as a power couple where her choices are used to influence our choices, politically. This has nothing to do with feminism/ not feminism. It does have something to do with a politician’s struggle to portray himself and his family as representative of the voter and able to represent the voter. I don’t care if weiner had or had consensual affairs in the context of some kind of open marriage. But Abedin has let herself be used as some kind of guarantor of his behavior. They have always basically argued that he can control himself if he wants/while on the public dime/while representing constituents. That’s pretty clearly false. I object to her offerring herself as a character witness when she’s an interested party. Like a guy who asks his bookie to vouch for his lack of a gambling habit.

    • daveNYC

      I haven’t been following this that closely, are they really promoting some sort of Weiner/Abedin power couple thing? Even the Clintons aren’t really pushing that theme, and that’s a legit ex-president and ex-Secretary of State combo-pack. W/A would be trying to sell the ex-congresscritter who flashed his junk on Twitter combined with a State Department official who is an aide to a potential presidential candidate.

      • Warren Terra

        I don’t know what “they” are doing; I don’t even know who “they” are. I admit my view is blinkered – I pay a lot of attention to national politics and to policy, and I’ve never lived in New York – but I’d say I’ve heard more about her work in national politics and policy than I have of his. Yes, he was an elected congressman, while she was an unelected aide – but he was an undistinguished congressman, and she was seen as the chief aide to one of the top half-dozen politicians in the country. So she would certainly qualify to be in a power couple. Whether she and her husband ever marketed themselves that way, I don’t know, but – at least in the more politics-obsessed venues – some other people did so.

        Also: when you say “even the Clintons aren’t really pushing that theme”, you mean they aren’t now, with Clinton a former Senator and Sec State. They absolutely did push that argument in 1992, and to a significant degree they did so in 2008. It’s a hard line to tread (is the unelected spouse manipulative? are they accountable?), but it’s hardly unprecedented – not that I know whether Wiener’s campaign was pushing it.

        • daveNYC

          Yeah, the co-presidency thing. That didn’t last very long. I never really got what the upside to that was supposed to be. Vote for Bill, and get Hillary too… but how’s that different from any other couple, or just voting for a person whose spouse isn’t politically active but he/she is going to hire advisor X to do stuff and things.

          I’ll consider a spouse’s business interests and whatnot because the candidate has a vested interest in them too, but voting for candidate X because spouse Y is going to something something with policy? Not so much.

          • If you saw the wedding pictures and the puff pieces that were written about them when they got married you would know that up until the first sexting scandal they were definitely marketing themselves as a power couple–she bumped his perceived access up 1000 percent and gave him a connection to the Clintons on a social level that he was obviously intending to parlay into the big time.

            As for now? Well, he blew it for her but she is still trying to get him what he wants which is influential political office regardless of how many potential constituents he tries to sext or how much embarassment his lack of control results in for the office he tries to hold. I do hold her accountable for that as I would hold a man accountable if his male or female partner was out of control, addicted to something, and still running for public office as a sane and sober political figure. Its one thing to support your spouse/loved one/family member. Its another to do so in the face reality and their obvious inability to handle their own campaign and their office.

            • Johnny Sack

              This is a good point. I certainly don’t expect her to speak out *against* her own husband, but she’s going above and beyond. It’s not like she’s staying silent on this, which I would have no moral objection to.

            • rm

              I read Aimai to mean that the Clintons haven’t spoken of Weiner-Abedin as a power couple, not to refer to the Clintons in the ’90s. And that’s right.

              And, aimai, I think you are right about Abedin’s responsibility. But you aren’t saying this is a special feminist argument that applies to Abedin only because she’s a woman. You are saying the opposite of that, I think. I think Scott’s OP is pointing out how many anti-feminist arguments claim to be feminist but are actually policing femininity. You are not policing femininity, but calling a public figure out on her bullshit, and good for you, and that is actually feminist because you accurately perceive when gender is not the issue. For the woman-police, gender is always the issue.

              • rm

                Sorry — I read DaveNYC to mean that . . . And I also revealed my ignorance since I have paid very little attention to these two and didn’t read the wedding stuff. But I still don’t know if Hillary participated in any of Weiner’s self-promotion. I think he’s been riding the bridal train of his more accomplished wife, don’t know if Bill & Hillary have helped. Maybe he’s like the unfortunately choses son-in-law to them.

    • ChrisTS

      But this is standard in US politics: the political spouse is always expected to serve as character witness – especially if the spouse is female.

      • The thing is that’s not a feminist principle.

        I agree with Carmon as far as she goes, but the personal is political, and certainly marriages that contain implicit trades for male power can be critiqued on feminist grounds.

        • ChrisTS

          Yeah. I was [trying to] respond to aimai.

  • Ronan

    Do people really have a strong opinion on whether she should stay with him or nor? Apart from those who use these events for political gain?
    In general the only reason I wouldnt let seomthing like this (or something less bizzare) affect how I vote is b/c we’re never privy to what goes on inside someone elses relationship, so I’ll err on the side of caution.
    But in something like the John Edwards case (if I had the opportunity) I really couldnt have, b/c it was just so shitty. I’m not sure adopting a position that you wont vote for someone b/c you find them to be a shitty person (would you vote for a racist etc?) to be an unreasonable stance

    • Ronan

      ..In the primaries, i guessits not a good enough reason not to vote for him in the election itslef

    • witless chum

      Who’s the racist running against?

      • Ronan

        An anti semite..or just your bog standard primary candidate..say a racist Bill Clinton running against a non racist al gore

      • Ronan

        I have to run, but ill return to this in greater detail later

  • c u n d gulag

    We are in “The Golden Age of the Professional Buttinsky.”

    Before, professional buttinsky’s were relegated to opining about other people lives from musty offices, their musings limited to gossip-columns in local papers.

    Today, they still have those columns, but they’re on the Op-ed pages.
    But they can now also butt into peoples lives, and opine about them, on radio, and TV.
    And best of all, they can ‘buttopine’ on the internet, where in a matter of seconds, a simple musing can become a rumor – which can, again quickly, then, “Oh, blessed day,” become a meme!

    Huma Abedin has reasons for doing what she’s doing.
    And it’s not unreasonable, if/when she asks people to butt-out of her life.
    It is, after all, her life.

    • Anonymous

      Still collecting your government checks?

      • c u n d gulag

        Yes, and you’re still a stupid fucking asshole.

        Someday, I hope to work.

        There’s no hope for you, because you’ll always be a stupid fucking asshole.

        • ChrisTS

          “you’re still a stupid, vicious, fucking asshole.”

          FIFY

      • Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq.

        Hi there, can you make a rational case, that is, without things like blind resentment, lies or illogic, why it is morally bad to receive things like disability benefits, unemployment insurance or SNAP. I bet you can’t because you are too stupid and haven’t the slightest inkling how a government or a modern society works.

        • The Dark Avenger

          It’s not immoral to collect government checks when you’re dead, to judge from the lack of wingnut reaction to this:

          http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/30/audit-reveals-usda-paid-out-millions-to-dead-farmers/

          • c u n d gulag

            Hold on!
            The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated!

            And I suppose in its feeble and tiny mind, Anonymous thinks it’s ok for dead farmers to get government money, ’cause they’re Real ‘Murkanz from The Heartlan’ in Red States, or Red rural areas, in Blue ones.

            • Hogan

              Anonymous thinks

              You assume too much.

              • Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq

                I would expect more mental activity from the dead farmers than from the troll.

                • ChrisTS

                  They are undoubtedly more pleasant company.

                • c u n d gulag

                  And they’ll smell better, too.

  • LeeEsq

    A lot of people like turning any ideology into an all encompassing theory that dictates universal answers in all situations. I don’t see why feminism should be any more immune to this line of thought that every other ideology out there.

    • sharculese the ignoranus

      But this isn’t about feminists saying what the proper response is here, it’s about concern trolls and self-identified fake feminists like Althouse announcing what the proper feminist response is and then excoriating women for not living up to it.

      • Rob in Buffalo

        Oh Manitou I hadn’t heard Althouse’s take on this yet.

        Must . . . not . . . read . . .

        • sharculese the ignoranus

          I haven’t either. I’m just assuming she can’t pass up a chance to hector a liberal woman for not living up to her standards.

          • Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq

            Yes she can’t. I went over to Althouse though I couldn’t stomach to read the actual posts (Yes, she has several and a tag for “Huma Abedin”). She also seems to have reopened her comments section.

            • sharculese the ignoranus

              Bashing women who aren’t Ann Althouse is okay. It’s only when you target her that it becomes anti-feminist.

              • Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq

                Reminds of the Sarah Palin/general wingnut theory of free speech.

  • Shakezula

    It’s the old girls can do whatever they want, provided they’re ladylike about it.

    Plus que ça change…

    • Ronan

      I dont see how this is an example of that..it’s surely an example of expecting the opposite (women can do anything they like so long as they dont play into historical gender norms and caricatures of a submissive wife etc)

      • She’s catching flak for staying with him due to political ambition. But if it helps:

        …girls can do whatever they want, provided they’re ladylike about it do whatever I think they should do.

        There is (or was) a theory among counselors that it is inappropriate to tell women in abusive relationships that they have to leave their abuser because it just reinforces the victim’s feelings of helplessness and inability to make decisions on her own.

        • Ronan

          I agree with the contention that its no ones place to tell her what to do, I just dont think this is an example of a paternalistic policing of gender norms. It seems to be the oppossite

          • I disagree. I have heard far too many conversations (i.e. more than 1) in which feminists discuss the plight of their less enlightened sisters. The tone ranges from sugar-coated condescension to venomous hostility if you can get hard core separatists to accept you as suitably pure.

            They’re just echoing the extremely patriarchal attitude that women don’t know what’s best for them and must be shown the way by better minds. Needless to say the women expressing these ideas are under the delusion they’ve shed all vestiges of patriarchal thinking. Ho ho ho, sure lady.

            (I’ve heard the same sorts of things from a certain species of progressive regarding minorities as well as read it from conservatives. “If only we could just educate them…” they both moan.)

            • Ronan

              ah okay I see your point. I have to head of for the evening at the minute, so cant really reply but I see where youre coming from

            • CaptBackslap

              The example of this that leapt to mind is Linda Hirshman telling stay-at-home moms that they’re traitors to the cause.

              • Yep. Because nothing says anti-patriarchal like denigrating women who don’t do what we say they should!

                This is got up my nose far enough to raise my hypothetical hat as well:

                I found that among the educated elite, who are the logical heirs of the agenda of empowering women, feminism has largely failed in its goals.

                I’d find this acceptable from a college student, provided I were also a college student because yes, I have taken part in the “How we’ll make everything perfect forever because we’re so smart,” conversation.

                From anyone over the age of 30, it is the sort of nauseating bullshit that makes me wish there were a way to herd all of the authoritarians (right or left) onto an abandoned oil rigs, provide everyone with a knife and a book of matches and leave them to their own unpleasant devices.

            • Pat

              I did have a fun discussion with some liberal friends about the meaning of “choice” with respect to Sarah Palin. As in, if we are allowed to choose to terminate pregnancies or carry them to term, then she is allowed to carry a Down’s child to term.

              Her decision is (gasp) her decision. Of course, she has the best health insurance in Alaska, which no doubt played a role in it.

              • sharculese the ignoranus

                You had liberal friends who needed that explained to them? Christ.

        • Ronan

          Which is an outgrowth, i think, of the sort of gender and race essentialism that US progessives trade in

        • Johnny Sack

          Thank you. It’s a very serious debate in the domestic violence field.

          • I guess one problem is the latter approach requires a level of detachment that 99% of human beings can’t maintain without chemical assistance. And telling someone what to do gives one the feeling one has done something. (And perhaps gives a bit of emotional protection if the person doesn’t listen and is severely injured/killed as a result?)

            Another being there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

        • JL

          There is (or was) a theory among counselors that it is inappropriate to tell women in abusive relationships that they have to leave their abuser because it just reinforces the victim’s feelings of helplessness and inability to make decisions on her own.

          This is still (more or less) the normal rape crisis counseling model. Offer people information and options. Offer them with resources that will allow them to implement their choices in the safest way possible (for instance, if they are in an abusive situation and want to leave, this might be info on how to find a safehouse, if they don’t want to leave it might be safety planning). But let them make decisions.

          • Well, sure, but “let them make decisions” isn’t the same as standing by and thinking to yourself “that was a GREAT decision!” And when a battered woman is unable to decide to leave and ends up getting killed we might want to say “well, we couldln’t force her into safety” but I doubt if we really say “at least she preserved her autonomy!”

            The way this relates to the Huma Abedin situation is rather tenuous. Her decision to stay with Weiner because she loves him is not dangerous to her physically and he does not appear to be holding her prisoner or otherwise controlling her. Of course she’s entitled to privilige her relationship with Weiner over (hypothetically) being alone, or starting over, or that other dude who was in love with her or whatever else is out there in the wide, wide world.

            The reason why Abedin is being accused of “false consciousness” is because mariage is still seen as a marriage market, an economic transaction. In the real world and the political world people are seen as entitled to a mate of equal or superior social status. A woman’s status goes up with her spouse, or sinks to his level. Abedin has money, birth, style, friends, and a career. She is seen as not having to settle for damaged goods/a lower status male. This is the coded meaning behind so much expressed female rage that Abedin didn’t kick him to the curb. Because she has a lot of social power and social agency–more than a battered woman, more than a poor woman, more than a friendless woman. People think “jeebus, what on earth prevents her from moving on and finding another, better, husband. If I had her choices I would.”

            At bottom people are both extremely romantic, and extremely unromantic, in their understandig of other people’s marriages and romances. We know “the heart hath its reasons, whereof reason knows not of.” But we also see people obeying invisible laws of the marriage market and we expect them to act rationally and distribute their goods and services accordingly.

            • Pat

              Like this.

            • mpowell

              I am really confused how you went from the 2nd graph to the 3rd. If I’m sitting at home thinking, “Abedin, you’re an idiot for staying with that asshole”, it’s because I can’t imagine how it would be good for her emotionally to stay with someone who was so flagrantly cheating on her. I’m sure there are plenty of people who look at it as the social status thing, but I’m not sure why you’re so confident it’s everyone who’s doing that.

            • JL

              Well, sure, but “let them make decisions” isn’t the same as standing by and thinking to yourself “that was a GREAT decision!” And when a battered woman is unable to decide to leave and ends up getting killed we might want to say “well, we couldln’t force her into safety” but I doubt if we really say “at least she preserved her autonomy!”

              Your overall point in your comment is right, but regarding this, I would point out that frequently the most dangerous time for people experiencing intimate partner violence (and sometimes for other family members like their kids) is after they decide to leave – in men-on-women situations, women who leave have a 75% greater risk of being killed, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. There’s often a reason they don’t want to leave other than “false consciousness”.

              This has nothing to do with Abedin, I just wanted to point out that it’s not a dichotomy of “abused partner preserves autonomy, chooses to stay, and maybe gets killed” vs “abused partner leaves or is pressured into leaving, and is safe”.

              • Sure. But nevertheless we would never celebrate autonomy here. Autonomy and “making your own decisions” in a situation of extreme risk and violence are not really meaningful concepts. Or may be I mean not an unmixed good. We were talking about different theories (and practice) in counseling abused persons. the extreme danger of the luminal moment was not the reason given upthread for hesitation in counseling or facilitating flight. Autonomy was.

                • JL

                  Right, but one of the reasons why autonomy matters is because the person may know their own situation better than you (generic you) do.

                  The other, of course (which is more specific to a rape crisis context than a pure intimate partner violence context) is that you’re talking about a situation that has taken someone’s autonomy away, and respecting their autonomy, allowing them to take some of that control back, is good for their mental health/recovery/coping skills (and in turn, may make them more willing to disclose to others, in the future).

              • Origami Isopod

                Thank you for pointing this out. Leaving is nowhere near as easy as many seem to believe.

  • Ann Outhouse

    Not news: most people don’t really know what “feminism” is. They think they know, but they don’t. And it’s proven very difficult to explain it to them.

    • Murc

      I’ve always been under the impression that all you need to be a feminist is to know that women are, you know… people, and should be treated accordingly.

      • sharculese the ignoranus

        For a lot of people this seems to be harder than it sounds.

        • Origami Isopod

          Well, they’d swear up and down that they do treat women like people. Their problem is having bought into the “separate roles” crapola and not realizing that men are the ones whose traditional roles confer upon them full human status.

      • Anna in PDX

        I really hope this is not as hard as it seems to be. I have been pushing this line with my two sons for years. I hope they get it. Sometimes I just wonder. It seems like shouting into the wind.

        • ChrisTS

          Don’t give up. We raised a very feminist son without much direct counseling that I recall. (Of course, he has an older sister who is a lesbian, so she may have done a lot of the heavy lifting.)

      • How many people know how people should be treated?

        • Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq

          You make me sad, aimai.

        • Murc

          Well, you raise a good point, but that brings us back to the whole “people suck” problem, doesn’t it?

    • anono

      There are a lot of people, especially young, who grow up to inherently know (upbringing, societal influences, etc) that “feminism” itself is a bad label. If you’re called a “feminist” that’s a bad thing, similar to being called a “slut”. They usually say, “I think women should be equal, but I’m not a feminist.” Of course, they don’t know what feminism really is. They just know it has negative connotations and wish to distance themselves from that.

  • DrDick

    All me old fashioned, but I always assumed that feminism meant that women got to make their n decisions about these things. As others have said, I do make exceptions to obviously abusive relationships where coercion is a real possibility, but otherwise I always assumed everyone else’s relationships were their business and not mine.

    • Johnny Sack

      Just as long as that doesn’t delve into blaming the victim. When I was active in the domestic violence field, there was a lot of interesting debate about this. Orders of protection (et al) get harrier when the woman (or man, less frequently) doesn’t want to leave. Sometimes it’s really really bad. Sometimes it’s not and the woman wanted to stay and try to work things out. I used to be in the equivalent of force feeding camp, but it’s not quite so cut and dried.

      • mpowell

        The thing is, if you get the balance wrong, that doesn’t mean you’re not a feminist. It just means that there are situation with no easy answers and people starting out from the same priors/values can reasonably reach different conclusions. People tend to forget that.

    • Dave

      Well, in that respect, feminism is a lot like Protestantism. Hating the pope, everyone can agree on that. The rest of the stuff, not so much… And generally the farther away from a squishy liberal mainstream you take your politics, the more people you find willing & able to be damn sure they have the right to tell other folk what to do – whether you’re headed right, or left.

      • JL

        You think the squishy liberal mainstream is maximum reasonableness on this? In feminism, I find a lot more squishy liberal mainstreamers than feminists with more radical inclinations, who think it’s reasonable to tell people who have been raped that they have to report, or people in intimate partner violence situations that they have to leave, for example.

      • DrDick

        I am a socialist and I see a lot more of that kind of moralizing among the “squishy liberal mainstream.”

      • Origami Isopod

        LOL no. “Squishy liberal mainstream” = “privileged middle-to-upper-class twits who think they’re entitled to lecture their inferiors.”

        • ChrisTS

          Hmm. I’m probably “privileged middle-to-upper-class,” and I call myself a ‘garden variety liberal’ which probably = something like ‘mainstream.’ I hope I am not a twit. And, the only people I feel “entitled to lecture to” are my students; even at that, this is more of a duty than an entitlement. And, I don’t regard anyone as my ‘inferior’ unless said person is an immoral asshat.

          • Origami Isopod

            If it’s not about you, it’s not about you. I don’t get my nose out of joint when folks of color rant about “white people” collectively because it’s not personal, it’s a structural issue.

            • Anonymous

              You’re sooooo very progressive Origami. How can I be more like you?

              Please help me confront my privilege!! Help, help, I’m being oppressed so privileged!!

              • sharculese the ignoranus

                You could stop whining about how people on the internet think your a creep, as a start.

                • Origami Isopod

                  It’s “you’re”.

                  Nigger. Kike. Spic. Faggot. Tranny.

                • sharculese the ignoranus

                  It’s “you’re”.

                  Most of the post I’m quoting is going to get deleted, so I’m putting this here to let the record reflect that once again, Jenny flamed out and just started spewing slurs for attention, except this time he thought it would be clever to impersonate Origami Isopod.

              • ChrisTS

                ugh

            • ChrisTS

              True, and good point.

  • Aaron Baker

    It can hardly be uncommon to have a husband with a judgment-warping sexual obsession. Can you will yourself to stop loving somebody when that turns out to be the case?

    • Manny Kant

      Yes, probably? It’s one thing to say that what happens between Weiner and Abedin is none of our business. But obviously plenty of women get divorced when their husbands turn out to have a judgment-warping sexual obsession.

      • Aaron Baker

        Maybe I should have been clearer: in many (perhaps most) cases you cannot simply will yourself to cut off someone you love at the knees.

        • ChrisTS

          I think this is correct. Further, when the loved one seems to ‘have a problem,’ rather than simply being a dick, one feels a duty to hang in and help.

        • Origami Isopod

          Especially if you’ve been socialized to believe it’s your role as a woman to take care of those around you.

          But, on a more general note, emotions aren’t easily willed away, and trying to do so causes more problems than it solves.

  • Halloween Jack

    My main takeaway from this is that MoDo and Sally Quinn are still awful excuses for human beings, not that that should come as a surprise.

    • witless chum

      Exactly. The Sally Quinn continuing to be published thing is especially bizarre. We know WaPo will publish pretty much anything if it comes from the right kind of bloodthirsty conservative, but she’s just such an asshole.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        Sally is around for precisely this purpose: having a woman do a hatchet job on another woman is much more “acceptable” than having a guy do it

        • BigHank53

          Now you know what a concern troll looks like when they turn professional.

          • What have you got against professional women trolls?

        • Hogan

          See also Richard Cohen and liberals.

  • On the topic of feminism, today is Maria Mitchell’s birthday. I knew about Mitchell because she ran my college’s observatory, which bears her name. What I didn’t know is despite her experience and and her duties, she was initially paid less than younger male professors. Being an uppity broad, she didn’t put up with that shit.

  • CaptBackslap

    It seems more like a post-hoc justification than anything else. What might be called the Disney Castle idea of marriage has a powerful hold on a lot of imaginations, and even progressive people often bristle at the more…Continental view.

    • LittlePig

      Absolutely. ‘it takes a lot of freaks to fill the freeway’. I wouldn’t vote for the guy, after that, end of civic duty. The rest of it is none of my damn business or anybody else’s but the parties themselves. Way too much Puritan tut-tuting going on.

      • brad

        Except that if it is an open marriage or similar, she’s lying about it for the sake of appearances. Their business is their business, and her heart is her own, but her public statements and actions are open to the same considerations as any others.
        Whatever he’s done, they have a kid and history, if she’s going to leave, waiting until a few months after the primary so as not to hurt him all the more in the middle of watching his career (deservedly) implode seems the right way to do it. And if she doesn’t, ain’t up to anyone but her.
        To me, wondering why she would isn’t necessarily right, but it’s natural. Saying she shouldn’t is where the real mistake is made.

        • brad

          Oops. “wondering why she would *stay* isn’t”…

  • Carmon’s first sentence is basically all you should need:

    It might seem strange to point out, but all things written by women are not feminism. Nor are all things that are written by women in the name of feminism–at least if you define feminism as fighting for the right of women to have equal personhood and participation in society.

    Feminism doesn’t mean “anything with women in it”… feel free to have and express your opinions about Huma Abedin, as she is a public figure, but don’t pretend that her decisions have any greater import for “defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.”

  • Heron

    The prudery on display in this episode has been quite a sight to behold. The shaming of Wiener’s partners, the attacks on Ms. Abedin’s heritage and agency, the vigorous attempt to portray something that tens of millions of people do every day as a “sickness”, an “addiction”, and a “compulsion”; it seems like every establishment media type who speaks on this feels the need to make ever more hysterical leaps of condemnation, revealing the ever darker depths of their sexual insecurity in the process.

    Some in the media, as well as trying to portray her continued fidelity as some manner of moral failure on Ms. Abedin’s part, have also tried to hide their condemnation of Wiener’s sexual practices behind the facade of a concern for truth. “I don’t care about his weird fetishes,” they say, “the real problem is that he lied about it.” Of course he lied about it; look at how the media reacts to finding out anything about sex! In the US, one of the surest ways to sabotage your political career is to find anything even mildly kinky arousing, and to let other people find out about it, because the media will obsessively shame and ridicule you for it every time.

    Whether we like it or not, what Wiener did -sexual Role-playing and pic exchange online- is a common and mundane act; a behavior whole forums on the internet are dedicated to facilitating, and something plenty of people(unwisely it turns out) use their twitter accounts for. We ought to be accepting it as a normal and private part of a person’s life even; something we might find personally skeezy or embarrassing to find out about, but a matter between him, his spouse, and his consensual partners nonetheless. Instead, we are treated to weeks of heated debate and intemperate condemnation -directed at him, those close to him, and the women involved- over what a man did and said in private, with a willing partner, to the mutual satisfaction of both parties. While punishing Wiener for the crime of not being ashamed of his sexuality is certainly the primary point of all this, I cannot help but think that, equally important to the Maureen Dowd’s of the world, is enforcing the “elite’s” puritanical and out-dated sexual mores and, through the “burning” of this public-figure-turned-effigy, attempt to shame and frighten anyone else who partakes of the multitudinous possibilities for sexual expression which the internet offers.

    I certainly don’t agree with Wiener on policy grounds, and whether his action have been unfaithful is for his wife to decide not I, but I do have the right and the authority to say, without shame, that the Internet is for Porn, Dammit! Whether he’s a jerk and an idiot or not, Anthony Wiener has the unequivocal Right to show off his bod and play out his fantasies on line with willing partners/audiences to his heart’s content, and I will stand up for his right to do so, from this comfy chair, against these uptight sexual would-be censors and sexual hall-monitors every day of the week!

    • BigHank53

      #1. Mr. Weiner repeated sent crotch-shots to people who, while adults, were not interested in his dick, photos of it, or what he’d like do with it.

      #2. I also don’t care what he gets up to in order to get his jollies, with the following two caveats: Stick to consenting adults, and I don’t wanna hear about it. Not because I’m some kind of prude, but because realizing that the rest of the world isn’t necessarily interested in your dick or your screams of joy or your bucket of urine is what adults do.

      Mr. Weiner is an abysmal failure at coping with his sexuality. Why couldn’t he get an anonymous phone and stick with consenting adults? His pattern of behavior suggests that the big turn-on for him isn’t the sexting, but the danger inherent in sexting from his own phone. Sexting to people who haven’t started flirting with you isn’t much different from being a flasher–which isn’t about sex so much as power, humiliation, and forcing others to participate in your jollies.

      People who like taking chances with power and sex should be kept far, far away from positions of great power. To put this as crudely as possible, would you want your teenage daughter –fuck, anyone’s teenage daughter– babysitting Anthony’s kid?

      • ChrisTS

        People who like taking chances with power and sex should be kept far, far away from positions of great power.

        This. I think his behavior is icky, even when consensual, but I also think it’s not my business. The problem is that he has made it my business by being so flat out flagrant and dumb about it.

        I would add, as well, that the amount of time he seems to spend at this amusement is a bit alarming.

        • [From outside the office of Mayor Wiener]

          Mr. Mayor! Godzilla is scratching – [door opens] his back on the Empire State Build – Eww!

          Hey! I’m taking pictures of my dick in here!

          • ChrisTS

            LOL. Thanks for that!

    • Scott Lemieux

      I agree with the caveat that not all of the recipients of Weiner’s tweets were consensual. A public official sending pictures of his genitalia to young women who send him innocuous tweets is a legitimate public issue.

      • daveNYC

        I’d add that managing to have his political career derailed twice by smartphone sexytime is an indicator of poor impulse control, bad risk analysis, or just plain stupidity (totally ignoring the non-consensual elements of the first incident).

    • sharculese the ignoranus

      willing partners

      This phrase is key, because the record shows Weiner isn’t as concerned with it as he ought to be, and we should at least not put him in public office until he proves he understands what consent is. We have enough Republicans who don’t get it. We don’t need clueless Democrats, too.

      • JMP

        The mainstream media’s portrayal of the whole thing really hasn’t helped. They’ve been acting like a bunch of gossip mongers, focusing “ew sexting” and acting like Weiner’s actions were something that, while not exactly cheating on his wife (at least that we know of), were close to it. While they’ve mostly ignored the most important issue of consent; you pretty have to either dig deep into the stories or follow the feminist blogs to know that most of the women Weiner sent his pictures to did not want them.

        So you get people – some ill-informed and some disingenuous – arguing that this is the media acting prudish about consensual sexual behavior, when it’s not.

    • Isabella

      I agree that mutually consensual sexting in and of itself is not a sickness, addiction or compulsion.
      However, I think that sexting may involve compulsion issues when doing so puts at risk his career ambitions, ability to be an advocate for progressive causes he claims to care about so much, and maybe his marriage.
      The media have definitely been confusing the discussion by conflating these issues.

  • Sly

    When I was 13, I was privy to the internal dilemma being waged inside my mother’s mind over the question of whether or not she should leave my father. The details of that dilemma are unimportant in the context of this particular topic, but I would note that such dilemmas are not within the category of experiences I would wish on anyone.

    And so my stance on this matter is derived from that experience moreso than any feminist orthodoxy (if such a thing can even be said to exist), and does not take into account the facts that Huma Abedin is a “public figure,” whatever that is supposed to mean, or that I wouldn’t vote for Anthony Weiner in the Democratic primary even if I could. And that stance is unambiguous:

    Anyone tut-tutting Huma Abedin should be repeatedly, and forcefully, smacked in the mouth.

    • Anyone tut-tutting Huma Abedin should be repeatedly, and forcefully, smacked in the mouth.

      Anyone tut-tutting Huma Abedin should be repeatedly, and forcefully, smacked in the mouth.

      Anyone tut-tutting Huma Abedin should be repeatedly, and forcefully, smacked in the mouth.

      Etc.

      One thing I’ve noticed, especially on the left side is that everyone is suddenly pretending things like love and affection don’t exist in their worlds. Sorry, if you’re in love (romantic, platonic, familial) you have put up with some kind of unpleasant behavior. Or you’ve been caused someone else to put up with some kind of behavior they find unpleasant.

      And the person who works by the “One strike and you’re out,” rule is really, really, really rare. (And probably has a personality issue that makes them unpleasant to those who love them.)

      • Dave

        Her business is her business, until she tries to explain why other people ought to vote for her husband, who is a grade-A, publicly-demonstrated, recidivist, dick. So presuming she can avoid doing that, we’re all good.

  • joe from Lowell

    For all we know, Ms. Abedin is spending her off-hours kicking Weiner from room to room in their mansion, breaking only to drink some water and settle into the bathtub full of emeralds she made him buy her.

    Not my business. The Undersecretary of State for Yadda yadda yadda certainly doesn’t come across as a pushover to me.

    • CaptBackslap

      I guess we all should have seen that coming once Elaine Benes became Vice-President

  • Origami Isopod

    It’s the same old misogynist bullshit dressed up as “feminism”: Find a way to divert attention from the man who behaved wrongly and focus it on the woman.

  • Nathanael

    Weiner has shown himself to be more than a bit of a creep; he’s basically guilty of online sexual harassment.

    I have to say that standing by him lowers my opinion of Abedin; it means she has *bad taste*. Which affects my willingness to vote for *her*, or any candidate she works for.

It is main inner container footer text