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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

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An Interview With Caitlin Moran

Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman is a book about feminism, but it’s also light-hearted and reasonable and very, very funny. (Qualifiers that are evidently necessary in 2012, when only a lowly 29% percent of American women feel comfortable using the word “feminist.”)

I interviewed Caitlin to ask her about how to be a woman, but, more importantly, how to be a feminist in 2012.

When I was reading the section in your book in which you talk about how younger women are hesitant to use the word “feminist,” I thought to myself “Yikes! At least this isn’t a problem in New York City!” But then last night I talked to a (liberal! educated!) friend about this interview, and when I told her you’d written a book on feminism, she said “That scares me...” And then we got into a fight about it. How can we reclaim the word “feminism?”

My position is that every woman in the 21st century is feminist by default. This is a feminist world. We go to school with boys, we expect to be treated equally to boys, it's illegal to rape us, you can't own us, our paychecks go into our bank accounts, we are feminists, and unless you have actually handed in your vote at the White House and said "I have no need for this anymore," then you are a feminist. So then it becomes a semantic argument, why have we lost that word? I think young women, they just haven't heard the word feminism in the last 15 years or so anywhere in popular culture. I think one of the reason people got scared of it is that you don't have people going out there and saying, "I'm a feminist!" That's why I was interested in writing a sort of fun, colorful, common sense book, to get women to the point where they can support feminism publicly.

I love the litmus test you have for how to tell whether or not something is sexist: “Are men worrying about this? Would this make Jon Stewart feel insecure?”

I was thinking about it today, I was in the shower, and I was thinking about that argument that you can't be a feminist if you decide to be a stay at home mum, that that would be kind of a betrayment to the sisterhood. And I was like, ok, do I think men in any way betray anything if they stay at home and look after the kids? Well, obviously no, it's a really sexy thing to look after a child that much if that's what they want to do. So on that basis, of course it's not against feminism, and I knew that anyway, but it was a simple way to think “Would men get fucked up about this shit? Is there ever a debate when this kind of thing happens?”

I want to write a column next week for The Times about how I think we need to impose a world moratorium on having opinions on shit that women do for a month. Whenever something happens to a woman anywhere, everyone's gotta have a fucking opinion on it, like the new CEO of Yahoo!, and suddenly every feminist writer I know is being rung up by newspapers going "What's your opinion on this? Was she betraying the sisterhood by getting pregnant? What does this mean, what does this mean?” It's someone who got a job, if it was a man, we wouldn't be bothering about it. Every woman is seen as emblematic of like, two and a half million other women. It's horrible pressure, that's why women fuck up more than anything else. So maybe just for a month, unless it's a massive emergency, you know? Unless like, Diane Sawyer turns into a weird vampire, we should just not have opinions on anything women do for a month and let's just see if sales of Xanax and white wine have gone down by the end of the month.

Everyone who writes about the book mentions your anti-bikini waxing stance. You list eyebrow waxing, nipple plucking, arm shaving, etc., as aesthetic, but not pubic hair. But I know women who genuinely prefer waxing.

I’m not arguing from women being banned from Brazilians in the same way that I would try to sort of dispel totalitarianism of everybody having Brazilians at the moment. It's just the fact that that seems normal now, and I feel that anything that's normal that involves pain and costs a lot of money that boys aren't doing is something that I would really urgently want to have some kind of massive fucking inquest into.

That’s hard to put into practice though, because it is sort of the norm now, and like you say in the book, no one wants to risk being thought of as abnormal or undesirable. Sometimes girls now use pubic hair as a sort of chastity belt. Like if you want to make sure you don’t have sex with someone, you simply don’t shave or wax so you won’t be tempted, that’s how prevalent waxing is.

But would you really not, though?? Any rule I've ever made in my life, if I had two drinks and was quite turned on, I would just — if I had written the word "tit" on my tits in a black mark pen, and by taking my top off that word would be revealed, I would still have sex, because the thing is that men just don't care. You know, as I put in the book, there are men having sex with bicycles. There's American Pie, the highly grossing film about the eternal truth that men would fuck a pie. I don't think we need to worry about doing it for the men. There used to be the idea that women have to be persuaded. The idea that we've kind of flipped this whole thing the other way around so that women feel like they've got to persuade men to have sex with them by enduring incredibly costly cosmetic things is just nuts.

You got married at 24. That seems so young. The question of when to get married, and whether to get married, and how to know it’s the right person is one that my girlfriends and I are constantly asking each other. How did you know?

I was very, very lucky. You know when you've met the right person because there's nothing really to say. I've noticed that time and time again, every time one of my girlfriends goes "I've met this guy," and it just goes on forever in the G+ circles I'm in, and there will be pages and pages filled with like five or six of us debating what he said and what he did, and you're going "Well he did this, and he did that, what does it mean?" And then suddenly that person will disappear, and they've met someone else and they'll just resurface five weeks later and you go "What's going on?" and they're like "I just found a man." And they just stop talking about it. That is generally the key, the point where you stop talking about it, because there is nothing to say when you're happy. So yes, that's basically one of the big rules that I've found out in life. If you're talking about him, it's probably not your future husband.

I loved the chapter “Why You Shouldn’t Have Children.” It’s so rare to read an argument for that — I feel like you presented an option I didn’t previously feel like I really had.

That makes me so happy, because again, boys don't have to put up with this shit. This sort of panicking feeling that girls are given, sometimes even in their teenage years, like kind of "When are you gonna have kids?! When are you gonna have kids?!" Women multi-task anyway, women will always be thinking about five things at once, but if you couple in "Oh my god, my biological clock!" a constant little ticker tape in the back of your head about when you’re going to have kids, along with "Oh god do I look fat in this, when am I gonna lose a stone?" and "These shoes hurt" and just all the things that you're constantly worrying about in the back of your mind, all the shit that we don't go around telling people, that's holding us back because we're fucking psychically knackered from dealing with all this stuff and keeping it quiet. And one of the things I've loved about the book is that it means we've all just started talking about it. It just gives everyone permission to go "Yeah! A load of disgusting weird freaky things happen to me — and every other woman on the planet!” And it's not that I'm weird and freaky and disgusting – that’s just normal!" Our entire conception of normal is being a man. The argument to reclaim what the word "normal" means is the next big thing of feminism. So it's not even like, "Oh, Hillary Clinton pioneeringly didn't wear make-up this week," so that it's just absolutely normal for a woman to not wear make-up and go and kick some ass internationally.

The why not to have children chapter was written as a love letter to my sister Caz. She's always made it very clear that she never wants to have kids. One of the first questions men or women ask you is "Have you got kids?" At the start of a conversation you shouldn't be having to say "My womb's all fucked up and I haven't got a boyfriend!"

It’s definitely a personal question but I sort of like that it’s become ok to ask each other that. I was out to dinner a few weeks ago with a group of girls that I didn’t know very well, and one of them asked “So, do you guys want to have kids?” sort of randomly. But it was great that that’s a question we’re even allowed to ask each other.

Well, YOU are exactly the people who should be having that conversation! You're absolutely allowed to, of course it would be of concern to you. YES, that conversation is appropriate because it's relevant to you, your age, and your relationships with each other. It's NOT relevant if you just fucking met someone or someone's a lot older than you or someone's a journalist talking to a female celebrity. That's inappropriate behavior, and it's one of those zero tolerance aspects. Women need to be going "That's inappropriate."

Let’s talk about words for a second. You have a section in your book where you talk about how you use the word “cunt” for your vagina. (“Cunt is a proper, old, historic, strong word.” HTBAW). You advocate the importance of reclaiming the word “feminism,” calling it our strongest weapon as women. And you’ve gotten some criticism for using the words “retard” and “tranny.” Are there some words that we should be afraid of using?

Well, I think the two things of equal importance, the Batman and the Joker of all civilization, is freedom of speech, for people to communicate about how they feel, to talk about the reality of their existence, for no idea to be forbidden. AND the absolutely equally to the last milligram importance of everyone being polite and not upsetting each other. And so, for instance, with the word "retard" which I had in the book, that was a quote from my diary when I was thirteen. I know that the word is offensive now. I wrote the book in such a hurry, and when it was pointed out that it was just kind of sitting there not in the context of what I'd said when I was thirteen, we immediately pulled it, issued a massive apology, and I would never use that again.

The word "tranny" was interesting because a load of people really jumped on that. Three of my friends are transvestites, and we had always used the word "tranny" to mean transvestite, not transsexual, and didn't know that that was a massive issue. Initially I was kind of equally tetchy, like, 'There's no greater friend of the gays! How dare you?” But after the misunderstanding that happened on Twitter, I researched lots and came across the word "cis" which I'd never come across before, and again it comes back to the idea of normality, so that educated me and that's fantastic, that's why it's brilliant that Twitter's there. It educated me about "cis" and "tranny" and "trans" in a way that I have educated people about feminism, so it was all very useful.

In your interview with NPR last Thursday (listen to it here! It’s great!), you mentioned that you used to think “Once I’m thinner and smooth and have perfect hair and perfect outfits, everything will fall into place!” and you said you thought that until you were twenty-eight or twenty-nine. I’m twenty-six, and I feel that way all. the time. And even if you know better, it’s hard to stop thinking that way! So, how did you?

The trick is, and there's a little bit of heartbreak, you have to just give up on the idea of being a princess. You have to give up on the idea of being fabulous. My kind of base position on existence is that you just have to admit you're a bit of a twat. You're a bit of a div, you're a kind of sweaty, stumpy, well-meaning idiot and you're trying your hardest, but it's just enough to be a sort of pleasant, polite person who's working quite hard and tries to be nice to the people they're nice to. We don't need to have any more ambitions than that! This whole sassiness thing – everything's got to be sarcastic, everything's got to be knowing, everything's got to be cynical. You've got to be on top of your shit twenty-four hours a day. THAT is exhausting. It's just far better to go, you know what? I'm just basically a monkey in a dress, and the best I can hope for every day is just to be nice, to smile as much as possible, to be gentle, try and be a bit understanding, work really hard, go and smell some flowers, have a cup of tea, ring your mum if you get on with her, just kind of dial it down a bit. There's a more sustainable idea of being a woman rather than feeling like you're in a fucking movie twenty-four hours a day.

So, we live in a time of bikini waxes and birth control and latent sexism and the ability to choose a career over marriage. Is it a good or a bad time to be a woman?

It's a time of enormous potential. The door has never been more open than it is now. We all just swarmed onto the battlefield and we did some enormous stuff and we killed some motherfucking patriarchy, and there are lots of dead patriarchs all over the floor, and that was all good. But we now need to work out which direction we're going to surge in next. And I just think being reasonable is the big thing that we need, you know, if the women are going to gather around in the 21st century and go, "Ok, we won that battle, where are we going to go next?" I think the next battle is A) overturn what normality means, what normal is, and B) just doing it in a reasonable way. I would love it if this became the era of shrugging, cardigan-wearing reasonable people.

If you could choose one subjugated woman from history to bring to 2012 in order to enjoy the freedoms that women have now, who would you choose?

Probably Mary Wollstonecraft. Because that was so ballsy, you know? That was an era where there were people around who could still remember witches being burned. So not just to give her hope and make her realize that she did start something that was incredible, but also to reward her by letting her just sit back and listen to some Beyonce, and order a really fucking amazing steak, and some underwear that wasn't made of sacking cloth, and that wasn't full of nits. I would bring Mary Wollstonecraft back and show her the 21st century. Give her some wine.

Chiara Atik is a dating writer, a Lower East Side dweller, and a feminist.

338 Comments / Post A Comment

melis

"It's horrible pressure, that's why women fuck up more than anything else." It took me a minute to realize she meant "it's horrible pressure, more than anything else, that [causes] women to fuck up" and not "women fuck things up more than anything, even dead coral and negative eagles and people from Maine." PHEW!

melis

Also Caitlin Moran is my spirit animal.

sceps yarx

@melis I want to be able to go into a trance and visit an ice cave with Caitlin Moran in it and come back with some kind of crazy full-chakra feminist-qi flames radiating all around my body.

melis

Also: 89 comments and nobody's talking about how great the grey streak in her hair is? Come on, guys.

WaityKatie

@melis This is probably an incredibly dumb question, but do people grow these grey streaks naturally? Or is is a dye thing? Because I want one.

sceps yarx

@melis that was the first thing I noticed, but then all the other awesomeness and appropriately used f-bombs pushed it right out of my head!

sceps yarx

@WaityKatie I just read an article about this! Apparently it's super-hard do get a nice-looking grey dye, because you have to essentially whiten the hair to not have any yellow tones, and then add the grey tint back into it. So, it's recommended that you let your natural grey grow out a bit and then get someone professional to blend it in with the rest of your hair. You can get your hair "frosted" but it will probably just look blonde.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@WaityKatie
I like to call them Sontags!

Cat named Virtute

@WaityKatie I have one! It's much smaller and less pronounced and more toward the middle of my crown than the front, and sadly my hair is an ashy brown colour, so it's not very noticabie, but I have one, and I looooove it.

WaityKatie

@Cat named Virtute Maybe I'll just keep hoping to grow one. Because these randomly spaced greys I've been getting are really not doing it for me.

Megasus

@WaityKatie My sister has one and it is natural.

zoe
zoe

@melis @WaityKatie I have one! it's natural.. if you call the last three years worth of 2xhorrendous breakups (7years, 1year+massiveheartbreak) and a PhD 'natural'. It was always a few hairs, now it's a full on stripe. Thesis/dissertation isn't finished yet, I think my (thanks @josiahg!) 'Sontag' will be significant by the time I hand in next year. I've stopped highlighting my hair and am wearing a blunt fringe, so it's super obvious on my dark blonde natural hair colour, but hidden for now.. will grow the fringe and really bust it out at some point. It gets me laid.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

Just remembered that my cousin got one through being in a horrible vehicle accident. So you all could try that, too!

acid burn

@Cat named Virtute Me too, me too! I love mine but mostly people don't notice it because my hair is ashy light brown/dark blonde whatever, or else they think it's just highlights. But it's grown to the point lately that if I wear a headband or ponytail it gets REALLY prominent (to me anyway) which is exciting.

Myrtle

@josiahg Also, Miss Bonnie Raitt

iceberg

Well, I love this woman now, and I'd never heard of her before this interview!

karion

@iceberg: This was, word for word, my reaction.

Caitlin - holy shit, woman. I am not the kind of girl who uses the phrase spirit animal, but holy fuck, you are my spirit animal.

Also, I loved the cuss out of this - truer words and all that:

That is generally the key, the point where you stop talking about it, because there is nothing to say when you're happy. So yes, that's basically one of the big rules that I've found out in life. If you're talking about him, it's probably not your future husband.

Cat named Virtute

@karion That legit made me stop and think for a good five minutes. I think it is true, and I'd never thought about it.

questingbeast

@karion In lieu of answers to any future Ask A Lady letters, they should just print that in huge capitals.

saul "the bear" berenson

@karion Yes - my jaw dropped at this section too. For about 8 months, I've been dating a guy who is pretty much the man of my dreams and then some. My friends don't understand why I'm not turning to them for advice and letting them in... but there just isn't really anything to talk about! I'm just happy! And sometimes things are hard, but he and I talk those things over right away and resolve them, and all the man-decoder stuff you need girlfriends for isn't really a part of things. Not that I don't desperately need my female friends in my life, of course I do. But Caitlin nails this.

packedsuitcase

@Moxie Yes! This! I read that part in the book, and I thought, "Oh. Yeah, that makes sense." I've been dating Dudefriend for about...10 months? and just haven't had the need to analyze everything or wonder what's going on. I'm happy, we're happy, other than sharing fun details, there's not much to talk about.

Actually, what's funny is, I made the mistake of venting about him one day (Dudefriend is wonderful, but sometimes his time management skills are a bit lacking) and my friends decided to take it like it was any other relationship and immediately start over analyzing and criticising, and I was so shocked, because it was so clear to me this is just an annoying quirk, not something to worry about. But they were treating him like any other guy, and it didn't hit me until later that that was how we would talk about any other guy. It's like, whoa, this shit is EXHAUSTING. Glad I don't have to worry about that anymore.

Eve Vawter@twitter

Ugh you guys, thanks so much for this interview. I love her so much, I even made my husband buy a copy of her book. She is just amazing.

Ophelia

This makes me feel much happier about all of the other crap I've been reading today. I'm going to start happily and positively using "cunt" from now on. Anglo-saxons rock.

Also, Caitlin Moran, you are correct on the waxing. Yeesh.

SarahP

@Ophelia I have gone no embarrassingly long diatribes about what a strong word that is, etymology-wise, at more than one party.

I don't get invited to so many parties anymore! But it is an awesome word.

i make lists

@SarahP I'm interested in this diatribe!

EpWs

@SarahP Diatribe me, cap'n!

eiffeldesigns

This is another reminder I must go buy this book. Now.

Caitlin Moran is one of those ladies that I wish I had in my circle of friends. And she would definitely lecture me on getting a brazilian. And I'd totally call her a cunt. And then we'd have a bottle of wine and talk about everything.

And I, for one, call myself a feminist. It shouldn't be an odd thing for us ladies to say.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

I just convinced my book club to read this a couple of days ago! They may not all like it but this has convinced me that we all need to read it.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@quickdrawkiddo Also, holy crap you guys, are Brazilian waxes THAT prevalent now? I've slept with a lot of dudes and the only one who ever reacted in ANY way to my pubic hair said "I'm so glad you're not waxed."

plonk

@quickdrawkiddo I HAVE THE SAME QUESTION. i keep hearing all this stuff about "brazilians are the norm now" (mostly in the context of "doesn't it suck that brazilians are the norm now," which makes it more upsetting somehow) but, being a person who has had sex with very few people, i have no personal experience for evaluating what the prevalent expectation is! is this REALLY true? can gallup conduct a properly designed poll?

Katie Heaney

@plonk I don't know how prevalent it ACTUALLY is but the expectation that it is prevalent is certainly there. my bff's ex-bf was stunned to learn she knew people without brazilians, for one totally anecdotal piece of evidence

Ophelia

@plonk I'd say from very anecdotal evidence that neat edges are far more prevalent than anything else? But I also live in Brooklyn, so.

eiffeldesigns

@quickdrawkiddo Yes, for girls on the dating scene, I think they are. At the very least, ladies are getting regular bikini waxes to tidy things up and look trim and neat.

Every single one of my girlfriends gets it done (and one is going so far as to get herself lasered). I never did when I was married, but after I started dating again I opted to go for it. I don't get everything removed- I cannot stand the no-hair look- but everything below and around the predetermined triangle gets yanked out. I do, however, take the occasional break and just get a regular ol' bikini wax.

I think a lot also depends on your age and the age of the guys you are dating. The younger men I've been with (younger than 30) almost always expected a completely bare look. The older gentlemen (both 37 & 40) were ecstatic to see that I kept a neatly trimmed bit around (although both admitted liking that I was bare everywhere else).

TMI? Is that possible on the hairpin? ;-)

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@plonk It has literally only come up the one time in my quest to be the Biggest Slut in Brooklyn, and like I said, that reaction was overwhelmingly positive. So who knows? My attitude has always been that if a dude doesn't like something about my naked body, he can go fuck himself (literally!), so even finding out I was the last non-waxing holdout in the world probably wouldn't change my mind. Or so I'd like to think.

Ophelia

@quickdrawkiddo Yeah, the only negative comment I've ever received was from a juicebox that I really should've known better than to sleep with in the first place.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@Kirs Interesting! I only have one friend who I discuss such matters with, and I think she does get Brazilians. And I'm 31 and date mostly younger guys, FWIW.

timesnewroman

@quickdrawkiddo Different experience I may as well throw in: I am in my early 20s, everyone I've ever slept with (not exactly a scientific-sample size, but a fair few, boyfriends, one night stands and everything inbetween) have been in their early 20s, and not one. single. man. has ever commented on my pubic hair (trimmed, but certainly all there, messy natural bikini line and everything). And these guys have all grown up watching porn from an early age. I've asked some of them, even a couple of the one-nighters (I was doing a sort of personal experiment, as I was as curious as you), if they thought I should wax, and all I've ever got is a shrug or maybe a "I dunno, might be nice? I don't really care though".

I hear the whole "pubic hair is disgusting" in general, fully-clothed conversation a lot. But not one single man has ever reacted oddly to mine.

The only entity that pubic hair removal really benefits is the beauty industry.

Edit: I should add, I'm English. But I doubt it makes much difference - same porn, similar media sources. SHOULD ALSO ADD: pretty sure not a single one of those guys would ever have called himself a feminist!

bellekaren

@plonk I feel like it's actually gone down in the past few years, peeking about 2009. That may be my personal relationship with it, ha, but also the sense I get from my age group (18-22).

RNL
RNL

@plonk Yeah, I'm gonna have to side with the other commenters - slept with lots of dudes in the last 8 years, ages 19 to... well, under 37 I'd bet. Nobody has ever commented on pubic hair other than to be enthusiastic. Like a sincere "Wow! Hair! Awesome!" from a dbag who probably sleeps with highly highly waxed and groomed barstars most of the time. Actual boyfriends have been against the full wax. To be fair, it's always trimmed back pretty aggressively, which I think is a big thing vis-a-vis the visceral experience of the encounter.

I bet some guys didn't like it, but who comments negatively on the body of someone they're about to sleep with? Some of them didn't sleep with me again, some did. No correlation with amount of pubic hair on display. I think it's all a big myth, that guys perpetuate in public because they think they have to. Like there's something wrong with them if they like or don't mind hair, just like there's something wrong with us if we have it.

The soap companies, man. They're getting us down.

*Oh, and I'm Canadian!

WaityKatie

@quickdrawkiddo Yeah, I mean, I've been "on the dating scene" my whole life pretty much, and although I haven't slept with a shit-ton of people, I've never had anyone say anything one way or the other. Well, once, but like you said, it was positive. (of course now I'm paranoid that they were all thinking I'm gross and not "trim and neat," (bleh!) behind my back...) I'm 36 now, but I've never done any kind of waxing business, through my 20's up until now.

WaityKatie

@WaityKatie Actually, the only conversations I've had about it have mostly been with friends who are getting back to dating after being married etc., expressing anxiety that guys are going to expect them to be hairless. I'm starting to think this might be a loch ness monster-style legend.

RNL
RNL

@WaityKatie There is a lake in Scotland full of hairless cunts, ach.

eiffeldesigns

@quickdrawkiddo I'm 33 and have been dating all over the age map. 26-40. I'm still relatively new to the dating scene (as of January this year). Ever since I got divorced my girlfriends have decided to share all sorts of stuff with me- including their pubic hair grooming techniques. ;-)

"@WaityKatie Actually, the only conversations I've had about it have mostly been with friends who are getting back to dating after being married etc., expressing anxiety that guys are going to expect them to be hairless."

Ha. That resembles me. Although it wasn't really expressing anxiety on my part. I don't know- I go back and forth on the whole thing. Part of me likes it. Part of me thinks it's a pain in the arse (literally and figuratively).

Sea Ermine

@plonk I think, at least in my experience, that trimming is way more prevalent than waxing or shaving. I've had numerous conversations where people have said things like "You can wax or not wax if you want to but I always trim to keep things neat" or comment that people should do whatever they want with their hair but then if it comes up that I don't trim shave or wax I get weird looks or comments of "why not".

D.@twitter

@Sea Ermine Agreed. Waxing is something I associate w/ younger women: those who don't yet know that they don't HAVE to meet all these stringent requirements in order to be attractive. One of the most oppressive things about the expected beauty regimen, for me, is the TIME it requires. I was the most soignee when I had to spend weeks recovering from an illness, and had nothing else to do but give myself pedicures. It's not that I don't get any part of me waxed or plucked or shaped on principle, necessarily, but there's so much else I either have to do/would rather be doing. I feel like all we need to do is convince women to give themselves a break for a while, and allow inertia to do the rest.

Springtime for Voldemort

@plonk Study (http://www.depiliacija.eu/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/herbenick-et-al-2010.pdf) says "Findings suggest that pubic hair styles are diverse and that it is more common than not for women to
have at least some pubic hair on their genitals." It is only the one study, and despite the idea that no hair is the new norm, almost no one has actually gathered evidence to back that up.

KaiMcN@twitter

@quickdrawkiddo I never have waxed and only would if I were wearing something in public that I wanted really trim and I'm not likely to do that.
I do my own maintenance down there and that's for me. I've gotten no complaints.

notfromvenus

@quickdrawkiddo Yeah, um, I don't ever wax either and it's never been a thing at all. If anything, my current guy was glad that I had some hair.

Also, I've slept with, um, quite a few ladies and IIRC only one of them was waxed. Though I think gay/bi girls have a bit of a different attitude about this stuff.

itiresias

@papayalily I'm 23 and live in a major city and have had this conversation with a lot of friends over the years. The norm, and by that I mean the vast majority, that I know (among women and men, actually) is to shave when it gets out of hand and then let it grow as you see fit. I probably shave like 2 times a week? my boyfriend does like every couple of months because he knows I actually really like his pubes, but he used to more often when his ex had different preferences? I have never really felt social pressure about it.

Except when we found out my college roommate trimmed but never fully shaved hers and said, fatefully, "well it's not like I'm keeping a wild jungle, it's more like an english country garden." i'm still making references to that one.

packedsuitcase

@itiresias Maybe one of the few benefits of a long distance relationship is the ability to grow a jungle and not give a shit. When Dudefriend and I are in the same country, I trim (when I visited him the first time, I waxed, which was insanely painful and also not fun at all, however there were no strays or ingrowns to deal with, which was nice), otherwise I basically ignore it.

Also, it's weird having somebody torturing your hooha, then standing back, looking at it with kind of that sideways confused dog head tilt, and saying, "You've been here before." No, I haven't, but it's good to know my vagina has a doppelganger.

timesnewroman

Oh Caitlin Moran how I <3 you.

Yes yes yes, on pubic hair, I hate how when you bring it up, all tentatively, some women always say "but I LOVE waxing!!!" Which, fine, if that's what you like (though I find it hard to believe all of you), but it's the OBLIGATION to remove my pubic hair that I object to. "It's just the fact that that seems normal now, and I feel that anything that's normal that involves pain and costs a lot of money that boys aren't doing is something that I would really urgently want to have some kind of massive fucking inquest into". Yes.

timesnewroman

Also, thank you Hairpin for interviewing her, it is a beautiful beautiful book.

melis

"I just totally happen to love this expensive, painful practice that reinforces years of social conditioning...in a vacuum devoid of any and all cultural context. I don't know how it happened, but it did, let's never think about it again!"

melis

Because, you know, yeah, of course you love it, you get social rewards for participating in conforming to convention. Otherwise no one would do it!

Snicker-snack!

@melis I choose my choice! I CHOOSE MY CHOICE!

timesnewroman

@melis Sort of ties in with this idea that feminism is the freedom for women to do WHATEVER WE WANT TO DO!! AS LONG AS IT'S WOMEN DOING IT! Which ... no, not exactly.

wee_ramekin

@Snicker-snack! You're quoting the most gender-role bound of the four Sex & the City friends ironically, right?

Snicker-snack!

@wee_ramekin Of course.

RNL
RNL

@timesnewroman The only problem with this argument: The boys are starting! STOP THEM! STOP THEM NOW!

If I see another hairless DMZ crotch on a hairy man I swear. I know I don't want my sex partners to express an opinion on my hair removal practices, but men. YOUR PUBIC HAIR IS FINE. MY PUBIC HAIR IS FINE. Some trimming is fine. But please I don't want a world where we all have to pretend our crotches are hairless.

PlusIdon'tlikethewayitlooksahhhhhIdon'twanttoimposemypersonalstandardsonothersjustlikeIdon'twanttoshaveallmypubichair.

timesnewroman

@RobotsNeedLove Oh yes of course. Right now I would say that it is an issue for feminism because men don't feel an obligation to shave -- yet. But yes that could change, and yes I deff agree STOP THEM RIGHT NOW!!

Whenever I've seen it on a man (rarely, thank fuck) all I can think is "THIS DOES NOT MAKE YOUR PENIS LOOK BIGGER!!!!"

WaityKatie

@melis Well, I happen to enjoy my foot binding. Feminism is about choooicessssss.

RNL
RNL

@timesnewroman Just more like an anteater that is the exact same size. Don't do it, gents! Hair is sexy.*

*Do what you like with your own bodies, gents! Hair is sexy to me! Sexiest is you doing you, loving what you got going on!

garli

@timesnewroman I love waxing. Or more honestly, sugaring. I also love having shaved legs but I don't want to shave my lady pieces because it makes me nervous. It hurts for like 5 seconds and it hurts less then taking off a bandaid. Also you can go 6 weeks with out thinking about pube maintence! (I love swimming laps and I find most one pieces are cut so that your pubes hang out)

My husband likes it too, but I've been doing it since before I met him so it's not a big deal.

timesnewroman

@garli I think about the way swimsuits are cut a lot. WHY are they cut so that they show half an inch (ymmv) of pubic hair as standard? Maybe they should be cut differently???

You're very very lucky that a wax lasts 6 weeks.

WaityKatie

@timesnewroman The old timey ones (like the Esther Williams type ones) usually come down further. Better for the thigh-exhibition, also.

timesnewroman

@WaityKatie I just wish it was the default that pants covered pubes and then maybe we wouldn't all be having this conversation!!

sceps yarx

@timesnewroman I always buy my swimsuits from the Delia's catalogue 'cause they have boy short bottoms. Caveat: I fit into juniors sizes.

Sea Ermine

@timesnewroman I buy swimsuit bottoms that are like tiny little shorts (like boyshort underwear) 50% because it looks best on my body (small boobed hourglass) and 50% because it means I don't have to worry about trimming/shaving hair before swimming.

Hammitt

@timesnewroman This thread go weirdly judgey which sort of changed what I was going to say here. I was going to say that I so agree with her that its something we should worry about, but also that I do it. I don't know that I've put enough time into thinking about why. There's something about [graphic] wiping after you pee [/graphic] that's just really satisfying with the hair all gone, but also it IS painful and it DOES cost lots, and I'd be lying if I said my boyfriend doesn't like it. He never asked me to, we got together when I didn't do any maintenance at all down there, but does like it now that it happens.

I guess the biggest thing is that I understand we should talk about this culturally, but why does the tone have to be so violent and mean? Why do women who do do this have to feel like shit every time they enter a conversation about it with their fellow feminists? Surely, really surely, we have learned by now that that's not a productive way to talk about shit?

timesnewroman

@Hammitt I agree with you that it can get aggressive. After I left a few comments on this post last night and started to get into conversations about it I started worrying about my tone.

On the flip side, in real, non Internet feminist life people can be very rude when you tell them you don't wax. And also - which was my original comment that started this thread - they can dismiss your desire to talk about waxing by effectively saying "I am a woman, it's my body, no one forces me to do it, therefore there's nothing to talk about."

What I try to do is focus not on "you are a bad person if you remove your pubic hair" (I wax sometimes) but on "it is bad that in the last fifteen years women have started feeling an obligation to remove their pubic hair". So when people say (like downthread) am I a bad person for waxing? I would say No you are not a bad person for waxing, the obligation you feel to wax is bad. And that obligation is not your fault.

D.@twitter

@sceps yarx Also, there's been a comeback to "retro" swimsuits. My bikini bottoms are basically high-waisted hot shorts, so the tops of the thighs are covered.

Beatrix Kiddo

@garli I like waxing too. It doesn't hurt that much (honestly, a facial hurts way more), it lasts a long time, and if you've ever had an errant hair somehow get pulled along with the friction while having sex, you'll want to not have the hair there at all. However, I would never suggest that everyone should do it or that it's gross to have pubic hair. People should just do what feels comfortable to them.

I'm pretty sure most of my friends prefer to trim, and only a few wax, but I could be wrong. I don't feel any obligation to do it or not, and anyone who would try to impose that obligation on others should be ignored. (My boyfriend likes it, but if he had a different opinion, I'd still do what I'm doing.)

Springtime for Voldemort

@timesnewroman I agree that the obligation sucks. But the discussion almost always gets super hostile and judgey really fast (including here), and starts insulting those who do wax/shave as "looking like children" (always a great way to get someone on your side; insinuate that they're attempting to appease pedos) and making them justify their choices in the context of social conditioning without making those don't get rid of their pubic hair justify their choices and look at their respective social conditioning. If the argument is "there should be more diverse representation of possible pubic hair stylings, and less pressure to chose any particular one", then I think a lot of people will side with that. But the second it gets all into dissing those who do partake in hair removal, you're gonna lose a lot of people.

Related: I've had several men and women partners make nasty (see: child's vagina) comments about my lack of pubic hair. Well, I say partners, obviously we then stopped being partners. I think the problem might be more people's entitlement to make shitty comments about other people's genitals.

WaityKatie

@papayalily I agree that nasty comments about anyone's genitals are not ok, but I haven't seen anyone here make the "child-pedo" type comments. (maybe I missed something?) It's been more the "you have to examine WHY it "feels good" to remove all your hair, because you live in a context that pressures women to do just that." In mainstream society, comments stating or implying that women who don't wax are "nasty" or "dirty" or "unkempt" or "ungroomed," etc. are WAY more common than anything derogatory about women who do wax. That's just the context we all live in. So, fine, if you like the feel of waxing, but you have to acknowledge that part of liking that feel is the social approval you get for doing it, from both men and women.

timesnewroman

@WaityKatie Agreed, I haven't seen anything I would call "hostile" or judgey. I'm really pleased I haven't seen a single person (a feat for a discussion of pubes!!) trotting out the child-paedo argument, because it is indeed useless and insulting. The only thing I would call at all sarky is maybe melis's comment and WaityKatie's comment on footbinding but what they were doing was making a point about the rubbish argument that nothing a woman does can be discussed because if a woman chooses to do something of her own free will then it is intrinsically feminist.

Springtime for Voldemort

@WaityKatie Yeah, I included that because, aside from being so common I'm genuinely surprised no one has brought it up yet, it's in Moran's book.

Well, I really don't have to acknowledge anything. And no, you don't know my reasons for doing it, and you don't get to; I'm surprised you would think you know what's in my head. But it's also more complicated than that. ALL of my friends are feminists, or feminist-leaning even if they don't feel that particular label is for them. On campus, the clubs I'm a part of are feminist or queer orgs; same for the volunteering. My mother has exactly three ways she's a feminist: Pro-choice, anti-porn, and saying mean things about women who fall on the 'whore' side of the dichotomy, including the "child's vagina" thing. Most of the shows I watch either wouldn't say derogatory things about someone with pubic hair, or wouldn't comment on something so intimate. 99% of the porn I grew up with was either fanfic written by women, or by lesbians for lesbians, which is to say that I saw a wide range of pubic hair stylings growing up. The guys who would actually say crap about women who have pubic hair have this tendency to say other crap that means they don't get far enough to see my stuff. Whatever the hell everyone else is experiencing in the larger culture doesn't actually translate to my personal experiences, my personal groups. I don't get some sort of approval from the people I'm around for shaving; I get to hear a lot of comments about how it looks prepubescent, and how I just really need to exam my choices.

PS: I don't wax. I don't get waxing, on anything, ever; it hurts sooooooooooo bad. Razors don't (for me). Not really sure if that actually makes some kind of difference.

lisma

@papayalily "Well, I really don't have to acknowledge anything. And no, you don't know my reasons for doing it, and you don't get to; I'm surprised you would think you know what's in my head."

THANK YOU.

WaityKatie

@papayalily Ok, well, I'm not in college anymore and I live in the mainstream world, which includes a vast majority of people who have views the exact opposite of those you describe. That's great that you have created a pro-feminist world where everyone hates waxing and pube grooming and ridicules it, although if you want to hear the opposite perspective, all you need do is hang out with any other existing group of people. I"m fine with whatever you want to do to your pubes, I honestly don't care, and I do tons of things that cater to the patriarchy (leg shaving, makeup, laughing at unfunny jokes told by men, downplaying my intelligence so as not to offend, sitting for hours on dates with guys I am not attracted to to "be polite," I could go on for hours). We all do patriarchy-catering things, because we all live in a patriarchy. (Well, some people probably are totally badass and don't do any of that stuff, but I don't personally know any). That's fine if you just love shaving for the feel or whatever, and you live in a carefully proscribed world where there is absolutely no pressure on you to love it or do it for any other reason, but that is not the experience/world most of us live in. That is all I was trying to express.

Springtime for Voldemort

@WaityKatie Technically, there is quite a bit of pressure on me to grow it out. And I'm not unaware of what the larger culture thinks, it's just that all the people I care to actually spend time around voluntarily don't make comments about women with pubic hair. But I agree - there should be less pressure on women to have any particular hair style.

melis

@papayalily That makes a lot of sense! And, to clarify, I think it's fine to do whatever you like with your pubic/body hair. I've just encountered a lot of women who claim it's completely incidental that they like exactly what they're supposed to do - and certainly it can be, it's just a bit disingenuous to not at least acknowledge the really public conversation that takes place around what women do with their body hair. But good Lord, yes, whatever your reasons, do with your hair as you see fit!

Springtime for Voldemort

@melis Cool!

Yeah, in general, I think society does shape all of our choices. But then I think it's also mitigated by our more specific surroundings - what countercultures (if any) we're involved in, what the people we grew up with thought, what our parents thought, friends thought, the exact tv shows we were watching, etc. And then not everyone hears those messages the same way - some women might hear the pressure to wax and feel like they have to do it and so they do do it, but then others might go "oh, well since you're clearly a bag of dicks, I have no choice but to NOT shave so as to rebel against your shittiness." (shittyness??) And there's always a certain level of personal volition. I think much of my dislike of the analysis of pubic hair removal is that there isn't an analysis of all the other things combined with questions about "real choice": why so many of us wear jeans, why maxi dresses are so popular right now while almost no one wears Gunne Sax, and even if women who don't shave really do have a choice or if they're just reacting to the pressure differently. So then it implies not just that choices aren't make in a vacuum, but that this specific pubic hair removal choice is even less free than all the others.

So totally unrelated: I can't comment below, at the bottom... 10? threads. It just sends me to the top of the page. Anyone else having that issue?

WaityKatie

@papayalily I have that sometimes when the threads get too long...sometimes refreshing the page helps?

RNL
RNL

@melis I think that's why women get defensive or judgey too. Someone's allegedly freely chosen preference to shave or wax places them squarely in the "trim and neat/hot and sexy" camp, and my freely chosen preference to not do so makes me (mythologically) a risible, unsexy wildebeest. In that context, of course I (wrongly) want the choice to wax to be wrong, somehow.

The choices and the social context are not separable. If the personal is political, making the personal choice to remove pubic hair contributes to the zeitgeist that women are only acceptable without pubic hair.

But the personal is personal, actually. And this is such a funny one, because who the hell knows what's in your pants? Maybe that's why there is extra anxiety. I can compare my other choices and decide if I'm comfortable with how far they deviate from social expectations. But I can only compare my twat to those few I see - so, basically those at the pool and in porn.

WaityKatie

@RobotsNeedLove Yessss, exactly, you said this so much more eloquently than my attempts! There's also the issue that, because it is personal, our choices only become apparent to others at the times when we are most vulnerable, i.e., about to have sex, getting naked with someone for the first time, etc. So to be rejected or ridiculed at that point is just....awful.

sceps yarx

@WaityKatie Do any of you guys actually like and feel positive about your hair down there? I am hearing two basic camps: 1) I like to take most of it off (for whatever reason) or 2) I don't like to take it off because razors/waxing sucks and/or because I'm on team natural. But does anyone enjoy the way their ladyhairs look? I'm asking this because I am actually quite vain about mine. It's naturally an ash blonde color and I love it. Any other enjoyers out there?

mpdg

@sceps yarx I do! I mostly find it fun. It's all fluffy! I love it.

Also, Caitlin Moran is incredible. I press a copy of her book earnestly into the chest of all young, impressionable girls I encounter and hiss "Consume."

This comment thread has been incredibly interesting to read - it is much more nuanced than most conversations on pubic hair removal are (even in feminist contexts).

Hammitt

@papayalily @timesnewroman - I so agree with both of you. That's all.

Sea Ermine

@sceps yarx I actually really enjoy mine. I just find it aesthetically pleasing and I think it works with my overall look. I've taken it off three times before (twice shaved, once trimmed) and I just didn't find it as attractive (on me). Plus it's fluffy which is always fun.

RNL
RNL

@Sea Ermine I love this 1 million times. "My overall look". "Fluffy." Fabulous.

enantiom3r

@Sea Ermine I like mine too! It's always hard to isolate my motivations (because I DO think there shouldn't be pressure on anyone to look a particular way, so my decision not to do anything with my pubes COULD be political...) but when it comes right down to it, I think my little brown faux-hawk poof is pretty, and I'm glad I found somebody to canoodle with who feels the same.

Bebe

OK, I am now officially adopting, "You know what? I'm basically just a monkey in a dress." as my go-to mantra when I start freaking out about not being perfect at something. Thank you, Caitlin Moran.

wallsdonotfall

@Bebe Personally, I'm going to start murmuring "lots of dead patriarchs all over the floor" when I need to calm down.

Ophelia

@Bebe I'm going with, "at least my underpants aren't nit-ridden sackcloth" whenever I need a little perspective.

sceps yarx

@Bebe I think maybe I'll just memorize this entire interview.

RNL
RNL

@Ophelia If they were, you would definitely need pubes.

Bebe

@wallsdonotfall You may want to use that as a silent mediation, at least in public.

sophia_h

I was just talking about waxing with my coworker yesterday, and she was kind of horrified that I never have. I think I just skipped it generationally; I'm 31, been with the same guy since I was 18, and never felt any real social need to do more than make sure stuff doesn't stick out past my bathing suit line. I bet if I had been on the dating scene in my 20s, though, I would have ended up doing it sooner or later because some guy would have asked me to. Which just seems sad!

H.E. Ladypants

@sophia_h Ha! Funny thing, I was just having a conversation with a friend of mine earlier this afternoon wherein I confessed that somehow I magically missed this whole bag of weirdness. I didn't even know that was a thing women did until I was in my mid-twenties! (About five years ago.)

I got laid a lot during my twenties and there wasn't a single dude who said anything one way or the other. (I asked Mr. Ladypants if he had a preference once. He loudly stated, "It's your body, I don't get a vote and I am not opening this can of worms!" and then ran out of the room.)

HeyThatsMyBike

@sophia_h I'm around the same age and feel like I'm the only person I know that doesn't/hasn't had a brazilian. I'm prone to ingrowns so that's part of it, but I also just wasn't interested in being full-on bald down there (though I do perform very regular maintenance on my own). Plus if I'm going to spend $35-40 on something aesthetically frivolous, it's going to be a mani/pedi. Never had complaints.

harebell

@sophia_h go to a ladies-only gym with a really nice steam room & whirlpool & sauna, & we all get naked for that except a few super-prudish teen-20 year olds. I'm not looking at anyone particularly, of course, but one can't help noticing that ALMOST NO-ONE is completely Brazilianed. It's just hype. At the gym in my urban area, I almost never, ever see it. I'm sure lots of ladies trim, who knows, but almost nobody ever is totally bare down there. (And thank god, too -- please hold on to your mystery, ladies).

Springtime for Voldemort

@sophia_h Or... we could just stop telling women what to do with their genitals, period?

Sister Administrator

@harebell This jives with my own changeroom observations, mostly in pricey hot yoga studios where the ladies tend to be mani-pedi'd and highlighted and "taken care of" head to toe.

wee_ramekin

I agree with Chiara in that I like the author's litmus test for sexism. Wouldn't it be amazing if Hillary Goddamned Clinton did not have to worry about what her make-up looks like when it came to getting her job done?

Let's make this happen.

Ophelia

@wee_ramekin It needs a title, like the Bechdel test - maybe the Moran Equivalency?

C.J.'s doing the jackal

@Ophelia Oh, that's excellent, the Moran Equivalency! I'm going to start using that in conversations now.

wee_ramekin

@Ophelia I wonder if we could get Alison Bechdel to draw a cartoon for it?!

Ophelia

@wee_ramekin That would be AMAZING

VDRE

Question for people who've read the book: should I give it to my mom? From the interview it seems like it's aimed at younger/not married ladies. I know that she'd appreciate a book about feminism but I don't know that a lot of the book would apply to her?

timesnewroman

@VDRE My mum (she's 53) loved it. It doesn't just talk about body hair - she talks about her wedding, childbirth, her kids, her abortion, growing up very poor, masturbation, underwear ... other things. It is also very, very funny. I would always vote yes. It's very accessible feminism.

timesnewroman

@VDRE Oh ok just saw that you said she WOULD appreciate a book about feminism (I read it as would not) and in that case, yes, definitely!!

C.J.'s doing the jackal

@VDRE Yes, do! I'm going to give it to mine as well in the spirit of bridging the feminist generational divide, or something.

I think there's a lot of stuff in there which might be eye-opening for old-schooly feminist ladies, like Moran's discussion of porn, Brazilians, etc. which my mum's generation didn't have to worry about so much because they were around in the 70s and it was all hirsute free-love and what have you.

And it's fucking funny, like timesnewroman said.

Springtime for Voldemort

@VDRE Not knowing your mom, I think she'd like it. While it's aimed at younger women, I think Moran's particular brand of feminism is often a bit older, so I thought it really would end up speaking more to women of her own age than younger women.

angelene

@papayalily My mum loves it and a friend got it for his mum's birthday just on the basis of me going on about it. His mum loves it. A hit with mums/moms everywhere. Also the bit about motherhood, and also the decision not to have children, is really moving, it's not just pubic-hair lols. One of the best chapters is about escaping a terrible relationship.

Springtime for Voldemort

@angelene Oh, no, I didn't mean to imply that it was only pubic hair. There are a lot of great parts. One of my favorites was the part on NOT having kids. I just also felt like it didn't really answer any of the issues I had/have with the "feminist" label, but it sounds a lot like what I've heard a lot of older (Gen X, Boomers) women say, so I thought that might be it. But it might not be a generational thing!

wee_ramekin

"...it's just enough to be a sort of pleasant, polite person who's working quite hard and tries to be nice to the people they're nice to."

I love this.

plonk

@wee_ramekin ahaha twins. cept i think that "you're a bit of a twat" is an important part of that sentiment.

Ophelia

@plonk Americans don't use "twat" nearly enough.

wee_ramekin

@Ophelia I also like her sentiment about wanting the world to be full of "cardigan-wearing, reasonable people".

I could be a cardigan-wearing, reasonable twat. I really could!

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@Ophelia it's easily my favorite naughty word :)

Ophelia

@wee_ramekin ...I think (at least in the winter) I already am.

plonk

@wee_ramekin as a bonus, in the world she envisions, the women who really ARE sassy and fabulous by nature would shine brighter, and EVERYONE would be appreciated as human beings and not evaluated as performers of the moment's preferred ideal of femininity!

sceps yarx

@plonk As someone who likes to be sassy and fabulous (or rather, outspoken and flamboyant), I love what you just said. I HATE feeling like a performer. Doing it "right" or "wrong" means that someone's judging you either way. Ugh....

plonk

my favorite part: "My kind of base position on existence is that you just have to admit you're a bit of a twat. You're a bit of a div, you're a kind of sweaty, stumpy, well-meaning idiot and you're trying your hardest, but it's just enough to be a sort of pleasant, polite person who's working quite hard and tries to be nice to the people they're nice to."

abriefencounter

People thinking about buying the book: I would highly recommend the audiobook version as hearing Caitlin be a bit shouty at points is pretty awesome. Reading this book and Bossypants in the space of a few months definitely made me feel more prepared for killing "some mother fucking patriarchy".

Woman Laughing Alone With Boas

@abriefencounter Ooo, that is a great idea! I like this person's style so much, I want to hear her actual voice, too.

rambutan

@Woman Laughing Alone With Boas Definitely listen to the NPR interview too!

themegnapkin

@abriefencounter where are you finding it? I don't see it on audible.

abriefencounter

@themegnapkin It seems to be on the American Amazon store so might be worth checking it out on there. I live in England so I got my copy a while ago!

saul "the bear" berenson

@themegnapkin If you subscribe to Fresh Air as a podcast it's on there.

winkingeye

@abriefencounter I cannot find the audiobook anywhere! Can you let us know where you got it?

Snicker-snack!

This is some seriously delightful wisdom. I wish I'd been given this knowledge when I was younger - my life would have been very different.

hopelessshade

Wait, wait. Cis and Trans, really, were completely and totally unknown to you? No wonder you got vocabulary issues! Holy fucks!

rambutan

@hopelessshade I'm really glad she looks like she learned from that, though. It makes it easier for me to like her.

For what it's worth, the only women I know who don't identify as feminist are the ones who have been disillusioned by mainstream white cis heteronormative feminism, with its trans-bashing (those "men" are coopting our movement!) and femme-phobia (wearing heels and makeup = betraying our movement!). I still identify as feminist regardless, because I see merit in its larger goals and I see a lot of great feminists working against our own internal hatred and discrimination.

Diana

@hopelessshade

I didn't know about the word "cis" until I was halfway through college and I went to UC Santa Cruz and worked at a feminist sex shop, for heaven's sake. Is it so appalling that somebody didn't receive this part of their education, made an inadvertently offensive statement, was properly schooled by those she offended, and has grown from the experience?

bouncy castle

@hopelessshade that's exactly what makes her suspect. and @rambutan - those are exactly the people I know of who don't ID as feminists, plus people of color whose experiences are usually minimized or erased in mainstream feminist discourse. Perhaps it's generational. I've never heard a person of my age (early to mid-twenties) disclaim the term "feminist" because of perceived hairiness or whatever, it's always because feminism is perceived as exclusionary and useless to anyone except white cis women.

.
.

@bouncy castle yep. trans-inclusive womanism ftw.

Jenn@twitter

@bouncy castle yeah, I'm not white and do identify as feminist, sort of. I say "sort of" because it's easier to go, "yeah, I'm a feminist" at people than it is to explain, "while I believe that feminism has done good things for society and has done a lot to bring certain issues to light, it has failed other members of society, including myself, in such a way that makes it a label I no longer wish to identify with. It's as out-moded, in my life, as referring to oneself as 'colored'."

buuuuuut most people don't know about womanism &etc, outside of the internet, so I keep my mouth shut.

Anna Fielding@facebook

@hopelessshade I think cis in particular is more common in the US - I first heard of it on The Hairpin and had to Google it.

questingbeast

@hopelessshade I've only ever heard cis on American feminist websites (like Anne Fielding, I had to Google it first time I read it on the Hairpin). I'm fairly sure it's an Americanism (that presumably is jumping/ will jump over eventually).

werewolfbarmitzvah

@hopelessshade I never heard of "cis" until I saw it on a ladyblog about a year or two ago and I had to Google it. And what's odd is that I took a class on gender and feminism back in college and never heard the term once during that time. Maybe part of it is that, according to the Wikipedia page (always a reliable source of information!), the term "cisgender" began to be commonly used during the 90s. So maybe those of us who've mainly read gender studies texts from 60s, 70s, 80s may have missed the boat on this term?

WaityKatie

@werewolfbarmitzvah Yeah, I just recently learned about cis from the internets, too. Which is weird because in the late 90's/early 2000's I had a really close friend who was professionally involved in transgender rights, so I thought I knew all the lingo, and I never heard her say "cis." And we had so many discussions about correct terminology, too. So I feel that it's probably a very recent thing.

missupright

@Anna Fielding@facebook Yeah, I think it might be a US thing, too. I found it on US feminist websites, &c, and I genuinely don't think I've ever heard anybody I know use it out loud*.

*even having LGBTQ friends, &c.

cupcakecore@twitter

@hopelessshade I have 4 or 5 different Introduction to Women's Studies books and only the most recent version (2010 I think?) included the word "cis" as part of the discussion. Obviously I'm not saying this book is the be-all/end-all of the feminist discourse, but it's not a well-known word, and it's not something you can just figure out the definition of either.

Elizabeth K.

I think maybe if you're a 37 years old feminist and don't know that 'tranny' is a slur, you should probably be a lot more ashamed of that than she seems to be.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@Elizabeth K. I was wondering if that was partly a British-English to American-English problem.

melis

@MoxyCrimeFighter I wondered that too! It may not be the case, of course, but I found myself having to guess at things like "div" - then, of course, there's the cunt & twat differential on each sides of the water.

WaityKatie

@melis My British friend recently confessed that he had always thought twat was a synonym for twit. And he was like 39 when he said this. Apparently he had been throwing it around rather profligately.

Megasus

@Elizabeth K. I didn't know it was a slur until a couple of months ago when someone here pointed it out to me. I'm still not entirely sure what cis means. I don't think this makes me a terrible person/feminist. *waitstogeteatenbywolves

Crock Tease@twitter

@WaityKatie That IS what twat means in British English -- a foolish person.

Cat named Virtute

@Megano! Cis pretty simply means that you identify as the gender that you were assigned based on your genitals at birth, as opposed to someone who is trans, who identifies as a different gender from what they were assigned, or someone who is genderqueer, who has a shifting or liminal gender identity.

Megasus

@Cat named Virtute Thank you!

Cat named Virtute

@Megano! No prob, happy to help!

Susanna

@Elizabeth K. She's outside the actual feminist blogging community stuff.

.
.

@Megano! Well, there are a lot of people who don't know the vocab for gender identity/feminist terminology stuff. I mean hopefully we're all still learning. But if there is a woman who is writing books on feminism, one would expect her to read enough intersectional lit that she's not using slurs for or ignoring large parts of her supposed target audience. Trans women are women. Women of color are women. Our issues aren't afterthoughts to us, they are part of the challenge of being a woman in this society. So mainstream feminist lit ignoring those issues is just another way of saying that when they say 'women', they don't mean us.

fondue with cheddar

@Elizabeth K. She said she and her transvestite friends used the word "tranny" to refer to transvestites, so I guess I can't fault her for that.

missupright

@Crock Tease@twitter Yep. I use "twat" as a synonym for "div". Which is, indeed, a foolish person. Is "twat" properly offensive in America?

ETA: My dad just called through from the kitchen: "You twat, you left your jumper outside in the rain". And he is quite mildly spoken.

WaityKatie

@missupright I think in the US it is pretty offensive, like one step down from cunt. Although I always try to argue for a more British definition of cunt, because the way we (Americans) use is is just awful. I mean, the one time someone called me that it just felt like he had punched me in the face and I immediately burst into tears. There's just so much hate behind that word. The way the Brits use it is much better and the fact that they apply it to men and it doesn't necessarily mean weak or "not a real man" (in the way Americans use pussy, for example) I love.

fondue with cheddar

@WaityKatie The American use of "cunt" IS awful. I've never been called it to my face, but I think I would have much the same reaction as you. I really love the British use of "pussy" (of which I was completely unaware until that episode of Arrested Development).

Actually, there is one thing I like about the American use of "cunt". My stepdad, a sexist and bigot, has a last name that is only one letter away from the Old Norse root, "kunta". Teehee.

missupright

@WaityKatie This is completely fascinating. "Cunt" is such a multi-purpose word for me! "SUCH a cunt."- offensive "You utter cunt!"- teasing "Cunt"- vagina . It's such a good word.

(Although, @jen325, I am sort of baffled by "British use of "pussy", because I thought it was the same as the American?)

questingbeast

@jen325 Hate to break this to you, but that thing about the British use of pussy on AD was completely made up.

WaityKatie

@questingbeast Ahhhh I need to know what the British use of pussy is, now!

questingbeast

@WaityKatie Ha, well there isn't one really? It means a) your minge, b) a cat, which is the same as America as far as I know (the American sense of 'wimp' is rare). (also in Miss Marple books they use it to mean old lady, but I assume that went out of fashion in about 1945).

WaityKatie

@questingbeast That makes sense. (Also I love "minge.") I just hate how Americans use it to mean a weak or pathetic man, like calling someone a word that is used to reference a vagina is the most degrading, worst possible insult you can say to a man. Whereas calling someone a dick or asshole at least implies some kind of agency on the part of the person you're insulting, pussy is just like...the worst. Ugh, I hate the patriarchy.

packedsuitcase

@missupright "Cunt" is my favourite word, not going to lie. It's the only word I know of for vagina that has the same strong-sounding feel to it that we give to slang for penises. "Dick" and "cock" have a very strong sound, whereas the slang we use for women's genitalia all sound softer and weaker. Even the straight medical terms sound stronger for male genitalia! So yes. Unfortunately, I also know just how offensive most people find it, so I do not get to use my lovely, strong-sounding word in public.

fondue with cheddar

@Elizabeth K. That's so disappointing! I really thought Rita knew what she was talking about. I guess it the accent had me fooled.

@packedsuitcase You should start calling penises "wieners" to make up for it.

packedsuitcase

@jen325 LOVE IT! Why did I never think of that?

fondue with cheddar

@packedsuitcase Cunts and wieners!

likethestore

Totally going to buy this book right now! What a great lady.

wee_ramekin

You know what I'm going to do the next time I run into someone who has a problem with the word "feminist"? I am going to ask them what that word means to them. Because I'm wholly on board with Moran: it's somewhat impossible to be a woman in most modern countries and not be at least mostly feminist. Do you like voting? Do you like having your own credit card? Do you like driving? How about being able to go to school? I'd say that most women probably are proponents of those things.

So then it comes down to the actual word. What negative images does "feminist" conjure up for people? And what conversations can we have around that to show people that "feminist" is far from being a slur?

MoxyCrimeFighter

@wee_ramekin Just off the top of my head, I think most people think of feminist as being like the straw feminists in the closet from Hark! A Vagrant: man-hating, man-oppressing, hairy, rejecting of anything feminine, strident, etc. I get very, very annoyed at the people who act like feminist as a dirty word, and I tend to get very shouty about it, which doesn't help my case, but my impression is that a lot of women these days have such a skewed idea of what feminism is that they think they need to change all this stuff about themselves to fit an ideal of what a feminist should be - and I just want to yell, "NO, that's PATRIARCHY!" For some people, they can't comprehend that feminism is about creating a world where women don't have to apologize for their mere existence.

stalkingcat

@wee_ramekin
I'm a Unitarian, pagan, liberal arts degree-having, lifelong Democrat who's had both a divorce and an abortion, yet I don't call myself a feminist. Why? Because I got tired of the "well you're not a true feminist" arguments.

It's starts off with the other person saying, 'Do you support equal rights for women?' 'Of course I do.' 'Well then you're a feminist.'

But that's never the entire definition of feminism.

For example, when I say: I think it's perfectly OK for a female college student to have a relationship with a college professor as long as she is not currently in his/her class (due to conflict of interest.) I think some people have used abortion as birth control and that seems to be really sketchy to me. I think that the situation of a really drunk guy having sex with a really drunk girl does not ipso facto mean she was raped - if she's not responsible for her drunken yes, then why should the guy be responsible for his drunken acceptance? I think that false accusations of rape are inexcusable, the same as any false accusation of any felony. Etc, etc.

It's when I express THOSE opinions that I get the, "Well you aren't a REAL feminist because of XYZ" reasons. If someone wants to debate those opinions, that's fine. But it's the self-identification arguments that I consider pointless, and the easiest way to avoid them is to say that I don't consider myself a feminist.

Cat named Virtute

@wee_ramekin I had friends when I was in my late teens (I still have them but they've grown up a bit and also we discuss it less now) who were firmly of the opinion that feminism pre, let's say, 1970, was great and necessary, but that we didn't need it anymore. It drove me fucking bonkers. Do you not want to not get raped? Do you want to be guaranteed access to birth control and abortions? Do you not want make up and medicine and whatnot that isn't going to fuck up your health? Granted we're in Canada, and they come from very loving, pretty feminist families, and were just pretty young and sheltered, but it blew my MIND. I mean, I wear skirts and lipstick, but I'd also like to not be condescended to and catcalled in the wild. It's amazing what people will normalize or extrapolate, based on their own life experience.

Cat named Virtute

@stalkingcat I wonder if this conversation is a version of the Jay Smooth conversation about what you said versus what you are. The thing about people using abortion as birth control? Rubs me the wrong way and ignores things like the accessibility of birth control and sex ed in schools and the negative effects birth control can have on the female body. So I think that thing you said is not feminist. But that doesn't mean you in your life as a whole can't be a feminist. Unless you are actively working to reduce abortion availability, but I don't think that's what you're saying.

melis

NO TRUE SCOTSMAN vs. NO TRUE FEMINIST battle royale.

melis

also it's weird that "stalkingcat" and a "Cat named Virtute" are having this conversation. Watch out, Cat named Virtute (watch out for stalking)!!!

dtowngirl

@wee_ramekin Yep, I think this is a great idea. I remember when I was a freshman in college, one of my professors asked the class how many of us considered ourselves feminists. Fewer than six people (including me, thankyouverymuch)raised their hands. She then asked if we thought men and women are equals. Everyone said yes. She looked at the class like we were a bunch of morons and said "well, then you're all feminists." Perhaps a bit reductive, but I think a great way to frame it for those who have a negative reaction to the word.

Cat named Virtute

@melis It's cool, virtute is Latin for strength. @stalkingcat may stalk, but I will win the Feats of Strength! (that's how feminism works, right?)

wee_ramekin

@stalkingcat I think you can still believe the things that you believe and be considered a feminist. I mean, you have to be prepared for others to disagree with you, just as someone might call themselves a Christian and have other Christians disagree about what a Christian actually is. I think the unifying theme with Christians is that they all believe in one God, and that Jesus is his son. Beyond that, there's the oodles of differences that separate one denomination from another. I think the basic tenant of feminism is "all human beings should enjoy equal rights"; what that shakes out to mean in more quotidian terms is obviously going to engender some debate.

But, like @Cat named Virtute (always thought that this was Cat named VIRTUE!) says, unless you're actively working to reduce access to birth control, or make it illegal for women to ask for a divorce, or something along those lines, I'd say you're still a feminist.

sceps yarx

@wee_ramekin oh my gosh, I thought it was virtue, too! And yes also what you said. In addition, both Christians and feminists have a bad habit of tearing each other down from the inside with the "you're not a real ___ if you don't believe ___. That's the problem with having strong ideals I suppose. It's easy to turn the ideal-cannon on the members of your own team.

Cat named Virtute

@wee_ramekin Ha, yeah, it's from The Weakerthans' song Plea from a Cat Named Virtute (and later Virtute the Cat Explains Her Disappearance but that one is sooooooo saaaaaad). Also Winnipeg, where The Weakerthans are from, has the city motto Unum cum Virtute Multorum, which translates to One with the strength of many, which I think is rather lovely.

we all want to be big stars

@dtowngirl I had a professor do the same thing! And I was the ONLY ONE to raise my hand, and I think of it all the time. He was all, "Well, do you think women should be able to vote and own property?"

And I ALSO thought it was Virtue, despite totally loving that song. Oops. Now I love it more?

hoo:ha

@stalkingcat But there are so many feminisms. I just had to draw a (pretty dang cool) cartoon to help myself keep track of radical/cultural vs. materialist vs. liberal feminism and that's just the tip of the iceberg. I want to try to ask you this in a non-accusatory way, but it might not come out right... apologies, and no offense meant, but does it ever make you feel like a 'traitor' to feminism to disassociate yourself from the movement that might well represent your ideals just so you don't have to enter into debate with people who (frustatingly) think THEIR feminism is the only one?

vernon hardapple

@wee_ramekin YES that. Well done. SO much more articulate and well-reasoned than I would have been!!

teaandcakeordeath

@wee_ramekin
This is late but I like the phrase:
I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is, I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.

Lustful Cockmonster

@dtowngirl I had a Comm professor that basically said the same thing on the first day of class. "Do you believe that men and women should be paid the same thing for the same work? If yes, you're a feminist, if no, you're an asshole." I immediately loved her.

Lily Rowan

@wee_ramekin That is SUCH a good comparison! Of course there are nutty Christians who would say anyone who doesn't believe precisely as they do is not a "real Christian," just like there are nutty feminists ditto. But the vast normal middle will agree that there are differences and degrees and yet we're all still under the same basic umbrella. (ella-ella-ay-ay)

stalkingcat

@hoo:ha
I had to go off and get drunk last night hence my delay. My apologies!

First off, The No True Scotsman fallacy is PERFECT. That is unfortunately been my experience arguing about a great many subjects, not just feminism. The comparison between Christianity and feminism and how technically there's a pretty basic definition for each but no one ever seems to stick to that definition is apt. The Best Joke Ever comes to mind: http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2005/sep/29/comedy.religion . That joke is certainly applicable to all the various feminisms out there there. Really? There's a materialist feminism? See, that's not covered in the "Welcome to Feminism" manual, that you have to pick which sect to join.

With the "abortion as birth control" argument, I think those counter arguments about education and birth control are valid. I also don't think that just because I may consider something immoral, it doesn't mean that I think it's illegal. (I also allow my dog loose in the car when traveling. Egads, I'm evil!) But if someone's counter argument is that if I hold that position I should have my feminism label revoked, that's just identity politics, and that has never made any dent in me, because the labels I've had have changed so many times that to me they are completely ephemeral.

And, @hoo:ha, I take your question with absolutely no offense, but with a great deal of bafflement. Let's say you're an environmentalist and I'm a StalkingCatist. We both agree that pollution is bad; that climate change is real and should be addressed; that all endangered species should be protected, including the not so cute and cuddly ones; etc. You do that because you're an environmentalist and I do that because I saw a statue of a cat god in a remote jungle that told me I should do it. Am I betraying the environmentalist because I don't label myself the same way? Shouldn't the environmentalist be happy that someone else share the same goals, even if they don't share the same label or motivations? Or should the environmentalist spend their time making the StalkingCatist change their label to match theirs?

I guess to sum up it seems to me that to some people labels are extremely important, but to me, actions and results are important, regardless of the label or motivations.

meetapossum

@we all want to be big stars (Totally off-topic to most of this thread, but apparently when people would rip Reconstruction Site to their computers, the computer would make Virtute Virtue. So confusion for everyone! [/Weakerthans nerd])

someofmybestfriends

I think if you're opposed to people using abortion as birth control, then you don't really have a firm grasp of what abortion actually entails; it literally controls birth.

hoo:ha

@stalkingcat I see your point, actions are much more important than labels, but I guess I've just been shat on and backlashed against (not to mention had people assume they knew my opinions) for identifying as a feminist so much that it is dismaying to me when people walk the walk but don't/won't stand up and say "I am a feminist. Here's what that means to me..." In your example, I would protest that the first party is an environmentalist because they think pollution is bad, that climate change is real, and that all endangered species should be protected, not the other way around.

themidnightrambler

I just finished Caitlin's book and thought it was absolutely wonderful. In addition to her pro-pubes stance, I loved her bits on full-coverage underwear (so much more comfortable!) and not being able to afford $1,000 purses.

When I thumb through Lucky Magazine I constantly see these 25-year-old ladies with amorphous-yet-strangely-high-paying fashion/media jobs (fashion consultant! freelance beauty editor!) with Mulberry Alexa bags and head-to-toe Rachel Comey outfits and feel terrible about myself because I can't afford any of that shit even though I'm a). fully employed and b). older than they are.

It's beyond refreshing that someone is standing up and saying that not only do they not need luxury goods, they can't afford them anyway.

sceps yarx

@themidnightrambler I believe it's called "credit card debt".

Bebe

@themidnightrambler @sceps yarx It is also called "freebies she got from the designer because she called to say Lucky Magazine was doing a piece on her and could she borrow something for it."

sceps yarx

@Bebe I always like to look for the "stylists own" tag in the fashion spreads. I interpret it as "bought it at the thrift store and brought it to set because no designer is as cool as a good thrift store shopper ha ha in your face designers!"

Megasus

@Bebe Or just freebies she got as a result of her job!

Megoon

@themidnightrambler Also, people in fashion/fashion mags can often buy things wholesale. Philip Lim becomes the equivalent of J. Crew.

bellekaren

Wait, I just turned on the NPR interview and Terri Gross is pronouncing her name Cat-lin. I never imagined that, is that a British thing? Also it's a great piece.

timesnewroman

@bellekaren Most Caitlins in the UK are Kate-lins but I think that's the Irish pronunciation. I think Dylan Thomas' wife was a Cat-lin.

metal-eating arachnid

@bellekaren Kate-lin is the British pronunciation, too. Caitlin isn't Moran's real name... she invented it at the age of 13 or so (I believe), and just didn't know how to pronounce it.

rosaline

@timesnewroman Ah ha! Tangential yet related: this explains so much about Game of Thrones!

Susanna

@metal-eating arachnid Yes, she got it from a Jilly Cooper book.

Lu2
Lu2

@timesnewroman --I recently read that the Irish pronunciation of the name is, in fact, "Kathleen." Makes total sense to me. The name Kathleen came from Irish, after all, and was a very popular and traditional girls' name for a long time. (Similar to the name Mairin being pronounced Maureen.) So I can easily imagine the Kate-lin pronunciation being based on ignorance of how Irish is pronounced. Just guessing, though; anyone here with more familiarity with the language who can answer?

Lu2
Lu2

@Lu2 --replying to myself to report that I looked into it. I guess opinions and practices vary. I'm also reminded of the name Briana, almost invariably pronounced Bree-AHN-a, but I read in one of the Diana Gabaldon "Outlander" books (unimpeachable source?) that, based on its origin, it should actually be pronounced Brian-a. As in, the actual name Brian but with an A at the end.

Jane Err

@bellekaren From her biography excerpt on Amazon:

"Caitlin isn't really her name. She was christened 'Catherine.' But she saw 'Caitlin' in a Jilly Cooper novel when she was thirteen and thought it looked exciting. That's why she pronounces it incorrectly: 'Catlin.' It causes trouble for everyone."

Caitlin Podiak

@Lu2 When I went to summer camp in Dublin, the camp counselors would pause before reading my name from their attendance sheets and then say "Kotch-leeen?" in a confused tone. Apparently that is the correct Irish pronunciation but the name is old/out of fashion/semi-unfamiliar there. I was also informed that there should be fadas (accents) over each letter "i."

Lu2
Lu2

@Caitlin Podiak --oh, that's interesting; one of the things that turned up in my cursory online search earlier was an Irish person's claim that there are two names spelled that way, one pronounced the way your camp counselors said it and one pronounced Kate-lin. They said the names were from different roots. ? I don't think I'll be getting to the bottom of this anytime soon. :)

eta: oh, also, the person I know whose name is Mairin uses those accents over the Is, too.

bellekaren

@bellekaren Fascinating! Thank you for doing the research

SuperGogo

Heh. That stat surprised me, so I just posted a Facebook status asking my friends if they feel comfortable calling themselves a feminist or not. The thread was immediately dominated by a bunch of my liberated manfriends mansplaining to all why they were feminists. :/

sceps yarx

@SuperGogo get rid of your facebooks, seriously, they are revolting.

rambutan

@SuperGogo Ughhhhhh, I assume with plenty of humblebragging about how they know how good they have it compared to women.

Scandyhoovian

@SuperGogo UGH gross, I have a few liberated manfriends who would undoubtedly do the same thing. My college roommate and I once got into it with one particularly arrogant one who insisted "I'm more of a feminist than both of you" and then mansplained about why he would say that for about 30 minutes before we told him to can it and kicked him out.

SuperGogo

@Scandyhoovian Ugh, fun. I ended up posting a reply that thanked them for their contributions but more or less said "shuddup and let the womenfolks talk now." To his credit, one guy friend replied "just like us to hijack this discussion, right? sorry."

The Hyperbolic Julia Set

@SuperGogo Pretty much none of my friends are comfortable saying it (I'm a recent grad of the #7 most conservative college in the US, for background). Its to the point that I told friend X that I'm feminist and heard through the grapevine that friend X thinks that I'm crazy and is afraid of me. But she wants to be paid equally for her job and such. So even though its highly reduced I generally open with the "Do you like voting and having a bank account? Funny, me too!" bit.

acid burn

@SuperGogo Ooh I hope some of them were like "People think it's sooooooooooo weird when I call myself a feminist but I DON'T EVEN CARE! THAT'S HOW COOL OF A DUDE I AM."

Reginal T. Squirge

This is all cool and everything but I'm having problems with reconciling the idea of "you are inherently flawed as a human being and should learn too accept your flaws" with the idea of "it's not a relationship worth maintaining if you have to talk about it".

Please to explain.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@Reginal T. Squirge I think her point was more, "If you're spending THAT MUCH time talking about your relationship to try and figure out what's going on, with people who aren't in the relationship, it's probably a sign that it's not going to last." Whereas if you're happy with someone, you don't need to analyze everything that's happening because you're content to just experience it. Obviously no relationship is perfect and everyone's personal breaking point falls differently on a continuum of "this is great!" to "this is the worst!" but it's not about people being flawed so much as whether the relationship itself is sustainable.

wee_ramekin

@Reginal T. Squirge I don't think that she's referring to the compromise and conversation that happens in the relationship. I think she's referring to the analyzing that goes on ad nauseum in groups of friends when one member of the group goes: "Well, s/he said this, but I think that maybe s/he means that and why hasn't s/he called?". I think she's saying that when it's right, you don't have these sorts of confusing conversations about your partner's intentions.

Reginal T. Squirge

Ah, this makes much more sense. Thank you both.

Audley

@Reginal T. Squirge I think it's a bit similar to the idea put forward by Nicole that if you're early on in a relationship and your partner's flaws are already starting to bother you enough that you need to debate them extensively with your friends, it's probably not going to work.

Edit: Sorry, I didn't realize people had already responded.

ranran

I am so pleased that Caitlin Moran uses G+ to debate her friends' relationships. Seriously, I am so glad!

H.E. Ladypants

MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT FO' SHIZZLE. Man, if I could have a long night of drinking with any historical lady, it'd be her.

@H.E. Ladypants FO SHIZ.

aproprose

Ugh you guys I bought a Lifebooker coupon for a Brazilian laser hair removal and made an appointment for this Saturday. I was super excited for this because I am partially Italian and have struggled with thick dark hair all my life. Can't even wave a razor near my ladybits or big painful red bumps EVERYWHERE! I was so excited to get this done until I read this and now I feel like I'm giving into the patriarchy? HELP!

H.E. Ladypants

@aproprose Learn to be okay with having pubes?

timesnewroman

@aproprose You can give in to the patriachy a bit and still be a feminist. No one's gonna take your f-card away from you.

rambutan

@aproprose This feeds into her point about how stay-at-home moms are seen as betraying feminism. Nothing that you choose to do for yourself, brazilians included, should be seen as betraying feminism. The real problem is if you don't feel that it's a choice.

bluewindgirl

@aproprose Ditto rambutan, I think as long as the modifications you make to your body are done out of self-love and not self-loathing, you are in the clear. (Where things fall on either side of this line is actually really difficult to figure out, I'm still working on it myself.)

sceps yarx

@aproprose I have reeeeely sensitive skin so I just use that little Panasonic pubic hair trimmer to shorten everything a bit. You could just start with the bikini line and booty stuff and see how you feel about the rest later. There's lots of middle ground between full-Brazilian and full bush, right?

little sausage

@aproprose

Giving into often arbitrary social and patriarchal norms? Yeah. But making you a horrible person who can never be considered feminist? Nope.

There are, of course, others who would disagree, but imho, if it helps you feel better about yourself, then go for it. Maybe in the future, you'll feel more comfortable with your body hair and can skip the waxing, but it should be your own decision, not because someone or something guilted you into it.

redheaded&crazy

@aproprose i used to do really nothing except bikini line and then to this dude I was like "why you never go down on me" and then he was like "well *waves hand down there*" so then I started shaving it a bit more down there. like, um, the, somebody once called it but it's really awful so undercarriage

moral of this story: that dude was an asshole who was just coming up with excuses not to do something that he never did anyway. but now i kinda like the way that new thang feels so now i just do that. and I never gave up my feminist card even though I blatantly did something JUST FOR A GUY TO GET HIM TO DO SOMETHING FOR ME OH MY GOD okay maybe I did give up my feminist card just a little, but not because i was shaving or not shaving or waxing or not waxing, but the reason I was doing it? maybe? maybe not. what ever.

lisma

@aproprose do what YOU want because you want it for you.
Fuck everything else. You're not giving in or compromising. It's what YOU want; do it.

RNL
RNL

@redheaded&crazie I think if we flipped the script we might be kind of ok with it. If you were like "lover, if you trim your wild ball hair I'll be more into putting them in my mouth", your girlfriends would be all "that's your prerogative, he should just do it". I think there's a difference between doing something for your partner's comfort and preference and conforming to a wildly repressive beauty standard.

Also, you can't lose your fcard! You just can't! We are growing up! It's super difficult and sometimes we do things for reasons that, in retrospect, aren't so great. It's ok. Your fcard is currently being credited with several doses of self-acceptance and forgiveness, redeemable at any time, no purchase necessary.

"Perfect feminists only - this way please - through the pubic hair check point and straight on til morning. Oh you like male attention and one time said something catty? Out you go, sentenced to eternal and constant brazilian waxes while watching reruns of SATC and drinking virgin sugar-free margaritas."

Megasus

@redheaded&crazie OK, so I think some maitenence for sexytimes reasons is totally legit, BUT you don't have to mow down the whole forest. You just have to trim it.
Also you could not pay me enough money to have a laser anywhere near my sensitive lady bits. But this is partly because I have read a LOT of laser horror stories. @aproprose if the place seems sketchy in any way DO NOT go through with it.

thebestjasmine

@redheaded&crazie Eh, I shaved for a dude too (but I've never waxed, because what the fuck hot wax down there how did this even get STARTED???), and I haven't been with him for a long time but I still do it, because I decided I liked it better that way. I mean, I hated his beard and he got rid of it for me, so I was pretty comfortable with my choice.

timesnewroman

@redheaded&crazie I think this whole debate about doing something for someone else is a bit of a blind alley. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with doing something to your body for someone else. For me it's just the fact that this has become a completely OK thing to do, something that a lot of people expect women to do - something that takes time, money, pain, rashes, nasty red bumps, ingrown hairs - that makes me sad. Facial hair, head hair, clothing, piercings - these are things that everyone can see and are changed mainly for fashion. But pubic hair removal is for the most part done not out of a sense of creativity but of necessity - to make my vulva "acceptable". It is so normalised that an asshole can use it as an excuse and just say "as it is, your bits aren't good enough for me" and people just take it. I just wish pubic hair removal was seen as extra, as above and beyond the call of duty, rather than standard.

But good God who hasn't done ridiculous things to get an asshole to like them more?! That's not an issue for sexism. Men do ridiculous things to make women like them more all the time.

Lily Rowan

@aproprose Staying away from What This Means About Feminism, let me just recommend TendSkin for avoiding the red bumps. That shit is magic! It may be in the men's section at Sephora for face-shaving.

FYI.

mangosara

@redheaded&crazie I had a very similar experience to that and it was kinda like a lightbulb just went off in my head? Because yeah, that's a lot of hair down there and it's not like he was all, EWW, you're not waxed--but when I asked he was like, well, mouthfuls of pubes are not really my jam. And then I started trimming and he started going down on me more. Two minutes with a men's electric razor and it's over... Overall I can summarize my experience with a grand and resounding "MEH." For someone to call that unfeminist, in my mind, makes her/him ridiculous.

Springtime for Voldemort

@aproprose You combat that feeling with a healthy dose of "anyone who thinks they have some right to judge my genitals is clearly the one giving in to the patriarchy in their hyper-judgment of women and their aesthetics".

redheaded&crazy

good talk y'all. I agree with everything that's being said, especially about perfect feminists and feminist cards and whatnot. I think what made things feel more problematic for me is that this dude never really reciprocated on the ... front even after I had done something different as per his request. And reciprocity is kind of important to me, so in retrospect (good ol retrospect) it feels like that alone should have been a dealbreaker for me. Instead of going around for months being like "what's wrong with me STILL?" and "why won't he x"

anyways this has obviously turned into yet another ex tangent. which indeed has very little to do with feminism and more to do with the fact that ... dude was not my future husband.

Linette

@redheaded&crazie I just wanted to jump in this conversation because these seem to be my Fellow Ladies Who Have Been Known to Do Various Things to Their Pubic Hairs For Their Partners And Are Fine With That Choice.

I just don't care all that terribly much, and when I find out that my partner really enjoys a completely-bare look, or likes the way it feels, or finds it more fun to go down on me when he has nothing but smooth surface to work with, I don't really have an issue with it. I've also found that these are the dudes who also prefer that look/feel for themselves, so it's not really a question of me doing it for him but not vice versa.

I wouldn't do anything I actively disliked (I always thought a 'landing strip' looked really weird, and a Hitler mustache makes me think of those strips of fur they leave on a rabbit at the butcher's to show it's not a cat), but I don't have a strong preference one way or the other for a full bush vs. completely bare, and I don't mind getting the wax any more than I mind, say, buying sexy underwear when I find out he's really into sexy underwear.

I agree that you shouldn't do anything you don't want to do just because someone expects it of you (and it's wrong for them to expect anything of you to change because they want it to) but I don't see any problem, feminist-wise, with making a small change to your appearance/behavior* when it doesn't affect you much, and it gives your partner a lot of enjoyment/pleasure/relief/whatever.

It just seems to me that this is one of those issues that can swing back too far the other way, where anything your partner expresses as a preference is immediately somehow trying to squash your innate unique butterfly-ness, and I don't think that's necessarily so.

*By "behavior" I'm talking about things like washing the dishes right away because it bugs him, and you don't care one way or the other, not anything like actually changing your personality. Just to be clear.

Myrtle

@aproprose HELP? No, you didn't need any help besides deciding you wanted to do it. It's your body and yours to have fun with!

Statham

Well, I know what book I'm going to go download on my nook right now.

Diana

Just when I think the Hairpin can't get more delightful, you introduce this woman into my life. It's been a long time since I read something and though "MY KINDRED SPIRIT, MY BOSOM FRIEND" like I'm Anne of Green Goddamn Gables. Between the fabulous default feminism and the acceptance of modest life standards (yes! yes! Mary Oliver checking in here: "You do not have to be kind./You do not have to walk on your knees/For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting./You only have to let the soft animal of your body/love what it loves." Mary Oliver knows we are monkeys in dresses.)this interview, I want to print it out and frame it and stick it on my front door for everybody to see. Welcome into my heart, Caitlin Moran.

mochi

@Diana ahhh mary oliver!

bluewindgirl

For anyone who has not experienced the awesomeness that is Kate Beaton's comics, this latest entry is pretty dead-on: http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=341

redheaded&crazy

@bluewindgirl YES I FUCKING LOVED THAT AND I WANTED TO MAKE PHOTOCOPIES AND GIVE THEM TO EVERYONE I LOVE.

i may still do that. is that copyright infringement? it's so good!!

here i made it an easily clickable link so you have no excuse not to go read and talk about straw feminists in the closet!

Faintly Macabre

@redheaded&crazie Ahh I'd forgotten about the Feminists in the Underwear Section cartoon she posted below that! I can't believe people think it's a positive representation of actual feminists.

C.J.'s doing the jackal

@bluewindgirl Ah that is amazing, getting a print of that asap. Another favourite = no. 3 on this one http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=266 (woo, look who also can't do clickable links, whups)

fondue with cheddar

YAY I came down to see if anybody posted a link to that and THREE people mentioned it. I LOVE YOU GUYS.

HSSSSS...

redheaded&crazy

just kidding i'm a big ol muddler so this piece speaks to me! even though i en't never had a brazilian and i en't never gonna.

redheaded&crazy

although i have this like weird skin tag thing on my bikini line that makes it hard to shave around. should i just chop off the skin tag thing? i tried once and it hurt so i stopped. but maybe i'm just being a baby (see: brazilians, never gonna for further reading).

WaityKatie

@redheaded&crazie I think you can get a dermatologist to remove skin tags? Seems like doing it yourself would hurt a lot!

Amphora

@WaityKatie Only way you'd be able to do it at home would be with some kind of mini-cauterizing kit. It's like pulling your own tooth, except that usually insurance covers that at the dentist while most insurance considers a skin tag removal to be cosmetic.

Amphora

@Amphora But don't do it yourself! Cause once my friend tried to rip one off his neck and he screamed and then I screamed and there was a lot of blood and I ran away, like a good friend.

.
.

@Amphora Ok this is really groce but I actually removed them from my husband once. I cut them off with very sharp tiny scissors that I sterilized first and then put peroxide on the wounds to kill the germs. There were little red spots for a few days then they went away. That was like four years ago and they haven't come back since.
I don't know about the pain because like, it wasn't my neck. But he didn't complain too much and he's still alive?
Ah, the joys of not having insurance.

Valley Girl

@redheaded&crazie I've read that you can tie a string around them to cut off the circulation and they'll fall off. I get little ones on my neck that I've never been able to get a string around but I've had good luck with doing a sort of a pinch/twist move until they fall off in the same way.

Faintly Macabre

@WaityKatie Yeah, dermatologists are probably the way to go. I had a biggish stubborn one on my chin that didn't even die when my dad (a doctor) put liquid nitrogen on it. My dermatologist finally chopped it off in his office and had it biopsied to get it covered by insurance. It took about 2 minutes and never came back!

sceps yarx

@Bebe I always like to look for the "stylists own" tag in the fashion spreads. I interpret it as "bought it at the thrift store and brought it to set because no designer is as cool as a good thrift store shopper ha ha in your face designers!"

Amphora

"You know when you've met the right person because there's nothing really to say." It's so true - and hard to explain at the same time. I used to think married couples were boring, but now that I'm in one I see it more as being content, like that part of your life where you frantically analyze interactions is over.

dj pomegranate

@Amphora I came down here to say the same thing. I have a very dear friend who judges romantic relationships based on how whirlwind/passionate/dramatic it is. So if there's a lot of intrigue, it is Very Exciting and Romantic and she loves to dissect it (but then so do I--drama is fun to talk about, duh!) But if couples are just kind of predictable and undramatic then she writes them off very quickly, believing that they're doomed because they are dull. I go around and around with her about this and insist there are different KINDS of passion. Some passion is drama and intrigue and frantic will-he-or-won't-he! But some passion is looking at mr. pomegranate as he naps with the fat cat on our beat-up couch and thinking, yup, sure do love that guy.

hoo:ha

Read this book last week, LOVED it! Thank you so much for interviewing Caitlin and giving us more of her. More! MORE CAITLIN!

Aphrodite

Ok, it is NOT INAPPROPRIATE to ask a woman if she has kids! Or wants kids! Or plans to have kids! Just the same way it's not inappropriate to ask a man those things. Phrasing it "WHEN are you going to have kids," is profoundly irritating and rather rude, and is more laden with the problematic cultural assumptions the writer is talking about. But the author's last comment, complaining that people simply ASKING is an issue, strikes me as off. I think the real issue is how people respond when you say "no."

Cat named Virtute

@Aphrodite I think your last line is entirely the point. So many people do push/judge/probe/etc after receiving a non-normative or unsatisfactorily detailed answer. See: the dozens of people who have told me I will change my mind when I say I don't want kids.

thebestjasmine

@Aphrodite Why do you think that it's appropriate to ask a woman if she plans to have kids? Because that seems like a super personal question to me -- maybe she's already pregnant and isn't telling, maybe she's had a bunch of miscarriages, maybe she's in the midst of fertility treatments, maybe she doesn't want to talk about what she's going to do with her uterus to a stranger. If you're good friends with someone and you're talking about kids, sure. But yeah, some woman who you don't know or have just met, it's inappropriate to ask them if they're planning on having kids, because it's not really any of your business.

Poubelle

@Aphrodite I dunno, it's not relevant unless you know someone personally and closely (relatives--gotta know if there's gonna be a new grandkid/niece/nephew/cousin/etc to coo over, significant other--obvious reasons, or close friends because um, you're close) or you're somebody's doctor.

Also, if someone is struggling with infertility or recently lost a kid or had a miscarriage or an etopic pregnancy or just never got the chance with the right person, it can be not only awkward but potentially painful.

Miss Manners, iirc, has said that etiquette exists to make everyone more comfortable. If it's something that's not really your business anyway and has the potential to make somebody VERY uncomfortable, why should anybody be asking?

(And I hate the question because every young woman I know gets asked about kids a LOT but the only young guys I know who've been asked about kids are either asked by their significant others or parents, or they've recently gotten married. It's never something asked out-of-the-blue at, say, a very single and out-of-work actor dude. It may not be inappropriate to ask a man those things, but who's actually asking them about it?)

Oh, and I really do agree with Cat named Strength that judging is a part of asking. That's the only reason I can figure why teens get asked that question.

ETA: or what thebestjasmine said. I need to learn how to hit the reload button.

georgette hair

@Cat named Virtute
It's also annoying when your (married with child) friend asks 'is it ok if I say "if" you have kids, instead of "when" you have kids?' because you're 28 and not in a long term relationship.

(I don't talk about "when" someone is having kids until after at least one has been popped out.

WaityKatie

@Cat named Virtute "You'll change your mind" followed by *pitylook* is my favorite, because people always assume I'm much younger than I am, like in my mid-late 20's, when in fact I am 36, so there's really not much time left for me to "change my mind." I always want to respond, "I've been alive 36 years, bitch, I think I have this one figured out!"

entangled

@WaityKatie Oh, god, I got this from a stranger this weekend. He was actually not really out of line, since he'd been chatting with my and my mixed-gender friend group for awhile and mentioned that he was good at reading people based on initial conversations and we were like "sure, go ahead." His response for my husband was something hilariously accurate (very smart but always thinks he's right or something like that), but then for me he said I seemed very maternal and like I'd be a great mom someday. Which is not at all accurate. It is common knowledge among people who know me that I am about as nurturing as a bulldozer.

Of course, this prompted the whole "you'll change your mind/it'll be different when you're older/when it's your kid" line that I have been getting for 15 years. After a minute or two of this, he asked me how old I was. When I told him I was 30, he did a 180 on the subject. Apparently he had thought I was 23 or 24 (and thus didn't really know myself). But at 30, I am capable of knowing what I want out of life, though.

I will agree that it's totally fine to ask if people *do* have kids. Whether they plan to can sometimes be a loaded question, sure, but a lot of times people are just trying to make conversation/look for common ground/get to know people.

WaityKatie

@arrr starr Oh nooooo, the "I'm good at reading people" line is my number one Douche-Red Flag statement ever. Everyone who has ever said that to me has gone on to say something really insulting/offensive, and then laughed it off with some "you can't handle the truth" condescension. And yeah, it's always something like "smart but always think you're right," or other "smart...BUT....blah blah blah" thing. MY NUMBER ONE PET PEEVE.

But yeah, I agree that asking someone whether they have kids is more general conversation and I don't take offense to it. The bad part is the next line is usually, "Well, WHEN you have kids, you'll...blahblahblahblah."

entangled

@WaityKatie Yeah, it definitely usually is. Though in this situation, the guy was mostly giving out "super friendly and chatty" vibes and I was in a group of 2 married couples. He seemed pretty aware that we were all unavailable and just very friendly. We talked to him for half an hour or so and this was the only thing he said that rubbed anyone the wrong way, so I feel like it was more "wow, this is so ingrained in what people think" than "oh god, creepy reading-people douche guy, run away."

Cat named Virtute

@WaityKatie Yeah. I also recently found out that the medication I take that legit keeps me from going blind can seriously fuck up a fetus, so if I have the patience and really feel like making someone feel uncomfortable, I tell them that. Then when they mention adoption I can go on my diatribe about the fucked up racist nature of the adoption system (note, pinners who adopt or were adopted, I am not saying that you are bad! Just that it is a system with a loooot of problems including overseas baby theft, not supporting parents so that their children can stay with them, and white saviour complexes), and then that person doesn't usually want to talk to me anymore. Win! Well, not really.

C.J.'s doing the jackal

If it hasn't been said enough, this is SUCH A GREAT BOOK. I loved the mix of feminist essays and autobiography, because Caitlin Moran's upbringing and early career were fascinating - she was one of those awesomely/annoyingly precocious kiddies like Tavi Gevinson, the kind of teenager you wish you could have been.

What I love most is how her childhood seems to have been a bit bleak (eldest child in a large and apparently pretty poor family) but she writes about it so warmly and wittily and without any self-pity. She is just the coolest. Follow her on twitter also? LOVE YOU CAITLIN.

Hiroine Protagonist

Ugh, this frustrates me so much because I really want to like this woman but I'm astounded she doesn't understand why a whole schwack of people distanced themselves from feminism because it was white, cis and middle class. Maybe it's the English? I mean, I get she's not speaking to radical crowds here and it is, as has been mentioned above, an extreme pain in the ass to delineate your reservations.

Womanism. Womanism is the key term. Oh, who the hell knows.

discocammata

@Hiroine Protagonist thank you for saying this.

dontannoyme

@Hiroine Protagonist But that's not why "most people" distanced themselves from feminism. It's basically because women thought it wasn't cute and men wouldn't like them. That's who she's talking to - the women who distanced themselves from feminism because they thought it reduced their chances of hooking a man. And those are the women I want to recruit as feminists. The ones who are arguing that it's too white or middle class or whatever, well fine but that group is basically on board and I'm not worrying about them too much. I'm worrying about the teenage girls who feel they must get a Brazillian and put out when they don't want to in order to catch the alpha boy in their group because that would validate them because, of course, by themselves they are not sufficient. That is my feminism and I'd like to get people recruited to the basic concept. And no she's not speaking to radical crowds. She's a mainstream UK journalist who happens to be very funny - I think that makes her a great recruiting sargeant for this group. She's probably not the person to talk about feminism as it affects other cultures and I don't think she sets out to be.

I love Caitlin - I loved the chapter about her and her sister getting period pain and reading that sage helped so sitting in bed eating dry sage & onion stuffing from a packet. I had an English 70s/80s childhood too so it all resonated with me.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@Hiroine Protagonist I think she's focusing on more of a Feminism 102 level. She's not speaking to the bigger issues in feminism about race and class - and isn't trying to. Which I think is OK. Get women more comfortable with thinking about it and talking about it and ease into the more complicated parts.

Then again, I have cis white lady privilege, and I can certainly understand trans/WOC feeling like, "this shit AGAIN?"

questingbeast

@Hiroine Protagonist I feel like anyone who's rejecting feminism because it's 'too white and cis' already has their Equality Proficiency certificate and doesn't need this book to instruct them. It remains a very funny memoir.

discocammata

@dontannoyme yo that's great and all but race is not just an issue for radical people.

questingbeast

It is SO GREAT. Read it now. I'm going to read it again.

Squareface

This is my next read for sure. Buuut ... I am still holding out for a Classic Scandals today?! It's Wednesday and I'm mighty hopeful.

Althea

I just wanted to comment to say how much I love Caitlin Moran! She is basically the whole reason I call myself a feminist, having found her columns when we were told to read newspaper for homework at school. I must have been about 10 and her columns were about the only thing I found entertaining and are still pretty much the only reason I have a subscription to The Times. It's worth it just to have access to her whole back catalog. Although I kinda prefer her columns over her book but I'm not if that's just because I'm nostalgic and reading her book as a adult is a bit different to reading her columns as an impressionable young girl.

Rubyinthedust

i live under a rock (i.e. in a small town in a western state) and I never had any idea of how widespread waxing is until i starting reading the hairpin. ignorance is bliss i suppose. I have never once waxed and don't plan to start despite the frequency of my change in sexual partners. but it still makes me a tiny bit more insecure every time i read something that talks about how EVERYBODY gets brazilians.

Lady_Terminator

@Rubyinthedust the internet does kinda feel like it's just a reflection of Brooklyn, NY mostly.

tastiejam

Too bad she refers to Paralympians as "mega robot-humans" on her Twitter account. That really shows how much she's learned about ableism, and how much she cares about equality for more than just white, able-bodied cisladies.
She may have learned that slurs aren't okay to use, but she still views people with disabilities as less.

dontannoyme

@tastiejam I think you are reading that wrong. How does that mean she views people with disabilities as less? She'll have described the other Olympians in a similar vein too. She's trying to capture her awe at the things people can do - either with or without technical equipment. Don't you reach for that sort of terminology when trying to describe how those gymnasts (able bodied or not) do those incredible almost-impossible-for-humans things. Or jump over 8 metres? How the hell? That is a mega robot super human, surely? And actually there I'm talking about the ordinary Olympics because I haven't seen the Paralympian long jump (although I have tickets for the stadium during the Paralympics so may get to see that).

tastiejam

@dontannoyme I'm a disabled person. I'm speaking from my own personal experience, that if someone referred to me as a robot-human without my consent, I would feel like shit. I feel like shit because she said that about other people with physical disabilities and mobility issues, because her shitty joking attitude cheapens what they are doing. They're not robots, they're fucking people. Talented people who have worked their asses off to achieve athletic success, and she tears that away when she acts like they're something other than human. She literally dehumanizes them with her comment.

dontannoyme

@tastiejam ok I get that but Usain Bolt is being referred to in similar terms today.

tastiejam

@dontannoyme But you don't "get that" if you can't see the difference between calling an able-bodied person a robot-human and a disabled person a robot-human. Disabled people have to fight every day to be viewed as people, and giving them tweeishly bullshit nicknames that point out their differences reinforces that othering and dehumanizing.
I'm a disabled person, and I'm telling you that it is offensive to disabled people to call us robot-humans. I don't know how to get much clearer than that.

tastiejam

@dontannoyme Also, if the only way you can justify using a term is pointing out that it's also used against a member of another marginalized group, then perhaps the term really just shouldn't be used at all because it can dehumanize on a whole bunch of different levels.

Vera Knoop

@tastiejam Yes. This. Superhuman is better than subhuman, sure, but it's still... not human.

crane your neck

Shrugging people in cardigans unite! Also, because I don't see this posted above: the Caitlin Moran Tumblr.

Get rid of your patriarchy, seriously, it is revolting.

katiemcgillicuddy

If Diane Sawyer turned into some sort of weird vampire, I would have a reason to watch Diane Sawyer. (This interview was fantastic).

itiresias

DUDE, I don't know. I get a bad vibe. Don't rip me apart for it, but sure I'm a feminist - but i'm a HUMANIST first. I'm firmly rooted in the school of "the more attention you pay and offended you get over things being wrong, the less you're doing to make it right." people are equal and pointing out the ways we think we aren't isn't doing anything. i guess she's addressing a different crowd than me and that's good, because it makes me sad to think about - and know a few - women who really feel imprisoned by their cultural place and body issues and stuff. I've had a weird eye thing that hasn't let me wear makeup for a month now and I got used to it but it feels like shit and I don't feel as pretty as I would with it. but... she's almost overreacting??

I've always cautioned to call myself a feminist because feminists have a reputation for being too radical and man-hating. And I don't hate anybody at large. we all just need to get along more.

Jenn@twitter

@itiresias I would argue that, reading your comment, you're exactly the kind of person she's aiming the book at.

As far as "we all need to get along more"--uh, until the world stops placing more value on men simply for being men, it's not a matter of "getting along more"--it's a matter of wanting to be treated like a human being instead of an object.

missupright

@itiresias Direct quote (I think, from memory) from How To Be A Woman: "I'm not pro-women, nor anti-men. I'm just thumbs up for the six billion."

Springtime for Voldemort

@itiresias I think the man-hating thing isn't really based in reality. It tends to be more something that people who hate feminism no matter what think, and people who aren't really that familiar with feminism go along with. I mean, there are soooooo many different feminisms - even if one is actually man-hating, you can be a part of all these others. More radical, less radical, multicultural, trans, postcolonial, eco... tons of feminisms. Which is honestly very big for me; I can't do Feminism, but I can do feminisms.

The reason I chose feminist and not humanist is that I don't think humanist really does much. In theory, we should all treat each other well. But it's not really that simple - most sexists think they are treating women well, because that's pretty much how implicit bias works. (And, incidentally, the whole "we need to just get along" thing tends to be used a LOT to shut up those who are trying to stand up to isms.) And humanism often doesn't effectively shine a light on the pre-existing power indifferences (because while we all are actually equal, we are not often all treated as though we were).

itiresias

@papayalily - hm. well said. @Jenn@twitter - i guess that's what i'm trying to say - i don't feel treated like an object? because i don't allow myself to be treated like an object..in any situation. and it can take work sometimes but that's not just because of my gender, it's..everything about how people treat each other. i don't know.

fondue with cheddar

@papayalily There are some that think that every time women win, men lose. But in reality, when women win, everyone wins.

enantiom3r

@papayalily re: man-hating: http://www.harkavagrant.com/

Springtime for Voldemort

@enantiom3r omg, I love Straw Feminists! Except not nearly as I love Strong Female Characters; Susan B. Assthony is my favorite.

Paul_Funyun

Well this 25 year old nearly 2-years-married feminist surely appreciated this. I hate the way some of my lady friends acted as though I was throwing away our mutual education and ambitions when I was like, hey, I met someone who makes me happy.

Eatbigsea

Way late, but definitely check out this video interview with her if you haven't already: http://www.time.com/time/video/player/0,32068,1782795887001_2121936,00.html Much love for her.

Mujerista Dot Org@twitter

Great interview - I especially loved the answer to her last question, and learned that Mary Wollstonecraft was not the author of "Frankenstein" as I originally thought, but was the author's mother as well as the mother of feminism, for all intents and purposes! Love learning something new every day. I recently revamped my website and will be writing more - share in my journey: http://mujerista.org

bryan low@twitter

J Gateway is a new and upcoming condominium located in Boon Lay Way, Jurong East area. It is located right beside JCube, and the upcoming Westgate and Jem. With expected completion in mid 2016, it comprises of 4 towers with 783 units and stands 38 storeys tall.
J Gateway Site Plan

Sgpgames

expected completion in mid 2016, it comprises of 4 towers with 783 units and stands 38 storeys tall. J Gateway

bryan low@twitter

Several buses are available near Coral Edge Residences along with shopping centers and restaurants. Coral Edge Residences is also near Waterway Point, the shopping, dining and entertainment hub which is scheduled to open in 2 years time. Also, it is right beside Punggol Waterfront. Entertainment for your loved ones and friends are therefore at your fingertips with the full condo facilities as well as the amenities near Coral Edge Residences .
A luxurious lifestyle awaits you
Punggol EC

bryan low@twitter

Designed by renowned architect Ole Scheeren, the project is connected to Bugis MRT Interchange that will link the East-West Line and the upcoming Downtown Line. Duo Residences has full and unique facilities, which includes a guard house, clubhouse, children's playground, swimming pool, piano room, pool room, indoor gym, hydrotherapy beds, hydrotherapy baths, reading room, function room, onsen, jacuzzi.
Bugis Launch

bryan low@twitter

Several buses are available near Lush Acres EC along with shopping centers and restaurants. Lush Acres EC is also near Waterway Point, the shopping, dining and entertainment hub which is scheduled to open in 2 years time. Also, it is right beside Punggol Waterfront. Entertainment for your loved ones and friends are therefore at your fingertips with the full condo facilities as well as the amenities near Lush Acres EC.
Fernvale Link EC

Kensington Square

Several buses are available near Bartley Road and Upper Paya Lebar Road along with shopping centers and restaurants.
Kensington Square Location

Kensington Square

Sembawang EC will be accessible with Sembawang MRT station & Sembawang Bus Interchange. It is also near to Vista Point Shopping Mall, Causeway Point Shopping Mall, Cold
Storage, Shop N Save, and many more.
Sembawang EC

Sea Horizon

Pasir Ris EC will be accessible via Pasir Ris MRT Station. Commuting to Changi Airport as well as Expo is therefore very convenient. It is also near to White Sands
and Pasir Park.
Pasir Ris EC

The Glades

Commuting to Tampines as well as the city area is therefore very convenient. The Glades is also near to Changi Airport as well as Changi International Business Park.
The Glades is also near elite schools such as Anglican High School, St. Anthony’s Canossian Primary & Secondary School and Temasek Junior College. Tampines Junior College, Temasek Polytechnic and United World College (East Campus) is also around in the area.
Tanah Merah The Glades

The Panorama

The Panorama will be accessible via public transport along Ang Mo Kio Ave 5. Commuting to Toa Payoh and Paya Lebar area as well as the city area is therefore very convenient. It is also near to many eateries along the Upper Serangoon area as well as NEX shopping mall. Panorama

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