Tuesday, March 27, 2007

We Are All Sister-Outsiders

Zuzu over at Feministe writes about the death threats aimed at blogger Kathy Sierra and reminds me of why I so often feel like a sister-outsider, even -- or especially in the political blogosphere.

In a million ways our culture gives permission for the threats of sexualized violence that every woman lives with and pretty well every feminist blogger routinely receives in her inbox.

Or as Dr. Violet Socks says -- Oh yeah, patriarchy’s totally dead:

Every time I read somebody saying that patriarchy doesn’t exist anymore, feminism’s won, etc., etc., I think, try being a feminist blogger for a while. . . . Or try doing online research on anything connected to feminism and find yourself shoulder-deep in a slime pit of woman-hating so toxic it makes you want to weep with fear and despair. . .

This is not some isolated thing. Women in the blogosphere catch this stuff all the time. The most popular feminist bloggers rack up hundreds of these vomitous threats.

From Bill Maher's routine sexism to the assholes at Nashville Auto Diesel College, the many tried and true ways to trivialize and marginalize women and keep us out of the public sphere spill over from Real Time to virtual time. The only difference is that here in the blogosphere they are always documented.

You might merely aim to trivialize women's voices by calling us "girls." Or maybe you incorporate sexual objectification into your liberal comedy act. You might make obscene remarks about women-in-training to be auto mechanics, like every time we bend over to work on a fucking car.

Or maybe you send death and rape threats to women bloggers who blog about something other than babies and housework.

Or maybe you photoshop our mothers "into nothing more than an objectified sexual orifice." Yes, dear readers, this is the link -- from Kathy Sierra -- that sparked this post. Warning: Go with caution.

Misogyny is the tradition, and it comes in many forms. But the goal is always the same -- to marginalize and silence the voices of women. Or, as Zuzu notes:

[A]s we know, it doesn’t even take threats of violence to push women to the margins. All it takes is refusing to let them participate in substantive discussions, whether by discussing their fuckability, or shouting over them . . .

Or trivializing us because we are women or -- girls.

And whenever women go to the trouble of bringing up the subject of sexism, we're told we don't have a sense of humor, we are imagining things. You can't possibly be complicit in sexism cause you work for a woman. You are a better judge of sexism than any little ole woman or girl, because we are just too fucking sensitive to even be in the public sphere.

Yeah, we'll something stinks in the patriarchy, and it ain't our sense of humor.