Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

Out With the Old, In With the New

Happy Freaking New Year!

Here’s hoping that I am not nearly as sick as I think I am.  As it is, I don’t think I’m going to be going to a punk rock show tonight.  I think I’ll be hanging out at home on the couch watching documentaries on Netflix and drinking tea. 2011 could have been better, could have been worse.  But before I kick it in the ass on the way out the door, I want to cover a few things that have happened while I was suffering in the throes of one of the worst writer’s blocks of my life.

Hugo Schwyzer.  Those of you who have read Polimicks for any length of time know that Clarisse Thorn and I have disagreed before, basically she thinks that we shouldn’t call creepy guys creepy because that’s “demonizing” their sexuality.  While I think we shouldn’t call them creepy because it’s an imprecise term, and that we should be very direct and vocal about what creepy guys are doing that makes them creepy, i.e. pushing boundaries, not taking no for an answer, staring, cat-calling…  However, that aside, she interviewed self-declared male feminist Hugo Schwyzer and posted the interview at Feministe.  This stirred up quite a shitstorm, as Schwyzer has admitted to sleeping with female students of his, attempting to murder an ex-girlfriend (coming clean about this only after a lawyer assured him he was past the statute of limitations for the crime).    Many feminists object to an abusive, attempted murderer speaking for them.  Others feel that we owe it to him to forgive him because he’s changed.   If you want the whole kerfuffle, here is Thorn’s response to the Feministe commentariat calling her out.  The Feministe apology for posting the interview in the first place.  And here some other posts discussing why people were/are offended by Schwyzer’s claims of feminism.

I think we all know where I stand on the forgiveness issue.

Essentially, I think Schwyzer’s full of crap.  I don’t think he’s changed.  I think he’s just found flogging the repentance schtick to be lucrative.  But then again, I am infamously cynical.  Go read it all and make up your own mind.

Thing the second:  Lunam, a fifteen year old atheist, posted a picture of herself holding a copy of Carl Sagan’s “Demon-Haunted World” on Reddit.  This picture of a fully clothed minor woman of course engendered a comment thread full of gross sexual come-ons, rape threats, and promises of anal rape.  Because of course any female being who posts pictures of themselves want overgrown douchebags to say sexually explicit, incredibly gross and threatening things to them, you know, instead of wanting to discuss the object she photographed herself with.


Rebecca Watson of Skepchick took this on, as did Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon and Greta Christina.

All three women discuss why making sexually gross and threatening comments to a fifteen year old who wants to talk about atheism is wrong.  And all three get a heaping helping of mansplanation and their own sexually gross and threatening comments as a result.  Because that’s logical and rational.  Fuck me running with a chainsaw.  Seriously, guys.  Is it that threatening, the idea of not being a douche to women who want to talk to you?  Lest anyone think that this bad behavior is the sole province of atheists, just be female and pipe up on X-box Live or one of several video or role-playing game forums.  Hell, for that matter, come out as female anywhere on the web and just wait.  I wish I could say this surprised me, but it doesn’t.  It’s sadly predictable, and equally fucking annoying.

Thing the Third:  Honey Badger, the punk rock band I sing with, has it’s next show on January 7th.  We did our first show on November 19th, and did all right.  I hope we’ll be even more ready for this next show.  I have to say of everything that happened in 2011, forming Honey Badger with my husband, Lukas and K2 has been the best.  Honestly, I think this is the best thing to have happened to me, for my own sense of accomplishment and self-worth, in decades.  I want to send a huge thank you to my bandmates for putting up with with my wibbling over the songs I’ve written, for putting up with me bursting into tears on the nights the music won’t come for whatever reason, for dealing with my inability to tell when I’ve sung something well.  Thank you, all of you, for encouraging and nurturing me through this process.  I’ll post links to our demo tracks as soon as they’re up.  Promise.

5 comments on “Out With the Old, In With the New

  1. Clarisse Thorn
    January 1, 2012

    This was my favorite response to the Hugo Schwyzer controversy.

    As a side note, I think you’re being a bit imprecise in characterizing my views from our previous “creep” debate. I seem to recall that you and I were in quite a bit of agreement.


    • polimicks
      January 5, 2012

      I don’t think so. We both agreed that women shouldn’t use the world creep, but for completely different reasons. You, in your original post, said it was because it was maligning the sexuality of men. I said you were correct that we shouldn’t use creep when we could more accurately describe what was wrong with the behavior, because I stand firm that “creepy” behavior is bad, just that we can name it more precisely. Creepy is far too nebulous a term that can cover a wide range of behavior. Hence the series of articles I did called “The Crux of Creep” where I describe those behaviors in more precise language and explain why they are bad behaviors.


      • Cara
        January 7, 2012

        I’ve never understood why so many people (men AND women!) are so protective of what they call “male sexuality”.

        Like men are a monolith or something, and therefore if a man does something crappy (or creepy) to a woman then all “male sexuality” is being maligned. Like, “Fetch the smelling salts, the feminists are objecting to gonzo porn again, oh, the humanity”.


      • Clarisse Thorn
        March 1, 2012

        I agreed with the points that you made in your response post, and I linked to your response post on my blog. I’m surprised you’re characterizing my stance as being “completely different” from yours. As for my original post, I regret focusing it around the word “creep” now, and maybe I could have made the same points without doing that, but maybe not. I was trying to describe some cultural phenomena that I now understand are extremely touchy and difficult to have a careful conversation about.


      • polimicks
        March 5, 2012

        Here’s the thing though, as far as I understand it, you still think that objecting to the behaviors in question is still “demonizing male sexuality.”

        I don’t.

        I think it’s calling a bad behavior on the part of some men, bad behavior.

        Granted, if you did change your mind regarding that last part, it is entirely possible I didn’t see it as I work full-time and maintain two blogs, a podcast and a punk band. So I may well have missed that.


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This entry was posted on January 1, 2012 by in Bullying, Featured Articles, Feminism, Media, Misogyny, Sexism.

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