If you have "no place to go," come here!

A fitting farewell to Violet

(See here.)

(Image via.)

Because Violet invented the figure of "Lady Justice." I still think she was on to something.

NOTE Query. Can the market state deliver "justice"?

India_Gang_Rape_0155a.jpg58.3 KB
No votes yet


HeroesGetMade's picture
Submitted by HeroesGetMade on

She was definitely onto something with the Justice Party, but how to make it happen? Community organizing, real community organizing, is a rare talent and sorely needed, especially now that we in the feminist bloglands find ourselves two voices short with the exit of first, Twisty, and now, Violet. The clarity of vision both possessed was a wonder to behold, and will be sorely missed.

Your typo above combined with Lady Justice reminded me of a piece I ran across today, from a surprising source, that seems to be the culmination of what Violet was laying down, lo these many long years:

Rape and other acts of violence, up to and including murder, as well as threats of violence, constitute the barrage some men lay down as they attempt to control some women, and fear of that violence limits most women in ways they’ve gotten so used to they hardly notice -- and we hardly address. There are exceptions: last summer someone wrote to me to describe a college class in which the students were asked what they do to stay safe from rape. The young women described the intricate ways they stayed alert, limited their access to the world, took precautions, and essentially thought about rape all the time (while the young men in the class, he added, gaped in astonishment). The chasm between their worlds had briefly and suddenly become visible.

Maybe there's hope if she of the pathetic left can put all this together.

Submitted by lambert on

I missed a lot in site re-launch mode. There goes an excellent (funny, astringent) writer. It would be nice if Violet and Twisty were both together in an unknown location, planning something.

* * *

Typo fixed. Typed that word one too many times, I guess.

* * *

Yes, surprising indeed on Solnit, as you say. I read the piece which is good (I liked Solnit's book on disaster a lot. The army burned down San Francisco after the 1905 earthquake just by being the army. Who know?). A very effective marshaling of evidence. There seem to be three themes, though and therein perhaps lies the surprise:

1. The "war" part. One could quibble about "war" since (a) where are the generals and (b) wars end. This almost seems like a war as villagers would conceive it -- lying in wait for people from the next village over and then killing them or carrying them off. UPDATE: Adding -- Interestingly, I've projected "war" onto the piece (see Thurber. What Solhit says is: "the pandemic of violence by men against women, both intimate violence and stranger violence." But also "crime."

2. The "empathy" part. Here is the difference between men's and women's experience. I don't ever have to worry about being raped, unless I am sent to jail. This reminds me of when I was living in a dangerous part of Boston and was actually mugged; I took different routes home from the subway stop at night, varied my pace, and so forth. But that was only for a relatively short time.

3. The "partisan" part. I just don't buy the idea that there is a "party of rape" because I think that both parties reinforce each other. I mean, did she live through 2008, or what?

Finally, while I hate the argument that "You have to come up with some sort of solution!" it's still the reaction I have to Solnit's piece. One the one hand this massive marshaling of evidence and on the other and ending like this:

It’s your job to change it, and mine, and ours.

No, a job has a job description...

Or this:

There’s something about how masculinity is imagined, about what’s praised and encouraged, about the way violence is passed on to boys that needs to be addressed.

Well, OK, but "something"?

I keep thinking about the violence inflicted on boys by large institutions -- like the Boy Scouts, say, or the Catholic Church, or many evangelical churches, or sports teams (I can't imagine Jerry Sandusky is the only one) -- and wondering about the sheer numerical size of the pain and rage and confusion such (patriarchal) abuse engenders society wide, and what it translates into. Violence against myself or those like me (i.e. men) being ruled out, violence against women is all that is permissible? I don't know. I wonder also how many rapes are really gang rapes, in the sense that they are structured and enabled by groups of men (fraternity parties e.g.). This is I hope not a "What about the menz?" paragraph but a search for systemic causes.

* * *

Adding, it's also very hard to see the world of finance, of the banksters, as anything other than a patriarchy....

UPDATE Analytically (i.e. in every way other than the evidence) I think Solnit's piece is confusing (but maybe that's a good thing if it brings issues to the surface).

Because (1) a pandemic of violence by men against women (2) "The Party for the Protection of the Rights of Rapists " (3) "Increasingly men are becoming good allies" and (4) "Manistan" are all at different levels of abstraction and all jumbled together. For example, a pandemic doesn't know parties. But nor to the individual men who are "good allies" (and they are individuals, no? So no wonder there's no tasking....

UPDATE On violence, men, and the economy: I had this conversation with Violet, and she was clear that male violence against women increased during bad times.

UPDATE And similarly:

We won’t put a stop to violence until we change the way we think about gender. And while we’re on the subject of rape, we also need to talk about forms of sexual violence that may not be as lethal but that grow out of the same mindset.

Well, OK. How do we operationalize this?

HeroesGetMade's picture
Submitted by HeroesGetMade on

What a captivating picture, of Twisty and Violet, up to something at an unknown location! But then, Twisty's location is known, she's just decided to lay down the blame pencil. I can see how it happens; one day you've said it all, more than once, and all it's brought you is a megaton of abusive guff and a devoted band of fellow travelers you'll never lay eyes on. Not enough to sustain one through trying times.

Solnit's piece reminds me of some things I used to write in answer to the basic denial that men oppress women in egregious ways the world over, and yes indeed, right here at home. Her marshaling of the evidence, as you say, is impressive, but also offers no solution, and not much hope. Solnit's written an awful lot about hope in the age of Obama, but judging from that piece, she's in a hopeless place I recognize.

The empathy thing is major source of hopelessness. Imagine spending the better part of a decade hanging out in a place with mostly guys, only to discover that their one and only minor brush with empathy for the raped came as a result of realizing they could be raped if some worthless woman falsely accused them of rape, and they ended up in prison. So the primary focus for them is to side with the accused, the only real person in the picture that can be identified with. It's more than hopeless, it's downright scary. My solution to these discoveries was easy, gone like the buffalo. Others don't have such options.

I agree about the partisan nonsense with regard to rape. No party owns rape, the entire enterprise being owned and operated by men with few exceptions. The GOP are just more upfront with their lack of empathy, while the dems have apprehended that women have the vote and don't cotton to having rape damage mansplained. What's your bit on this type of scenario - one side's lying and the other's not telling the truth? That about covers it. Possibly Solnit was too busy being hopeful about Obama back in 2008 to notice his supporters were no strangers to any stick to beat a dog, up to and including rank misogyny. That was another thing I'll miss about Violet's place, it was about the only space an honest discussion could be had about why feminists in the public eye were overlooking how misogyny was being employed by Obama's campaign. Racism turned out to be a very effective stick for the feminist community.

Good points on the war metaphor. That has struck me funny for sometime now as being off; it works more like cancer. Everyone has cancer cells in their body, but only some people have the proper terrain to grow and nuture those cells into tumors and full-on disease. How to rid the body of the full-on disease? Don't feed it what it wants, and take in plenty of things it can't tolerate. Patriarchy turns out to be the proper terrain to foster isolated misogyny cells into epidemic levels of violence against women. The solution is patriarchy's got to go. Forget about allies, you're either part of the problem or part of the solution, and it's not just men propping it all up. Maybe the only hope at this point is that patriarchy's not sustainable now that we're up against Peak Almost Everything.

Submitted by lambert on

"Patriarchy's got to go." OK, especially given that banksterdom is an obvious patriarchy.

I'm not being snarky, it just seems a tall order. I mean, I scan the horizon, and I don't see a thing (except the Beltway going even more insane). I sense a general fed up-ness, though perhaps it's just me, but who knows where that feeling will turn into?

HeroesGetMade's picture
Submitted by HeroesGetMade on

In other words, I don't know how, but possibly what. Patriarchy is bipartisan and non-denominational as well as international, therefore, it stands to reason its antidote needs a similar structure. Everyone who plays their part in it needs to stop doing that. So the first step is to figure out what your part is, then become a refusenik.

There are myriad different parts, so examples abound. A woman who habitually lets male coworkers take credit for her ideas could stop doing that and see whether she actually gets the heave-ho; chances are she won't, they need her, and she's probably paid less than the guy(s) taking credit. A man who habitually laughs at sexist jokes even though he knows they are demeaning to women in his life could say, "That really isn't funny unless you're terribly threatened by the womenfolk, and I'm not." Chances are, there's some other men within earshot feeling the same way.

I think the best way is to begin easily with everyday things while remaining alert to the truth all around you, until it just becomes a way of life, this not screwing yourself and others over based on femaleness. Maybe glib, maybe not, but definitely a way for everyone to get started.

Submitted by lambert on

I'd define it as some way to tell we've succeeded....

* * *

I agree on everyday things (I agree on a lot of everyday changes in the way one leads one's life)... But after one gets started, what's the next step? I'm not being snarky, or at least don't have the intent too, but see the recent thread on numbness and the quest for alternatives.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

I've encountered far too many women in the past 25 years (in and outside my professional life) who, though highly intelligent and considering themselves "feminists" or "liberated" or "anti patriarchy," are, in action and thought, stalwart soldiers in the Neo-Liberal Kleptocracy and/or profoundly brainwashed by the identity-politics propaganda that has splintered our citizenry into good little (powerless) identity-based groupuscules within the 99%.

I therefore believe, based on my personal experience, that the "anti-patriarchy" crusade is, unfortunately, one of the many identity-based "projects" that the Pinguid Society is delighted continue to occupy the 99% while they carry out their looting.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

(Continued ... WP blocked the next section!)

I absolutely agree that centuries of state and government structures built by men have inflicted injustice and inequality on women and that the progress that we have made in the last century alone has been not only absolutely critical but also just. And I also know that atavistic prejudice still pervades in way too many areas of our society. That said, I think that now is the time for all of us, men and women of the 99% to realize that class war and economic/political inequality is the main event here, and that we have far more interests in common than differences (gender-based or otherwise).

HeroesGetMade's picture
Submitted by HeroesGetMade on

I absolutely believe that the 99% have more in common than they do differences, but what about the 1%? The 1% is not even-Steven wrt to gender, it is predominantly male. Also, come to think of it, the 99% is not even-Steven either, but it's enormity covers over the fact that women are over-represented.

Consider further that women in the higher social strata have traditionally had far less personal freedom than women in the nether regions of society. Women in the lower classes have almost always worked outside the home for pay, and been seen by men doing that work, giving a lie to the notion that women are the weaker sex. Not so in the upper classes.

Further, while one robber baroness or another was wont to comment that the whole robber baron enterprise passed through her legs when she finally gave birth to a son, a person might wonder in general why the robber barons generally keep their enterprises out of female hands. Possibly because the few times the women got hold of such enterprises, they carved it up and sold off parts to fund the suffragettes. Changing the 99-1% dichotomy and class structures in general might best be achieved by putting women in charge of some of them.

Submitted by lambert on

1. "they carved it up and sold off parts to fund the suffragettes" They did? Which enterprise?

2. "Changing the 99-1% dichotomy and class structures in general might best be achieved by putting women in charge of some of them." Not that I claim to have a way to change class structure... But if the structure is a constant, won't the women tend to get changed by it, rather than it by them? (I'm deliberately not making the "What about Maggie Thatcher?" argument because I think the place to look is probably not heads of state but the shop floor, the field, and the home. Maybe the success or lack of success of micro-loans would be a place to look, I'm not sure of my history there.)

HeroesGetMade's picture
Submitted by HeroesGetMade on

This chapter of Steinem's Moving Beyond Words is the source for two of the biggest contributor's to the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), Alva Vanderbilt Belmont and Mrs Frank Leslie:

In fact, suffrage might not have been put over the top had there not been a bequest of $2 million from a woman known as Mrs. Frank Leslie (she had taken the name of her third husband after his death, for it was also the name of his publishing empire). It was money she had made by saving the failing magazines she had inherited. In the words of her will, this sum was left "to Carrie Chapman Catt, lead of the cause of woman suffrage, to further that cause, so that all the women of this country will be able to live women's rights and shoulder women's responsibilities, so that for the women of the future all things will be possible."

That whole chapter sheds light on how most notions of how things work, from medical research to class structures, is predicated on how things work with men, then assumed to work the same for women, without ever giving these notions the benefit of some gender scrutiny. Class simply does not work in the same way for women as it does for men, just as many medical studies done on men don't work the same way for women.

Submitted by lambert on

... isn't "carved it up and sold off parts," is it? That would be more like selling off a division of GM.

* * *

That said, this is an interesting analogy:

Class simply does not work in the same way for women as it does for men, just as many medical studies done on men don't work the same way for women.

I wish you'd expand on it. (Though class also doesn't work the same way for me, a (male) downwardly mobile member of the intelligentsia, as it does for a (male) day laborer, say. We have different relations to the means of production, and I have a ton more rents.