Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Disembodied Politics

Shakes has posted another installment in "Disembodied Things," where she starkly points out the ubiquity of disembodied and sexually abused female parts in everyday life and how inured we become to their presence. The post today is on a bicycle that incoporates a fiberglass naked female form positioned such that when the bicyclist is seated, he appears to be having sex with the mannequin.

Disembodiment. Dehumanization. Reduction of a being to an attribute, which may then be consumed without (too much) guilt by "nice" people, that's what's going on here. It's not simply the "sexist" guys who do this, though (ironically enough), they may be the most conscious of doing so as they try to valorize the execrable. What Shakes does is show the ways in which people who don't think of themselves as sexist can wave it off as some "cheeky" fun. It's a joke, dontcha see? Just a little funnin'. Geez, get a sense of humor!

I knew that the progressive blogosphere was not going to treat Hillary Clinton with much kindess, but what I was not prepared for was the way in which her campaign has become both a catalyst and an excuse for disembodiment of women's political participation. Hilalry and Chelsea Clinton have been subjected to hazing, insults and threats aimed at their gender and expressions of sexuality. Women who vote for her and bloggers (female and male) who promote her are also subjected to invective, threats and deliberate attempts to reduce the actor down to manageable size.

Kinda like mounds o'boobies floating around, just ripe for picking up and squishing, sucking, crushing, sitting on, smacking around, tossing into drinks where they melt, and other ignomious ends.

The speed and savagery with which the Blogger Boyz (A-list and the lesser lights) have turned upon the dissenting voices on the web has been breathtaking. It has also been, for the most part, gendered. Tom Watson wrote a wry post about those few, proud and frankly brave bloggers who will not descend into the symbolic honor killing of the uppity broad.

Hillary herself has asserted, her entire life a demonstration of this fact, that no matter the outcome of this contest, she will be fine. There may not be a more centered or psychologically normal politician alive in the US today (Al Gore doesn't count as he is a recovering politician), which explains how she can suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune with such equanimity.

What will not be fine, I dare say, is the blogosphere. It is already dramatically different than what it was just a few months ago. I wrote in "Just Like Grad School" last month about the psychology of the Blogger Boyz and where a certain kind of obsession with being right has its roots among these guys. What I didn't get into was the way in which their verbal assaults and barely contained rage is oh so similar to what I have seen my whole life - the fury of certain men (and they are almost always men) towards women who will not bend to their will. From Hillary herself right down the line to lesser bloggers and those stupid wimminz who keep voting for Her, treating female political presence as something to be used, not engaged, becomes more prevalent as the campaign goes on.

If only you bitches would get over yourselves, starting first and foremost with Hillary, and just get used to the idea of the inevitable (Hmm, what sexual situation does that phrase bring to mind?), then we would be happy and you can just put up with it, 'cuz it's better than what McCain will do to you. Pardon me if I don't like coercion coming from my "friends" any more than from my opponents. Something deep and ugly, but not new, has emerged from the keyboards of Left Blogistan. Not new at all. It's sadly familiar, like the friend who sends "Jingle Boobs" cards at the holidays and the relative who thinks breast shaped lollipops are great Halloween treats. Or the teaching assistant who "accepts" blow jobs for A's (Hey, she offered!). Or the blogger who says it doesn't matter that women's voices be heard if they are speaking in favor of Hillary.

We are not here to be consumed. We are here to be.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours -- your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.



gendergappers said...

Anglachel wrote: "...verbal assaults and barely contained rage is oh so similar to what I have seen my whole life - the fury of certain men (and they are almost always men) towards women who will not bend to their will."

So terribly true and anyone who does not understand or see this has not see and heard MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and his ongoing vendetta against HRC. Keith has pushed her down and kicked her so many times, and he is furious that she comes right back up, fighting and still not cowed by his being man and she not being really anything - in his estimation.

Now he has announced that he will do "A Comment" on her in Countdown tonight [Wednesday] show at 8 PM EDT. I suggest that any woman who needs her adrenalin, pride and guts kicked up a notch, watch it.

If his past performance is prolog you will see Anglachel's "Disembodied Politics" come to life on the TV stage.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful posting! I would comment individually on various things that you said but, quite frankly, I would simply be pasting and copying the entire thing.

Your remark about Hillary being just fine made me smile...as I am learning that from her for myself. During these past two months I have cried, and screamed and pounded the table for the slings and arrows she has endured. But she pops right back up in front of the camera and is so wonderful, so gracious, so strong I am blown away.

That's why I am truly beginning to love - not just support - this candidate. Her strength overwhelms me at times. And I thank her for this lesson learned.

That is not to say that I will not find some outlet after this horrible primary (regardless of the outcome) to join together with other women in a new "Women's Movement" to force (and I mean FORCE - if necessary) something to change.

I walked, and marched and donated during the 60's, 70's and 80's and I'll be damned if something doesn't change before my last breath on this earth. HEADS UP BOYS...WE'RE NOT GOING TO THE CORNER ROCKING CHAIR AND MOLD AWAY.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I am dismayed at the mess the media, Obama and his supporters have created. I don't think they have any idea of the backlash they are about to engender with their irrational behavior. Very early on in this primary season I speculated that Obama might choose a path of self-destruction and looks like he is doing just that and dragging the party with him. Where are the grown ups? (esp. for his supporters).

Anonymous said...

Actually, that bike does not make the rider appear to be "having sex" with a woman.

It makes the rider appear to be RAPING the woman.