Thursday 26 April 2012

Talking Point: Twisty Faster Hates You

So it seems I'm all ragey this week. I promise I'll get back to regular bookish blogging soon. I've never really done a post like this before because, well, this is a book blog - but then, it's also my blog. And I just had to express my thoughts on Twisty Faster's brand of feminism, as exhibited on her blog I Blame the Patriarchy. I apologise in advance for all the caps.

Twisty's view is that all women are being oppressed by THE PATRIARCHY. Patriarchy is oppressive to women - and, dare I say, men - but the thing is, the closest Ive ever felt to really being oppressed is when I started applying her values to my life and was subsequently made to feel inadequate as both a feminist and a women. Twisty claims that all men hate women, and yet some of her rigid statements are more misogynistic than anything I've ever heard from a man. She actually oppresses women, by:

-Claiming femininity is bad. She says that to perform femininity by using makeup, shaving your legs and so on, is placing patriarchal restrictions and conventions on yourself, reinforcing THE PATRIARCHY that rapes and murders women. The only solution is to reject all forms of traditional femininity. Oh, and if you actually like makeup and dresses? Clearly youve been brainwashed by THE PATRIARCHY! Because as a woman you cant possibly have the ability to think for yourself and make your own choices. Youre just a victim of THE PATRIARCHY!

Because telling women theres only one valid way to be a woman is totally feminist and not something THE PATRIARCHY would do at all.

-Saying that women should not have the legal right to consent. Im not kidding. She claims that if women have no right to consent, then technically all intercourse is rape, unless the woman says otherwise. Apparently this gives a woman more power. I totally see how taking away a womans right to consensual sex is empowering her.

Heaven forbid a woman should actually enjoy sex with a man. Coz men are EVIL and only out to RAPE you. They all hate you and could not possibly love you. Sex could never be a loving connection between two equal, consenting adults. If youre a woman, you only want to be penetrated because THE PATRIARCHY has indoctrinated you. It couldn't ever be because you enjoy it or, yknow, its part of your biology or anything crazy like that. Didn't you know? Sex is all about the mans enjoyment, not the womans.

Because making women feel like they should be ashamed of wanting or enjoying sex is totally feminist and not something THE PATRIARCHY would do at all.

-Saying that women should never, ever enter into a relationship with a man because men are EVIL and they hate all women and they just want to RAPE you. Also, you lose your personal autonomy as soon as you enter into a heterosexual relationship, because you couldnt possibly stay independent as that relationship must become your whole life and, by the way, the man secretly hates you and just wants to DOMINATE you and you, being a helpless victim of THE PATRIARCHY, are incabable of resisting or having any kind of agency. In fact, youll also stay in your relationship for way too long because your brain has been so destroyed by THE PATRIARCHY and such close contact with a man that you no longer have the ability to think or feel for yourself. You especially cant love a man. Love was invented by THE PATRIARCHY to keep women subordinated. Love can only exist between two women, because women are awesome (as long as they're not feminine) and men are all evil and dumb.

Because claiming someones sexuality is invalid is totally feminist and not something THE PATRIARCHY would do at all.

I could go on, but frankly Ive already given way too much time and energy into stewing over this batshit crazy woman. I refuse to let her make me feel inadequate as a woman or as a feminist. Isnt feminism all about women having the freedom to make choices about their own lives and their own bodies? About men and women being treated equally? Respecting everyone as a human being, regardless of gender (or class or race or sexuality, for that matter)?

Well, call me crazy, but that's always what I thought feminism was. If Im wrong then I guess Im not a feminist. I always hate it when women say Im not feminist, but I believe in equal rights, because, hello, that is feminism; but with women like Twisty around I dont blame people for wanting to avoid the title.

The thing is, the reason I got so fired up is because her and people like her attempt to - and sometimes succeed - in invalidating my life choices. I know I shouldnt give someone else that much power, and I guess Im trying to take it back with this post. Because even though my gut reaction is that this woman is totally irrational, and hey, I LIKE lipstick and pink floral dresses and painting my nails and marriage and romance and family and MEN (and still, believe it or not, consider myself a strong, intelligent woman, and a feminist to boot), I began to question whether I actually like those things or – *gasp* - have just internalised the misogynistic views of THE PATRIARCHY. I started to worry that maybe being feminine is bad – maybe by putting on makeup, Im reinforcing a stereotype that is damaging to woman. Then I realised that maybe Im actually breaking the stereotype by showing that caring about girlie things doesnt make you vapid or submissive, and that being with a man doesn't negate your independent identity or your equality.

To me, feminism should be about broadening womens options, not replacing one limited set with another. It should not be about eschewing femininity, but rather expanding its definition and reinforcing the notion that there's more than one way to be a woman – or a man, for that matter.


  1. You're totally right. I have nothing to add to this because you've said everything I wanted to say. However you, my dear, are AWESOME!

    1. Aww, thank you, Lissa. You're quite awesome yourself :)

  2. Why does she have so many comments on her posts? I couldn't get through one paragraph.

    She seems confused.

    1. That's what I didn't get - so many people actually agree with her! I saw one comment, on a post about how you should never be with a man, along the lines of "Oh well I HAD to get a man because I couldn't afford to live by myself, but I chose one who lets me do not much cooking or cleaning." I'm sorry, what? Economic dependence AND a man dictating what he "lets you" do. No, no, no, that's not how things should work. It's like her and her followers think we're stuck with this patriarchal system and there's no way of changing it so we just whinge about it, or completely cut ourselves off from society. Don't they realise how much has already changed? How women can now have economic and social independence, AND a relationship just for, y'know, fun and companionship?! It's like they don't live in the real world. Anyway I'm ranting again haha.

  3. Ok let me try this again.
    I am SOOOOOOOOO sorry for the previous 4 deletes.
    I wasn't going to respond initially to this since you seem to have touched on all the best points. But when you mentioned that she briefly made you feel bad about yourself, I decided I would speak up and then it took me forever to properly get my thoughts together.
    So I'm reallly sorry and hope you'll permanently delete my previous failed attempts.

    So here I go:

    1. You're lovely. Don't ever change that.
    2. You're right. Feminism is about having a voice and options.
    3. I am a strong opinionated woman married to an amazing man who loves and respects me as his equal. We tackle life together, listen to each others opinions, and come to decisions as a team. To this rancid woman I say, you can be loved, honored, and valued while still loving pink, sex, and men. Get with the times, get that chip off your shoulder, and open your eyes.
    4. Men are the coolest imo.
    5. Thank goodness this revolting woman isn't procreating.
    6. She reminds me of the Shakers. They died out.
    7. Thanks for letting me rant back with you.

    On a personal side note, there is nothing more beautiful and glorious than being a wife and mother.

    1. Juju! Thank you so much for your lovely, insightful comment and joining me in ranting. Your relationship sounds fan-freaking-tastic, and a lot like mine to be honest - that's what it's all about, being a team.
      It's especially good she's not procreating considering she believes that children are OPPRESSED by their parents, and should have the right to choose who they want in their lives, whether they're related to them or not. I just... the logic fail astounds me.
      I can tell you love motherhood from your blog, it's so lovely. I can't wait to one day have kids and introduce them to the wonders of the world - especially books :) And in one month I'm going to be a wife and I know it's just going to add to my life, not diminish it :)
      PS I deleted the other comments, no worries!

    2. Awww thank you for not hating me for taking soooo long to get all my words right. LOL

      I am overjoyed to hear you have someone who knows how much you rock! *hug* Hooray!

      Oppressed? *eye roll*

      I do love motherhood. She's one of the greatest joys of my life. You'll see ;)

      One month? WOW!!!!!!! OMG Congratulations! Have you announced that here before and I forgot? :)

    3. I have mentioned it in passing I think, but no biggie. Coz, y'know, it's not my WHOLE LIFE, but just one awesome part of it. Funny that! ;)

  4. Had to stop by and comment. I read this earlier this week but couldn't collect my thoughts.

    I've read Twisty's blog for years. I actually stopped a couple years ago when I sort of stopped reading all political/feminist blogs, not for want of material or anger, but because I felt so polarized in the area where I live.

    I have to say that much of what she espouses is purposefully extreme. She's trying to point out the issues in our society that we still have. In recent weeks, there have been more statistics about salary/wage disparity between women and men. The numerous political dealings with women's healthcare and rights in the US are going strong. I could go on and on.

    So, just as I don't believe we're in a post-racial society, I also don't believe we are in a place where feminism is not necessary. Three years ago when I bought my house, I had several older male realtors refuse to show me a house because I'm single. They wanted to know where my husband was. When I called the police once because I had a peeping tom, the cop wanted to know why I lived alone, as though my living alone precipitated the peeper.

    There ARE still issues that need to be addressed in our society. Things are better, yes, no doubt about it. But the problems are far from being solved.

    Please understand, I get where you're coming from. Twisty can be extreme in her views, but a lot of what you read from her, you also have to take tongue in cheek. She's got a biting sense of humor.She curses a lot. Sometimes she says outlandish things, but more often than not, there's a good bit of truth in what she says.

    Please know too, Belle, that I'm not knocking your choices. At all. I'd like to get married one of these days. I don't really want children (though I have occasionally thought about adopting) and don't believe motherhood is the end all-be all some do. But as you say, your choices are your choices. You don't need mine or anyone else's approval. In terms of internalizing, though...we all do. The fact that I went to the pharmacy yesterday and 8 out of the 10 magazines displayed were talking about weight loss and how to shave off pounds to look good in bed, yeah, that stuff gets internalized.

    Anyway, those are my, 75 cents. :)

    1. Thanks for your comment. I completely agree that we still have a long way to go and feminism is as important as ever. I guess the point of my post was not to say feminism is not necessary, but that the kind of feminism Twisty promotes excludes more women and places just as many constrictions as patriarchy does.
      I don't think motherhood is the be all and end all either, nor is marriage or a relationship. But I think to say that we only want those things because the patriarchy tells us we do is insulting to women.
      I do want to be a mother one day, but that doesn't mean I'll give up my career - or my personhood. Likewise, getting married to a man does not lessen me as a woman. I am still me. I just happen to live with my best friend who loves me for me, and treats me as an equal.
      I know that she's deliberately extreme but I just don't think that making women feel like shit for being feminine or loving a man (or men) is the way to make progress.
      Thanks for the discussion :)

  5. Oh.My.Gosh. Just reading the quotes you've provided was enough to make me angry, sometimes I wonder how these people get an audience!

  6. I love Twisty and her enormous brain. She has more fans than you.

  7. I'm a dude and a feminist and somehow I ended up at Twisty's blog. She twists feminism into a procrustean creative narrative - all the trappings of the most elaborate Illuminati conspiracy theories. As well as being utterly nasty, oppressive, sexist, epistemologically speaking - it's just. Making. Stuff. Up. Seizing grains of truth and running with them into elaborate creative stories is not how you find and fix and communicate real world issues.

    This approach triviliases the problems of patriarchy, rape culture and cultural oppressions that we can know about, that we can do things about, that we can learn more about and really improve the flourishing of individuals in general.

    Anyway, sorry for the rant, this was a good write up.

    1. I totally agree with you. Her "feminism" is quite oppressive and harmful.